Posts Tagged ‘itunes’
Firstly, it is being suggested that Apple are thinking of offering iTunes to Android devices. However, the amount of complaining people have been doing about iTunes recently, you have to wonder if any Android users will want to go anywhere near the service.
Apple need to do something though – according to figures, iTunes’ rates have declined while things like Spotify are doing decent business. Google Music is on the up also, so is there any need to offer iTunes to anyone not using Apple devices?
They’re also rumoured to be tinkering with their Apple TV service, presumably on the back of everyone dashing off to buy Google’s Chromecast (as well as Roku and a mooted Amazon service) and the success of Netflix and the like. Basically, it looks like they’re going to offer a new streaming service which could be integrated into a new version of their set-top box.
Apple have already revamped the online store and they are said to be looking at featuring gaming capabilities. They are also hoping to sign-up with a variety of internet providers where they hope to separate the new TV service from public internet traffic, in a bid to get rid of buffering during peak internet usage.
Relatively speaking, it hasn’t been a spectacular year for Apple and other companies have stolen a march on a variety of products and services. Looks like Apple are playing hardball again, pinning their hopes on entertainment services rather than brand new products (although, there is this). For those waiting for an iWatch, it certainly looks like Apple are holding off while they try and tie up people’s viewing and listening habits.
The problem-haired joybringer George Osborne is bringing in new laws making sure that internet downloads are taxed in the country they are purchased.
This means, that Apple and Amazon will have to charge the UK’s 20% rate of VAT. The current situation they are allowed to sell digital downloads via places like Luxembourg, where the tax rate is as low as 3%.
This will affect books, music and apps and comes in from January 1 2015.
His budget document said:
“As announced at budget 2013, the government will legislate to change the rules for the taxation of intra-EU business to consumer supplies of telecommunications, broadcasting and e-services. From 1 January 2015 these services will be taxed in the member state in which the consumer is located, ensuring these are taxed fairly and helping to protect revenue.”
2013 saw singles ales at their highest for years, so after 2015 consumers are going to go the extra to obtain their music. Or maybe they’ll not bother and riot instead.
BSkyB are going after the Apple iTunes Store (other services are available too, pedants) with a new service which allows you to download and keep films called ‘Buy and Keep’. There’s a name that took the branding team all of ten minutes to come up with.
It would’ve been funnier if they’d called it the SkyTunes Store or SkyPlayer.
With an imminent release, Buy and Keep will sit alongside the existing pay-per-view Sky Store rental service.
Andrew Griffith, BSkyB’s chief financial officer says this new service will target families with existing Sky subs who previously bought DVDs, but found the whole ‘going to the shops’ a pain in the hole.
“Having made a strong start in rentals, we think we can go one step further and actually start offering customers the opportunity to purchase movies from us and keep them forever,” Griffith said. “We think we are extremely well positioned to enter the market and take share.”
Apparently, Buy and Keep will “have all the flexibility and the convenience of a digital store but all delivered to your TV set with instant access through the touch of a button the Sky remote”.
There’s no pricing available yet.
X Factor alumness, James Arthur, has been embroiled in an internet row all week, after he called someone “queer”. Arthur, with a face longer than Morrissey’s, has been trying to brush it all off like he’s too hard to care. However, after a scrap with fellow X Factorite, Lucy Spraggan, things have really got heated online.
For the low-down on the scrap, HolyMoly have the best round-up (treating the whole thing with the contempt it frankly deserves). However, one interesting thing has happened – it seems you can now get refunds on albums if you don’t like something the artist has said.
The screengrab below shows what Michelle from iTunes said to a customer.
So, with that, it seems that you can spend your money on albums, maybe films and TV shows and, should anyone involved in the project say something out of turn, you can ask for your money back.
That could be interesting, especially if you’re into hip hop or metal, where artists say all manner of stuff to get themselves heard or in a bid to pointedly shock. Same goes for horror directors or actors defending Roman Polanski and the like. If James Arthur has done little for the world, it seems his big mouth has ushered in a new type of refund.
