In a move that is sure to strike fear into broadcasters and advertisers everywhere, Apple (AAPL) is apparently working on technology that would automatically shut off broadcast advertisements in favor of preloaded content. AppleInsider reports that a new Apple patent covers a system of “seamless switching between radio and local media” that will let mobile devices “automatically switch between broadcast content and stored media to offer the user a type of customized content consumption experience.” 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 →
Spotify, the trendy music on demand service that has garnered tremendous media attention in Europe, has finally launched in the U.S. as rumored last week. Spotify announced earlier this month that it would become available in the U.S. “soon,” though open negotiations with Warner Music Group were reportedly preventing the company from setting a firm launch date. Apparently Warner finally came around. The Spotify service lets users stream unlimited music on demand, and also build and share playlists. For the time being, the free ad-supported version of Spotify that allows streaming to Windows and OS X PCs only is available as an invite-only service in the U.S. Those who don’t want to wait, however, can pay: a premium $9.99 per month subscription will let users stream ad-free music to mobile devices, share playlists and cache music for offline playback. A $4.99 intermediate plan will remove ads from the stream, but it doesn’t support streaming to the company’s mobile apps, which are already available for iOS devices in the App Store and for Android devices in the Android Market. A nifty little intro video can be seen below along with Spotify’s full press release. More →
mSpot just took the wraps off of its new Radio Spotter Beta app for Android, which will allow users to listen to their own cloud-based music, as well as tunes from streaming radio stations. It works like this: you can match any song you’re playing from your own collection to a radio station to continue playing similar music, or you can select a specific radio station based on genre directly from the application itself. There’s even a new mSpot Music Android application with the built-in Radio Spotter support, so you can take your stations on the go, too. mSpot provides 5GB of space free to new users, but you can sign up for 40GB for $3.99 per month if you have a larger music collection. The company says an iPhone version of the application with Radio Spotter support will launch later this year. Hit the jump for the full release from mSpot. More →
On Tuesday Slacker introduced a new subscription service called “Slacker Premium Radio.” Slacker Premium allows you to search for artists and play songs, or even full albums, on demand. Similar to Rhapsody, you can also cache songs for offline playback on your phone where a 3G or Wi-Fi signal isn’t available. The streaming radio service said that it offers 6 times the amount of music that Pandora offers, although it remains unclear how its library stacks up against Rhapsody or Microsoft’s Zune service. Slacker Premium Radio is available for the web, Android, iOS, and BlackBerry now for $10 per month. 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 →
Companies like Apple and Google are doing their best to put together music products that compete directly with Spotify’s Web-based music streaming product. While reports suggest record labels are making the process as difficult as possible for these giants, Spotify just took the fight to their home turf. The company on Wednesday launched a new music download service that attempts to make Spotify “the only music player you’ll ever need.” Spotify users can now purchase and download full playlists comprised of any songs from the company’s 9 million-track catalog for as low as £0.50 per song. And as an extra little slap, Spotify’s new feature allows playlists to be synchronized with the iPod classic, iPod nano or iPod shuffle right from within the Spotify desktop app. Spotify still isn’t available in the U.S., but rumors suggest the company is closer than ever to striking deals with record companies that will allow it to launch its popular service stateside. Hit the break for the full press release and a video that explains the company’s new download service. More →
Apple’s next-generation iPhone may launch even later than September this year, as has previously been rumored on numerous occasions. Apple has stuck to a summer launch for each new iPhone model released thus far, but the February introduction of Verizon Wireless’ iPhone 4 and the imminent release of the white iPhone 4 do suggest Apple may deviate from its previous schedule. Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo cited supply chain checks in a note to investors on Monday, in which he suggests Apple’s iPhone 5 won’t enter mass production until September. This would make a September release highly unlikely, and would instead mean the new smartphone might launch in October or later. Ming-Chi also reiterates earlier rumors that the iPhone 5 will be an incremental update, and will feature Apple’s new A5 processor, an 8-megapixel camera and a Qualcomm radio like the one found in Verizon Wireless’ iPhone 4. Industry watcher DigiTimes recently issued a report calling any iPhone 5 manufacturing timelines to this point “baseless,” claiming Apple has not yet discussed the device or any production timing with its manufacturing partners.
