Tag Archive: music


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Spotify’s advertising engine and paid customer conversion funnel are finally working well enough that today it eliminated all limits on free, ad-supported web listening in all countries. It’s an important milestone for the scalability and sustainability of Spotify’s business that contrasts with other streaming music services like Ex.fm and Rdio that are stumbling or shutting down.

Previously, Spotify gave free web users unlimited listening for a six-month grace period, but then limited some international free web listeners to 2.5 hours per week. Considering some people like to listen to albums or playlists for hours on end at work, the cap could come up pretty quickly.

Now, there are no limits on ad-supported free web listening at all, anywhere.

The move matches Spotify’s push to become more accessible across platforms. Last month it opened free ad-supported on-demand listening on tablets. It also launched a free, ad-supported version of its smartphone app that previously cost $10 a month, which we got the drop on a week before the announcement.

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This free mobile version is limited to shuffling songs rather than allowing on-demand song choice. It’s positioned to beat Pandora Mobile, where if you choose an artist you only hear them 20% of the time but there’s no ad-supported time-limit as of August. On Spotify’s free smartphone app, you can choose to hear one specific artist, just not the order of the songs.

Today’s announcement also attacks Pandora, but on the web. There, Pandora dropped its listening cap way back in 2011 when it hit web advertising scalability.

Now Spotify has acheived the same feat of sales efficiency as it reaches 26 million users and 6 million paying subscribers, so it’s dropped its web limit. Raising $250 million in November also gives it the runway to think about the long-term when its ads organization will keep getting more efficient and conversions to paid customers will generate recurring revenue. [Update 6:45pm: Spotify has always plenty of cash and lots of competition, but the recent $250 million funding and increasingly heated battle for our ears could also have contributed to it dropping the listening limit.]

Update 8pm: Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has efficiently confirmed my thinking that Spotify’s business is getting more efficient

@JoshConstine yes!-
Daniel Ek (@eldsjal) January 16, 2014

All these moves will give Spotify a boost as it faces its biggest challenge yet: gaining traction as mobile platform owners Google and Apple get serious about streaming music. Their control of iOS and Android give them big advantages on mobile, such as built-in install bases that dwarf Spotify’s independent service and threaten to choke it out.

There’s also new entrants like Beats’ music streaming service that launches later this month, as well European streaming fixture Deezer to compete with.

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To win, Spotify’s strategy must become the omni-jukebox, with on-demand, radio, contextual, and playlist streaming available across all platforms. And that means dropping as many listening limits as it can.

For more on Spotify, read:

Spotify Launches Free Mobile Version

Spotify Wants To Be Everything To Everyone

[Image Credit: Melissa Downing Via The Racquette]

BEYONC

Apple Inc. has begun pressuring the major record companies to offer new releases exclusively through its iTunes store – a move that would initially block availability on streaming services such as Spotify or Beats Music, according to several people familiar with the matter. Apple executives contend that on-demand music services have begun to cannibalize download sales, and its representatives are demanding the labels create a period reserved for digital purchasing. Music industry insiders, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals from the industry’s dominant retailer, said Apple’s push for a new release window – similar to the one that some Hollywood studios impose for films newly released for home viewing – shows the Cupertino, Calif., tech giant is scrambling to retain its competitive advantage in an evolving digital music market.

Read the full story at The Los Angeles Times.

Google’s not content with being just an online digital locker for your music, it wants you buy MP3s from it, too. A New York Times report suggests Google is looking to open an online MP3 store and is negotiating with the record labels to secure the necessary licensing agreements.

Google currently has an online music service, Music Beta, that serves as an online digital locker. You can upload your music library and access it remotely, but you can’t purchase new music through the service. This limitation puts Google at a distinct disadvantage when compared to its competition.

And there’s a lot of competition. Services like Rdio and Spotify offer subscriptions that’ll let you stream music across a variety of devices. iTunes will match your music and sync it through iCloud. And then there’s Amazon’s Cloud Music which lets you upload and stream your personal library. You can also add tracks by purchasing them from Amazon’s Mp3 store, but there is no all-you-can-eat subscription.

According to the NYT report, Google’s gunning for Amazon, but it has to improve its bargaining skills. The company pursued similar negotiations with the music industry earlier this year, but the parties failed to reach an agreement. If Google can secure the licensing agreements this time around, it could give Amazon and the others a run for their money.

Apple has already launched iOS 5 with the iCloud and the iPhone 4S, but the iTunes Match feature that was promised to also be in tow, still isn’t here. However, today, an on/off toggle for iTunes Match appeared in the iOS 5 Settings app, signaling that the feature is getting closer to launch.

