Tech News

Recommended Reading: The plight of fact-checkers in the fake news era

July 28, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

WILLIAM WEST via Getty Images

The fact-checkers who want to save the world
Kate Knibbs,
The Ringer

In the era of fake news and rampant misinformation, fact-checkers are a key line of defense and an important tool in separating truth from lies. The Ringer takes a look a the organizations and individuals who have accepted the challenge, shifting through stories and even fact-checking those claiming to be fact-checkers.

You don’t need to be a musician to get a record deal in 2018
Elias Leight,
Rolling Stone

It’s no secret that streaming has drastically changed the music industry, and now labels are looking to social media stars for their next big act.

Chasing the ‘Holy Grail’ of baseball performance
Ben Rowen,
The Atlantic

When it comes to sports, team chemistry is vital. Researchers, including economists and psychologists, are on the hunt for the secret sauce that makes a great team.

‘Mission: Impossible 6’ proves Tom Cruise will outlive us all
Priscilla Frank,

A look at the latest Mission Impossible film through the lens of a writer who has watched the American hero’s entire filmography.

How Trent Reznor turned his anger outward
Kory Grow,
Rolling Stone

The Nine Inch Nails frontman opens up during the band’s three-night stay in Vegas. Reporter Kory Grow also spoke with bandmate Atticus Ross about Reznor and the band’s new music.

Tech News

Spotify lets artists submit unreleased tracks to playlist editors

July 19, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Christian Hartmann / Reuters

Spotify announced today that it’s making it easier for artists and labels to submit new music to its playlist editors. The company has released a new feature, which is still in beta, that will allow artists and managers with a Spotify for Artists account or labels using Spotify Analytics to submit an unreleased song for curated playlist consideration. That track will then be available to the over 100 editors Spotify has around the world, who can search through submissions for appropriate additions to the playlists they design.

Spotify says that it’s important for those submitting tracks to provide as much information as they can about the song. That includes genre, mood, whether it’s a cover, the cultures the artist or the song represent and other data that will help editors find the song and make sure it lands in the right playlists. The company also said that as long as artists and labels tag and submit a song seven days in advance, it will automatically be added to the artist’s followers’ Release Radar playlists.

Recently, the music-streaming giant reportedly began offering advance fees to indie artists and managers who license their songs directly to Spotify, and it began displaying a track’s songwriter and producer credits earlier this year. The company said today that it features over 75,000 artists on its editorial playlists each week and another 150,000 on its Discover Weekly playlist.

Since the submission feature is still in beta, it’s subject to change. “We’ll continue evolving this feature based on your feedback, so artists, labels, managers and partners can all help us create better playlists for Spotify listeners,” Spotify said.

Tech News

Future earns highest-charting streaming-only album on Billboard 200

July 16, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Scott Legato via Getty Images

Future’s new album, Beastmode 2, is now the highest-charting streaming-only album, Billboard reports, debuting at No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot 200. With this album, Future has dethroned Chance the Rapper, whose Coloring Book became the first streaming-exclusive album to chart on the Billboard 200, peaking at No. 8. Coloring Book also went on to earn Chance the Rapper the first Grammy awarded for a streaming-only album.

Beastmode 2 charted with 57,000 equivalent album units earned through 73.5 million on-demand audio streams. The Billboard 200 chart began taking streaming data into account in 2014 and last month, Billboard began weighting streams from subscription services more heavily than those from free and ad-supported services for its Hot 100 songs and Hot 200 albums charts.

Beastmode 2 is Future’s ninth album to reach the Billboard 200 top 10.

Tech News

Apple Music reportedly has more US subscribers than Spotify

July 6, 2018 — by Engadget.com0


Thanks to a Wall Street Journal report in February, we knew Apple Music was poised to overtake Spotify in terms of US subscribers this summer. Well, it reportedly has happened. According to sources from Digital Music News, Apple’s streaming service now has more than 20 million paying users in the States. The report claims that Spotify also has in excess of 20 million paying customers in the US, but Apple is now in the lead. DBN didn’t mention specific numbers, but says its source is a “US-based, major [music] distributor.”

Spotify still leads outside of the US, tallying 75 million subscribers as part of its first earnings report in May. However, considering the company filed to go public in the US in April, reports that its primary competition there has made up what was once a massive lead won’t be welcome news, especially to investors. But subscriber numbers may not be the only place Spotify is lagging behind Apple.

