Kanye West Being Sued Over Promises of Tidal Exclusive Album

Kanye West is not a new face when it comes to news and digital issues, with his latest album, the life of Pablo, pirated over half a million times while it was still an exclusive at Tidal. The problem for many was that Kanye had offered the album as an exclusive for Tidal, the online streaming service that he has invested in. The so-called exclusive has now led to Kayne West being sued over promises that it would be a Tidal exclusive album, promises that didn’t last very long.

Justin Baker-Rhett is a fan of musician Kanye West, but he is now at the center of a lawsuit targeted towards both Kanye West and S.Carter Enterprises (SCE), the company that owns the Tidal music streaming service.

The lawsuit alleges that the rapper mislead his fans into buying and supporting the streaming service by falsely promising that his album, the Life of Pablo, would only ever be available on Tidal. A month and a half later the album appeared on both Apple Music and Spotify, leading many to believe that his claims about the album being an exclusive were nothing more than false advertising to boost Tidal’s falling sales figures.

Tidal promises greater control and royalties to those that use it to share their music so it’s hard to see West’s tweet as nothing more than an attempt to get people to buy in and listen to it on the platform before realising that he might not get the following on Tidal, whose subscription numbers are reported to have jumped from 1 million to 3 million following the announcement.

Vinyl Sales More Profitable Than Streaming According to RIAA

In the modern digital age of Spotify, Netflix and other streaming services, you would expect tangible, physical media sales to pale in comparison and become a niche outlet. Surprisingly, this couldn’t be further from the truth as vinyl sales figures have increased 52% year-on-year. In contrast to this, streaming services became more widely used at a 27% rate. Additionally, vinyl sales accounted for $222 million while streaming revenue reached $163 million.

According to data analyst Joshua Friedlander:

“Overall, the music industry has become the most-digital in terms of all traditional media outlets – magazines, newspapers – in terms of transition. There is more optimism out there than there was. Two-thirds of the market is still physical [CDs]. It used to be monolithic. Now it’s a mix of things, a revenue diversification that makes a more stable source to grow off of. [Streaming] services have mostly grown through word of mouth. There hasn’t been a big Spotify advertising push. When you get a player like Apple involved, that really generates a whole new level of awareness”.

The data from the RIAA is fascinating and exemplifies how popular vinyl is becoming with collectors and music enthusiasts. Clearly, the future revolves around streaming technology, but it doesn’t provide the same satisfaction as owning a huge LP with gorgeous artwork. Pink Floyd’s prism design on Dark Side of the Moon is sublime and a visual masterpiece. Vinyl records also contain extras, printed song lyrics and sometimes divulge information about the recording process. I would hate to see the end of album art cover because some of the classic albums feature some of my favourite pieces of artwork. Storm Thorgerson sadly passed away some time ago and produced a huge array of distinctive artwork for Pink Floyd. Surely in 2015, we can find room to properly honor the classics through our love of vinyl.

Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information. 

Spotify’s CEO Clarifies New Privacy Policy After Controversy

Spotify’s updated terms and conditions page has caused outrage amongst users and resulted in a number of high profile individuals to cancel their membership. To access the Spotify streaming service, you need to accept a privacy policy which allows the company access to sensitive data including pictures, videos, messages and contact numbers. The official statement reads:

“With your permission, we may collect information stored on your mobile device, such as contacts, photos, or media files. Local law may require that you seek the consent of your contacts to provide their personal information to Spotify, which may use that information for the purposes specified in this Privacy Policy.” 

“Depending on the type of device that you use to interact with the Service and your settings, we may also collect information about your location based on, for example, your phone’s GPS location or other forms of locating mobile devices (e.g., Bluetooth). We may also collect sensor data (e.g., data about the speed of your movements, such as whether you are running, walking, or in transit).”

“You may integrate your Spotify account with Third Party Applications. If you do, we may receive similar information related to your interactions with the Service on the Third Party Application, as well as information about your publicly available activity on the Third Party Application. This includes, for example, your “Like”s and posts on Facebook.”

