Waze Update for iOS Lets You Easily Control Spotify From Within Navigation App

Waze and Spotify today announced that an update previously launched on Android smartphones is now making its way to iOS devices, bringing Spotify music playback controls right into Waze's crowd-sourced navigation app. Conversely, you'll also be able to start Waze's GPS navigation from within the Spotify iOS app.

As long as the two apps are installed and you agree to link both accounts together, you'll gain access to a subset of Spotify controls in Waze. At the top of the navigation screen there will be a small Spotify icon, which you can tap to access playback controls, change playlists, and jump directly to Spotify.


Waze said that safety remains a priority with today's update, encouraging drivers to keep their iPhone docked with the app open nearby to focus on the road. Both Waze and Spotify mentioned that the new integration should help further combat distracted driving, thanks to a few streamlined features that reduce the need to toggle between multiple apps. These include automatic music playback when Waze navigation begins, only letting you browse playlists when the car is stopped, and more.
Finlay Clark, UK head of Waze, says: “We are delighted to team up with Spotify to create a new function that allows iOS Wazers to enjoy their favourite music, while being re-routed around traffic in real- time.

“Safety is our priority at Waze. By discouraging drivers from tapping their device to switch between apps while on the move, we believe this partnership presents a valuable way for drivers in the UK to use their favourite technologies whilst concentrating fully on the road ahead.”
Although the announcement came out of Waze's United Kingdom office, the company confirmed that its integration with Spotify is beginning to roll out globally today in markets that support both apps.


Both Waze and Spotify are available to download on the iOS App Store for free.

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Spotify Introduces iMessage App With Search Function for Sharing Music With Friends

Spotify has introduced an iMessage application in its latest update this week. As spotted by iGeneration, Spotify in Apple's Messages app allows you to search the entire music streaming service for a specific song and send it to a friend. When they receive it, they'll be able to listen to a 30-second clip, and then tap a button to jump into Spotify to check out the whole track.


This differs slightly from the Apple Music iMessage app, which lacks a search function completely. If you want to share a specific Apple Music song with a friend, it has to be in your recently listened track list, meaning you'll have to jump to the Apple Music app, search for it, play it, and then navigate back to Messages to find it in the app drawer. Apple Music's big advantage is that you can listen to the full track right in Messages.

The design is also different, with Spotify's iMessage app displaying a larger image for the song's album artwork, while Apple Music's remains thin and more horizontally-aligned with a play button directly in the iMessage.


In recent Spotify news, the company's Web Player is now incompatible with Apple's Safari browser, reportedly due to Google's Widevine media optimizer plugin, which Spotify requires for music streaming on the web and Apple opposes due to potential security issues. Spotify will also debut an official Apple Watch app in the future, although news of that release now dates back to April 2017 and there's since been no other word from Spotify or the app's developer Andrew Chang, besides a few mentions on Reddit over the summer.

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Spotify Web Player No Longer Compatible With Apple’s Safari Browser

Spotify users on the service's Web Player have noticed that they can no longer listen to music in Apple's Safari browser, taking to Spotify's Community web page to discuss the incompatibility between Safari and Spotify's Web Player (via Mac Generation).

In a post published about the topic yesterday by user riegelstamm, it was pointed out that Spotify's system requirements page listed Safari 6 or higher as a supported browser for the Web Player. As of today, that same page has been updated and any mention of Safari has been removed, now only including Chrome 45+, Firefox 47+, Edge 14+, and Opera 32+.

When users visit the Spotify Web Player on Safari, they receive the message, "This browser doesn't support Spotify Web Player. Switch browsers or download Spotify for your desktop."


The same poster contacted Spotify customer support, which responded with a confirmation of Safari's removal from the Web Player's supported browser list.
"After taking a look backstage, we can confirm that after recent updates Safari is no longer a supported browser for Web Player. We're always testing things by adding or removing features to make Spotify better overall. We’re sorry that this means you’re not able to use the Web Player like you could before. We can't say if or when any specific features will be back. But as soon as we’ve got anything to announce, we’ll let everyone know via the Spotify Community. Sorry again for any inconvenience caused, and please let us know if there is anything else we can do for you.

Best wishes,
Rollie
Spotify Customer Support"
Riegelstamm further dug into the details of the Web Player, discovering that the discontinuing of Safari support might have something to do with Google's Widevine media optimizer plugin, which Spotify requires for music streaming on the web and Apple opposes due to potential security issues.

Instead, Spotify encourages users to download the compatible Mac app, or switch over to a supported browser. Although the lack of Safari support in the Web Player might be temporary, Spotify customer support told users that it "can't say if or when any specific features will be back."

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Spotify Announces First Live Music Event in the U.K.

Spotify has announced its first live music event in the U.K., just days after Apple axed its own annual London music festival (via The Verge).

Called "Who We Be", the event is scheduled to take place at London's Alexandra Palace on November 30 and will have a rap and grime theme, with a line-up featuring the likes of Dizzee Rascal, Bugzy Malone, Cardi B, Giggs, J Has, and Stefflon Don.


