TIME Music

This Is Apple’s Plan to Kill Spotify

Apple Spotify Beats Dre Iovine Reznor
Michael Buckner—WireImage Producer Dr. Dre (L) and Chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records Jimmy Iovine attend the iHeartRadio Music Festival VIP After Party held at Gold Lounge on Sept. 23, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Apple is planning a new music service following the Beats acquisition

Spotify’s biggest battle is no longer with Taylor Swift.

Apple is working with headphone maker Beats to launch a new subscription-based music service to rival the highly popular Spotify, the New York Times reported Thursday, citing people briefed on the company’s plans. Apple acquired Beats for $3 billion last May,

The new streaming service will overhaul Apple’s iTunes Radio, which failed to achieve mainstream success, and Beats Music, Beats’ streaming service that has challenged Spotify in service quality, but not in subscription numbers. Heavily involved in the project are Trent Reznor, the Nine Inch Nails frontman and former Beats exec, in addition to Beats’ cofounders, hip hop producer Dr. Dre and record label exec Jimmy Iovine.

Unlike Spotify, Apple will not offer a free tier in its streaming service. The paid-only nature will likely ease music executives’ concerns that free music discourages users from purchasing subscriptions. The decision may also appeal to artists who have voiced their opposition to free streaming, including Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks and The Black Keys, all of whom are not on Spotify.

Sources also told the Times that Apple, once considered the undisputed leader in music sales with iTunes, had recently failed to convince record labels to agree to a subscription cost of $8 per month, which would be $2 less than the price of Spotify’s paid tier.

Apple has kept its plans for Beats secret since the acquisition, though music industry experts have long speculated that CEO Tim Cook planned to use Beats’ talent to revamp Apple’s music platform offerings. Though TechCrunch reported in September that Beats would be discontinued and folded into Apple, Apple soon denied the claims, but provided no further information.


Read next: Streaming Music Showdown: Spotify vs. Beats

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME 10 Questions

Katie Couric on A New Documentary, Her New Job and the NBC Rumor Mill

The anchor and activist answers 10 questions in this week's TIME

How did the nonprofit you co-founded, the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Stand Up to Cancer, get involved with the PBS series premiering March 30?

Cancer has been life-­shattering for me on more than one occasion. My husband died of colon cancer in 1998. My sister died of pancreatic cancer three years later. Laura Ziskin, one of my co-founders, died of breast cancer. She’d read an advance copy of Dr. Siddartha Mukherjee’s The Emperor of All Maladies and immediately said, “We have to turn this into a documentary.”

Many people touched by cancer get overwhelmed or tune it out. Why do you return to it again and again?

Everyone has a different reaction to cancer. My husband, who was one of the most intellectually curious people I’d ever met, didn’t want to know much. As someone who loved him, my impulse was to protect him. My journalistic instincts also kicked in. I learned everything I could. After he died, I realized I had this built-in bully pulpit and it would be almost criminal not to share what I’d learned.

Do you do anything weird to stay healthy?

I wish I drank, like, copious amounts of green tea. I’m just not one of those maniacally healthy people. I try to say no to french fries. I’m very good about getting screened, about getting mammograms.

You’re Yahoo’s Global News Anchor now. What have you learned from Marissa Mayer?

I think you learn to keep your blinders on, focus on the job at hand and ignore the noise. Marissa is very good at that.

What makes a good anchor?

Someone who’s experienced and who has credibility. When I came to CBS, people said I lacked gravitas, which was frankly an unfair assessment. I had probably done more interviews than most of the sitting anchors, and certainly my share of hard-hitting ones. I always said “gravitas” was Latin for “testicles.”

After the Brian Williams ordeal, some people said anchors face pressure to get in the trenches or be part of the story. Did you ever feel that?

It’s a very hard balance, because there are stories that warrant the anchor being there, but you also have to be cognizant that it not be as window dressing. You have reporters out there, day in and day out, covering a story, and then you have an anchor parachute in. You hope whoever that anchor is brings something to the table.

Every couple of months, there’s a new rumor you’re going back to NBC—

I know, I know. It’s very disconcerting and bizarre to be the focus of stories that just have no factual basis.

So is there any truth to it?

No. No, no. Listen, I love NBC and I spent 15 wonderful years there. I still have a lot of friends there. But right now I’m really excited about the work I’m doing at Yahoo. It’s wonderful to feel entrepreneurial. As a friend of mine said, it’s great to be part of a place that’s expanding optimistically instead of managing decline.

Who’s your dream interview right now?

Pope Francis. He’s such a transformative figure. He has expressed some attitudes of tolerance and compassion and some Jesuit values that I really admire.

