Microsoft Band Joins the Health and Fitness Wearable Market

Microsoft Band is a new wrist-worn device that works with an online service called Microsoft Health. The service will analyze personal health and exercise data collected by the band and other devices. The display on the black rubber bracelet will show text messages from a cell phone, Facebook alerts, and barcodes that allow people to pay for things with a swipe of their wrist. The device will track heart rate, sleep quality, and calories burned using optical sensors rather than less accurate audio sensors. Continue reading Microsoft Band Joins the Health and Fitness Wearable Market

Startup Offers Customized Mobile Apps for YouTube Celebrities

High-profile YouTubers — whether they be vloggers, athletes, musicians or beauticians — can now reach their audience through personalized mobile apps. Victorious, a startup led by three former Google executives, launched last week. The company has recruited several YouTube celebrities to use its app to post photos and videos, and communicate with fans. Victorious will allow the creators to make money from in-app purchases, advertisements and merchandise sales. Continue reading Startup Offers Customized Mobile Apps for YouTube Celebrities

YouTube to Block Artists Who Don’t Sign Up for New Service

Content from indie artists could disappear from Google’s YouTube “in a matter of days.” As YouTube prepares to launch its ad-free streaming music service, it also plans to block videos from independent labels and artists that choose not to sign up for the new subscription offering. While YouTube has signed licensing deals with the major labels, it says it will block others from using its entire platform if they do not agree to terms of the upcoming premium service. Continue reading YouTube to Block Artists Who Don’t Sign Up for New Service

Amazon Launches Ad-Free, Streaming “Prime Music” Service

As expected, Amazon has launched Prime Music featuring more than one million songs and hundreds of playlists. The new service offers unlimited streaming without ads or restrictions. It is free to Amazon Prime members and could potentially help attract new subscribers (those who are interested can sign up for a free 30-day trial). Prime members can also listen to downloaded music offline on their Kindle Fire, HDX, iOS, Android and Mac/PC devices via Amazon’s Cloud Player. Continue reading Amazon Launches Ad-Free, Streaming “Prime Music” Service

Amazon Prime Ready to Launch its Anticipated Music Service

Amazon has reportedly reached agreements with record labels in order to launch a streaming music service by June or July. The Prime music service does not plan to feature recent song releases, but will offer a catalog of tracks and albums that are six months old and older — providing an additional benefit to Prime members who already enjoy access to movies and TV shows via Instant Video, an e-books lending library, and free two-day shipping on products ordered through the retail site. Continue reading Amazon Prime Ready to Launch its Anticipated Music Service

Billboard and Twitter Introduce First Real-Time Music Charts

Billboard Twitter Real-Time Charts is a collaboration between Billboard and Twitter where fans help rank the most popular songs shared on the social network in the U.S. The first chart, the Billboard Trending 140, is a ranking of songs shared in the U.S. measured by acceleration over the past hour. A real-time view of the most shared tracks over the past day is available. The second chart, the Emerging Artists chart, is ranked by the number of times each song by an up-and-coming artist was shared over the past day. Continue reading Billboard and Twitter Introduce First Real-Time Music Charts

Apple to Buy Beats for $3 Billion: Largest Deal in its History

Apple announced yesterday that it has agreed to purchase Beats Electronics for $3 billion, in a deal that is expected to help the tech giant better compete with subscription-based music services. As anticipated based on earlier reports, Apple will offer the Beats streaming music service, built on curated playlists, and its premium headphones under a separate Beats brand, while the iTunes music store and streaming radio platform will be offered alongside the Beats music service. The Beats deal marks the largest acquisition in Apple’s history. Continue reading Apple to Buy Beats for $3 Billion: Largest Deal in its History

