The Tech News Blog

December 4, 2014

Apple Deleted Music From Rival Services Off iTunes

iTunes Tips

It turns out Apple has been controlling your music library since long before shoehorning U2's latest album into iTunes.

According to attorneys representing consumers in an antitrust case against Cupertino, the tech giant deleted music that iPod owners downloaded from competing services between 2007 and 2009.

As described by opposing counsel, those users who downloaded music from a rival service—like Real Networks—and tried to sync it with an iPod were met with an error message and instructions to restore the device to factory settings. Once the user followed through, those songs would disappear.

"You guys decided to give them the worst possible experience and blow up" users' music libraries, attorney Patrick Coughlin said in a California U.S. District Court, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

But Apple told jurors on Wednesday that the maneuver was a legitimate security measure - and intentionally cryptic so as to not confuse users.

"We don't need to give users too much information," Apple security director Augustin Farrugia testified, according to the Journal.

July 17, 2014

Apple Rolls Out iTunes Pass Payment System

iTunes Pass Apple iOS users in the U.S. and a handful of other countries now have access to Apple's new iTunes Pass feature, which first debuted in Japan.

Customers in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Germany, and the U.K. can now use the Passbook-based service to refill iTunes account balances at brick-and-mortar Apple Stores.

To get started, visit the iTunes Store on your iDevice, then scroll down to the "Redeem" button and follow the on-screen instructions.

With iTunes Pass—not to be confused with the short-lived music subscription service—accessible via Passbook, it's easy to personally deposit money into a digital account, instead of fumbling with a credit card number or scanning gift cards.

April 24, 2014

Apple Closing In on 800M iTunes Accounts

Review: iTunes 11.1

Apple this week announced that iTunes accounts are approaching 800 million.

That's a "staggering number," CEO Tim Cook said during a Wednesday earnings call with analysts. Most of those accounts, meanwhile, are linked to a credit card, he said.

"iTunes software and services revenue continues to grow at a double-digit rate, thanks to an incredible ecosystem and our very large, loyal and engaged customer base," Cook said. "With its strong momentum in growing profitability, iTunes is a very important driver of our business not only here in the United States, but around the world."

Overall iTunes software and services revenue was $4.6 billion for the first quarter, up 11 percent year over year and an all-time quarterly record, said Luca Maestri, who will take over for Peter Oppenheimer as CFO this fall.

September 18, 2013

iTunes 11.1 Update Rolls Out With iTunes Radio

iTunes Radio

Apple pushed out the latest version of iTunes this morning, offering a reprieve for those mobile fans awaiting today's iOS 7 update.

Like iOS 7, iTunes 11.1 includes iTunes Radio — Cupertino's new streaming music service aimed at rivals like Pandora.

Boasting more than 250 stations, plus those created specifically by users, iTunes Radio also includes ad-free listening for those with an iTunes Match subscription; ad-supported listening is free.

Apple unveiled iTunes Radio at WWDC in June, promising availability on iOS 7, the Mac and PC via iTunes, as well as on the Apple TV set-top box. Like competitor Pandora, iTunes Radio will serve up music based on your listening habits. Apple will suggest genre-specific stations, and tweaks its recommendations depending on your ratings. If you find a new tune you want to add to your personal library, tap the link above the song to buy it on iTunes.

July 23, 2013

Apple iTunes Store Hits 1 Billion Podcast Subscriptions

iOS Podcast App

When Apple announces new iTunes Store milestones, they usually relate to apps or music. But today, the Cupertino tech giant is calling out an achievement for podcasts.

The iTunes Store has reached more than one billion podcast subscriptions, Apple announced Tuesday. To celebrate the milestone, Apple created a special section in iTunes to highlight some of the most popular podcasts of all time.

The section lists "classics" like This American Life, NPR: All Songs Considered, and 60 Minutes in addition to popular offerings like The Adam Corolla Show, TedTalks, and NBC Nightly News. There's also a list of new and noteworthy podcasts like Conversations with Maria Menounos and The Alton Browncast.

Podcasts launched on iTunes in the summer of 2005 as an alternative to radio shows, and the store now boasts roughly 250,000 different podcasts in more than 100 languages for a total of more than 8 million episodes, according to Macworld.

"From comedy to hard news to sports to innovative educational content and so much more, podcasting has transformed the global media landscape," Apple wrote in a note on its podcasts page.

June 27, 2013

iTunes Radio Royalties Reportedly Higher Than Pandora’s

iTunes Radio WWDC 2013

Apple already hooked the big-three music labels for its new iTunes Radio service, but now it's looking to bolster its indie cred.

