iTunes Radio set to stream a bunch of ESPN and NPR stations

By Christian Zibreg on May 28, 2014

Apple sure seems adamant to bolster up its music ambitions. Shortly after confirming that it’s purchasing Beats Electronics and Beats Music in a transaction valued at $3 billion – by far the largest acquisition in company history since the 1997 NeXT deal, we’re now hearing some encouraging news concerning iTunes Radio, its Internet radio service.

Specifically, iTunes Radio has now started streaming content from ESPN, including the World Cup stream. Moreover, Apple will be adding a bunch of local NPR stations to the service soon… Read More


Chart of the day: why Apple must buy Beats or build own subscription music product

By Christian Zibreg on May 28, 2014

Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty released an interesting chart highlighting the need for an Apple-branded on-demand music streaming product. Currently, the company only sells individual songs or whole albums on iTunes.

The analyst worryingly writes in a note to clients issued Wednesday that iTunes sales are down 24 percent year-on-year. Moreover, Apple’s 800 million iTunes users are spending an average of $3.29 on iTunes.

For the sake of clarity, the figure represents combined per-user purchases of music, movies, iOS and Mac apps and more. That being said, Apple is clearly taking a heat due to its refusal to introduce a subscription music service because iTunes users seem to spending more on apps and less on music nowadays… Read More


You can now create mixes from Spotify tracks in Algoriddim’s djay for iPhone and iPad

By Christian Zibreg on May 22, 2014

Germany-based Algoriddim – which develops the popular djay software for the iPhone [$1.99], iPad [$9.99] and Mac [$19.99] – today announced a major partnership with Swedish startup Spotify, which operates the world’s leading streaming-music service.

Spotify Premium subscribers and DJ wannabes can now mix any of the more than twenty million Spotify tracks, right inside djay for the iPhone and iPad. This seamless integration extends to such advanced features as Automix Radio, Spotify Match, desktop-class audio effects and pro-grade DJ hardware integration, to name a few.

The newly introduced capabilities are available via a major update to djay for the iPhone and iPad. Based on my brief hands-on time with djay for iPad, I can safely say that Spotify integration has just become a major selling point for these kinds of apps, here’s why… Read More


Spotify announces it now has 10 million paying subscribers, 40 million active users

By Cody Lee on May 22, 2014

Spotify has announced that it’s surpassed two new major milestones in recent weeks. The streaming service says that it now has more than 10 million paying subscribers and over 40 million active users, in 56 markets around the globe.

For context, Pandora said last month that its active user count for March was 75.3 million. It didn’t say how many of those were paid accounts, but looking at its numbers from last year (2.5 million) Spotify may be close to passing it… Read More


WSJ: Apple playing ‘catch up’ with Beats acquisition

By Cody Lee on May 9, 2014

The disruptor has become the disrupted. Apple, the company that turned the music industry upside down with the launch of the iTunes Store in 2003, saw digital download sales drop for the first time ever last year. Why? Streaming music services.

The folks out in Cupertino failed to see the rise of the Rdios and the Spotifys, and thus have been forced to play catch-up. And according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, that’s exactly what this rumored Apple-Beats acquisition is all about… Read More


Cable-cutters, rejoice: HBO shows arriving to Fire TV and Amazon Prime on May 21

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 23, 2014

No one can touch Amazon when it comes to the breadth and size of its content library and today’s announcement just reinforces the notion. The online retail giant has cut a landmark and unheard-of deal with Home Box Office Inc. (HBO), an American premium cable and satellite television network that in my opinion has the best original TV shows anywhere.

Under the terms of the exclusive multi-year agreement, both Amazon Prime members and owners of the recently introduced $99 Fire TV set-top box will soon be able to stream HBO’s old shows three years after they’ve aired and at no additional charge. Catch 22: HBO is reserving new shows for existing subscribers and you’ll need to subscribe to Amazon’s $99 per year Prime Instant Video service.

