Why don’t streaming services know who wrote The Beatles’ songs?

The latest twist in the controversies around ‘notices of intent’ (NOIs) in the US concerns the most famous band of all-time: The Beatles. The Music Tech Policy blog notes, with clear scorn, that Google, Amazon and Spotify have all filed NOIs for works by The Beatles, including ‘Love Me Do’, ‘With A Little Help From […]

DeepMusic Alexa skill serves up AI-generated songs

Amid all the industry conversation about how smart speakers will affect the way people listen to music, the assumption has been that the music in question will be made by humans. Here’s a new Alexa skill to make you think, though. It’s called DeepMusic, and has just launched for Alexa-powered devices like the Echo speakers. […]

Survey claims early satisfaction with smart speakers is high

89% of Americans who’ve bought a smart speaker so far are satisfied with their device, according to a new survey published by investment firm Loup Ventures. “A closer look at the results reveals the reason for this high satisfaction; early use cases are simple (Music, weather, general questions),” wrote analyst Gene Munster. “While questions remain […]

Amazon Alexa gets new music-playlist creation features

Amazon hasn’t made a big deal of its latest smart-speaker feature, but it’s an extremely interesting development for anyone who’s been thinking about how playlists evolve in a world of voice control. Users – initially on Prime Music and Amazon Music Unlimited in the US, we think – can now say commands like ‘Alexa, create […]

What do smart speakers and voice assistants REALLY mean for music?

Smart speakers like Amazon’s Echo and Google Home are selling in their tens of millions, and it’s becoming clear that voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant (and Apple’s Siri once its HomePod device ships) will be increasingly-common ways people interact with music. But what does this really mean? What should the music industry be […]

NPR / Edison: One in six Americans now own a smart speaker

January has already seen a flurry of new research into smart speakers, timed to coincide with the CES show in Las Vegas. The latest example comes from NPR and Edison Research, who surveyed 1,816 Americans in November and December. 16% said that they own a smart speaker, which scales up to around 39 million people […]

Spotify and Deezer lobby EC (again) over big-tech gatekeepers

Spotify and Deezer’s CEOs have both signed a letter to European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker calling for the EC to ensure they get a “level playing field” on platforms owned by large US technology companies including Apple and Amazon. The pair – along with a group of European games companies – are calling for “clear […]

Sandbox 193: Playlisten without prejudice

Lead: Labels and artists spent 2017 getting their heads around how playlists have created a new centre of gravity for the record business. The old ways of promoting a record (discounting at retail, plugging at radio, pitching to the specialist music press) have all gone and now playlists are the conundrum everyone wants – and […]

7digital makes video news programme for Amazon’s Echo Show

7digital’s Entertainment News division is making the most of the screen that comes with Amazon’s Echo Show smart speaker. Just launched in the UK after its US debut earlier in the year, the Show has a seven-inch screen that means companies developing Alexa skills can add video and images in to the mix. The post […]

Amazon launches Echo devices and Alexa in Japan

Amazon is continuing its slow-but-steady global rollout of its Echo smart speakers and Alexa voice assistant. Having launched the devices in India in October, now they’re debuting in a major music market: Japan. The Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Plus speakers are available to pre-order today, and will ship to Japanese customers next week. Meanwhile, […]

With 16m music subscribers Amazon is no longer a dark horse

We’ll stress upfront that this isn’t an official announcement from Amazon: the company hasn’t abandoned its policy of keeping its key music stats to itself. Instead, this is an estimate from Midia Research, claiming that with 16 million subscribers across Prime Music and Music Unlimited, Amazon is now the third biggest music-subscription service in the […]

Smart speakers to fuel ‘tenfold’ increase in smart-home devices

Research firm Forrester’s latest prediction for the smart-devices market focuses on the US alone, we should say. “Smart home devices are expected to grow tenfold between 2017 and 2022,” claimed the company in its latest blog post. “Forrester expects the adoption of smart home devices in the US to be 10 times higher by 2022, […]

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