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  1. Spotify has announced an extended trial for free users and newcomers to the streaming service. First-time subscribers and those using Spotify for free can get three months of Spotify Premium for as little as $0. The offer will be available for grabs until September 11, 2022. Besides attracting new customers with an extended free trial, Spotify wants to lure back ex-Premium users. Those who canceled Spotify Premium before July 15, 2022, can purchase three months of subscription for only $9.99 (or equal price in your local market). The Promo price for returning subscribers and three months of Spotify Premium for free are valid in 135 markets where Spotify is available. The subscription provides ad-free and on-demand access to 80 million tracks and more than 4 million podcasts. Premium customers get other additional features, such as improved Apple Watch integration, offline playback, and unlimited skips. You can sign up for Spotify Premium on the official website. Spotify extends free trial to three months, offers discount to returning subscribers
  2. Spotify has some good news for its customers with ARM-based Windows computers. The latest beta brings optimizations for ARM64, which means Windows PCs with ARM processors inside can run the app natively. Spotify announced the ARM64-version of its client on the official forums. The post includes a link for downloading the executable file (version 1.1.86.857), plus a notification about a single known issue. According to Spotify, the app currently struggles with some video podcasts, and instead of playing an episode, Spotify asks the user to update the client. The company recommend watching the broken podcasts in a browser to bypass this problem. Windows on ARM customers can run the regular Spotify app using emulation, but the native app offers much better efficiency and performance. Unfortunately, the latter is currently in beta, so expect some rough edges and bugs. If you plan to use Spotify Beta on an ARM-based Windows PC, make sure to share your feedback with Spotify to help the company improve the app. Other users can get the regular app from the official website or the Microsoft Store. There is also a somewhat exotic option to run the Android version of Spotify on Windows. Microsoft recently announced bringing Android apps support to five new countries, so more users can try this unorthodox approach too. Spotify releases native ARM client for Windows
  3. The Stations app focused on listening to music instead of making specific choices Besides podcasts, things for your car, and annual listening recaps, Spotify has been running another experiment since 2018 with Stations, a “lightweight” app available for free and paid subscribers. After its initial debut overseas with an Android version, Spotify launched an iOS version of the app in 2019 and opened it up to users in the US. However, now the test is over, and 9to5Google reports Spotify has started notifying users that the app will shut down on May 16th. If you used Stations, you can visit the site to move your favorite curated lists over to the main Spotify app, which includes the following message: Stations is shutting down on May 16th. The stations you created will go away, but you can still enjoy Spotify by logging in with your Stations account. Discover playlists made for you, plus millions of songs and podcasts. The Stations gimmick was that it started playing as soon as you opened the app, and while users could swap across their preferred stations / playlists, there was no way to pick specific tracks or artists, and returning to a station would start right where it left off. The available stations included a number of presets and some you could create by picking your favorite artists from a list, and it would attempt to personalize the experience for you over time. In a statement given to TechCrunch, Spotify said of its various projects: “Some of those tests end up paving the way for our broader user experience and others serve only as an important learning. Our Spotify Stations Beta was one of those tests. We will be sunsetting the current feature, but users will be able to easily transfer their favorite stations and enjoy a similar radio experience directly within the Spotify app.” If you’ve been devoted to the Stations feature, you may notice an improved Spotify Radio experience within the main app, which now can include personalized radio stations as well as a news and music playlist for drivers. As TechCrunch notes, Spotify announced a rebranding for its live audio platform from Greenroom to Spotify Live last month and will include its features in the main app while also leaving a standalone app available. Spotify will shut down its radio-like listening app Stations on May 16th
  4. Spotify noted that while the new Video Podcast will let the audience “get to know their favorite podcast hosts even better, and allow creators to connect with their audiences in a much deeper way,” there is still an option to opt back to the basic audio podcasts since the “video on Spotify is backgroundable.” From a simple audio service provider, Spotify is now evolving into something new with the introduction of Video Podcasts on its platform. On Thursday, the company announced the expansion of access for content creators who want to publish Video Podcasts. The support for the feature will be introduced in five global markets — the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the UK. Spotify said that they have further “plan to roll this out to additional markets in the future.” “Last fall, Spotify began activating Video Podcasts for creators on a limited basis,” Spotify says in its post announcing the expansion. “Since then, we’ve found that podcasters love having the option to accompany their audio with visual components, and fans love having the opportunity to more deeply connect with the content. So as the audience for this format grows, we’re also opening up the Video Podcast capability to more creators, creating a growing catalog of video podcasts.” Now, with the expansion happening in five locations, podcasters will be able to upload their Video Podcasts to Spotify through Anchor’s web platform. Nonetheless, Spotify noted that while the new Video Podcast will let the audience “get to know their favorite podcast hosts even better, and allow creators to connect with their audiences in a much deeper way,” there is still an option to opt back to the basic audio podcasts since the “video on Spotify is backgroundable.” Spotify acknowledged that exploring the realm of Video Podcasts might be a strange, new experience for some creators. With this, the company introduced new features that could make content creators more comfortable when creating their Video Podcast. “With this latest expansion, we’re continuing to make Video Podcasting a great experience for creators—empowering them to reach new global audiences, own how they monetize their content, and interact with fans in new ways,” says Spotify. “There’s a massive opportunity for Video Podcasts on Spotify, and we can’t wait to see what creators bring to the table.” Some of the basic features are embeddable video and video-specific analytics. Adding to these features is the Riverside integration, which starts Spotify’s new partnership. Through this integration, podcasters will be given the option to perform remote recording, with a convenient distribution path to Spotify via Anchor. For current creators who have already published tons of audio podcasts, on the other hand, Spotify is offering Video Bulk-Replace that can replace current audio episodes with video versions. Meanwhile, Spotify says that Video Podcasts will include the interactive podcast features (like Polls and Q&A) to let podcasters better interact with their audience while also being able to receive feedback. Likewise, it will have the Spotify Podcast Subscriptions, though the company said more monetization features are coming soon. Spotify launches Video Podcast in the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the UK
  5. Mixed messaging everywhere Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images The Joe Rogan situation at Spotify keeps getting more confused. As the situation has evolved, so has the company’s treatment of its star podcaster. One day, it says it’s a hands-off platform that treats all creators the same. The next, it admits to having backdoor discussions with Rogan and pulling episodes due to outrage over language used on the show. The whiplash undermines Spotify’s narrative about how it interacts with Rogan and other podcasters and offers a window into the delicate relationship between Rogan and the company that depends on him to stay differentiated. Let’s dive into where things aren’t lining up. Spotify has reiterated multiple times now that it considers itself merely a platform for podcasts — despite paying Rogan a reported $100 million to distribute his show. That Spotify wants to believe Rogan is an audio creator like any other has been a constant refrain since Neil Young and other musicians pulled their music from the platform nearly two weeks ago over their belief that Rogan and his guests spread COVID-19 misinformation. Spotify responded to that controversy by saying that it would only take moderation actions against content that violated its rules — rules that were not public until The Verge first reported on them, and then which Spotify itself published days later. That Spotify was paying $100 million to exclusively distribute The Joe Rogan Experience should not change anything, according to CEO Daniel Ek, who directly addressed that relationship in an internal town hall last week: “Even though JRE is an exclusive, it is licensed content,” Ek said in remarks obtained by The Verge. “It is important to note that we do not have creative control over Joe Rogan’s content. We don’t approve his guests in advance, and just like any other creator, we get his content when he publishes, and then we review it, and if it violates our policies, we take the appropriate enforcement actions.” Ek was