Unfortunately, Spotify’s handling of the new agreement has been fairly forthright and doesn’t really care if you disagree with the terms:

“If you don’t agree with the terms of this Privacy Policy, then please don’t use the Service.”

Markus Persson, creator of Minecraft, has been critical of the policy and believes the data snooping is a complete breach of privacy.  In lieu of the negative press, Spotify’s CEO has issued a statement to address people’s fears:

“In our new privacy policy, we indicated that we may ask your permission to access new types of information, including photos, mobile device location, voice controls, and your contacts.”

“Let me be crystal clear here: If you don’t want to share this kind of information, you don’t have to. We will ask for your express permission before accessing any of this data – and we will only use it for specific purposes that will allow you to customize your Spotify experience.”

According to Spotify, your data can only be accessed if you give express permission. However, does this mean an opt-in process? I’m quite sceptical as you have to agree to the new terms and conditions before accessing the service. This could constitute as a green light for Spotify to monitor you data usage and even sell it to third parties. Subsequently, I believe Spotify needs to go further and clarify the impact of accepting the privacy policy’s terms.

Facebook Wants to Roll Out Their Own Music App

Since Apple released the iOS 8.4 update along with their Apple Music feature, we saw a lot of users taking an interest in it. Reports say that iOS 8.4 now has an adoption rate of over 40% and the number keeps rising. And since Apple has settled with the royalty rates paid to the people in the music industry, things are just looking up for their service.

Facebook looks like it took a big interest in this success and seems to have put its smartphone manufacturing plans on hold. Sources say that Facebook is now looking to either acquire or built their own music service from scratch. Music Ally tells that sources talking off the record say Facebook is using an aggressive monetization approach and a lot of intellectual property acquisitions.

The sources also say that Facebook might have the service, or at least a rough version of it, ready in a few months, but an actual commercial app should be ready by next year. If the latter provides to be true, we might see an even bigger competitor in the music streaming market. So we have Apple taking away a lot of customers as of late, and then Facebook seems to make a move and try to take a big chunk of the market too. The reasonable question to ask is, what will Spotify do? Will it come with something radical, or will it radically die out?

Thank you VR-Zone for providing us with this information

Spotify Not Happy With Eternify Protest App

The ability to stream a vast array of music straight to a device has grown immensely in recent times, but in doing so has irritated artists who claim to receive a small percentage of royalties in return. To highlight this, an electronic pop band by the name of “Ohm & Sport”, whose name sounds as if a Cambridge University student has just won 44 points playing Scrabble, has invented an App which plays any song on repeat for 30 seconds.

The App is called Eternify and is a direct demonstration against the paying structure of royalties by music streaming site Spotify. The App artificially generates royalties by meeting Spotify’s minimum time with which a song has to be played for it to be classed as a listened to song, in this case 30 seconds. The App also makes handy use of Spotify’s public API – Application Programming Interface which assists App developers to incorporate the streaming site’s impressive archive.

As a protest this App worked very nicely, the band requested fans play Ohm & Sports new album on repeat while they snoozed, the results garnered around $20,000 (£12,700) in royalties. Spotify Spotted this and removed the album and stated this App may have violated the terms and conditions of the site.

The App has highlighted a growing resentment towards streaming sites from artists who believe Spotify is imposing to small royalty fee. I do think there needs to be cooperation between both parties if streaming is to flourish, otherwise we will be in groundhog day for many more times to come.

Thank you BBC for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of ImoveiLive

Tidal CEO Today Gone Tomorrow

Upheaval continues as the new kid on the streaming block, Tidal have announced their interim CEO, Peter Tonstad has left the company. Although by labeling your new CEO who only joined in April 2015 “interim” it does not give you much confidence of staying with the company either,

Tidal released a statement to the Wall Street Journal, before I go on; I bet you’re wondering why I have used a source which differs from the original source? I do have a valid reason; see the Wall Street Journal is owned by News Corporation which is then owned by the dark lord himself, no not Peter Mandelson, Rupert Murdoch.  Who in turn has made news sites, which he owns, for example the Wall Street Journal subscription based, nothing wrong with that, it’s just I don’t particularly want to pay for two-thirds of a story which I can find somewhere else for free.

