Rumors have once again begun to circulate that suggest Apple (AAPL) is planning to launch an online radio service that will compete with Pandora (P). The Wall Street Journal cited multiple unnamed sources last month claiming that the Cupertino-based company was holding talks with various music labels to offer such a service. The New York Post later reported that Apple and Sony/ATV, the world’s largest music publishing company, could not come to an agreement over licensing fees, however, forcing the music service that was rumored to debut alongside the iPhone 5 to be delayed. Bloomberg is now reporting that talks with major music labels have intensified and a deal could be reached as early as mid-November. Talks are said to be centered around how to share ad revenue and if a deal is reached Apple could launch the service within the first three months of 2013. Shares of music streaming site Pandora fell nearly 15% following the report.
Spotify’s music streaming service is now enjoyed by more than 15 million active users globally, including more than 4 million paying subscribers, according to The Next Web. The news was announced at the Global Business Summit on Creative Content in London on Tuesday by Spotify’s chief content officer and U.S. managing director, Ken Parks, and comes shortly after the company released an update that added free streaming radio for the company’s Android app. Earlier this year, Spotify revealed that more than 20%, or 3 million, of its active users paid for premium monthly access. Despite the milestone, the service still falls short of rival Pandora (P), which recently surpassed 150 million users. More →
Digital music has become increasingly popular over the years, and now it looks like new methods of digital music distribution are finally starting to pay off. SoundExchange, which processes royalty payments for online music streams, confirmed on Monday that it has paid artists and record companies a total of $1 billion since being founded in 2000. “The way the industry is going, it is about multiple revenue streams, not just one,” Michael Huppe, SoundExchange’s president, said in an interview with The New York Times. The company’s quarterly payments to artist and record companies exceeded $100 million for the first time this year. SoundExchange collects money from Sirius XM Radio, Pandora and other forms of Internet radio, and then pays royalties to both artists and their labels. While Internet streaming royalties have increased, they still remain a relatively small percentage of music royalties as a whole. More →
Pandora CEO Joe Kennedy recently announced that the music streaming service had surpassed 150 million users in the United States and was the second most downloaded app in the history of Apple’s App Store. According to the company’s recent earnings report for the first quarter of fiscal 2013, Pandora grew to a record 51.9 million active users, representing a 53% year-over-year increase. The service has a commanding 71.7% share of the top U.S. Internet radio market and controls almost 6% of the total U.S. radio listening market. The company’s total revenue jumped 58% year-over-year to $80.8 million, $70.6 million of which came from advertising and $10.2 million from subscription plans. While advertising revenue increased 62% year-over-year and subscription revenue increased 38%, Pandora still reported a net loss of $0.09 per share. 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 →
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 →
Kickstarter is filled with some brilliant, some not-so-brilliant and some very strange ideas, and if user interest is any indication, the Pebble ePaper smartwatch can likely be filed under brilliant. Allerta, the company behind the product, opened a Kickstarter page less than a week ago and has already become the most funded project of all time on the site, which allows users to make small and large donations toward projects they want to back. The company’s initial goal was to raise $100,000, however in the past six days the project has accumulated a whopping $3.6 million in funding. Read on for more. More →
Spotify on Friday unveiled Spotify Radio, a new service similar to Pandora that will roll out as an extension to the company’s desktop client. The service allows users to create artist-based stations that will stream an unlimited amount of music similar to the artist selected. Spotify Radio users can also skip an unlimited number of songs and save tracks as they play for on-demand listening later as well. The app and associated service are a welcome addition to Spotify, which has had very limited discovery features until now. The free Spotify Radio app is currently available as a preview and it is expected to land in Spotify’s app catalog within the next few days. Spotify has not indicated whether or not its new radio service will make its way to the company’s mobile apps. More →
Sonos released a new sibling in their audio lineup recently, and it’s called the PLAY:3. You can think of it as a smaller PLAY:5 (what used to be called the S5), and it is definitely up to par with the level of quality that Sonos is known for. There isn’t an actual subwoofer, rather a tweeter and a couple mid-range speakers, though the unit does offer decent bass and low-end performance. You can also create a stereo pair with two PLAY:3 units if you’d like, using one for a left channel and one for the right channel to fill your entire room with audio. The fact you can add all kinds of music services like Spotify, Pandora, Napster, Rhapsody, Rdio, Last.fm, iheartradio and many more, including your local iTunes library, is straight up mind blowing — all your music in true Sonos fashion is at your fingertips, and it just works. At $299, the PLAY:3 makes jumping into a Sonos setup relatively inexpensive, and a setup consisting of a few PLAY:3 units and PLAY:5 units can really create the perfect music listening experience in your home.
Popular European streaming music service Spotify could launch in the U.S. as soon as next week, AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka speculates. Spotify announced earlier this week that it would be taking its talents to the U.S., but it gave no indication as to how soon the launch might occur. AllThingsD says the smart money is on a launch next week, and the blog has historically been accurate with its coverage of the Stockholm-based music start-up. Kafka reaffirms that Spotify only has deals inked with three of the four major U.S. record labels, but he says a deal with Warner Music Group is close enough to being signed that it should be completed ahead of a launch next week. Like Microsoft’s Zune service or Rhapsody, Spotify allows users to stream music on demand, create playlists and more. The service uses a freemium model that permits ad-supported content to be streamed to desktop computers for free, and then offers mobile streaming, playlist sharing and sheds the ads for paid subscribers. Spotify has not yet revealed pricing for the U.S. market. More →
Custom music steaming company Spotify on Wednesday announced that it will soon launch its popular service in the U.S. The company has been rumored to be in negotiations with major U.S. music labels for more than a year now, and it looks like those negotiations finally panned out. “The award-winning music service that’s taken Europe by storm will soon be landing on US shores,” the company said in a statement on its website. “Millions of tracks ready to play instantly, on your computer and your phone.” In markets where the service is currently available, Spotify allows users to stream music on demand for free to PCs. For a monthly fee, the service adds additional features and supports more devices, such as the iPhone, iPad and Android devices. Pricing and other details for the U.S. market have not yet been announced. More →
Pandora just announced that it has added a few comedy genres to its streaming radio offering. Much like you’d rate a song or artist, you can give each comedy track a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, and Pandora’s “Comedy Genome Project” will recommend different performers based on your tastes. Users can choose a specific comedian, or can select a specific genre such as “political comedy,” “working class comedy,” “PG comedy,” or comedy from the 60, 70s, 80s, 90s, or 2000s. Slacker Radio has had this feature for a while, but if you’re looking for some Lisa Lampanelli to spice up your lunch break, than Pandora should now have you covered as well. Hit the jump for the full release. More →
A new report filed by The Wall Street Journal suggests that New Jersey federal prosecutors are beginning to take a long, hard look at mobile applications. The publication writes that a grand jury will investigate whether iOS and Android applications distributed by Apple and Google “illegally obtain or transmit information about their users without proper disclosures.” Several application makers, including Pandora Media, informed the Journal that were issued subpoenas by the court, but have been told that they are not the target of the impending litigation.
“In early 2011, we were served with a subpoena to produce documents in connection with a federal grand jury, which we believe was convened to investigate the information sharing processes of certain popular applications that run on the Apple and Android mobile platforms,” Pandora noted in a regulatory filing on Monday.
The investigation aims to determine whether mobile application developers have violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act by transmitting anonymized (read: not so anonymized) data to app makers and/or third-parties. The report notes that prosecutors could charge individuals or companies with a “felony or misdemeanor” or could “pursue civil charges.” Neither Google nor Apple responded to the WSJ‘s request for comment. More →