also clear that Rogan was critical to the company’s success, telling employees that the Spotify catalog wasn’t differentiated from rivals and that signing exclusives like Rogan gave the company leverage in negotiations with Amazon, Google, and Tesla. Signing Rogan helped turn Spotify into the number one podcasting app in the US, he noted. At this point, Spotify’s position seemed to be clear: Rogan was critically important to Spotify’s success, and he would be allowed to say whatever he wanted, so long as it fit within the bounds of Spotify’s moderation rules. Dustee Jenkins, Spotify’s head of global communications and public relations, affirmed to Spotify employees that Rogan would be treated like any other creator under those rules: “We apply our policies consistently and objectively,” she wrote in a note to staff seen by The Verge. On the company’s February 3rd earnings call, Ek was clear that the rules were the rules and Spotify would not “change our policies based on one creator nor do we change it based on any media cycle or calls from anyone else.” Then the next Joe Rogan media cycle arrived. Musician India Arie pulled her music from the platform last week over Rogan’s repeated use of the n-word and shared a viral video montage of Rogan using the racial slur on his podcast — a montage that had originally been made in January of 2020. In stark contrast to how it handled Young and Joni Mitchell protesting COVID misinformation, Spotify quickly stepped in. Spotify’s public content rules don’t appear to prohibit the use of the n-word. Here’s the most relevant section on what’s prohibited: “Content that incites violence or hatred towards a person or group of people based on race, religion, gender identity or expression, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status, age, disability or other characteristics associated with systemic discrimination or marginalization includes, but may not be limited to: praising, supporting, or calling for violence against a person or group of people based on the characteristics listed above dehumanizing statements about a person or group based on the protected characteristics listed above promoting or glorifying hate groups and their associated images, and/or symbols” Rogan’s use of the n-word does not appear to fall into any of these categories. Based on Spotify’s own statements about how it applies its rules, the episodes using that language should stay live, as they have been for over a year. And they certainly shouldn’t come down because of a “media cycle.” But on Friday, episodes of JRE began to disappear, joining prior removed episodes. Spotify has now removed more than 100 episodes, according to JREMissing.com. This happened after Ek and the team discussed removing episodes with Rogan, according to an internal memo viewed by The Verge. In it, Ek states again that he believes Spotify is a neutral platform, even as he engages in content-shaping behavior. Ek says Spotify staffers spoke with Rogan about “some of the content in his show, including his history of using some racially insensitive language” and following these chats “and his own reflections,” Ek says Rogan “chose to remove a number of episodes from Spotify.” So: after a PR crisis, Spotify reached out to Rogan and got him to agree to remove episodes of his show from the platform. Ek’s memo also says the company will now dedicate $100 million to licensing and marketing content made by creators from historically marginalized communities — a move the company has not actually announced officially but clearly wants credit for. At the same time, former guests on Rogan’s show are upset, pointing to Spotify as an example of broader conspiracy theories around government censorship, cancel culture, and more. Michael Malice and Kyle Kulinski have since tweeted, as has Tim Dillon, Whitney Cummings, Lex Fridman, and others. Spotify wants it every way: to be considered a mere platform when it comes to COVID misinformation but to get the credit for being an engaged and responsible participant when it comes to racist language. The result is confused actions, confused messaging, and confused creators. Spotify employees, if you have any clarity on what’s happening behind the scenes or thoughts to share, I’m at [email protected] and on Twitter, where you can DM for my Signal. The company did not respond to a request for comment. Spotify is more confused about Joe Rogan than ever
  6. Rogan addresses his repeated use of the n-word and Planet of the Apes comments. Getty Images | Cindy Ord Spotify on Friday removed 70 Joe Rogan Experience episodes from 2020 and previous years. Meanwhile, Rogan issued an apology after video showed him saying the n-word on various podcast episodes. The new episode removals weren't related to the COVID misinformation that led Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and others to ask for their music to be pulled from Spotify, which caused a backlash from angry fans. But it was the second big round of Rogan episode removals since Spotify signed the podcast host. "Previously, Spotify had pruned 43 'JRE' episodes from the catalog after the company added Rogan's show in September 2020 under a $100 million exclusive distribution pact. Those included segments with right-wing figures such as Infowars' Alex Jones, Gavin McInnes and Milo Yiannopoulos and also episodes with comedians," according to Variety. The episodes removed Friday "featured guests including podcaster, actor and comedian Marc Maron, LGBTQ activist and author Dan Savage, political commentator Kyle Kulinski, and comedians Bill Burr, Tom Segura, Iliza Shlesinger, Theo Von, Brian Redban, Rich Vos, and Pete Holmes," Variety wrote. We contacted Spotify about the episode removals today and will update this article if we get a response. A website called JRE Missing uses the Spotify API to track which Joe Rogan Experience episodes that have been pulled. It says a total of 113 episodes are gone from Spotify, which would include the 70 pulled Friday and the 43 that were previously taken down. Malone episode still on Spotify Rogan's controversial episode featuring Dr. Robert Malone is still on Spotify. Malone "was suspended from Twitter for spreading misinformation about COVID-19" and "used the JRE platform to further promote numerous baseless claims, including several falsehoods about COVID-19 vaccines and an unfounded theory that societal leaders have 'hypnotized' the public," stated a recent open letter to Spotify signed by hundreds of scientists, professors, doctors, and healthcare workers. The most recent Rogan episode that was pulled was originally published in April 2020 and features Chris D'elia, who was subsequently accused of sexually harassing underage girls. All previous episodes that were pulled are from February 2019 or earlier. BBC's "Reality Check" team last week pointed out several falsehoods from Rogan's COVID-themed episodes, such as Rogan saying, "This is not a vaccine, this is essentially a gene therapy." India Arie calls out Rogan over n-word use Grammy-winning musician India Arie asked to have her music pulled from Spotify and shared a video of Rogan saying the n-word on his podcast numerous times. "I empathize with the people who are leaving Spotify for the COVID misinformation reasons, and I think that they should," Arie said. Objecting to Spotify's lucrative payments to Rogan, she said, "Spotify is built on the back of the music streaming, so they take this money that's built from streaming and pay this guy $100 million—but they pay us .003 percent of a penny. Just take me off." Rogan "shouldn’t even be uttering the word,” Arie also said, according to Deadline. "Don’t even say it, under any context. Don’t say it. That’s where I stand. I have always stood there." A February 2019 Twitter thread shows video of Rogan talking about seeing a Planet of the Apes film in a movie theater populated primarily by non-white people. "We walk into Planet of the Apes. We walked into Africa, dude. We walked in the door and there was no white people, there was no white people," he said. In another clip, Rogan spoke to a guest who has parents of different skin colors. "Powerful combination, genetic-wise, right?" Rogan said. "You get the body of the black man and then you get the mind of the white man all together in some strange combination... that doesn't, by the way, mean that black people don't have brains. It's a different brain. Don't get me wrong." Rogan addresses n-word and Planet of the Apes story Rogan today posted a video on Instagram discussing and apologizing for some of his comments. "There's a video that's out that's a compilation of me saying the n-word. It's a video that's made of clips taken out of context of me of 12 years of conversations on my podcast and it's all smushed together and it looks fucking horrible, even to me," Rogan said. "To most people, there is no context where a white person is ever allowed to say that word, never mind publicly on a podcast, and I agree with that now." Rogan said he used the word when talking about comedians who used it decades ago, such as Redd Foxx, Richard Pryor, and Lenny Bruce. He also discussed how he's come to accept that white people shouldn't use the word: If a white person says that word, it's racist and toxic. But a Black person can use it and it can be a punch line, it can be a term of endearment, it can be lyrics to a rap song, it can be a positive affirmation. It's a very unusual word, but it's not my word to use. I'm well aware of that now, but for years I used it in that manner. I never used it to be racist because I'm not racist. but whenever you're in a situation where you have to say, 'I'm not racist,' you fucked up, and I clearly have fucked up. "I do hope that this can be a teachable moment for anybody that doesn't realize how offensive that word can be coming out of a white person's mouth, in context or out of context," he said, while offering "my sincere, deepest apologies." Rogan also addressed the Planet of the Apes story, saying, "I did not nor would I ever say that black people were apes, but it sure fucking sounded like that... I went