Where was I? Oh yes Tidal released a statement to state “We are thankful to Peter for stepping in as interim CEO and wish him the best for the future,” Tidal which is owned by Beats creator Dr Dre, purchased Tidal for $56 million in March. Since then the aspiring Spotify killer has garnered 770,000 paying subscribers, this compares to Spotify’s 20 million subscribers. While relating both market shares it’s important to take into consideration Tidal has only been operating since 2014, while Spotify has been streaming music since 2008. Spotify also has a free option while Tidal only has a free trial, these factors contribute in an extremely slow start for Tidal.

I also think Tidal is banking on a higher quality music sound which is combined with an ownership structure which places artists in the driving seat. The problem is how many consumers can tell the difference between Tidal’s music qualities and say for example YouTube, Deezer or Spotify. True connoisseurs of music will tell instantly while casual fans will not, if Tidal is to gain a bigger market share, it will need to be a bit more open to fans instead of marketing itself as the millionaires music elite.

Thank You ABC News for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of A Gambiarra

Hipsters Rejoice! Starbucks and Spotify Team up

Starbucks, the hipster place to have an over-priced coffee and work on that auto-biography. They have now ditched the conventional methods of music to jump on the streaming service Spotify, but don’t expect to walk in and use it like WiFi.

The service will be used to play a variety of songs that have proven popular from the retail stores from over the last twenty years, but not in a conventional loop that is determined by head office. This will be based on a ‘set’ playlist, but the baristas can add songs in, to their tastes.

Starbucks have opted for this new service, one to catch up with the times, but to also offer a loyalty scheme to customers; mainly those who are part of the ‘My Starbucks Rewards’ program. ” If you’re one of them, you’ll have the chance to earn Stars as Currency points for subscribing to Spotify Premium, which offers access to millions of songs that can be played offline, ad-free and without any skip limitations.”

This partnership is set to be launched later this year in America; Canada and the UK will follow soon after. Will this be enough to sway more customers in through the doors? I think I might pick up a coffee every now and then if it means free Spotify.

Thank you to engadget for providing us with this information.

Spotify-Powered PlayStation Music Launches Today in 41 Countries

The Spotify-powered music service PlayStation Music is replacing Sony’s outgoing Music Unlimited today. The service will be available on both PlayStation 3 and 4 in 41 countries, as opposed to the old service that only had 19 countries.

The new Spotify powered service means that players will have access to their Spotify music and playlists via the console and in games. The service has a free tier which should mean that anyone can sign up and have this on their consoles to listen to what they want when they want. The free tier is ad supported so if users will want interruption-free music they will have the option to step up to a $10 a month plan, and that should also have higher bitrate music as well. There will be a 30-day free trial for new users, and if you were formerly a Music Unlimited customer that is extended to a 60-day free trial.

Source: Engadget

Free Ad-Supported Subscription Will Not Be Available on Apple’s New Music Service

Apple will launch a new music service later this year, courtesy of its Beats acquisition. It is know that part of the service has been done by beats, namely its former Beats Music streaming service, and now Apple is going to add its final touch.

However, new reports suggest that the streaming service will not have a free subscription pack, such as the one on Spotify. For those unaware, Spotify offers its users the ability to listen to music for free, as long as they can put up with its ads and are willing to use just a few skips a day.

Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine and Apple’s Eddy Cue are said to have been telling music labels that they can put them “behind a paywall”. This will draw the attention of a lot of people, since it is known that labels are currently not happy with people having access to music freely through services such as YouTube and Spotify.

