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Test Drive: 360-degree videos from the Google Cultural Institute

Google announced new additions to its push to record great works in 360-degree video, this time focused on the fine arts. The tech giant has partnered with more than 60 performing arts groups around the world to create live, 360-degree experiences. I’ve seen a few experiments with this video tech before, and it has always seemed more interesting in theory than in practice to me. So I was curious to see what this meeting of high-tech and high culture could produce. Continue Reading

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Test Drive: Ministry of Sound’s streaming app for the house music lovers

There have been some rumblings about the streaming industry potentially breaking itself into niche, genre-based offerings. Today, another electronic-centered company has entered the field. Ministry of Sound, a house and dance specialist based in the UK, launched a free streaming app with round-the-clock lean-back programming. Continue Reading

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Test Drive: AudioBurst’s curated talk radio

Today we’re taking a spin with the beta launch of a new online property called AudioBurst. The site collects talk radio segments from stations across the U.S. and puts them online in short clips dubbed ‘bursts.’ This is definitely a fun idea for those listeners who are big fans of audio content and want a more streamlined experience, but it does require a lot of interaction. Continue Reading

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Test Drive: iHeartRadio’s My Favorites joins the personalization bandwagon

Many streaming platforms promise tools for personalized listening, but few radio services have explored programming that crosses genre boundaries. The latest to explore this space is iHeartRadio, which launched a new feature called My Favorites Radio. This station collects all of a given user’s favorited and thumbs-upped tracks and artists across all genres to create a single personalized playlist. Both Brad Hill and I took a spin through this feature to hear how things worked. Continue Reading

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Test Drive: If you liked them before they sold out, you’ll like Spotify’s Found Them First

Spotify has a new feature catering to those listeners who are ahead of the trends. It’s called Found Them First, and the tool scours your listening history to see if you were streaming any artists before they hit the big time. The streaming platform defined breakout artists as act that have surpassed 20 million total streams with a growth rate of at least 2,000% between January 2013 and June 2015. Continue Reading

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Test Drive: Baboom breathes fresh air into the indie music business

Baboom joined the ranks of of new digital music properties with its launch last week. The company blends several promising ideas from other digital upstarts, such as the direct-to-fan patronage of Bandcamp and the stream/store combination of Beatport. The result is a product that feels new and more promising than most other musical startups. Continue Reading

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Test Drive: Aud.io offers hi-fi Internet radio on mobile, but buzzwords aren’t enough

The hi-fi streaming club has another member. Aud.io bills itself as the world’s first high-fidelity Internet radio service. It offers ad-free listening to stations grouped by genre for $7.99 a month. The service uses a Pandora-like system of personalization based on likes and skips. But unlike the online radio standard, there’s no way to add other seeds or artist preferences or new stations. Here’s what I thought. Continue Reading