on to talk about what a positive experience it was and how much fun it was to go and see this movie in a black neighborhood. It wasn't a racist story but it sounded terrible." Rogan said he deleted that podcast, which is from 11 years ago, but it was resurfaced later. Rogan's new video didn't discuss the "body of the black man and... mind of the white man" comment. Rogan addressed the controversy over his COVID episodes previously, calling them "just conversations." Spotify CEO: “We take the appropriate enforcement actions” Spotify CEO Daniel Ek spoke to employees about Rogan in a town hall on Wednesday, and audio was leaked to The Verge. "It is important to note that we do not have creative control over Joe Rogan's content," Ek said. "We don't approve his guests in advance, and just like any other creator, we get his content when he publishes, and then we review it, and if it violates our policies, we take the appropriate enforcement actions. This is not an unusual position at all in the media industry. It's the same actually we have with our licensed music content. And it's the same approach with other podcasters, like Dax Shepard and Brené Brown, too." "There are a number of Joe Rogan episodes that you won't find on Spotify because [they are] in violation of our rules," Ek said. It is "not the case" that Spotify executives "endorse every word" that Rogan says, Ek also said. "There are many things that Joe Rogan says that I strongly disagree with and find very offensive. But let me go back to what I said earlier, if you want even a shot at achieving our bold ambitions, it will mean having content on Spotify that many of us may not be proud to be associated with. Not anything goes, but there will be opinions, ideas, and beliefs that we disagree with strongly and even makes us angry or sad." While Rogan remains on Spotify, the company did remove the Stew Peters' show for violating its policy against COVID misinformation late last year. Spotify removes 70 Joe Rogan episodes as he faces heat over use of n-word
  7. It’s hard to see a connection to the controversy There’s a lot going on at the music streaming service. Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Around 70 episodes of Joe Rogan’s podcast mysteriously disappeared from Spotify on Friday, as spotted by JREMissing.com, a web tool that tracks missing episodes. The show (and Spotify’s relationship to it) have faced heavy criticism over the past few weeks, but there’s no clear connection between that and the missing episodes, nor is there any immediately apparent link between the episodes that were removed. For anyone who’s taken the sanity-preserving step of muting the phrase “Joe Rogan” on Twitter, here’s a brief recap of what’s been going on: Spotify, which has been the exclusive home of The Joe Rogan Experience since the streaming giant reportedly paid $100 million for the pleasure in 2020, has taken a lot of heat from people accusing Rogan’s show of spreading misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines (among many other things). Musicians like Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and India Arie have pulled their music from the platform in protest, and Rogan himself has apologized to Spotify over the backlash it’s facing (while also defending his show). Spotify has also addressed the controversy, making its content moderation policies public, and holding a tense town hall to defend the company’s relationship with Rogan to employees. All of that is why it’s just a bit weird that a bunch of episodes have gone missing with seemingly no explanation. (To be clear, the term “a bunch” is relative — the show has over 1,700 numbered episodes.) A spot check done by The Verge on the data from JRE Missing showed that the episodes were indeed no longer on Spotify, even though they had been available to subscribers as recently as last year. Spotify didn’t immediately reply to The Verge’s request for comment on why the episodes were removed, and most of the explanations that immediately jump to mind don’t seem to hold water. The episodes removed on Friday aren’t new — the most recent one featured Gad Saad and aired in 2018, and the oldest was episode four of the show from 2010. Given that the episodes were released years before the pandemic, they’re unlikely to contain any of the COVID misinformation that’s caused the recent controversy. It’s almost certainly not a situation where the guests requested the episodes be taken down to avoid further association with Rogan, either — there are still seven episodes featuring Saad in Spotify’s archives, and a Twitter thread from Michael Malice seems to imply he didn’t have anything to do with the episodes he featured in being taken down. This isn’t the first time episodes have been removed from the JRE archives — Insider reports that over 40 episodes disappeared in April last year. It was unclear why it happened at the time, but the situation is even stranger now given the... well, everything that’s going on. Joe Rogan also didn’t immediately reply to The Verge’s request for comment. We’ll be sure to let you know if we hear back from him or Spotify. Episodes of Joe Rogan’s show are disappearing from Spotify
  8. ‘I’m very sorry that this is happening to them.’ Joe Rogan has issued a response to the ongoing controversy that has seen artists including Neil Young and Joni Mitchell removing their music from Spotify because of not wanting to share a platform with his popular podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience. In a nearly ten-minute video uploaded to Instagram, Rogan defends his decision to book contentious guests, apologizes to Spotify for the backlash, and details how the podcast may change in the future. “These podcasts are very strange because they’re just conversations,” Rogan says. “And oftentimes I have no idea what I’m going to talk about until I sit down and talk to people. And that’s why some of my ideas are not that prepared or fleshed out because I’m literally having them in real time, but I do my best and they’re just conversations, and I think that’s also the appeal of the show. It’s one of the things that makes it interesting. So I want to thank Spotify for being so supportive during this time, and I’m very sorry that this is happening to them and that they’re taking so much from it.” Rogan mentions two podcast guests that much of the controversy has focused on, Dr. Peter McCullough and Dr. Robert Malone. Both of these guests made multiple unsubstantiated claims related to the COVID-19 pandemic on The Joe Rogan Experience, according to fact-checking organization Science Feedback. Rogan says of the guests that they are “highly credentialed, very intelligent, very accomplished people, and they have an opinion that is different from the mainstream narrative. I wanted to hear what their opinion is.” Despite the widespread debunking of many of the guests’ statements, Rogan takes issue with those episodes being labeled “misinformation.” He argues that the guests’ positions on certain subjects like the effectiveness of cloth masks, the origin of the virus, or whether vaccinated people could catch and spread COVID would have once got you “removed from social media” but have subsequently become accepted mainstream discourse. He doesn’t address their other claims. “I do not know if they’re right,” he continues. “I don’t know because I’m not a doctor. I’m not a scientist. I’m just a person who sits down and talks to people and has conversations with them. Do I get things wrong? Absolutely. I get things wrong, but I try to correct them whenever I get something wrong. I try to correct it because I’m interested in telling the truth. I’m interested in finding out what the truth is, and I’m interested in having interesting conversations with people that have differing opinions. I’m not interested in only talking to people that have one perspective.” While unrepentant about booking guests with disputed opinions, Rogan does say he’s open to ways in which the podcast could improve. He says he agrees with Spotify’s plan to label episodes that include COVID-19 discussion with content advisories and disclaimers. He also says he wants to “have more experts with differing opinions, right after the controversial ones.” “I will do my best to try to balance out these more controversial viewpoints with other people’s perspectives so we can maybe find a better point of view,” he says. “I don’t want to just show the contrary opinion to what the narrative is. I want to show all kinds of opinions so we can all figure out what’s going on and not just about COVID, about everything, about health, about fitness, wellness, the state of the world itself.” Spotify reportedly struck a nine-figure deal with Rogan in 2020 for the rights to host his show exclusively. In documents seen by The Verge, the company deemed that multiple controversial Joe Rogan Experience episodes “didn’t meet the threshold for removal.” Last year The Verge reported that Spotify reviewed an episode where he advised 21 year olds not to get vaccinated and deemed it to be within the company’s content guidelines. Joe Rogan defends podcast and apologizes to Spotify for backlash