If this is the case, then Apple’s streaming service will turn into the best place for labels to push exclusive releases, delaying records’ arrival to other music streaming services and in turn giving Apple an advantage in the music industry and the upper hand against competition.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information

Apple Developing an App for Android

A report from Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac reveals that Apple is working it first app for Android devices. The app will implement the music streaming service that Apple bought from Beats Music last year.

Apple’s music streaming app will be subscription-based, with Gurman suggesting it could cost $7.99 per month, beating out the popular Spotify, which costs $9.99 a month.

In the past, Apple-acquired apps would cease Android support soon after, as happened with transport app HopStop. However, Apple CEO has reaffirmed in the past that his company has “no religious issue” with providing apps for Android devices, but only if it “made sense to do it”. It seems $7.99 per month is reason enough.

Source: Business Insider

15 Million of Spotify’s 60 Million Userbase Now Pay

Spotify announced on Monday that it now boasts 15 million paying subscriptions, with a grand total of 60 million users. That marks a 10 million growth in its userbase since November, when it was revealed that 50 million people used the music streaming service. For comparison, the previous 10 million user growth took six months.

Daniel Ek, co-founder of Spotify, said back in November: “Not all free music is created equal – on Spotify, free music is supported by ads, and we pay for every play. Until we launched Spotify, there were two economic models for streaming services: all free or all paid, never together, and both models had a fatal flaw. The paid-only services never took off (despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing), because users were being asked to pay for something that they were already getting for free on piracy sites.”

Spotify has demonstrated remarkable growth in the latter half of 2014, with 25% of its userbase now paying to stream music, and the company is rumoured to be in line for an initial public offering (IPO) soon, making shares available to the general public.

Source: Music Business Worldwide

Musician Earned $27,000 Last Year Making SEO’d Songs

Not many people would argue that fringe musician Matt Farley is a good songwriter – his track “Ryan Gosling, You Are a Great Singer and Actor. Will You Be My Friend” [sic] features the lyric, You were in The Notebook/It is such a great movie/When girls watch it they cry – and yet he made $27,000 from his music in 2014. How? By applying the principals of search engine optimisation (SEO) to his songwriting.

“I realized people will type weird stuff into search engines, and there’s not always songs for the stuff,” Farley said. “If you search for ‘love’ on iTunes or Spotify, you’re going to get something like 15 million songs. If you search ‘monkey,’ you’re going to get fewer.”

It was this SEO-inspired approach that bore such celebrity-focused fare as, “Amanda Knox Is Not Guilty,” “Music Writer Mark Richardson Blocked Me On Twitter,” and “Mike Daisey, Why You Gotta Tell Lies To Ira Glass?”. Farley even released a 92-song album about office supplies.

The prolific Farley records around 50 songs a week, and boasts a back-catalogue of 16,000 songs to date. All are available on iTunes and Spotify, under various different band names and pseudonyms. He hopes one day to pack in his day job – working at a group home for teens – to record music full-time.

Source: Wired

Ed Sheeran Says He Owes His Career to Spotify

Music superstar Ed Sheeran has come out saying that he owes his entire career to music streaming service, Spotify. He said backstage at the BBC Music Awards “My music has been streamed 860 million times, which means that it’s getting out to people. I’m playing sold-out gigs in South America, I’ve sold out arenas in Korea and south-east Asia.” He continued “I don’t think I’d be able to do that without Spotify. For me, Spotify is not even a necessary evil. It helps me do what I want to do.”

Sheeran’s comments come after a very heated fight between the likes of Taylor Swift and Spotify, where Swift removed her entire back catalogue from Spotify a week before her new album ‘1989’ was released. With Swift reportedly romantically linked to Sheeran, this is an interesting twist. Swift told The Wall Street Journal “Music is art, and art is important and rare. Rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. It’s my opinion that music should not be free.”

