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Editor’s Notebook: Google’s hasty freemium play

by Brad Hill
Yesterday Google announced it was introducing a free-listening, Internet radio-style component to its Google Play service. The announceement was widely viewed as counter-Apple positioning. But Apple has freemium too. Both companies, the owners of mobile computing, are playing the same game with the same pieces. Continue Reading

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Editor’s Notebook: Spotify and YouTube cross into overlapping territory

When Spotify announced last week that it was adding video to its content catalog, it signaled a directional shift and a competitive thrust into YouTube’s territory. YouTube, meanwhile, is inching its Music Key subscription platform onto Spotify’s front lawn. Other brands like Deezer and SoundCloud are also blurring their lines of identity. It’s all about un-platforming … while trying to succeed as a platform. Continue Reading

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Editor’s Notebook: What the “FM rules the car” meme should mean to radio

The number of “FM Still Rules the Car” headlines this week signifies a thought trend. The headlines have been induced by two new studies — one by Ipsos, and yesterday’s the Infinie Dial 2015 release by Edison Research. How should broadcast radio be thinking of this? Continue Reading

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Editor’s Notebook: Putting Beats in iOS won’t help much

by Brad Hill

Installing Beats Music as a built-in iOS app creates headlines, and is an obvious maneuver, but it barely lessens the challenge faced by Apple in the brutal music subscription space. It will not, by itself, move the needle for Beats or Apple. A crucial new effort is needed, and Apple has not demonstrated creativity in the music space for years. Continue Reading

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Editor’s Notebook: David Lowery’s attempt to unwind music streaming

by Brad Hill

David Lowery, musicians’ advocate and the foremost critic of streaming music, posted a column in which he prescribes solutions to “fix” the streaming music business model — or, more accurately, his issues with it. Lowery’s arrows are pointed at Spotify, and his suggestions are surprising. Along the way, he misses some reality points. Continue Reading

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Editor’s Notebook: eMusic’s long road and changing identity

by Brad Hill

Once a pioneer, subscription music-download site eMusic is striking out afresh with news of a change its music catalog to focus on indie labels and artists. The service will discontinue major-label recordings. In doing so, eMusic circles back to its roots as a champion of indie music, and of users who dig deeper than the hit charts. Continue Reading

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Editor’s Notebook: Will Apple shutter Beats Music? (And more important questions)

At RAIN News we prefer facts to rumors. But rumors can anticipate reality. Whether they do or not, well-sourced rumors are interesting, and point to underlying issues. This rumor started with a TechCrunch article, circulated by other publications, and was quickly denied by Apple. Another recent Apple acquisition might provide guiding light. And no matter what happens to the Beats Music brand, important questions surround Apple’s role in music and listening. Continue Reading