Amazon Launches Fire TV And Goes Head To Head With Apple
April 4, 2014
The battle for the box that will sit atop your TV in the future has begun.
Amazon unveiled its newest innovation, Fire TV, a tiny box that plugs into your HDTV and provides access to Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, SHOWTIME, video rentals as well as photos, music, and games.
"Tiny box, huge specs, tons of content, incredible price -- people are going to love Fire TV," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder/CEO. "Voice search that actually works means no more typing on an alphabet grid. Our exclusive new ASAP feature predicts the shows you'll want to watch and gets them ready to stream instantly. And our open approach gives you not just Amazon Instant Video and Prime Instant Video, but also Netflix, Hulu Plus, and more. On Fire TV you can watch Alpha House and House of Cards."
And here's a whole lot you can read about it all below.
Amazon's Fire TV is formidable competition for an Apple TV that looks more outdated by the second. Apple now has to play catch up on multiple fronts and has no clear advantage in content or customer reach. Read the whole story
And, Amazon's Fire TV already has a number of big content providers lined up, including digital audio platforms like Clear Channel Media + Entertainment's iHeartRadio service. Read the whole story
From CNET: Amazon has unleashed its $99 set-top box, dubbed the Fire TV, but the company has its sights on more than just streaming Netflix. The box comes with the ability to play games and also includes voice search (for Amazon Video titles), plus the company says it is the fastest streamer on the market for the money. But are these capabilities enough to wrest control away from the similarly priced Apple TV and Roku? READ MORE
And from Rolling Stone: 5 Reasons to Be Excited About Amazon Fire TV
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
THE YOUTUBE MUSIC SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE LAUNCHES THIS SUMMER
Hypebot reports that YouTube's music subscription service will launch this summer via Google's Music Pass on Android.
YouTube's Music Pass is expected to charge $5 for ad-supported service and $10 for ad-free service. Earlier this year Google's Android launched its "All Access" service, which provides unlimited on-demand streaming on PCs, laptops and phones for $10 per month, similar to services like Spotify and Rdio. Read More
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
READ AN EXCERPT FROM 'TUNE IN: THE BEATLES: ALL THESE YEARS'
From Delanceyplace.com comes an excerpt from the book 'Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years' by Mark Lewisohn.
When John Lennon and Paul McCartney were very young, 17 and 15 years old respectively, they grabbed every spare moment to play music together, and with the inspiration of Buddy Holly and the Crickets, they began to write their own songs as well:
"Afternoons were whiled away playing guitars to records, singing, reveling in the joy of chords, finding out how almost every rock song they knew could be played with C, F and G or G7. ... They toiled hours, weeks, trying to work out how Buddy Holly played the intro to 'That'll Be the Day,' before John eventually figured it out. ..."Buddy Holly was the springboard to John and Paul's songwriting. As John later said, 'Practically every Buddy Holly song was three chords, so why not write your own?' Read more of the excerpt
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
RADIO HAS NEW APP TO STREAM TUNES TO YOUR HOME SPEAKERS
VentureBeat reports that Rdio, a leading streaming music service, has launched an application for Google's Chromecast media streaming stick.
The app, currently available for free, allows you to access the streaming music service directly from your smartphone and move the experience to your home entertainment setups speakers. Read More
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
A U.S. OFFICIAL SEZ THE INTERNET IS OKAY TO BE ON ITS OWN
Lawrence Strickling, who runs the U.S. government's remaining oversight of the Internet, says it's time to relinquish that role.
Snowden didn't push the issue, he tells CNET's Stephen Shankland. Read more
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
TABLET GROWTH SLOWS, iPAD STILL THE ONE
Tablet growth is likely to slow as the platform reaches saturation among those who have a use for the device.
As much as MediaPost was surprised by the market appeal of a new lean-back/lean-in mode, the experience still strikes many as in between laptop and smartphone -- either of which is good enough. Read the whole story
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
INSTAGRAM THE CHOICE OF GENEATION Ys
Social media is a social-purchasing path for young women, according to a survey by "Teen Vogue."
And Instagram is the favored platform. The "Seeing Social" survey reveals that Millennials now use social media to participate in the content created not just by peers but also by marketers to inform her purchasing decisions. - Read the whole story
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 8
BROADBAND USERS: CHOICE IS TV
Overall, 14% of U.S. broadband homes currently use Internet set-top box devices, like Google's Chromecast, Roku or Apple TV to access video content.