When it comes to Spotify’s streaming rates, Sheeran thinks they’re fair, as he told the BBC “I think Spotify are paying the right amount.” He continued “We’re just not seeing it, because the labels aren’t making as much as they used to, so they want to keep a lot of the money that Spotify give them, and not pay it out to us. Which is the truth. It is the truth. I get a percentage of my record sales, but it’s not a large percentage. I get [the profits from] all my ticket sales, so I’d rather tour.”

That’s not all Sheeran had to say, as he finished up with “Taylor has been around for eight or nine years. She comes from an era where you do sell records – it’s only been in the past five years where it’s really deteriorated – so people buy her records and it doesn’t feel too foreign. Whereas I came through in the streaming generation. All my fans started off being students at university file-sharing my music, so it’s a different generation. She can sell records and I can get streamed, because that’s the generation I come from.”

Source: BBC.

Who’s Making Money From Music Streaming? Because Spotify Isn’t, Musicians Aren’t

Spotify isn’t making much money from streaming music, at all.

The company has revealed that it scooped in around $1.03 billion in 2013, which was up 74% or so from 2013. But, it doshed out most of that to record companies and publishers, which had the company report an $80 million loss for the year, representing close to 70% of its total revenue for the year.

We also now know that most people enjoy the free services that Spotify offers, and not the premium services. Out of the 36 million users on Spotify, just 8 million of them were paying for the premium service. This is less than 25% of the total user base, something I’m sure Spotify hopes to turn around. The company said that 91% of its sales ($897 million) come from subscriptions with another $90 million made from ads. If 70% of their revenues are being handed out to record labels and and publishers, just how much is Spotify handing over to artists?

Maybe this is why Taylor Swift broke up with Spotify? Now we just have to wait for her break up song.

Source: Engadget.

Taylor Swift’s YouTube Video Views Double After Artist Snubs Spotify

Popular music artist Taylor Swift snubbed Spotify by pulling her music from the online streaming music station – and her YouTube music video views have doubled since then.

Nielsen Music Connect informed the Swift Vevo channel on YouTube dramatically increased from 12.5 million views per day during the week ending on Nov. 3 – up to 24 million the following week – and it’s curious to see how much higher the channel can go. Overall, it seems foolhardy to just decide to pull music from an online service, especially when she ended a potential multi-million-dollar payday, along with angering her fans.

However, it appears music listeners are just turning to YouTube to help fill the void – and her album “1989,” which was never allowed on Spotify, sold 1.287 million copies during its first week. That’s the highest opening-week tally since “The Eminem Show” by Eminem in 2002. Only three weeks after the album’s release, it’s already the second-highest selling album of the year, and should only grow higher.

Swift was the highest-profile artist to abandon Spotify, and it would appear other musicians want to rely on the Internet to help music listeners. Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl recently said he doesn’t care how people listen to his music, as long as they are tuning in – enjoying – and prepared to attend concerts.

(Thank you to Today Money for providing us with this information. Image courtesy of Billboard.)

[Update] Spotify has Paid $2B to Artists, Taylor Swift Would Have Made $6M

The music industry was in the spotlight earlier this month when Taylor Swift pulled her hot new album release from Spotify’s digital streaming service. Claims were made from Taylor and her record label that the artists weren’t getting a big enough payout from having their music available on the service, but today Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek has hit back. Mr Ek announced that the company has now paid out over $2 billion in royalties to the music industry – which includes record labels and artists and their encompassing surrounds.

Mr Ek also made mention that the services userbase isn’t slowing down either – making note that the first billion dollars of payments came spanning the years of 2008-2013, whereas the second billion was paid just over the last 12 months. Another incredible figure that Mr Ek noted was that Spotify has more paid subscribers than all of it’s music streaming competitors combined.

“[Taylor Swift] is the only artist who has sold more than a million copies in an album’s first week since 2002. In the old days, multiple artists sold multiple millions every year. That just doesn’t happen any more; people’s listening habits have changed – and they’re not going to change back.”