The festival gets its name from Spotify's curated Who We Be playlist, which has a 140,000-strong following. Subscribers to the playlist can take advantage of a pre-sale ticker offer that starts on Saturday 9, while general ticket sales begin on Monday 11. Tickets can be ordered from Spotify's event website.

Apple's Music Festival had a decade-long run before it was confirmed that the company had decided to bring the tradition to an end. The free annual concert's performances had been broadcast live and on-demand through Apple Music since 2015. Apple provided no reason for ending the annual festival nor any indication that it will return anytime soon.

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Spotify and Hulu Team Up to Offer Students a $5/Month Combo Subscription Plan

Streaming companies Spotify and Hulu today announced a new partnership that will allow eligible students to sign up for Spotify Premium for Students at its normal $4.99/month price tag, and gain access to Hulu's Limited Commercials plan at no extra charge. In Hulu's press release, the company said that the offer streamlines two popular services commonly used by busy students into a single subscription plan.


The bundle is available to all qualifying new and existing Spotify student subscribers, immediately offering access to both Spotify Premium's music streaming service and Hulu's basic Limited Commercial, TV-streaming package. Users will also continue to use Spotify and Hulu through each brands' respective apps.
“In bringing Spotify and Hulu together, we’re now able to offer students – both the millions already on Spotify Premium, and those who are new to Spotify – access to the world’s best music, TV and movie content in the simplest possible way,” said Alex Norstrom, Chief Premium Business Officer at Spotify. “We’re very excited to be partnering with Hulu – a like-minded company which is as focused as we are on delivering the very best in high quality streaming content.”

“We are proud to announce Spotify as our newest strategic partner – they’re an iconic brand in music streaming and a proven leader in reaching and engaging young consumers,” said Tim Connolly, SVP, Head of Distribution and Partnerships at Hulu. “By bundling our enormous catalogues of content together in a single, highly compelling offer, we’re making it easier for people to enjoy all of the TV and music they love, whenever and wherever they want.”
According to Hulu, "this is the first step" that each company is taking to bundle their services together, and in the future similar bundles will be targeted "at the broader market" beyond college students. Find out more information on user eligibility for Spotify's student membership right here.

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Spotify Hits 60 Million Paid Subscribers Ahead of Going Public

As it prepares to go public, Spotify has reached 60 million paid subscribers, reports TechCrunch. The 60 million mark comes nearly five months after the company announced its 50 million paid subscriber milestone in March.

When adding in customers who listen to the free ad-supported tier, Spotify has more than 140 million subscribers worldwide. Comparatively, Apple Music now boasts 27 million paying subscribers, a number Apple shared at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June.


Since its 2015 debut, Apple Music has been growing steadily by luring customers with exclusive album releases, concerts, and original television programming, but it does not offer a free tier like Spotify. Apple Music subscriptions start at $9.99 per month after a three-month free trial.

Spotify paid subscriptions are also priced at $9.99 per month, and in 2016, Spotify's revenue grew over 50 percent to $3.3 billion.

In the near future, Spotify plans to go public through a direct listing, forgoing the traditional initial public offering and making existing Spotify shares available to the public. With this method, likened to an elopement instead of a full-on wedding, Spotify avoids the fanfare of an IPO and does not have to hire an underwriter. Spotify is expected to initiate its direct listing in 2018.

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Spotify ‘Coming After’ Apple With Strong Push Into Podcasts

Spotify is experimenting with a new podcast initiative that's said to be aimed at gaining ground on the current leader in the field, Apple, as a way to convince Spotify users on iOS to stick around in the Spotify app, and not migrate over to Apple Podcasts. As of now, the podcast initiative is described as a "test," with Spotify launching a few original podcasts and running promotions for the shows to see how users respond (via Bloomberg).

Currently, podcasts on Spotify sit within the Browse tab of the iOS app and lack any highlighted featured section on the Home screen. Spotify's new initiative seeks a way to change that and begin showcasing podcasts for users in the same way that the service curates music. Earlier this year, Spotify commissioned original podcasts focused on music, premiering first on Spotify before expanding to other services.


Next, more original shows will continue the podcast test over the coming months.
Spotify will fund a new batch of original podcasts in the coming months, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified discussing the private plans.

“Spotify has the potential to do a lot for podcasting,” Quah said. “They have a large user base, and all it takes is a few tweaks here and there to put podcasting in the foreground for the daily listeners.”
The initiative is also expanding into advertising fields, with Spotify agreeing to promote specific podcasts within the app and on mobile transportation, in return for these podcast hosts "talking up" Spotify on social media and throughout their shows. Right now, the podcasts in agreement with Spotify include "Reply All," "Pod Save America," and "The Bill Simmons Podcast."

At WWDC this year, Apple announced major features for both users and podcast creators coming to the overhauled Podcasts app in iOS 11. Although the recently rebranded "Apple Podcasts" holds the majority share of the podcast market (around 55 percent, according to weekly podcast newsletter author Nick Quah), Spotify's stance as the largest streaming service in the world presents it with "an opportunity to steal share from Apple."

