Rumor Has It: Watch out Spotify, YouTube is coming for you

Samsung rumors run rampant in this week's episode.

First, insiders are predicting that a "lite" version of the giant Note 3 could be released early next year. And, not even a year after the Samsung Galaxy S4 dropped, Sammy could already be gearing up to release the Galaxy S5. And this time, it might have a more-premium feel.

The biggest news this week, though, is the rumor that YouTube is working on a subscription-based service called "Music Pass." Imagine ad-free YouTubing. Sounds good to me.

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Heard a tech rumor you think we … Read more

Get eight free holiday songs from Apple

I'm almost exclusively a Johnny Mathis and Bing Crosby guy when it comes to holiday music, but if your tastes are more eclectic than mine, you may enjoy Apple's holiday gift of a free, eight-song playlist.

You'll find Apple's offer in the Apple Store app -- not to be confused with the App Store -- for the iPhone (but, oddly, not in the Apple Store iPad app.) From the Holiday tab, scroll down to the Holiday Cheer menu item. Tap on it and then tap the Download button, at which point you'll get kicked over … Read more

YouTube's music service said to be delayed until next year

Music fans will apparently have to wait until next year to finally give YouTube's much-rumored streaming music service a spin.

Originally expected to debut this past summer, the launch of the subscription service was reportedly pushed back to the end of the year. Now it appears the service won't appear until the first quarter of 2014, people described as familiar with the company's plans tell AllThingsD.

Although not yet officially announced by Google, the music service is said to resemble the platform employed by Spotify but with videos. And, like Pandora, it's said to have both … Read more

Spotify: We've paid out $1 billion in royalties since launch

Spotify has launched a new Web site in an effort to make its business model more transparent to artists and other music professionals. Along the way, the company also announced interesting details on just how much cash it doles out.

According to Spotify, its new site is designed to provide additional insight into its operation through the use of data and business analysis. As part of that, Spotify said on Monday that it has issued $1 billion in royalties since its inception in 2009. At this time last year, its total royalty payout was at $500 million, meaning during 2013 … Read more

Rdio changes leadership tune, naming new CEO

After trimming staff last month to save money, online subscription music service Rdio has named Anthony Bay -- a former Amazon, Microsoft and Apple exec -- as chief executive.

Bay will succeed longtime CEO Drew Larner, who will become vice chairman and an adviser to the board, Rdio said Tuesday in its announcement.

The streaming segment is the music industry's area of greatest growth, but it's intensely competitive, and Rdio has been going up against rivals that beat it either in global reach, like Spotify; in profitability, like Slacker; or in pure size, like Pandora.

Rdio didn't … Read more

Google Glass gets official Play Music app

Google released an official version of its Play Music app for Google Glass on Monday.

The app, announced in a Google+ post by Glass engineer Stephen Lau, follows two November Glass announcements: that there will be branded and pricey Google Glass earbuds, and the public availability of the Google Glass Development Kit preview. The GDK let developers build apps that use more of Glass's hardware features than before.

Glass owners who previously had sideloaded the Google Play Music app Music2.apk are advised to uninstall it before installing the official Glassware version. Otherwise, the official app will not install. … Read more

Michael Jackson's recording engineer's fascinating new book

Grammy Award winning recording engineer Bruce Swedien received his first nomination in 1962 for Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons' "Big Girls Don't Cry," and Swedien went on to record and mix most of Michael Jackson's albums, including "Thriller," the best-selling album of all time. Swedien also worked with Donna Summer and has been nominated for a total of 13 Grammys.

Even if you're preparing to record a local band or Arcade Fire, the wealth of information between the covers of "The Bruce Swedien Recording Method" paperback book will give you … Read more

Why open a huge new record store in 2013?

I know, times being what they are for the music business, it seems like a crazy, even contrarian thing to do. But Rough Trade just opened a 15,000-square-foot record store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in New York. The store only sells new CDs and LPs, no used stuff, along with various music-related merch like books and magazines.

Rough Trade NYC is a big, wide-open, converted warehouse space -- it feels like it's been there for a long, long time. Rough Trade has a similar, but much smaller, shop in London, which opened in 2007, and it's doing fine. … Read more

Review: Torch Music offers loads of content and features, but not great video options

Torch Music includes tons of music videos and playlist capabilities, but its default player leaves a lot to be desired. In most cases, the app just grabs videos from YouTube, keeps the same player, and limits what you can do with it. While that hurts the app, its playlists and social sharing help make it useful for most music fans.

Torch Music lets you insert the name of a song, artist, or album and listen to it without ads or interruptions. The app organizes artists into their albums, so you can listen to an entire album in the order the … Read more

YouTube set for 'Music Pass' subscription, app code reveals

YouTube looks set to introduce an ad-free subscription service called "Music Pass," according to strings of code hidden in its new Android app, YouTube 5.3.

The code, which was excavated by the blog Android Police, apparently reveals these forthcoming options:

Background music to keep playing while you use other apps. Uninterrupted playback -- so no ads. Offline play so you can watch videos and listen to music away from Wi-Fi without devouring your data allowance.

Further code hints that you'll be able to download a whole playlist to watch offline, and choose which definition the video … Read more