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Spotify began rolling out a brand new redesign for its users last week. It’s a sleeker, darker, apparently much improved revamp across all three of its platforms: web, desktop and mobile.
Apparently both YouTube and Apple will be launching similar subscription based streaming services this year so Spotify’s multi-platform redesign seems like an early attempt to set the pace.
I took a look at the previous incarnation of Spotify just over a month ago in Seven reasons why I love Spotify and 17 why I don’t. I use Spotify more than any other music platform (I actually use them all on an almost weekly basis) and I couldn’t function without its unlimited access to 20m songs and ability to sync playlists to multiple devices.
However I am profoundly aware of its limitations and frustrations. Just a few UX tweaks here or there could massively improve the experience.
There’s an argument to say that because Spotify never really had any competition, it didn’t have to worry too much about improving its functionality. However with Google Play, Beats Music and now iTunes and YouTube launching rival services, it’s time for Spotify to up its game.
Let’s see if the redesign has done just that?
Here are March's very best branded Vines, including efforts celebrating the month's biggest events: the rise of the selfie, St Patrick’s Day and, uh, Flappy Bird.
Alright, March isn’t too event-heavy, but still there’s some great Vining going on.
This month I’ll try and highlight brands that we haven’t covered as of yet. Sure Samsung, Oreo and Disney routinely knock them out of the park, but these do tend to overshadow other brand’s efforts.
With a total running time of one minute and 20 seconds, welcome to the smallest show on Earth:
Let’s put this to bed.
I’ve spent the last couple of weeks trying to find a decent replacement for iTunes.
The reasons why I want to abandon the world’s most popular music download service are many and varied.
iTunes is a deeply flawed experience. It's impersonal and slow, with lack of support for different file formats. It has a stubbornly rigid pricing model and no browser access whatsoever.
In fact I rarely use the platform to download. Instead I use a collection of different digital download sites to purchase MP3s online.
Yet I still use iTunes almost exclusively to organise and access my songs on both desktop and smartphone.
Surely there’s an easier way. Well I’m going to try and find one. For the good of you, me and the music loving public of the world.
Spotify might still be loss making, despite revenues of $435m in 2012, but the service is incredibly popular and many think it might be gearing up to IPO.
These rumours have started since Spotify in December secured some $200m in credit lines and recently acquired a music algorithm company, Echo Nest.
If this does mean Spotify is about to get serious about profit, it comes at a time when competitors are more easily found – from Beats Music to Milk, Samsung’s new service.
I listened to Spotify’s Chris Maples (VP, Europe) at last week’s Digital Media Strategies 2014. There were some interesting titbits, from stats to Spotify’s approach to iteration and mobile, that I thought would be worth sharing here.
Let me know if you have any thoughts on Spotify’s future or its approach to subscriptions and product development.
When not writing incisive commentary on big US brand’s social video strategy, giving new bloggers helpful advice on setting up a WordPress site or searching around the Topshop website wondering where my youth has gone, I’m also just staring blankly at the internet.
Occasionally during my comatose-like revery, something registers as vaguely interesting, and when it does I wipe the drool from my mouth and add the link to a little document on my desktop called ‘stuff that is good on the internet that I should tell people about’.
Here are the contents of that very document, spilled out on to your monitor like a fisherman who has cut open a net of bottom-feeding suction eels onto the deck of his trawler.
I love Spotify, I’ll just make that clear from the start. Spotify has completely changed the way I listen to music.
In fact, while I briefly linger in this positive mood, here are some more reasons why I love Spotify:
As a part-time music journalist, I couldn’t function properly without its unlimited access to 20m songs. Also, new album releases for any given Monday seem to appear not long after midnight on the Sunday before. This is terrific for my Monday morning commute.
I can also use Spotify on as many devices as I like (desktop, laptop, phone, work computer) with up to 3,333 songs able to be synced for offline listening on up to three devices at a time.
Just in case Thom Yorke is reading, I will also add that far as I’m concerned, using Spotify has led to me spending more money on music through other channels (mainly independent record stores), purely because of the access I now have to music that I wouldn’t normally listen to
As a final bonus, in the free version of Spotify, it has jettisoned the limits to how many times you can listen to a song and how many hours a month you can use it. I would however suggest that £10 a month is a small price to pay not to have to put up with some of the most irritating adverts ever hosted on a platform.
And this is where we arrive at the major thrust of this article.
It's a treacherous place out there on the internet.
One misstep and you could be the unwitting victim of a phishing scam.
One erroneous ecommerce visit could lead to an accidental purchase of goods or services you didn't want because the 'buy it now' button is far too ambiguous for our tiny brains to handle.
One innocent search for 'who is Kim Kardashian' can lead you directly to the Mail Online.
Again. It's a treacherous place out there.
If only there was a safe harbour. An area cordoned off from the scammers, the tricksters and the muck-rakers. A place you can be guaranteed nothing but high quality entertainment and useful information provided by the most ethically minded curators.
Well until that place is found, you'll just have to make do with this…
Beats, the ubiquitous headphone brand co-founded by Dr Dre, will release its music streaming service Beats Music in the USA on 21 January.
Beats currently controls 27% of the $1.8bn headphone market and 57% of the premium market (an eye-watering place where headphones can cost anywhere between $100-$400) and its headphones have quickly become a visual staple of public transport, the high street and indeed the very office I’m writing this article in now, within only the last few years.
Now it looks like Beats is set to take on the music streaming market with what appears to be an expertly planned, theoretically artist-friendly and potentially Spotify smashing service.
Let’s take a closer look…
In 2013, 7.4bn songs were streamed in the UK, doubling the previous year's total of 3.7bn.
This figure comes from the latest report by the Official Charts Company and the British Phonographic Industry, or BPI as it wishes to be known as nobody since the turn of last century knows what a phonograph is.
2013 saw an even bigger shift towards digital technology being the primary way that listeners discover and enjoy new music, helped with the continued increase of tablet and smartphone ownership, and the improvement of music streaming apps on mobile devices.
Here are some more digital music related stats from the report, which may feature names of artists you’ll have to ask your kids about or consult your nearest NME reader.
Using any music in one’s work is often a headache if one is unsure of the ins and outs of licensing.
Epidemic Sound aims to simplify the process with its users paying one fee to access a whole bunch of music to use in their work.
We caught up with CEO, Oscar Höglund to ask him more about the service.
Spotify has a selection of ten main advert formats. Some are interruptive, others arrive during extended terms of no-use of the application, and some are clickable.
These ad formats will suit various types of businesses. The high-end or in need of last-second promotion (movie studios, album launches) will enjoy the light boxes and homepage takeovers, while small businesses with low budgets may prosper with trendy playlists.
This post details the five most commonly selected advert formats, with my own quick survey (via SurveyMonkey) of 100 people providing opinion as to which works best.
Take a look and which your brand could be using.
The year is 2031. Flying cars have just hit the open market, the New York Mets are on the verge of winning their first World Series in forty-five years, and television as we know it has ceased to exist.
Let’s first imagine that a super smart group of MIT engineers solved all the technical troubles we’d encounter in switching from a broadcast to a unicast model.
The public’s consumption habits now overwhelmingly favor an on-demand format, and each household is equipped with a SmarTV capable of streaming content instantaneously from anywhere on the web.
Traditional channels have fallen in the face of more agile competition from platforms like Netflix and Hulu, or they’ve adapted to HBO Go-esque versions of their former selves.