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Apple considering a Spotify rival and iTunes Android app

Apple is in negotiations with senior executives at record labels about launching an on-demand streaming music service that would compete with Spotify and Beats music, according to a report by Billboard. Citing three unnamed sources, the publication said the "exploratory talks" are right now in very early stages.

The report also said Apple is mulling creating an iTunes Store app for Android, bringing the property to enemy turf. Apple did not return a request for comment. We'll update this post if we hear back.

The considerations come at a trying time for iTunes. According to Nielsen, downloads … Read more

Get a Fluance Fi30 Bluetooth speaker for $99.96

First up, thanks for the incredible response to yesterday's post about Microsoft Office. Lots of good discussion, lots of very fair points on all sides. (Note that CNET's commenting system is down for the moment, so you can't add your two cents just now. Same goes for this post. Sorry about that! Hopefully it'll be sorted out soon.)

Second up, most of the Bluetooth speakers you see nowadays are of the compact, portable variety. Those can be great if you want something that can go where you go, even if it's just to different rooms … Read more

Beats Music turns 7 out of 10 free-trial users to paying ones?

Streaming-music service Beats Music signed up 1,000 people a day as paying subscribers before any free trials, and is keeping more than 70 percent of AT&T free-trial users as paying customers once those introductory terms end, according to a Bloomberg report.

The report cited unnamed people familiar with the matter, reporting figures that were provided to investors in February. Beats Music launched publicly on January 21 with AT&T offering "Family" customers a 90-day free trial and individual AT&T wireless customers a 30-day free trial. Before January, Beats Music was in a … Read more

Pandora One hikes subscription price, nixes annual option

Pandora is making a few changes to its premium streaming music service -- most notably a fee hike for new monthly subscribers.

The company announced Tuesday that because of rising royalty rates it pays to musicians, it's having to up its monthly fee for the first time since Pandora One debuted in 2009. Starting in May, new members will have to pay $4.99 per month rather than the current rate of $3.99 per month.

"The costs of delivering this service have grown considerably," Pandora wrote in a blog post. "For example, the royalty rates … Read more

Cadenza: You play, and a full orchestra plays with you

You're at home playing your violin and imagining the day when you'll grace the stage of the world's greatest orchestras. Wouldn't it be nice to have symphonic accompaniment as you nurture those Itzhak Perlman dreams? A number of apps provide musical backup, but Cadenza out of Harvard goes a step further, automatically synching a recording of a full live orchestra to your style and tempo in real time.

"As you begin playing your instrument, the app listens to each note you play and the rhythm and speed in which you play them, calculating and recalibrating a prediction model for when you will play the next note," the Cadenza site explains. "These meticulous adjustments happen every millisecond." … Read more

Get a pair of Gogroove Bluetooth headphones for $29.99 shipped

Whether you're out for a walk, doing housework, or just relaxing under a palm tree while your monkey butlers prepare mojitos (a man can dream, can't he?), there's nothing quite like a pair of untethered headphones feeding your favorite music directly to your brain. Because cords are evil. Eeeeeevil.

Hence, today's deal: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Accessory Genie has Accessory Power's Gogroove AirBand Bluetooth headphones for $29.99 shipped when you apply coupon code Airband29 at checkout. Regular price: $44.99 plus shipping! That's what I call a rockin' Cheapskate … Read more

Crave Ep. 151: Neil Young's Pono dreams soon to come true

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Neil Young's PonoMusic service blew past its Kickstarter fundraising goal in one day. Are FLAC files the next wave in music? We also hear some jams from a cyborg drummer on Earth, and wake up to the sweet smells and sounds of the Bacon Alarm. Read more

Listen to YouTube tunes on your iPhone with Tuner

YouTube has proven over the years to be more than a video repository, offering a wealth of live and recorded music. If you use YouTube to listen to music, then you might want to give the Tuner for YouTube Music app a whirl. It's currently free as a launch offer, according to the developer, and lets you stream the audio of YouTube videos and create playlists on your iPhone.

The Tuner app was released only last week and offers a very basic feature set. It does not require you to sign into a YouTube account to get started. In … Read more

Neil Young's PonoMusic hits $2M on Kickstarter in one day

Well, that didn't take long. Less than 24 hours after legendary rocker Neil Young launched a Kickstarter page for his long-talked-about Pono music service, the campaign surpassed its goal of $800,000.

As of this writing, the PonoMusic Kickstarter campaign has more than $2 million in pledges from more than 6,200 backers.

One of the reasons this Kickstarter campaign blew through the roof is that music fans and sound aficionados are eagerly looking to get their hands on the Pono music player, or PonoPlayer. The player has been in development for years and will use the Free Lossless … Read more

Apple reportedly eyes iTunes Radio as separate app in iOS 8

iTunes Radio could split off as its own separate app for iOS 8.

Apple is now testing its music service as a standalone app for the next version of iOS, according to 9to5Mac, which cited "sources briefed on the plans." The idea is that Apple could feature and market iTunes Radio more readily as its own app than as an option tucked away into the iOS Music app.

For iOS 8, iTunes Radio would be pre-installed and borrow its look and feel from the familiar Music app. iOS users could listen to Featured Stations, create and manage their … Read more