Gossip sites ran some photos of you and your husband in swimsuits recently. How did that feel?

Oh my God, that was awful. I took some time off with my husband, and I look out and there are three big, huge cameras. I’m a 58-year-old woman. My heart sank. I guess it’s part of the fine print of having a public job, but I hope women out there everywhere felt my pain.

This interview appears in the April 6, 2015, issue of TIME.

TIME Culture

What It’s Like to Get Nominated for an Oscar

Producers Helen Estabrook (L) and Couper Samuelson (R) attend the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, Calif. on Feb. 22, 2015.
Frazer Harrison—Getty Images From left: Producers Helen Estabrook and Couper Samuelson attend the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, Calif. on Feb. 22, 2015.

No matter how unlikely the odds of winning, you still hope for your name in the envelope

Answer by Couper Samuelson, Executive Producer of Whiplash, on Quora.

I was an executive producer of Whiplash so technically I wasn’t nominated for an Oscar (only the producers are nominated).

But basically the experience is very strange. First of all, you spend years trying to make the movie. That involves lots of little decisions and lots of little milestones. For instance, in our case: we failed to raise money for the film so we took 17 pages out of the screenplay and shot it as a short. We hoped it would be good. It was. Then we submitted it to Sundance. We hoped it would get in. It did. We hoped it would win an award so that it would be easier to market Damien Chazelle as a director to potential financiers. It did. Then we went back to all the institutional financiers. Only two offers came in.

Then you kill yourself to make the movie and make it well. Then you hope it gets into Sundance. Then you hope that it gets a good slot at Sundance (no film has ever broken out of Sundance while playing late in the week). Then you hope it gets a distributor (in our case we only had two offers for distribution).

The point is– you spend a lot of time making decisions and hoping the decisions are the right ones. Then the movie’s done and there’s nothing else you can do and it just bounces into the world and you don’t know what strange things will happen to it and what ‘narratives’ will attach to it. Unlike big Hollywood tentpoles, specialty films need to be more than just a good movie, they need to have a ‘narrative’ that can propel them through an awards season. Basically a story that will make the very few arbiters of what’s good (Academy voters and urban critics) feel good about voting for the film.

In our case, the narrative that emerged from Sundance was that JK Simmons was a beloved actor who had done a great job in small roles in great films but who never had gotten his own ‘aria’ until now.

So we the filmmakers all sat back and sort of watched that narrative calcify into the conventional wisdom.

The other strange thing that happens in awards season is– well, here you’ve spent years fighting to get a movie made and to make it well. Which is so much work. And then the movie’s done and there’s nothing to do–but you realize that in order to get credit for your work you have to fight for it. Can I get into the WGA awards? Can I get a ticket to Cannes? Can I go to to the head of the studio’s Academy cocktail party? Can I be the one who does the Q&A at the producer’s guild. There are squadrons of publicists will all kinds of competing incentives working on “positioning” one of the film’s participants.

Among producers that is especially true because the definition of producing is so porous and ephemeral. But it’s also true of directors who direct an actor to an acclaimed performance and yet don’t themselves get a directing nomination (“did that actor direct themselves to that performance?!”).

This process of trying to grab credit really kicks into gear in the fall—a full year after we had made the film. That’s when the 6,000 members of the Academy started to watch the movie and this peripheral buzz started to build. We hoped it would crescendo at the right time and enough Oscar voters would express their advocacy of the movie to each other that they would feel “comfortable” voting for the movie. All the critics awards the precede Oscar voting give the voters a kind of permission to vote for a film. Remember that the industry views the Oscars as an annual opportunity to market itself to the world. So for instance a great film like Edge of Tomorrow has already been marketed to the world—the Academy doesn’t feel a need to, even though it’s probably more difficult to make a masterpiece tentpole than it is to make a masterpiece art film.

Whiplash had a small but vocal advocacy among Oscar voters which we hoped would put it at an advantage (the Academy uses a preferential voting system that rewards movies that a fewer people love passionately as opposed to movies that many people mark as a 3rd or 4th choice).

We all felt we had a shot at Best Picture if the Academy nominated 9 or 10 films (there can be up to 10 movies nominated).

It is easy to forget after a year of being congratulated for Whiplash that there is no precedent at all for an Oscar outcome like this. No movie at this budget has ever won 3 Oscars. No movie at this budget level has ever won an Oscar for sound OR for editing, let alone both.

So Oscar night was especially surreal. In the first 90 minutes of the ceremony the movie won three Oscars.

