Personalization and recommendations are a staple of many services, particularly music services that aim to provide their users with music they want before they know they want it. Spotify could be boosting that idea in the future with a recommendation system that dishes up music based on the user's current heart rate, ensuring there are some tracks at hand for every occasion.
Kim Dotcom, the man behind now-defunct Megaupload and its namesake, Mega, revealed late last summer that he apparently had grown bored of his file-sharing website, and that he'd be stepping down as director in order to have more free time for other projects, one of which was said to be a music service he had up his sleeves. No details were dropped at the time, but fast-forward a few months, and now Baboom is here.
Spotify has more good news this month, this time for both artists and subscribers. Starting today, all artists will be able to sell directly to fans some items such as shirts, vinyls, posters, deluxe editions and others. Best of all, there are no strings attached and no revenue cuts.
Early this morning, Spotify threw the doors wide open for desktop users, stripping away restrictions and allowing unlimited free streaming, no caps or limitations to be seen. Rdio has followed closely on the heels of this, announcing today that its users can also now stream music for free on the Web, the listening supported by advertisements akin to that of its competitors.
The truth is in the code, and the code for the latest YouTube mobile app version is telling us the Google-owned streaming video subsidiary is nearing all-systems-go for a full-on music streaming service. It will offer free (ad-supported) and paid (ad-free) subscription models, automatic "radio" station creation, offline and background listening, and other features. Does that sound exactly like a Google-fired shot across the bow of Spotify, Pandora, iTunes Radio and Xbox Music Pass? It does to us.
YouTube is reportedly planning on launching its own on-demand music service, something said to be similar to Spotify but with video tossed into the mix. Furthermore, there won't be much of a wait for the service if the leak pans out, with the sources saying that the music service will launch sometime towards the end of this year.
Last week, a job listing for iTunes Radio surfaced, calling for a music programmer in Canada who would help with the platform, indicating that users in the nation would likely be seeing it soon. Now "people with knowledge of the situation" have surfaced, telling the folks at Bloomberg that English-speaking countries beyond the US will gain access to iTunes Radio early next year.
Pandora is no stranger to criticism when it comes to royalties, with some saying that it pays too little while the streaming radio service strives to gain lower fees. Back in November, for example, songwriter Ellen Shipley said a song she wrote was played 3.1 million times and earned her $39. A similar statement was made earlier this week by songwriter David Lowery, whose song was played 1 million times and earned a tad under $17. Pandora has responded in part to such claims, saying there are "falsehoods" that need cleared up.