The CEO also went on to exclaim that because Swift had pulled her entire catalogue from the service, she is set to lose over $6M is profits in the short term from not being on Spotify’s streaming service. At the end of the day, it would seem that Swift and her management pulled her catalogue from Spotify because they’re one of the last remaining artists who wields enough power to afford to manoeuvre such a stunt. In the meantime, I’m sure many of you have other tunes and artists to listen to and enjoy.

Thanks to The Verge for providing us with this information.

Spotify Hits 12.5 Million Subscribers, Taylor Swift Still Unhappy

Music streaming service Spotify has announced that they now have 12.5 million paying subscribers.

The news came in a blog post by the Swedish company’s CEO Daniel Ek. The number is part of it’s 50 million users overall, making it easily one of the biggest in the growing streaming music business. The point of that blog post was to discuss the brewing controversy surrounding Taylor Swift pulling her music from the service. You might think that Swift’s decision is pretty mundane, but her desire to sell music rather than monetise it with ads or subscriptions brings into question the whole concept of music streaming.

A startling number of people don’t buy music anymore, it’s pretty much come to be expected as a free form of entertainment, with the likes of Vevo on YouTube and all the other music streaming services. There’s also the many millions of illegal downloads to add to declining numbers of music sales. Apple briefly had the answer to combating illegal downloads with iTunes, but figures from their annual report released last month reveal that iTunes is a declining business, with many citing that as the main reason why they bought Beats earlier this year, with their Beats Music service.

It’s certainly true that artists don’t make nearly as much money from streaming as they do downloads or physical releases and so it raises the question of how the music industry, with the technology industry supporting it, can move forward.

Source: Re/Code

Apple Wants Cheaper Streaming Deals from Record Labels

With Music streaming services taking the world by storm – Apple’s iTunes is after more than a decade losing a sizeable chunk of ground to competing services. Spotify and Pandora, among others are all in the hustle to offer the worlds leading music streaming platforms, and the big fruit has some catching up to do. Just like the 99 cent revolution that was iTune’s pricing model, streaming services offer free or extremely affordable pricing options to consumers. It’s a new cut-throat pricing war for record labels and musicians, as services that offer free of charge listening frequently subsidize costs through advertisements.

As you could expect, competition in the space is fierce and the crowded market isn’t looking at slowing down any-time soon. Reports from Re/code suggest that Apple’s newly acquired Beats – founders of Beats Music streaming service – are looking at pushing music labels into a cheaper licensing agreement with the intention of passing the savings directly onto the consumer. It’s expected hat the deal will be ready for launch sometime next year, and will allow Beats Music to offer a starting price point of just $5 per month.

We’re not going to lie – the dawn of music streaming is offering some rather incredible deals for consumers. If you love listening to all your favourite artists, it looks like Apple’s once again making big motions to win back listeners in the forever changing digital landscape of music.

Thanks to Re/code for providing us with this information.

T-Mobile Users Now Able to Gain Data Free Access to Music

T-Mobile hit the market hard at Seattle’s Paramount Theater last night, announcing some big offers to end users.

Alongside their ‘free trial’ offer of an iPhone 5s to potential subscribers, T-Mobile have announced that their service will allow free data streaming to all top music streaming services, including:

  • Pandora
  • iTunes Radio
  • iHeartRadio
  • Slacker
  • Spotify
  • Samsung’s Milk service, and
  • Rhapsody

T-Mobile currently offers its consumers 1GB, 3GB or 5GB worth of full speed data allotment – go over this cap and you will be reduced to functioning on 3G speed. But with the announced change coming into effect, you’ll receive full speed unlimited service on these streaming services no matter if you’re over your cap or not.

Some people are claiming this service may be an issue to ‘net neutrality’ as offering this service for only a select few streaming companies helps give them a boost. Rdio is one main contender missing from this list as you may have noticed, but T-Mobile’s John Legere stated that these chosen stream services are not due to a business move or competitive angle. Either way it’s certainly a cop out for the smaller guys and Rdio alike. Legere also went on to state that T-Mobile’s plan is to include all streaming services in the future – whether realistic or not is up to you to decide.