And there’s one thing that anyone who’s ever been nominated for an Oscar will tell you: no matter how unlikely the odds of winning (in Whiplash case, they were pretty close to zero for winning Best Picture), you still think somewhere deep down that maybe your name is going to be called when Sean Penn opens that envelope.

This question originally appeared on Quora: What is it like to get nominated for an Oscar?

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME russia

Putin’s Confessions on Crimea Expose Kremlin Media

Round table discussion marks 1st anniversary of reunification of Crimea with Russia
Vyacheslav Prokofyev—Itar-Tass/Corbis Dmitri Kiselyov, who runs the Kremlin’s media conglomerate, Rossiya Segodnya, attends a round table discussion dedicated to the first anniversary of the reunification of Crimea with the Russian Federation at Moscow's President Hotel, March 19, 2015.

Even as the Russian President admits deploying troops in Crimea, his chief propagandists, speaking to TIME, continue to deny it

It was an awkward test for many Russian journalists. Last spring, their President tried to mislead them—and the rest of the world—by denying that he had sent troops to conquer Crimea. Even as they witnessed Russian forces sweeping that Ukrainian peninsula, reporters on the Kremlin’s payroll were obliged to go along with Vladimir Putin’s claims.

But a year later, the President came clean. In a documentary aired last weekend, he admitted ordering his troops to seize Crimea weeks before it was annexed into Russia on March 18, 2014.

“I told all my colleagues, there were four of them, that the situation in Ukraine has forced us to start working on returning Crimea to Russia,” Putin says in the film, recounting a late-night meeting with his security chiefs in late February 2014. “We can’t leave that territory and the people who live there at the mercy of fate.”

The confession didn’t leave any good options for Russian newsmen like Dmitri Kiselyov, who runs the Kremlin’s media conglomerate Rossiya Segodnya and hosts a prime-time news and analysis show on state TV. He could either admit to misleading viewers last year and, in effect, blame Putin for the deception, or he could deny that any deception had occurred.


Confronted this week with the dilemma, Kiselyov stuck to denials.

“Vladimir Putin never changed his position,” he told TIME on Wednesday at the headquarters of his media corporation in Moscow. “Look, he never said that our troops aren’t there, because we always had a base there,” Kiselyov said, referring to the Russian naval base in the Crimean city of Sevastopol. Pressed on the identity of the troops who had surrounded and in some cases besieged Ukrainian military bases in Crimea last March, Kiselyov said: “The troops surrounding them were local self-defense forces, but not Russian troops.”

It was an odd position to take. Although critics of the Kremlin have often accused Russian state media of distorting facts and misleading viewers, this is the first time that such a momentous distortion has been so clearly and demonstrably false, contradicting not only the version of events presented in most independent media but also out of sync with Putin’s own statements.

In early March 2014, Putin was asked during a press conference to identify the troops who were fanning out across Crimea, driving Russian military vehicles but wearing no identifying markers on their uniforms. “Why don’t you take a look at the post-Soviet states,” Putin answered, according to a transcript on the Kremlin website. “There are many uniforms there that are similar. You can go to a store and buy any kind of uniform.” The journalist persisted: Were they Russian soldiers or not? Those were local self-defense units,” Putin said.

Compare that line to his confession in the documentary—which was titled, Crimea: Homeward Bound—and it is clear that Putin did change his position. Not only does the President admit in the film to ordering his security forces to take control of Crimea last spring, but he also claims to have overseen the operation personally. “Our advantage was that I was personally dealing with it,” he says.

This came on top of Putin’s admission last April, a month after the annexation, that “Russian servicemen did back the Crimean self-defense forces,” and that in doing so, they acted in “a civil but a decisive and professional manner.” Moreover, the dramatic re-enactments of the seizure of Crimea shown in the documentary this month clearly depict the invading troops as Russian military, not local self-defense units.

Yet Kiselyov still continues to deny that Russian troops ever intervened in Crimea. “They were near by, at the base,” he tells TIME. “If there had been a conflict there, they would have intervened. But they did not intervene.”

He is not the only senior figure in the Kremlin’s media empire to take this peculiar stance. Last fall, TIME put a similar round of questions to Margarita Simonyan, the editor in chief of RT, the state-funded television network that broadcasts around the world in English, Spanish and Arabic. She also stuck to the claims that Putin made in March of last year about the Russian troops in Crimea being local self-defense forces. Asked about the apparent change in Putin’s story after that, she replied, “He never said that we fooled you… He did not admit that earlier statements were untrue.”

Since the annexation of Crimea, a similar debate has been raging over the role that Russian troops have played in the war in eastern Ukraine, where more than 6,000 people have been killed amid fighting between Ukrainian military forces and Russia’s proxy militias. Even as Russian and foreign journalists have documented the presence of Russian military hardware and servicemen on those battlefields, Putin has repeatedly denied sending any of his forces to fight alongside Ukrainian separatists, which the Kremlin has also referred to as local self-defense forces.

