Pandora’s Promotional Tools Help Artists Market New Songs

Digital music services have a problem introducing new songs: Fans prefer music they’ve heard before, and can easily skip a song they don’t know. A radio station can promote a new song by repeatedly playing it, but up until now digital services haven’t had many tools to boost new song popularity. Now, Pandora has debuted a toolset that lets an artist introduce a new song with an audio message to fans. It worked for R&B singer Jill Scott, who was able to boost the popularity of a new song by 30 percent that way. Continue reading Pandora’s Promotional Tools Help Artists Market New Songs

Music Industry Contends with Major Uptick in Counterfeit CDs

Despite shifts in music consumption involving streaming services, Internet radio, digital downloads and more, many consumers are still purchasing CDs. However, the revenue does not always reach the artists and labels responsible for the music, since piracy is running rampant in the form of counterfeit CDs offered through online retailers such as Amazon. Counterfeits are becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish from the official versions. While CD sales represented a mere 13 percent of revenue for U.S. labels the first half of this year, they accounted for almost 40 percent of global revenue for the recording industry last year. Continue reading Music Industry Contends with Major Uptick in Counterfeit CDs

Mi Box: Xiaomi Now Selling its New $69 Android TV Streamer

Chinese CE company Xiaomi introduced its first product geared for U.S. customers yesterday — the $69 streaming Mi Box, an Android TV STB that supports 4K video playback, HDR, and includes a Bluetooth voice remote. The company first unveiled the Mi Box at this year’s Google I/O developer conference. Since it’s based on Google’s Android TV, the device provides access to apps for Hulu, HBO Now, Netflix, Sling TV, YouTube and others. It also supports Google Cast for launching playback from mobile apps and makes recommendations based on a user’s YouTube and Google Play preferences. Continue reading Mi Box: Xiaomi Now Selling its New $69 Android TV Streamer

AT&T’s Project AirGig Aims for Fast, Cheap, Wireless Internet

AT&T debuted Project AirGig, intended to one day provide low-cost, multi-gigabit wireless Internet speeds via power lines. The benefits, says AT&T, is that it will be easy to deploy and deliver super-fast wireless connectivity to the home or any handheld wireless device, relying on license-free spectrum. The company is, however, still in what it is calling its “experimentation phase,” with the first field trials scheduled to roll out in 2017. AT&T already has more than 100 patents/patent applications related to the project. Continue reading AT&T’s Project AirGig Aims for Fast, Cheap, Wireless Internet

Pandora Expands, Adds Questlove as First Artist Ambassador

Pandora took a major step as its service expands to directly compete with Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal: bringing on musician Questlove as its first artist ambassador. Questlove, whose Roots is the house band for NBC’s “The Tonight Show,” originally visited Pandora for non-specific discussions but, when its co-founder Tim Westergren showed him its Music Genome Project for categorizing songs by minute attributes, he was immediately hooked and accepted Westergren’s offer to join as a strategic adviser and ambassador. Continue reading Pandora Expands, Adds Questlove as First Artist Ambassador

Spotify Prepares to Go Public, Seeks Long-Term Music Rights

Spotify is readying an initial public offer next year, pressured by its most recent financing. Private-equity firm TPG, hedge fund Dragoneer Investment Group and Goldman Sachs are part of a group that issued $1 billion in convertible debt, which carries an interest rate that increases until Spotify’s IPO. Investors also get a discount on shares if they convert debt into equity — 20 percent now, but increasing if Spotify delays the IPO. One problem prevents Spotify from doing so: long-term rights for the music it plays. Continue reading Spotify Prepares to Go Public, Seeks Long-Term Music Rights

Pandora Readies Subscription-Based On-Demand Streaming

Pandora is expanding beyond its flagship free Internet radio, with two new monthly subscription options. According to sources, the company is near to inking deals with major record companies. Up until now, Pandora hasn’t needed to secure rights because listeners can’t get specific songs on demand, and the company has limited service in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, where music licensing is automatic in exchange for payments. The new tiers will debut first in the U.S. and then other English-speaking countries. Continue reading Pandora Readies Subscription-Based On-Demand Streaming