New Startup Adventr Will Help You Easily Make Interactive Videos

Adventr has launched a new drag & drop editing platform that allows users to create interactive videos. The New York City-based startup is backed by musician John Legend, and was founded by Devo Harris, better known as Grammy-winning producer and songwriter Devo Springsteen. The service essentially works by overlaying graphics on video, and giving users multiple choices. Adventr also allows users to share their videos on Twitter, Facebook, and any website that supports the VPAID format. Continue reading New Startup Adventr Will Help You Easily Make Interactive Videos

Major Record Companies Invest $3M Each in Shazam Music App

Music-identification app Shazam has landed investments from the industry’s biggest record labels, including Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment. London-based Shazam’s most recent valuation was $500 million. Its value for the labels involves its potential as a marketing partner. Not only does the app enable users to identify music playing on the radio or TV, but it lets them share a song’s name via social media, download it from iTunes, or stream it via services such as Spotify. Continue reading Major Record Companies Invest $3M Each in Shazam Music App

NTT Docomo Plans Trials of New High-Bandwidth Network Tech

Japanese mobile giant NTT Docomo is currently planning new wireless trials that could increase the capacity of future mobile networks to 10 Gbps (1,000 times today’s LTE networks). The new radio technologies could become an important part of a future 5G standard. NTT Docomo is working with Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Fujitsu, NEC, Nokia and Samsung to perform lab trials at Docomo’s research & development facility in Yokosuka, which is expected to be followed by outdoor trials in 2015. Continue reading NTT Docomo Plans Trials of New High-Bandwidth Network Tech

Apple Reportedly Getting Ready to Spend $3.2 Billion on Beats

Insiders say Apple is in talks for a proposed $3.2 billion acquisition of Beats Electronics, which would provide Apple with Beats’ headphone business and recently-launched subscription music service. Although Apple disrupted the music business when it launched iTunes in 2003, it has recently faced declining download sales as consumers increasingly turn to subscription services. If the Beats deal goes through, it would be Apple CEO Tim Cook’s boldest and most expensive acquisition to date. Continue reading Apple Reportedly Getting Ready to Spend $3.2 Billion on Beats

Rdio to Launch Free, Ad-Supported Music Service This Year

Music service Rdio is planning a free, ad-supported offering to launch later this year. The service is also expected to add more non-music content and morning shows from Cumulus, which became a significant investor in Rdio last year. Some of that may include sports and talk show content from WestWood One, which Cumulus recently acquired. Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey introduced the new ad-supported model during a Q1 earnings call earlier this week. Continue reading Rdio to Launch Free, Ad-Supported Music Service This Year

Labels File Copyright Suit Against Pandora Under State Law

Major record labels Sony, Universal and Warner Music, along with indie label ABKCO, filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan last week, claiming that streaming music service Pandora is violating New York’s common-law copyright protections by using songs recorded prior to 1972 without licenses. The suit acknowledges that older songs are not protected under federal copyright, but contends that Pandora needs permission to use them under state law. Continue reading Labels File Copyright Suit Against Pandora Under State Law

Pro Music Curators Create Specialized Playlists for Listeners

The access to millions of songs on Spotify, Pandora and other online music streaming services has music fans feeling overwhelmed. Some fans are now turning to professional music curators to help them identify the best songs for their specific mood. Professional playlist makers typically do not compile mixes based on broad genres or decades, but instead, they create mixes for specific occasions or emotional states, such as a family road trip or a sad break-up. Continue reading Pro Music Curators Create Specialized Playlists for Listeners

Intel Confirms Purchase of Wearables Startup Basis Science

Intel confirmed yesterday that it has acquired Basis Science, a San Francisco-based startup that makes a $199 health-tracking wristband known as the Basis Band. The device — which tracks sleep, heart rate, calories and steps — syncs with iOS and some Android devices via Bluetooth. Up to this point, the Basis Band device has used Texas Instruments chips. Intel has bigger plans than merely supplying processors, and the acquisition could be the first step toward entering the wearables market more directly. Continue reading Intel Confirms Purchase of Wearables Startup Basis Science

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