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Just because they have billions in the bank, that doesn't mean Apple wants to share it with the record labels. The big news Thursday was a new report that sheds some light on Cupertino's lowball tactics as it works to launch a rumored music streaming service. Will the iPhone maker get its way? As with most things, only time will tell. Until then, get caught up on what you might have missed before heading into the weekend...
The New York Post reported Wednesday that the long-rumored music streaming service from Apple has hit a formidable snag. According to industry sources, Cupertino has made an initial offer of a mere six cents for every 100 songs streamed -- essentially half of what Pandora pays out for the same amount of music. By comparison, the standard rate set by the Copyright Royalty Board is roughly 21 cents per 100 songs, making Apple appear rather miserly by comparison. Competing services such as iHeartRadio pay a bit better at 22 cents per 100 songs, while Spotify looks like a big spender at 35 cents per 100 songs streamed. So why does Apple feel like they can get away with less? The record labels seem to realize that iTunes is the 100-pound gorilla of digital music, and Apple hopes to sweeten the pot with its iAd platform as well. For now, however, the labels are looking toward a second offer.
Skype announced Wednesday that its iPhone/iPod touch and iPad apps have been updated to version 4.6, introducing what the company calls a "new, beautiful calling experience." If that alone isn't enough to lure you in, the updates also now correctly display one-on-one chats in the correct order and offer the ability to mark messages as read with just a few taps. The release notes on Skype's Garage blog also note a number of smaller issues that are resolved with this update, as well as a handful of known issues with a fix in progress.
Barnes & Noble's NOOK Media LLC division announced new partnerships with a number of Hollywood studios and other content providers on Wednesday, which comes amidst recent talk that the bookseller may sell off its NOOK division after several challenging quarters. The new deal adds Lionsgate, MGM, Paramount Pictures and Relativity Media content, as well as digital media from National Geographic, Little Pim and Film Buff. NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ are the only tablets with UltraViolet digital locker baked right in, a competitive advantage the company should be taking advantage of as the service finally begins to gain traction with consumers.
Flexibits updated Fantastical for iPhone to version 1.1 on Wednesday, adding a wide-ranging list of improvements for a seemingly modest release. At the top of that list are multiple alerts when creating events, new time zone support, the ability to duplicate or move events and jumping to a specific date by tapping and holding the red title bar. The release notes tout a "staggering" number of other improvements including plenty not listed here, so if you're already a Fantastical user, this sounds like the update to download today.
Remember YouTube's big push to rally content providers by throwing money in their general direction? AllThingsD reported this week that those programming partners aren't exactly jumping for joy at the ad revenue, despite the increasing number of views the custom content are receiving. Frustrated partners appear to be looking elsewhere for new revenue sources, particularly those where they don't have to share 45 percent of the take, as is the case with YouTube. That equates to roughly $2.50 for every 1,000 views, meaning each video has to hit a million viewers before the content provider receives a modest $2,500. By comparison, other video publishers are touting upwards of $10 per 1,000 views -- and it doesn't take a mathematician to figure out that's way more money than YouTube is paying.
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(Image courtesy of Unkut.com)