Many users have reported seeing the iTunes Match toggle appear in the Music section under the Settings app. That toggle had been available to developers for testing but had disappeared recently only to reappear again today for both developers as well as the general public.

But if you’re not a developer and you attempt to toggle-on the service, you’ll receive a message to subscribe via iTunes on your computer. And you’ll then find that the service is labeled “coming soon” on your iTunes.

iTunes Match will likely roll out with iTunes 10.5.1, which is still under going beta testing by developers. The service costs $24.99 a year and allows you to sync all your music, including songs not purchased from iTunes. It will likely roll out by the end of this month in the US, followed by releases in other parts of the world later on.

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There are hundreds of recording apps in the App Store. There are single-track recorders, eight track recorders, and even 48 track recorders. Some, like Auria and Logic Pro X are professional-grade digital recorders that make capturing individual instruments easy, but if you have a multi-channel input device, it would be way better. Griffin Technology has just announced the upcoming launch of StudioConnect HD, which makes it possible for you to plug multiple instruments into your iPad at the same time for multi-track recording.

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StudioConnect HD is an all-in-one audio interface for multi-track recording so that you can record multiple tracks simultaneously on your iPhone or iPad. It is made from rugged, weighted metal and features a charging platform. You can select either the Lightning or 30-pin connector. Both models come with a USB cable for connecting to a Mac running OS X. The device accommodates Core Audio recording apps for iPad, as well as Mac OS X based Digital Audio Workstations.

“With the continuing impact of mobile devices on the music world, we’ve raised the bar for portable recording interfaces that help musicians and producers work whenever and wherever inspiration strikes,” says Ethan Opelt, Audio Line Manager at Griffin Technology. “StudioConnect HD is an intuitive, streamlined product that encourages creativity.”

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StudioConnect HD features:

  • Two “/XLR combo inputs with individual Gain control, Pad switch, 48v Phantom Power and Signal/Clip LED indicator
  • USB MIDI and 5-pin MIDI support
  • TRS 1/4″ balanced out for monitors
  • Dedicated Monitor and Headphones volume controls
  • Compatibility with iOS (30 pin & Lightning) and OS X (USB)
  • Conveniently holds and charges iPad

Griffin Technology will launch StudioConnect HD in the Fall of 2014 for $199.99. Visit the company’s website for more information.

A new Coen brothers film celebrates Greenwich Village in its 60s heyday, but what’s left of Dylan and Kerouac’s New York? Karen McVeigh takes a cycle tour of the area

Five decades have passed since America’s troubadours and beat poets flocked to Greenwich Village, filling its smoky late-night basement bars and coffee houses with folk songs and influencing some of the most recognisable musicians of the era.

A few landmarks of those bygone bohemian days – most recently portrayed in the Coen brothers’ film Inside Llewyn Davis, out on 24 January – still exist. The inspiration for the movie’s fictional anti-hero, Davis, was Brooklyn-born Dave Van Ronk, a real- life blues and folk singer with no small talent, who worked with performers such as Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan, but remained rooted in the village until he died in 2002, declining to leave it for any length of time and refusing to fly for many years. Van Ronk’s posthumously published memoir, the Mayor of MacDougal Street, takes its name from the street that was home to the Gaslight Cafe, and other early 60s folk clubs.

The Village stretches from the Hudson River Park east as far as Broadway, and from West Houston Street in the south up to West 14th Street. Its small scale makes it easy to explore on foot and perfect for a musical pilgrimage, but the arrival last summer of New York’s bike-sharing scheme, Citibike, makes for a more adventurous experience.

I picked up a bike outside Franklin Street subway station, south of the Village in Tribeca, and headed out to the river, at Pier 45. Looking south you can see One World Trade Center: at 541m, it’s now the tallest building in the western hemisphere. Cycle or walk to the end of the boardwalk that juts out into the Hudson, facing Hoboken, New Jersey, and look to your left and you can see the Statue of Liberty. From there, it’s a short cycle along Christopher Street, up Hudson and along West 10th, to Bleecker Street, where designer boutiques such as Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors and Lulu Guinness mark the area’s steep gentrification.

On MacDougal Street, a jumble of comedy cellars, theatres and cheap eateries have mostly replaced the old, liquorless cafes and basement bars of the folk scene. It is the hub of New York University’s campus and many of the bars, falafel joints and pizza houses are priced for students, with $2 beers thrown in.

But several older venues still exist, including the Bitter End, which staged folk “hootenannies” every Tuesday and now calls itself New York’s oldest rock club”. The White Horse Tavern, built in 1880, still stands on the corner of Hudson Street and 11th. It was used by New York’s literary community in the 1950s – most notably Welsh bard Dylan Thomas. It was here, myth has it, that the writer had been drinking in November 1953, before he was rushed to hospital from his room at the Chelsea Hotel, and died a few days later.

