Spotify Promotes Potential Growth as It Prepares to Go Public

As Spotify Technology SA prepares to go public, co-founder and chief executive officer Daniel Ek has some convincing to do. Not necessarily about the company’s numbers, which are impressive (70 million paying subscribers, for starters), but about the potential for growth and revenue. On the one hand, with Spotify’s help, the music business has seen three years of global growth after 15 years of decline — but on the other hand, Spotify isn’t making money, having to contend with music-rights holders collecting over 75 cents per dollar.

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Westergren to Step Down as CEO of Music Service Pandora

Pandora co-founder and CEO Tim Westergren plans to step down from his position running the 17-year-old streaming music pioneer. The company has yet to select a replacement. Earlier this month, satellite company Sirius XM announced it would invest $480 million in the web radio service for a 19 percent stake in the company and three board seats. Despite a user base of 80 million, “Pandora has struggled to generate enough advertising revenue to cover the cost of the free service,” reports Recode. “Meanwhile, music listeners have begun gravitating to the on-demand subscription services of Spotify, Apple and others, which offer ad-free access.” Continue reading Westergren to Step Down as CEO of Music Service Pandora

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

Developers Struggle to Build Ideal Apps for Every Smart TV

Developers face significant challenges in creating apps for smart TVs due to the large number of devices. Most manufacturers have their own platforms, with limited compatibility among them. TV makers are beginning to simplify the programming process by adopting HTML5, while bringing an app to multiple platforms still requires significant resources. Netflix devotes major resources to creating its apps, but few may be able to follow their example. Continue reading Developers Struggle to Build Ideal Apps for Every Smart TV

Spotify and Ford Team to Offer Streaming Music in Your Car

At the Mobile World Congress this week, Spotify and Ford announced that the music streaming service will soon be available via the Sync AppLink platform and integrated with the Sync’s voice command system in Ford vehicles in the U.S., Europe and Australia. Additionally, iPhone and Android apps will soon pair up with the dashboard AppLink system to stream music through car speakers. Continue reading Spotify and Ford Team to Offer Streaming Music in Your Car

Proposed AS-10 Metadata Spec Aimed at Streamlining Video Workflow

  • A new video metadata specification that would enable efficient interoperability of video between cameras, editing, playout and archiving may arrive as early as next year’s NAB Show, reports TVNewsCheck.
  • The Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA) has spent the past nine months developing AS-10, aimed at retaining and rendering readable the video metadata across devices that come from different vendors.
  • “Our goal is to have a single file that could move from camera to edit to playout to archive and back, really to be able to traverse the entire work flow,” says CNN’s Michael Koetter, who also serves as the AMWA director.
  • “I would love for CNN or CBS or whoever to be able to walk up to a [product] and see a little badge on it that says ‘AS-10 Inside’ and have some greater level of assurance than I do today,” adds Koetter.
  • The AS-10 effort has drawn support from CNN, NRK (the Norwegian state broadcaster), and vendors such as JVC, Sony, Harmonic, MetaGlue, MOG Solutions, Canon and Adobe.

Spotlight on Spotify: Facebook Integration, Radio Feature, Impact on Piracy

  • Spotify has been drawing a great deal of media attention this week, more so than the growing number of other streaming music services.
  • Since the company announced its partnership with Facebook at the recent F8 event, Spotify has gained more than one million new users, despite the public outcry from those who question limiting the service’s signup to Facebook users only.
  • In response to concerns regarding Facebook’s media-sharing philosophy, Spotify released a new update that enables users to access the Facebook app without sharing their listening habits, reports Digital Trends. This may be good news for subscribers not happy with the recent announcement regarding Facebook integration — and could potentially serve as a model for how others offer access to services via social networking.
  • In related news from The Hollywood Reporter, Spotify recently released a radio feature in the U.S. that has long been available to European users. Radio will be accessible on the desktop client, but not on the Spotify mobile app. The add-on is reportedly in no way a Pandora killer, due mainly to its lack of mobility and attention to detail.
  • Additionally, Digital Trends reports that Spotify may be having a significant impact on music piracy. Illegal downloads in Sweden have reportedly dropped 25 percent since Spotify launched there in 2009. “Here in the U.S., Spotify isn’t the only option — and it may not even be the best, depending on user preference. Pandora, MOG, Rdio, Grooveshark — the list goes on,” indicates the article. “We don’t yet have numbers to show how these services are affecting music piracy in the U.S. But we’d put our money on them having a similar effect as Spotify is having in Sweden.”

Media Sharing: Facebook Expected to Unveil New Service at F8 Conference

  • Facebook is expected to unveil a new service at its F8 developers conference in San Francisco on Thursday that allows users to share their music, TV shows and movies (for example, a user’s Facebook profile page would display the music being consumed to friends).
  • The New York Times suggests that Facebook has reportedly signed deals with Spotify, Rhapsody, MOG, Deezer and Vevo that may bring millions of new users to their sites. Some are responding by introducing new ad-supported services to lessen the “friction” for new users (however, Rhapsody will reportedly continue with its subscription-only service).
  • Related news has been reported via ETCentric in recent days…
  • More information is emerging about Facebook’s new music service (which may be called Vibes). TechCrunch reports that “MOG, Spotify and Rdio have of course already been widely reported as launch partners for ‘Facebook Music,’ but notably, Deezer, SoundCloud and Rhapsody are new names.” This is based on “interesting references” found in the HTML code of the various streaming services.
  • In addition to an anticipated new music service, reports are circulating that the social networker may announce plans for bringing Hulu and possibly Netflix into the fold. We’ll see what shakes out this week, but until then the news media is in rumor mode: “Real-time viewing parties? It’s possible. Just not confirmed,” reports Gizmodo. “But the deal keeps things interesting for Hulu pre-buyout, its backing providers having all but jumped ship and offering their own streaming services.”
  • ETCentric will have more later in the week following the conference. Stay tuned…

iHeartRadio App to Feature Intelligent Playlists: Will it Take on Pandora?

  • An upgraded iHeartRadio will be released by Clear Channel in a few weeks, to be kickstarted by a two-day music festival in Las Vegas.
  • The service is Clear Channel’s answer to Pandora, which now has more than 100 million users.
  • A key feature of the new iHeartRadio app will be playlist creation based on an “intelligence platform” from Echo Nest that will reportedly incorporate 5 billion pieces of information collected from 15,000 music blogs.
  • According to Echo Nest CEO Jim Lucchese, his company has processed 30 million songs in the past 12 months, while Pandora has categorized 800,000 tracks in the past 10 years.
  • “Echo Nest provides similar technology to MTV, The BBC, MOG and Rhapsody,” reports Radio Ink.

MOG Offers More than 11 Million Streaming Songs for Boxee Users

  • Subscription online music service MOG has announced the availability of its new app for the Boxee Box by D-Link.
  • According to the press release: “MOG is the first on-demand music service providing unlimited music in high quality, 320 kbps, to be offered as a native app for Boxee. Listeners can now enjoy MOG’s HQ audio through this new living room offering, featuring a wireless remote keypad for quick searches of MOG’s 11.5-million song catalog on a user’s connected TV.”
  • You can test drive MOG free for 14 days, reports Engadget. After the trial period, you have a choice of the $4.99/month basic account or $9.99/month Primo account.
  • The Boxee Box costs $199.