Spotify ▪ October 8

AAPL: 109.50

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Bowers & Wilkins, maker of the iconic Zeppelin speaker and its AirPlay sequel Zeppelin Air, today announced an upgraded model with even more horsepower and features: Zeppelin Wireless ($700). The original $600 Zeppelin redefined “high-end iPod speakers” at a time when Bose and Klipsch had established a $300 to $400 price ceiling, successfully upping the ante in both sound quality and industrial design.

Zeppelin Wireless retains B&W’s classic elongated football shape and five-speaker concept, but now relies entirely on wireless streaming for audio, boasting Bluetooth aptX, AirPlay, and Spotify Connect support. Backed by 150 Watts of amplifier power, a new twice-as-powerful digital signal processor upsamples all inputs to 24-bit/192kHz resolution, promising to deliver greater accuracy, lower noise, and enhanced dynamic range through an audiophile-quality DAC. The speakers and enclosure have been upgraded, as well…

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Spotify ▪ September 29

AAPL: 109.06

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When Apple Music officially launched earlier this year, we ran a poll seeing where people were switching from to use the service. A surprising 33 percent of the 18,000 responses said they were switching from Spotify to Apple Music, while another 23 percent said Apple Music was their first streaming service. At the time, however, anyone using Apple Music was getting it for free. In fact, 17 percent of people said they were using the service, but only during the trial.

As we noted earlier today, however, the first 3 month free trials are wrapping up, which means it’s time to see who’s sticking with Apple’s streaming music service and who’s leaving…

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Spotify ▪ September 3

AAPL: 110.37

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While Apple Music’s content library may be plenty, there’s undoubtedly issues with the software behind it as the product is new and faces the hurdle of integration with lots of legacy iTunes cruft. Some may find that okay during the start of the three-month free trial period, but Apple’s streaming music service will have to shape up and quick if it wants to compete with Spotify and others in the same space. Oliver Schusser, iTunes International VP, tells The Guardian that Apple is currently working to clean up and improve the overall product:

“There’s a lot of work going into making the product better. Our focus is on editorial and playlists, and obviously we have teams all around the world working on that, but we’re also adding features and cleaning up certain things,” Oliver Schusser, vice president, iTunes International, told the Guardian.

Schusser is likely referring to improvements coming to the Music app in iOS 9, which Apple is expected to preview again next week and release later this month ahead of the iPhone 6S, but the exec also mentioned the upcoming Android version, Apple Music Connect, and Sonos support. expand full story

Spotify ▪ August 21

AAPL: 105.76

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Spotify ▪ August 20

AAPL: 112.65

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If you want a Wi-Fi-based multi-room audio system, you so far haven’t had many alternatives to the market leader, Sonos. Other manufacturers offer their own solutions, but generally only in a handful of products. That looks set to change as Yamaha today announced that its MusicCast system will be supported by more than 20 products, with pricing starting from $250. That includes all but one of its 2015 receivers, reports CNET.

Unlike Sonos, MusicCast supports five different lossless audio formats, including Apple Lossless, FLAC and WAV. It’s controlled by an iOS app, which can stream both your own music library and services like Spotify, Pandora and Rhapsody. Support for Apple Music seems likely further down the road …  expand full story

Spotify ▪ August 18

AAPL: 116.50

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A new study from research firm MusicWatch shares some insight into Apple Music usage, including the percentages of users the subscription streaming service has been able to attract from Apple’s old iTunes music platform and competing services.

Around 11 percent of iOS users report actually using Apple Music (although 77 percent were aware it had launched), and that number is approximately the same among users purchasing or managing their music through iTunes. Compare those numbers to the approximately 40 percent of iOS users that MusicWatch says buy music in the form of digital downloads through iTunes.

In addition, the report notes that usage among existing iTunes Radio users sits at 18 percent. That would mean Apple Music has only attracted a small portion of iTunes users in general. While the numbers compared to iTunes usage are low, MusicWatch notes that the service has been able to convert around 52% of users that gave the service a try since launch. To me, that’s a good sign that the biggest hurdle is actually getting users to try the service. But how does usage relate to that of competitive services?…

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