Spotify tests new ‘social listening’ feature

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Spotify tests new ‘social listening’ featureScreen Shot 2018 01 02 At 7.21.37 PM

The competition among music streaming services is growing fiercer as traditional forms of music consumption dwindle. Major players like Spotify have to continually up the ante with what they offer subscribers, and the Swedish company is now testing their latest feature: social listening.

Spotify has been at the forefront in terms of integrating social media into their platform. They made sharing music easier than ever by providing specific links for platforms like Facebook, Whatsapp, Messages, and even universal shareable links. Subscribers can also, follow, make, and edit playlists together. Now, with social listening, subscribers can listen to music simultaneously.

The feature is only being tested by Spotify employees at this time, so there aren’t many specifics surrounding the service for regular subscribers. A software engineer named Jane Manchun Wong unveiled the feature to the general public. She found it by searching through the application’s code and laid out her findings in a series of tweets.

Apparently there will be a new button marked “Connect With Friends” that will reveal a QR code. Once the code is scanned the two accounts are connected and will be able to listen to music together. From there, all accounts that have scanned the code will be on a list called “Already Connected” and will be able to use the feature at will.

H/T: Hypebeast

Orbit Playlist: Opiuo lays it the funk down before heading back to Lightning In A Bottle

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Orbit Playlist: Opiuo lays it the funk down before heading back to Lightning In A BottleOpiuo Press Shot 1 1 1

Bass breeder of a most funk-infused variety, Opiuo has cooked up a special playlist for Dancing Astronaut ahead of his performance at central California’s next round of Lightning In A Bottle festival, on May 8.

The New Zealand-born, Australian resident, Opiuo takes listeners through the chromatic length of his aural crates, with tracks spanning tender, melodic house (Lane 8‘s “Atlas”) to foreboding mid-tempo electro (1788-L‘s “Cyberspace”). Like-minded funk and experimental bass producers run abound, with additional offerings from CloZee, G Jones, Big Gigantic, and of course, some innovative firepower from Opiuo himself to adequately ready Lightning In A Bottle attendees for a splendidly strange DJ set.

I’m so excited to be back at Lightning In A Bottle, one of my favourite festivals in North America,” says Opiuo. “Here are a bunch of songs I love from a bunch of friends and legends playing on the weekend. You can expect a tonne of brand new music from me on the night as we dance away into the bass heavy funkadelicoblivion.

Tickets to Lightning In A Bottle, held at Buena Vista Lake, as well as general festival information, can be found here.

Spotify tests voice-enabled advertisements in limited U.S. trial

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Spotify tests voice-enabled advertisements in limited U.S. trialSpotify Testing Skippable Ads

Streaming giant Spotify announced its launch of voice-enabled interactive advertisements on May 2—a move which reflects the company’s interest in bumping up investments into voice technology. The advertisements will encourage listeners to say a verbal command and direct them to either a branded Spotify playlist or podcast. Listeners have a short duration of time to say the phrase “play now” in order to to take action; any other spoken phrase will prompt the mic to turn off and the ad to resume its normal run.

The first two ads Spotify is testing come from Spotify Studios and Unilever’s Axe. The former will take users to the Spotify original podcast Stay Free: The Story of the Clash and the latter directs them to a Unilever Axe branded playlist. The ads will only be available to a limited subset of Spotify free listeners in the U.S. and those who enabled Spotify’s voice controls. Spotify’s research into voice technology echoes CEO Daniel Ek‘s belief that voice across all platforms, “are critical areas of growth, particularly for music and audio content” as well as their desire to capitalize on smart assistants and voice-enabled home devices. Further, the company wants to maximize their ability to reach users in a time where people are minimizing screen time and consciously picking up their devices less. Spotify isn’t the only streaming player to show interest; Pandora also confirmed it would begin testing interactive ads in 2019 as well.

