Apple in Early Talks to Acquire Tidal Streaming Music Service

Apple is in “exploratory talks” to purchase Jay Z’s streaming music service Tidal, according to insiders. Apple is said to be interested in augmenting its Apple Music service with top artists associated with Tidal including Madonna and Kanye West. Tidal landed a number of high profile exclusive releases this year from West, Rihanna and Beyoncé. It is also the only streaming service to feature the catalog of the late pop star Prince. Tidal says it presently has 4.2 million subscribers who pay $20 per month for the high-fidelity version of the service or $10 per month for the standard-quality version. Continue reading Apple in Early Talks to Acquire Tidal Streaming Music Service

SoundCloud Debuts Subscription Plan in U.S. with 125M Songs

Berlin-based SoundCloud, which began signing licensing deals with major and indie record labels in 2014, just debuted its new subscription plan. The online music service’s 175 million regular users will now have the option of the free version, which features 100 million songs, or the $10/month subscription version, SoundCloud Go, which offers 125 million ad-free songs, and lets users save songs to their phones. In 2014, SoundCloud posted $19.5 million in revenue, but a net loss of almost $44 million. Continue reading SoundCloud Debuts Subscription Plan in U.S. with 125M Songs

Spotify, Music Publishers Settle Mechanical Licensing Dispute

Spotify and the National Music Publishers’ Association settled a long-standing licensing dispute, although neither will reveal details. Sources say Spotify will pay between $16 million to $25 million in royalties that are owed but unpaid, as well as a $5 million penalty. In exchange, the publishers will not file copyright infringement claims. The suit hinges on a rule governing mechanical licensing rights that dates back to player-piano rolls. In the digital world, the rule is just one that’s made legal licensing complex. Continue reading Spotify, Music Publishers Settle Mechanical Licensing Dispute

YouTube Music Aims Spotlight on Personalization, Discovery

After a year in beta testing, YouTube Music is finally available for Android and iOS. The app — meant to compete with streaming music offerings such as Apple Music, Pandora, Rdio, Spotify and Tidal — emphasizes music videos and amateur recordings. YouTube’s catalog of 50 million songs does not mean a video for every song, since the collection mixes video, audio-only, fan covers, emerging indie artists and much more. Discovery continues to be the underlying focus, and each song is connected to an auto-generated station of related songs. YouTube Music also blends human and algorithmic curation, similar to Apple Music’s approach. Continue reading YouTube Music Aims Spotlight on Personalization, Discovery

Apple’s Plan to Dominate Streaming Music Off to a Good Start

Since launching Apple Music on June 30, Apple reports 11 million users have signed up for a three-month trial to access 30 million songs. If they all become paying members, by October the Silicon Valley firm will have half the membership of leading music streamer, 10-year old Spotify. Apple is launching a comprehensive marketing campaign — with billboard, TV and radio ads — for the new streaming service. In the fall, it will roll out its Android version of Apple Music in beta. Continue reading Apple’s Plan to Dominate Streaming Music Off to a Good Start

FTC Examines Apple’s 30 Percent Charge for Rival Music Apps

Antitrust regulators are reportedly taking a preliminary look at whether Apple’s business model for selling streaming music apps may be illegal under current antitrust law. While the company now has its own music streaming service, Apple also takes a 30 percent cut of in-app purchases through its App Store for competing services such as Jango, Rhapsody and Spotify. According to industry sources, the Federal Trade Commission has not announced a formal investigation, but has started to look into the issue by meeting with concerned parties. Continue reading FTC Examines Apple’s 30 Percent Charge for Rival Music Apps

Spotify Chief Exec Responds to Taylor Swift Pulling Her Music

Spotify Chief Executive Daniel Ek defended his streaming service in a statement released Tuesday in response to Taylor Swift’s decision to pull her entire collection of songs from Spotify. Swift, whose latest album “1989” sold almost 1.3 million copies in its first week, pulled her collection from Spotify because she believes the company does not fairly compensate music creators. Ek, however, pointed out that his company has now paid $2 billion in royalties and helps prevent piracy. Continue reading Spotify Chief Exec Responds to Taylor Swift Pulling Her Music

CD and Download Sales Drop as Music Fans Turn to Streaming

According to the Recording Industry Association of America, less than $3.2 billion in music sales was recorded for the first half of 2014, a 4.9 percent drop from the same period last year. While the growth of online streaming services continues to generate revenue for artists and record companies, it may not be enough to offset the reduction in sales of CDs and downloads. While downloads and streaming together totaled $2.2 billion (a similar total to last year), downloads dropped by 9 percent. Continue reading CD and Download Sales Drop as Music Fans Turn to Streaming

Deezer Plans to Bring High-Fidelity Elite Music Service to U.S.

