If anything, this week was dominated by music streaming announcements. The biggest names in music including Jay Z, Beyoncé, Kanye West, Daft Punk and Jack White launched Tidal, a music streaming service ‘that combines high fidelity sound quality, high definition music videos and expertly curated editorial’. Its purpose is to rival Spotify and Deezer and put more profits in the hands of artists rather than middlemen.
However, the one competitor that Spotify should keep an eye on is Apple, according to Macworld: ‘Apple revolutionized music with iTunes and still has klout with the record lables that determine where music is streamed (and for how much)…’ If Apple manages to lure artists ‘then Tidal doesn’t stand a chance, no matter how optimistic Jay Z is.’
The European Commission is looking into Apple’s streaming service negotiations with record labels, according to the Financial Times, out of concern that Apple could pressure labels into pulling music from free ad-supported services.
And then there’s yet another new streaming service, also announced this week: Rithm wants to take on the likes of Spotify, only with lower subscription fees (from $3.99 per month) and social messaging. The service has been in beta for a while but arrived on iOS and Android yesterday.
It’s hardly a secret that video has become a key focus of Facebook. In fact, their algorithm recently prioritized videos to make up 30 percent of the News Feed. On Wednesday Facebook revealed its next weapon in the battle for video: Riff, a video-recording app that lets users make videos with their friends.
According to a Re/code report Twitter is testing out promoted tweets on profile pages. This is ‘part of its grander plan, the company is exploring ways to monetize syndicated content and diversify its advertising products’, said JP Mangalindan on Mashable.
Google has begun showing photos uploaded via Google+ in Google Drive. Users can now manage these photos via a new Google Photos tab. ‘From there you’ll be able to manage your photos and videos alongside other types of files. For example, you can now add pictures of wedding venues and cakes to the same Drive folder as your guest list and budget’, said Product Manager Josh Hudgins on the Google Drive blog.
Yesterday Pinterest rolled out a new ‘Pin It’ button, designed to speed up the process of saving content to Pinterest by reducing the number of clicks by half. Using the button on the web used to require four clicks before the content was saved; now it’s only two clicks away.
Google announced this week that you can now play Pac-Man on Google Maps. All you need to do is open a map in your browser, click the blue and black square in the bottom left of your screen, and you’ll be running away from ghosts just around the corner of your house.
April Fools’ Day winners and losers
We won’t give an overview of the best and worst April Fools’ Day pranks (CNN did that already), but the Selfie Shoe by Miz Mooz did generate quite a buzz (1.4 million views on YouTube):
British Gas smart energy brand Hive recently created a unique bus shelter that heats up commuters when they tweet #TweetToHeat. It seems that the hashtag is used more often by Twitter users talking about the campaign than by people actually controlling the heater in the Manchester bus stop, but nevertheless it’s a clever example of real-time marketing.