H/T: TechCrunch

Amazon prepares to launch high-definition streaming service

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Amazon prepares to launch high-definition streaming serviceAmazon Echo

Shortly after launching its free music streaming service on April 18, Amazon continues its foray into the streaming industry with plans to launch a high-fidelity music streaming platform. The biggest players in high-definition streaming currently are TIDAL and Deezer, both of which offer streams at 44.1 kHz / 16 bit for $19.99 per month. TIDAL additionally offers a “Masters” quality, which encompasses thousands of albums at 96 kHz / 24 bit, made possible by its partnership with MQA.

Reports say that Amazon has already secured the potential licensing from one major record label while in talks with other large music-rights holders. The new tier is presumed to be around $15 per month and expected to launch before the end of 2019. With the entry of hi-def service, Amazon will essentially cover every tier of recorded music in both streaming and physical products like merchandise, vinyl, and CDs. As of now, Amazon’s digital music services include its free Alexa streaming, Prime membership-catalog, and on-demand access via Amazon Music Unlimited. While Spotify and Apple Music have yet to make moves on the hi-def streaming space, Amazon’s strategic ventures into the music space may give it leverage to leaving to compete for a spot as one of the biggest music subscription streaming platforms globally.

H/T: Music Business Worldwide

Spotify hits 100 million paid subscribers

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Spotify hits 100 million paid subscribersScreen Shot 2017 08 02 At 3.34.49 PM

Months after adding several new regions of the world to its service area, Spotify is celebrating hitting 100 million paid subscribers.

In its first-quarter earnings report released on April 29, the Swedish company announced that it had surpassed 100 million paid subscribers at the end of March. This number remains well above its closest competitor, Apple Music, which reported 50 million subscribers at the end of 2018. The report also noted a 32-percent growth in subscribers and a 26-percent increase in total monthly active users, year over year.

Spotify added services in India, the Middle East, and North Africa earlier this year, growing its presence to 79 countries. While Spotify continues to dominate overall worldwide, Apple Music is still ahead of its biggest competitor in the United States with 28 million paid users reported in early April.

Read the full earnings report here.

H/T: CNet

Celebrate the third anniversary of Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ by streaming on Spotify and Apple Music for the first time

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Celebrate the third anniversary of Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ by streaming on Spotify and Apple Music for the first timeBeyonce Lemonade

The best-selling album of 2016 has finally made its way to Spotify and Apple Music—just in time for its third birthday.

Beyoncé‘s sixth studio, Lemonade, made its debut on Tidal on April 23, 2016 and was met with widespread acclaim from critics worldwide. It was named one of the best albums of the year by countless publications and featured collaborations with The Weeknd, James Blake, Kendrick Lamar, and Jack White. For the first time, fans can stream Lemonade on Spotify and Apple Music. Before April 23, 2019, the album had only been available to stream on Tidal and for purchase through retailers.

2019 has already been a big year for Beyoncé, who just released her Homecoming documentary on Netflix and a corresponding live album. She’s also set to voice Nala in the upcoming Lion King remake, out this July.

Photo credit: YouTube – “Lemonade” music video

Apple music claims more paid U.S. subscribers than Spotify

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Apple music claims more paid U.S. subscribers than SpotifyApple Music Interface

According to new data from the Wall Street Journal, Apple Music has surpassed Spotify in paid subscribers in the United States. Apple Music took the top spot with 28 million paid subscribers, while Spotify sits at 26 million paid subscribers in the U.S.

Spotify still leads Apple Music in overall users with 95 million compared to Apple music’s 50 million subscribers. The catch—Spotify offers a free tier while Apple does not. The tech giant’s DSP is also outpacing its Swedish competitor platform, growing between 2.6% to 3% in the past year compared to Spotify’s 1.5% to 2%.

With over 900 million iPhone users worldwide, Apple Music is pre-installed on every new phone, creating a stronghold in the industry. The question between the competition becomes, how can these products differentiate and bring value to content curation through music? Some say there will be no difference, while others point to the power of playlist and personalization.

Sunday Morning Medicine Vol. 169, with Flume, RÜFÜS DU SOL, Slow Magic, + more

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Sunday Morning Medicine Vol. 169, with Flume, RÜFÜS DU SOL, Slow Magic, + moreSMM 2400

Sunday Morning Medicine is a feature from Dancing Astronaut dedicated to the mellower side of electronic music. Senior Editor Bella Bagshaw brings you her favorite therapeutic selections—old and new—each week, in attempts to alleviate the agonizing effects of a long weekend of partying.


