Tag Archives: music streaming

HP is giving away its music streaming service for free if you buy a computer

Company teams up with Universal Music to launch HP Lounge, a web-based radio streaming service

HP has teamed up with Universal Music Group to launch its own music streaming service called HP Lounge, in an attempt to entice “millennials” to buy its PCs.

HP Lounge is an ad-free web radio streaming service, allowing anyone who buys a new HP laptop or PC to listen to music by artists from Universal Music’s catalogue on an unlimited basis for 12 months, via a variety of stations grouped by genre, artist or mood. After the 12 months is up, HP will charge £3.20 a year for use of its sevice.

As well as music streaming, the service provides access to curated content from HP and Universal Music, including behind-the-scenes news, “making-of” videos, artist interviews and album reviews.

Users will also have the chance to win concert tickets and gain access to exclusive music experiences, such as meet and greets with their favourite artists, recording studio visits and VIP packages to private showcase events.

“HP Lounge ships with every consumer device that we ship in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and with it you can really select what you would like to listen to, depending on what kind of mood you are in,” said Achim Kuttler, HP’s vice president and general manager of personal systems for EMEA.

“The interface is very intuitive, and very easy to use. You will have some very unique search capabilities, which allows you to view content related to your favourite artist or favourite music.”

The HP Lounge app will come pre-loaded on HP’s latest range of PCs and tablets, and can be downloaded onto older HP devices from the Microsoft Store. It is available in 22 countries across Europe and the Middle East.

The company’s European consumer vice president, Pascal Bourguet, said that non-HP users would also be able to download HP Lounge from the Microsoft Store, but would only by able to listen to 30-second clips of each song.

An attendee at the Microsoft Ignite technology conference walks past the Hewlett-Packard (HP) logo in Chicago, Illinois

Last month, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) reported that revenues from streaming songs on the internet had passed $1bn for the first time.

Revenue from paid subscriptions to services like Spotify and Rhapsody grew 25pc to $478m, while revenue from free services like Pandora grew 22pc to $550m.

However, Ron Coughlin, senior vice president and general manager of HP’s Printing and Personal Systems Group, said that HP is not trying to challenge the like of Spotify, Deezer or Apple Music.

“We’re not trying to get into that business by any means,” he said. “Right now it’s more focused on giving a better experience and thereby people preferring HP devices. There’s also a bunch of co-marketing components to that that allow us to have more presence in the marketplace.”

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Apple Music subscriptions: Time to pay the piper

The all-you-can-eat streaming service has been free for the past three months. As the first trial periods expire this week, the true test begins for the subscription model.

Apple’s first subscription service is taking off its training wheels.

The Cupertino, California, tech giant introduced Apple Music in June as its first foray into monthly charges. To get consumers to try the service, Apple offered a free, three-month trial with unlimited streaming. The first wave of trials expires Wednesday.

It’s an about-face for Apple, considering co-founder Steve Jobs vocally opposed subscriptions. Apple also has a lot to lose. It remains the king of digital track downloads, which are the primary way music makes money today. But with streaming models on the rise and downloads shrinking, Apple risked losing its crown if it continued to ignore the shift in consumer behavior.

Now that customers must either pay to continue using Apple Music or give it up, Wednesday will mark the first test of whether the company’s service has legs. Even as a free trial, the service faced criticism for its complicated interface and how it handles your music library.

The backlash started even before the service launched.

Nine days before the debut of Apple Music, pop juggernaut Taylor Swift warned she would keep her hit album “1989” off Apple Music because of a licensing loophole: zero payments during the three-month free trial. Less than 24 hours after Swift posted the message on her blog, Apple’s head of software and services, Eddy Cue, tweeted that Apple would capitulate and pay artists for every stream during the trial period.

The service also sparked a rant from one of Apple’s most vocal fans.

Jim Dalrymple is a writer who has tracked Apple for nearly two decades, most recently on The Loop blog. In a July blog post titled “Apple Music is a nightmare and I’m done with it,” Dalrymple recounted how songs in his music library disappeared as he tried to integrate his collection with Apple Music. “Adding music to my library is nothing short of a mind-blowing exercise in frustration,” he wrote.

He later noted that he recovered most of his music.

Apple Music also irritated an influential music industry commentator. On the first day Apple Music was publicly available, Bob Lefsetz, who writes a blog called The Lefsetz Letter, compared Apple to cable providers, long a prime example of American dissatisfaction with corporations. “When you make it hard to install and want me to give my credit card up front…you look like a sleazy American company, like a hated cable operation, and you make people reluctant,” Lefsetz wrote.

Music listening is only one part of Apple Music. The service introduced a blog-like social network for artists called Connect. Earlier this month, website Music Ally studied artists’ posts and found that they were occurring weekly rather than daily and that much of the content was recycled from Instagram or mundane promotional messages. “In June, Apple’s services boss Eddy Cue said that Pharrell Williams would be posting photos, lyrics and raw mixes of songs — but at the time of writing, he’s posted a single photo two months ago,” according to Music Ally.

Apple declined to comment on complaints about Apple Music. However, earlier this month an executive acknowledged that the service had its problems. Oliver Schusser, vice president of iTunes International,told UK news site The Guardian that Apple is “adding features and cleaning up certain things” in Apple Music.

Now that Apple Music is about to begin charging for its first subscriptions, where does it stand?

Based on what people say online, interest in the service has declined but reactions to it have grown more positive, according to Amobee Brand Intelligence, a marketing technology company that analyzes online reactions. Buzz around Apple Music peaked on July 1, the day after the service first became available. In July, Apple Music was the subject of 808,000 Tweets, and Twitter sentiment was 19 positive and 13 percent negative, Amobee said. So far in September, 310,000 Tweets have been 28 percent positive and 10 percent negative.

In a study last month by researcher Musicwatch, 77 percent of people who use an Apple mobile device in the US are aware of Apple Music, and 11 percent reported they were using Apple Music. While 64 percent of those Apple Music users said that they were extremely or very likely to pay for it after their free trials end, almost as many (61 percent) reported that they had already turned off the auto-renewal option.

Now that Apple is about to start charging, the company isn’t taking any more chances. This week, it started posting videos that explain how Apple Music works. The company may soon find out whether offering tutorials three months into the game is too late.

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Spotify CEO: Irking Taylor Swift was a ‘big success’

When the pop superstar pulled her music off the streaming music service last year, her protest ended up acquainting a whole new group of people with Spotify, CEO Daniel Ek says.

When music megastar Taylor Swift removed her tunes from Spotify, she ended up helping the service she was speaking out against, Chief Executive Daniel Ek said Monday.

“The middle of America found out what Spotify was, so we had a big success,” Ek said, speaking via video conference at the IAB Mixx interactive advertising conference in New York. “I wish we could have gotten that attention in a better way than pissing off Taylor Swift.”

Spotify is a streaming music service that offers all-you-can-eat tunes that listeners pay for outright with $10-a-month subscriptions or indirectly by sitting through advertising. With 75 million people using the service regularly, the startup is helping lead a fundamental change in how people listen and pay for music: subscribing to mobile access rather than paying for digital downloads typified by Apple’s iTunes store.

In November, Swift pulled her entire catalog of music off Spotify just as her hit album, “1989,” was released. She didn’t want to contribute her life’s work to an experiment that doesn’t fairly compensate artists, she said.

Monday, Ek reiterated that he agrees with Swift that musicians deserve to be compensated.

“We agree music should not be free…it should have a lot more value in society than it currently does,” he said. He noted that even in the case of Swift, consumers could still turn to YouTube or Pandora or a host of other online services to listen to her album for free after she withdrew from Spotify.

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