Spotify officially launches its Apple Watch app

Following reports of its testing, Spotify today has launched its long-awaited Apple Watch app. The app allows users to control the playback of Spotify’s streaming service from their Watch’s screen, as well as connect to devices like their computer, Wi-Fi speaker and more through Spotify Connect, toggle on Shuffle, access music playlists and other recently played items, favorite tracks with a heart, and more.

The news was announced today on Spotify’s blog, where it details the app’s features, which also include the ability to play podcasts, in addition to music. “We know the importance of having music on the go, which is why we’re excited to bring a new Spotify app to our highly mobile users on Apple Watch,” the company said. “With this new app, users can enjoy an improved experience with better control and the ability to seamlessly connect to your speakers or devices.” The App
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Spotify debuts an analytics service for music publishers

Spotify’s artist dashboard already allows musicians and their managers a way to track the success of their tracks and album releases, as well as view other data about their fans. Now, the streaming music service is debuting its first analytics tool aimed at music publishers. The new tool is launching into beta this morning, and will allow publishers to track daily streaming stats, including playlist performance, and view data across all the songwriters on their roster.

“We know that there are usually many more people involved in the creation of your favorite song than just the artist whose face appears on the billboard,” explains the company, in its announcement. “Spotify Publishing Analytics is the first analytics tool from a music streaming service built specifically for publishers, so they can better serve their songwriters.” The platform was built in collaboration with partners, including BMG and Reservoir, who offered statements of
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Pandora beats in Q3 with $417.6M in revenue, fast-growing subscription business

Streaming music service Pandora released its third quarter earnings today – the first since the news of its impending acquisition by SiriusXM, announced in September. The company reported a quickly growing subscription business for its paid products, Pandora Plus and Pandora Premium, which brought in $125.8 million in Q3 – a figure that’s up 49 percent year-over-year.

However, Pandora’s larger user base consists of those on its ad-supported free tier, whose revenues are not growing as quickly. The company pulled in $291.9 million in ad revenue, it said. That’s only up 6 percent year-over-year – despite the fact that Pandora’s acquisition of digital audio ad technology company AdsWizz completed in May and contributed to Pandora’s ad revenue this quarter. Pandora also said the launch of new ad formats and a shift to higher CPM ad products aided in the ad revenue growth – modest it may be.
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Spotify plans to buy back up to $1 billion in stock

In a move aimed at boosting its falling stock price, Spotify this morning announced it would buy back up to $1.0 billion worth of stock – up to 10 million in ordinary shares. The repurchase program was authorized by the company’s general meeting of shareholders and approved by the Board of Directors. The program will expire on April 21, 2021, Spotify says.

The decision to buy back stock comes at a time when Spotify is reporting modest growth for its streaming business, but is struggling in public markets as investors have become skeptical as to whether or not the company will be able to sustain that growth long-term and become profitable. It’s also been impacted by the larger declines impacting tech stocks, which in October saw their worst month since the 2008 recession. In the last quarter, Spotify reported revenues up 31 percent year over year, and an operating
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A long and winding road to new copyright legislation

Back in May, as part of a settlement, Spotify agreed to pay more than $112 million to clean up some copyright problems. Even for a service with millions of users, that had to leave a mark. No one wants to be dragged into court all the time, not even bold, disruptive technology start-ups.

On October 11th, the President signed the Hatch-Goodlatte Music Modernization Act (the “Act”, or “MMA”). The MMA goes back, legislatively, to at least 2013, when Chairman Goodlatte (R-VA) announced that, as Chairman of the House Judiciary

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Enjoy This ‘Epic Trailer Version’ Playlist

I love overly dramatic cover songs, the kind you hear in movie trailers where some lady is stage-whispering “He did the mash, he did the Monster Mash” while the Inception sound blasts over shots of a robot wizard tornado. I play them in two moods: feeling extremely dramatic and pumped up, or feeling goofy. So I took a… Read more...

Check Out Our Halloween YouTube Playlist

You’ve got a week before Christmas music starts seeping into every crevice of the ambient soundscape. So let’s throw one last hurrah of Halloween music. With the help of my colleagues throughout Gizmodo Media, some YouTube recommendations, and old episodes of Dr. Demento, I’ve built a playlist (embedded above) of 52… Read more...