Let’s begin at the end this Sunday, with the concluding offering, “Spring,” from Flume’s latest mixtape. With help from the eternally strange, Eprom, Flume uses pitched-up vocals and a frenetic, downtempo arrangement, for a resplendent, redolent Sunday soundtrack.

Slow Magic’s take on Manila Killa’s “Wake Up Call” is an echoing, pensive vessel for some Sunday eschewal. Where Manila Killa’s initial offering showcases a sobering groove, Slow Magic’s is one of escapism: a palliative proposition to drift inside a soft blue dream.

Moods takes an already blissed-out Catching Flies cut, “Sunrays” and adds a lulling, looping beat, liable to send listeners into some sunny, sound-induced catharsis.

From RÜFÜS DU SOL’s enduring, sophomore album comes “Brighter,” a song privy to absolving any residual end-of-weekend regrets. Though, nearly any selection from RÜFÜS’s expansive catalog carries some semblance of sunshine.

Now let’s end at the beginning: Flume’s quixotic and vapory “Zimbabwe” rework lives on his first and self-titled album. To spend a Sunday inside Flume’s artistic evolution would surely stave off intrusive work-related thoughts; so, that’s just what Dancing Astronaut is prescribing this week.

Sunday Morning Medicine Vol 168, with MGMT, Chromatics, Washed Out, + more

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Sunday Morning Medicine Vol 168, with MGMT, Chromatics, Washed Out, + moreSMM 2400

Sunday Morning Medicine is a feature from Dancing Astronaut dedicated to the mellower side of electronic music. Senior Editor Bella Bagshaw brings you her favorite therapeutic selections—old and new—each week, in attempts to alleviate the agonizing effects of a long weekend of partying.

Vaski’s airy offering, “Weightless” is a revolving staircase of vocal chops and lush, plucky loops: the ideal music to go in circles to this Sunday.

From their often-overlooked album of the same title, “Congratulations” is MGMT at peak psychedelia and introspection-friendly: just what the audio doctors ordered after a long weekend of dubitable behavior.

Arriving at the top of his brand new EP, “Horizons” allows Super Duper to see our Sunday in the right direction, with the help of some bubbly sampling, subtle strings, and a touch of saxophone synth.

Broody and cinematic, “Cherry” is Chromatics’ surreal Sunday spoonful of escapism.

Washed Out’s meandering soundscapes of “Great Escape” lead us through corridors of swirling color kaleidoscopes and idealistic instrumentals; away from the pervasive whispers of Monday.

Spotify files complaint against Apple Music, citing ‘unfair advantages’

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Spotify files complaint against Apple Music, citing ‘unfair advantages’Spotify Daniel Ek Press

The fight to be crowned king of streaming continues as Spotify and Apple Music duke it out March 13. The most recent development comes after Spotify founder Daniel Ek and his team filed a complaint against Apple alleging “unfair advantages” in regards to Apple’s App Store.  After “careful consideration” and what seems like previous efforts to resolve the conflict with Apple, the Spotify team proceeded forward with the European Commission.

Spotify’s complaint centers around the issue of Apple’s App Store policies and logistics that would require Spotify to pay a supplementary tax and subsequently inflate the membership price above that of Apple Music.

“Apple requires that Spotify and other digital services pay a 30 percent tax on purchases made through Apple’s payment system, including upgrading from our free to our premium service,” Ek said. “If we pay this tax, it would force us to artificially inflate the price of our premium membership well above the price of Apple Music. And to keep our price competitive for our customers, that isn’t something we can do.”

The Spotify founder also pointed out discrepancies where apps like Uber were not affected by Apple’s tax policies, noting that “app stores should not be allowed to control the communications between services and users, including placing unfair restrictions on marketing and promotions that benefit consumers.”

Ek made it clear that this is not a “Spotify-versus-Apple issue,” but rather an issue about “competition on the merits.”

H/T: Complex