The company has reportedly been sharing details with independent record labels about the royalties it will pay to major labels for iTunes Radio, and those rates are more than what rival Pandora pays to stream songs on its service, the Wall Street Journal reported.

During the first year of iTunes Radio, Apple will pay 13 cents each time a song is played, plus 15 percent of net advertising revenue, according to the Journal, which reviewed Cupertino's terms. That amount gets a boost in year two, rising to 14 cents per listen, plus 19 percent of ad revenue.

Pandora, meanwhile, pays out 12 cents per listen on its Internet radio service, which currently boasts more than 70 million listeners, as well as a library of more than 100,000 different artists.

But Apple does not pay for performances of songs already in listeners' iTunes libraries or those on an album the user already owns part of. Those tracks selected for special promotions also come royalty-free, the Journal said, and Cupertino will get away without paying for songs that listeners skip in the first 20 seconds — applicable only to two songs per hour for any given user.

Apple did not immediately respond to PCMag's request for comment.

June 21, 2013

iTunes Users Buying About $12 Worth of Music Each Year

iTunes 11

What are you buying on iTunes? According to new stats from Asymco, users are spending most of their money on apps, though video consumption has exploded in recent years.

In announcing that HBO GO and WatchESPN are now on Apple TV, Cupertino this week revealed that iTunes users have now downloaded one billion TV episodes and 380 million movies to date, and are purchasing over 800,000 TV episodes and over 350,000 movies per day.

Asymco's Horace Dediu decided to break down those numbers, and "my new estimate for the rate of spending on iTunes video is about $1.75 billion" per year, he wrote in a blog post. Dediu had previously underestimated how much money people were spending on movies, so "this is much more substantial than prior estimate," he wrote.

June 10, 2013

Apple Demos iTunes Radio Service

iTunes RadioAs expected, Apple today unveiled a new music service, dubbed iTunes Radio.

The Internet radio feature, debuting this fall, will be available on iOS 7 devices via the music app and on the Mac and PC via iTunes, as well as Apple TV. Ad-supported listening is free, while those who pay for iTunes Match can listen without interruption.

Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, provided a demo of iTunes Radio at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) today. It functions much like Pandora, with users able to tap into more than 200 stations. Cue didn't specify which labels signed deals with Apple for iTunes Radio, but he played a song from Maroon 5 during his demo, which is Sony, as well as Bruno Mars from Warner Bros. and The Rolling Stones from Universal Music, which are the big three labels.

Like Pandora, meanwhile, iTunes Radio will serve up music based on your listening habits. "The more you use iTunes Radio and iTunes, the more it knows what you like to listen to and the more personalized your experience becomes," Apple said.

Apple will suggest genre-specific stations, but users can create their own stations as well. Tell iTunes Radio if you like or dislike a song, or if you hear one you want to add to your wish list.

June 7, 2013

Report: iRadio Closer to Reality With Apple, Sony Deal


Apple and Sony Music have reportedly inked a deal, moving Cupertino's anticipated iRadio service another step forward.

According to All Things Digital — which cited a person familiar with the companies' negotiations — this means Apple now has the support of all three major music labels, including Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group.

Don't expect to start tuning into iRadio just yet, though. Cupertino still needs to snag the support of Sony/ATV, Sony's music publishing department, ATD said.

Neither Apple nor Sony Music Entertainment immediately responded to PCMag's request for comment.

Excited iFanatics may want to keep an eye on next week's Apple Worldwide Developer Conference, where details about the aptly named iRadio service could surface. ATD described the service as "an enhanced version of Pandora" with more control over songs, but not as full-featured as something like Spotify.

May 16, 2013

iTunes Update Brings Revamped Mini Player, Songs View

iTunes 11.0.3 MiniPlayer

Heads up iTunes users. It's time for an update.

Apple on Thursday released a new version of its media playing software, iTunes 11.0.3, bringing a revamped Mini Player and songs view, among other enhancements.

The MiniPlayer (left), which lets you play music without taking up too much screen space, now features a "beautiful new view that showcases your album artwork," according to Apple's release notes. It also now has a built-in progress bar, letting you see how much time is left of the song you're playing.

The latest version of iTunes also now lets you view album artwork while in Songs view. In addition, albums with multiple discs will now appear as a single album.

The update also includes performance improvements when searching and sorting large libraries, which should be good news for those who have spent a lot of money on iTunes.

iTunes 11.0.3 is available for download now through Software Update.