Google has created a new product called the Google Home Max and has brought Diplo and Valentino Khan on board to promote the launch. The Home Max supports a variety of streaming services, including Spotify, YouTube Music, and Google Play. Unlike the Google Home Mini, which aims to compete against Amazon’s Echo Dot, the Home Max looks to compete against the still unreleased Apple HomePod, or the Sonos Play:1.
“Just like the Pixel reimagined the camera, we’ll do the same with sound, the speaker needs to adjust to your home. So today, we’re announcing smart sound, that allows the speaker to adjust to you: your home, your preferences.” -Rishi Chandra
Google Home Max costs $399 and will come out in the US in December with a free 12 month subscription to YouTube Music. Google enlisted Diplo to tell us how he’s critical of the quality of sound from devices and why having them in every room of his home for listening is essential to his life.
DJ culture has a rich and full history, sprawling across genres and around the world. However, if one event is heralded as the keynote of turntablism, it is Kool Herc’s party on Sedgwick Ave in the Bronx, held on August 11, 1973.
To celebrate the 44th anniversary of this cultural shift, Google has turned their homepage doodle into an interactive turntable feature. Prefaced with a history of the event, Google offers a tutorial of basic turntable tips and goes on to provide a crate of records full of classic hip hop, funk, and soul tracks. Gain achievements for scratching and other mixing techniques while jamming to George Clinton, Prince Paul, Grandmaster Flash, and more. Although DJing has come a long way from the underground parties in the Bronx, the end goal of soundtracking a night and getting people to dance has held constant over the years and is still thriving.
LCD Soundsystem‘s forthcoming comeback album is proving to be one of the most hotly-anticipated electronic outputs of the year. Following a Columbia Records co-sign last year, the band has returned with top-notch live performances, and now fans are eagerly awaiting the group’s inbound studio record, which according to James Murphy, is currently being pressed to wax as of this writing. Congruent with the album’s summer rollout, Murphy and company are planning the wide scale launch of their new virtual reality experience, due sometime this summer.
The new VR experience was recently debuted at Google’s three-day I/O developer’s conference along with a live streamed performance from LCD at the event as well. Immersive individual dance parties were soundtracked by a new tune from the group’s upcoming album called, “Tonite.” The new track and accompanying music video are due later this summer as well, presumably ahead of the album’s full release.
A visit to tonight.dance confirms the new VR experience launch. LCD Soundsystem’s follow up to This Is Happening could land as soon as mid-July, though fans may be lucky enough to digitally dance themselves clean before the album officially hits shelves. Preview clips of the new VR experience below:
In December of 2016, Spotify decided not to purchase SoundCloud, following months of widely-publicized talks between the two streaming companies. At the time, TechCrunch reported that Spotify “ultimately walked away because it feared that an acquisition could negatively impact its IPO preparation.” The price tag which SoundCloud placed on the buyout was $1 billion – the same value which reportedly dissuaded Twitter from buying the German company in 2014.
Now, Music Business Worldwide reports that a bigger fish is rumored to be considering acquiring SoundCloud: Google. MBW notes a potential correlation between the rumored acquisition and SoundCloud’s 2016 hire of CFO Holly Lim as a measure to “maintain SoundCloud’s financial health and capitalise [sic] on new opportunities for growth.” Lim herself was previously employed as a Business Operations executive at Google.
MBW reports that the price which Google is allegedly considering buying SoundCloud for sits at around $500 million – cutting the streaming company’s previous valuation in half. The outlet goes on to address the impact that Google’s buyout would have on the major labels which have a stake in SoundCloud; Universal, Sony, and Warner Music Group hold roughly 4%, 3%, and 1-2% in the company, respectively. According to MBW, “If SoundCloud was sold for $500m, the majors would therefore get a cut of around $45m between them.”
As streaming platforms continue to explore innovative strategies to pick up new subscribers, some of the internet’s biggest power players are also moving into live entertainment in order to gain an edge on rival companies.
With Apple hosting their own annual music event and Tidal‘s affiliation with Made In America, it seems like it will only be a matter of time before the likes of Spotify, Soundcloud, and Pandora jump into the live events market as well. Though now, with the launch of the newly announced “Good Fest,” Google becomes the latest digital agglomerate to throw their hat into the live music events ring.
Merging their new music festival initiative with a charitable cause, the Good Fest concert series aims to raise money for non-profit organizations through ticket sales and online donations. The new episodic concert series will be live streamed via Youtube, and describes itself as “the first-of-its-kind festival for good.” The first Good Fest event will host Glass Animals at BAM Cafe in New York City, with four more shows already scheduled in different cities across the U.S.. Proceeds from the inaugural Good Fest with Glass Animals will go to Donorschoose.org.
Google is calling Good Fest “a celebration of progress, positivity, and the power of people to push the world forward.” Music events and philanthropy have gone hand-in-hand for many years, now Google is taking that idea one step further in an increasingly streamable world.