Deezer, a French subscription service available in 180 countries, announced its plans for availability in the U.S. In a partnership with Sonos, the company plans for a high-fidelity version called Deezer Elite. Deezer reaches five million paying subscribers in a model similar to Spotify, Rhapsody and Beats Music. However, Deezer plans to offer songs at a faster bit rate in order to create smaller file sizes for computer storing and transferring, and in the process attract a more affluent group of audiophiles.  Continue reading Deezer Plans to Bring High-Fidelity Elite Music Service to U.S.

Rhapsody Expanding Music Services with Carrier Partnerships

With two million paid subscribers, Rhapsody International says it is the clear number two streaming music service, behind Spotify. The parent company of Rhapsody and Napster points to international expansion and carrier partnerships as reasons for its success. The services also use locations to help identify artist preferences, boosting international popularity. Through joint ventures, the company hopes to continue growing its audience, despite Spotify’s popularity. Continue reading Rhapsody Expanding Music Services with Carrier Partnerships

Time Warner Cable Offers VOD, Streaming, Cable via Fan TV

Time Warner Cable has partnered with startup Fanhattan to offer customers the Fan TV cable set-top box, which enables viewers to watch live TV, cable TV, and streaming video via Internet Protocol. The sleek cable box features a unique viewer guide with an integrated offering of online and live content from television shows to movies through a simple touchpad remote. Pre-orders of Fan TV set-tops, which began Tuesday, are $99, and they will be ready to ship in June. Continue reading Time Warner Cable Offers VOD, Streaming, Cable via Fan TV

Sprint and Spotify Partner to Promote Streaming Music Service

Wireless carrier Sprint and streaming music service Spotify are reportedly joining forces to push the music service out to Sprint’s customers, similar to a plan already underway between AT&T and Beats Music. The new partnership will include free Spotify trials for Sprint customers and the option to pay for the music service using Sprint’s billing system. Spotify’s premium service costs $9.99 per month, although some Sprint customers will likely qualify for discounts. Continue reading Sprint and Spotify Partner to Promote Streaming Music Service

Billy Chasen Shutters Turntable.fm, Launches New Social App

Turntable.fm founder Billy Chasen announced that the service is officially closing, “ending one of the most compelling experiments in music discovery to ever hit the Web,” suggests The Verge. Chasen attempted to play by the rules, paying every time a song was streamed, which eventually proved to be too expensive. He believes that the music industry is stifling innovation and digital startups. For his next venture, Chasen is going social with Ketchup, a free app he launched last month. Continue reading Billy Chasen Shutters Turntable.fm, Launches New Social App

Amazon Discusses New Streaming Service with Music Labels

Amazon continues to expand into the entertainment realm with its delivery of movies and TV via Amazon Prime, the launch of Amazon Studios, its recent acquisition of video game developer Double Helix, and now, the possibility of a streaming music service that would likely be bundled into its Prime delivery option. Amazon has been hiring executives with digital music experience in recent years, and has reportedly been in talks with major music labels for the past few months. Continue reading Amazon Discusses New Streaming Service with Music Labels

Beats Music: New Streaming Service Set for January Launch

There has been a great deal of speculation in recent months regarding Beats Music, the new streaming service from the makers of Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, that intends to take on Spotify and others. Most reports had indicated the launch date was being pushed beyond 2013, but little was known about the service or its status. Now it looks like the target launch is January. Newspaper ads are appearing that simply read “coming soon” and a blitz of TV ads are expected. Continue reading Beats Music: New Streaming Service Set for January Launch

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