Beats Music

Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine ordered to pay $25 million for Beats royalties

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Jimmy Iovine, Tim Cook, Andre Young, and Eddie Cue. Photo: Apple
Dre and Jimmy can afford it.
Photo: Apple

Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre have been ordered by a court to pay over $25 million to their former business partner Steven Lamar.

The legal battle between the two parties has been going on since 2014 when Iovine and Dre first sued Lamar for falsely advertising that he was a co-founder of Beats. Now a jury has ruled in favor of Lamar’s claim that he should receive more royalties from the company’s headphone sales.

Apple Music loses top exec to Uber

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Bozoma Saint John
Bozoma Saint John is in charge of hyping Apple Music.
Photo: Apple

This story has been updated to include comments from Bozoma Saint John.

Bozoma Saint John, one of Apple’s most entertaining keynote presenters, is leaving the company to work for Uber as the ride-sharing startup’s chief brand officer.

Her task? Fixing Uber’s tarnished image in the wake of sexual harassment allegations and other recent turmoil

Suge Knight claims Dr. Dre tried to kill him over Apple money

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Dre's finally apologizing for his misogyny.
Suge Knight has not forget about Dre.
Photo: Beats

Beats co-founder and Apple employee Andre Young, aka Dr. Dre, allegedly hired a hitman to kill Suge Knight, according to a lawsuit filed by Knight.

The former hip-hop mogul who co-founded Death Row Records claims Dre tried to have him murdered because Knight was owed a $300 million payout after Apple’s $3.4 billion acquisition of Beats Electronics in 2014. That deal made Dr. Dre the first billionaire in hip-hop.

Beats Music subscriber, your time is almost up

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apple-is-killing-beats-music-this-month-image-cultofandroidcomwp-contentuploads201511beatsmusic_ios_combo-jpg
Apple is getting rid of your data next month.
Photo: Apple

If you’re still subscribed to Beats Music instead of Apple Music, your days are numbered. Until January 19, you have the opportunity to save all of your playlists and migrate your account data over to Apple Music if you wish to do so. But after that, Apple will discard of your current data.

A day with Beats 1: Eclectic, star-studded, but slightly meh

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Apple
Beats 1 Radio is live on Apple Music, but is it worth your time?
Photo: Apple

Open your iOS 8.4 Music app and start listening. Beats 1 radio went live today at 9 a.m. Pacific time or 12 p.m. Eastern time, one hour after the launch of Apple Music itself. But is it any good? I’m your fellow music lover here to answer that question in as much depth as possible based on some first impressions.

First, a little background: Apple’s own radio station billed as “programs from people who love music” will stay live 24/7, broadcasting in over 100 countries. The station promises interviews with A-list celebrities and even radio shows hosted by the celebrities themselves every so often. They’ll create their own playlists and mixes and broadcast some of their favorite tunes. Jaden Smith will have his own show, so prepare to have an existential crisis.

Apple Music coming to Sonos, but there’s bad news

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Soon you'll be able to blast Apple Music through your Sonos speakers.
Soon you'll be able to blast Apple Music through your Sonos speakers.
Photo: Sonos

There’s good news and bad news for Beats Music and future Apple Music users alike. Apple has confirmed that the new music service will arrive for Sonos apps and speakers, but unfortunately not right away. It turns out integration won’t be ready in time for the big launch tomorrow, June 30, but the two companies are working together to bring Apple Music to Sonos as soon as possible.

The one advantage Spotify has over Apple Music

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Apple-Music

Photo: Apple

Apple Music may come with a long list of advantages over rivals like Spotify — such as real radio and a super-affordable family plan — but there’s one thing it’s lagging behind on, and that’s music quality… or so it seems.

The highest bitrate Apple Music will offer is 256 kbps, which is lower than the 320 kbps offered by Spotify, Rdio, Tidal, and Apple’s own Beats Music service.

Apple Music puts a human face on the mess that music’s become

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Iovine
Jimmy Iovine talks up Apple Music at WWDC 2015.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s big idea for transforming the way we experience music is bringing a personal touch — and a simple, unified platform — to the tangled technological mess that music’s become in 2015. Apple Music is classic Apple: putting a human face on technology that threatens to overwhelm us.

