Posted inNews

Spotify app now works with Siri voice assistant on Apple Watch

We haven’t heard that much about Spotify’s European anti-competition complaint against Apple for a while, despite rumblings last year about a potential investigation. However, there have been some moves by Apple to open up its ecosystem in ways that address some of the complaints that Spotify had.

One concerns access to its Siri voice assistant, which was opened up last autumn with ‘SiriKit’ as part of the iOS 13 software. Spotify has already taken advantage on some Apple devices, and yesterday that extended to its Apple Watch app too. Small steps, but encouraging ones for these bitter rivals.

In separate Spotify news, it looks like we’ll soon be seeing the launch of its ‘Follow Feed’ feature in Spotify’s mobile app. First spotted in late February, it’s an in-app news feed of “new releases from artists you follow and more”.

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Fitbit Ionic smartwatch taps Pandora for its streaming music

Fitness-wearables firm Fitbit is launching a brand new smartwatch called the Fitbit Ionic – and it comes with music.

The new device will include an app created by Pandora to sync people’s favourite stations for offline listening, as well as ‘curated workout stations’ for joggers needing a motivational boost.

The app will require a Pandora Plus or Premium subscription, and will only be available in the US, raising questions about who (if anyone) Fitbit will partner with for international sales of the $300 smartwatch.

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Will.I.Am’s new smartwatch will come with music

It’s fair to say that critical reactions to Will.I.Am’s first smartwatch Puls weren’t hugely positive.

The musician hasn’t been put off developing another though: his new model is called “The Dial”, and will go on sale in April in a partnership with mobile operator Three in the UK.

And it will come with a digital music service built in, although the Telegraph’s report on the new device specified that “the company has not disclosed who will supply the music streaming service”.

Posted inAnalysis, News

Android in 2015: 1bn users and 50bn annual app downloads

Google is holding its annual I/O developer conference this week, a fortnight ahead of Apple’s similar event. While there were no direct music announcements during Google’s keynote last night, there was plenty for our industry to think about.

Starting with some big numbers: there are now more than 1bn Android users globally, and in the last 12 months alone they installed more than 50bn apps on their devices. (Yes, that suggests 50 apps installed a year by the average Android user, which sounds very high. Then again, it doesn’t say how many of those apps are actively used.)

Posted inAnalysis, News

Apple Watch ‘Spring Forward’ – liveblog

Yep, we’re liveblogging Apple’s ‘Spring Forward’ press event tonight. Partly because there’s been a smattering of speculation that the company may announce its plans to revamp iTunes tonight – we still suspect not – but mainly because we and many people in the music industry are fascinated by the Apple Watch.

Apple’s first smartwatch was unveiled last year, but tonight is its second big reveal. We’re expecting to see a bunch of apps, pricing and an exact launch date, and lots of uses of the word “magical”. Stick with us for all the details: the entries will be in reverse-chronological order, with times in GMT.