Amazon still leads in smart speakers; but Google is really snapping at its heels

It’s not going to surprise anyone that in the latest totting up of smart speaker shipments Amazon’s Echo is leading the pack. The latest numbers come from Strategy Analytics, looking at the smart speaker market globally in Q2 2018. The headline figures are that Amazon shipped 4.8m speakers in Q2, giving it a 41% market […]

Amazon Prime Music may have overtaken Apple Music in UK

It’s been clear for some time that in terms of music subscribers, Amazon is now the third player globally behind Spotify and Apple Music. Could it have vaulted Apple Music into second place in the UK however? That’s the conclusion of the latest report from research firm Kantar Worldpanel as reported by Music Week. Its Entertainment Retail […]

Smart speaker sales, forecasts and market share: Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple HomePod and more

The music industry is intensely interested in the growth of the market for smart speaker devices: Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple HomePod and other speakers controlled via voice assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri respectively. Research firms are also interested in this market, putting out regular estimates of how well these devices are selling […]

Twitch launches Creator Camp to teach livestreaming skills

Amazon’s live-video platform Twitch wants to help people build audiences on their channels. It has just launched a site called Twitch Creator Camp, taking a leaf out of YouTube’s playbook (or, indeed, its actual ‘Playbook’ initiative of yore.) In Twitch’s case, the new site is billed as a place “where streamers can get the information they […]

Report: Amazon now accounts for 49.1% of US e-commerce market

Amazon is about to fire the starting trigger on its annual Prime Day of shopping deals, and research firm eMarketer has put out some new analysis of the company’s place in the US online-retail sector to accompany it. Its analysts reckon that Amazon will do $258.22bn of US retail sales this year, accounting for 49.1% of all […]

Amazon to hold ‘Unbox Prime Day’ event in London including music

Amazon’s annual ‘Prime Day’ has become a date to ring in the diaries of anyone who likes bargain-hunting online. This year’s starts on 16 July, and the reason we say ‘starts’ is because it’ll actually last for 36 hours rather than a single day. What’s new this year, for Amazon in the UK, is a real-world […]

PwC predicts video-streaming will be a $30.6bn market by 2022

The global ‘over-the-top’ video market will grow from $22.6bn in 2018 to $30.6bn in 2022, according to the latest prediction from PricewaterhouseCoopers. Its Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2018-2022 report suggests that 79.6% of OTT revenues – over-the-top means video delivered outside the traditional cable/satellite/terrestrial broadcasting networks – last year came from subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services […]

Amazon Premier League deal could be a boost for music-streaming

This story may sound somewhat parochial, but bear with us. Amazon has paid an undisclosed amount for the rights to stream 20 English Premier League (football) matches for each of the three seasons starting in 2019. The games will be streamed to fans as part of the Amazon Prime Video service in the UK – this isn’t […]

Report claims Google beat Amazon for Q1 smart-speaker shipments

In well-established hardware markets like smartphones, the main research firms tend to agree – more or less – on the main market-share figures. For smart speakers, it seems there is more room for disagreement, aided by the fact that the main players aren’t publishing many figures themselves. For example, check out research firm Canalys’ latest […]

Alexa in the spotlight over sharing of private conversation

When privacy campaigners express concerns about the rise of smart speakers, the suggestion that big-tech firms are ‘listening in’ (and, indeed, potentially recording) private conversations is often raised as a worry. A story yesterdayabout an Echo recording a conversation between a husband and wife and then sending the audio to someone in their contacts list will […]

Smart speakers’ impact on music: ‘I don’t think it can be overhyped…’

More than 26m smart speakers were shipped globally in 2017 according to research firm Futuresource, with the Amazon Echo and Google Home ranges proving popular devices. That was the spur for an event hosted by British music-industry bodies the BPI and ERA last night in London, and a report exploring the impact for music, published […]

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. […]

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 […]

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, […]

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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