Posts Tagged ‘apple’

Why Apple Doesn’t Have Its Own Music Streaming Service

Friday, June 22nd, 2012 by Daniel

Why Apple Doesn’t Have Its Own Music Streaming Service

Renting and purchasing media both have its advantages and disadvantages, but Apple has no desire to introduce subscription services.

Renting gives you the pleasure of not worrying about variable costs. The cost of everything you rent whether it is books, movies or music is fixed. You can rent as much as you desire, and the cost will remain constant. Renting platforms such as Netflix allow you to pay a set monthly fee and the their library is yours. Subscribers also do not need to worry about their purchased items not being compatible with products in the future, seeing as you don’t own it.

Purchasing media, however, allows you to keep the content for the long run. Even if the costs are not fixed, your data plan will not turn into variable cost since you do not need any data. What’s bought is yours.

So why wont apple offer subscriptions services?

They do not believe in it. In an interview with the late Steve Jobs, he told Fast Company Magazine, “Nobody wants to subscribe to music. They’ve bought it for 50 years.” Jobs argues people have records, albums, cassettes and CDs so why would they start renting now?

Everyone has heard the phrase, ‘Why fix what’s not broken?’ iTunes sells more music than any other company in the world. Apple has no logical reason to create a subscription service when iTunes is breaking barriers, allowing consumers to purchase music, along with movies, television shows, documentaries, books and Angry Birds.

Apple has iTunes Match, a service that allows Apple users to store all of their music, whether it be downloads, songs you’ve imported from CDs, or purchased music on iCloud. This allows you to access your music from any of your devices and listen to all of your music, wherever you are.

How do you obtain your music? Let us know below!

Grooveshark Encountering Legal Problems With Increased Popularity

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011 by Briana

Since its initial beta launch in 2007, Grooveshark has been steadily growing in popularity. Initially a paid music downloading service, the website has since evolved to a music streaming platform with over 30 million users, like a free version of Spotify. The difference, however, is that Grooveshark is not strictly speaking legal.

Grooveshark relies on user-generated content, which is very hard to individually police. There is a Terms of Service agreement that users must agree to before uploading anything, but even though it specifically states that no illegal content is to be uploaded, many do so anyway. Although Grooveshark insists it has complied with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and taken down any content the major record labels have asked them to, there is evidence that the company actually encouraged illegal uploading. Recently released internal documents even go so far as to suggest that Grooveshark employees were encouraged to illegally upload music to further expand the Grooveshark library.

This has caused Universal Music Group to file a second lawsuit (the first was filed in early 2010), though Grooveshark maintains that the claims are based, “almost entirely on an anonymous, blatantly false internet blog comment.” However, internal emails from the company were made public as part of the lawsuit and include employees as high up as the company’s chairman, Sina Simantob saying things like, “…we are achieving all this growth without paying a dime to any of the labels.”

This isn’t the first time Grooveshark has run into legal troubles, either. In August 2010, Apple pulled the Grooveshark app from the iTunes app store due to complaints of illegality by the major record companies. Android followed in April 2011, removing Grooveshark from their app market.

Despite the legal troubles, Grooveshark continues to expand. They recently announced the future arrival of the Grooveshark Car Kit, which will allow users with Android phones to use Grooveshark in their car. The kit includes Bluetooth hands-free calling, USB charging and buttons to safely control the application while driving. Grooveshark CEO Sam Tarrantino said they expect the car, “to be the first of many other places our users can access Grooveshark in the future.”

Do you think Grooveshark’s legal problems will prevent them from expanding further? Or is there really no such thing as bad press? Comment and let us know!

Is Streaming Music at Risk?

Thursday, November 24th, 2011 by Briana

Music streaming services have become increasingly popular over the last couple of years, offering users the option to listen to music without having to actually buy it. Spotify, the most popular of these services, offers both paid and ad-supported free versions for both personal computers and mobile devices. Spotify launched in the United States in July 2011 and has since added millions of users with both free and paid accounts, and roughly four million of them signed up after the service was made available through Facebook in September. Spotify is making efforts to expand the company even further, and is in talks to make it available in Australia as well.

However, Spotify’s success is not making label execs as happy as it should. Some indie labels have actually begun pulling their music from the service, citing low profits as the main reason. Although the exact figures are not generally known by those outside the industry, it is estimated that one cent or less is earned per streaming play. Not to mention, recent studies have shown that despite what Spotify says, at least 37% of music fans say they are less likely to buy their own copy of a song when they can stream it. This has already caused smaller labels like Century Media and Mode Records to pull their content, and some are left wondering if bigger labels won’t follow their example.