A report on Wednesday claims European streaming music extraordinaire Spotify is “a few weeks away” from signing a new deal with Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company. Reuters cites people familiar with the talks in reporting the deal, which will give Spotify access to Universal’s massive catalog of music in the U.S. Spotify has already inked a deal with Sony and the company is thought to be getting close to a U.S. launch. Despite the company’s progress, however, the report suggests Spotify is considering a launch without having signed a deal with Warner Music Group, the world’s third largest music label. Spotify currently offers a streaming music service in Europe and has been making considerable efforts of late to launch in the U.S. The service allows subscribers to listen to songs on demand and stream customized Internet radio stations to computers, cell phones and other devices. More →
In a blog post today, RIM announced that it will begin seeding a new application, dubbed BlackBerry Radio, to select Beta Zone users in the United States. The goal of BlackBerry Radio is to make streaming internet radio stations, from multiple sources, easier to discover. That application pulls stations from popular online services like Slacker and iheartradio, as well as terrestrial sources like Clear Channel and Corus. Users can organize stations by genre and get links to purchase playing-songs directly from Amazon MP3. The application is free for Beta Zone users to test; interested parties can can sign up for BlackBerry’s Beta Zone here. More →
Following rumors that streaming music provider Spotify was close to reaching its first deal with a U.S. record label, MediaMemo reports that the company has finally put one in its win column stateside. Spotify today signed a deal with Sony that will give the service access to Sony’s music catalog in the U.S., according to the report. The terms of the deal are said to be very similar to Spotify’s European deals, which would give U.S. users access to ad-supported streaming to a computer for free or ad-free streaming to a variety of devices for a monthly fee. The deal does not mean that a U.S. launch of the Spotify service is imminent, however. The company still needs to get additional labels on board, and it has had a great deal of trouble wooing U.S. labels thus far. Theories as to why labels are so reluctant include fear of further cannibalization of CD sales and fear of upsetting Apple, the top music retailer in the country. More →
Spotify, the popular European streaming music service provider, is finally nearing a deal in the U.S., the New York Post reports. Following more than a year of negotiations with U.S. record labels, Spotify is said to be close to a deal with Sony and has “gained the support” of another label, according to The Post’s sources. Spotify launched in Europe in 2008, offering unlimited streaming music on demand. In its current state, Spotify offers free ad-supported access to users, as well as two paid premium plans — an ad-free £4.99 plan, and a £9.99 plan that allows streaming to mobile devices and station caching for off-line playback. The company has been fighting to offer its service in the U.S. for over a year but has been met with opposition from record labels, which are still uneasy with certain subscription models. Spotify would not confirm The Post’s report. More →
Back in March of this year, Microsoft proudly announced that Pandora would be one of its big-name Windows Phone 7 launch partners. In an interesting turn of events last week, however, the popular Internet radio provider said on its Twitter account that it has no plans to develop an app for Microsoft’s new platform. Following reports of Pandora’s statement, the company reiterated its position:
I’m not sure if/when we will be available on [Windows Phone 7]. Appreciate everyone’s enthusiastic suggestions. I’m passing the feedback on.
We can’t imagine that Microsoft was lying when it boasted of Pandora’s imminent arrival on the Windows Phone 7 platform, but now Pandora is saying its future on the OS is uncertain. Pandora’s change of heart is yet another blow to Microsoft’s mobile platform as the company struggles to get popular apps on its new OS. Pandora Radio is one of several widely popular apps that would help ease customers’ transitions to WP7, though two of Pandora’s biggest competitors — Slacker and Last.fm — have developed and deployed Windows Phone 7 apps.
UPDATE: A Pandora spokesperson gave BGR the following statement with regard to the company’s plans for Windows Phone 7:
While we’re excited to see companies innovating and while we’re not ready to make an announcement specifically related to the Win 7 phone, we generally want to be everywhere our listeners want us to be.