Startup Pex can now scan Apple Podcasts for music clips

Pex isn’t a startup we’ve written much about for Music Ally thus far, but it’s one of the more interesting companies in the current music ecosystem – not just because of what it’s doing now, but for how its technology might be used in the future. The company’s business is “independent video and music analytics and […]

Even after Siri integration, Spotify jabs at Apple again

This week, Spotify launched an Apple TV app as well as integrating with Apple’s Siri voice assistant on iPhone, which you might think represented a rapprochement of sorts between the two companies, following their longstanding anti-competition disputes. You’d be wrong. Spotify has updated its ‘Time to Play Fair’ lobbying website’s timeline of “Apple’s behaviour” down the years, […]

Shazam financials reveal it added 78m users in 2018

Shazam reached 478 million annual active users in 2018, which is 78 million more than in the previous year. The company’s revenues fell by 23% to £31.4m last year, but it swung from a loss of £17.7m in 2017 to a profit of just under £124m in 2018.  That’s the benefit of being bought by […]

Spotify finally gets an Apple TV app and Siri integration

Big news from Spotify’s drive to be on as many devices as possible: it’s now available on… Armani smartwatches! Okay, that’s not *the* big news from Spotify’s drive. Yesterday saw the company finally integrate with Apple’s Siri voice assistant, meaning that Spotify listeners can now use ‘Hey Siri…’ commands to use the app – if their iPhone […]

US congress quizzes Spotify over Apple antitrust complaints

Things had gone a bit quiet in Spotify’s anti-competition battle with Apple: we’re still waiting for official word from the European Commission on any plans for a formal investigation into Apple’s stewardship of its App Store and devices, following Spotify’s complaint in March and Apple’s response in June. Now attention is quickly shifting across the Atlantic, to the […]

Sandbox Issue 237: VIEWTUBE. When Music Video Plays Get Juiced

Lead: Sony Music India artist Badshah claimed to have broken the 24-hour record on YouTube for 75m plays of his track ‘Paagal’ in July. Then people started asking questions. It eventually emerged that the track’s success had been boosted by TrueView ads before and during other YouTube videos, all of which counted toward the opening […]

Kanye West ‘Yandhi’ ringtones quickly removed from iTunes

This time last year, Kanye West was working on a new album project called ‘Yandhi’, although it has since been renamed ‘Jesus is King’. This summer, some of the demos from the project leaked. Now, someone appears to have been putting those leaks to nefarious use, although not through the recently-seen tactic of uploading them to […]

Maroon 5 team up with Apple for iOS photos-app promotion

Apple’s new iOS software (iOS 13) launched earlier this month, and one of its features suddenly has an interesting music angle. The feature is called ‘Memories’ – it actually launched three years ago, but was updated within iOS 13 – and automatically edits together photos and videos for particular events in someone’s camera roll. Now […]

Apple HomePod set to get ‘Ambient Sounds’ mode this autumn

Apple’s HomePod smart speaker didn’t get much of a look-in at the company’s press event earlier this week, which focused more on iPhones, iPads, watches and the company’s new video-streaming and games subscription services. But Apple has quietly updated its HomePod product page to remind owners of a pair of new features coming to the device this […]

Apple Music launches its official web-app in beta

It’s taken a while, but Apple Music is finally available as a web app, rather than just through iTunes and its native apps for other devices. The new web client went live in beta yesterday, and lets subscribers search for and play music (including from their cloud libraries), and browse Apple Music’s collection of playlists and […]

Apple Music’s Shazam Discovery Top 50 chart focuses on emerging artists

Apple Music is getting a new weekly chart, driven by data from Shazam, the music-identification app that Apple acquired in September 2018. The chart is called Shazam Discovery Top 50, and is a global chart ranking 50 “up-and-coming songs from breaking artists”, based on what Shazam’s users have been tagging that week. The chart will […]

Apple reportedly spending $6bn on content for Apple TV+

The Financial Times and Bloomberg have come out with a pair of well-briefed scoops on Apple’s plans for its video-streaming service Apple TV+. The FT reported that Apple has committed $6bn to make original TV shows and films for the service, which will launch later this year – still a long way behind Netflix’s estimated $15bn content […]

Spotify reportedly in talks with Apple over Siri support

The Siri voice assistant is one of the points of contention in Spotify’s anticompetition complaint against Apple: “‘Siri, can you play that awesome Spotify playlist?’ Siri says no,” as Spotify’s ‘Time to Play Fair’ website put it. Yet Apple’s soon-to-launch iOS 13 software *will* allow non-Apple music-streaming services to properly work with Siri, and thus […]

