DJs Facing DMCA Takedowns on Twitch Look for Alternatives

Twitch evolved from a video-game streaming site to include creative content and, in 2018, music. During COVID-19, many DJs have been using Twitch as a way to keep their local music scene alive. In Minneapolis, for example, Dave Eckblad produces the Twitch stream for music collective Intellephunk, including live events that engage fans and draw in tips. StreamElements reports that, over the course of one year, the number of hours users spend streaming music and performing arts skyrocketed from 3.6 million to 17.6 million. However, complying with copyright regulation may have an impact on this trend. Continue reading DJs Facing DMCA Takedowns on Twitch Look for Alternatives

Spotify to Introduce Hi-Fi Option, Paid Podcast Subscriptions

Spotify will debut a Hi-Fi option later this year, the company announced during its recent “Stream On” presentation. Chief executive and co-founder Daniel Ek also revealed that the company paid $5 billion in royalties during 2020, and chief content officer Dawn Ostroff added that, over the last four years, 800+ recording artists have made more than $1 million a year in recording and publishing, up over 82 percent. About 7,500 artists made more than $100,000 a year, up 79 percent. Spotify also announced that it will launch paid podcast subscriptions. Continue reading Spotify to Introduce Hi-Fi Option, Paid Podcast Subscriptions

Spotify Reports Q4 Subscriber Growth, Focuses on Podcasts

Spotify Technology SA posted unexpectedly strong subscription growth during Q4 2020, to 345 million monthly active users, up 27 percent from a year earlier. Paid subscriptions grew 24 percent above the same period last year to 155 million. But average revenue per subscriber fell 8 percent to €4.26 ($5.13) due to discounted plans and lower rates in India and Russia. The company’s 2021 outlook takes into account that such growth could diminish in 2021. Shares of the company fell 9 percent to $315. Continue reading Spotify Reports Q4 Subscriber Growth, Focuses on Podcasts

CES: TV Technologies Takes Center Stage at Annual Confab

The demand for upgraded televisions and streaming content has increased significantly during the coronavirus pandemic. Nielsen reports that streaming services currently account for a quarter of all TV viewing in North America and, according to CES producer the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), consumers upgrading their TVs led to a shipment record for 2020, a trend expected to continue this year. In addition, an Ampere study indicates that the average U.S. household subscribes to four streaming services. CES 2021 showcased a compelling array of TVs and related tech, including 8K, QNED, MicroLED, MiniLED, NanoCell TVs, ATSC 3.0 (NextGen TV), Filmmaker Mode, transparent displays, enhanced game support and more. Continue reading CES: TV Technologies Takes Center Stage at Annual Confab

CES: Sony Integrates Movie Streaming to Promote Bravia TVs

Sony announced during CES 2021 that its new line of Bravia XR television sets would provide consumers with the Bravia Core platform for streaming select movies from Sony Pictures Entertainment. The company indicates that its Pure Stream tech enables “near lossless” ultra high-def Blu-ray Disc quality. The Bravia Core platform comes pre-loaded on new Bravia XR models including Sony’s 8K LED, OLED and 4K LED models. Access to film titles is based on a type of voucher system in which customers are given credits depending on which Bravia XR model is purchased. Continue reading CES: Sony Integrates Movie Streaming to Promote Bravia TVs

CES: LG Presents 48-Inch ‘Bendable’ OLED Gaming Monitor

LG Display demonstrated “the world’s first” 48-inch, bendable, 4K gaming monitor during CES 2021. According to LG, the monitor’s thin OLED screen features a curvature radius that allows it to bend up to 1,000 mm without impacting the display’s functionality. The company’s Bendable CSO (Cinematic Sound OLED) display is designed to serve as a traditional flat screen for watching television and easily convert to a curved screen for a more immersive gaming experience. The display also includes tech that enables it to vibrate and create sound without speakers. Continue reading CES: LG Presents 48-Inch ‘Bendable’ OLED Gaming Monitor

CES: New Sony and LG TVs Support the ATSC 3.0 Standard

ATSC 3.0, the IP-based broadcast television standard created to improve viewing across future fixed and mobile devices, had a presence at CES 2021 in the form of new technologies and TV sets. Sony, LG and BitRouter were among the companies debuting NextGen TV tech at this year’s show. Sony’s Bravia XR line of LED and OLED sets is ATSC 3.0 compatible, as are LG’s new 4K and 8K UHD TVs. BitRouter introduced a new Linux-based ATSC 3.0 receiver and the company’s ZapperBox ATSC 3.0 set-top box, which will be available for licensing by other brands. Continue reading CES: New Sony and LG TVs Support the ATSC 3.0 Standard

