By Richard Waters and Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson
By showing that it is prepared to play by the music industry’s rules with its new All Access subscription service, Google has won itself new friends among the music labels.
The main questions now: Can it overcome a patchy past track record in the music business, take advantage of its early lead in subscriptions over Apple and show that it can carve an audience of paying punters out of its massive user base? Read more
Google shares rose past the $900 mark on Wednesday as it announced 900m Android activations at its annual developer conference, Google I/O, in San Francisco. Google also launched a new subscription music streaming service, Google Play All Access, and a bunch of new services for developers, including improved gaming capabilities, mapping services and voice-controlled search tools.
Here’s a transcript of the liveblog by Chris Nuttall and Tim Bradshaw, who were reporting from the Moscone Center.
Duedil, a start-up that provides information on every private company in the UK, has raised $5m in funding ahead of an expansion into more than a dozen countries across Europe.
The London-based company takes data from public and private databases and links it together to provide users with insights that would otherwise have been impossible to obtain. Read more
Small, square, sub-$100 black boxes dominate streaming internet-television devices in the US, in the shape of Apple TV and Roku’s LT, XS, XD and HD boxes.
There’s no shame then in Western Digital imitating this successful formula in launching today the WD TV Play - the latest variation of its WD TV lineup of content-streaming set-top boxes. Read more
The so-called PayPal mafia is a force to be reckoned with in Silicon Valley: Max Levchin joining the Yahoo board is just the latest example of a network that spans Facebook, YouTube, Yammer, LinkedIn, Square and – with Elon Musk’s SpaceX – the edge of the earth’s atmosphere.
In the British start-up world, the closest analogy is Lovefilm. The DVDs-by-post turned video-on-demand service was acquired by Amazon in January 2011, but even before that, had started the careers of many London tech-scene notables.
Now, Adam Valkin – a co-founder and sometime chief executive of Lovefilm, who went on to join TV producer Endemol and, three years ago, Accel Partners’ London office – is helping to take the Lovefilm mafia abroad. Read more
Interesting commentary from around the Web on a tech story that made headlines last week.
Despite an unexpected delay, the release of Apple’s updated iTunes on Thursday was generally well-reviewed by tech bloggers. Its simple interface and speedy performance was seen as a major upgrade. However, questions lingered over whether it would keep iTunes at the forefront in a new world of music subscription services like Spotify and Rdio. Read more
Logitech, the computer peripherals maker that has seen keyboards and mice sales hit by the advent of the smartphone and tablet, is expanding its premium Ultimate Ears (UE) brand to become a mass-market name for products that meet the musical needs of the Apple-led mobile crowd.
This necessary shift – Logitech admitted last year it had missed opportunities in this newer market – begins with the launch today of Logitech UE headphones, speakers and even an internet radio. Read more
Spotify’s international expansion after launching in the US last year is reflected in big leaps in both revenues and losses for 2011. The digital music service’s annual report, recently filed in Luxembourg, showed its revenues more than doubled from €73.9m in 2010 to €187.8m. But at the same time, losses grew by 59 per cent to €45.4m last year. Read more
Spotify, the music streaming service, has followed rivals MOG and Rdio and finally released an iPad app, but it’s been worth the wait.
The app features fast switching between different tracks, almost full-screen album art and intuitive navigation for swiping through information about artists and opening panes on similar artists. Read more
Spotify is to open its doors in Germany this week in the digital music service’s biggest launch since coming to the US last year.
It is the latest example of a digital music firm growing its global footprint as record labels become increasingly bullish on subscription services. Read more
It is a measure of how far streaming digital music services have come that Daniel Ek, co-founder of Spotify, could be feted by a room full of music industry lawyers during Grammy Awards week.
Ek, the keynote speaker at the Entertainment Law Initiative event at the Beverly Hills Hotel, hinted at the industry’s initial resistance when he pointed out that he had started Spotify in 2006 and it had taken him two years to launch in Europe and a full five years before it hit the US market last July. Read more
No wonder the record labels are sounding much more positive about music subscription services. Spotify is starting to reap the benefits of its oft-doubted “freemium” business model.
After hitting 2.5m subscribers in November, the Anglo-Swedish digital music service has now reached 3m, with more than 20 per cent of its active user base paying every month to banish advertisements or listen on smartphones. Read more