Apple denies App Store search results favour its own apps

Apple is under scrutiny once more for the way it runs its App Store – and the sensitive question of whether its own apps and services are prioritised above those of other companies. This time it’s the Wall Street Journal with an investigation into the results of searches on the App Store. “Searches for ‘music,’ ‘audiobooks’ and […]

Independent artist Aaron Smith gets push from Spotify and Apple

Congratulations are due to independent artist Aaron Smith, whose debut track ‘Unspoken’ has (as MBW noticed on Friday) gone in with a bang at the top of Spotify and Apple Music’s flagship new-music playlists in the UK. ‘Unspoken’ was the very first track in New Music Friday UK on Spotify and Best Of The Week on […]

Report claims Apple will soon be funding original podcasts too

Hands up if you saw this coming: Apple is preparing to get into the original-podcasts game, challenging Spotify with “plans to fund original podcasts that would be exclusive to its audio service”. That’s according to Bloomberg, which reports that Apple has “reached out to media companies and their representatives to discuss buying exclusive rights to podcasts”. […]

Japanese music industry asks Apple to crack down on pirate app

Apple under fire for the way it runs its App Store? But this time, it’s nothing to do with Spotify. A group of Japanese music-industry bodies representing labels, publishers and producers have written to Apple expressing concerns about ‘unauthorised’ (i.e. unlicensed) music-streaming apps that are available through its App Store in Japan. “The recent torrent […]

Apple to hold ‘Up Next’ performances at stores in US and Europe

We’ve been reporting regularly on emerging artists given Apple Music’s ‘Up Next’ seal of approval. Now the company is expanding the program with plans for a series of live performances in Apple Stores in the US and Europe. Up Next Live will see Bad Bunny, Daniel Caesar, Khalid, Ashley McBryde, King Princess, Lewis Capaldi and Jessie […]

Apple’s design guru Jony Ive is leaving the company

“It is the end of an era at Apple,” is how the Financial Times introduced its scoop on the company’s design guru Jony Ive (Sir Jonathan Ive, if we’re being formal) leaving the company. “While I will not be an employee, I will still be very involved — I hope for many, many years to come. This […]

Apple says only 680k Spotify subscribers use in-app purchases

Apple has officially responded to the European Commission, as the latter weighs up whether to launch an investigation based on Spotify’s anti-competition complaint earlier this year. It’s interesting to see the different takes on Apple’s response from different publications. “Spotify boss Daniel Ek might have some explaining to do,” is how MBW introduced its article on the […]

Report: Apple is opening up Siri to other music services

One of the music-related antitrust complaints about Apple concerns how open (or not) its Siri voice-assistant is to streaming services that aren’t Apple Music. “Apple won’t allow us to be on HomePod and they definitely won’t let us connect with Siri to play your jams,” claimed the website Spotify set up to support its European complaint against […]

Report predicts Apple will soon retire its iTunes software

Apple is killing iTunes! So said dozens of headlines this weekend, which all lead back to a single sentence in a Bloomberg article claiming that “The company is launching a trio of new apps for the Mac – Music, TV, and Podcasts – to replace iTunes”. It follows up with “Without iTunes, customers can manage their Apple […]

EU to formally investigate Apple following Spotify’s anti-trust complaint

It is a dispute that has been brewing for a long time and which went public in recent months. Now, according to the FT, the European Union is preparing to formally investigate Spotify-led anti-trust complaints about Apple and its App Store. In brief, Spotify is arguing that Apple is “tilting the playing field to disadvantage competitors” […]

Apple names Pink Sweat$ as its latest ‘Up Next’ artist

Philadelphia-based R&B star Pink Sweat$ is the latest artist to get the Apple ‘Up Next’ treatment, following in the footsteps of the likes of Billie Eilish, Juice WRLD, Bad Bunny and H.E.R. The campaign will include a short film (shot on an iPhone XS for some double-branding sparkle) talking about his background and creative process […]

Apple CEO renews his call for more regulation of big tech

Apple CEO Tim Cook has returned to the theme of stronger regulation of big technology companies, although it’s clear he’s thinking mainly of *other* big technology companies like Google and Facebook. “I think there are some serious issues with tech. I think that even though I’m deeply a free market person in mindset and believe […]

Apple Arcade games service tipped to have $500m+ budget

Apple recently announced plans for a subscription-based games service, Apple Arcade, which will offer games across iPhones, iPads, Macs and Apple TVs for a single monthly fee – with no advertising or in-app purchases. Due to launch later in the year, the service appears to be getting a significant investment. “Several people involved in the […]