Spotify launches its playlist submission feature out of beta

Spotify is taking its playlist submission feature for all artists out of beta, starting today. The feature, which was first introduced into beta this summer, offers musicians and labels a way to reach Spotify’s playlist editors – the increasingly important tastemakers who can make or break a new track or help an emerging artist reach an expanded audience.

For years, artists and labels had been playing a game of trying to get intros to the correct playlist editor – believing that if you could just reach the right person, you could sway them to get a new song selected for playlist inclusion. The playlist submission tool aims to give artists a different means of reaching Spotify’s editors. Through the Spotify for Artists dashboard – the place where musicians can track their plays, view analytics, see fan base demographics, and now, upload music directly – they can now also send
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SoundCloud tracks can now be shared to Instagram Stories

Streaming service SoundCloud is making it easier for its users to share music from its service directly to Instagram . The company announced this morning a new feature that allows users to share tracks to Instagram Stories. However, there’s a big caveat here – the tracks are shared as a link that appears within Stories . To actually listen to the track, users have to click the “Play on SoundCloud” link, which then redirects them to the SoundCloud app to begin listening.

This offers a way for fans and artists to promote their music through Instagram’s hugely popular Stories platform, but it’s not quite the same as being able to actually share music via Instagram, as the listening takes place elsewhere. Prior to this, people shared their SoundCloud discoveries via workarounds – like taking screenshots, for example. To use the new feature, you first find the track you want to share, and
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YouTube partners with Eventbrite to sell concert tickets on music videos

YouTube is extending its ticketing initiative, already live with Ticketmaster, with the new addition of Eventbrite. The partnership, which was announced this morning, will see Eventbrite listings for live music performances across the U.S. when watching YouTube Official Artist Channels. Beneath these videos will be show listings and a “Tickets” button which users can click to make purchases, across both YouTube on the desktop and in the YouTube app.

The video streaming site had first entered into the ticketing business late last year with a dealt to sell concert tickets on YouTube video pages, powered by Ticketmaster listings. The launch had arrived at a time when Spotify and Apple Music were running away with the streaming music business in the U.S., while YouTube was still getting its own music competitor, YouTube Music, off the ground. However, the video site on its own has a massive reach beyond
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Spotify’s Premium app gets a big makeover

Spotify has given its app a big makeover, with a focus on making the experience better for its paying subscribers. The company has simplified the app’s navigation by reducing the numbers of buttons and has revamped its Search page, which now incorporates elements previously found in “Browse,” like favorite genres or music to match a mood. And it’s given its Radio service a redesign as well, with the addition of new and easy-to-use Artist Radio Playlists.

The most immediately noticeable change is the app’s navigation. Spotify has always felt a bit cluttered, with its five navigation buttons – Home, Browse, Search, Radio and My Library. The new app has chopped this down to just three buttons – Home, Search, and My Library. Recommendations will appear on the Home page, following the update, while discovery is powered by Search. The Search page lets you seek out artists, albums and podcasts
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Spotify takes a stake in DistroKid, will support cross-platform music uploads in Spotify for Artists

Spotify has taken a minority stake in music distribution service, DistroKid, a popular tool used by artists for uploading their music across platforms. The company didn’t confirm the size of its stake, only saying that it made a “passive minority investment.” As a result of the deal, Spotify will also upgrade its Spotify for Artists service to include an integration with DistroKid that allows artists to simultaneously upload content to other platforms.

“For the past five years, DistroKid has served as a go-to service for hundreds of thousands independent artists, helping them deliver their tracks to digital music services around the world, and reaching fans however they choose to consume music,” the company announced in a blog post about the deal. Spotify was already a partner with DistroKid ahead of this news. However, DistroKid’s service currently allows musicians an easy way to get their tunes to Spotify competitors,
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Winamp returns in 2019 to whip the llama’s ass harder than ever

The charmingly outdated media player Winamp is being reinvented as a platform-agnostic audio mobile app that brings together all your music, podcasts, and streaming services to a single location. It’s an ambitious relaunch, but the company behind it says it’s still all about the millions-strong global Winamp community — and as proof, the original desktop app is getting an official update as well.

