A few weeks ago, Gear Live threw down and kicked off the holiday season with the 2014 Gear Live Holiday Bash, and now we've got the pictures to prove it. At the event, I presented my picks for the best holiday gadgets, along with help from my friends Jess Estrada (of FreshJess), GeekWire, Drew Morrison, and New Tech Seattle. We had Seattle's VellVett perform, as well as "Kid Sensation" Xola Malik. Blitz, the mascot for the current Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, made an appearance as well. It was a great night full of food, music, and gadgets giveaways.
We've got to give a warm shout-out to the sponsors who helped make the 2014 Gear Live Holiday Bash possible, and sending the attendees home with awesome gifts: Monster, AT&T Seattle, and Rhapsody.
Click on over to check out the full 2014 Gear Live Holiday Bash photo gallery.
At yesterday's T-Mobile Uncarrier 5.0 event, the company surprised everyone by also announced Uncarrier 6.0: absolutely free unlimited streaming music. Dubbed "Music Freedom," T-Mobile CEO John Legere revealed that any T-Mobile customer can stream music from Pandora, iHeartRadio, iTunes Radio, Spotify, Slacker, Rhapsody, Milk, and Beatport without having to worry about data caps. To make it clear, Legere stated "Every single note of music will come free, not against your bucket. Even when you exhaust your data bucket, you can still stream unlimited music at high speed." The services mentioned account for 85% of music streamed on T-Mobile, but the company isn't stopping there. For example, services like Rdio and Google Play All Access Music will be part of an online voting area that T-Mobile is providing to allow customers to choose which other music services they'd like to see added. The goal is to add a few new services each month.
If you already have an unlimited T-Mobile account, you aren't left in the cold. The company also announced a partnership with Rhapsody unRadio, an app that is available to anyone on any carrier, and T-Mobile unlimited customers get free access, while limited T-Mobile customers get a 20% off discount and pay $4 per month. If you aren't on T-Mobile, you pay $5 for unRadio.
Uncarrier 5.0 was the T-Mobile Test Drive, which sees the company giving anyone in the US an iPhone 5s for free for a week to try out the T-Mobile network.
Ford and Spotify have announced a partnership that sees the popular streaming music service make an appearance in Ford vehicles. Spotify is now compatible with Ford SYNC AppLink, streaming its catalog of over 20 million tracks over the car radio. You'll need to download the new iOS or Android Spotify apps to take advantage of the new hotness. You be able to access your songs, playlists, and custom stations, and can even control things with voice commands. Aside from Spotify, Ford SYNC AppLink allows you to access other service, like Pandora, Amazon Cloud Player, MOG, Slacker, and Rhapsody.
Read More | Ford
The rumors have been swirling for months, and now it's official--Beats Electronics has acquired MOG. Beats Electronics is the force behind the Beats by Dr. Dre headphone line and the Beats Audio profile, while MOG is a fledgling streaming music service that, while popular, has been in an uphill battle against services like Spotify, Rdio, and Rhapsody. The purchase means that Beats Electronics now has an end-to-end solution, controling both the hardware for listening to music, and the service to consume it as well.
Read More | USA Today
Right now I'm at SXSW, sitting in on the Turntable.fm DJ Battle that's taking place over the next two hours. There are a few DJs on stage playing their best tracks in an attempt to rock the crowd, and as things are unfolding, I can see some real potential for Turntable.fm to bring something to the table that the Spotifys, Rdios, and Rhapsodys of the world just aren't able to deliver at the moment, especially now that Turntable has secured licensing rights from all four of the major record labels here in the U.S.
I belong to the MP3 generation. Mine was the first to confront the choice between an $18 CD filled with marginal tracks and free MP3 downloaded from Napster in minutes. It was a test of character, and like many of the MP3 generation, I failed. But my days as a copyright violator, music pirate, and intellectual property profiteer ended long ago, and after enabling iTunes Match, previous guilt is gone.
To be fair, I haven't actually stolen music in years. I actually have multiple music service subscriptions, mostly because I am too lazy to cancel when I switch. So I have access to Rdio, Zune Pass, Rhapsody, Slacker, and Spotify Premium. But the truth is, I have a 32GB music collection sitting on my home PC that was built illegally downloading from services like Napster, Limewire, and BitTorrent. But now Apple is offering me amnesty for just $25 a year.
Apple's iTunes 10.5.1 launched yesterday, and it includes the much-anticipated Match feature. Install the software and it will scan your hard drive for music and make high-quality, 256-Kbps AAC versions of every file available to you in the cloud. The kicker is that this includes not just songs you purchased through iTunes, but any music file on your system, no matter where or how you got it. It will cost $25 a year to maintain access to this newly rebuilt and legal library, but for that price you can have access to up to 25,000 songs. Apple will pay the labels a small fee for the rights, but all you pay is the $25 per year. For those of us in the MP3 generation, this is library liberation.
Facebook is good for discovering the latest news about your friends and family, but what about music? As part of its f8 developer conference yesterday, the site teamed up with a number of online music entities to bring music discovery to Facebook.
Music companies like Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, and Slacker will be offering their own apps, which will allow you to share what you're listening to with friends on Facebook. Their music choices will also show up on your news feed, and you can listen to the songs right inside Facebook.
"You'll now start seeing new music posts and play buttons all over your newsfeeds. Hit a play button and the music starts. Right there," Spotify said in a blog post. "Spotify fires up to give you a new soundtrack to your social life. Check out your new Music Dashboard and your real-time ticker to discover the music that's trending with your friends."
Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg is set to take the stage in just about 15 minutes to kick off Facebook's f8 Developers Conference. You can watch the event unfold live, right here--just hit the play button up top.
We're expecting a bunch of new hotness to be revealed, including the new Facebook music initiative, and a major expansion and re-thinking of the Like button. Also expect new features around news publications, video, and Facebook games as well. It'll be a full morning
Looks like Spotify has finally gotten those US record labels in check, as it has put up a page on its site inviting US users to submit their email addresses in order to gain early access! Spotify is the super-popular music streaming service that has taken Europe by storm, offering free access to millions of tracks on-demand from your computer or smartphone. The company has been trying to launch in the US for quite some time, but has seen numerous hurdles and delays. It looks like that's all been turned around now though, and you'll soon be able to ditch your Rhapsody, MOG, and Rdio subscriptions for another service that pretty much does the same thing.
Read More | Spotify US
We’ve been waiting for Apple to launch some sort of iTunes subscription music service for years now. Seeing other companies like Rhapsody, Napster, and Microsoft’s Zune offer it while leaving Apple out has been pretty frustrating. However, today Reuters is reporting (alongside CNET and the New York Post) that Apple is in talks with all the major record execs to pitch a new subscription music service. Basically, for $10-15 per month, you’d get unlimited access to pretty much the entire iTunes music library. It’s definitely a move to ward off Spotify, since they are trying hard to get into the US, as well as the impending launch of Windows Phone 7 which will include a hyped up and renewed push of the Zune Pass. We’d love to see this one happen.