The original Cafe Wha? remains at 115 MacDougal Street, on the corner of Minetta Lane. In the bitter winter of 1961, when the Coen brothers movie is set, cash-strapped artists similar to Davis would take their chances at the open mic. It was here that Bob Dylan made his New York debut, and Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac performed. Cafe Wha? continued to attract artists and musicians long after the Village folk scene gave way to rock’n’roll. A notice on the door catalogues a few of the famous names who played here: Jimi Hendrix, Ritchie Havens, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and the Velvet Underground. It is still a popular music venue, with a house band playing five nights a week.

The real centre of the folk scene back then, however, was Washington Square, where musicians would gather on Sundays to swap ideas, learn new material and play. According to folk singer and historian Elijah Wald, the ballad and blues singers who sat around the fountain in the park created sounds that would influence artists from Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez to folk-rock groups the Lovin’ Spoonful, the Byrds and the Mamas and the Papas. The hero of the Coens’ film is not Van Ronk, according to Wald, but he does sing some Van Ronk songs and shares his working-class background.

When I visited on a sunny but cold December day, there was only one musician, a saxophonist, playing under Washington Square’s stone arch, but at weekends the park fills with rap and jazz musicians playing to tourists and students. Bikes are not officially allowed inside the square, but there are Citibike stations around it, so it’s easy to park and walk around.

A block north of the park, on West 8th Street, is a historic 107-room property once known as Marlton House and home to many writers and poets, who were attracted by relatively cheap rates and the bohemian neighbourhood. Jack Kerouac wrote The Subterraneans and Tristessa while living here and, in a darker episode, Valerie Solanas was staying in room 214 in 1968, when she became infamous for stalking and then shooting Andy Warhol.

Sean MacPherson, who owns the stylish Bowery and Jane hotels nearby, has just reopened the building as the Parisian-inspired Marlton Hotel (marltonhotel.com). I popped in to its very comfortable lobby for coffee and a flick through its copy of John Strausbaugh’s The Village: 400 years of Beats and Bohemians, Radicals and Rogues. And I caught up with Strausbaugh later, to ask him about the village in the early 1960s, when young idealists were living hand to mouth and sleeping on friends’ couches.

“In 1961, if you were in any way an artistic person in America, in that vast American landscape, you were a lonely figure,” said Strausbaugh. “You heard about San Francisco, you heard about Greenwich Village, and you went there. You didn’t play there to make money; you went there to be heard. Like Dylan, who played at the Cafe Wha?, then got another entry-level gig, then began playing at the biggest places.”

There were others, Strausbaugh said, like Van Ronk, who were talented, but whose ambitions were more modest than those of Dylan and Baez. The unique thing about the Village, he added, is that it survived so long as a bohemian enclave, from the early 1850s, when it attracted poets such as Walt Whitman, to the beatniks and folk revivalists of the 1950s and later.

“The left bank [in Paris] did not last 100 years, but the Village did,” he said.

Many of the buildings and sometimes entire streets in the Village have been preserved and are now home to some of the most expensive real estate in Manhattan and sought-after for their distinctive, old Greenwich Village look. A struggling folk artist might find a cheap meal in one of the student cafes around MacDougal Street, but they would never be able to afford to live in the area – or anywhere in Manhattan, realistically.

“It has not been completely finished off,” said Strausbaugh. “There are still a lot of theatres. But the people who make the music have not been able to live there for 20 or 30 years.”

Pyle PWSIC30 Universal Waterproof Sport Case with Headphone Jack for all iPads, Tablet PCs and eReaders – 1 Pack – Retail Packaging – Black

  • Weight: 3.5 oz. – Multitouch Controls Work Through Engineered Cover
  • 3.5mm Headphone Jack – Can Withstand Submersion in Water Up to 1 Meters/3.3 Feet
  • IPX-8 Waterproof Standard – Can Hold Devices with Dimensions Up to: 9.56 x 7.47 x 0.50 Inches
  • Clear Rear Cover for Camera Operation
  • Universal Design Compatible for All iPad Models

The PWSIC30 is a must-have accessory for using your tablet or e-reader near the water – by the pool, at the beach, in the tub. Just put your tablet in the case, connect the headphone jack: you’ve instantly waterproofed your tablet! Best of all, you can still listen to music and control your phone while it’s in the case. It’s completely compatible with touch-screen tablets, and the internal headphone jack allows you to connect your headphones on the outside of the case without breaking the waterp

Google Inc.’s Android unit has been negotiating with music companies to start a paid subscription music-streaming service akin to Spotify AB, according to people familiar with the matter.