  9. Leaked messages reveal the company has reviewed every Rogan episode and none ‘meet the threshold for removal’ Image: Joe Rogan Update January 30th, 3:50PM ET: After this post was published, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek announced that Spotify is publicly posting its Platform Rules, and that it will “add a content advisory to any podcast episode that includes a discussion about COVID-19.” Spotify employees are vocally upset inside the company over the streaming platform’s deal with Joe Rogan due to his views on COVID vaccines, but their executive leadership has mostly stayed quiet both inside and outside the firm. Today, however, Dustee Jenkins, Spotify’s head of global communications and public relations, posted a message to the company Slack addressing employee concerns about Joe Rogan’s presence on the platform after Neil Young removed his music in protest. In screenshots viewed by The Verge, Jenkins said she “lead(s) Public Affairs” and that the company has reviewed multiple controversial Joe Rogan Experience episodes and determined they “didn’t meet the threshold for removal.” She adds that Spotify employs an “internal team of some of the best experts in the space” and also works with third parties who “advise us and help us evolve our policies given what’s going on in the world around us.” She added: “What Spotify hasn’t done is move fast enough to share these policies externally, and are working to address that as soon as possible.” The message also links to an internal company content guidelines page, which The Verge has viewed. Jenkins said these rules have been in place “for years.” The entire healthcare guidelines section is reproduced below. It prohibits: Content that promotes dangerous false or deceptive content about healthcare that may cause offline harm and/or pose a direct threat to public health such as: Denying the existence of AIDS or COVID-19 Encouraging the deliberate contracting of a serious or life threatening disease or illness Suggesting that consuming bleach can cure various illnesses and diseases Suggesting that wearing a mask will cause the wearer imminent, life-threatening physical harm Promoting or suggesting that the vaccines are designed to cause death These guidelines seemingly allow podcasters to say the vaccines cause death — just not that they are designed to cause death. Similarly, they allow podcasters to say wearing a mask is ineffective, just not that wearing masks will cause imminent, life-threatening harm. The Verge has reached out for comment on Jenkins’ statement, the content policy, and when Spotify plans to publicize this policy and hasn’t heard back. “We apply our policies consistently and objectively,” Jenkins wrote. “They are not influenced by the media cycle, calls from any one individual or from external partners. It doesn’t mean I personally agree with this content. But I trust our policies and the rationale behind them.” “Every creator must abide by our policies,” she added. Here is the Spotify COVID content policy that lets Joe Rogan slide
  10. This comes after Neil Young and Joni Mitchell removed their music from the platform Brené Brown is the host of popular podcasts Unlocking Us and Dare to Lead. Photo by Rick Kern / WireImage Popular podcast host and author Brené Brown says she’s not going to release any new podcast episodes “until further notice” and didn’t offer a specific reason why. Brown’s pause on her podcasts comes shortly after both Neil Young and Joni Mitchell pulled their music off Spotify in protest of Joe Rogan’s controversial podcast series. Brown signed a multi-year deal with Spotify in 2020, and is the host of Spotify exclusive podcasts Unlocking Us and Dare to Lead. “I will not be releasing any podcasts until further notice,” Brown wrote on Twitter. “To our #UnlockingUs and #DaretoLead communities, I’m sorry and I’ll let you know if and when that changes.” Spotify continues to face criticism for exclusively hosting the Joe Rogan Experience, which has been said to spout baseless conspiracy theories and misinformation about COVID-19. Earlier this week, Spotify removed Young’s music after the singer asked the platform to choose between him and Rogan. Mitchell’s departure from Spotify came shortly after, who says she stands “in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities.” Bruce Springsteen guitarist Nils Lofgren joined the Spotify boycott as well and has since removed his music from the platform. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan, also reportedly expressed their concerns about misinformation on Spotify — the couple signed an exclusive deal with Spotify in 2020. The Joe Rogan Experience is the subject of an open letter signed off on by dozens of medical and scientific professionals who believe the podcast spreads “misleading and false claims” about COVID-19 vaccines, and plead with Spotify to develop a COVID-19 misinformation policy. In an internal memo viewed by The Verge, Spotify says none of Rogan’s episodes “meet the threshold for removal.” The company struck a $100 million deal with Rogan in 2020, and since experiencing such high-profile dropouts from the platform, its market capitalization fell by about $2.1 billion in the span of three days. Brené Brown says she won’t release new episodes of her Spotify-exclusive podcasts ‘until further notice’
  11. Mitchell’s decision follows Neil Young’s move to pull his music off the platform Joni Mitchell has decided to remove all of her music from Spotify, joining Neil Young in protest of Joe Rogan’s podcast that Young says spreads misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines (via The Wall Street Journal). “I’ve decided to remove all my music from Spotify,” The Canadian singer-songwriter writes in a post on her website. “Irresponsible people are spreading lies that are costing people their lives. I stand in solidarity with Neil Young and the global scientific and medical communities on this issue.” Mitchell also includes a link to an open letter to Spotify, which was signed by dozens of medical and scientific professionals in mid-January. It urges the platform to establish a misinformation policy to address the “misleading and false claims” propagated by the Joe Rogan Experience, such as Rogan’s suggestion that healthy young people shouldn’t get vaccinated against COVID-19. Earlier this week, Young gave Spotify an ultimatum: keep his music or Rogan’s podcast. Spotify ended up favoring Rogan, and in line with Young’s wishes, the platform pulled all of his music. Young later said he “felt better” after getting his music removed, and then criticized Spotify for failing to offer lossless audio, an option that both Amazon and Apple Music provide. Apple has even been using Young’s departure from Spotify as an opportunity to take numerous digs at its competitor, going so far as to label Apple Music as “the home of Neil Young.” In 2020, Spotify made the Joe Rogan Experience exclusive to the platform, and it has since come under fire for Rogan’s potentially misleading comments about COVID-19 and its vaccines. As it stands, it appears Spotify’s content policies prevent the platform from doing anything about Rogan’s podcast. In internal guidelines seen by The Verge, its policies seem to allow podcasters to state COVID-19 vaccines can cause death, but not that they’re “designed” to cause death. A screenshot of an internal message also viewed by The Verge reveals Spotify has reviewed numerous controversial episodes of the Joe Rogan Experience, and none “meet the threshold for removal.” The Verge reached out to Spotify with a request for comment but didn’t immediately hear back. Joni Mitchell removes music from Spotify in protest of Joe Rogan’s podcast
  12. Spotify plays the artist’s music at 5 percent of its quality and charges you like it was the real thing’ Photo by Gary Miller/FilmMagic Even after departing the platform, Neil Young isn’t done criticizing Spotify yet. Today, the rock legend has published another letter on his website, describing Spotify as a purveyor of “more songs and less sound.” Young says that he “felt better” after pulling his music catalog from the leading streaming music service earlier this week while noting that he’s strongly opposed to censorship and that “private companies have the right to choose what they profit from, just as I can choose not to have my music support a platform that disseminates harmful information.” Throughout the latest post, Young — a longtime advocate of hi-fi sound — heavily criticizes Spotify for its lossy audio quality. “Amazon, Apple Music, and Qobuz deliver up to 100 percent of the music [quality] today and it sounds a lot better [than] the shitty degraded and neutered sound of Spotify,” he says, adding that “if you support Spotify, you are destroying an art form.” Young implores his fans to “go to a new place that truly cares about music quality.” Convincing consumers to care about music streaming fidelity can be tricky, with many people unable to tell a difference between something like Spotify’s “high quality” tier and true lossless — especially with the prevalence of Bluetooth headphones, earbuds, and speakers. (Bluetooth is something Young has also touched on.) Since his exit from Spotify, competing services like Apple Music have seized the opportunity to advertise Young’s catalog. Apple went so far as to call itself “the home of Neil Young,” though it seems Young is also rooting for the much smaller Qobuz, which has pushed hi-fi sound since its launch. Young continues to completely ignore Tidal, which is frankly brutal since Tidal led the lossless streaming wave before Amazon and Apple joined in. Spotify’s failure to roll out the lossless streaming tier that it first announced a year ago has left the door open for Young to continue denouncing the service’s audio quality. The company initially said HiFi would be available by the end of 2021, but that deadline came and went, and Spotify has since declined to give a new timeframe on when HiFi might be available. In his note, Young directly mentions Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, explaining that he met Ek back in the service’s early days. “It sounded to me like he was really going to be getting into it. I wonder what happened.” Young closes by saying he’s happy and proud about the decision he’s made, which he says is meant to show solidarity with health care workers and others working to save lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. “As an unexpected bonus, I sound better everywhere else.” Neil Young says he ‘felt better’ after leaving Spotify and its ‘shitty’ sound quality
