TIME Apple

Apple Just Signed a Major Deal for its New Music Service

Apple Worldwide Developers Conference Opens In San Francisco
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue speaks during the Apple WWDC on June 8, 2015 in San Francisco, California.

More artists are coming to Apple Music

Just days before its June 30 launch, Apple has signed on thousands of additional independent record labels to participate in its new Apple Music streaming service. Record company Beggars Group and independent label network Merlin have agreed to sign their artists — including Adele and the Arctic Monkeys — onto Apple’s platform.

The indies had been holding out because Apple initially didn’t plan to pay artists during a three-month free trial period. Beggars Group publicly spoke out against the policy last week, but it wasn’t until Taylor Swift penned a widely shared blog post calling Apple out that the tech giant backtracked and changed its policy. Apple will now pay artists even when customers aren’t paying during the trial, but the company hasn’t said exactly what the royalty rate will be.

After the free period, customers will have to pay $9.99 per month for Apple Music. Apple will share at least 71.5% of its revenue with artists, according to the New York Times.

TIME Media

These Taylor Truthers Think the Apple Feud Was a PR Stunt

It worked out so well. Almost too well...

After pop superstar Taylor Swift and Apple resolved their spat about music royalty rates over the weekend, both sides came out looking golden.

Apple had been planning not to pay artists during a three-month free trial period of its upcoming streaming service, Apple Music. The company swiftly about-faced, however, after the singer wrote a post Sunday demanding Apple pay up.

After the dust settled, Swift came out looking like a champion for her fellow artists, while Apple appeared open to making big changes when faced with mounting pressure. Apple also came out of the ordeal with more public interest in Apple Music, which launches June 30 but was announced to fairly muted fanfare.

In short, both sides won — a rare outcome in business negotiations. It was, at the very least, a savvy PR campaign by Swift to build public support for her cause and an effective response by Apple. But some people — let’s call them Taylor Truthers — think the two sides may have been in cahoots all along:

Meanwhile, former Pandora executive Tom Conrad deemed the so-called dispute “mostly theater.” Conrad pointed out that competitors such as Pandora, Spotify and YouTube already pay artists even for users who don’t pony up for their music.

Whatever the case, the entire episode speaks to the power of Swift’s brand. When she speaks about the future of the music business, people listen.

TIME Media

The One Huge Thing We Still Don’t Know About Taylor Swift’s Apple Battle

Z100's Jingle Ball 2014 Presented By Goldfish Puffs - Show
Jamie McCarthy—2014 Getty Images Taylor Swift performs onstage during iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2014, hosted by Z100 New York and presented by Goldfish Puffs at Madison Square Garden on December 12, 2014 in New York City.

Company's royalty rate remains unknown

Taylor Swift scored a big win this week after she successfully pressured Apple to pay musicians during a free three-month trial of its upcoming Apple Music streaming service.

However, the breadth of her win is still unclear, because Apple is mum on exactly how much money artists can expect to make during that free period.

Competing streaming services such as Spotify pay artists a discounted rate when users participate in free or reduced-price trials. Spotify, for example, pays half of its typical royalty rate during its three-month promotional offering of 99 cents per month, according to the Wall Street Journal. Apple hasn’t detailed its exact royalty rate (Spotify’s was about .68 cents per listen for paying subscribers in December). What the company has said is that the rate paid to artists during the free trial will be lower than that paid after the free three months is over.

So it remains to be seen just how much money Swift’s blog post will end up netting for music artists. One thing’s clear, though: She’s one of the few musicians in the world that has Apple’s undivided attention.

Correction: The original version of this post misstated Spotify’s royalty rate. It is about .68 cents per listen.

TIME Media

Google Launches Free Music Streaming Service

But it's more like Pandora than Spotify

Amidst all the hubbub about Apple Music and Taylor Swift, Google wants you to remember that it has a music streaming service of its own. And soon, users will be able to access it for free.

The search giant announced Tuesday that it’s introducing a free version of Google Play Music that allows users to listen to custom-made radio stations based on time of day, mood, artist or other factors. The new stations will be built in part by the staff of Songza, the contextual music streaming service that Google bought last year.

Unlike with Spotify or the paid version of Google Play Music, users of the free, ad-supported Google service won’t be able to play songs on-demand. They’ll also only be able to skip a limited number of songs, like on Pandora, though Google hasn’t specified how many skips per hour people will be allowed.

The free version of Google Play Music will be available on the web Tuesday and on iOS and Android devices later this week.

TIME Video Games

Here’s Why Destiny Is Down Right Now

Bungie

Developer Bungie offers an explanation, sort of

The futuristic first-person shooter Destiny is down for maintenance, according to a tweet from developer Bungie. The game was scheduled to be down for about six hours starting around 8 a.m. PT on Monday across all platforms (PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One and Xbox 360).

Bungie, the world-famous creator of the Halo franchise, offered little explanation for the scheduled downtime, only noting in the tweet that it was related to “future plans.” The company is planning an expansion for the shooter called The Taken King that will launch on September 15.

TIME apps

Why Facebook’s New Photo App Isn’t Coming Out in Europe

Views of The Facebook Inc. Logo Ahead of Earnings
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Regulators are wary of facial recognition software

Facebook rolled out a new photo-sharing app in the U.S. this week, but it won’t come out in Europe in the near future due to concerns over how it uses facial recognition technology.

