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Spotify is getting close to having 10 million paying subscribers worldwide, according to a Guardian report that cites unnamed music industry sources with the estimate that the music subscription service will hit that milestone “in the next few months.” Spotify last shared subscriber numbers a year ago, when it had six million paying and 24 million active users. A Spotify representative also told the paper that it added more than one million active users in the last four months.

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While the internet debates the death of network neutrality, the Comcast and Time Warner Cable merger back-and-forth continues. Sen. Al Franken released Netflix’s response to his request for its thoughts on the proposed merger. Netflix, needless to say, doesn’t like it. In details that have not been aired publicly, the letter accuses Comcast of abusing its market power to charge Netflix an interconnection fee to reach its customers — the first time Netflix has ever paid such a fee to an ISP. However, if the FCC has its way on net neutrality, this may just be one of many fees Netflix will find itself paying.

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Streaming music service Rdio has teamed up with Canadian broadband provider Shaw to grow its subscriber base in the country, both companies announced Thursday. The partnership includes a strategic investment by Shaw as well as yet-unannounced “marketing, content and promotional” initiatives. Rdio recently struck a similar agreement with a big media group in Brazil, and teamed up with terrestrial radio network Cumulus in the U.S. last summer. Thursday’s release comes with the interesting tidbit that Canada is Rdio’s second-biggest market, with Brazil ranking third, and the company is apparently getting some traction in Australia and Mexico as well.

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Good news for Roku users: The YouTube channel, which first launched on the Roku 3 in December, is now available on all “current-generation devices,” according to a post on the Roku blog, which also lists an exact list of all models that can now access YouTube. All of these devices also support DIAL, which makes it possible to send YouTube videos from your mobile device to your Roku, Chromecast-style.

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Hey, Ma Bell! Your peering policies are so lame, your fiber network is slower than DSL! That’s essentially the insult that Netflix is flinging at AT&T in a shareholder letter accompanying the streaming video service’s first quarter financials. The gist of the accusation is that by refusing to sign an interconnection deal with Netflix, AT&T’s customers are getting a streaming experience that sucks. It’s the same tactic Netflix employed with Comcast, putting the customer in the middle of an esoteric fight about internet interconnection agreements. Absent FCC intervention, we’ll see if the Netflix strategy works a second time around.

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Beats Music, the newly-launched music subscription service spearheaded by Jimmy Iovine, is in the midst of raising another $60 million to $100 million in funding, according to a Billboard report that notes that the company spent tens of millions on advertising, including its Super Bowl TV spot. However, a Beats Music spokesperson denied those claims, sending us the following statement via email: “Beats Music is not in any active process of raising more funding.” Billboard also reported that some in the music industry are disappointed by Beats Music’s uptake, while insiders unsurprisingly say that first numbers exceeded expectations.

Updated at 10:48am with a statement from Beats Music.

Instead of a paywall around its existing content, Slate is trying to convince its biggest fans to become members of a community — membership that will bring them additional benefits, including preferential access to writers and editors at the site. But will it be enough to move the revenue needle? Read more »

Thievery Corporation
photo: Thievery Corporation

Thievery Corporation is a Washington DC-based duo that defined and popularized a genre of music loosely called globetronica. They just released their latest album, Saudade. I caught up with Rob Garza (one half of the group) to talk about Internet, creativity, streaming, Pandora and Spotify. Read more »

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Music subscription service Spotify is getting ready to switch its data delivery technology from P2P to a server-client model, according to a TorrentFreak report. Spotify has long been using P2P for its desktop client, but not for mobile and web listening, and it makes sense that the company is looking to streamline its data delivery as mobile usage grows and bandwidth prices continue to decline. With the shift, Spotify is also closing the book on a little-known part of its past: uTorrent creator Ludvig Strigeus started working for Spotify after he sold his company to BitTorrent Inc. That sale was facilitated by none other than Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, who briefly served as uTorrent’s CEO.

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U.S. Sen. Al Franken has written to Netflix asking its opinion on Comcast’s efforts to buy Time Warner Cable, implying that Netflix is a good indicator of the potential consumer and content harms of the deal. In his letter, Franken touches on peering challenge, noting that Comcast implied that it was no big thing in its hearing before the Senate Judiciary committee. Since Netflix wasn’t at the hearing, perhaps Sen. Franken just wants to get Netflix’s comments on the record. And while, we aren’t Netflix, if Sen. Franken is interested, here’s how we think regulators should view the deal.

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