It costs £145.50 for a TV licence in the UK, so we can watch great shows like Homes Under The Hammer. But those living in Europe, Canada and Australia are getting access to the BBC for a knockdown price of just £4 a month.
An annual pass costing £52 gives people living abroad access to the BBC Global iplayer, and also they can watch vintage shows in the BBC archive – like Blackadder and Fawlty Towers – that aren’t available to viewers in the UK.
The Global iplayer is available through iTunes and is undergoing expansion, featuring 2000 hours of current programming and classic BBC shows. Inevitably, the Tories are furious that FORIEGNERS are allowed to watch the BBC at a lower price, and MP Conor Burns is campaigning to have the licence fee reduced using the profits from the Global iplayer.
‘It is an outrage that they are selling content to oreign nationals at a cheaper rate than to those in the UK who are obliged to pay the licence fee.’ He huffed, almost knocking over his decanter of port.
But the BBC shrugged off the ‘outrage’ saying: ‘Unlike the UK BBC iPlayer, the Global iPlayer is not a seven-day catch-up service, and it does not offer the same breadth or amount of content available to the UK licence fee payer. Profits generated by BBC Worldwide are returned to the BBC for the ultimate benefit of the licence fee payer.’
Which means they’re laughing at John Cleese hitting a car with a tree branch, we get to see more homegrown wonders like Cowboy DIY Bodgers series 109. That’s fair, isn’t it?
Considering Apple hold a reported 500m credit card details, you would think that their security measures are the most robust out there. Well, they aren’t/weren’t.
Apple, along with Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft, were hit in January this year with a security breach after hackers exploited a vulnerability in Oracle’s web-browsing software which prompted the others to give their current measures a serious rethink.
Already introduced by Google, the new “two-step” security measure requires a user to send a code to their mobile phone in order to verify themselves if using a new computer to make a purchase.
The new security features can be switched on by updating your user profile over at the Apple website. Hopefully this will become the norm for every merchant that we entrust with our credit card details.
Calling musicians everywhere – put another guitar on the fire, because Spotify is planning to negotiate royalty reductions with major labels so that they can extend their free service to phones.
At the moment, this is a rumour, but apparently Spotify ‘dudes’ are talking to Warner music about reducing fees and rights, and will be holding no doubt wanky talks with other labels soon.
It’s all intended to increase Spotify’s currently non-existent profitability and improve their free service – but the music industry might not be completely on board. After all, Spotify already deliver miniscule royalty cheques to musicians compared to iTunes or Amazon.
But with downloads stalling and CDs about as popular as frozen lasagne, the labels see subscription streaming services like Spotify – which has 20 million users worldwide – as the future model for the industry, so it’s in a good position to get its wish.
Whether the artists will play along is another matter – Adele, Taylor Swift and Coldplay have already bailed out because it’s not keeping them in gold plated Bentleys, wheatgrass juice and trips to the ‘Special Doctor.’
Should Spotify triumph by shafting the very people who justify its existence? Or should the artists and labels just suck it up and accept that the times are ‘a changin’?
If you still haven’t got into iTunes Match (whether you couldn’t figure out what it was, didn’t like the idea of paying £22 a year, couldn’t be bothered, never knew it existed), you might not be in a hurry to start now.
You might well be more inclined to take a look at Google’s new similar service, Google Play Music, that is FREE. It’ll match your library of music tracks and let you stream as many as 20,000 of them to any Android device with a connection.
If it can’t find some of your tracks in its hefty ‘cloud’, you can upload them and let them rain down into your Android device that way. Music can also be purchased from Google Play Music, with choons starting at 79p a pop.
So then – in summary – a Google version of iTunes Match, but without the nasty £22 a year fee. Seems reasonable.
You know, you can get anything insured these days. Supermodels insure their legs, page three girls can insure their assets and even Len has insured his signature good looks against damage in the ring. But what about normal, everyday stuff? Naturally, your home insurance will cover most of your worldly possessions, but there is one thing you could have paid a lot of cash for over the years, but that might not actually be insured- your digital content and software.