Still, this is huge. Firstly, you won’t need an HBO cable TV subscription at all to stream the shows. And secondly, online-only subscriptions to HBO were previously non-existent. Now, Apple TV owners are able to access HBO content via the HBO GO app on their Home screen, but this requires a subscription with a cable or satellite provider and therefore doesn’t appeal to cable-cutters… Read More


A&E and History Channel apps updated with live TV streaming

By Cody Lee on Apr 15, 2014

A little over a year ago, A&E Networks updated its iOS clients with on-demand programming. It was a fairly big move, as it allowed users to watch their favorite episodes of TV shows like Duck Dynasty and Storage Wars while on the go.

Today, A&E issued another major update for its mobile clients, this time adding live TV streaming to both A&E and History Channel iOS apps. So now you can watch live programming from each of the channels on your iPhone or iPad… Read More


Spotify updated with major redesign and other improvements

By Cody Lee on Apr 2, 2014

Good news for Spotify users this morning: the streaming music service has delivered a much needed redesign to its web, iPhone and desktop clients. The new look brings the apps more in line with competitors like Rdio, and establishes a single identity across all platforms.

The redesign comes to the iPhone (it doesn’t look like it’s on the iPad yet) by way of the version 1.0 update. It’s much darker than before, and features trendy effects like blur and rounded iconography. Spotify has also made a handful of performance and stability improvements…. Read More


New Comedy Central app puts all shows in one place

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 1, 2014

Comedy Central has several free apps in the App Store, each dedicated to its own show, like The Daily Show Headlines, The Colbert Report and Tosh 2.0, to name a few.

In the commendable effort to reduce user confusion and increase engagement, the comedy channel owned by MTV Networks Entertainment Group has released a new iOS app simply named Comedy Central that consolidates all their shows into one place.

The dedicated streaming app is now available to download free of charge in the App Store. Wait, you haven’t heard the coolest thing: you can stream episodes of select shows free of charge, no cable subscription required whatsoever, with some caveats… Read More


WSJ: Amazon working on free video streaming service

By Cody Lee on Mar 27, 2014

Much of the tech world seems to be infatuated with Office for iPad today, but I think what’s going on over at Amazon is more interesting. Not only is the company expected to unveil a new TV device next week, and working on Internet radio, but a new report claims it’s also building a Hulu-like service.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting this afternoon that Amazon is planning a free, ad-supported streaming service that will offer video content to all customers—not just Prime members. The outlet says the service could be used to stream original Amazon shows as well as other licensed programming… Read More


Apple and Comcast mulling streaming TV service for next-gen Apple TV

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 24, 2014

Apple’s $99 media-steaming box last year raked in more than a cool $1 billion in combined hardware and related content sales, prompting CEO Tim Cook to argue during Apple’s annual shareholders meeting that “it’s a little more difficult to call the Apple TV a hobby these days.”

The company is reportedly updating the Apple TV hardware sooner than later with refreshed internals, allegedly adding gaming functionality via an Apple TV App Store for downloadable games and a built-in TV tuner to control your existing cable boxes and TV stations.

On the other hand, Apple thus far has been unable to obtain content rights for an a-la-carte TV service due to licensing negotiations and other issues. A report by The Wall Street Journal last night now claims that Apple is negotiating with Comcast using its infrastructure for optimal delivery of a streaming service for the next-gen Apple TV… Read More


Asphalt 8 with Twitch broadcasting, The Great Wall tracks, new cars and more now available

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 20, 2014

Earlier this week, Gameloft, the prolific maker of mobile games, has announced a partnership with the live streaming video game platform Twitch that would bring the first ever mobile streaming game experience to Asphalt 8: Airborne.

The following day, Gameloft teased the forthcoming update and it’s now live in the App Store so best thing you grab it now and live stream some action right away.

In addition to Twitch integration, Asphalt 8 now includes six new tracks scattered throughout the gorgeous Asian-inspired location, the Great Wall, as well as new soundtrack, new cars, new events in career mode, an improved main menu and more… Read More


Pandora upping monthly ‘One’ fee, dropping annual subscriptions

By Cody Lee on Mar 20, 2014

Pandora announced this week that it is going to making some significant changes to its Pandora One subscription service over the next couple of months. Most notably, it’s going to be raising the monthly subscription cost and eliminating the annual option.

