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One of the hottest rumors in the technology sphere — apart from the ongoing talk about Apple buying Beats — has centered around Twitter making a bid for SoundCloud, as a way of re-entering the music market after its ill-fated experiment with Twitter Music. But according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the micro-blogging company has backed away from acquisition talks with SoundCloud, in part because of the price the company was hoping to get. The Journal quotes sources as saying the two were in advanced negotiations, but Twitter brass decided that “the numbers didn’t add up.” SoundCloud recently did a financing round that valued the company at about $700 million, which would have made it a large deal for Twitter — and the latter’s stock has been under pressure lately, which has also likely made large acquisitions unappetizing.

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In Brief

Google may be getting ready to launch its Chromecast streaming stick in Australia, if pre-order pages on the website of local electronics retailer Dick Smith are any indication. Ausdroid.net reported Sunday that customers had spotted a listing of the streaming stick on Dick Smith’s website, with a price tag of AUS $49 (about $46), and a delivery date of May 27. The listing has since been removed, but there have been rumors for some time that Chromecast will come to Australia this spring. Last week, Google debuted Chromecast in South Korea.

In Brief

Music discovery startup Exfm announced this week that it will shut down for good on May 19. Exfm first announced that it was going to shut down late last year, at the time blaming “the litigious nature of the music industry” as one of the reason it called quits. However, in January, it just kept going, alluding at the possibility of a partnership. Now, it looks like that partnership won’t include the current service. In a blog post, Exfm’s executive team put it this way: “We are very excited for what’s next and believe we will ultimately provide you with the best music service in the seven kingdoms.”

In Brief

Music identification specialist SoundHound unveiled a new version of its iOS, Android, Windows phone and Blackberry apps Thursday, offering new ways for users to explore the results of their song searches. The app, which offers the ability to identify songs by listening in what’s playing around you or having users hum a melody, also expanded its lyrics catalog, which it displays in real-time while a song is playing. The new version comes just as competitor Shazam reportedly secured some smaller investments from the major record companies. The three majors each took a $3 million stake in the company, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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AT&T is in advanced talks to buy DirecTV for $50 billion, or about $100 per share, Bloomberg reported Monday. AT&T’s plan is to turn the satellite company into an AT&T unit, and keep management on board to run that unit, with plans for DirecTV’s chief executive Mike White to retire in 2016. The acquisition report, which neither company is commenting on, comes after three months after Comcast announced that it was going to acquire Time Warner Cable in a $45 billion deal.

As Jay Rosen argues, the days when it was enough to just give both sides of a story — without providing any additional viewpoints or fact-checking — are over. He said/she said journalism is both an ethical lapse and a failure to understand how the media business itself has changed Read more »

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