That’s right. While you can back up photos and some apps to the cloud, what about proprietary program software for your laptop, like Office or Adobe? What about your lovingly curated digital music collection, the stuff not ringfenced in by iTunes? Could you afford to replace it all if your laptop literally went up in smoke?
Boffins over at Moneysupermarket.com, who genuinely have nothing better to do all day than poke around in the underwear of insurance policies have discovered that different insurers have wildly different levels of cover for your non-tangibles. Top of the shop is Hiscox, who offer up to £2,500, followed by LV= and Direct Line with £1,000. However, at the other end of the chart are companies like Barclays, LloydsTSB and the Post Office who offer no cover at all.
Importantly, some insurers make distinctions between covering digital downloads and software stored on home entertainment equipment and computers compared with how they cover data downloaded on mobile phones. It’s important to be aware of any differences should you need to make a claim and examples of policy wordings (from those that actually do offer cover) are as follows:
Peter Harrison, insurance expert at MoneySupermarket, said: ” It’s easy to overlook the value of digital downloads and computer software as they are out of sight and potentially out of mind. I’d advise homeowners to be sure they have sufficient protection against loss or theft of digital downloads. Check the details of your home contents insurance to see if you have cover in place and if you are unsure after reading through your policy documents, speak to your insurer to clarify if you do have cover and to what extent. It’s worth spending some time to value your virtual content to ensure you have adequate cover for all your digital downloads as the upper limits on many policies can be modest.”
“Where possible, keep copies of invoices or bank statements as proof of purchase in case you need to make a claim” he finished.
But what if you have a massive hard drive and some serious music or software files? If the value or replacement cost of your digitals is more than the limit imposed by your insurer (not difficult if that level is £0), you may need to add exceptions to your policy, in the same way that jewellery over a certain value is often detailed separately to ensure cover. Although then, of course, you will need to see whether the extra cost is worthwhile.
Still, once downloads and digital software become commonplace, surely the insurance companies will keep up with the times and adjust their policies accordingly. Oh, wait…
Orange Film To Go are launching a campaign that offers free weekly movie downloads from iTunes. Free films. That’s consumer related right?
Basically, you’ll be given a film to download free from iTunes every Thursday if you want. Of course, you’ll have to have an iTunes account which is annoying.
This campaign comes on the back of the hugely successful Orange Wednesday promotion that the phone vendors do at the moment, which sees beleaguered cinema staff weeping into their nacho cheese every week as thousands of people swarm around their place of work, flobbing sex goo on the back row and flicking bit of a chewed up Skittles at the screen.
So, if you have an Orange Pay Monthly, PAYG or/and Home Broadband contract, you’ll get a free film worth £4.49 from iTunes each week.
“We know Orange customers love film, so adding the Orange Film To Go service to our existing portfolio of film offers is hugely exciting for us,” said Spencer McHugh, Brand Director at Orange UK, adding: “We’ve got some fantastic titles lined up for the launch and even more yet to be announced, so we’re hoping to see a significant number of our customers taking up this offer.”
Orange customers can request the promotional code by texting FILMTOGO to 85060.
Free films from That Hollywood? Surely not! Well, that’s kinda what 20th Century Fox are offering anyone with an Android phone.
See, Google Android smartphone owners will soon be able to download movies to their handset thanks to 20th Century Fox.
Basically, what they’re offering is a free digital version of a film you’ve bought on Blu-ray disc. You’ll be able to download the film to your PC from Fox’s website, which you’ll then transfer to your phone with a USB cable.
That said, this seems like something of a faff and, if you own a HTC Desire, you’ll invariably make it groan with a lack of memory and have to delete every single contact in your address book just so you can watch a film you’ve invariably already seen.
Either way, it is free stuff. And the first Blu-ray to come with the Android-compatible download will be X-Men: First Class, and it’ll be aailable in the UK, US, France and Germany.
