Viacom Music Group and Spotify Form Streaming Partnership

Viacom’s Music Group is partnering with Spotify to provide consumers with free music from featured artists via their website and apps. The company will also provide music from its series and franchises, including MTV’s “Teen Wolf,” VH1’s “Love and Hip Hop,” CMT’s “Party Down South” and the “MTV Video Music Awards.” More than 150 Spotify playlists will be available across Viacom’s network of sites, while Spotify will promote them to its 40 million global users. Continue reading Viacom Music Group and Spotify Form Streaming Partnership

Dutch Startup Blendle Develops Yet Another iTunes for News

A Dutch startup named Blendle has built what it calls an iTunes for news, where instead of buying songs, customers can purchase stories from different newspapers, magazines and websites. The benefit is that, rather than subscribing to an entire publication, users can select specific content. Individual articles go for as little as 14 cents. Available for a month, the service now has 60,000 registered users, and this week signed its first English-speaking publisher, The Economist. Continue reading Dutch Startup Blendle Develops Yet Another iTunes for News

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

UPS: Free Shipping Attracts More Online Shopping Customers

UPS’s “Pulse of the Online Shopper” survey shows that 93 percent of customers are willing to take some action in order to qualify for free shipping. Not only will people do more to get free shipping, but 58 percent have also cancelled orders because shipping costs were too much, with 50 percent doing the same because the shipping wasn’t free. Along with attraction to free shipping, there has also been a 12 percent increase in the amount of people that have returned an item.

Continue reading UPS: Free Shipping Attracts More Online Shopping Customers

E3 2014: $99 Game-Streamer PlayStation TV Coming to U.S.

During its E3 press conference yesterday in Los Angeles, Sony announced that the PlayStation TV device is coming to North America this fall for $99 as a standalone, or for $139 bundled with a DualShock Controller, an 8GB memory card for storing downloaded games, and a copy of “The Lego Movie” video game. Users can pair the set-top box with their PlayStation 4 console for remote play on a second television. Video and music streaming services will be accessible, as will games via PlayStation Now. Continue reading E3 2014: $99 Game-Streamer PlayStation TV Coming to U.S.

Mortar Data Makes it Easier to Build Recommendation Engines

Mortar Data, a New York-based company known for building and hosting custom big data applications, recently announced the launch of a recommendation engine platform that allows anyone to build their own system, and use it with their own data, for free. Recommendation systems are becoming increasingly popular, and have become a gold mine for big companies such as Pandora and Netflix, which use the services to make recommendations based on customer history. Continue reading Mortar Data Makes it Easier to Build Recommendation Engines

Professor Develops Free DIY Online Image Verification Service

With the recent growth in citizen journalism via the Internet, questions have arisen regarding the authenticity of photographs, and whether there are ways to verify if an image is accurate or not. The rise of Photoshop and other digital tools has made it easy for people to edit images prior to sharing them on Facebook or Twitter. However, a computer science professor at Dartmouth College has developed a free online image verification service that quickly confirms whether an image is authentic or not. Continue reading Professor Develops Free DIY Online Image Verification Service

FedEx Responds to E-Commerce Boom with Increased Pricing

While FedEx has traditionally charged to ship packages based solely on weight, the company has changed its policy to also price packages according to size. The move is expected to increase the price of over a third of FedEx’s U.S. ground shipments, and dramatically impact e-commerce companies. The next question is whether or not UPS will follow FedEx’s lead and consider a new pricing strategy as well. In the past, UPS and FedEx have kept similar pricing, rather than use pricing as a competitive advantage. Continue reading FedEx Responds to E-Commerce Boom with Increased Pricing

Reset the Net: Campaign Opposes Mass Internet Surveillance

More than twenty tech companies and civil liberties groups have started a coalition to fight the National Security Agency’s mass Internet surveillance programs. On June 5, these groups will participate in a “Reset the Net” day of action by posting the campaign’s splash screen on websites and mobile apps. The coalition is distributing free privacy protection software tools to users and calling on developers to add NSA resistant features to sites and apps. Continue reading Reset the Net: Campaign Opposes Mass Internet Surveillance

Hulu to Update its Mobile Apps for Streaming Free TV Shows

Hulu announced on Wednesday that it would update its streaming video mobile apps to allow users to view entire episodes of certain television shows, even if the users are not premium Hulu Plus subscribers. Emulating its desktop version, the update will feature free episodes with advertisements spliced in. Free shows will first be available for Android, and later for iOS via a redesigned Hulu Plus iPhone and iPad app coming this summer. Hulu Plus now has 6 million subscribers. Continue reading Hulu to Update its Mobile Apps for Streaming Free TV Shows

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

FCC Chairman Explains Next Steps to Protect an Open Internet

In a blog post yesterday, FCC Chairman and former telecom lobbyist Tom Wheeler wrote that he is “a strong believer in the importance of an Open Internet.” In response to what Wheeler views as “misinformed” commentaries regarding the Open Internet Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) currently before the FCC, he offers two points of clarification: 1) This is not a final decision, but a formal request for input on the proposal, and 2) “all options for protecting and promoting an Open Internet are on the table.” Continue reading FCC Chairman Explains Next Steps to Protect an Open Internet

New Initiative Gets Companies to Fund Open Source Projects

More than a dozen companies have joined the Core Infrastructure Initiative to provide funding to open source projects, starting with OpenSSL. The Linux Foundation, Amazon, Cisco, Dell, Facebook, Fujitsu, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NetApp, Rackspace, Qualcomm, and VMWare have each pledged $100,000 over the next three years to pay for full-time developers, security audits, computing and testing infrastructure, and more to help financially strapped open source projects. Continue reading New Initiative Gets Companies to Fund Open Source Projects

Rentrak Reports Increase in VOD Broadcast Prime Time Viewing

TV and film measurement service Rentrak recently released its latest “State of VOD” report, which found that free video-on-demand viewing of prime time broadcast television programming increased 24 percent over the same period last year. The Rentrak report also found that 66 percent of prime time program viewing occurred after the third day of original broadcasts, suggesting that there is increased opportunity to generate additional advertising dollars for VOD. Continue reading Rentrak Reports Increase in VOD Broadcast Prime Time Viewing

Microsoft and Sony Announce Game Console Sales Figures

Sony and Microsoft have shipped more than 12 million new game consoles since the products launched last fall. One day after Sony announced it has sold more than seven million PlayStation 4 consoles (up one million since March), Microsoft said it has sold more than five million Xbox One units to retail shops. According to NPD Group’s U.S. retail data for March, hardware sales rose 78 percent from the previous year to $395 million, while sales of new console and PC video games in retail stores dropped 28 percent to $432 million. Continue reading Microsoft and Sony Announce Game Console Sales Figures

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