Heavy marketing of these devices is targeted for those in their late 20s and early 30s. Read the whole story
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 9
AN ARTIST WHO UTILIZES THE INTERNET AND LIKES IT
For this Minneapolis artist, the Internet isn't just a way to show his work. The constraints and abilities of sites like Instagram, Vine, and Flickr are an intrinsic part of the art itself. Read more
THE 'A-SIDE' - THE BONUS TRACKS
* 20 Greatest Two-Hit Wonders
* 20 Shocking Lyrics You Didn't Notice in Famous Songs
* The 5 Worst Songs in the History of Rock Music
* Lady Gaga Kicks Off NYC Roseland Residency With Electrifying Birthday Performance
* Believe It: Fake Justin Bieber CD Planted Throughout Los Angeles
* 18 Pop Stars Who Wouldn't Be Famous if They Used Their Real Names
* Duff McKagan Reuniting With Guns N' Roses to 'Help Axl Out,' Says Tommy Stinson
* Posthumous Gil Scott-Heron LP 'Nothing New' Set for Record Store Day
* Kurt Cobain musical on Broadway?
* Jeff Beck and ZZ Top to Tour Together this Summer
* Kate Bush Sells Out 22 London Comeback Concerts in 15 Minutes
* Aereo Defends Streaming Service To Supreme Court
* Kanye West's Wedding Could Be Catered by Burger King
* 'Frozen' Becomes Highest-Grossing Animated Film Ever
* Bill Murray's Amazing Karaoke
* Celebrity 101: 5 Pop Stars Who Have Inspired Courses at U.S. Colleges
* After two months with Android, I'm going back to iPhone. Here's why.
* Roku Streaming Stick reviewed: Is it a Chromecast killer?
* Get a GoGroove Bluetooth speaker and receiver for $27.99 shipped
* Tube amplifiers aren't just for audiophiles
* Microsoft tries to make everyone happy with new Windows update
* 10 Smartphones, Tablets to Keep an Eye On in 2014
Short News Items ...
YEAH, I BET:
Christine McVie quit Fleetwood Mac in 1998, and her bandmates said repeatedly that she'd never return. Now she's thrilled to rejoin them for an upcoming world tour. "I had some deluded idea that I wanted to hang out with my dogs and bake cookies," she tells Rolling Stone. Read More
Meryl Streep will play a rock n' roll-loving woman who chased her dream at the price of her family, but gets a last chance to, perhaps, make things right. Streep will play a guitar-wielding, hard rockin' mamma by night, and grocery store checkout lady by day in the film "Ricki and the Flash." Jonathan Demme will direct the film. (Editor's note: Meryl Streep as a guitar rocking mama? Really?)
ELTON TIES THE KNOT:
Sir Elton John told TODAY's Matt Lauer that wedding bells will chime as early as May for him and his partner, David Furnish, now that gay marriage is legal in England. "We'll do it very quietly," John told Matt in an interview that will air in two parts exclusively on TODAY. "But we will do it and it will be a joyous occasion and we will have our children." They have two kids together, Zachary, 3, and Elijah, 1.
FROZEN AT #1:
Disney's 'Frozen' soundtrack scores an eighth week at #1 on the Billboard 200, marking it the longest run atop the list since Adele's '21' closed out a 24-week run at No. 1 in 2012.
Rumblings that Chelsea Handler is unhappy with her relationship with E! came to a head on Sunday. Handler's publicist Slate PR's Stephen Huvane, her manager Irving Azoff and others close to Handler told The Wrap that she's going to leave the network when her contract expires at the end of 2014. Read more at TheWrap
David Letterman will retire in 2015, the "Late Show" host announced during a taping of his show on Thursday.
ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME INFO:
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced further details of the April 10th induction ceremony at Brooklyn's Barclays Center: Michael Stipe is inducting Nirvana, Bruce Springsteen will induct the E Street Band, and they will perform together as well. Coldplay's Chris Martin will pay tribute to Peter Gabriel, who plans on performing. Glenn Frey of the Eagles will induct his former bandleader Linda Ronstadt, and a unique tribute will be staged to the singer featuring Stevie Nicks, Carrie Underwood, Emmylou Harris, Sheryl Crow and Bonnie Raitt. Questlove of the Roots will pay tribute to Hall and Oates, and the duo plans to play at the ceremony. Peter Asher is going to induct Brian Epstein and Andrew Loog Oldham. There's no word on who will induct Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam).
NEW MICHAEL JACKSON:
Five years after Michael Jackson's death, the first posthumous album from the King of Pop, 'Xscape,' is set for May 13th. It will feature eight unreleased songs "contemporized" by a variety of producers. "We take great pride in presenting" the new music, said producer L.A. Reid. Read More
Stevie Nicks will be honored by BMI with its prestigious Icon Award at the 62nd Annual Pop Awards ceremony, Tuesday, May 13th, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. Nicks will join the ranks of previous winners Paul Simon, Carole King, David Foster, John Fogerty, Kris Kristofferson, The Jacksons, Crosby, Stills & Nash, The Bee Gees, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Brian Wilson, Carlos Santana and Dolly Parton, among others.
IPHONE APP OF THE WEEK:
UK Music, the Intellectual Property Office and Aardman Animations launched Music Inc., an app that lets users pretend to produce and mentor emerging artists. Players take control of writing and releasing songs and see the impact that managerial decisions have on an artist's career. Read the whole story
Vevo debuted a brand new original program titled "Guess The Video." The show features the hilarious Emmanuel and Phillip Hudson, two Atlanta comedians, roaming the streets with a tablet, showing pedestrians a few seconds of a music video clip for the chance at $100. Things get tough when the contestant is under pressure to name the correct artist, song title and featured artists. If they guess wrong, they get a pie in the face. You'll be surprised at the results. Read more and check out the first episode here!