Due to the surge in popularity of podcasts over recent years, Apple in 2016 even met with leading podcasters to discuss their grievances over iTunes and its podcasts section.


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Spotify and Warner Music Close to Signing Deal That Would Restrict Some Releases to Premium Users

Music streaming service Spotify is close to signing a deal with Warner Music Group that would see artists under the label launch albums exclusively on Spotify's $9.99/month paid subscription tier. Spotify has previously not restricted albums to its paid subscribers, but reports earlier this year said that the service would soon begin practicing in exclusives, and it now appears to be happening with Warner Music artists as the first potential exclusives for Spotify Premium users that would be unavailable to anyone on the free tier.

Spotify and Warner Music's new deal "could be signed by September," according to sources speaking with Reuters. The sources said that some of the biggest parts of the deal have been talked about, including granting Spotify "a more favorable revenue split" in return for Spotify launching Warner Music albums exclusively on its paid tier "for a defined period." However, specific monetary amounts for such a deal, and which of Warner Music's artists would be included -- Ed Sheeran and Muse are under the label's management -- were details that have yet to be ironed out.


One source described the talks as being at "a crossroads," with any potential for a final deal remaining "at bay" until agreements were made on a number of points. Still, talks are said to be "taking place daily," leading other sources close to the deal hopeful for a finalized agreement to come by September. The signing of the deal is said to be Spotify's "last big music royalty deal" ahead of the company's plan to go public on the stock market by late 2017/early 2018.
The parties are positive a deal could be signed by September as major issues such as granting loss-making Spotify a more favorable revenue split in return for making some new albums accessible only to its paying subscribers for a defined period have already been agreed, the sources said.

However, the precise revenue split and the size of a potential guaranteed upfront payment to the label, home to artists including Ed Sheeran and Muse, have yet to be agreed, said two of the sources.
In terms of the revenue split, Spotify is said to be seeking an even 50-50 split with royalties of albums streamed on the service, but Warner Music is hoping to keep at least 52 percent of its albums' royalties on Spotify. Any deal is expected to see a percent of Warner Music's royalties decreased, as the company currently has a 55 percent majority on Spotify royalties. Artist royalties have been the center of negative press for Spotify in the past, leading to the company's acquisition of blockchain technology company Mediachain Labs.

In June, Spotify announced that it has over 140 million global monthly active users, 53 million of which are paid subscribers. According to MIDiA Research detailed in today's Reuters report, that represents about 40 percent of streaming music subscribers worldwide. In comparison, Apple Music is said to have 19 percent of global streaming music subscribers (about 28 million), while Amazon Prime Music accounts for 12 percent (about 16 million subscribers).

For Apple Music, the streaming music service has been repeatedly criticized for its reliance on album exclusives since its launch in the summer of 2015. Last year, Eddy Cue said that exclusives on Apple Music will continue to appear "where appropriate."

Speaking with Reuters last month, Spotify vice president Jonathan Forster said that Apple's rise in the music streaming market has helped Spotify: "It's great that Apple is in the game," Forster said. "They are definitely raising the profile of streaming. It is hard to build an industry on your own."

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Spotify Premium Users Can Now Adjust Track Playback Position From the iOS Lock Screen

Spotify has quietly added the ability for users to adjust the playback position of the currently playing track directly from the iOS lock screen.

The option to adjust the progress of a playing track – also known as audio scrubbing – from the lock screen has been a feature of Apple's native Music app for some time, but the ability has been missing from Spotify until very recently, as noted by Reddit user kermitch.

The API that enabled third-party app developers to add audio scrubbing to the lock screen was introduced in iOS 9.1+, but it looks as if Spotify only got around to including it with the most recent update to the app on July 4.

It's worth noting that only Spotify Premium subscribers can scrub tracks, so users on the Free ad-supported tier won't see any change to their locks screen when playing tracks via the app.

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Spotify Announces Group Playlists for Messenger

Spotify today announced a new mobile feature called Group Playlists for Messenger, which enables users of Facebook's chat app to create music mixes collaboratively within a conversation thread.

With Group Playlists for Messenger, users can create new Spotify playlists with friends and immediately begin collaborating to build out their perfect mix. Ideal for parties, road trips, or simply collecting new favorites, Group Playlists provide a seamless way for users to collaborate and share music more easily than ever before.
The new feature means Messenger users can create a Group Playlist, share it with friends, and add songs to it directly from within the Messenger app via the Spotify Chat Extension, which is available by tapping the blue + icon next to the composer.

By tapping the Create button at the bottom of the screen, users can give their playlist a name before sending it to the group chat session, where it will appear as a thumbnail preview accompanied by a button below to add songs.

While the person creating the playlist must be a current Spotify user, others in the conversation thread can add more songs to it, even if they aren't on Spotify. The Group Playlists extension can also be accessed from within Messenger using this link.


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