Apple under fire in US for Tiananmen Square song removal in China

When we wrote about songs by certain Hong Kong artists being removed from Chinese music-streaming services last week, we noted that it appeared to be local services as well as Apple Music, despite initial headlines focusing on the latter. However, back in the US it’s Apple’s involvement in this censorship that’s drawing criticism from politicians. “It’s […]

Apple announcements: TV, news, games… and a credit card

Apple held its services-focused press launch last night, and as predicted there were announcements of new subscription-based video, news and games products. Apple TV+ will launch later in the year with original shows from the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and JJ Abrams, as well as the ability to subscribe to other providers (through […]

Apple hits back at ‘misleading rhetoric’ of Spotify anti-trust complaint

Spotify filed a complaint with the European Commission over Apple’s stewardship of its App Store earlier this week, but now Apple has hit back with a statement criticising Spotify’s “misleading rhetoric” – including jabs at the streaming service’s recent appeal against new songwriter-royalty rates in the US. “At its core, the App Store is a […]

Analyst thinks Apple can sign up 100m video-streaming subs

Apple’s next press event is on 25 March, and it’s expected to focus on services – including the long-rumoured launch of a Netflix-style video-streaming service. Analyst Wedbush has published its thoughts on what this could mean. “If Apple executes with minimal speed bumps and aggressively acquires content given the company’s massive installed base and unmatched brand loyalty […]

Spotify files complaint with European Commission against Apple

Spotify is filing a complaint against Apple with the European Commission, accusing the latter company of anticompetitive behaviour in the way it manages its App Store, and thus gives its own Apple Music streaming service an advantage over rivals. “In recent years, Apple has introduced rules to the App Store that purposely limit choice and […]

Report claims Apple’s first AR headset could launch in 2020

It’s been a few months, so it’s time for another rumour about Apple making an augmented-reality headset or goggles or similar face-worn device. This time it’s KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who’s often quoted making predictions about future Apple products, with a decent record of accuracy (or at least: better than Music Ally’s record – […]

Analyst questions impact of Apple’s rumoured video service

Apple may be announcing its long-rumoured video-streaming service next month, and analysts are chewing over the implications. One, Tim O’Shea of Jefferies, has published a report with some big numbers – but also some questions about the impact such a service would really have on Apple’s wider business. O’Shea suggested that Apple will charge $15 a month […]

Apple Music lets subscribers give a free month to a friend

Here’s an interesting new tactic for music-streaming marketing: Apple Music is encouraging subscribers to get their mates onto the service too. “Give Apple Music to your friends,” explained a promotion that was push-notified to subscribers, according to news site AppleInsider. “Apple Music is better with friends. So give one of yours a free month.” The deal […]

Apple’s news-subscription service nears – but publishers grumbling

Apple will reportedly hold its next big press event on 25 March at its Steve Jobs Theater venue. BuzzFeed described the event as “subscription-services focused”, which is thought to point towards the launch of a news-subscription service – although perhaps also an announcement about Apple’s video strategy. The news-subscription plans are making headlines though, and not entirely […]

There are 66m smart speakers in the US – and 70% are Echos

Research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) has issued its latest estimates on the smart-speaker market in the US. It claims the number of speakers in use grew from 37m at the end of 2017 to 66m at the end of 2018, including 13m bought in the fourth quarter of the year. The relative market-shares […]

Facebook financials impress but Apple row is getting serious

Facebook published its latest financial results yesterday, with quarterly revenues up 30% year-on-year to $16.91bn, leading to a net profit of $6.88bn in the fourth quarter of 2018. Mobile advertisements accounted for around 93.5% of Facebook’s overall revenues last quarter. For the year as a whole, Facebook generated just over $55.8bn in revenues, up 37% […]

Apple clarifies rules for iOS in-app subscriptions

Apple has published some new rules for how in-app subscriptions should be advertised to people using iOS apps. Those rules include clearly explaining the terms of a subscription to new customers, including the billing amount. “In the purchase flow, the amount that will be billed must be the most prominent pricing element in the layout. […]

Apple says App Store customers spent $1.22bn over Christmas

The fallout from Apple’s announcement earlier this week that its quarterly revenues would be lower than predicted continues: the company’s share price tumbled by nearly 10% yesterday as markets reacted to the news. Apple did put out some good news yesterday though: the latest festive figures for its App Store. “App Store spending topped $1.22bn […]

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