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UnitedMasters releases iPhone app for DIY cross-service music distribution

Posted by | 20th Century Fox, Apple, Apps, AT&T, cloud applications, cloud storage, computing, Dropbox, iCloud, iOS, iPhone, Media, Mobile, national basketball association, NBA, operating systems, PayPal, president, Software, Startups, steve stoute, TC, tidal, UnitedMasters | No Comments

Alphabet-backed UnitedMasters, the music label distribution startup and record label alternative that offers artists 100 percent ownership of everything they create, launched its iPhone app today.

The iPhone app works like the service they used to offer only via the web, giving artists the chance to upload their own tracks (from iCloud, Dropbox or directly from text messages), then distribute them to a full range of streaming music platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and more. In exchange for this distribution, as well as analytics on how your music is performing, UnitedMasters takes a 10% share on revenue generated by tracks it distributes, but artists retain full ownership of the content they create.

UnitedMasters also works with brand partners, including Bose, the NBA and AT&T, to place tracks in marketing use across the brand’s properties and distributed content. Music creators are paid out via PayPal once they connect their accounts, and they can also tie-in their social accounts for connecting their overall online presence with their music.

UnitedMasters

Using the app, artists can create entire releases by uploading not only music tracks but also high-quality cover art, and by entering information like whether any producers participated in the music creation, and whether the tracks contain any explicit lyrics. You can also specific an exact desired release date, and UnitedMasters will do its best to distribute across services on that day, pending content approvals.

UnitedMasters was founded by former Interscope Records president Steve Stoute, and also has funding from Andreessen Horwitz and 20th Century Fox. It’s aiming to serve a new generation of artists who are disenfranchised by the traditional label model, but seeking distribution through the services where listeners actually spend their time, and using the iPhone as manage the entire process definitely fits with serving that customer base.

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Plex teams with TIDAL to bring a discounted streaming music subscription to its media app

Posted by | Apps, Media, Mobile, Music, plex, streaming, streaming service, TC, tidal | No Comments

Media center app Plex today announced a partnership with streaming music service TIDAL, offering discounted access to TIDAL’s 60 million tracks and 244,000+ music videos for Plex Pass subscribers. The Plex Pass is the media center app’s own subscription program, which adds support for watching and recording from live TV as well as other premium features and advanced controls.

Now, Plex Pass holders will be able to add TIDAL into the mix for $8.99 per month, instead of its usual $9.99 per month price. It’s not a steep discount, but one that could prove compelling for serious Plex users who have already centralized their access to entertainment within the Plex app.

Over the past year or so, Plex has doubled down on its mission to become a one-stop shop for all your media, having added support for podcasts, streaming TV (by way of a digital antenna) and a DVR, personalized news, and, most recently, web shows. This is in addition to the software’s ability to organize your home media collections of movies, TV shows, personal video, music and photos.

The company’s goal is to capitalize on its expansive entertainment library in order to offer better recommendations across media types. That is — it could suggest podcasts or web shows based on the TV or music you enjoy, for example.

Plex customers who add TIDAL will have access to the streamer’s entire music catalog, along with artist recommendations for those who aren’t already in your media library, as well as a feature that will display the missing albums from artists in your library. The service also offers artist radio, discovery radio for finding new tunes from those not in your library, new release recommendations, music videos and more.

Universal search and playlists features will combine results from Plex’s library and TIDAL, allowing you to locate tracks from your local library alongside TIDAL tracks, and add both to the same playlist.

“An incredible music and media experience is something that matters to both TIDAL and Plex users, and the addition of TIDAL’s music streaming service within Plex makes it the only solution that organizes and curates all major media types in one place,” said Keith Valory, CEO of Plex, in a statement. “It’s another step closer to making all the media that matters to you accessible from one app, on any device, anytime.”

TIDAL will also point its subscribers to Plex as a part of the deal, giving them access to Plex’s music features and mobile app, or, in the case of Tidal HiFi subscribers ($19.99/mo), they get a Plex Pass for free.

New customers to TIDAL can sign up for a combo TIDAL/Plex Pass subscription for $9.99/mo or $19.99/mo if they want TIDAL HiFi. (Normally a Plex Pass on its own is $3.33/mo if paid annually).

Once signed up for TIDAL, Plex users can quickly merge their subscription to Plex from here.

The TIDAL subscription is available on Plex mobile and web* to start, with expansion to other TV platforms expected to follow.

*Versions required: Plex Media Server 1.14.0.5470; iOS 5.7.2; Android 7.8.0; Web 3.77.2 

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Essential is releasing a wired headphone jack accessory

Posted by | essential, headphone jack, Mobile, tidal | No Comments

Essential has been nearly radio silent since reports surfaced late last month that Andy Rubin was looking for a buyer for his hardware startup. The company didn’t really confirm or deny the rumors — or say much else for that matter. A few weeks later, the company does have some news — but it’s not what you were most likely expecting.

The startup just dropped the second modular accessory for its first smartphone. The Audio Adapter HD features a built-in amp and the ability to play back MQA (Master Quality Authenticated), a hi-res streaming audio technology. Oh, and there’s a 3.5mm audio jack, because everything that’s old is new again.

Bonus track: We teamed up with @TIDAL to give new and existing Essential Phone customers a free 3-month TIDAL HiFi subscription. Learn how to redeem this offer and start listening to thousands of MQA tracks today: https://t.co/JUYZD89dto pic.twitter.com/ETM58Hjqa9

Essential (@essential) June 7, 2018

The new add-on is set to drop at some point this summer. The company has also teamed up with Tidal. The streaming service has also reportedly had some issues of late, though, for its part, the company did offer a more outright denial. The partnership gives new and existing Essential customers a three-month trial subscription of Tidal’s HiFi service — a taste of what they’ve been missing with their low bit rates.

The company has declined to provide pricing for the add-on. Its first mod, the 360-degree camera, retailed for $200 at launch, though that price has since dropped considerably on retailers like Amazon — much like the Essential phone itself. As with the camera, the Audio Adapter HD feels like a niche, compared to mods from Motorola, which include things like battery packs and speakers.

At the very least, however, it does show that there’s still some life left in the Essential line.

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Apple might buy Jay Z’s Tidal music app

Posted by | Apple, apple music, Apps, Fundings & Exits, Media, Mobile, Music Exclusives, Spotify, Startups, TC, tidal | No Comments

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 17:  Jay-Z (L) and Memphis Bleek perform during TIDAL X: Jay-Z B-sides in NYC on May 17, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Live Nation) If you can’t beat ’em, buy ’em. Apple is in discussions with Tidal about acquiring its music streaming app, which offers exclusives and early releases from big artists like Beyonce and Kanye West. The Wall Street Journal reports that the talks are still early and might not end in a deal, but Apple wants those exclusives to bolster its Apple Music streaming app that’s… Read More

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Spotify seeks more personalized playlists after Discover Weekly finds 40M users

Posted by | apple music, Apps, Entertainment, Media, Mobile, music discovery, Spotify, Startups, streaming music, TC, tidal | No Comments

light-vs-right Apple Music, Tidal and, until recently, Spotify, failed at music discovery because they stuck to a blog-style format. But Spotify has cracked the code with a Facebook News Feed-style personalized, frequently updated playlist called Discover Weekly. Spotify now says the playlists have seen 40 million unique users since launching last July, and 5 billion tracks streamed. Read More

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