A recent study from NPD Group and the National Music Business Association seems to have at least some record labels spooked. The report claims that streaming services like Spotify and Rdio are damaging actual music sales. In response, one distributor has pulled its 200+ music labels off of streaming service Spotify.
iTunes killer. We're not saying Google is or is not an iTunes killer, but now that the sultan of search has removed the beta label from its Google Music platform and opened its disco doors to the public, we wanted to throw those two words out there so you can get used to seeing them. Google Music is officially open for business and you can bet there will be lots of comparisons to iTunes. So, were the rumors and speculation right on the money?
Netflix today rolled out a fully redesigned version of its streaming application for tablets on all Android tablets, including the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet. According to Netflix, the layout is "much more immersive" with a greater focus on titles in the company's catalog. Netflix also managed to squeeze twice as many movies and TV shows into the interface as before.
YouTube is arming itself with celebrity star power which, along with news outlets like The Wall Street Journal, will spotlight the video service's new selection of premium grade channels and content next month. Google is spending big bucks getting these deals in place, at least by pedestrian standards, reportedly investing $100 million or more in original content, according to Mashable.
In what was largely overshadowed by the intense backlash over Netflix's ill-fated decision to spin off its DVD-by-mail rental business into Qwikster is that you'd be able to rent videogames in addition to DVDs and Blu-ray movies. It was to be an upgrade option similar to the one for Blu-ray, except you'd be able to rent Wii, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 games. Did Netflix nix those plans when it axed Qwikster?
Reed Hastings isn't infallible, we know this by now. As CEO of Netflix, he's been brilliant in growing his company into a premier streaming service, and spectacularly flawed in underestimating the fallout from customers over hefty price increases and major business model changes. But on that latter part, Mr. Hastings is anything but oblivious, at least after the fact, and has repeatedly owned up to the bad vibes directed at Netflix.
If Microsoft is miffed that it's YouTube channel was hacked over the weekend, it should try putting the incident in perspective and be glad its videos weren't replaced with hardcore pornography like what happened to Sesame Street's YouTube account last week. A less ornery hacker instead chose to remove Microsoft's videos and replace them with mostly G-rated clips around 3 or 4 seconds in length imploring users to add video responses, create background images for the channel, and other benign requests.
AOL just sent us word that it's relaunching its AOL Radio service, which is now powered by Slacker. It's a major overhaul with a top-to-bottom redesign, custom artists stations, improved functionality, fewer commercials, and a greater than 10 million song catalog. Listeners will have over 200 stations to browse, including custom artists stations, ESPN Radio, and a whole bunch more.
Video may have killed the radio star, but Vdio, the online video equivalent of Rdio, will do battle with Netflix for streaming supremacy. Up until yesterday, Vdio was a secret project headed by Skype creators Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, along with a modest team of heavy hitting players who aren't accustomed to failure, people with experience from Skype, Napster, Microsoft, TV Guide, and Apache. Does Netflix have anything to worry about?
Hackers took control of Sesame Street's YouTube channel on Sunday and replaced videos of kid-friendly puppets with real-life actors engaged in hardcore porn. Security firm Sophos reported on its suddenly appropriately titled "Naked Security" blog that the XXX-rated content was available for around 20 minutes before the channel was pulled for "repeated or severe violations of our Community guidelines."