Tag Archives: Spotify

Noted Adds Support For SongSync, Spotify, Apple Music



Noted SongSyncNoted, the music-centric social sharing service that lets users receive a “news feed” style stream of songs selected by friends, has added support for SongSync, Spotify, and Apple Music. From a recent Noted e-mail announcement:

 

SongSync lets you integrate with your Spotify/Apple Music account to share songs and build playlists across services.

Here’s an example: Now friends can share a music video from YouTube and you’ll be able to add it to your Spotify playlists through Noted.

In order to use SongSync with Noted, users should follow these steps:

  1. If using Noted on a mobile device, update to the latest version.
  2. Sync with your favorite library (if you aren’t a paid subscriber, choose YouTube for full tracks).
  3. Noted automatically converts every available post to your synced services and your posts to your friends’ services.

Once the process is completed, Noted users will have automatically synced playlists on connected services based on their own Noted activity, as well as the activity of friends. This is a pretty handy feature, as it can be difficult to follow everything happening on Noted, especially if a user has a lot of friends.

Noted has stated that this is only the beginning of its SongSync integration and that it will be sending more information and tips about how to best utilize the service.


Been wanting to try Spotify Premium? You can get a free Chromecast if you do it now



Spotify logoMusic streaming services are becoming ever more prevalent in the market these days. One made news this week by getting an exclusive deal, but those types of deals also have become common. Perhaps the most popular these days is Spotify, which can be used for free, though a premium subscription brings more functionality.

Now Spotify is trying to pull in more customers with a special deal. The streaming service is offering a free Chromecast to anyone who purchases three months of its Premium service.

To sell this deal, the company points out “With Chromecast, listening at home is easy. Simply plug Chromecast into your TV, connect it to WiFi and cast music directly from your phone or tablet. It works with Android, iOS and laptops, too. Play, skip, browse and search using the Spotify app. Oh, and feel free to make calls, watch a video or play games – the music will keep playing”.

There’s only a brief window of time to take advantage of this deal. You’ll need to act quickly because it’s only running through February 28th. You can grab the offer by visiting here. It will set you back $29.97.


Public Outcry Over New Spotify Terms of Service



Spotify logoSpotify, the Sweden-based media streaming service, received some negative press earlier this week because of some recent changes to its terms of service. Initially, it looked like the company was getting a bit too grabby with users’ personal information. The ToS was updated by adding this language:

With your permission, we may collect information stored on your mobile device, such as contacts, photos, or media files. Local law may require that you seek the consent of your contacts to provide their personal information to Spotify, which may use that information for the purposes specified in this Privacy Policy.

The new terms were first brought to the general public thru a Twitter post by former Minecraft developer Notch. This led to a response from Spotify CEO Daniel Ek. From there, Spotify went into damage control mode, starting with a blog post that’s supposed to clarify the situation.

And while these new terms do look a bit overreaching, the key part to remember is that Spotify won’t be doing anything with your information without your consent. Still, the company could’ve done a better job of clarifying exactly what it’s planning to do with your photos, contacts, and other information.

Considering so much recent news in the tech world has revolved around hacks, leaks, and privacy breaches, all companies doing business online need to be super transparent about these kinds of things going forward if they want to maintain (and grow) their customer bases.


The Most Popular Musical Keys according to Spotify



Spotify logoThere are many complaints about digital music. Some say its audio quality doesn’t measure up to analog sources like vinyl records. Others contend that ever-expanding digital divide has been causing the once thriving music industry to eat itself, leaving many artists out in the cold. For better or worse, music has become more and more digitized in recent years. Seems like it was only yesterday that Spotify was making a splash with its U.S. launch. Since then, a number of services have popped up to challenge its dominance in the space. But Spotify is still holding strong as a favored music consumption platform.

Spotify has over 30 million songs in its catalog. One good thing about having all of those songs in one place is it creates large data sets that can then be scrutinized to find specific patterns. In this case, one industrious analyst surveyed all of the songs that the service has to offer to see which musical keys are used most frequently. Here’s a rundown of the top ten of the 24 total keys:

  • G Major – 10.7%
  • C Major – 10.2%
  • D Major – 8.7%
  • A Major – 6.1%
  • C# Major – 6.1%
  • F Major – 5.3%
  • A minor – 4.8%
  • G# Major – 4.3%
  • E minor – 4.2%
  • B minor – 4.2%

Continue reading The Most Popular Musical Keys according to Spotify


Spotify Notifies Users of Unauthorized Access



Spotify logoSpotify users may want to consider changing their passwords. A post on the Spotify blog titled “Important Notice to Our Users” makes it clear that Spotify has had some “unauthorized access” to their systems and internal company data. Another way to phrase that would be to say that Spotify has been hacked.

The blog contains some details about what happened and gives advice to Spotify users. In their blog, they note that their evidence shows that only one Spotify user’s data has been accessed, and that this did not include any password, financial or payment information. (They also mention that they have notified that one, unfortunate, user).