  13. Spotify dabbles in audiobooks by offering nine public-domain works Initial titles include 'Frankenstein,' 'Great Expectations' and 'Jane Eyre.' stockcam via Getty Images Spotify’s aggressive move into content beyond music continues today, as the company is testing a small “pilot” of audiobooks on the platform. Specifically, nine classic audiobooks will be available starting today. This isn’t technically the first time Spotify has offered audiobooks, though before it only had a star-studded reading of the first Harry Potter novel. The nine new books are public-domain titles like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations and Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Naturally, Spotify has again recruited some well-known names to read the books, including Hilary Swank (reading Kate Chopin’s The Awakening) and Forest Whitaker (reading Fredrick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave). Besides the audiobooks themselves, Spotify is also including a complimentary “deep dive” on each book by Harvard professor Glenda Carpio. While these books are all public domain, the new recordings and the additional content from Carpio will be exclusive to Spotify; both free and premium users will be able to access these books. Whether or not Spotify will take its interest in audiobooks beyond this pilot remains to be seen — recording and offering a small selection of public-domain books is a lot different than providing a large library of modern and classic titles. Spotify itself noted that it runs lots of tests, some of which are just for learning’s sake rather than anything that becomes part of the product. But given the company’s big focus on spoken word content with podcasts, dabbling in books is a test that makes sense. Source: Spotify dabbles in audiobooks by offering nine public-domain works
  14. xSpotify Manager Features: ✓Self App Auto-Update ✓Regular Mod Section Available ✓Amoled Black Section Available ✓Lite Mod Section Available ✓Search Versions Available ✓Quick Search Filter Enabled ✓Menu With Various Features ✓In-App Downloader ✓Lightweight App (Less than 15MB) ✓No Advertisements HOW TO USE: •PREREQUISITE: Uninstall your current Spotify App. •STEPS: 1. Select the modification you want. 2. Upon seeing the dialog, tap on "DOWNLOAD MOD". 3. The application will start to download the modded spotify app. Please note to do not exit, cancel or close the app while downloading. 4. Once it finished downloading, you can now install the modded application. 5. You can find the modded apk file at /storage/emulated/0/xSpotify Manager/*here*. Homepage: Link Changelog: [01/24/2021] NOTE: Since version 3.1 had an issue installing updates (Parsing Error), you'll need to manually update the manager by getting the apk here. •Added "Device Model" •Added Directory Path </storage/emulated/0/xSpotify Manager/> [Downloaded APKs & Update will automatically be copied on the xSpotify Manager] •Added Dialog for Donation •Added Dark Navigation Bar •Lowered SDK to 28 (Experimental) •New Download File UI •New Download Update UI •Changed App's UI (Round corners removed) •Improved App's Stability •Fixed Some Grammatical Errors •Fixed Download Update Parsing Error (Installing issue) •Various Bugs Fixed Site: https://www.upload.ee Sharecode: /files/12804490/xSpotify_Manager_v3.2.apk.html
  15. Spotify announces an exclusive podcast deal with filmmaker Ava DuVernay Image Credits: Michael Tran (opens in a new window)/ Getty Images Spotify continues to enlist big names for its podcasting efforts. The latest: Filmmaker Ava DuVernay and her arts collective Array. DuVernay has directed theatrically released films including “Selma” and “A Wrinkle in Time,” but she also made “13th” and “When They See Us” for Netflix, and she’s been an eloquent proponent for streaming as a more accessible way of telling her stories. Spotify says that through this multiyear partnership, Array will be creating exclusive scripted and unscripted programming for the streaming audio platform. For these productions, it will be working with Gimlet, the podcast network that Spotify acquired in 2019. “Recognizing the undeniable power of voice and sound, I’m thrilled to extend ARRAY’s storytelling into the realm of podcasts,” DuVernay said in a statement. “The opportunity to work with [Gimlet’s head of content] Lydia Polgreen and her passionate team drew us to Spotify as a home for our audio narratives and we couldn’t be more excited to begin this new creative journey.” In addition to acquiring Gimlet, Spotify has also signed exclusive podcast deals with Barack and Michelle Obama, Joe Rogan and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Source: Spotify announces an exclusive podcast deal with filmmaker Ava DuVernay
  16. How to Bust Your Spotify Feedback Loop and Find New Music Does the algorithm know you too well? Here’s how to shake up your recommendations for a more varied listening experience. Photograph: Justin Paget/Getty Images If you’re listening to music right now, chances are you didn’t choose what to put on—you outsourced it to an algorithm. Such is the popularity of recommendation systems that we’ve come to rely on them to serve us what we want without us even having to ask, with music streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora, and Deezer all using personalized systems to suggest playlists or tracks tailored to the user. Generally, these systems are very good. The problem, for some, is that they’re perhaps really too good. They’ve figured out your taste, know exactly what you listen to, and recommend more of the same until you’re stuck in an endless pit of ABBA recordings (just me?). But what if you want to break out of your usual routine and try something new? Can you train or trick the algorithm into suggesting a more diverse range? “That is tricky,” says Peter Knees, assistant professor at TU Wien. “Probably you have to steer it very directly into the direction that you already know you might be interested in.” The problem only gets worse the more you rely on automated recommendations. “When you keep listening to the recommendations that are being made, you end up in that feedback loop, because you provide further evidence that this is the music you want to listen to, because you're listening to it,” Knees says. This provides positive reinforcement to the system, incentivizing it to keep making similar suggestions. To break out of that bubble, you’re going to need to quite explicitly listen to something different. Companies such as Spotify are secretive about how their recommendation systems work (and Spotify declined to comment on the specifics of its algorithm for this article), but Knees says we can assume most are heavily based on collaborative filtering, which makes predictions of what you might like based on the likes of other people who have similar listening habits to you. You may think that your music taste is something very personal, but it’s likely not unique. A collaborative filtering system can build a picture of taste clusters—artists or tracks that appeal to the same group of people. Really, Knees says, this isn’t all that different to what we did before streaming services, when you might ask someone who liked some of the same bands as you for more recommendations. “This is just an algorithmically supported continuation of this idea,” he says. The problem occurs when you want to get away from your usual genre, era, or general taste and find something new. The system is not designed for this, so you’re going to have to put in some effort. “Frankly, the best solution would be to create a new account and really train it on something very dissimilar,” says Markus Schedl, a professor at Johannes Kepler University Linz. Failing that, you need to actively seek out something new. You could seek out a new genre or use a tool outside of your main streaming service to find suggestions of artists or tracks and then search for them. Schedl suggests finding something you don’t listen to as much and starting a “radio” playlist—a feature in Spotify that creates a playlist based on a selected song. (These may, however, also be influenced by your broader listening habits.) Knees suggests waiting for new releases or regularly listening to the most popular tracks. “There's a chance that the next thing that comes up is going to be your thing,” he says. But getting away from the mainstream is harder. You’ll find that even if you actively search for a new genre, you’ll likely be nudged toward more popular artists and tracks. This makes sense—if lots of people like something, it’s more likely you will too—but can make it hard to unearth hidden gems. Knees therefore advises trying to actively dig into the “long tail”—the huge number of artists and tracks that have few listeners but might just be your niche. While you can manually trawl through obscure artists and back catalogs, however, your recommendations will still likely tend toward the mainstream. “Even if you're in the long tail, it kind of pushes you back into the head, into the popular items, when making recommendations, because this is where the system is most stable,” he says. As a general rule, if you want to diversify your listening, you’ll have to put more effort into music discovery rather than allowing the system to do it for you. Instead of just listening to personalized playlists, you could follow playlists curated by individuals. “If you're relying on a platform to do the work for you, then you're basically in the radio mode, as people were before,” Knees says. There is another way that music recommendation systems can work, which could help bust the feedback loop: content-based recommendations. In this approach, recommendations are based on sound rather than other people’s listening habits. The system could quantify aspects of music such as tempo and find similar tracks based on those acoustic qualities. Schedl suggests you could even put a numeric value on things like “danceability” or “instrumentalness.” In this case, you could even adjust the system for diversity, by tuning how similar recommended tracks should be. How much this sort of content-based recommendation approach is used, however, is unknown, and it can be a very risky strategy in terms of user experience. Play too much of the same thing and a user might get bored; but play something too far out of their comfort zone and they might just leave. “You have this trade-off between sticking to really solid, no-risk recommendations by just doing what everybody does and, on the other hand, letting the computer make a recommendation based on the sound properties alone without knowing anything about the cultural aspects of music, which might completely break that expectation,” Knees says. This could be good—it might find the perfect song just for you—or it could completely undermine a user’s trust in the recommendation system. Meanwhile, if 2021 is the year you get back into music discovery, you’ll have to take the initiative to explore outside of your filter bubble. It’s likely, in fact, that you listen to a greater range of music since using streaming platforms than you did before. Perhaps, muses Knees, it was the extra effort required to find an artist or track in the past that made it feel more precious. Put in the work, then, and it might pay off. This story originally appeared on WIRED UK. How to Bust Your Spotify Feedback Loop and Find New Music
  17. This week it was revealed that Spotify wants to patent a technology that will enable artists to check whether their uploaded songs have elements that are too similar to others. One of the aims is to help artists avoid copyright infringement lawsuits. But, doesn't the thought of artistic impression being policed by a computer sound like an episode of Black Mirror? When I started writing music in in my teens, I didn’t even think about how to begin. I just did what every other starting writer does – I copied, emulated, plagiarized and otherwise ripped-off everything I’d enjoyed from the music I’d listened to thus far. Badly. Deprived of divine inspiration, it wouldn’t have been possible any other way. Show me a composer who hasn’t committed at least one of the above at some point and I’ll show you someone who spontaneously learned how to speak as a child without hearing others do so. It was for these reasons I was horrified when MBW reported this week that Spotify has filed for a patent to scan music uploads so that they can be assessed for potential plagiarism. The theory is that if a track (or part thereof) is deemed to be too similar to a preexisting track, the artist can adjust their creation, thereby avoiding accusations of plagiarism and potential copyright infringement lawsuits in the future. Without condoning professional musicians who think it’s acceptable (it’s not) to copy large parts of others’ tracks and pass them off as their own, it worries me that a computer program could end up with the power to stop an artist in their tracks and tell them to take another route. There are dozens of millions of songs on streaming services today and millions more besides. So, go ahead and hum a six-second tune of your own making right now. Guess what – someone, somewhere has done that before. Now hum another original tune without being influenced by any music you’ve ever heard in the past. You can see where this is going. Of course, we don’t know how or even if this technology will ever be used. It might be deployed moderately but if not, the thought of needing to obtain some kind of permission from an algorithm that could, in the future, have access to a database of every song ever made, sounds a bit like an episode of Black Mirror to me. Some may be thinking, “You watch too much Black Mirror”, and those people would be right. But imagine if this future technology fell into the wrong hands and was aggressively used to scan all of the music made thus far for ‘plagiarism’? There wouldn’t be enough copyright troll lawyers to go round. Or, imagine it comes pre-installed in your music software, stopping you in your creative tracks whenever it detects a collision. The thing about music is that it can’t develop or evolve without some kind of plagiarism, or ‘influence’ if you prefer a less loaded word. Proof of that is proudly on display when we search by genre, a particular decade, or music from a geographical region, because these artists copy from each other to perpetuate a style. Indeed, to a certain extent, and when it’s not carried out at the expense of others, music lovers enjoy a bit of copying because we know what we like and we want more of it. But, apparently, the threat of being subjected to a copyright lawsuit in the future is now so severe, artists might need to double-check with a computer that they haven’t accidentally ‘discovered’ someone else’s combination of notes, chords, or rhythms, having got there too late. Sad really. Finally, this piece would not be complete without a reference to what I and many others believe is one of the most important few seconds in recent musical history. I’m talking about the ‘Amen Break‘ from The Winston’s 1969 track ‘Amen, Brother’. This snippet of music has been plagiarized, ripped-off, stolen, and otherwise utilized in thousands and thousands of tracks for the last 50 years. There seems little doubt that had the proposed Spotify system or one like it been around the first time this sample was used without permission, the uploader would’ve been gently advised that this had been done before. Taking that to its logical conclusion, that loop would’ve been denied the chance to inspire thousands of artists to make music people love. Recycling is good and plagiarism isn’t always bad. Humans are programmed to copy. Let’s not get too carried away when nobody is getting hurt. Source: TorrentFreak
  18. Spotify is now free on mobile and tablet. Listen to the right music, wherever you are. With Spotify, you have access to a world of music. You can listen to artists and albums, or create your own playlist of your favorite songs. Want to discover new music? Choose a ready-made playlist that suits your mood or get personalized recommendations. Listen for free on mobile • Play any artist, album, or playlist on shuffle mode Listen for free on tablet • Play any song, any time Spotify Premium features • Play any song, any time on any device--mobile, tablet, or your computer • Download music for offline listening. • Enjoy amazing sound quality. • No ads – just uninterrupted music. • No commitment - cancel any time you like. What's New: We’re always making changes and improvements to Spotify. To make sure you don’t miss a thing, just keep your Updates turned on. MOD FEATURES: •Unlocked Next Track •Unlocked Pevious Track •Unlocked Seeking FWD/BWD •Unlocked/Able to Select Any Songs & Albums •Unlocked Repeat Once/All •Unlocked Shuffle •Unlocked Very High Audio (Visual, WIP) •Disabled Force Shuffle •Unlocked Spotify Connect (Premium Bypass) •Unlocked On-Demand Sharing •Unlocked Canvas Sharing •Unlocked Voice Feature •Unlocked Volume Control •Unlocked Animated Heart •Unlocked Lyrics Sharing (Works only in supported countries) •Unlocked Storylines •Unlocked Sing-along (Works only in supported countries) •Unlocked User Playlist Annotation (New Feature) •Unlocked Follow Feed •Unlocked Editorial Mode •Unlocked Full Screen Stories •Unlocked Facebook Login •Disabled Audio Ads •Disabled Video Ads •Disabled Visual Ads •Disabled Third-Party Ads MOD CHANGELOGS: •Added "Local Import Music" (Credits: Sherlock Holmes) [NOTE: All imported musics can be found at "Your Library"/Like Songs (Playlist)] •Added Podcast More For You (New Hidden Feature) •Added Podcast Next Queue (New Hidden Feature) •Added Voice Assistance (New Feature) •Added/Enable Waze SDK Feature •Added/Enable Thumbs Mode Feature •Added/Enable Chromecast Filtering •Added/Enable Device Picker & Google Assistant Linking •Added/Enable Silence Trimmer Feature •Added/Enable Subtitles Autogenerated for Video Captions Note: Some server-side features [Downloads] require paid subscription. Google Play Info: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.spotify.music Download: (v7a) Site: https://www.mirrored.to Sharecode: /files/O5SMYEW4/Spotify_v8.5.89.901_Mod_v7a.apk_links Download: (v8a) Site: https://www.mirrored.to Sharecode: /files/FYIMDGZM/Spotify_v8.5.89.901_Mod_(Arm64).apk_links
  19. Spotify is now free on mobile and tablet. Listen to the right music, wherever you are. With Spotify, you have access to a world of music. You can listen to artists and albums, or create your own playlist of your favorite songs. Want to discover new music? Choose a ready-made playlist that suits your mood or get personalized recommendations. Listen for free on mobile • Play any artist, album, or playlist on shuffle mode Listen for free on tablet • Play any song, any time Spotify Premium features • Play any song, any time on any device--mobile, tablet, or your computer • Download music for offline listening. • Enjoy amazing sound quality. • No ads – just uninterrupted music. • No commitment - cancel any time you like. Mod MaX info: •Unlocked Next Track •Unlocked Pevious Track •Unlocked Seeking •Unlocked/Able to Select Any Songs & Albums •Unlocked Repeat Once/All •Unlocked Shuffle •Unlocked Very High Audio (Visual, WIP) •Disabled Force Shuffle •Unlocked Spotify Connect (Premium Bypass) •Unlocked On-Demand Sharing •Unlocked Canvas Sharing •Unlocked Voice Feature •Unlocked Volume Control •Unlocked Animated Heart •Unlocked Lyrics Sharing (Fixed) •Unlocked Storylines (Fixed) •Unlocked Sing-along (Works only in supported countries) •Unlocked User Playlist Annotation (New Feature) •Unlocked Follow Feed •Unlocked Editorial Mode •Unlocked Full Screen Stories •Disabled Audio Ads •Disabled Video Ads •Disabled Visual Ads (Rework) •Disabled Third-Party Ads •Uses Spotify's Original Signature & Manifest (V1+V2) [CLEAN] •Remove all Premium Notifications •Remove Non-Working Features •Revamped Codes Note: Some server-side features [Downloads] require paid subscription. What's New: We’re always making changes and improvements to Spotify. To make sure you don’t miss a thing, just keep your Updates turned on. Google Play Info: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.spotify.music Download: Site: https://www.mirrored.to Sharecode: /files/03OQT1BS/Spotify_-_Music_and_Podcasts_v8.5.85.894_[Mod_MaX]_.apk_links Download: (Arm64) Site: https://www.mirrored.to Sharecode: /files/0ZPQLWK3/Spotify_-_Music_and_Podcasts_v8.5.85.894_[Mod_MaX]_Arm64_v8a.apk_links Note: For those who are wondering, the Car Mode and all the other settings are fixed now with no issues, the settings get saved no problem.
  20. Ludvig Strigeus, the Swedish programmer who made uTorrent and also helped to create Spotify, has been awarded the prestigious Polhem Prize. Strigeus received the technology innovation award for his exemplary coding skills, which helped to create two of the most used applications in the world. Most developers can only dream of creating software that’s used by hundreds of millions of people across the globe. Swedish programmer Ludvig Strigeus is one of the lucky few to have reached this milestone. Not once, but twice. File-sharing veterans will remember Strigeus, who’s known online by his nickname Ludde, as the creator of uTorrent. However, he also singlehandedly laid the groundwork for the backend and frontend of Spotify, where he still works today. Both applications reached an audience of hundreds of millions of users, albeit with different reputations in the music industry. The torrent client, while perfectly legal, is often associated with piracy, while Spotify now generates billions of dollars in revenue for music companies. That said, the history of both pieces of software are intertwined. Both were originally coded by Strigeus and Spotify even owned the uTorrent client briefly, before it was sold to BitTorrent Inc. Spotify didn’t acquire uTorrent because of the technology, they wanted its developer. This was the right move, as history has shown. Also for Strigeus, who is now worth hundreds of millions because of his stake in Spotify. And the developer’s achievements haven’t gone unnoticed among his peers either. This week Strigeus was awarded the prestigious Polhem Prize by the Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers. The prize is awarded for high-level technological innovations. The association mentions both Spotify and uTorrent and praises Ludde’s exemplary coding skills and excellence. “With effective program code, Ludvig Strigeus has pushed the boundaries of what we expect from software in general. His ability to develop advanced applications with surprisingly little computing power is enormously impressive,” says Ulrika Lindstrand, President of the Swedish Engineers union. This is a remarkable achievement by the 39-year-old developer, who is pleased with the recognition and the award. “It is a fantastic honor for me to receive the Polhem Prize. I have always been driven to delve into technical details, learn new things and find smart solutions to difficult problems, rather than building something primarily to get many users,” Strigeus says. “It feels really good that the programs I developed have spread enormously all over the world.” The Polhem Prize is one of the oldest technology awards and was first issued in 1878. Previous winners include Baltzar von Platen and Carl Munthers for their refrigerator invention (1925) and Håkan Lans who invented the GPS-based STDMA tracking system (1995). In addition to the prestige, Strigeus also wins a golden Polhem medal and roughly $25,000. We doubt, however, that money is a major issue for the developer. Ludde is still very much preoccupied with coding and also did well in the brutal but prestigious Flareon challenge earlier this year. Source: TorrentFreak
  21. Another day, another Spotify acquisition. This time, it’s podcast advertising platform Megaphone, which the music streaming giant announced it was buying earlier today, in an attempt to beef up its advertising chops as it expands its roster of podcast programming. The acquisition accomplishes a few things for both the buyer and buy-ee. On Spotify’s end, the acquisition allows the major brands currently working with Megaphone to funnel some of their major brand bucks through Spotify’s systems, which will help Spotify pinch off a bigger chunk of the roughly $1 billion dollars worth of podcast advertising expected to be spent by the year’s end. Thanks to the acquisition, Spotify’s podcasters will also get the ability to “opt in” to having their shows monetized. Aside from opening those floodgates, podcasters currently monetizing through Megaphone will get access to Spotify’s proprietary ad-serving system, called Streaming Ad Insertion, to target listeners with ads served in real-time, based on everything from the artists that they stan to their zip code or gender. This ad-insertion tech also tracks how many people hear these ads, and how often a single person tends to hear them. As is the case with most things adtech, it can be a bit tricky to wrap your head around why a podcast-based-ad-platform like Megaphone would be worth much of anything, let alone the reported $235 million dollars that Spotify paid in the deal. In short, the answer is data. Back in 2017, Megaphone—then called Panoply—partnered with the data brokering giant Nielsen to become one of the first companies that gave podcast advertisers the same, well, kinda creepy targeting abilities companies had everywhere else on the web. If an advertiser wanted to know what podcasts a middle-aged divorcée in Utah was listening to while she drove out to buy groceries, chances are, Megaphone would be able to suss it out with the tens of thousands of bits of data it collected across the over 900 shows that were plugged into its platform, as of the middle of last year. Spotify largely allowed its users to be tracked and targeted based on the genre of podcasts they listened to until now—but even that was pretty basic, at least according to Spotify’s own description. On its own, Spotify might be able to tell advertisers that I was the type of person who binged comedy- and history-related podcasts on the regular, but any other demographics were typically inferred. Acquiring Megaphone is Spotify’s way of collecting more precise data on its rapidly growing listener base, so that base can be better targeted by data-hungry troves of high-paying advertisers. Podcast ads were a big motivator behind some of Spotify’s other recent acquisitions. Last year, when the company bought out the podcasting companies Gimlet Media and Anchor in a single-day, $343 million dollar splurge, analysts pointed out at the time that because there’s a top-shelf podcast for just about any imaginable niche out there—from true crime to comedy to breakfast enthusiasts—buying out these companies gave Spotify’s advertisers a fast pass to reach those audiences and more. The same could be said of The Ringer, another big-budget acquisition on Spotify’s part, which reportedly cost the company upwards of $196 million. While this changes little for users in terms of the content they have available, the Megaphone acquisition clarifies how to think about Spotify overall: It’s quickly becoming an advertising behemoth—less the Netflix of audio and much more akin to Facebook or Google for your ears. Source
  22. Joe Budden Brings Podcast to Patreon, Joins Company as Head of Creator Equity After splitting with Spotify last September, the broadcaster says he trusts Patreon’s vision and “ability to expand the creator economy.” Five months after yanking his blockbuster shows from Spotify amid a dispute over compensation, podcasting powerhouse Joe Budden is partnering with another subscription platform that’s promising artists more leverage. His signature The Joe Budden Podcast with Rory & Mal and The Joe Budden Network will now be hosted on Patreon, the company announced Wednesday (Feb. 3). Budden will also take on the title of Patreon’s head of creative equity, an new advisory role that will have him focused on making sure creators on the platform have an equal seat at the table. The podcast industry has seen a number of major shows shift platforms in recent years, kicked off by The Joe Budden Podcast with Rory & Mal locking into an exclusive pact with Spotifyin 2018. Spotify — which committed to spending $500 million in 2019 to build up its podcasting division — inked exclusive deals with Barack and Michelle Obama, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and Joe Rogan, sending its share price up 8% on the day it was announced. Apple launched a podcast with Oprah’s Book Club in September, with talks of future paid podcast subscription services circling both companies. And Amazon, never to be left out, has launched its own slate of exclusive podcasts featuring DJ Khaled and Will Smith. In an interview with Billboard, Budden says, "The more I spoke with Jack [Conte, the co-founder and CEO of Patreon], one-on-one on the phone and learned more about his story, I learned that we were aligned in that initiative." "This isn't about one deal," Conte tells Billboard. "This is about the new emerging creative economy and this is about companies paying creators the minimum amount that they can get away with instead of what creators are actually worth, which is what Joe was feeling. And it's what I've been feeling for many, many years." Conte -- a musician and one half of the band Pomplamoose -- continues, “I come from the YouTube world and indie rock, he comes from hip-hop and Def Jam, but as we were talking about our own experiences and sharing our experiences, it was like we were telling the same freaking story.” Arguably the world’s preeminent hip-hop podcast and Spotify’s most popular podcast of 2019, The Joe Budden Podcast with Rory & Mal arrives on Patreon in a non-exclusive partnership that will provide subscribers to the show with additional episodes, behind-the-scenes footage and new video series called “Journey” produced by Budden, starting at $5 a month, with $10 a month and $25 a month options. (“These are additional bonus episodes, two per month at minimum, along with new content franchises that we're going to roll out that I've been working on during the pandemic,” Budden says.) The Joe Budden network will also develop content that will live on Patreon moving forward. Budden says there will be discounts on merchandise and access to a Discord server for subscribers. The arrangement means The Joe Budden Podcast with Rory & Mal will continue to be available