Citing rising licensing costs, Pandora says that it’s raising its ‘One’ fee from $3.99 per month to $4.99 per month, and taking away the discounted annual plan altogether. The company says that royalty rates it pays to artists have increased 53% since it began… Read More


WSJ: Amazon launching its Apple TV competitor next month

By Cody Lee on Mar 18, 2014

Building on previous reports, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Amazon is set to begin shipping its long-awaited video-streaming device next month. The device will thrust the e-commerce giant into a highly competitive space occupied by Apple, Google and others.

Citing sources familiar with the product, the outlet claims that the device will carry a variety of apps available on Roku and Apple set-top boxes and run on a version of Google’s Android software. And like Amazon’s other hardware devices, it will likely carry the Fire brand… Read More


Twitch and Gameloft bringing live mobile gameplay streaming to Asphalt 8

By Cody Lee on Mar 17, 2014

Kicking off the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week, Twitch and Gameloft have announced that they are teaming up to provide the first ever mobile streaming game experience. To start with, they two say they’ve integrated Twitch into Asphalt 8: Airborne.

Once the feature goes live, gamers will be given the ability to stream their gameplay to a Twitch channel. Additionally, they’ll also be able to stream their voice and image using their iOS device’s microphone and front-facing camera, and monitor chat from their stream followers… Read More


Listen to unlimited music for free with Tuner for YouTube

By Lory Gil on Mar 16, 2014

I’m a big fan of streaming music on YouTube. It is an easy way to find songs, audio books, and all manner of media that isn’t as easy to find for free anywhere else. Without needing a subscription, you can stream full albums from popular artists. Without commercials, you can create playlists of your favorite songs. Without paying for it, you can listen to audio books in their entirety.

Tuner for YouTube Music is a simplified app that lets you stream whatever you want from YouTube without the video getting in the way… Read More


Samsung launches ad-free streaming radio service ‘Milk Music’

By Cody Lee on Mar 7, 2014

In a somewhat surprising move, Samsung announced today a new streaming radio service dubbed ‘Milk Music.’ The service is a lot like Apple’s iTunes Radio in that music is chosen based on a user’s preferences, and it’s platform-specific—it’s only available to Galaxy device owners.

The service is powered by Slacker Radio, which would explain the absence of rumors that Samsung was working on such a project, and there are no ads. As for the app, it offers the usual features including the ability to save songs for offline listening and create custom radio stations… Read More


Beats Music opens up its API to developers

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 7, 2014

Beats Music has entered the crowded music-streaming space less than two months ago and already the startup is making moves with the aim of becoming a music platform of sorts.

Akin to RdioSpotify and other subscription-based music services, Beats Music offers unlimited streaming for ten bucks a month through the web and via their awesome iPhone app.

CNET is now reporting that the company has now officially opened up its application programming interface (API) to all third-part developers as it seeks to foster the creation of mobile apps  with Beats Music integration… Read More


Apple’s new CarPlay feature will not support Pandora at launch

By Cody Lee on Mar 4, 2014

When Apple officially announced CarPlay, its highly anticipated vehicle integration project, yesterday, it noted the feature would support third-party music apps. The list it provided, however, was rather short including just iTunes Radio, Beats, Spotify, Stitcher Radio and iHeartRadio.

So what about all of the others? It’s not looking good. Pandora confirmed with MacRumors last night that CarPlay will not include integration with its popular streaming music service, at least at launch. Despite this, the company says that Apple “continues to be a valued partner.” Read More


Amazon said to be working on ‘Prime’ music streaming service

By Cody Lee on Feb 28, 2014

According to Recode, Amazon is in talks with record labels regarding a potential music streaming service. The site says the company plans to bundle the service with its Prime delivery option, where it already offers free movies and TV shows.

Sources familiar with the negotiations say Amazon has been having serious discussions with labels for the past few months, but it’s no where close to a deal. Apparently the e-commerce giant is asking for too much of a discount on licensing fees… Read More

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