Tim Cook brought out high-profile artists, and Apple’s team of industry insiders, to show off what he called “the next chapter in music” today at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.

“I know your are going to love it,” Cook said, introducing Apple Music. “It will change the way that you experience music forever.”

Here’s what Apple Music will bring to your ears.

What to expect from WWDC 2015

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New titles and responsibilities in management could reshape Apple.
The countdown to WWDC 2015's big revelations begins.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

With the Worldwide Developers Conference less than a week away, we’ve already got a pretty good idea about what Apple will reveal at this year’s conference.

The company focuses on developer-related products at the conference, but there are plenty of goodies that normals will go crazy for too, like the bevy of improvements coming to iOS 9, a new Apple TV and maybe even a new music streaming service.

Here’s what to expect from WWDC 2015, which runs June 8 to 12 at Moscone Center in San Francisco. (Cult of Mac will be liveblogging the Apple keynote, which starts at 10 a.m. Pacific next Monday, so be sure to check back then for news and instant analysis.)

Apple Music’s recipe for a streaming hit? Cash, cards and marketing muscle

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Sony Music CEO Doug Morris says Apple Music is
Sony Music CEO Doug Morris says Apple Music is "happening tomorrow."
Photo: Midem

When Apple unveils its revamped music service Monday, it will mark a “tipping point” for mass acceptance of streaming over downloads, predicts Sony Music CEO Doug Morris.

The new streaming service, which Morris says will be unveiled tomorrow at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, will challenge on-demand streaming services like Spotify and Rdio thanks to a very particular set of skills Cupertino has acquired over the years.

Apple’s music streaming negotiations come down to the wire

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Apple has big ambitions for its new music streaming service.
Will Beats redesign be ready for WWDC? Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple is planning to use WWDC to spotlight the new streaming music service its been working on for year. It could be Apple’s biggest play in the music industry since the launch of iTunes, but according to a new report, Apple is still struggling to ink its deal with record labels.

There’s no money for Apple in music streaming, but that’s OK

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Apple has big ambitions for its new music streaming service.
Will Beats redesign be ready for WWDC? Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The redesign and relaunch of Beats Music is one of the most anticipated announcements Apple fans are expecting to hear about next week at WWDC. Apple spent $3 billion on Beats in an effort to take on the likes of Spotify and Pandora, but according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, all that effort won’t make Apple a ton of money.

Beats currently has about 300,000 paid subscribers while Spotify has 15 million. According to Munster’s math, even if Apple matched Spotify’s subscriber base the profits will be weak.

Kanye’s new album might be released as free iTunes exclusive

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Yeezus is ready to launch Apple's new music streaming service.
Yeezus is ready to launch Apple's new music streaming service.
Photo: Adweek

Kanye West was part of Jay Z’s small army of megastars that helped launch Tidal, but when it comes to his next album, Ye is reportedly looking to take the U2 route by releasing it on iTunes for free.

According to a new rumor on Twitter, Apple and Kanye are joining forces for the launch of the company’s new music streaming service. As a gift to the fans, Yeezy has agreed to release his new album ‘Swish’ for free after Apple paid him nearly double what he expected to make of album sales.

Apple’s bold plan to convert casual music fans into streaming subscribers

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Apple needs no shelter, thank you.
Apple is hoping to move you from a music collector to a file-streamer.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Imagine clicking iTunes’ “Buy” button to purchase the latest record from Drake or Pharrell Williams, only to get a popup from Apple suggesting you’re behind the times.

That’s what might happen as Apple uses its massive consumer base to push streaming music on the masses, even going so far as prompting iTunes users to switch from buying songs to subscribing to a cloud service.

That sort of mid-purchase upsell is just one possible element of Cupertino’s strategy to shake up the music industry again, and the Apple streaming music plan just might be crazy enough to work.

A year later, Apple-Beats deal remains a mystery

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Apple's Eddy Cue and Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine sit in Walt Mossberg's famous red chairs to dish on Apple's Beats acquisition.
Apple's Eddy Cue and Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine discuss the Beats acquisition shortly after the announcement last year.
Photo: Pete Mall/Re/code

The rumor mill continues to churn about what the hell Apple is going to do with Beats Music. It’s been a year since Apple paid $3 billion to acquire the upstart music service and headphone maker, but we are no closer to understanding why Cupertino laid out the cash.