As a “general precaution”, Spotify will be asking certain Spotify users to re-enter their username and password to log in “over the coming days”. In addition, they are going to guide Android users to upgrade over the next few days. Spotify also points out that offline playlists will have to be re-downloaded in the new version. There is no action recommended for iOS or Windows Phone users.


Roku Streaming Stick Review



This is Gonna Be FunRoku‘s streaming media boxes have been around since 2008, arguably taking the #2 spot behind the Apple TV. This is an impressive achievement considering the absence of a major brand behind the product line. Here in the UK, set-top boxes like Apple TV, Roku, and Google TV have a relatively low-profile: the BBC’s iPlayer catchup service is massively popular, but as the app is widely available on satellite decoders, cable boxes, games consoles and laptops, there is little demand for an additional streaming device. The latest generation of low cost, plug-in streamers from Roku and Google may well change this. Let’s take a look.

Roku Box

What I have here is the UK edition of Roku’s Streaming Stick, a thumb-sized streaming device that plugs directly into a TV’s HDMI port, bringing Roku’s wide range of content and 450+ channels to a British audience. We’re used to a high quality TV service from the likes of the BBC, so the content has to be there, and we’ll get to that in a minute. Let’s get it out of the box first.

Roku in Box

The Streaming Stick is presented in Roku’s trademark purple with neat packaging that promotes “This is going to be fun”. In the box is the Streaming Stick itself, a remote control (including decent batteries) and the power supply, which is actually a USB charger, connecting to the Streaming Stick via microUSB.

Streaming Stick and Controller

The remote control is slightly different to the previous generation – there are no game buttons, motion controller or headphone jack, and it uses WiFi Direct rather than Bluetooth to communicate with the Streaming Stick. Admittedly of little consequence unless you are an existing Roku owner expecting those features.

Getting started is easy – plug the Stick into the TV’s HDMI port, power it up with the microUSB cable and put the batteries into the remote control. Switching over to the HDMI channel, the Roku Streaming Stick initially asks for the password to a local wifi network. Once connected to the wider internet, existing Roku owners can can login with their credentials or new owners can sign up for a user name and password. Apart from having to use the remote control rather than a keyboard to do the finger work, it’s painless.

Roku uses the metaphor of channels to deliver media and content. For the smartphone generation, these are more easily thought of as apps which mostly deliver video content. In addition to programmes, there are games, weather forecasts and picture viewers. From the hundreds of channels available, you add favourites to your account to build up your collection. Some channels / apps cost a few pounds, but the vast majority are free.

My Roku Channels

From a UK perspective most of the major players are on-board with apps for BBC iPlayer, 4oD, Demand 5 and Sky Store. ITV player is noticeable in its absence. There are apps too for Netflix, Spotify, YouTube, Flickr and the Roku Media Player which does what it says, playing locally available pictures, music and video. There are lots of other apps and channels to choose from, categorised by type to help you find what you want.

Channel Categories

Many of the channels are US-centric and there’s a ton of faith-based programming, mostly Christian with a smaller number of other faiths. Local US TV stations are also present, which can be fun if you are going to be visiting an area on holiday or business.

US Local News on Roku

Of course, there are plenty of independent content producers as well. GNC is right at home on the Roku….

Geek News on Roku

To complement the content, there’s also an app for smartphones, which lets your device replace the remote control, both at a simple button pushing level and for more advanced features such as choosing new channels.

Roku App Remote Control Roku App

But the real trick is the “Play on Roku” feature which pushes content from your smartphone to the Roku, including music, photos and videos. All you do is select the content on your phone and, bang, it’s up on the big screen in glorious HD. It’s a great feature and a fantastic way to review photos and short videos on a larger screen, especially after a holiday. If you take a lots of photos with your smartphone, it’s almost worth getting a Roku for this feature alone.

One final thing…as I mentioned, the Roku Streaming Stick is powered by microUSB via a provided USB charger. I found that the Streaming Stick wasn’t terribly fussy about the power source and that you can easily run the Stick from other sources, such as a USB battery pack or even the TV itself, if equipped with a USB port. Could be handy to know if you are travelling or simply want a tidier entertainment unit.

MicroUSB Roku

Overall, the Roku Streaming Stick is a great little gadget that provides loads of extra content for UK viewers. It might be a more expensive at £50 than the Google Chromecast at £30, but there’s more content and the Roku has a remote control, which I think is a plus point. It’s handy too for a second TV that perhaps doesn’t have a satellite or cable connection, and can now use iPlayer or Netflix. It’s a neat, plug’n’play solution that is about as simple as it can be.

Thanks to Roku for the review unit.


Libratone Speakers at The Gadget Show



Danish audio specialists Libratone are relative new kids on the block, being established in 2009/10, but they’re making a strong impression with their colour co-ordinated hi-fi wireless speakers. I took the opportunity to learn more about Libratone’s range from Tom at The Gadget Show.