For those who don’t remember: Winamp was the MP3 player of choice around the turn of the century, but went through a rocky period during Aol ownership (our former parent company) and failed to counter the likes of iTunes and the onslaught of streaming services, and more or less crumbled over the years. The original app, last updated in 2013, still works, but to say it’s long in the tooth would be something of an understatement (the community has worked hard to keep it updated, however).
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No, Apple didn’t acquire music analytics startup Asaii, it hired the founders to work on Apple Music

On the heels of news of not one but two acquisitions from Apple last week, a report surfaced yesterday that Apple had picked up yet another company, the music analytics startup Asaii, for under $100 million; the report led to a “confirmation” from a shareholder in a separate report. But as it turns out, neither appear to be correct.

But we asked and Apple has declined to confirm the deal, and it gave no green light to use its usual statement — the one it often issues when smaller startups are acquired. (You can see a sample of it in this story about Apple buying computer vision startup Spektral last week, which we did get Apple to confirm.) That is, the company has not acquired the assets of the startup. What it has done is hire a few employees of the company — specifically the three
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The One Hit Wonders Nostalgia Playlist

Just because a song is old doesn’t mean it will trigger nostalgia. If you keep Beyoncé in regular rotation, listening to “Crazy in Love” probably won’t take you back to 2003 every time. But I’ve found a kind of music that’s way more likely to trigger nostalgia: the one hit wonder.

SoundCloud finally lets more musicians monetize four years later

SoundCloud moves painfully slow for a tech company, and no one feels that pain more than musicians who are popular on the site but don’t get paid. 10 years since SoundCloud first launched, and four years since it opened an invite-only program allowing just the very biggest artists to earn a cut of the ad and premium subscription revenue generated by their listeners, SoundCloud is rolling out monetization.

Now, musicians 18 and up who pay SoundCloud $8 to $16 per month for hosting, get over 5000 streams per month, and only publish original music with no copyright strikes against them can join the SoundCloud Premier program. They’ll get paid a revenue share directly each month that SoundCloud claims “meets or beats any other streaming service”. However, the company failed to respond to TechCrunch’s inquiries about how much artists would earn per 1000 ad-supported or premium subscription listener streams, or how
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Visualizing 30 Years of Music Industry Sales

Visualizing 30 Years of Music Industry Sales

30 Years of Music Industry Sales

The record industry has seen a lot of change over the years. Vinyl gave way to 8-tracks, and cassettes faded away as compact discs took the world by storm, and through it all, the music industry saw its revenue continue to climb. That is, until it was digitally disrupted. Looking back at three decades of music industry sales data is a fascinating exercise as it charts not only the rise and fall the record company profits, but seismic shifts in technology and consumer behavior as well.

The Long Fade Out

For people of a certain age group, early memories of acquiring new music are inexorably linked to piracy. Going to the store and purchasing a $20 disc wasn’t even a part of the thought process. Napster, the first widely used P2P service, figuratively skipped the needle off the record and ended years of impressive
Physical vs. Digital sales
Music Streaming Subscriptions
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Ne-Yo wants to make Silicon Valley more diverse, one investment at a time

Dressed in a Naruto t-shirt and a hat emblazoned with the phrase “lone wolf,” Ne-Yo slouches over in a chair inside a Holberton School classroom. The Grammy-winning recording artist is struggling to remember the name of “that actor,” the one who’s had a successful career in both the entertainment industry and tech investing. “I learned about all the things he was doing and I thought it was great for him,” Ne-Yo told TechCrunch. “But I didn’t really know what my place in tech would be.” It turns out “that actor” is Ashton Kutcher, widely known in Hollywood and beyond for his role in several blockbusters and the TV sitcom That ’70s Show, and respected in Silicon Valley for his investments via Sound Ventures and A-Grade in Uber, Airbnb, Spotify, Bird and several others. Ne-Yo, for his part, is known for a string of R&B hits including So Sick, One
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