Opinion: Could Apple’s integrated streaming music service decimate the competition?

Image: Forbes

Image: Forbes

When Apple enters a new business, you know it’s not going to do so in a half-hearted, small way. When it launches its Apple-branded Beats Music service later this year, it’s a no-brainer to predict that it’s going to be a big deal for the music industry. With Apple’s deep integration of Beats into its existing iOS/iTunes ecosystem exclusively revealed by Mark Gurman added into the mix, I wonder whether the unique selling points being notched up by Apple could be enough to leave existing big-name players like Spotify, Google Play and Rdio dead in the water?

That’s rather a grand idea, of course. As of last month, Spotify reached 15 million paid subscribers–up 50% in the last six months alone. Beats Music had only a little over 100,000 subscribers at the time Apple bought the company, and is rumored to have only 2-3 times as many now. But an Apple-ified Beats Music service has four things going for it …  Read more

Spotify updating iOS app with neat touch preview and new swipe gestures

Spotify has announced an update to its iOS app to add some very handy new features. You’ll be able to preview any song just by touching the track and holding your finger down. Tapping it then plays the full track.

The app is also getting two new swipe gestures designed to make it even easier to queue music and save tracks to My Music …  Read more

Touching the dial: How iTunes Radio could be tuned for a better user experience

itunesradio_hero

iTunes Radio, Apple’s first real foray into streaming music, made its public debut back in June 2013, where it was announced alongside iOS 7. Over a year since its release, the service hasn’t exactly taken over the world, quite literally. It’s still only available in the United States and Australia. If you compared iTunes Radio today with iTunes Radio as it existed the day it was first available to use, you’ll notice that not much has really changed.

Of course, just last May, Apple announced its acquisition of Beats Electronics, which brought along with it Beats Music, a robust and almost entirely different approach to streaming music. While Apple may seek to integrate Beats Music more tightly with iTunes in the future, at this time it hasn’t.

So in the meantime, what could Apple do to make iTunes Radio more appealing to customers? Some might say the music selection is limited, or that streaming doesn’t always work correctly. However, focusing on the service strictly from a feature standpoint, there are many small changes and additions Apple could implement that would have a huge impact on the usefulness and utility of iTunes Radio. Let’s take a look.

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Spotify now reports 15 million paid subscribers

Spotify 15 million premium users

Streaming music subscription service Spotify shared its latest user numbers today, announcing that it now has 15 million paid subscribers to its premium service and 60 million active users. Spotify’s paid user count of 15 million accounts is up from the 10 million paid subscribers it previously reported just over six months ago.

Since then, Apple has officially closed on its $3 billion deal to acquire Beats Electronics and Beats Music, which gave it access to its own on-demand music streaming subscription service. Before Apple’s Beats acquisition last year, the Spotify competitor was believed to have just over 110,000 paid subscribers of its own. Read more

Algoriddim releases djay Pro for Mac w/ Spotify integration, 4 deck support, iCloud syncing, more

djay Pro

Algoriddim is ending the year with a bang with the launch of djay Pro for Mac — its most powerful version of the popular music mixing app.  Spotify integration added access to over 20 million songs for djay users in May, and Algoriddim released djay for Android for the first time this part October. With the release of the professional version of djay for the desktop, Algoriddim is adding access to your Spotify library for mixing right in the DJ app and highlighting ‘pro’ features and capabilities with this brand new version. Read more

Holiday gift guide: apps and products for students and teens

Holiday Gift Guide students

Technology has totally changed the lives of teenagers and students in this generation, both for the good and the bad. There are apps and products that dramatically make our lives easier and more efficient, but also things that kill our productivity. I’m generally more favorable to the latter of those two, but I’ll breakdown the best of both worlds and exactly what gift the teens and students in your life today might be interested in this holiday season.

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Billboard 200 chart will include streaming listens from Beats, Spotify, Google Play, & others in album sales

Eddy Cue, Jimmy Iovine, Apple, Beats Music, Code Conference

Billboard is about to add data from music streaming services to its weekly Billboard 200 charts for the first time as services like Spotify and Apple’s Beats Music become increasingly popular. The New York Times reports that Billboard and Nielsen SoundScan plan to start incorporating both streams and downloads from music streaming services, in addition to the music sales the chart already covered, in order to more accurately reflect popular albums based on what users are listening to. The first chart including streaming services will include data for next week and arrive online Dec. 4: Read more

Report: Spotify overtakes iTunes in European royalty earnings for musicians as shift to music streaming continues

spotify

The latest evidence of the continued trend away from music downloads toward streaming services was provided by Kobalt, a company that collects music royalties on behalf of thousands of artists, reports TechCrunch. Income from Spotify overtook that from iTunes for the first time in Q1 of this year, putting Spotify 13% ahead of iTunes.

While Kobalt operates only in Europe, there is no reason to believe that the trend would be different in the U.S. …  Read more

Algoriddim brings its popular Mac and iOS ‘djay’ app to Android w/ Spotify integration

djay for Android

Algoriddim, the team behind the popular music mixing app djay, first shipped the commercial version of its flagship app in 2007 on the Mac followed by the iPad version in 2010 and the iPhone version in 2011. Adding to the history of djay, today Algoriddim is launching djay for Android through the Google Play Store and Amazon App Store making the app its first on Google’s platform.

While djay is rooted in digital music mixing on the Mac then iOS, the new Android version is just as desktop class with high quality music playback and real time analyzing and mixing. Better yet, djay for Android packs in deep Spotify integration from day one–the iOS version first added up Spotify integration earlier this year–which means you have access to over 20 million songs for mixing together and playback.

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Designers mock up Apple Watch versions of popular iOS applications

unity_thinkapps_messenger

Facebook Messenger

Thinkapps’ Build Blog has published a few designer mockups showing what popular third-party applications might look like on Apple’s new smartwatch with some interesting results. The apps were created by several different designers, and you can see that each app maintains some of the branding and design you’d expect while conforming to the smaller wearable UI and its new input devices like the Digital Crown.

Above you’ll find the design for Facebook Messenger, which features a contact view made up of circular contact photos with online indicators that closely resembles the watch’s home screen. The message view sports a single reply button that presumably uses the device’s built-in dictation capability to compose a response.

Below you’ll find designs for apps like Beats Music, Skype, Uber, YouTube, and more. Keep in mind that these designs are hardly official, but represent the types of user interfaces you might see when the folks in Cupertino release the Apple Watch early next year.

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Pioneer finally brings CarPlay equipment to mass market, Spotify app update adds CarPlay support

Pioneer, CarPlay

The CarPlay situation has been murky. Since being announced in the spring, most manufacturers have been quiet on when CarPlay equipment will actually be available to purchase. Pioneer is the first company to deliver on its promise, adding CarPlay as an update to its aftermarket dashboard panels (unless you count Ferrari’s integration into its high-end Ferrari California T).

Existing Pioneer device owners may not need to purchase any extras, as the CarPlay update is free for supported devices. Aforementioned units include the AVIC-8000NEX, AVIC-7000NEX, AVIC-6000NEX, AVIC-5000NEX and the AVH-4000NEX with prices ranging from $700 to $1400.

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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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