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Gaming News

Popular Twitch Streamers Temporarily Banned For Playing Copyrighted Music

June 22, 2018 — by Kotaku.com0

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Image: Twitch

Today, more than 10 popular Twitch streamers tried to kick off their streams, only to find a nasty surprise waiting for them: they’d been kicked off Twitch for 24 hours. The reason? They played copyrighted music during their streams.

Streamers xQc, Sinatraa, Daequan, Alfie, Avxry, KittyPlays, Pokelawls, Sneaky, Castro1021, Nico, Symfuhny, and Solluminati have all reported 24-hour suspensions for the same reason: Digital Millennium Copyright Act violations, or as they’re more commonly known on Twitch, DMCA strikes. The strikes allegedly came from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry—according to emails multiple streamers claim are from Twitch—and may have been tied to a song by rapper Juice Wrld.

“This organization has asserted that it owns this content and that you streamed that content on Twitch without permission to do so,” reads one of the emails, as posted by KittyPlays. “As a result we have cleared the offending archives, highlights, and episodes from your account and given you a 24 hour restriction from broadcasting.”

If you’ve watched any Twitch streams at all in your life ever, this might come as a surprise to you. After all, pretty much everybody on Twitch uses music. Sometimes it’s royalty-free, but it’s not uncommon to hear familiar hits during big streamers’ shows. Some streamers have playlists going in the background for the entirety of multi-hour streams. Others—Kotaku’s own channel included—put on some chill music before a stream is about to start, to let viewers know it’s time to tune in. To account for this, sometimes Twitch auto-mutes audio in portions of stream archives. Otherwise, people don’t usually get in trouble for it.

That doesn’t mean they can’t get in trouble for it, though. Twitch’s rules state that any content owned by somebody else is fair game for DMCA takedown if the owner decides to claim it. This applies to songs, as well as video clips and things of that nature—and even games like Persona 5, though publisher Atlus ultimately walked back its restrictions in that case.

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Twitch keeps getting bigger and bigger, so it seems only natural that, at some point, big record labels and music companies would start cracking down. That in mind, people have already started providing guides that point streamers in the direction of music that’s not subject to such strict restrictions.

But this particular DMCA storm might have actually been an accident, despite initial appearances to the contrary. Two of the temporarily banned streamers, Avxry and Daequan, were set to compete in this week’s Friday Fortnite tournament, which is run by YouTube shit-stirrer by whom all other shit-stirrers are judged, Keemstar. Keemstar claims to have spoken with Juice Wrld’s record label, Interscope, who apparently said that its “automatic system hit big streamers by accident.” Kotaku reached out to Interscope and Twitch for comment, but as of publishing, neither had replied.

Shortly after Keemstar said that (and also yelled a bunch on Twitter), however, Daequan and Avxry were un-banned, lending credence to Keem’s claims. He says he also mailed Interscope about retracting DMCAs issued to other streamers. So far, Alfie, xQc, Sinatraa, and Nico have also been unbanned.

Tech News

Facebook can predict a musician’s movement using only an audio clip

June 21, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

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We’re used to seeing the likes of Wii avatars crudely banging at pianos or sawing away at violins, but Facebook is now working on an application that uses music alone to govern the movements of an augmented reality avatar. In other words, input some music, and the avatar will move just like a human pianist or violinist would.

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The research, completed in partnership with the University of Washington and Stanford, has just been presented by Facebook at the CVPR (Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition) conference. The team wanted to see if natural body dynamics could be predicted from music, and while the base animation is pretty basic and shaky, they’re certainly on their way to achieving that. Next on the agenda will be detailed arm and finger motions.

This is the first time anyone has tried to predict body movement from music alone. It’s an interesting piece of AR research, and it could also have wide-ranging applications for music not only in gaming, but in the real world, too. If you wanted to learn a piece of piano music, for example, you could simply input the audio and then mimic the key movements of the avatar pianist — much more fun than those seventh grade lessons you were forced into.

Gaming News

Neon Genesis Evangelion Theme Gets An Official HD Music Video 

June 20, 2018 — by Kotaku.com0

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Neon Genesis Evangelion’s opening theme is one of the best and most iconic tunes to ever grace anime.

Initially, Evangelion creator Hideaki Anno wanted classical music for the anime’s opening theme but decided an upbeat pop song might have a wider appeal. The result was “A Cruel Angel’s Thesis,” sung by Yoko Takahashi.

