Free mobile version of Spotify to be introduced

According to the Wall Street Journal, Spotify is about to introduce a free mobile version.

The new ad-supported offering will allow nonpaying mobile users to play a limited number of songs on demand, but will mostly serve up music based on the user’s input, much like custom radio services such as Pandora.

This move makes a lot of sense.

The usual path of a Spotify user was to get the free desktop version and then they would eventually upgrade to premium. Either because of the ads or because of the mobile version which is currently limited to premium users.

But given that traditional computers are on the wane, Spotify is slowly losing their only channel for users to upgrade.…

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Do we really care what music our friends like?

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Back in 2011 Spotify said that “Music is one of the most social things there is.” In what sounded like a threat they added “You’ll now start seeing new music posts and play buttons all over your newsfeeds.” And indeed, we did. Even when the posts became more balanced, I never really felt that it was that interesting to know what my friends were listening to (still far more interesting than pictures of food, offspring, or offspring eating food though. You know who you are!).

The other day I came across this article by Robert Andrews where he concludes:

“For me, music is not “social” but is, in fact, the most personal cultural artefact imaginable.

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WiMP enters German market

After the music streaming services Rdio, Rara.com and Deezer only recently entered the German market, yet another player will join the merry crowd : WiMP (yes… let’s hope they change their name for the English-speaking market!) is the name of the service, and users beta access can be requested on their German website www.wimp.de.

So what are they bringing to the market? As Thor Martin Jensen, Global Editorial Manager of WiMP said on musikmarkt.de, editorial content will be at the core of the service. Also, their plan is to allow the music industry to participate in the development of the service.…

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Rhapsody Acquires Napster International

Rhapsody announced on Thursday that they have acquired Napster International, i.e., the non-US branch of Napster, which is currently operating in the UK and in Germany.

Unlike in the US, where the Napster brand is put on ice, Rhapsody will retain the Napster brand in the UK and Germany, because of its high brand awareness. The service as such will be replace by Rhapsody technology though, and Napster subscribers will be migrated to Rhapsody’s infrastructure by March.

After more than a decade in the US market, the music streaming pioneer had bought Napster US  from its owner Best Buy back in October 2011.…

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Rara.com – Music for Everyone?

WHY RARA.COM IS FAILING TO ADDRESS THE MASS MARKET

The other day I pointed out four reasons why Rara.com is worth checking out. While Rara.com certainly brings a fresh breeze into the market, I believe they will have a tough time. Here’s why:

Let’s look again at what lets Rara.com stand out in the ecosystem of streaming services. The biggest difference between Rara.com and the existing players is clearly the user interface, which is designed to be very easy and intuitive. In the launch presentation Rob Lewis, chairman of Rara.com, said that the market of digital music is still in its infancy and has not yet reached the mainstream.…

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Grooveshark shuts down in Germany

As of today Grooveshark has shut down in Germany. According to their website, they did so because because of “excessive operating costs”. They continue to imply that this is the fault of the GEMA, and suggest to get in touch with them to help bring down these costs.

It would appear they are referring to the recently announced rates for streaming services (as mentioned in a previous post). Which is kinda funny, given that they don’t even pay any license fees to the GEMA in the first place. As the GEMA says in their press release in response to Grooveshark’s accusations:

Grooveshark has shut down their service in Germany – contrary to their claims – not because of excessive operating costs.

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4 Reasons Rara.com is worth checking out

Recently I mentioned the new streaming service Rara.com. Here are a couple of things about them that are quite interesting (the following is all based on their launch press conference video and their press release):

1) Innovative User Interface

Instead of a “boring” Excel spreadsheet look, Rara.com wants to give users a more visual user experience. So instead of typing in your artist and listening by album, as you would do with for services such as Spotify or Simfy, Rara.com presents a colourful interface where the user can browse playlists by the three categories moods (e.g., “Chilling out”, “Sunday Morning”), genres (e.g., “Pop”, “Rock”) and Best of (e.g., “Best of 90s”, “Best of 80s”):

2) Curated Playlists

The playlists on Rara.com are not user generated, or put together by some algorithm, but instead they are curated playlists:

rara.com also features a wide selection of expertly curated music channels to suit your every mood at the touch of a button making playing music online with rara.com as easy as switching on your radio or CD player.

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Finally: GEMA and BITKOM reach agreement for online music services

Good news for the German online music market: After years of negotiations GEMA and the industry association BITKOM have finally reached an agreement on online music services. As announced in a press release on Dec 8, the agreement covers the compensation for authors, that music services have to pay to the GEMA, and allows for flat licence fees for streaming services.

In a follow-up press release on Dec 21 the GEMA (apparently without having a definitive an agreement with BITKOM, heise) further announced a new set of tariffs that apply to ad-supported services.…

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