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Universal calls an end to exclusives amid criticisms that Apple Music is hurting the industry

Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grainge has sent out an email to UMG executives according to The Leftsetz Letter, announcing that the company will be prohibiting the practice of exclusive music streaming deals. The move comes on the heels of exclusive releases by artists such as Frank Ocean, and scathing remarks by music industry analyst and critic Bob Lefsetz, who published an open letter this past weekend, stating that Apple should be “investigated by the government for antitrust” and that artists who take money from Apple for exclusives are complicit in “screwing fans.”

Because there’s a conspiracy between Apple Music and the industry to change the game, to get everybody to pay for a subscription by putting hit content behind a paywall.

In his letter, Lefsetz explains how the music industry eventually embraced streaming and how the services had been “fan-friendly” until the recent move toward penning exclusive release deals with artists. Leftsetz goes on to criticize the amount of press buzz created by these exclusive deals, which push out other acts that might be more worthy of recognition, and how the industry still needs a “free tier” where “casual fans can experience new music” rather than “overpaying” for the experience. [via Macrumors]

 

Apple reveals some of its upcoming AI advancements for the iPhone

While Siri is the usual public focus of Apple’s artificial intelligence endeavors, a new Backchannel story points out that much of the behavior iPhone users notice in their device is also powered by the company’s increasing push to improve its AI. When the iPhone guesses which apps you’ll want to use next when you swipe your screen, that’s Apple’s AI at work, but the device also lashes together pieces of information from several places to provide a more complete picture. Machine learning helps Apple devices do everything from extending battery life between charges to identifying a caller who isn’t in its contact list by referencing emails. It’s also responsible for the iPad Pro knowing the difference between the Apple Pencil’s touch and the palm being dragged alongside it while a user is drawing, accepting the Pencil’s input while rejecting the palm’s. “If this doesn’t work rock solid, this is not a good piece of paper for me to write on anymore — and Pencil is not a good product,” said senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi. “If you love your Pencil, thank machine learning.”

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Mac: Sony DualShock 4 USB Wireless Adaptor

Launching in early Septemper, Sony’s new DualShock 4 USB Wireless Adaptor ($25) will let Mac users connect the DualShock 4 controller from a PlayStation 4 to their computer. While specifically designed to bring a wireless experience to PS4 Remote Play for Mac, the adapter enables all of the controller’s features for any game, including the buttons, analog sticks, touch pad, light bar, motion sensors, vibration and stereo headset jack — provided the game in question supports those functions. A minimum 5Mbps connection is required for those using the controller with PS4 Remote Play, with Sony recommending a wired Internet connection for the optimal experience.

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Apple Music’s royalty rates complicate Spotify’s contract negotiations

Apple Music’s entry into the streaming music business has major labels asking Spotify for a larger share of its revenue, Music Business Worldwide reports. Spotify’s contracts with Universal, Warner and Sony have all expired, and while the labels want Spotify to up their revenue share from 55 percent to something closer to the 58 percent Apple currently pays, Spotify is trying to push what it pays even further down. Spotify is getting by on rolling month-to-month licensing agreements for the time being, but its decision to begin offering a carbon copy of Apple Music’s family plan with no long-term licensing agreements in place has rubbed labels the wrong way.

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Daily Deal: Zus Kevlar MFi Certified Lightning Cable

Today in iLounge Deals, you can get the Zus Kevlar MFi Certified Lightning Cable for only $19.99. This military-grade charging cable will stand the test of time, built with the same aramid finer technology used in aerospace and military applications so normal wear and tear won’t affect it — the ZUS cable can bend over 15,000 times, and is covered by a lifetime warranty. The nylon braiding keeps cables tangle-free, and included velcro ties help you keep the cable organized when not in use.

Get the Zus Kevlar MFi Certified Lightning Cable now for only $19.99

iFixit highlights ‘Touch Disease’ affecting many iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models

Photo: iFixit

A new report from iFixit highlights a design defect in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus that the company believes is affecting thousands of units. Referring to the problem as “Touch Disease,” iFixit describes a scenario where flickering grey lines appear at the top of the iPhone screen and touch functionality becomes glitchy or unresponsive. Apple Stores have generally refused to reocgnize the problem as an issue — particularly as many of the affected iPhones are now out of warranty — leaving many customers stuck with no choice but to purchase a new iPhone or pay for costly repairs. Notably, however, iFixit’s investigation claims that the problem is not even a function of the iPhone display, but is actually caused by two touchscreen controller chips located on the logic board.

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Review: Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected Bluetooth Toothbrush

It's becoming more and more apparent that we live in a connected world, with Bluetooth accessories and mobile apps expanding to cover all aspects of life. So it's no surprise to discover that even toothbrushes have joined the club. Philips' Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected Toothbrush ($199) takes Philips' popular premium electric toothbrush, adding Bluetooth connectivity and an iPhone app to improve your dental health with real-time monitoring and coaching to help improve your brushing techniques.

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Mac: Readdle PDF Expert 2

Readdle has released an updated version of its PDF Expert software for Mac, adding several new features that enhance editing options, increase search capabilities and strengthen security. PDF Expert 2 allows users to edit text and images in any PDF, making fixing typos or resizing logos and graphs a much more streamlined process. The software can also add links to text and photos, making any component within the PDF clickable and interactive. An editable table of contents makes navigating through a large file much faster using hotkeys, and a new redact feature lets users search for and remove sensitive information before sending out important documents. PDFs can also be password-protected to keep prying eyes away from private data.

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Rebranded Nike+ Run Club app adds new tracking abilities

The Nike+ Running app has gotten a total facelift and a new name with version 5.0.0. Now called Nike+ Run Club, the app provides plenty of new options for runners, including the ability to create coaching plans that adapt to their schedule and progress. Post-run sharing options add a social aspect and allow runners to compete with their friends by hash-tagging runs.

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Daily Deal: LinearFlux PokeCharger Portable Battery

For Tuesday’s iLounge Deal, we’re offering the LinearFlux PokeCharger Portable Battery for only $39.99 — that’s 50% off the regular price. This portable 3300 mAh battery pack can charge your iPhone at twice the speed of a typical wall charter, and includes a built-in Lightning cable along with a USB port for charging a second USB-equipped device at the same time.

Get the LinearFlux PokeCharger Portable Battery now for only $39.99





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