All-in-all we’re sure that consumers are generally quite happy with this news because in our experience, streaming uses a lot of data!

What could this mean for premium streaming subscriptions? Currently in Australia Spotify premium subscriptions are quite popular, due to the ability to download music to your device and that streaming uses quite a high rate of data on our current low caps. Can the same be said for T-Mobile’s current target audience? Or can this be easily written off by Spotify as extra users, extra ad listeners and extra exposure?

Want to see your favourite streaming service added? T-Mobile have claimed they will be opening the next contenders up for customer voting.

Image courtesy of 9to5mac.

Spotify Database Attacked – Users Are Being Urged To Change Passwords

Over the last week or so we’ve been inundated with news stories regarding cyber attacks, where users personal data has been accessed in an unauthorised manner, the most significant of these being the eBay attack which was only announced two months after the attack happened. It seems though that not everyone is getting the message to ensure that their security barriers are in place as Spotify are urging some of their 40 million strong user base to change their passwords following an attack on their databases which was discovered last week.

In addition to changing their passwords, users of the Spotify app on Google’s Android platform are being asked to upgrade their app, where a new and updated version of the app is downloaded and installed separately to the existing installation, which is then to be deleted afterwards.

To date there is only evidence of a single user being affected – of whom has been contacted directly by Spotify to notify them, although they are keen to express that no payment or password information from this users account was compromised.

Spotify’s Chief Technology Officer, Oskar Stal spoke in a blog post about the attack “”We have taken steps to strengthen our security systems in general and help protect you and your data – and we will continue to do so. We will be taking further actions in the coming days to increase security for our users.”

With this being the third attack of similar nature to the eBay and Adobe attacks which have also been discovered recently, hopefully a number of other high-profile sites will get the idea that security is a serious issue and any flaws need to be discovered in-house and repaired before the attackers find them. Since the announcement of Sony’s PSN attacks last year, the security of user’s personal information across the internet has been in the spotlight and we are no asking not when, but who will be next?

Source: Sunday Morning Herald

Artists Can Sell Merchandise For Free On Spotify

A lot of competition exists between music streaming services, given the fact that the market is being populated by a wide variety of services. Spotify has established itself as a major player in this particular market, it boasts over 24 million users and continues to grow. In a bid to attract more artists, which in turn is likely to bring in more listeners, Spotify now lets artists sell their merchandise for free. The music streaming service is not going to charge any commission on sales, so whatever money artists make by selling merchandise, it’s all theirs to keep.

Spotify has made a partnership with a company called Topspin. To start selling merchandise, artists need to create a Topspin ArtistLink account and verify their identity by either linking a social media account or by directly emailing the company. Once verified, they can create listings by adding images, title, description and URL to various items in their existing merchandise store. Each merchandise listing will need approval, but it should show up in Spotify’s artist pages within 28 hours.

While artists from all around the globe can list items, only Spotify users based in English-speaking countries such as U.S., UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland will be able to purchase merchandise for now. Spotify says that it will include additional language support in the future.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information

Around 20% Of Spotify Content Has Never Been Streamed

The music streaming service Spotify has now been around for five years and whilst it has only really been the last two years or so that it has really come in to its element, its 24 million users worldwide seem to have left some content untouched. With an audio library that surpasses well over twenty million songs, there is content to suit all ages and tastes, however in amidst of the birthday celebrations last week, it was revealed that there is only around 80% of the companies audio content that has been played at least once.

It’s not surprising with such a huge library that there are undoubtedly going to be a few items that go unplayed, but the unplayed content is in the region of four million tracks. The streaming service doesn’t seem too put off by these figures however as they have a big enough user base with over 6 million of their registered users opting to pay for the subscriber features such Premium, which allows for tracks to be downloaded into an off-line play-list as well as allowing the service to be used on mobile devices as well as a desktop system with no restrictions on monthly usage or ads being played every few tracks.