When Apple purchased Beats Music and Beats Electronics, it did so with a splash it generally reserves for the unveiling of a game-changing product like the Apple Watch. Since then, it’s basically been crickets.

It is clear Apple has a way to go to compete in the streaming music game against Spotify, Pandora and the other services scrambling to get a piece of the music industry pie. But what form will Apple’s next music play take?

Apple-loving Kanye West could debut next album on Beats Music refresh

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Kanye
Could Kanye be the first Tidal music defector?
Photo: Justjared

Kanye West is reportedly distancing himself from Jay Z’s Tidal music service and set to launch his next album — his seventh solo studio album — on Apple’s refreshed Beats Music service, rumored to arrive at this year’s WWDC in June.

Called SWISH, Kanye’s album currently has no official release date, although Wikipedia (for what it’s worth) claims it will drop on June 1. WWDC kicks off one week later on June 8 at Moscone West in San Francisco.

Spotify thinks App Store charges are squashing the competition

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Apple raked in the cash last quarter.
Spotify is upset that Apple rinses subscription services for money. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Spotify’s not happy about the way that Apple charges a 30 percent fee toward sales thorough its App Store, including subscription services.

The tax structure means that in order for Spotify to make $9.99 per month for its premium service it has had to raise the app subscription price to $12.99 — which prices it out of the market compared to the lower-cost Apple-owned Beats Music service, set to launch this summer.

FTC already concerned about possible Beats Music antitrust violation

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So long as the next episode doesn't include antitrust violations, that is. Photo: Beats Music
So long as the next episode doesn't include antitrust violations, that is. Photo: Beats Music

Apple may be struggling to finalize deals with record labels ahead of its Beats Music rebranding this summer, but that’s not stopping the U.S. Federal Trade Commission from scrutinizing it for potential antitrust violations, according to a new report.

The reason? Despite currently experiencing an 8 percent drop in its iTunes popularity, Apple’s history as the largest seller of music downloads means it could theoretically abuse its position to put rival companies on the back-foot.

Apple’s aggressive music ambitions draw DOJ scrutiny

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Apple has big ambitions for its new music streaming service.
Beats redesign is coming to WWDC 2015. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple’s big Beats Music relaunch might be revealed next month at WWDC, and Apple is trying to clear a path through Spotify and YouTube by strong-arming labels into killing freemium music services.

The aggressive tactics have triggered the Department of Justice to look into Apple’s business practices for its upcoming music streaming service, according to a report from the Verge, claiming high-ranking music industry execs have already been interviewed.

Jay Z’s got 99 problems, and Apple might be one

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Jay Z
Tidal could end up having a bit of a 'Hard Knock Life'. Photo: NRK P3/Flickr CC
Photo: Flickr/NRK P3

Jay Z has long described himself as the boss of the Big Apple, but right now it seems the Tidal CEO is butting heads with Apple and other music companies over an alleged multimillion-dollar “smear campaign.”

In a string of tweets over the weekend, Jay Z took issue with tech giants trying to make him out to be the bad guy — acknowledging that, “We may not be perfect – but we are determined” and that “We are here for the long haul.”

Although perhaps not if Apple has anything to say about it!

Apple’s music streaming plans are already under antitrust scrutiny

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The European Commission is already looking at Apple's streaming music plans. But why? Photo: Flickr/Tim Johnson CC
The European Commission is already looking at Apple's streaming music plans. But why? Photo: Flickr/Tim Johnson CC

Apple’s not even announced its rebranded Beats Music streaming rival to Spotify yet, and already it’s under investigation from regulators.

According to a new report, multiple record labels and digital music companies have been contacted for questioning by the European Commission for what could be a redo of the Apple’s antitrust ebooks controversy, in which the company was forced to shell out $450 million in damages.

The mystery part: since such investigations are usually triggered only by a formal complaint to the commission, there’s plenty of finger-pointing going on regarding who’s responsible for throwing accusations Cupertino’s way. In true Clue fashion, was it an existing streaming music provider, in the dining room, with the endangered business model?

All will (presumably) be revealed.