As it is, the digital music waters are rocky. Google Music had to launch without one of the three biggest record labels (EMI’s recent purchase by Universal’s parent company facilitating a deal and allowing Google to obtain those rights) because Warner Music has yet to agree to a deal that would allow Google Music to sell their artists’ songs. For consumers, this means some of their favorite bands might not be available through Google, causing them to try out other options, like iTunes Match. The iTunes option offers several things that Google does not: automatic syncing to the cloud, higher quality streaming, and customizable playlists. It is, however, a paid service, which could be a deterrent. Both, like Spotify, offer streaming to both PCs and mobile devices, although the key difference is that Google and iTunes stream songs the user already owns.

Spotify does have something new and different to offer: playlist sharing. Users can share their playlists with others, or even collaborate with each other to compile them. Then, a link is provided that allows the playlist to be shared and downloaded to other users’ Spotify clients, and they update automatically when the creator adds or removes songs. Both iTunes and Google lack this kind of sharing option, though Google Music does allow a user’s friends to listen to a purchased song in its entirety once through Google+. The only current sharing option on iTunes is the option to share a link to the specific page in the iTunes store where a song was purchased. Spotify’s playlist sharing option is one of the features making it increasingly popular when compared to other methods of music consumption.

Between Spotify, Google, and iTunes, today’s music consumers have more choices than ever when it comes to how they want to listen to and share their music. Whether they stream it or buy it or use the cloud to do both, or even turn to slightly-less-legal options like Grooveshark, there’s certainly an option for everyone. What do you use? Tell us how you listen to and share your music in the comments below!

Google Music to Launch Soon

Friday, October 28th, 2011 by Briana

Google Music, also known as Music Beta by Google, is preparing for launch. The new music store by Google is already set to be a competitor for Apple’s iTunes, which has recently dominated the market of online music sales. The big question, however, is what will set Google Music apart from other music stores like Amazon and Rhapsody? The answer can be found in several aspects that are rumored to be included in Music Beta.

Initially, Google Music won’t have songs for sale. In an existing service, users are able to store up to 20,000 songs for streaming purposes. The streaming feature is available on computers as well as mobile devices, even allowing for automatic caching for offline play.

Eventually, however, the goal is to make music available for sale. Tracks are expected to cost 99 cents, and will offer a variety of other perks. For example, a new social media tie-in is expected, which will allow users to recommend digital songs to their contact lists. The user’s friends will then get a free listen to the recommended song and will be given the opportunity to buy it.

It is also rumored that an official app for the music store will be available on the Android app market, making it available to millions of Android users. This would put it in heavy competition with iTunes, which is well known for its availability on Apple’s iPhone. Recently, going to music.google.com from an Android phone or tablet will bring users to a page that advertises the coming option to shop for music.

However, there are a few major obstacles between now and the day when Google Music is a legitimate competitor for the larger stores like iTunes. First and foremost, Google needs to secure the rights to sell the music. As of right now, only EMI Group is anywhere near finalizing a deal, though Universal Music Group isn’t far behind. Of the four major music companies, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group are still negotiating deals. It would be risky for Google to proceed without all four, as between them the companies distribute 87% of music in the United States, but it appears that Google may launch Google Music even without some of the labels. This could lead to consumers potentially not being able to find the music they want, which would be bad for the burgeoning store’s initial reputation.

Another obstacle is that, for now, Google Music is only available in the United States. Although the amount of American consumers is undeniably large enough to keep the service in business (look at Hulu), if Google plans to eventually launch internationally, some international consumers may be frustrated by the wait and seek other options.

Despite these obstacles, however, Google Music is shaping up to be a real competitor for iTunes, and with a possible launch as little as two weeks away, that competition will be showing shortly. Will you be switching to Google music, or is the comfort and familiarity of iTunes too much to leave behind?

Is DRM More or Less Profitable for the Entertainment Industry?

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011 by Briana

New research is showing that the hassles associated with DRM-locked music, movies, and games may actually be leading to more piracy. Consumers, when given the option, are often choosing to download their media illegally rather than pay and risk losing it to strict digital rights management rules.

DRM, short for digital rights management, has been around more or less since the introduction of digital music sales, and consumers have been finding ways around it since its conception. Initially found on audio CDs and computer games, DRM has since moved to digital music, e-books, and television. Allegedly, this is to stop piracy and illegal sharing, allowing the entertainment industry to make a profit.

