All posts in “apple music”

Google just mysteriously bought a podcast app

Google looks to be making its first foray into the world of audio storytelling. 

Business Insider reports that Google has acquired 60dB, a short-form audio platform. 

The app featured over 700 podcast-style stories. It debuted in January 2016 and will shut down, in its current incarnation, on Nov. 10. The app’s original content will continue to be available on its Medium profile.

Similar to Apple Music, 60dB is heavily focused on personalization. Users can create Spotify-esque playlists of episodes from podcasts and news shows of their choice. Options range from NPR’s Hourly News Summary to in-depth interviews and fiction. 

Google has not yet revealed its intentions for the app and its staff, who will be joining Google’s team, though it’s reasonable to expect some sort of Google competitor to Apple’s podcast app in the next few months beyond the podcast section in Google Play Music.

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Download this: Apple Music’s Facebook bot suggests songs based on emoji

Image: brittany hrbert/mashable

Facebook and Apple have teamed up to bring a new, emoji-filled music recommendation feature to Facebook Messenger.

The Facebook messaging app was updated this week with an Apple Music bot that can recommend songs and playlists based on emoji.

The new bot surfaces music recommendations based on your preferences — or whatever emoji you happen to be feeling that day. Send the bot an emoji and get back a selection of albums or playlists that match up.

Some emoji tend to work better than others — I had more luck with 🎉 than 💩 — but the feature seems to do a decent job overall at guessing relevant music. 

You can also get music suggestions the old-fashioned way by typing in genres or specific artists or albums. Or, you can opt to see broader categories like new releases or editors picks.

For each recommendation, the bot serves up an Apple Music link that allows you to listen to the songs within Messenger.

Additionally, Facebook Messenger was also updated with a chat extension for Apple Music that allows you to share clips of songs directly in your chats. You can enable the extension from the (+) menu in Messenger. Then, all you have to do is search for a song or artist.

Of course, for Apple the goal is to drive more people over to its paid music streaming service, so with both new features you won’t be able to listen to full songs unless you’re a paying subscriber. Even if you don’t subscribe, you can still preview and share 30-second clips of songs. And just having the recommendations on hand should be useful, whether or not you want to pay for Apple Music.

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Apple just helped this British indie singer reach global fame in a matter of minutes

Emma Blackery in concert at the O2 Arena, London, Britain.
Emma Blackery in concert at the O2 Arena, London, Britain.

Image: Richard Isaac/REX/Shutterstock

The Internet is still a place for fairytales, as the amazing story of Emma Blackery shows. 

Blackery is an unsigned British singer-songwriter and YouTuber who has been releasing music independently for years. Her YouTube channel has over 1.4 million subscribers and over 159 million video views. 

Little did she know that the cover art for her DIY EP was going to be featured during a presentation at the Apple Event in Cupertino. 

Her most recent track, Magnetised”, had a prominent position during a demonstration about Apple Music, among “No Data” by Dave Jack and “Green Light” by Lorde. 

Blackery’s cover suddenly reached millions of people across the globe, catapulting her from unsigned artist to household name. 

As you can imagine, her reaction to the news was nothing less than glorious. Her excitement is just earnest and contagious. 

Try not to be moved to tears by these tweets: 

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Stem raises $8M to get music artists paid more seamlessly


While music streaming has become more and more commoditized, artists still have a wide array of places to distribute their songs like Spotify, YouTube and Apple Music — but getting paid properly can start to complicate things.

That problem gets even more difficult when there are multiple people collaborating on the same song and it’s not clear who is getting how much of a cut from the revenue share from those services. That, on top of that the general unpredictability of an artist’s revenue, has left a hole that Stem co-founder Milana Rabkin thinks her and her co-founders startup Stem can fill. To do that, the company has raised $8 million in financing led by Evolution Media and Aspect Ventures, along with several other strategic investors and continuing participation from Upfront Ventures.

Stem works to collect the revenue from those tracks in disparate platforms and sources it into a sort of escrow. It then pays out the artists based on a previously-agreed level of involvement and revenue share. Rabkin said that each artist and collaborator has to sign off on the share. When a track is uploaded, the artist defines those share percentages, and then the revenue is distributed out more quickly than traditionally if it went through the typical channels. Rabkin said users should start getting data within the first 30 to 60 days of publishing.

“A lot of the new tools that have been created in the fintech space have really been focused on the services that have enabled independent small businesses to grow on their own,” Rabkin said. “Artists and creators are no different, the problem is no one’s created tools that cater to them. If you look at Intuit you have Mint, but for an artist with unpredictable income and difficult to track revenue streams [it’s different]. You can plug in your bank account, but Intuit and mint doesn’t plug into iTunes or YouTube or Spotify.”

Another problem Stem is trying to tackle is ensuring that collaborators that may not be able to monetize their content. Some artists — like first-timers — may be releasing content but have to treat it purely as promotional or marketing. Instead of just focusing on making money of touring, Rabkin said Stem will hopefully offer those artists some way of driving revenue right from the get-go.

The data that Stem brings in from all these disparate platforms may also, itself, be valuable. Artists can get information on their listeners and start to zero in on some of their preferences. That might help them tailor their tours or other parts of their marketing. But adding information around revenue streams on top of that adds another layer of data that can signal a much stronger level of engagement than some of the other signals they might have.

“The problem that exists is in the supply chain in the music business, that hasn’t been [solved],” Rabkin said. “There’s new exciting frameworks that have been developed, really great tools to normalize data in relational databases. Those types of tools, they make it really easy to start tackling these problems in a way that wasn’t possible years ago.”

Rabkin said she doesn’t view Stem as competitive with distribution services, as the company is trying to get everything funneled into one place just to sort out who gets paid what. Right now the company has to take over the process, but part of the reason Stem is raising money is to build the tools it has in a way that other distributors can use.

There will likely be plenty of competition in the space. Kobalt, for example, raised $75 million at a $775 million valuation last month. And each of these services — like iTunes or Spotify — may end up simplifying their artist tools down enough that it may not require such complicated background gymnastics to figure out how to get the right people paid. But Rabkin hopes that by building a seamless enough experience Stem will be able to attract a wide artist base that includes Frank Ocean, Childish Gambino, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Anna Wise, Chromatics, and Poolside.

Apple Music just announced a new feature to share your music preferences with friends

Apple debuted a brand new feature for its music service Apple Music at WWDC on Monday, even as rumors swirled that Apple Music’s high profile marketing chief, Bozoma Saint John, may be leaving soon.

The new feature is called Friends Are Listening To, which, as the name suggests, allows you to discover what music your friends on Apple Music are listening to. The feature can be adjusted to be public or private, so no worries if your music tastes lean toward the corny or embarrassing — you can control how you share your tunes.

In addition to the new feature, Apple also announced a big milestone for the music service: Apple Music now has 27 million subscribers.

And finally, Apple announced MusicKit, which will give Apple Music access to third party developers who want to integrate apps into Apple Music. One of the examples Apple listed was the ability to automatically add songs from your Shazam app to your Apple Music list. 

The absence of Saint John, who presented Apple Music at last year’s WWDC, is prominent considering the fact that Apple not only gave her the stage, but Saint John was also featured in a major Apple Music commercial. But despite the unexpected change in leadership, it appears that Apple Music is pushing forward in terms of competing in the new landscape of streaming music services. 

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