As the company’s court battles with major music label EMI Group, file-sharing service MP3tunes was forced to file for bankruptcy in a United States court earlier this week, Reuters reports. Mp3tunes, which bills itself as “a Music Service Provider (MSP) and the home of MP3tunes Locker: the only secure, online music space to feature unlimited listening,” is one of a number of online services targeted by major labels and the MPAA for allegedly facilitating the illegal distribution of copyrighted materials; Megaupload was shuttered earlier this year after authorities raided the home of company founder Kim Dotcom, who was arrested and now awaits trial. A federal judge ruled in 2011 that MP3tunes and its CEO, Michael Robertson, did not violate the Digital Millenium Copyright Act when they allowed users to download music from the service, except as pertaining to music files that were identified as having been pirated. The judge also said that Robertson was personally liable for a number of pirated songs downloaded from other file-sharing services and hosted by MP3tunes. The case is still pending. More →
Google is reportedly breaking out its massive checkbook in an effort to gain blanket rights to major labels’ music catalogs. Following unconfirmed reports that Google’s music offering was floundering and losing users each week, music industry insider Wayne Rosso says that the Internet giant is now holding negotiations with at least one major label in an effort to gain access to its entire catalog. According to Rosso, Google is willing to spend more than $1 billion for such access. More →
According to CEO Joe Kennedy, Pandora has surpassed 150 million users in the United States and is the second most downloaded app in the history of Apple’s App Store, CNET reported on Wednesday. The Internet radio service has big plans for the future and is working with automakers to integrate the service into virtually all future vehicles. “We truly believe this is just the beginning,” Kennedy said at the CTIA Wireless trade show in New Orleans. Over the past year, the company has faced increased competition from streaming service Spotify, however it doesn’t seem to have affected Pandora’s continued growth. More →
The Free Software Foundation has created a campaign in an effort to eliminate digital rights management (DRM) and embrace DRM-free media. “While DRM has largely been defeated in downloaded music, it is a growing problem in the area of eBooks, where people have had their books restricted so they can’t freely loan, re-sell or donate them, read them without being tracked, or move them to a new device without re-purchasing all of them,” the campaign’s website reads. “They’ve even had their eBooks deleted by companies without their permission. It continues to be a major issue in the area of movies and video too.” The foundation is hoping to raise awareness surrounding what it views to be a growing problem, and it scheduled the “International Day Against DRM” protest for May 4th as a result. A list of local events can be found on the group’s website. More →
Spotify on Tuesday announced that its highly anticipated iPad application is now available for download in Apple’s App Store. The free app allows premium Spotify subscribers to access the company’s huge portfolio of music, stream tracks and playlists, and share songs. The new Spotify iPad app also features gapless playback, a crossfade function and AirPlay integration, allowing users to stream music wirelessly from the iPad to AirPlay-compatible devices. Spotify’s full press release follows below along with a video. More →
Web-based streaming music provider Spotify is reportedly preparing to launch a new service that will add new radio and content discovery elements to its portfolio. Citing multiple unnamed sources, Bloomberg on Thursday reported that Spotify is developing a new online radio service that will compete directly with Pandora. Due to launch by the end of this year, the ad-supported service will allow users to stream unlimited music through Spotify’s software, and the service may launch with new music content that is not currently available to Spotify customers. It is unclear exactly how the new offering will differ from Spotify Radio, which was unveiled late last year as an artist-based streaming radio service available for free to all Spotify users. The company’s current core product allows Spotify’s 10 million users to stream music from its online catalog in an iTunes-like player that also allows subscribers to search for content, create playlists and share content with friends. More →
Microsoft is reportedly preparing to unveil a new streaming music service at the annual E3 conference later this year. Citing unnamed sources, The Verge reports that the new streaming service will work across several platforms including Xbox, Windows 8, Windows Phone, iOS and Android, accessible through a native app or a web browser. Code-named “Woodstock,” the service is reportedly comparable to Spotify, potentially allowing users to stream unlimited music. The service will also seemingly feature deep Facebook integration and a “scan and match” cloud locker feature similar to iTunes Match. According to The Verge, the service will be part of a larger effort to shift away from Microsoft’s Zune brand. More →
