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Remember the time De La Soul offered all of its albums as free downloads — only to see the server hosting those downloads go down under the load of excited fans? That won’t happen with the pioneering Hip Hop group’s new digital project: De La Soul has teamed up with BitTorrent to release a new mixtape called Smell the DA.I.S.Y. as a free BitTorrent bundle download. The release is in support of the J Dilla Foundation, which supports music programs in inner-city schools.

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Major League Baseball’s MLB.tv launched on Microsoft’s Xbox One Tuesday, giving users of Microsoft’s new game console a way to watch live baseball games as well as replay full games from the archives. As always, blackout rules apply, and users need to have an Xbox Live Gold subscription as well as a MLB.tv Premium subscription — but if you are a cord cutter who want to follow your team from back home, this may be the best way to do it.

In Brief

Roku just launched version 3.0 of is remote control app for iOS, Android and Kindle Fire, and the new app doesn’t just look better, it also offers universal search for movies and TV shows across Roku channels. It’s a feature that Roku introduced for its set-top boxes last year, but it makes even more sense on the mobile, where text input is easier to handle. As before, the apps also support local content playback.

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Well this is interesting: Lip sync videos and other fan adaptations of pop hits make record labels more money that the official music videos produced by the labels themselves, according to a report by the Toronto Star (hat tip to hypebot). The paper quotes Universal’s global head of digital business saying calling fan videos a massive growth area, and adding: “We’re very excited about the creativity of consumers using our repertoire and creating their own versions of our videos.” The flow of money is largely due to the fact that YouTube gives record labels the option to monetize third-party videos that use their music, instead of taking them down.

In Brief

Google just rolled out its Play Movies service, which offers Hollywood Blockbusters for rent or sale, in a whole bunch of additional countries — 39, to be precise, including a number of countries in Central and South America, Europe and Africa. This means that Google Play Movies is now available in about 60 countries around the world. However, TV show episodes are still just available in Australia, Japan, United Kingdom, United States.

In Brief

Longtime Pandora CTO and SVP of Product Tom Conrad is leaving: Conrad announced with a blog post Tuesday that he will be “transitioning to an adviser role” in three months, which is corporate speak for leaving, but on good terms. Former Pandora VP of Engineering Chris Martin has been promoted to Chief Technology Officer, and the company has started to look for a Chief Product Officer. Conrad can be credited for shaping Pandora’s technology strategy, which involved an early focus on mobile, and more recently, an embrace of open standards for connected TV and whole-home audio platforms.

On The Web

BitTorrent-based video streaming app Popcorn Time may be the media darling of the moment, but it doesn’t account for a whole lot of P2P traffic — at least not yet. Popcorn Time usage makes up for  less than 1 percent of torrent downloads in March, according to Variety, which tapped German P2P analytics company Excipio for the data. Popcorn Time offers users the ability to stream videos directly as opposed to having to download them first to their hard drives. The app first surfaced in early March, got briefly shut down by its own developers soon after, and resurfaced only days later on different servers.

In Brief

Spotify competitor Rdio has acquired the Indian music subscription service Dhingana, according to local media reports that have since been confirmed by Dhingana executives. The acquisition could be a way for Rdio to quickly get access to a huge market, but it comes after Dhingana had to shut down because it wasn’t able to secure licenses from one of the country’s biggest record labels. Rdio said in a release posted on Dhingana’s website that it wants to launch in India later this year.

On The Web

Home entertainment revenues have been on a steady decline in the U.K. since 2008, but in 2013, that trend got reversed by Netflix and Amazon’s Lovefilm, according to a report from the Guardian. Video subscription services like Netflix and Lovefilm grew 120 percent last year, the paper said, quoting a recent report by the British Entertainment Retailers Association. Digital music services like Spotify and Deezer also fared well, growing 34 percent, but physical media sales were down 8 percent, and now only make up 40 percent of the home entertainment market.

In Brief

Well, that was fast. Neil Young’s Pono startup, which wants to build a high-resolution digital music player by the same name, shot past its $800,000 funding goal on day one of its Kickstarter campaign. Pono launched a Kickstarter campaign to finance the production of its player Tuesday morning, and at 10pm, it already had raised more than $925,000. This also means that the discounted $200 Pono players are all gone, but backers can still secure a player for $300, which is $100 less than what Pono wants to sell the device for this fall.

In Brief

Beats Music raised a big round of new funding, according to multiple reports that put the total amount raised between $60 million and $100 million. The new raise comes after Beats secured a $60 million round of financing a year ago, once again proving the point that digital music is a really expensive business. Beats competitor Spotify, for instance, has raised  close t0 $540 million so far, and is now looking to go public to bring in more cash.

In Brief

The Kickstarter campaign for Pono, the high-resolution music startup founded by Neil Young, is live, with an ambitious goal: Pono wants to raise $800,000 within the next 34 days to fund the production of its portable music player. Early backers have a chance to pick up a Pono player for $200, as opposed to the $400 retail price it will be selling for this fall. Other rewards include posters signed by Neil Young and a private dinner with the rock star.  The campaign page also includes a few more technical details, including that Pono will play FLAC files with bit rates of up to 9216 kbps.

On The Web

After months of rumors, Warner Bros. is now making its $18 million investment in Los Angeles-based YouTube network Machinima official. The investment comes after Machinima was forced to lay off 30 percent of its staff last week, including its entire ad sales department. So why buy a stake in a struggling company? Because it buys the studio access to a young male audience for relatively little risk, argues Variety.

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