Apple and U2 reportedly working on ‘secret project’ to bolster music sales

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According to TIME, U2’s partnership with Apple goes far beyond a free album in your iTunes library, much to the chagrin of some users. The group is reportedly working with Apple on a ‘secret project’ to rejuvenate digital music scales.

Details, however, are thin on the ground. Bono is quoted as saying he is developing a new music format that will somehow inspire consumers to buy complete albums once more. Without more information, it’s impossible to tell whether this is a silly pipe dream or an actual possibility. In the age of streaming music, the sales potential for individually bought songs is waning.

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Apple TV updated w/ Beats Music channel, refreshed design, Family Sharing, & iCloud Photos

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In addition to shipping iOS 8 to iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users today, Apple has released a software update to Apple TV (third-generation) users as well. As we previewed before, the new version of Apple TV’s software brings a refreshed design with thinner text and flatter icons bringing it more in line with iOS’s look and feel. The update also includes a newly added Beats Music channel for the subscription streaming music service Apple purchased earlier this year.

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Rdio preps revamped music streaming app with a focus on free stations

The Rdio music streaming service is preparing to release an updated version of its mobile app later today will place a new focus on its free “stations” feature as competitors like Spotify, Pandora, and Apple’s one-two punch of iTunes Radio and Beats Music crank up the pressure on the service.

Rdio claims its free music library is as much as fifteen times bigger than those of competing apps. Like other online radio services, the new Rdio will automatically create playlists and stations from that library based on a user’s music preferences. Curated stations from musicians and other celebrities will also be available, much like in iTunes Radio.

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Apple promoting iTunes Festival contest within Beats Music in push for new users

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In addition to updating the iTunes Festival lineup with new acts including Ed Sheeran and deadmau5 and reviving the Apple TV channel for viewing the concert on-demand and live, Apple’s recently acquired Beats Music is now promoting the iTunes Festival with a contest to attend the music festival in London. While tickets to Apple’s annual music event are free for attendees (and very limited), the contest by Beats Music to attend the iTunes Festival covers airfare both to and from London.

The promotion of the iTunes Festival in London by Beats Music, which requires users to download and sign up for the Beats Music service, is the latest in series of moves by Apple to promote Beats since Beats Electronics and Beats Music officially joined Apple earlier this month.

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Apple pushing Beats Music app via email to iTunes customers

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Apple has begun pushing the Beats Music streaming service via email to iTunes customers. The emails promote the free-to-download Beats Music app’s “Just For You” and “Tune Your Taste” features and note that Beats is now “part of the Apple family.” Apple finalized its acquisition of both Beats Music and Beats Electronics at the beginning of this month, and Apple has already begun promoting Beats Electronics via a new section on the online store and notable discounts. This email push is the second Apple promotion of the streaming app as the company has already integrated the app into the App Store’s “Apps by Apple” category. Full email below:

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Apple prominently advertising Beats Music to new iOS device users

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Apple has prominently featured its own suite of free apps when iOS users first open the App Store, such as its iLife and iWork apps, for a while. Now that Beats Music and Beats Electronics are officially part of the family, the Beats Music app is now appearing on this ‘Apple Apps’ list as well. Beats Music is currently the last entry in the list, described as a way to ‘listen to music that’s always right for you’.

Tapping ‘Download All’ will install Beats Music alongside Apple’s other apps. Naturally, one way for Apple to significantly increase adoption of the service is to advertise it to every new iOS user.

The view will show up for new iOS devices or by performing a clean restore to a version of iOS 7, on both iPhone and iPad.

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Spotify CEO: Apple becoming a lifestyle company in all verticals, Beats deal not primarily for streaming service

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In the weeks between the Apple-Beats acquisition first being reported as being in final talks and the two companies both officially announcing the deal, Billboard interviewed Daniel Ek, the CEO and co-founder of the streaming music giant Spotify, asking about his take on Apple becoming a subscription streaming music competitor through Beats Music.

At the time, Ek was reserved in saying too much about the proposition. “I don’t like speculating about things that haven’t happened,” Ek stated. He did, however, say that he always believed Apple would enter the streaming music space and doubled down saying Spotify is focused on “building the best possible product” while noting the service’s 40 million users with 10 million paid customers.

The Spotify CEO was interviewed last week at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference and once again asked about the Apple-Beats deal, this time with the acquisition being official: Read more

Decline of music downloads continues as on-demand streaming audio up 50 percent

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Apple’s presumed plans for an on-demand music service as part of its Beats acquisition is looking increasingly well-timed as Nielsen data shows that U.S. on-demand music consumption climbed 50.1 percent year-on-year, while music downloads fell by 12 percent in the same timeframe.

“With On-Demand streams surpassing 70 billion songs in the first six months of 2014, streaming continues to be an increasingly significant portion of the music industry,” says David Bakula, SVP Nielsen Entertainment …

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How-to: Unofficial tool allows you to import iTunes and Rdio Playlists to Beats Music

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While Beats Music will soon be owned by Apple, the music service does not easily integrate with iTunes. For instance, there is no official Beats tool to link your iTunes library for streaming from Beats Music. However, an unofficial tool called Beats Importer is a temporary solution that seems to work well for adding iTunes and Rdio Playlists to your Beats Music library. We’ve compiled a tutorial for importing your iTunes Playlists to Beats Music, below:

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Is Beats CCO Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails going to be an Apple employee?

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Update: A spokesperson for Beats Music confirmed to us that “Trent Reznor is still with Beats Music.”

Jimmy Iovine has long credited Nine Inch Nails frontman and Beats Music Chief Creative Officer Trent Reznor as a driving force behind the success of the service. Reznor, however, is now rumored to have left the company as it finalizes its $3B sell to Apple. The news comes from a line in a USA Today report over the weekend that curiously doesn’t mention a source of the information:

(Curiously, Beats’ chief creative officer, Trent Reznor, the singer-songwriter and producer of Nine Inch Nails fame responsible for Beats’ tastemaking, has reportedly left the company. Also, one of Beats’ principal technology executives, Fredric Vinna, has recently gone to Spotify, and its co-founder, Ola Sars, to a Spotify-backed venture.)

Beats Music didn’t respond to a request for comment on this story, but Billboard reports that a spokesperson for Beats and for Reznor claim the report is inaccurate: Read more