“Given its strong growth as a mobile operating system, the support for Android is an important move for us because it further enhances Blu-ray discs as the best way to get your movies to all your screens,” said Vincent Marcais, senior vice-president for marketing at Twentieth Century Fox International Home Entertainment.
It is high time that Android caught up with Apple. Google haven’t been exactly hot when it comes to getting media onto smartphones. Netflix and Google have only just added their cinematic services, with the former hitting a few handsets in May, but not all. Meanwhile, Apple customers already have access to a library of music and film through iTunes.
It has emerged that Apple’s all-singing, all-dancing iCloud won’t be working properly in the UK until at least 2012. That’s because Apple and the record companies are still a long way from agreeing terms about the wretched thing.
A spokesman for the Performing Rights Society told the Telegraph that “The licensing team at the PRS have started talks with Apple, but are a long way off from any deals being signed…It is very much the early stages of the negotiations and is similar to the launch of iTunes – which began in the US and took a while to roll out to other countries.”
Meanwhile, an anonymous record company executive added that: “Tentative talks have begun between the major labels and Apple in the UK. However, all talks are at the really early stages and no one expects to see the cloud music service live on this side of the pond until 2012.”
That’s just great. Big Jobs might as well have come out and announced jet packs and meals in pill form for all the use it would be to us over here on this side of the ‘pond’.
Cor! iCloud is on the way! Amazon’s Cloud Drive is already here! Mp3 players and iPods and disk drives – all those places to cram full of all that lovely music you own and love! And you love it all, right? All that music, you listen to it all, all the time? Nah.
According to Music With Me, you only bother to listen to a fifth of your iTunes collection. The figures aren’t completely robust, however – if you rebuild your iTunes library, it resets the play counters – and the start-up providing the figures has a vested interest in the spin.
Still, assuming you haven’t torrented every last quaver in your collection, how much music do you buy that rarely gets a second play, and how much do you really need to own? How big does your hard drive really need to be?
Spotify are revamping their music-selling offering and will be bunging out ‘bundles’ of music as well as individual tracks and albums. A bundle of 10 tracks will cost £7.99 (79.9p per track) while a bundle of 100 costs £50 (a very tasty 50p per track).
More significantly, a new version of Spotify will allow you to synchronise your music from your computer to your mobile device – which until now has been a service that has been dominated by Apple’s iTunes.
Helpfully, the synching feature will work over Wi-Fi so you won’t even have to plug your iPod, iPhone or Android device into your computer while you’re updating your library of sounds. Neat. Whether or not users will adopt Spotify’s sync service when they still have to use the likes of iTunes for other non-music syncing will be the acid test though.
We’re also waiting to see how Apple respond to all of this… we imagine they’ll be REALLY COOL about it all, eh readers?
Back to pricing, and Amazon have cut the price of MP3 downloads in the US, bringing them down to 69 cents, compared to the $1.29 that some songs in Apple’s iTunes Store sell at. Hopefully, we’ll see similar price cuts here in the UK as the music providers start jockeying for top dog status.
Tell us your thoughts, or maybe write us a poem. It’s been a while since you’ve written us a poem. You used to do it all the time. What happened to the magic? Eh?
It’s been rumoured for the past two years, but once again Apple are said to be in talks with the cheeses of the music industry, in an attempt to give iTunes customers greater and easier access to music they’ve purchased across multiple devices. The company is currently negotiating with Universal, Sony, Warner Music Group and EMI.
This proposed arrangement would give customers more flexibility in how they access purchased music. If it goes ahead, iTunes customers would be able to create a permanent backup of music purchases if the originals are lost. From this cloud storage on the intermaweb, customers could then download to iPad and iPhone devices linked to the same iTunes account.
Apple has clearly seen the way Spotify works across multiple devices and they may think that this is a way to kill off one wing of competition. It’d certainly be a step in the right direction towards universal access to content stored in the cloud, and it may go on to redeeming iTunes, which is hardly the most loved piece of consumer software in the world.