PHARELL TO 'THE VOICE':
Singer and producer Pharrell Williams will be the next coach on NBC's "The Voice." Although the competition hasn't officially named Season 7's coaches, it can be assumed that Williams will replace CeeLo Green on Season 7 of the show's fall cycle.
PONO STILL GOING ON KICKSTARTER:
TechCrunch reports that Neil Young's PonoPlayer has crossed the $5 million in pledges milestone on Kickstarter. Read More
NEW ENTRIES FOR LIBRARY OF CONGRESS:
The Library of Congress' National Recording Registry has unveiled its latest crop of inductions. Among the 25 eclectic recordings deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" are U2's landmark LP 'The Joshua Tree,' the Everly Brothers' "Cathy's Clown," Isaac Hayes' iconic 'Shaft' theme, Jeff Buckley's masterful version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," Linda Ronstadt's 'Heart Like a Wheel' LP and Creedence Clearwater Revival's Vietnam War protest anthem "Fortunate Son."
AND MORE ON KICKSTARTER:
TechCrunch reports that compact wireless HiFi system, Musaic, recently launched on Kickstarter with the promise to offer home automation and Hi-Fi music services. Musaic is a new type of HiFi system created from wireless speakers, and is capable of carrying high quality 24 Bit content. Read More
Maker Studios, one of the leading networks of online video content on YouTube recently acquired by The Walt Disney Company, today announced a strategic partnership that will bring some of the biggest YouTube stars to Music Choice, a leading free video on demand provider in the US.
DJ Frankie Knuckles, a.k.a. the "Godfather of House," has died from complications with diabetes, confirmed longtime Chicago promoter and Knuckles' associate, Robert Williams. He was 59. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Knuckles spun influential dance music at various night clubs and helped to popularize the "House" music genre throughout the US and abroad.
Lucy Hood, president and COO of the Television Academy, has died following a battle with cancer. She was 56. She was appointed executive director of the Institute for Communication Technology at the University of Southern California in 2009. She was appointed executive director of the Institute for Communication Technology at the University of Southern California in 2009. Read more about her at TheWrap
Quotes of the week
"I realized around 18 that (Scarface's) Tony Montana's the wrong guy to be looking up to."
-- Pitbull, on his teen years, dealing drugs, and getting into trouble, in The Hollywood Reporter
"I haven't given it one thought, I have to say," Ronstadt says. "It wasn't anything I ever thought about. I never thought of myself as a rock 'n' roll singer; I sang it, [but] it's just one of the things I sang. I sang a lot of different stuff. I didn't attend the last two times I was nominated for a Grammy, either. I don't have anything against it; you just don't do things for those reasons. If you're working for prizes, you're in trouble. There's nothing wrong with it. I don't mind it. It's just not anything I ever gave a thought to."
-- Linda Rondstadt, who revealed her battle with Parkinson's disease last year, on not attending next week's 29th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Rolling Stone
"Do you know any other band that can do that? I don't."
-- Tom Petty, in Rolling Stone, listening to tracks on his next album 'Hypnotic Eye' (Editor's note: It's okay to be proud of your band, Tom, but,I know of another band that could do that, Tom. The E-Street Band could do that just fine...and more)
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Nation Already Sick Of Baseball
WASHINGTON—With the MLB season still less than a week old, millions of weary Americans across the country confirmed Wednesday that they were already sick of baseball.
"Three innings into opening day and I was completely bored to death," said 36-year-old Michael Simpkins. Read more and laugh
The Music Industry Past, Present & Future, And The Internet I answer questions on EconTalk
I did an interview about the industry and the Internet at EconTalk with host Russ Roberts. Russ is also a professor of economics at George Mason University, blogs at Cafe Hayek, and has written three novels that teach economics. He's also the co-creator of the Keynes-Hayek rap video. (And if your understanding of the economic meltdown that occurred needs to be enlightened, this video will do it)
In the interview we talk about the evolution of the music industry, the impact of the digital revolution, and I give my reasons for believing in the virtues and potential of the Internet in enhancing the music industry. I point out, as I have many times here in the newsletter, that the internet allows numerous artists to make money from their music and it can enhance revenues from live performances by expanding an artist's base. We also discuss the challenges facing record companies and I suggest that the full potential of the Internet as a distribution channel has yet to be fully exploited. There's a lot of ground covered, but based on the comments already posted of those who have tuned in, they've enjoyed it.
Read more about it by clicking here.
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Smart Marketing Consulting Services has been in business sixteen years, and consults clients in the music, entertainment, attraction, media, and technology industry on branding, marketing, online exploitation, maximizing new media, and more.
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