CTA Researchers Discuss Key Tech Trends to Expect at CES

In a live question-and-answer period during CES 2021, Consumer Technology Association vice president of research Steve Koenig and director of research Lesley Rohrbaugh answered questions about technology trends not described in their earlier presentation on predictions for 2021. In answer to a question about what to expect this year from smart glasses, Koenig emphasized that, “this is definitely the year of augmented reality.” But, he added, rather than describing experiences as VR, AR or MR, he said those terms will be replaced by describing “degrees of immersion.” Continue reading CTA Researchers Discuss Key Tech Trends to Expect at CES

Twitter Intros Ephemeral Tweets, Gathering Spaces for Audio

Twitter is launching Fleets, a feature that allows users to post photos or text that will disappear after 24 hours. Snapchat pioneered the ephemeral post, followed by Instagram and Facebook. Rollout of the Stories-like feature is moving forward, but has been scaled back as Twitter addresses “some performance and stability problems.” The platform’s “global town square” continues to be its “marquee product” but, said Twitter director of design Joshua Harris, the Fleets feature creates a space with less pressure for users who lurk but don’t post. The company is also testing Spaces, a new audio feature similar to Clubhouse, a startup that debuted earlier this year. Continue reading Twitter Intros Ephemeral Tweets, Gathering Spaces for Audio

Twitch Responds to a Flood of Copyright Takedown Notices

Last month, the Recording Industry Association of America, the Recording Academy, the National Music Publishers Association, the Music Managers Forum, the American Association of Independent Music and SAG-AFTRA chastised Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos for his company Twitch’s copyright violations. Twitch finally conceded that it ignored the use of unlicensed recorded music by its video creators and issued a blog post urging them to no longer do so and to delete any older VODs and Clips with unlicensed music. Continue reading Twitch Responds to a Flood of Copyright Takedown Notices

New AI-Based Google System Converts Webpages to Video

Google announced it has developed URL2Video, an AI-enabled system that automatically converts webpages into short videos by extracting text and images. The system also harvests design styles such as colors, fonts, graphics and layouts from HTML sources and organizes all the elements into a sequence of shots that looks and feels similar to the original webpage. Google is targeting businesses with websites for their products and services, enabling them to easily create marketing videos out of existing resources. Continue reading New AI-Based Google System Converts Webpages to Video

Music Is the Focus in Spotify’s New ‘Original Shows’ Format

In response to learning that listeners want to discover and save music in their favorite podcasts, Spotify is debuting “Original Shows,” a new spoken word format that combines music with particular themes featuring a monologue or conversation with guests. But, unlike a typical podcast, each song inside an Original Show will redirect the listener to that artist’s Spotify official audio files. That means the artist will make the same money as if a listener sought out his or her music. Listeners can also like and save a song while they’re listening to it. Continue reading Music Is the Focus in Spotify’s New ‘Original Shows’ Format

WiSA: Wireless Speaker and Audio Advances Home Theater

WiSA — wireless speaker and audio — offers the promise of changing and simplifying home theater setups by getting rid of speaker wires and even the A/V receiver. WiSA, which has support from 60+ manufacturers of home theater gear, including LG, TCL, Toshiba, Klipsch, and Bang & Olufsen, is a hardware and software specification for high resolution digital audio. As such, it can send audio wirelessly from a sound source to up to eight powered speakers within the same room, using 24-bit 48kHz or 96kHz signals. Continue reading WiSA: Wireless Speaker and Audio Advances Home Theater

AI-Powered Movies in Progress, Writing Makes Major Strides

In the not-so-distant future there will likely be services that allow the user to choose plots, characters and locations that are then fed into an AI-powered transformer with the result of a fully customized movie. The idea of using generative artificial intelligence to create content goes back to 2015’s computer vision program DeepDream, thanks to Google engineer Alexander Mordvintsev. Bringing that fantasy closer to reality is the AI system GPT-3 that creates convincingly coherent and interactive writing, often fooling the experts. Continue reading AI-Powered Movies in Progress, Writing Makes Major Strides

Executive Spotlight: A Talk with Lance Podell of Iron Mountain Entertainment Services

For the latest installment in ETC’s Executive Spotlight series, we had a fascinating conversation with Lance Podell, senior vice president and general manager of Iron Mountain Entertainment Services (IMES), a leader in media archiving for the entertainment industry. IMES steers its film, music, broadcast and sports clients in media preservation, restoration and distribution. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Podell’s group has focused on safety and remote productivity while developing innovative methods for protecting assets and serving as an extension of its clients’ businesses. Iron Mountain has also created a “digital studio in a box” so that projects can stay on track during this challenging time. Continue reading Executive Spotlight: A Talk with Lance Podell of Iron Mountain Entertainment Services

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