The song was originally released in 1995 when the anime debuted. King Records is now re-releasing the track in HD.

While it’s the first time King Records has put a hi-def version on YouTube, this isn’t exactly a first per se. Back in 2014, the original anime got an HD Blu-ray release.


Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

Tech News

Beyoncé and Jay-Z take digs at Spotify in latest Tidal exclusive

June 17, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Beyoncé, YouTube

Beyoncé and Jay-Z aren’t keeping quiet in the wake of Tidal’s scandals around inflated numbers and late royalties… if anything, they’re ramping things up. The power couple have released a joint album exclusive to the service, Everything is Love, that includes a not-so-subtle dig at Spotify. It’s clear they’re not having second thoughts about their streaming music choices.

“Patiently waiting for my demise / ’cause my success can’t be quantified / If I gave two fucks about streaming numbers / would have put Lemonade up on Spotify,” Beyoncé sings in “Nice.” She sees music on Spotify as a grab for statistical success, not critical praise or fortune — no small slight when Spotify has bent over backwards to court major artists. It’s a rare case of the fight for streaming music supremacy translating to very personal lyrics.

The question is whether or not Everything is Love will help Tidal’s fortunes. There’s a good chance it will spike both trial sign-ups and one-month subscriptions, but will people keep coming back? That’s the perpetual problem. While Tidal’s exact subscriber base isn’t known, it’s believed to be far smaller than Spotify (75 million paid users as of March) and Apple Music (50 million as of May, if you include trials). It may get massive spikes in new users from exclusive releases, but only a fraction of those users stick around. In other words, they’re more likely to content themselves with purchases (it’s not yet clear if this will be available to buy elsewhere) or the occasional YouTube music video.

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Gaming News

Kpop Superstar Dresses Up As Squirtle To Check Out Fans' Birthday Wishes

June 11, 2018 — by Kotaku.com0

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JR from the Korean boy group Nu’est recently had a birthday. According to SBS, fans rented out subway billboards with birthday wishes. JR wanted to go see the ads for himself and dressed up as Squirtle as he ventured out in public.

Below are images of JR, apparently dressed as Squirtle, checking out the birthday greetings. Doesn’t appear he was recognized and this one way he could see the birthday billboard without causing a scene.

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Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

Tech News

Apple hires another BBC veteran in its bid to rule hip-hop music

June 10, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

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Hip-hop is quickly becoming a key battleground for streaming music services: companies like Spotify and YouTube have been poaching influencers in a bid to become tastemakers and lure millions of listeners. And Apple is certainly no exception to the rule. Music Business Worldwide has learned that Apple has hired Ryan Newman, the Editor for the BBC’s hip-hop and grime-focused Radio 1Xtra. He was responsible for creating and implementing the station’s strategy, suggesting he’ll have a similar role at Apple Music for its on-demand streaming, its Beats 1 station or both.

We’ve asked Apple if it can comment on the reported hire.

This isn’t Apple’s first score from the BBC, of course — it recruited Radio 1’s Zane Lowe as one of the main DJs at Beats 1. It also isn’t 1Xtra’s first major staffer to leave for a streaming job, as music lead Austin Daboh left to become a senior editor for Spotify’s UK programming. However, Newman’s apparent job change shows just how important hires like this have become. If Apple didn’t hire people with extensive connections to artists and an ear for what’s hot and trending, it risked losing its influence in urban music (such as its ability to land exclusives).

Tech News

Apple Music makes it easier to see new albums that are on the way

June 8, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

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Apple is releasing some updates to Apple Music today that will make it easier to see what new music is on the way and when it’s set to arrive. MacRumors reports that a new “Coming Soon” section is rolling out to both the iOS and macOS versions of the music streaming service and it currently shows upcoming albums from artists like Florence + The Machine, Interpol and Gorillaz. To get there, go to the Browse tab, select New Music and then scroll down until you find the Coming Soon section. Tapping the albums listed will bring up additional information like the expected availability date and track listings.

Expected release dates are also now available on some upcoming albums’ Apple Music pages even when the albums aren’t listed in Coming Soon. Additionally, it appears that artist profiles are getting tweaked as well. On iTunes, MacRumors notes that the artists’ portraits are now circular and Featured Releases are highlighted along with their release dates. And a play button appearing next to the artist’s name will shuffle their music.

Apple Music, which hit 40 million subscribers in April, has been gaining on rival Spotify and to boost that effort, Apple is now working on its own music publishing division.

Image: Apple Music