Following on with the jaw dropping statistics of what is one of the worlds most popular internet based audio services, whilst some tracks have been unplayed, there ar some tracks that are far more popular than others. In the last five years, Macklemore’s ‘Thrift Shop’ has racked up well over 150 million plays (or 1122.5 years of listening to the same track over and over again). If just over 1000 years seems a lot then the fact of Spotify’s users racking up well over one million years of playtime in the last five years from its entire library makes this one track seem a minor statistic.

Other top tracks include Daft Punks ‘Get Lucky’, which when it hit the playlists was listened to well over 1.5 million times in 24 hours, whilst Rhianna is the most sought after female artist, David Guetta for the men and Coldplay being the most popular band.

Source: T3

Report Shows That Apple Is Ready To Launch “iRadio”

It is reported that Apple will be launching their own web streaming radio service called as “iRadio” this year, most likely to be rolled out during the summer.

This report which originated from The Verge has said that this has been confirmed through multiple sources within the music industry. It has been said that Apple has made significant progress in its plans by securing streaming rights with 2 of the largest labels with numerous popular artists: Universal Studios and Warner Bros.

Earlier in March it was said that Apple’s un-announced service was delayed due to royalty rate negotiations. It has also been said that Apple, Inc. has made an offer to pay 21 cents per 100 song download, which is lower than what Spotify pays (36 cent per 100 tracks) and Terrestrial radio’s “iHeart” which pays 22 cents per 100 tracks.

Apple, Inc. however, is being silent over their “iRadio”. It was last year during September where the Wall Street Journal said that Apple has been working on their custom music streaming services similar to Pandora.

One of the unnamed sources in the music industry said,”iRadio is coming. There’s no doubt about it anymore.’ Apple is pushing hard for a summertime launch.”

If the report about Apple starting a web streaming service for music is true and if the royalty negotiations point out of a lesser cost per 100 music compared to established players, Apple, Inc. would not have any trouble in having a large number of people shifting to its in-house music streaming service, considering the large amount of consumers using Apple products on a regular basis.

Via: Apple Insider

YouTube Set to Launch Pay-Per-View Service

It has been reported that video site YouTube has been in contact with a variety of channels to discuss talks of a “pay-per-view” idea much like we find with Sky and live events. YouTube are hoping to do something very similar, charging for live events such as concerts and boxing fights. They may also start to charge for older episodes of television programmes.

This could be a vital strategic step for YouTube adding a streaming service which we know they are more than capable of doing. In the past we’ve seen YouTube cover live events with viewers flocking in by the thousands, with the video site not flummoxing one bit.

The news of a pay-per-view service came about after snippets of code were found in the latest YouTube app update detailing the following:

<string name=”paid_channel_subscribe_message”>You can only subscribe to this paid channel on your computer.</string>

<string name=”paid_channel_unsubscribe_message”>You can only unsubscribe from this paid channel on your computer.</string>

Simply put, the above code reflects two buttons which will allow you to subscribe/unsubscribe from certain pay-per-view channels.

Other talks from YouTube include a slightly different type of streaming service, with rumours floating around about a similar streaming service to Spotify, opening up a whole world of entertainment for viewers and listeners alike. Spotify has become a big hit as of late with the inclusion of 4G on mobile phones and users streaming direct to their phones while connected to their in-car entertainment system.

With both the pay-per-view video and audio streaming services, we could see a big rival for the likes of NetFlix, LOVEFiLM and Spotify and if anyone can make it happen and to make it happen big, then of course it’s YouTube, who already dominate so many markets with its backing of Google at the helm.

YouTube have the facility to hit the market in a huge way with desktop and mobile versions including apps to develop this functionality quickly while making it affordable for the user. Only time will tell as to when and if these ventures go ahead, but it should be a very exciting time and is something that we will definitely be keeping our eyes on.