music streaming

Universal wants Spotify to tighten leash on freemium model

Universal wants Spotify to tighten leash on freemium model

There is very little doubt that, at least in the West, digital music has eclipsed sales of physical media like CDs. But it seems that even in the digital land there is a bit of unrest. Streaming services, particularly Spotify, are largely seen to be eating into the numbers of digital downloads, provided by the likes of iTunes. But the Universal Music Group, one of if not the world's largest music company and who holds a 5 percent stake in Spotify, wants even more and wants Spotify to "urge" its free users to upgrade to paid.

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Streaming now trumps CD sales, but that’s not the whole story

Streaming now trumps CD sales, but that’s not the whole story

According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), who likely keep track of info like this pretty closely, revenue from streaming music has outpaced CD sales for the first time ever. Streaming services like Spotify, Play Music All Access, and Pandora helped contribute to $1.87 billion in revenue for 2014, while CD sales were $1.85 billion. It’s a 6% revenue hike for streaming, which now accounts for 27% of total recording industry revenue. Industry growth was flat from 2013 to 2014, says the RIAA.

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Report: Apple seeing pushback on iTunes streaming price point

Report: Apple seeing pushback on iTunes streaming price point

The promise of a streaming iTunes library is still on the horizon, reportedly coming to us during WWDC later this year. The idea is simple: take iTunes, and open it up for streaming. The actual execution isn’t so easy. Apple has to re-negotiate existing distribution contracts with record labels to get them to allow for streaming. We’d once heard Apple was aiming for a $7.99 price point for streaming, but a new report says record labels aren’t going for it; they want Apple to charge $10 or more, monthly.

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Pandora reveals ad-free day pass coming soon

Pandora reveals ad-free day pass coming soon

When it comes to online music streaming service Pandora, there are two ways to listen: the typical ad-supported option which is free, and a paid subscription plan called Pandora One, which costs users $4.99 per month. But what about those times when you want to play some music for an extended period without the annoying ads, yet paying for a full month is just too much? At a recent investor day, the company revealed a new day pass option, said to be coming later this year, that aims to serve just such a user scenario.

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Apple reportedly aiming for paid iTunes streaming — no free option

Apple reportedly aiming for paid iTunes streaming — no free option

Remember the Taylor Swift/Spotify slap-fight? She yanked her music because the streaming service wasn’t paying enough, and they retorted she was making a ton of cash. It drug on for a bit, but she was ultimately right — streaming doesn’t pay artists enough, especially when it’s free for consumers. In discussing their new iTunes music streaming option, Apple execs are reportedly telling record labels to “get behind a paywall”. As such, their new service is not believed to offer any type of free tier.

Research group: Pandora is most popular online radio service

Research group: Pandora is most popular online radio service

Times change fast, and the number of places where you can listen to music online have grown greatly over the past few years. Long gone are the days of listening to poorly ripped songs uploaded to YouTube alongside cheesy stock-photo fan videos. Robust options exist, and if you get tired of one there are three more pining for your attention. We know all about the services we frequently see and hear, but which of them is the most popular overall? One recent group's data points to Pandora as the winner.

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Google now lets you store 50,000 tracks in Play music

Google now lets you store 50,000 tracks in Play music

If you uploaded music to Play Music, but ran through the 20,000 song limit pretty quickly, we’ve got great news. Today, Google has upped the ante on Play Music’s song upload limit. Now, you can upload up to 50,000 tracks to Play Music, so music buffs (and former iTunes users) can now upload a much larger library. Best of all, this storage option costs you nothing — it’s 100% free, and doesn’t count against Drive or other Google-y cloud storage, like Gmail.

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Apple hiring for iTunes, could be for over-the-top streaming service

Apple hiring for iTunes, could be for over-the-top streaming service

While nothing is confirmed or known beyond some strong rumors, Apple’s streaming music service is probably incoming. Though late to the game, Apple still sits on the iTunes library, which is the most attractive ‘get’ for streaming fans. Their Beats acquisition gave an early signal on Apple’s intent, as it was the most glamorous acquihire by any tech company, ever. Now, a new job posting has us scratching our heads again, as Apple is searching for an editor with strong connections to the music industry.

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Rdio, AEG bring custom curation for live music fans

Rdio, AEG bring custom curation for live music fans

Concertgoers who purchase tickets via AXS, a subsidiary of AEG, might end up getting free streaming music. In a new partnership, tickets purchased via AXS will also get users a free 30-day trial of Rdio. The month-long free subscription is for unlimited streaming, but comes with an added bonus. Depending on your ticket purchase history, Rdio may be able to customize your new profile with music you’re into. If an artist you’ve seen live adds music to Rdio, you’d even get notified.

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Amazon Echo now lets you control music streaming using voice

Amazon Echo now lets you control music streaming using voice

Amazon's own smart assistant, if you can call her/it that, just got smarter. Alexa now lets you control music streaming via Pandora, iTunes, and Spotify using only the power of your own voice, a feature previously limited to the mobile apps. And that's not the only skills Amazon Echo has learned. She/it has also increased her treasure trove of Wikipedia knowledge and now even knows how to play a game of "Simon Says." All thanks to the latest update that Amazon is now pushing to its cloud-powered smart cylinder.

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