Spotify Lowers Music Streaming Prices with Family Discount

Subscription music service Spotify introduced a new family plan that will allow subscribers to add up to four more Spotify accounts for half-price. Under the new plan, Spotify would charge $10 for the primary account holder and $5 for each additional account holder. Other streaming music services are also trying to lower prices as CD and download sales continue to plummet. Apple, which owns the Beats Music streaming service, is negotiating with record labels to cut prices. Continue reading Spotify Lowers Music Streaming Prices with Family Discount

Warner Music Group Buys Music Curation Startup Playlists.net

Warner Music Group’s artist and label services company WEA has acquired U.K.-based startup Playlists.net. The startup, which allows users to share, upload, and discover Spotify playlists, will still operate as a standalone company. Because the music charts in the U.K. now take streaming music into account, WEA could use Playlists.net’s platform to promote playlists with their artists or track data that could help predict up-and-coming artists or trends in music. Continue reading Warner Music Group Buys Music Curation Startup Playlists.net

Music Industry: Rulings Could Have Long-Term Consequences

In a 57-page decision issued this week, a New York federal judge ruled against music streaming service Grooveshark in a copyright infringement case. The judge ruled that the service’s parent company, Escape Media Group, and co-founders Samuel Tarantino and Josh Greenberg, had uploaded almost 6,000 songs without licenses, and urged their employees to do the same. Meanwhile, a California judge ruled in favor of musicians Flo & Eddie in a suit against SiriusXM, and now the duo is taking on Pandora. Continue reading Music Industry: Rulings Could Have Long-Term Consequences

Universal Puts New Spin on Music Video Product Placement

Universal Music Group has its hands on new video editing technology that will allow the music giant to regularly update the product placement in its music videos, even ones that have already been released. A music video for Swedish EDM producer and DJ Avicii with an ad by Grand Marnier was the first to feature the new technology. Coca-Cola, LG, and Dish Network are some of the other brands that viewers can expect to see in updated music videos. Continue reading Universal Puts New Spin on Music Video Product Placement

CD and Download Sales Drop as Music Fans Turn to Streaming

According to the Recording Industry Association of America, less than $3.2 billion in music sales was recorded for the first half of 2014, a 4.9 percent drop from the same period last year. While the growth of online streaming services continues to generate revenue for artists and record companies, it may not be enough to offset the reduction in sales of CDs and downloads. While downloads and streaming together totaled $2.2 billion (a similar total to last year), downloads dropped by 9 percent. Continue reading CD and Download Sales Drop as Music Fans Turn to Streaming

GhostTunes: Cloud-Based Digital Locker Alternative for Music

Country music entertainer Garth Brooks has launched a new online music store called GhostTunes. Brooks is one of the few artists that has rejected iTunes and other electronic commerce methods that rely largely on individual track sales. Through GhostTunes, artists can sell their albums the way they want to at prices similar to those of iTunes. While Brooks made his first digital bundle available for just $29.99, millions of other songs are available, from performers such as Coldplay and Eminem.  Continue reading GhostTunes: Cloud-Based Digital Locker Alternative for Music

Rockbot: Universal Music Invests in Social Jukebox Service

Universal Music Group, largest of the major music labels, just closed an investment deal with Rockbot, a virtual jukebox service that provides music to bars, restaurants and other locations. Through Rockbot, businesses can play licensed music while customers use a mobile app to check in and interact with the songs. One perk is the ability for customers to vote on which music will be played. Rockbot expects to use the new funding to expand its reach throughout the U.S. Continue reading Rockbot: Universal Music Invests in Social Jukebox Service

Spotify’s New Serendipity Feature May Make Music Social Again

Spotify’s Artist in Residence Kyle McDonald created a new map feature known as Serendipity that shows when two people in the world are listening to a song at the same time. The interactive map plays a snippet of the song, which both users had to start within a tenth of a second of each other, and spins around to show the two users’ locations in the world. The new feature may help Spotify rise above other music streaming services, and make music a social experience once again. Continue reading Spotify’s New Serendipity Feature May Make Music Social Again

YouTube Music Key: Google’s Upcoming Subscription Service

YouTube’s anticipated premium music service will likely cost $10 per month and be called “YouTube Music Key,” although the Google-owned company has yet to confirm. YouTube is already one of the biggest sources for free online music, but since it requires video, it has not taken the place of services such as Beats Music, Rdio or Spotify. The planned premium music service could change that by making the audio easier to access on mobile devices and providing an offline way to hear songs. Continue reading YouTube Music Key: Google’s Upcoming Subscription Service

Spotify Intern Creates System to Improve Recommendations

By analyzing the acoustic properties of songs on Spotify, intern and PhD student Sander Dieleman hopes to advance the streaming service’s recommendation algorithms to aid users in discovering new and lesser known music. Rather than basing recommendations on the choices people with similar tastes make, they would be based on songs the user listens to. This method, which requires deep learning, would then mix more obscure but user relevant songs into the recommendations. Continue reading Spotify Intern Creates System to Improve Recommendations

Nokia Plans to Spin-Off MixRadio Music Service as Standalone

As a result of Microsoft’s recent downsizing, Nokia has plans for its MixRadio streaming service to become a standalone company. While the app will still be included in handsets running Windows Phone software, MixRadio will now have the opportunity to pursue other platforms including iOS and Android. MixRadio offers themed playlists — online and through an app — free with no advertising. The service also provides users with an option to pay monthly for enhanced features. Continue reading Nokia Plans to Spin-Off MixRadio Music Service as Standalone

Consumers Spending 31 Percent More Time with Mobile Apps

According to new data from Nielsen, the amount of time consumers are spending on apps has reached an all-time high. The report indicates that Android and iPhone users in the U.S. age 18+ spend 65 percent more time (in excess of 30 hours each month) using apps than they did two years ago. However, the average number of apps used per month only increased from 23.2 in Q4 2011 to 26.8 in Q4 2013. Not surprisingly, 18-24 year-olds spend the most time on apps each month (37 hours, 6 minutes). Continue reading Consumers Spending 31 Percent More Time with Mobile Apps

Music Streaming Up 42 Percent While Digital Downloads Fall

Streaming is the new face of digital music consumption, according to Nielsen’s 2014 Mid-Year Music Industry Report. In the U.S., on-demand streaming was up 42 percent from last year with over 70 billion songs (audio and video) streamed in the first half of 2014. Digital track downloads fell 13 percent to 593.6 million, compared with 682.2 million last year. The entire music industry’s sales, including albums, streaming, and downloads, dropped 3.3 percent. Continue reading Music Streaming Up 42 Percent While Digital Downloads Fall

Google Acquires Songza: Music Service with Focus on Context

Google is buying online radio service Songza for an undisclosed amount, in a move that could lead to increased competition with Apple, Amazon and others. The Pandora-like service anticipates the kinds of songs users want to hear with contextual playlists, a model that could be key to a future focused on the Internet of Things. The deal comes after Apple purchased Beats Music, Amazon launched its Prime Music service, and Google’s own YouTube readies a music service for this summer. Continue reading Google Acquires Songza: Music Service with Focus on Context

Amazon’s Firefly Technology Recognizes Millions of Products

Amazon’s highly anticipated smartphone, the Fire Phone, comes with a new technology that combines image, text, video and audio recognition to make it easier than ever for users to identify (and hopefully purchase) some 70 million products in Amazon’s database. The Firefly technology can also scan QR codes, bar codes, and contact information. In terms of entertainment, the technology recognizes 245,000 movies and TV episodes, 160 live TV channels, and 35 million songs. Continue reading Amazon’s Firefly Technology Recognizes Millions of Products