Apple Prime? Here’s why it might be a great idea

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Would an Amazon Prime-style service work for Apple?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple should take a note out of Jeff Bezos’ playbook and launch an Amazon Prime-style subscription service, claims an analyst for Goldman Sachs.

“We think Apple should launch a subscription bundle as a way to reinforce iPhone loyalty and leverage it into content,” Simona Jankowski writes in a new note to clients. In the brief, Jankowski and colleagues ponder the potential of a $50 monthly subscription that would get customers the latest iPhone plus other services like Apple TV, Apple Music and freemium access to the iTunes library.

Apple Music and Spotify offer user-uploaded remixes

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Apple Music
Dubset Media brings legit remixes to listeners and ensures musicians get paid.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple Music and Spotify have started offering users access to unofficial, user-uploaded music remixes, courtesy of a deal with Dubset Media Holdings.

The company uses algorithms to sort out licensing and royalty payments for musical remixes. It’s an incredibly complicated problem to tackle, since a single remix might have upward of 600 different rights holders.

Apple Music drives first serious music industry growth since 1999

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Apple Music is doing good in the eyes of record labels.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple Music is having a big impact on the profitability of the music industry, according to a new report from the Recording Industry Association of America.

How big? Apple Music is one of the key players driving what looks to be the recording industry’s first back-to-back yearly growth since 1998-1999.

Apple denies it has plans to acquire Tidal

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Apple's got 99 problems, but a Tidal acquisition ain't one.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Jay Z and Apple aren’t going to be joining forces anytime soon, according to Apple Music head honcho Jimmy Iovine.

In a new interview, Iovine poured cold water on Tidal takeover rumors, saying: “We’re really running our own race” and “we’re not looking to acquire any streaming services.”

Surge in Spotify subscribers makes it twice as big as Apple Music

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Spotify
Exclusives aren't slowing down Spotify.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple Music doesn’t appear to be slowing Spotify’s growth at all, based on the number of paid subscribers the rival streaming service has added in 2016.

During the iPhone 7 event, Apple boasted that it has 17 million paid subscribers. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek fired shots back on Twitter this morning, revealing his company has more than twice as many paid music listeners.

Apple Music is ruining Spotify’s negotiations with record labels

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Spotify
Exclusives aren't slowing down Spotify.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Negotiations between music streaming service Spotify and all three major record labels have hit a snag lately and Apple Music is a big reason why.

Spotify’s licensing agreements with Sony, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group have reportedly been on a rolling month-by-month basis for much of 2016, yet the companies haven’t been able to hammer out long-term deals yet because Spotify isn’t willing to share as much revenue as Apple Music.

Amazon could beat Apple to $5 per month streaming music

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Cheap streaming music could be another selling point for Amazon Echo.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Amazon is looking to launch its own Amazon Echo-exclusive streaming music service, and according to a new report the company might beat Apple to the much-sought-after $5 per month subscription price point.

For those who don’t remember, one of the big rumors about Apple Music was that the company wanted to charge users five bucks a month, based on the idea that the average iTunes user spends $60 per year on downloaded music, which translates to $5 per month.

How to make Amazon Echo default to Spotify or Pandora

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The Amazon Echo lights up when it recognizes you are making a request.
It's easier than ever to get the Amazon Echo to play tracks from Spotify Premium.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Barking out a song request at my Amazon Echo smart speaker, then hearing the track magically start playing, makes me feel like I’m living in the future.

Unfortunately, that feeling evaporates when the song isn’t part of the relatively skimpy Amazon Prime Music catalog. If it’s not there, Amazon’s AI assistant Alexa queues up an annoying 30-second sample — and that makes me realize I’m living in the very buggy present.

Luckily, you can fix that. Here’s how to make Amazon Echo default to Spotify so you don’t get stuck with those annoying song and album previews.

Apple Music is somehow helping Spotify grow

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Spotify
Spotify now boasts 100 million users worldwide.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Spotify might have been more than a little worried when Apple Music launched last June, but the rivalry has so far been beneficial for the streaming music pioneer. Spotify revealed today that it has grown even faster over the past year.