Apple Divides iTunes Features into Music, Podcast, TV Apps

Apple executives announced the end of iTunes at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) this week. But iTunes features will live on in three apps: Apple Music, Apple Podcasts and Apple TV. The iconic iTunes was created 18 years ago as a so-called digital jukebox that allowed users to import and organize music and burn custom mixes. It evolved into a music store, where an enormous variety of songs sold for 99 cents. In 2003, Steve Jobs declared that “people want to buy their music on the Internet by buying downloads.” Continue reading Apple Divides iTunes Features into Music, Podcast, TV Apps

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

European Court Rules Against BitTorrent Site The Pirate Bay

After a seven year legal battle, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that popular BitTorrent site The Pirate Bay is directly infringing copyright. The site, which was founded in Sweden in 2003, has been previously blocked, its offices raided and its three founders fined and jailed. The Pirate Bay claimed it differed from Napster in that it didn’t host or link to copyright infringing files, but rather hosts so-called trackers, which are files that lead to individual BitTorrent apps to download large files. Continue reading European Court Rules Against BitTorrent Site The Pirate Bay

Screening Room Files Eight Anti-Piracy Patent Applications

Napster co-founder Sean Parker has been working on Screening Room, a controversial project that would bring Hollywood blockbusters into homes on the day of their release, for $50 per movie. J.J. Abrams, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg are shareholders, but industry skeptics are worried that Screening Room will provide pirates with easy pickings. But now Parker’s Screening Room Media has submitted eight patent applications addressing piracy, including a so-called P2P polluter. Continue reading Screening Room Files Eight Anti-Piracy Patent Applications

Studios Consider Options for Early Movie Release to the Home

Apple is reportedly in conversations with numerous Hollywood studios for earlier access to movies. The goal would be to offer a higher priced home video rental of movies shortly after they are released in cinemas, a move that has been vigorously resisted by motion picture theater owners, who have occasionally and en masse boycotted movies given an early home release. 21st Century Fox, Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures have all confirmed they are looking into this kind of early release. Continue reading Studios Consider Options for Early Movie Release to the Home

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

Sean Parker’s Airtime Returns as an App for Virtual Viewing

Napster co-founder Sean Parker has relaunched a product that first debuted in 2012 and was almost an immediate flop. Airtime is now an app, for Android and iOS, that lets users gather in a “room” to chat, text and watch YouTube and Vimeo videos together or listen to songs and podcasts from Spotify and SoundCloud. Parker, also an early investor in Facebook, says he created — and now recreated — Airtime to offer an alternative to the “certain loneliness” of the “fast superficial interactions” that form the basis of Facebook. Continue reading Sean Parker’s Airtime Returns as an App for Virtual Viewing

Many Exhibitors and Studios Remain Wary of Screening Room

The first quarter of 2016 has brought some upbeat news to the movie industry, including the hits “Deadpool” and “Zootopia” which created a 12 percent uptick in box office compared to the same quarter last year. More long-term problems — stagnant attendance and the lure of Internet content — still threaten the bottom line. But what many exhibitors are really worried about is Screening Room, the brainchild of Napster co-founder Sean Parker, which offers first-run movies at home, at the same time they debut in theaters. Continue reading Many Exhibitors and Studios Remain Wary of Screening Room

Screening Room Proposes Bold Day-and-Date Release Model

Last year, the motion picture box office surpassed $11 billion for the first time in history. But that hasn’t kept distributors and exhibitors from guarding the traditional 90-day window between theatrical release and home entertainment. When major studios attempted to shrink that window five years ago, theater owners fought back. Now, Screening Room, a startup backed by entrepreneur and former Facebook/Napster executive Sean Parker, as well as some Hollywood heavyweights, is trying again — and may succeed by offering anti-piracy tech and revenue sharing. Continue reading Screening Room Proposes Bold Day-and-Date Release Model

Shapeways, Hasbro Allow Artists to Sell 3D Fan Art and More

3D printing and shipping company Shapeways is allowing any user to upload and sell content that features Hasbro characters. As part of the new agreement, Shapeways, Hasbro and the artist are all compensated. Many copyright holders see 3D printing as a modern version of pirating, as it takes little effort to download and print an object. With this new model, however, if an item costs $30, then Shapeways receives $20 for material and manufacturing, while Hasbro receives $3.50 and the artist receives $6.50.  Continue reading Shapeways, Hasbro Allow Artists to Sell 3D Fan Art and More

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

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

Streaming Music Services Struggle to Recruit Paid Subscribers

Similar to how CD sales gave way to download sales, digital downloads are now giving way to on-demand music streaming. But despite their surging popularity, streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify are having a difficult time getting their listeners to pay for subscriptions. The overwhelming majority of subscribers would rather put up with ads for the free version than shell out money for unlimited, uninterrupted music. Continue reading Streaming Music Services Struggle to Recruit Paid Subscribers

Microsoft’s Mundie Sees DRM as Protection for Personal Data

Craig Mundie, senior advisor to Microsoft’s CEO, is proposing that a form of digital rights management can be used to secure personal data. He believes it is vital, since people do not currently have a method to ensure that the data they share will not be misused. However, DRM has been ineffective at preventing some illegal copying of media files. And many companies may oppose the idea as they require access to personal data for their businesses. Continue reading Microsoft’s Mundie Sees DRM as Protection for Personal Data

Should the Film Industry Embrace Piracy-Related Technologies?

An article in MIT Technology Review this week looks at the history and trends involving content distribution and suggests that Hollywood should consider adopting methods that are similar to those related to media piracy. While efforts to combat piracy continue, some question the perceived impact of file-sharing and other techniques, suggesting the film industry might be better served by adopting new ways to distribute its content and gain potential exposure. Continue reading Should the Film Industry Embrace Piracy-Related Technologies?

Page 1 of 212