However, a recent study has shown that DRM is actually increasing piracy amongst consumers. According to Dinahy Vernik, assistant professor of marketing at Rice’s Jones Graduate School of Business, the inconveniences created by DRM have caused many consumers to simply decide that legal media isn’t worth it. Often, DRM-locked media can only be put on a certain number of computers, for example, whereas pirated media has unlimited application. Removing DRM, the study says, will increase demand for legal media and therefore drive down prices.

However, this isn’t to say that the age of legal music is over, in fact, the leader in legal digital music sales, iTunes, is going stronger than ever. DRM was removed from all iTunes music in 2009, allowing Apple to avoid the worst of the debate over digital rights, and now iTunes makes up 33 percent of U.S. recorded-music revenue. That’s more than even WalMart, which is the second largest retailer with 10.1 percent. Under DRM, iTunes music was not as easy to share, even amongst a user’s own devices, as there was a strict limit that only allowed each song to be played on 5 different computers. There isn’t a limit anymore, however, the iTunes music format of .m4a is still not quite as flexible as the .mp3 format despite being higher quality.

Would allowing paid, but legal, unlimited access to digital media effectively stop piracy in its tracks? Or is the lure of free media too good for most to resist? Let us know in the comments what you think.

The World Remembers Steve Jobs

Thursday, October 6th, 2011 by Briana

Steve Jobs, aged 56, passed away on October 5th surrounded by family, according to a statement released by Apple yesterday. His family also released a statement, saying, “Steve died peacefully today surrounded by his family. In his public life, Steve was known as a visionary; in his private life, he cherished his family. We are thankful to the many people who have shared their wishes and prayers during the last year of Steve’s illness; a website will be provided for those who wish to offer tributes and memories. We are grateful for the support and kindness of those who share our feelings for Steve. We know many of you will mourn with us, and we ask that you respect our privacy during our time of grief.” Steve is survived by his wife and their three children, as well as by a daughter from a previous marriage.

Responses to the death have ranged from grief to remembrances of Jobs’ life, from everyone from fans to public figures. Even President Obama commented, calling Jobs, “…among the greatest of American innovators - brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it,” sentiments echoed by Jobs’ fans. Other statements have been released by Paul Allen, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg, all acclaiming Jobs’ accomplishments as an innovator of technology. Multiple people, including Steven Spielberg, have called him both the Thomas Edison and the Henry Ford of our time.

Bob Iger of Disney, a company Jobs was closely involved in through his association with Pixar, said, “Steve Jobs was a great friend as well as a trusted advisor. His legacy will extend far beyond the products he created or the businesses he built. It will be the millions of people he inspired, the lives he changed, and the culture he defined. Steve was such an ‘original,’ with a thoroughly creative, imaginative mind that defined an era. Despite all he accomplished, it feels like he was just getting started. With his passing the world has lost a rare original, Disney has lost a member of our family, and I have lost a great friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Laurene and his children during this difficult time.”

“#ThankYouSteve” as well as “RIP Steve Jobs” and “#iSad” are the top trending topics worldwide on Twitter, and the largest of the several memorial groups on Facebook has more than 73,000 members and is growing by the minute.

As Jobs once said, “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.” And make a difference, he did.

We invite you to share your thoughts on Steve’s fan page, and join us in mourning the loss of a true innovator.

Chris Martin performs unreleased song at Apple event

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010 by mattj

Coldplay’s Chris Martin showcased a new song last night (2nd September) during a surprise appearance at an Apple event where a new iTunes ‘Ping’ social music network and improvements for the iPod and Apple TV were unveiled.

The singer performed ‘Wedding Bells’ at the end of a press conference for the company’s new products at the Yerba Buena Centre in San Francisco which was also screened live on TV screens at The Brewery in east London.

Introducing the track, Martin, who was wearing a white Flaming Lips t-shirt, joked: “This is a new song called ‘Coldplay 2.6′ and it has a lot of new features, it features seven different kinds of chords and even a new one that our closest rivals have no idea about,” before adding: “This could be the only time you ever hear it. It could go terribly wrong but we’ll see what happens.”

The soft piano ballad featured the lyrics: “Wedding bells are ringing/I don’t want to swallow such a bitter pill/I always loved you and I always will.”

Earlier the Coldplay frontman also played ‘Yellow’ and their Number One single ‘Viva La Vida’ which Martin revealed: “Our record company said this is not a hit single. But with the weight of Apple, they managed to turn it into a very successful single. So thank you.”

Watch the exclusive Apple performance now!

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