Spotify extends free trial facing pressure from Apple Music

Spotify is taking what it knows about your music tastes to curate a personalized weekly playlist.
Spotify has increased its free trial for users outside the U.S.
Photo: Spotify

Apple Music’s launch is just days away, and Spotify is already running to catch up to the free trial Apple thinks will convince you to become a paying customer.

In an attempt to match Apple’s controversial three-month free trial period, Spotify announced that it will extend its Premium free trials from 30 days to 60 its days, but only if you’re outside the U.S.

Hard-rockin’ drum pedal lets you be the band


Fantastic sounding drums at your feet. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
Fantastic sounding drums at your feet. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

There’s always that moment when your drummer can’t show up for rehearsal. She’s got some other commitment. He’s got another gig. Her boyfriend needs her to take him to the hospital.

It happens. When it does, you can do what I’ve always done – pound your foot against the floor and try to muddle on through – or you can use a drum machine. The problem with standard drum machines is that they’re made to be used by hands or, in some cases, drum sticks. I’m not a drummer (no sticks) and I need my hands to play my guitar. What I really need is a drum machine I can play from the floor, guitar-pedal style.

That’s what caught my eye about the BeatBuddy – this is a guitar-pedal-style device that lets you use your foot to play back drum beats in a variety of styles, fills and different parts included. This is my new best friend when the drummer can’t make it to practice, and it may become my new stage pal if I take my act solo.

The YouTube musician who made Steve Jobs dance with glee


Jonathan Mann turns his fascination with Apple into catchy pop songs. Photo: Funcrunch Photo/Flickr

Steve Jobs wasn’t in the habit of dancing at Apple events. But in 2010, prior to a press conference where he addressed concerns about the new iPhone’s antenna, a song lampooning the controversy got Jobs dancing in the wings before he faced off with journalists.

The song in question, which played on a big screen to kick off the event, was the work of YouTube musician and Apple fan Jonathan Mann, who has spent the past five years composing a new song each day and posting it online.

“I heard later on from an Apple PR person that Steve Jobs was bopping along in the wings as the song was playing” at the Antennagate press conference, says Mann, speaking with Cult of Mac. “It was a surreal moment in my life.”

Antennagate went away, but Mann became the go-to guy for jingles about all things Cupertino. To date he has written 38 songs about Apple, touching  on everything from Craig Federighi’s WWDC performance to the unveiling of the Apple Watch. His clever ideas and quick turnaround times have turned him into YouTube’s premier Apple songsmith.

Slash defends U2’s unique deal with Apple


Photo: Wikipedia CC
Photo: Wikipedia CC

Former Guns N’ Roses lead guitarist Slash has praised U2’s poorly received iTunes album giveaway as a clever marketing strategy.

“There’s a lot less opportunities in the record business to get a deal and get a record out there, and there’s not a lot of radio play for it,” he told Ultimate Classic Rock magazine.

Describing the music business in 2014 as “like the wild, wild west,” he continued that this was “one of those kind of tactics that only U2 could really get away with doing.”

London calling: The best of the iTunes Festival (so far)


A$AP Rocky

This year’s iTunes Festival lineup is fantastic. It’s got everything, with veterans like Tony Bennett and Robert Plant sharing a festival stage with relative newcomers Sam Smith and Deadmau5.

All those taking the stage at London’s Roundhouse as part of the free shows are consummate performers but — as with any large concert program — there are always some standout acts. We’ve rounded up some of the best moments from the first half of this month-long concert series.