A small group of coders claiming to be part of the hacker group “Anonymous” are creating a new social music platform, WIRED reported on Thursday. The goal of the project is to create a service that seamlessly pulls together songs that are streamed across the Internet. The project, called Anontune, will be able to aggregate songs from third-party sources such as YouTube and SoundCloud, and it will allow users to arrange them into playlists and share with others — anonymously. The Anontune system relies on executing a Java applet, and running code that was written by members of Anonymous carries obvious risks. The service is only 20% complete according to the report, however the creators hope the final version will improve the way people engage with music. A video announcement from Anonymous follows below. More →
While Spotify offers a native iPhone app, the company still doesn’t offer one for Apple’s iPad. According to a photo recently published to the web, however, that may soon change. A Swedish technology consultant posted the first image of what is said to be a beta version of Spotify’s official iPad app. The image was posted on Instagram and it featured the caption, “It’s getting closer!” The image has since been removed, but not before it began to spread across various tech blogs. Spotify on Friday sent out press invitations for a special announcement event in New York City. Could the event be for an iPad app? Perhaps, although a press conference dedicated solely to an app seems unlikely. Earlier reports indicated that the music streaming company may announce brand partnerships that will allow app and playlist recommendations from companies in an effort to make the platform more attractive to advertisers. More →
Spotify is the darling of tech blogs, but the overwhelming media hype leading up to the service’s U.S. launch has seemingly not carried over to end users. According to a recent report from the New York Post, paid subscriber growth in the U.S. has failed to meet expectations thus far. Spotify launched stateside roughly nine months ago and the service amassed 250,000 paid subscribers in its first three months. According to the Post, Spotify is now home to 3 million users in the U.S., but only 600,000 are paying either $4.99 or $9.99 per month for premium service while the remaining 80% enjoy free basic service. “People aren’t 100 percent happy,” the Post’s source said, noting that Spotify plans to remove the limit of five plays per month on individual songs for free subscribers in an effort to bolster user loyalty.
RapidShare is widely known as an invaluable tool for the illegal sharing of copyrighted digital material. Much like Megaupload, which was shuttered earlier this year when company founder Kim Dotcom was arrested and charged with racketeering and violating anti-piracy laws, RapidShare allows users to upload any file and share a link with other users who may then download the content. While some users share files legally with RapidShare, millions more upload copyrighted movies, music and eBooks which are then downloaded illegally by others around the world who find links to the files on blogs or through special search engines. Following a preliminary ruling, a court in Germany has now declared RapidShare to be legal, but it must utilize a monitoring mechanisms if it wishes to remain operational. Read on for more. More →
The past year was a good year for the music industry as sales rose to their best highest point in eight years. According to the IFPI’s annual Recording Industry In Numbers report, revenue from physical media fell by 8.7%, compared with 13.8% in 2010, but were vinyl sales up nearly 29%. Digital revenue continued to grow, increasing 8%, compared to 5.6% in 2010, with digital track sales growing 19% to 3.7 billion songs. Australia leads the way in the digital space with 60% growth, compared with 8% growth in the U.S. and 10% in the U.K. $1.27 billion in digital singles were sold in the U.S., while the U.K. accounted for $176.2 million. Digital sales made up 31% of the total revenue of the music market and reached $5.3 billion in sales. Overall global music revenue fell by just 3% in the last year, however. “2011 marked the least negative result in global recorded music sales since 2004, when revenues were flat,” the report read. The IFPI credits services like Spotify, iTunes, and unlimited-access operators like Rdio, MOG and Rhapsody for bringing new revenue models to customers that have helped the U.S. music market. More →
A court in Germany ruled on Thursday that RapidShare must implement a system that proactively filters user uploads in order to prevent the illegal sharing of copyrighted content. Like Megaupload, which was shuttered earlier this year, RapidShare allows users to upload large files and share them online. The service has become widely known for hosting copyrighted software, music, movies and books that are then shared illegally on forums, blogs and a variety of of other websites. Following verdicts in three separate cases filed by two book publishers and an group representing music publishers called GEMA, the firm has been ordered to take a more active role in preventing infringing content from being uploaded to its servers, TorrentFreak reported. RapidShare has not yet stated whether or not it will appeal the decision.
UPDATE: RapidShare has issued a press release in response to this ruled, which now follows below. More →