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Apple Music launches “Spatial Audio” (Dolby Atmos) — like Amazon, no extra charge

Starting today, Apple Music is streaming what it calls Spatial Audio, which is the Dolby Atmos format often called immersive audio. Dolby Atmos is not new, but its implementation by Apple is, announced yesterday at the company’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC). The launch in Apple Music matches Amazon Music’s similar dive into the specialty high resolution music format. Both companies are refuting the once-standard model of charging more for HiRez listening. Continue Reading

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Apple’s “next chapter” of podcasting: Paid listening. And channels.

In an announcement targeted mainly to podcast creators, Apple announced two upcoming features that will enable podcasters to earn subscription revenue, and organize channels of content to increase listening. While both those features widely exist elsewhere, SVP Eddie Cue calls it “the next chapter of podcasting.” New analytics are also in the offing. It all comes out in May. Continue Reading

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Mechanical Licensing Collective receives $424M for unmatched royalties from streaming services

The Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) has received $424-million in royalties from Apple, Spotify, Amazon, Google, Pandora, and 15 other streaming entities from Aspiro to Xandrie. With funds in hand, the MLC starts its US government mandate to accurately distribute payments to songwriters, composers, and music publishers. Click for the list streaming services by dollar amount. Continue Reading

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Bill Rosenblatt: The Axis Collision of Amazon Possibly Acquiring Wondery

by Bill Rosenblatt
Guest columnist Bill Rosenblatt speculates a podcast world in which Amazon has acquired Wondery, fulfilling that rumor. A certain bifurcation would become evident in that scenario, pitching an Amazon/Spotify axis pushing for exclusivity of content, and an iHeartRadio/NPR axis pushing for ad revenue. A must-read column. Continue Reading

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Bill Rosenblatt: Amazon Takes On Spotify In Podcasting

by Bill Rosenblatt
Guest columnist Bill Rosenblatt analyzes Amazon’s most significant entry to podcasting — a podcast listening service integrated with Amazon Music. Comparing Amazon to Spotify is instructive, and this piece also takes into account how Amazon’s lead in the smart speaker market plays into strategic decision around podcasting. One question for the near future, according to rosenblatt: How will audiobooks play in these global audio platforms? Continue Reading

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New from Podtrac: Podcasting rebounds, and Apple grows distribution lead … sort of

In a blast of information preceding its appearance Friday at the IAB Podcast Upfront 2020, Podtrac/Authentic sent us a ream of data and new show deals. CEO Mark McCrery is scheduled to speak at the IAB Podcast Upfront on Friday. Podtrac data indicate that podcast lilsteneing has rebounded from Covid, and that Spotify is chasing Apple hard in audience reach for podcasting. Apple still easily wins in number of downloads. Click through for much more details. Continue Reading

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Jeff Vidler: Could Apple Show Broadcasters the Way For Live Radio?

Signal Hill Insights President Jeff Vidler contributes this very interesting column about Apple’s interesting movement toward traditional radio. “It’s interesting that Apple’s latest foray into audio is a doubling down on the old school notion of human-hosted, human-curated radio.” What does it mean for broadcast radio, if anything? Jeff does some blue-sky thinking. Continue Reading

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Apple’s COVID-19 mobility trends show routines returning to normal (maybe)

Is the world returning to normal life? There are many answers to that question. One set of answers can be derived from information released by Apple. The company has released a fascinating dataset of mobility information, covering the period from January 13 to June 8. The info comes from Apple Maps, and carries three trendlines: Driving, Walking, and Transit.  Continue Reading