Pandora Integrates Ticketfly, Adds Concert Recommendations

A Pandora listener will now be shown concert recommendations based on the music she listens to, and a click on a concert will forward her to Ticketfly’s app or website. This is the first step in integrating Pandora’s streaming music service with Ticketfly, a concert ticketing service Pandora bought for $450 million in October 2015. Concerts are shown via the app’s feed, push notifications on mobile devices and a weekly email. Ticketfly generates notifications as soon as a concert promoter creates an event. Continue reading Pandora Integrates Ticketfly, Adds Concert Recommendations

Jump in Bluetooth Headphone Sales, Beat Wired for First Time

The NPD Group reports that Bluetooth headphones represented 54 percent of sales for the first half of 2016, marking the first time that Bluetooth headphones have surpassed sales of wired headphones in the U.S. “Bluetooth headphones saw a 42 percent year-over-year increase in dollar sales for the six-month period, while the overall headphones category saw a 7 percent increase,” notes Twice. The average sales price dropped 5 percent from the same period last year. The top brands for the period included Beats, LG, Bose, Jaybird and Skullcandy. Continue reading Jump in Bluetooth Headphone Sales, Beat Wired for First Time

Facebook Considers Laser Tech to Deliver High-Speed Internet

Engineers at Facebook’s Connectivity Lab have developed a large laser detector that could help deliver Internet to new areas by opening “airwaves to new high-speed data communications systems that don’t require dedicated spectrum or licenses,” reports PC World. Reaching new regions typically involves cost-efficient wireless networks, which also require radio spectrum and often have speed limitations. Instead, engineers are looking into “sending data from point-to-point over laser beams” that would not involve “any special spectrum or permission, and multiple systems can work in the same area without interfering with each other.” Continue reading Facebook Considers Laser Tech to Deliver High-Speed Internet

Google Report Answers Music Industry’s Copyright Complaints

The tension between Google’s YouTube and the music recording industry still roils. Google says that YouTube has made payments topping $3 billion to the music industry, but the music industry claims that YouTube’s rates are lower than those paid by SoundCloud and Spotify, both ad-supported. Music is important to YouTube, but YouTube — with its enormous audiences — is also important to the music industry. They need each other, but neither will budge. Now a Google report spells out its point of view. Continue reading Google Report Answers Music Industry’s Copyright Complaints

Streaming-Only Recordings Now Eligible for Grammy Awards

The Recording Academy has announced new amendments to the Grammy Awards process. Among the changes, previously ineligible streaming-only releases will now be considered for recognition. Albums and singles previously had to be available for purchase, but the latest rule changes allow for streaming releases to be nominated. According to the press release, “Works must be released via general distribution, defined as the nationwide release of a recording via brick and mortar, third-party online retailers,and/or applicable digital streaming services.” Continue reading Streaming-Only Recordings Now Eligible for Grammy Awards

Scripps Buys Popular Stitcher Podcast Service for $4.5 Million

Podcast platform Stitcher, purchased by streaming music service Deezer in 2014, has now been acquired by the E.W. Scripps Company for $4.5 million. Scripps owns 34 radio stations in eight markets, while Stitcher provides streaming for more than 65,000 podcasts. “Stitcher will operate as part of Midroll Media, which Scripps purchased about a year ago,” reports Radio Ink. Stitcher employees joining Midroll will operate out of San Francisco. Stitcher’s GM and VP of product Todd Pringle will lead product development. Continue reading Scripps Buys Popular Stitcher Podcast Service for $4.5 Million

New Apple Music Interface Will Likely Be Unveiled at WWDC

In response to disappointing reviews and the departure of several top executives — in addition to declining iTunes sales and growth of rival Spotify — Apple is reportedly planning significant changes to its $10-per-month music streaming service. According to people familiar with the plans, the year-old Apple Music will soon feature a redesigned user interface. “Apple also plans to better integrate its streaming and download businesses and expand its online radio service,” reports Bloomberg. The company is expected to unveil the redesigned Apple Music and make related announcements at June’s Worldwide Developers Conference. Continue reading New Apple Music Interface Will Likely Be Unveiled at WWDC

Pandora Taps Westergren as Chief Exec, Moves to Streaming

Pandora Media, which has been a major player in online music for the last decade, is in the midst of reinventing itself. As competition in the online music space has grown fierce, particularly as Spotify and Apple Music have transformed streaming music, Pandora’s numbers of monthly users and its stock has fallen. This week, the company announced it was replacing its chief executive with one of its founders, Tim Westergren, who had been serving on the board. Pandora has also reportedly examined the possibility of a sale. Continue reading Pandora Taps Westergren as Chief Exec, Moves to Streaming

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