Libratone Speakers

Libratone ZippLibratone works with both Apple and Android devices supporting a range of protocols, including AirPlay, Wi-Fi Direct and DLNA, Libratone has four models in the range;
– the Lounge, a soundbar to go below a flatscreen TV
– the Zipp, a cylindrical speaker which is both AC and battery powered
– the Loop, a freestanding or wall-mounting round speaker
– the Live, a freestanding three-sided dipole speaker

All the speakers have removable covers that can be changed to suit the decor, either fitting in discreetly or standing out as a feature. Although it’s difficult to assess the audio quality in an exhibition hall, the demo I heard was suitably impressive and if you are in the market for this kind of product, I would definitely give them a listen.


Spotify updates its UI, adds new ‘Your Music’ option



spotify-black

Spotify remains one of the top music streaming services in today’s market, competing with iTunes, Rdio, Google and others. The good thing about this crowd at the top is the simple fact that competition frequently leads to innovation.

Today Spotify announces an all-new, revamped user interface, referring to it as “paint it black” in an announcement. An appropriate reference for both the look and musical nature.

“Today we’re launching the best-looking Spotify ever. Introducing a new darker theme, refreshed typography and rounded iconography, playing your favourite music has never looked so good. We’re not only improving our looks though”, Spotify’s Diego Planas Rego.

You Music is designed to help better organize the music your most interested in. “Save albums and browse their beautiful cover art, gather your favourite artists and create playlists for every mood and moment. Found a song or album that you like? Just hit save to add it to your collection. It’s that simple”, Rego claims.

The new update is for both computer and mobile versions of the service. You can learn more by visiting the site.


My First Hour with Twitter Music



Twitter Music  Twitter Music released today to the general public. I have been playing around with it for the last couple of hours. When you go the website the first thing you will see are the most popular tracks . You can choose from Popular, Emerging, Suggested, Now Playing and Me. How they are curating some of these categories such as Suggested and Emerging isn’t clear. So far I haven’t recognized a lot of the artist on my suggested list, that is neither good or bad just interesting. To play a song you simply tap on it. If you have a premium Spotify or Rdio account you can play the full song, if not it plays a 30 second clip, which appears to be an iTunes preview. Which makes me wonder what happens when you come to a song that isn’t on iTunes. When you play a song a rotating circle appears at the bottom of the screen. If you are on a iPhone and you tap on the rotating circle it will go full screen. You can fast forward or rewind by swiping the outer ring of the circle backward and forward. You can go to the next song by simply swiping to the left. To stop it you just tap on it. You can control the volume directly in the app. If you are using the web version and tap on the same rotating circle you are shown a view of the artist twitter profile page. If you tap on the right arrow on you keyboard it will take you to your next song. You can swipe forward or backwards with in the song by using your mouse, although it is very hard to control. I haven’t discovered any keyboard short cuts for that, but I might be missing something.

There are a couple of things I noticed right away. The first was there is no way to save a song or tag it to buy later. Unfortunately, to play a full version of a song you must have either of a premium Spotify or Rdio account. I had no problem connecting to my Spotify account on the iOs version. At first the connection to Spotify wasn’t working on the web version, however it is now. It is an iOs app only and is built for the iPhone or iPod, although it does play fine on the iPad. Since I have an Android phone I am hoping they bring it to the Android platform soon. I am not sure how much I am going to use it I like the ability to check out emerging artist and what my friends are listening to.  I think it will be something I start playing and then let it run in the background when I just want to listen to music, but don’t care what it is.


Spotify Available on the iPad



Today, May 2 Spotify released a new app for the iPad. It is available in the iTunes App Store. In order to use the app you have to be a Premium member, which is $9.99 a month. The premium membership allows you to access Spotify on a mobile device. It is a beautiful app and very easy to use.

When you first open it you have to sign in using either your Spotify account (if you have one) or your Facebook account. The first page you will see is the What’s New Page. On the left hand side are Search, What’s New, Inbox, Playlists, People. These option are available on all screens.

Whats New
 

At the bottom of the screen is the song you are playing. To see the album art in full screen you simply tap on the arrows next to the album art icon. Then if you want to star the song, share it or find out more details about it, just tap on the album and then the options are listed below it. To go to the next song on the playlist swipe up, for previous song swipe down. To go back to the main page tap on the black section of the screen and hit the hide button.

On the People tab you can click on the person icon and see their top tracks, top artist and published play list. If you tap on an artist it will open up a tab on the right hand side of the screen and show; related artist, the artist top hits, their albums and singles. To close the tab simply swipe right. Under the setting’s tab you can control offline mode, crossfade, gapless playback and whether you want to make the session private or public.

The one thing I noticed was when I uninstalled and then reinstalled the application, the people’s faces I was following no longer showed up under the People tab. There was just a grey profile with a number underneath. If you tap on the grey profile, on some of them the name would appear, but on others nothing would happen. It appears the names would appear only if the person had published a playlist. If you have a lot of friends who publish playlist this can get a little annoying. To fix this problem I powered down my iPad completely and than power it back on again and the pictures were back.  Other then that small annoyance I really like the Spotify app for the iPad. It is beautiful and highly intuitive. If you have a premium account I highly recommend downloading it.