A recent report from Music Business Worldwide offered a deep dive on the early stats both service released on Drake’s Scorpion. In the first day, Spotify notched 132.4 million streams globally while Apple Music counted 170 million. As MBW notes, there are a number of factors that could’ve contributed to this, including the fact the album appeared on Apple Music right at midnight while it wasn’t available on Spotify until a couple hours later. However, this comparison also indicates Apple Music is more popular in the US than Spotify. And when it comes to one of biggest — if not the biggest — release of the year, that’s a problem for a company trying to prove its profitability.

Earnings season is coming again soon, so we’ll probably get some exact numbers to compare then — if not before.

Nathan Ingraham contributed to this report.

Tech News

You can now sync Spotify podcasts on your Mighty

June 13, 2018 — by Engadget.com0


The iPod Shuffle-like Mighty launched last year, giving users offline access to their Spotify playlists. But missing so far has been the ability to sync the podcasts you follow on the music streaming service to Mighty. Well no longer, because Mighty has now released an update that will let you do just that. If you follow a podcast on Spotify, it will now show up in the Mighty app. Just head to Browse, then Podcasts, then click the series you want to listen to. Select which episodes you want to hear and tap the SYNC button.

Mighty users will also now have access to curated Spotify playlists like Discover Weekly, Release Radar and Your Time Capsule. You’ll find those through the Made For You menu item under Browse in the Mighty app. Other tweaks include the ability to fast forward through songs and podcasts — your Mighty will tell you how many minutes you’ve skipped through the latter — as well as playback position memory. When you stop listening, your Mighty will remember where you’ve left off in any particular playlist or podcast, letting you return to that spot later on.

To access these new features, you’ll need to update both the Mighty app and your Mighty’s software. You can read our review of the device here.

Tech News

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

June 8, 2018 — by Engadget.com0



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

Tech News

Spotify drops artist conduct policy following backlash

June 1, 2018 — by Engadget.com0


That didn’t take long. After Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said it was working with civil rights groups and folks within the music industry to retool its “bad behavior” framework this week, the streaming service has scrapped it wholesale. “While we believe our intentions were good, the language was too vague, we created confusion and concern, and didn’t spend enough time getting input from our own team and key partners before sharing new guidelines,” a statement from the company reads.

In so many words, the statement continues that the company never intended to become the morality police. “Across all genres, our role is not to regulate artists,” it says. “Therefore, we are moving away from implementing a policy around artist conduct.” Spotify says that some artists were worried that mistakes they made in their youth could come back to haunt them, and that allegations could affect an act’s chance of being included in a playlist, regardless of genre. “That’s not what Spotify is about,” it says.

Spotify first came under fire for this after pulling music from R. Kelly from its playlists, following years of allegations that the singer was guilty of sexual assault, statutory rape and other crimes. Previously, it’d worked with the Southern Poverty Law Center, GLAAD and the Anti-Defamation League to develop the rules.

This doesn’t mean that the streaming service will drop its policy regarding hate speech, though. It noted that it will continue to not permit music, podcasts or videos that aim to incite “hatred or violence against people because of their race, religion, disability, gender identity or sexual orientation” on the service.

“We’re not talking about offensive, explicit or vulgar content — we’re talking about hate speech,” the blog post concludes.

Tech News

Spotify CEO on new content policy: 'We rolled this out wrong'

May 31, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek admitted the service handled its policy to limit promotion for artists based on their conduct poorly. “We rolled this out wrong and could have done a much better job,” Ek said at the Code Conference, according to Deadline. He said that the company never intended to serve as the “morality police” with the policy, and conceded that the framework was too vague at its inception.

Early this month, the streaming service pulled R. Kelly’s music from its playlists following years of allegations that the artist was guilty of sexual assault, statutory rape and other crimes. At the time, Spotify said it worked with the Southern Poverty Law Center, GLAAD and the Anti-Defamation League to develop the rules. Spotify said it would nix promotion for any artist who does something “especially harmful or hateful,” which includes sexual violence.

Ek said that the streaming service was working with the music industry and additional civil rights groups to adjust the guidelines, and that the policy was changing as a result.