New iTunes fails to launch, but Hypebot says iPad Mini an awesome music device

Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 2:10pm

Music fans were expecting an iTunes update as part of Apple's iPad Mini launch yesterday. That didn't happen, but Hypebot says there's still lots about the Mini that make it "an awesome music device."

Obviously, the Mini is thinner and lighter than other iPads, and most other competing tablets, and fits nicely in a purse or breast pocket. What's more, the LTE "ultrafast wireless" lets you stream music at top quality. And, existing iOS apps won't need to be modified to fit the smaller screen, since the Mini has the same 1014x786 resolution.

Read more from Hypebot on why music listeners should love the iPad Mini here.

Two more on-demand music services include Internet radio in their gameplans

Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - 1:05pm

Online music store and "white label" vendor 7Digital has announced plans to expand its service to an online radio service, plus more on-demand streaming, and "scan-and-match" capability for its existing cloud storage.

The company, having raised $10 million, also plans to offer its 22 million track library to more markets in North America and Europe. Paid Content has more here. The company also announced it will be the "official music download provider" for the BlackBerry 10 line of smartphones coming out next year. More here.

Meanwhile, music streaming service is launching new mobile apps, widening its footprint to 27 countries, and will have apps preloaded on Lenovo Windows 8 tablets, Android tablets, and some PCs. is available in the U.S., the UK, most of Europe, Brazil, Mexico, Hong Kong, Australia, Malaysia, and more.

Rara offers "ready-made playlists and stations, put together by music experts," and offline listening. It costs 1.99 pounds, euros or dollars per month for three months of ad-free mobile access to 18 million tracks. After three months, it's £/€/$9.99 per month. Web-only access is £/€/$0.99 per month for the first three months, then £/€/$4.99 per month.

Add these services to the list of other on-demand streamers that include online radio among their offerings: Spotify, Rdio, Mog, the new Xbox Music, and more. 

TechCrunch has more on here.

Stalled deal with publisher reportedly prevented Apple from launching online music service with iPhone 5

Friday, September 28, 2012 - 1:15pm

The New York Post reported today Apple's inability to reach an agreement with music publisher Sony/ATV made it impossible to coincide the launch of its streaming music service with the release of the iPhone 5.

Sony/ATV is the world's largest music publisher (which means we're talking about song compositions, not sound recordings). A source told The Post Sony/ATV wanted a higher per-song fee to use its compositions than Apple was willing to pay.

What's more, the publishing giant reportedly plans to pull out of ASCAP and BMI after the first of the year. These two performance rights organizations negotiate rights with services that use song compositions for all their members. If Sony/ATV backs out of those groups, as EMI, which Sony/ATV is acquiring (don't confuse this deal with Universal's acquisition of the EMI Recording Group -- we're still talking music publishers here!) announced it would do, securing rights to use this music will become more complicated for webcasters.

"The Sony/ATV snafu means music streaming is more likely to appear as an iPhone update in future months," The Post's sources said.

Earlier this month it was reported that Apple was in negotiations with record labels to introduce streaming music "Pandora-competitor" service. 

According to CNet, "(music) publishers don't like Pandora's model... and don't want to see Apple launch a similar service."

Read The New York Post here; CNet here.

Apple announces new iTunes, stays mum on streaming plans, at yesterday's iPhone 5 event

Thursday, September 13, 2012 - 12:20pm

During the big iPhone 5 announcement yesterday, Apple also revealed it will soon launch a brand new version of its industry-leading media software iTunes. The new version will reportedly feature "a more intuitive layout, improved performance, easier playlist creation, a new full-library search and improved iCloud integration," reports AllThingsDigital (here). "Also new to the software: A completely redesigned mini-player that’s even less intrusive than the previous version, and boasts its own built-in search function." The new iTunes will be available next month.

[Apple even showcased the FM tuner in the iPod Nano, and announced updated "Live Pause" and iTunes tagging features. More on FM on the Nano below.]

What Apple didn't talk about yesterday was its rumored move into online music streaming (see RAIN here). thinks it simply isn't the time yet. "Before (Apple subscription streaming) goes live... two things will likely need to happen: (1) Streaming rivals must prove that there is a meaningful enough business opportunity in subscription to draw Apple out; and (2) iTunes Store’s track download business must plateau or begin shrinking, pushing it to discover new pastures," wrote PaidContent. "Such a move, when it happens, will redefine the industry forever – but Apple, and music, can afford to wait." Read more here.

So says the Music Industry Blog. "If Apple were to get into the music subscription game that it could drive it to the mainstream," writes Mark Mulligan (here). But, "Apple’s core responsibility is ensuring that the music experience of its iOS device owners is as good as it can be, not to break into new market segments for the sake of it... It is probably time to stop waiting for Apple to drive another new digital music paradigm and instead bank on it continuing to innovate prudently."

Additionally, Ethan Kaplan (here) writes, "when Apple goes subscription streaming it won’t be a surprise. And it is inevitable... The issue is that releasing (an Apple streaming product) at this point does two things: eliminates what is to them a high margin business, and effectively kills the recorded music business by slaughtering mechanical revenue from retail."

Back to Apple's mention of its FM tuner in the iPod Nano: Jacobs Media Director of Digital Tim Davis wrote (here), "Even in the midst of one the most anticipated technology announcements of the year from the most valued company in the world, FM radio still managed to snag a special guest role as part of Apple’s revamped lineup. With devices that were for all practical purposes intended to replace traditional radio among consumers, FM radio is not only included in these iPod Nanos, but is also showcased as a featured benefit."

U.S. teens' top music source: YouTube, says Nielsen

Thursday, August 16, 2012 - 1:15pm

The new Music 360 study from Nielsen shows that in the U.S. "more teens listen to music through YouTube than through any other source (64%), followed by radio (56%) and iTunes (53% ) and CDs (50%)." 

Nearly half (48%) of Americans says they use radio most often to discover new music.

More than half (54%) said they have music player apps on their smartphones, followed closely by radio apps (47%).

Read more from Nielsen on Music 360 here.

Samsung to launch on-demand service Music Hub, including custom online stations, in U.S.

Friday, July 20, 2012 - 12:15pm

News broke yesterday that electronics giant Samsung will launch its own on-demand music service in the U.S. in the coming weeks.

The service, called Music Hub, boasts a library of 15 million tracks, and includes the (ever-more-popular among on-demand services) custom radio stations. Music Hub will also include a "storage locker" feature a la Google Music and MP3Tunes, and a download store.

The Los Angeles Times reports the service will only be available on Samsung's Galaxy S III smartphones, at least for now. Samsung won't reveal what they'll charge in the U.S., but the service already operates in the UK, France, Germany, and Spain, where it's 9.99 GBP/9.99 EUR.

Read more in The L.A. Times here.

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