Amazon Echo adds Spotify to its musical repertoire

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amazon-echo-adds-spotify-to-its-musical-repertoire-image-cultofandroidcomwp-contentuploads201602amazon-echo-jpg
Amazon Echo adds Spotify to its bag of tricks.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Amazon’s Echo smart speaker just upped its music game, adding Spotify streaming to its ever-growing list of skills. Now playing your favorite artists and playlists is just a voice command away — at least if you’re a Spotify Premium subscriber.

The greatest Xmas gift you can give: Apple evangelism

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The holidays are the perfect time to spread the Apple love.
The holidays are the perfect time to spread the Apple love.
Photo: Jack Mayfield

As an Apple fan, there’s a great gift you can bestow upon your friends and family this holiday season. The amazing part is, it’s free.

I’m not talking about the free tech support you’ll inevitably dole out to befuddled relatives (Cult of Mac’s how-to section can help with that, BTW). I’m talking about evangelizing for two of Apple’s least-loved products — and this gracious act will also goose the greater good.

Good news for Apple: Free music services must pay higher royalties

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Tired of Apple Music's playlists? Try something even more indie.
Free services must pay higher royalties.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

In news which could well be good for Apple Music, but bad for rival free streaming music services, the federal Copyright Royalty Board has ruled that ad-supported internet radio companies such as Pandora must pay higher royalty rates to artists and record labels.

Starting next year, Pandora, iHeartMedia and others will pay 17 cents for every 100 plays of a song on their free tiers. This fee will increase over the following four years in line with inflation.

UE Boom 2 gets Block Party mode so you can blast friends’ tunes

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The UE Boom 2's new Block Party feature makes it easier than ever to share music with friends.
The UE Boom 2's new Block Party feature makes it easier than ever to share music with friends.
Photo: Ultimate Ears

SAN FRANCISCO — A slick new feature coming to Ultimate Ears’ Bluetooth speakers will let you stream your friends’ music from the palm of your hand.

Called Block Party, it lets up to three friends connect to the same UE speaker. Then the self-appointed DJ can pick and choose from each person’s tunes, pulled from streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify. The DJ can skip songs and jump from playlist to playlist, and it’s all shockingly smooth and simple.

Down with the kids? Apple Music is more popular with older people

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Apple Music
Shock horror! Kids don't like paying for things.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Older people are more likely to subscribe to Apple Music than their younger counterparts, claims a new survey by Jackdaw Research.

According to Jackdaw’s findings, 62 percent of survey respondents under the age of 35 have already canceled Apple’s streaming music service. However, an impressive 67 percent of respondents aged 35 and up have transitioned to paying subscribers after the three-month trial period.