The ‘iPod shuffle of Spotify’ is back and better than ever

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Mighty Vibe 1
The Mighty Vibe is the iPod Shuffle but... well, not.
Photo: Mighty Vibe

It’s been a few years since the iPod shuffle was last updated, but there are still plenty of fans out there with fond memories of Apple’s tiniest iPod music player.

If you fall into that camp, you might want to check out the Mighty, a music player that’s basically an iPod shuffle for Spotify. The latest version, called the Mighty Vibe, brings increased battery life and an improved Bluetooth antenna. (It also boasts a refreshed companion app.)

Apple snaps up music analytics firm Asaii

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apple-music
Asaii's platform could help improve Apple Music.
Photo: Apple

Apple has acquired a music analytics startup called Asaii, according to a new report.

It is believed the acquisition, which could help Apple deliver better recommendations to Apple Music subscribers, cost less than $100 million. Asaii claims its platform can pick out the hottest artists “10 weeks to a year” before they even hit the charts.

Apple Music now offers Genius annotations and lyrics

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iPhone with Genius
Level up your music knowledge today.
Photo: Genius

If you’ve ever wanted to dive more deeply into the music you love, boy, have we got the announcement for you! Starting today, digital media company Genius (formerly Rap Genius) is teaming up with Apple Music to provide annotations and song lyrics to “thousands of songs” on the platform.

Apple tops Best Global Brands list for 6th consecutive year

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Apple hardware
Apple is way ahead of the competition in value.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

Apple has topped Interbrand’s annual list of the Best Global Brands for the sixth consecutive year.

The iPhone-maker, which has seen its brand value increase 16 percent this year, ranked highly in consistency, engagement, and differentiation. It is followed by Google, while Amazon has quickly climbed into third place after its brand value increased an impressive 56 percent.

Apple Music is getting exclusive Ministry of Sound playlists

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Ministry of Sound 2
The move will help Apple, hurt Spotify.
Photo: Ministry of Sound/Flickr CC

Apple Music is teaming up for an exclusive playlist deal with the popular Ministry of Sound music label. The first playlist is set to debut on Thursday, October 4.

The move isn’t just about helping Apple, however. It also hurts Spotify, the only other streaming music company to offer much of a challenge to Apple Music. At present, the Ministry of Sound has several popular playlists on Spotify, which will be removed from all non-Apple streaming services in the days to come.

Spotify asks family plan subscribers to prove they are family

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Spotify app now playing screen
Don’t comply and you may lose access.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Spotify’s family plan makes it cheaper for multiple users to enjoy its premium music streaming service. But don’t try sharing it with friends.

Spotify is now asking family plan subscribers to prove they are indeed family by confirming they all live at the same address. “If you don’t confirm, you may lose access to the plan,” it warns.

Sirius XM plans to buy Pandora for $3.5 billion

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Pandora is finally catching up.
Pandora is about to become part of Sirius XM.
Photo: Pandora

Two of the biggest companies in the music business are teaming up to try to better take on Spotify and Apple Music.

Sirius XM revealed today that it plans to acquire the music streaming service Pandora in a $3.5 billion all-stock deal. The merger is far from a done deal though and according to a report, Pandora will have the opportunity to find a better deal from another company.

Apple Music and Spotify make up 80 percent of U.S. streaming subs

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Apple Music charts
Streaming subscriptions in the U.S. have come a long way!
Photo: Apple

Streaming music has come a long way! According to a new report, the number of people now paying a monthly music streaming subscription in the U.S. is around 51 million. That’s close to double the number at the end of 2016!

In total, last year, streaming music services accounted for 65 percent of the recorded music revenue in the U.S. Spotify and Apple Music combined dominate “at least 80 percent” of the domestic music streaming market, and other platforms — including ones belonging to big names like Amazon and Google — are already, “falling surprisingly far behind.”

Apple’s video empire could rival Netflix by 2025

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apple tv
Apple might combine video and music into one subscription.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s video offerings could soon rival the biggest streaming service in the game, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley.

Katy Huberty, who has a reputation as one of the best Apple analysts in the industry, thinks video services will be a huge driver of growth for Apple over the next few years. The company’s potential is so huge that Huberty predicts it will rival Netflix by 2025.

Sonos Amp gives old audio systems a brain boost

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Sonos Amp
The new Amp is twice as powerful as the the old one.
Photo: Sonos

Got a bass-bumping home audio system but also got serious smart-speaker envy? The new Sonos Amp is here to save your old speakers by integrating them into Sonos’ ecosystem and adding a few new tricks along the way.

Sonos unveiled the new amp this morning which is the successor to the company’s Connect:Amp. While it’s not something more normal consumers will buy, it could help Sonos become a mainstay in serious audio systems created by professional installers.

Take a look: