YouTube Killed the Video Star
The Internet’s largest players are slowly figuring out that nobody wants to pay for music or movies, no matter how low the cost. So to figure out what’s next, they’re looking a the rising subscription giants like Netflix and Spotify and just, well, copying them.
YouTube is planning to launch a massive music subscription service called YouTube Music Key, Android Police reports. The service has no planned release date, but Google has already bought the domain youtubemusickey.com, and a series of phone screenshots show off the service’s basic features.
Welcome to Freshly Minted, where we examine an overlooked deal or funding announcement in tech from the past week and tell you what you need to know and why it matters.
The deal: Apple acquired book analysis startup Booklamp for an alleged $10 to $15 million, likely to begin work building a book subscription platform, or something much bigger.
Apple is always stark and shady when it comes to their acquisitions. They’ve bought a number of under-the-radar startups, and when asked why, they offer up the same response:
“Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”
Kids These Days
Welcome to Freshly Minted, where we examine an overlooked deal or funding announcement in tech from the past week, and tell you what you need to know, and why it matters.
This week’s deal: Oyster, the Netflix for books, signed a deal with Simon & Schuster that will give Oyster subscribers access to Simon & Schuster’s entire backlist.
Oyster, a service that charges $10 a month for all-you-can-read access to a library of half a million books, just added heavyweight Simon & Schuster to their list of publishers. That makes two of the Big Five companies that dominate the publishing game, and if Oyster can sign on the remaining three publishers, they could take their place among companies like Spotify and Netflix as one of the great subscription titans of the decade.
Epic!, a subscription app for children’s books, just closed a deal with HarperCollins that will give its subscribers access to over 1000 books, including classics like The Chronicles of Narnia, Frog and Toad, and The Secret Garden. This comes on the heels of last night’s announcement that Oyster has signed a similar — but much larger — deal with Simon & Schuster.
Epic! has only been available for two months, and has already landed deals with two of the five top publishers, the other being Simon & Schuster. Epic! cofounder Kevin Donahue says that the appeal of book subscription apps for big publishers is that they can make money off of older books that otherwise wouldn’t even find their way onto shelves.
Thanks, Facebook, for incorporating another feature that’s already been available in app form for years.
The social network that brought you the “ask” button so creeps can inquire about the relationship status or phone number you’ve purposely been keeping private will soon allow you to detect songs, movies and TV shows in order to share what you’re listening to and watching with 800 of your closest friends.
It’s so simple, and yet so genius.
A band called Vulfpeck has devised a brilliant plan to reap major royalties from Spotify so they can fund their upcoming tour, Noisey reports.
Bitcoin’s value plummeted 20 percent last night after a major glitch hit trading exchange Mt. Gox. [CNBC]
Google laid the ultimate body slam against Russia’s anti-gay laws as it’s about to kickoff the Winter Olympics. The search giant changed its homepage into a colorful logo with a slam at the IOC for not addressing the problems. [Verge]
The FTC approved Google’s $3.2 billion deal to buy fancy thermostat maker Nest. [Recode]
Here’s an honest version of how those Facebook “Look Back” videos should really look like. [BI]
After being snubbed by Spotify, Tesla inked a deal with Rdio to include the service in its vehicles. [GigaOM]
Aereo CEO Chet Kanojila said he’s confident that the Supreme Court will rule in his favor. “I can’t imagine they won’t be on the side of innovation,” he said. [New York Times]
Uber launched an ad campaign mocking Lyft on Facebook in hopes of luring customers away from its lower-priced competitor. [AdAge]
Michael Sippey, Twitter’s VP of Product, is moving into an advisory role at the company then eventually leaving. [TechCrunch]
You can soon buy brands’ overpriced t-shirts through a new Spotify app. [Telegraph]
This happened: “Apple’s Phil Schiller unfollowed Nest CEO Tony Fadell on Twitter” [Verge]
Yahoo COO Henrique De Castro, who was called a “dead man walking” by coworkers, was finally fired yesterday. He was Marissa Mayer’s first major hire shortly after she was installed as CEO more than a year ago. [BI]
Aol is handing over control of Patch to Hale Global, essentially ridding itself of the flailing network of hyperlocal blogs. [Recode]
In what is seen as a preemptive move against Beats Music, Spotify has eliminated listening time limits it had enforced on its website for free users. [TechCrunch]
Skype carried an estimated 214 billion minutes of international calls between users in 2013–that’s up 36 percent since the year prior. [WSJ]
With Apple’s iPhone struggling to gain a foothold in China, a new deal with the country’s largest wireless network might turn around some of its fortune. China Mobile is expected to start selling the device beginning Jan. 17. [The New York Times]
Careful, sexters! A new Snapchat update from adds fancy filters, bigger text, and the ability to replay a snap. [Gizmodo]
Buoyed by conferences and video, Aol-owned Huffington Post is expected to be profitable next year. [Reuters]
Here’s an inside look at Google Ventures. [Fortune]
Spotify downloads have increased fourfold since its free streaming announcement. [CNet]