on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, and SoundCloud. Budden pulled his podcast off Spotify last September after a multi-year exclusive agreement with the streaming service expired, amid tensions with the company over a number of issues including compensation. At Patreon, Budden’s earnings will come directly from his fans utilizing a membership model. Patreon’s cut of a subscription is currently capped at 12% (before payment processing fees), leaving the majority of revenue for creators. Rather than a set contract like Budden had at Spotify, The Joe Budden Network will be able to earn as much as its fans will pay, a good option for Budden, who has publicly pushed for years for creators to be paid their fair market value. “Every step along the way in my career, I've been either underpaid, undervalued or just without the information because they don't make it transparent to creators, especially young ones, the same young ones that they target,” Budden says. “The goal since maybe my last album has been to find what true value is,” he continues, “The system is still all the way broken and we're entering a new decade. At some point, somebody has to draw a line in the sand. I didn't feel like any of my content was valued properly. That's from Complex to Spotify to you name it, the story just continues. So when do people get tired of the same shit from the same people without attempting to break the standards and push the boundaries to incentivize us a little more? If we're the people that are raising the market share in these different places, it seems right that we should participate.” Conte agrees, and says a “creative renaissance” is on the horizon once platforms figure out the economics around creators and how to properly compensate them. “I believe that as the web starts solving payments, we're going to see an explosion of creativity to a degree that we have not yet seen. And I don't use the word ‘renaissance’ lightly. I believe we are about to enter a second renaissance of creativity,” Conte says, enthusiastically. “Creators have more value in the world. They do more for their fans. They do more for the Internet. They do more for the people around them than they're paid. And that needs to be fixed. And I do think this is the beginning of a new era.” The first Patreon-exclusive episode of The Joe Budden Podcast with Rory & Mal will be available Feb. 8 on Patreon.com/JoeBudden. Source: Joe Budden Brings Podcast to Patreon, Joins Company as Head of Creator Equity
  23. Spotify’s paid subscribers hit 155M, but company is still losing money Spotify‘s paid subscribers hit 155M at the end of the last quarter of last year, up 24% year-on-year. This compares to the last-declared figure of 60M from Apple Music. Total monthly active Spotify users, which include people on the free ad-funded tier, reached 345M, a year-on-year increase of 27% … Spotify revealed the numbers in its earnings report for Q4 2020. However, the WSJ notes that the company is still losing money – in large part because growing its subscriber base has only been achieved by a mix of extended free trials and low-cost introductory deals in developed markets, coupled with permanently low subscriptions in developing countries like India. The company posted a loss of €125 million, or 66 European cents a share, compared with a loss of €209 million, or €1.14 a share, the year before. While Spotify has periodically reported a quarterly profit, executives have said it would continue to give priority to growth—attracting new subscribers and investing in podcasting […] Average revenue per user for the subscription business fell 8% to €4.26, the equivalent of $5.13, from a year ago, as the company continued to attract new subscribers via discounted plans and charge lower prices in new markets such as India and Russia. In October, Spotify raised the price of its family plan in seven markets, a move the company said didn’t affect churn or customer intake. In February, it expanded price increases to another 25 markets, including in Europe, Latin America and Canada. Revenue from subscriptions rose 15% from the year before, to €1.89 billion. Advertising revenue grew for a second consecutive quarter after sliding in the first half of the year amid pandemic headwinds, jumping 29% to €281 million. Advertising, historically less than 10% of Spotify’s top line, accounted for 13% of revenue. It has become a growth area as the company expands its podcast business. Having more Spotify paid subscribers helps, as these are worth more than ad-funded ones, but the business model itself remains a tricky one. The vast majority of the subscriptions are paid to record labels, leaving only a slim margin for the service itself. Spotify made a big bet on diversification into podcasts last year, and has taken its first tentative steps into the audiobooks market. Both potentially offer ways to keep a higher proportion of revenue. Apple has been notably quiet about its own subscriber numbers. Historically, the company has announced hitting milestones in 10M increments, so the fact that there has been no announcement since the 60M one back in 2019 suggests that it hasn’t yet hit 70M. The great strength of Apple Music over Spotify as a business, however, is that the Cupertino company has no need to turn a profit. It can afford to use the service as simply one element in its Services portfolio and to help drive hardware sales for things like AirPods and HomePods. Photo by Cezar Sampaio on Unsplash Source: Spotify’s paid subscribers hit 155M, but company is still losing money
  24. Spotify is now free on mobile and tablet. Listen to the right music, wherever you are. With Spotify, you have access to a world of music. You can listen to artists and albums, or create your own playlist of your favorite songs. Want to discover new music? Choose a ready-made playlist that suits your mood or get personalized recommendations. Listen for free on mobile • Play any artist, album, or playlist on shuffle mode Listen for free on tablet • Play any song, any time Spotify Premium features • Play any song, any time on any device--mobile, tablet, or your computer • Download music for offline listening. • Enjoy amazing sound quality. • No ads – just uninterrupted music. • No commitment - cancel any time you like. What's New: We’re always making changes and improvements to Spotify. To make sure you don’t miss a thing, just keep your Updates turned on Default Mod Features: Unlocked Next Track; Unlocked Pevious Track; Unlocked Seeking FWD/BWD Unlocked/Able to Select Any Songs & Albums Unlocked Repeat Once/All; Unlocked Shuffle; Unlocked Very High Audio (Visual, WIP); Disabled Force Shuffle; Unlocked Spotify Connect (Premium Bypass); Unlocked On-Demand Sharing; Unlocked Canvas Sharing; Unlocked Voice Feature; Unlocked Volume Control; Unlocked Animated Heart; Unlocked Lyrics Sharing (Works only in supported countries); Unlocked Storylines; Unlocked Sing-along (Works only in supported countries); Unlocked User Playlist Annotation (New Feature); Unlocked Follow Feed; Unlocked Editorial Mode; Unlocked Full Screen Stories; Unlocked Facebook Login; Disabled Audio Ads; Disabled Video Ads; Mod Changelog: ✓ Minor Bugs Fixed Note: Some server-side features [Downloads] require paid subscription. Google play Info: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.spotify.music Download: (v8a) Site: https://www.mirrored.to Sharecode: /files/OIF6AVEW/Spotify-v8.6.0.830_build_69736114-Mod-arm64-v8a.apk_links Download: (v7a) Site: https://www.mirrored.to Sharecode: /files/BJVS70Y9/Spotify_-_Music_and_Podcasts_v8.6.0.830.apk_links
  25. Spotify’s mobile app now supports 36 new languages, including many Indic ones It’s been slightly over two years since Spotify entered the Indian market. In that time, the music streaming service has introduced several new features to attract more users in the country. It has even slashed its prices to compete with domestic alternatives like Jio Saavn and Gaana. Furthermore, Spotify has launched a lite version of its Android app for users with entry-level smartphones and bandwidth restrictions. But despite these efforts, domestic alternatives continue to dominate the music streaming market. This is likely due to two main factors — price and regional language support. Spotify is now addressing one of these factors with the latest update for its mobile apps. During its Stream On event last month, Spotify revealed that it planned to expand to over 80 new markets and introduce support for 36 new languages. While the web version of the service has already received support for the new languages, Spotify is now finally rolling out an update for its mobile apps with the additional language support. The latest Spotify update brings support for these languages: Afrikaans, Amharic, Azerbaijani, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Bulgarian, Simplified Chinese, Croatian, Danish, Estonian, Filipino, Gujarati, Hindi, Icelandic, Kannada, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Norwegian, Odia, Persian, Portuguese for Portugal, Eastern Punjabi, Western Punjabi, Romanian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Swahili, Tamil, Telugu, Ukrainian, Urdu, and Zulu. This update will likely help Spotify gain some traction in emerging markets with a high concentration of regional language speakers. However, it may not make a huge difference in India because Spotify is still one of the pricier music streaming services in the country. Subscriptions from alternatives like JioSaavn, Wynk, and Gaana are not only much cheaper, but they often come bundled with mobile recharges, so users don’t have to pay anything extra to use them. On top of that, domestic services offer a wide selection of regional music, which may not be available on Spotify. Source: Spotify’s mobile app now supports 36 new languages, including many Indic ones
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