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Apple has been pushing for a windowed release strategy for new music, according to a Billboard report. In talks with record label executives, Apple has pointed to the latest Beyonce album as a possible blueprint for future releases: iTunes offered Beyonce’s self-titled album as an exclusive for one week when it was released in December. After that, it also sold at other retailers, but Spotify and other streaming services only got two tracks. Apple executives think that such windows could boost digital downloads, which declined by 5.7 percent last year.

Updated: This story has been corrected to reflect that it declined 5.7 percent last year, not 57 percent.

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This is fun: Netflix just posted a few videos from its recent company hack day on its tech blog, showing what Netflix developers come up with if you give them a card blanche. Some of the hacks include a Fitbit integration that would pause a TV show as soon as you fall asleep and NFC / iBeacon to let you share content across devices.

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The founders of Inkshares don’t think the traditional publishing industry is broken, just antiquated and inefficient — and they think marrying crowdfunding and the kinds of services publishers used to offer makes for a pretty compelling service for writers and ultimately for readers as well Read more »

In Brief

Media center app Plex added a bunch of additional functionality to its Chromecast integration this week: In addition to videos, Plex users can now also cast pictures and music to the TV screen. Plex also improved video playback for Chromecast, and finally added a nifty new content browsing feature that mirrors information about the media in your Plex library to the TV screen. However, Chromecast support is still only available to paying PlexPass subscribers.

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Sean Parker’s video chat startup AirTime quietly pulled off a relaunch last year, and no one noticed, until now: Erin Griffith over at Fortune reported Tuesday that the AirTime team is behind OkHello, a group video chat app. The main difference to AirTime, aside from a focus on mobile? This one may actually be working, and attracting real users – even without splashy press events.

In Brief

Orange, which has the largest stake in French online video portal Dailymotion, is reportedly in talks with Microsoft over a potential partnership. Regulators in France nixed a previous attempt to sell the service to Yahoo, but this doesn’t appear to be a sale attempt – according to the Wall Street Journal, Orange wants an “industrial” partnership with Microsoft that would leave the telco in charge while expanding Dailymotion further into the U.S. market. Orange CEO Stephane Richard told the publication that talks are ongoing, but a deal is no certainty.

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