Separately, Google’s YouTube video website is trying to obtain licenses from music labels to start a paid subscription service for music videos and potentially also for audio-only songs, these people said.

Read the rest of this post on the original site

Vitalii Sediuk, who is affiliated with Ukrainian television channel 1+1, has been linked to string of celebrity stunts

A man who attempted to upstage Adele at Sunday’s Grammy Awards faces a possible trespassing charge for his latest awkward celebrity interaction.

Vitalii Sediuk spoke briefly before Adele took the stage and received the telecast’s first Grammy Award. He was shooed away by presenter Jennifer Lopez and video of the ceremony shows him walking off the stage while Adele delivered her acceptance speech, crediting Lopez as a “good luck charm.”

Jail records show Sediuk spent the next several hours in custody and was ordered to appear for a March 4 court date. He told The Hollywood Reporter, which first reported his arrest, that he did not have a ticket to the show and took musician Adam Levine’s seat before going on stage.

Sediuk’s intrusion came after Los Angeles police increased security at the Grammys due to an ongoing manhunt for a rogue ex-officer targeting police and their families.

Police said they had no details on Sediuk’s arrest, other than it was made by private security at the show.

Publicists for the Grammy Awards did not return emails Tuesday seeking comment on the incident.

Sediuk, 24, has gained notoriety for other stunts involving celebrities. Will Smith slapped the 24-year-old last year after attempting to kiss him on the red carpet of the Moscow premiere of “Men in Black III.” Madonna received a bouquet of hydrangeas from Sediuk at the 2011 Venice Film Festival and promptly stashed them under a table, declaring, “I absolutely loathe hydrangeas.”

Sediuk was not immediately available for an interview Tuesday.
“I’m not a crazy guy,” Sediuk told the Reporter. “I just think differently.”
He was working for the Ukrainian television channel 1+1 when he was slapped by Smith in May, and told the Reporter that his station wasn’t credentialed for Sunday’s show. He claims he followed Katy Perry into the show and that security never asked him for a ticket.

He said he didn’t plan on going onstage, but went up after hearing Adele’s name after she won the award for Best Pop Solo Performance. He was pulled away from the microphone by Lopez, who appeared unfazed and Adele delivered her acceptance speech without further incident.

“Like Adele said, she’s her good luck charm,” Lopez’s publicist Mark Young wrote in an email Tuesday.

Elegant collection of midi-length kilts and windowpane checks helps singer-turned-designer brush off ex-Spice Girl tag

“Impeccable” was how Natalie Massenet, chair of the British Fashion Council, described Victoria Beckham’s autumn-winter 2013 collection at New York fashion week. And impeccable is the right word – not just for the sharp lines of the tailored cashmere coats, elegant tuxedo suits and graphic intarsia knits, but for the masterclass in brand strategy the label has become.

The distinctive sleek, sophisticated, body-conscious dresses of Beckham’s early collections have proved to be a mere springboard for a fully formed fashion house that is holding its own at the highest levels.

Great care is taken that every aspect of this label is executed at the highest taste level. The trays of English Breakfast and Japanese popcorn tea, and the Diptyque scent emanating from the candelabras in the New York City public library show venue, set an elegant tone.

With every season in which the assembled fashion industry enjoys the spectacle of Anna Wintour engaged in an amiable front-row chat with David Beckham, another nail is struck in the coffin of the ex-Spice-Girl tag.

Victoria Beckham’s customers have a voracious appetite for dresses that allow them to feel they are buying a piece of her lifestyle. (David might not be taking you to dinner at Gordon Ramsay’s, but hey, you can wear the dress.) Her challenge is to balance that with the industry’s desire for newness, and the need to be seen making a contribution to the wider fashion conversation, which is essential for the label to be seen as a fashion, rather than a celebrity, brand.

For now, Beckham is working this creative tension to her advantage. Where once the models on the catwalk looked like Victoria clones, now they are quite distinct – though this season they were carrying large handbags tucked under their arms, which is how the designer usually holds hers.

This collection was on trend in its emphasis on separates, soft volume, and menswear influences in fabrics and patterns. But Beckham always dresses to look sexy as well as stylish, and this was mirrored in the slim belts that added shape to tunics and the side splits in the midi-length kilt-style skirts.

Backstage after the show, Beckham enthused about the impact of her family’s recent move to England. “This is a big collection, hopefully with a strong fashion message, and that reflects me being able to be hands on every minute of the day.”

Traditional British fabrics, from windowpane-check wools to Scottish cashmere sweater dresses, were “the influence of coming home – but done in a sexy way,” she said.

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