The app, called Moments, allows users to share photos with each other privately based around specific events and uses facial recognition software to detect which friends are in a given photo.

The technology, which is used to offer photo tagging suggestions on Facebook proper, is automatically set to be used on all users in the U.S. However, in Europe, Facebook will be forced to make facial scanning and tagging an opt-in feature, Facebook head of policy Richard Allen told the Wall Street Journal. Moments could roll out in Europe after the company develops an opt-in process.

This is not the first time European regulators have pushed back against Facebook’s practices. Belgium is currently suing the social network over its privacy policies and the European Union as a whole are drafting a new law that would increase regulators’ power to control Facebook’s activities, along with other websites.

TIME Web

Google Will Remove Revenge Porn From Search Results

Google
Virginia Mayo—AP Google

People can request to have links to private photos removed by Google

Google will begin removing revenge porn from its search results at the request of victims, the search giant announced in a blog post Friday.

People posting private, explicit photos of their ex-partners (typically women) on the Internet for all to see has become a growing problem. In the coming weeks, Google will introduce a form that victims of revenge porn can use to request that links to those images don’t show up in user searches.

“Our philosophy has always been that Search should reflect the whole web,” senior vice president for search Amit Singhal wrote in the blog post. “But revenge porn images are intensely personal and emotionally damaging, and serve only to degrade the victims—predominantly women.”

Google stressed that the policy will be “narrow and limited.” The company removes sensitive information from its search results in a few other instances, such as when a result links to a person’s bank account number or signature. And in Europe, Google now has to remove more subjective negative information about citizens thanks to a court ruling that enshrined a “right to be forgotten” online.

TIME privacy

WhatsApp Comes Up Short Protecting User Data, Privacy Watchdog Says

Fackbook Acquires WhatsApp For $16 Billion
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images The Facebook and WhatsApp app icons are displayed on an iPhone on February 19, 2014 in San Francisco City.

Electronic Frontier Foundation evaluated the way dozens of companies handle user data

WhatsApp lags behind its consumer tech peers when it comes to protecting user data from government requests, according to a prominent privacy advocacy group.

In its annual Who Has Your Back? report, the Electronic Frontier Foundation awarded WhatsApp just one out of four stars when evaluating it across various categories concerning data protection. According to the EFF, WhatsApp doesn’t publish a transparency report detailing requests it’s received from the government, doesn’t promise to provide users advance notice of government data requests and doesn’t disclose its data retention policies. The messaging app does oppose creating purposeful security weaknesses known as backdoors that let government officials stealthily gather user data. Opposition to backdoor policies has become common among consumer the tech giants.

On the other end of the spectrum, tech companies such as Adobe, Dropbox, WordPress and Yahoo received a five out of five rating from the EFF (unlike most of the companies, WhatsApp was only evaluated in four categories). These firms are doing a good job of providing users with transparency about their interactions with the government, according to the EFF’s evaluation.

Among the major cable, phone and Internet providers, AT&T performed the worst, netting just one star out of four. Sonic.net, an Internet Service Provider in the San Francisco bay area, earned five out of five stars.

Facebook, WhatsApp’s owner, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

TIME tragedy

Charleston Shooting Victim’s Son Says Love Is Stronger Than Hate

Chris Singleton says he can forgive his mother's killer

The teenage son of Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, one of the nine people killed in a shooting at a historically black church in Charleston, S.C. Wednesday night, spoke Thursday about the loss of his mother.

Chris Singleton, a student at Charleston Southern University and an outfielder for the school’s baseball team, spoke to reporters from the team’s baseball diamond Thursday night. He called his mother a “God-fearing woman” who loved everyone. Coleman-Singleton was a minister at Emanuel AME Church, the church that was attacked, as well as a speech pathologist and a track coach at a local high school.

“Love is always stronger than hate,” Chris Singleton said. “If we just love the way my Mom would, the hate won’t be anywhere close to what love is.”

Singleton also told NBC affiliate WCBD that he would forgive Dylann Roof, the killer of the nine churchgoers.

TIME Security

Samsung Says It’s Fixing a Nasty Security Flaw

Samsung Galaxy S6 Active
Samsung Samsung Galaxy S6 Active

Security update will be available in the coming days

Samsung is planning a security update after researchers uncovered a vulnerability that could threaten as many as 600 million Galaxy phones. The company said in a statement Thursday that it will roll out an update in the coming days to address the issue, which makes phones vulnerable when downloading updates for the SwiftKey keyboard.

The vulnerability was discovered by the security company NowSecure last fall and made public this week. The SwiftKey keyboard searches for language pack updates over unencrypted lines, making it vulnerable to attack. In a statement, Samsung noted that the probability of a hacker actually exploiting the vulnerability was low.

Owners of the Galaxy S4 and more recent models will have the security update automatically pushed to their phones. To ensure your phone receives automatic updates, go to Settings > Lock Screen and Security > Other Security Settings > Security policy updates, and make sure the Automatic Updates option is activated. Users of older Galaxy models will have a firmware update made available to them that they can download.

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