Asked on Wednesday whether Putin might be similarly deceiving the public on this question, just as he did last year with the invasion of Crimea, Kiselyov replied that he was “100% sure” that there are no Russian troops in eastern Ukraine. And what if a year from now the President admits in another documentary that he did send his forces to fight in those regions? “So far that hasn’t happened,” Kiselyov said. But if it does, Russians shouldn’t expect their fourth estate to admit to spreading falsehoods. It is apparently easier to stick to their denials.

TIME Media

Sony’s New TV Streaming Service Is Way Easier to Use Than Your Cable Box

PlayStation Vue is out Wednesday in three major cities

Sony’s slick new cable competitor is finally here.

PlayStation Vue, which launches Wednesday in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia, is Sony’s attempt to bring the traditional cable bundle online. It boasts a streamlined, personalized interface and an emphasis on recording shows automatically so users can binge-watch at their leisure. The service brings a much-needed overhaul to the clunky cable box interfaces to which we’ve all grown accustomed, but the price tag of $50 per month to start and lack of key channels may keep cord-cutters from hopping on board.

Vue, which will be available initially for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, attempts to marry cable’s wide selection of live content with the ease-of-use of online platforms like Netflix and Hulu. The service boasts more than 50 live channels, including CBS, Fox, NBC, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, with AMC on the way next month. A cloud-based DVR-system automatically records at least three days of content for most of the channels. Users can also record 28 days’ worth of programming for up to 500 shows. Couple these features with Vue’s on-demand movie and TV show libraries — which Sony says are comparable to what you’d get with a typical cable subscription — and Vue comes packed with an absolutely massive trove of content.

Sony simplified navigating its humongous offering by focusing on content rather than channel numbers and showtimes. In the midst of a live show, users can bring up a menu that will show the current program, upcoming shows on the same channel, recently watched shows across all of PlayStation Vue, and Netflix-like recommendations based on the show currently airing. Users can also select individual channels to view their lineups and most popular shows, or select “Live TV” to see all the shows on air at a given moment. “Live TV” can be sorted by real-time popularity, making it easier to quickly flip to a March Madness basketball game or the latest episode of Empire. Dwayne Benefield, head of the PlayStation Vue service, says pretty much any show can be accessed within three or four clicks.

“We wanted to take out the frustration of finding what you want,” Benefield says.

Vue also sports a more traditional TV Guide-like schedule listing and a search option. There’s an “Explore” tab that lets users filter shows by genre, channel and age-appropriateness (an option we’d love to see on Netflix’s apps). Sony is clearly trying to serve users who want to quickly find a specific program as well as those who want to lean back and channel surf, and it appears as if Vue’s speedy interface may be flexible enough to do both (Sony demoed Vue for TIME on a PlayStation 4, the most powerful platform that runs the service; Benefield says menus will be similarly snappy on PS3).

While Sony has developed a user interface that puts most traditional cable operators’ to shame, Vue comes with big caveats. Sony has yet to work out a carriage deal with Disney, meaning ABC, Disney Channel and ESPN are nowhere to be seen. ESPN is the most valuable television property by a huge margin, and a staple of nearly every cable package. It’s a glaring omission in a service aimed at young, male gamers.

“We do recognize that there are other channels our user group wants,” Benefield says, though he won’t directly mention ESPN. “We’re in discussions with networks.”

Another issue may be price. The basic-tier version of Vue costs $50 per month. A version that includes additional sports channels is $60 per month and an expanded cable equivalent that includes dozens more niche channels is $70 per month. In New York, Time Warner Cable offers a cable package that costs $40 per month for the first year and includes ESPN. But adding in the cost of renting a cable box that includes On-Demand shows and DVR functionality boosts the cost to $64 per month, to say nothing of installation fees. By avoiding these fees and their associated headaches (you don’t have to wait for a cable guy to come install Sony’s service), Vue can undercut its most direct competitors on price slightly. But it’s still more expensive than services like Netflix and Hulu, or even Dish Network’s live-TV streaming service Sling TV, which includes ESPN but not broadcast networks.

Vue is also limited in reach by being tied to PlayStation consoles. There’s a version in the works for Apple’s iPad, and Benefield says Vue will eventually spread to other streaming devices as well. For now, the app is aimed at a narrow base of consumers. To lure a big fish like ESPN, Vue may need to build up a subscriber base so large it can’t be ignored. But with Sony only vaguely committing to expanding Vue to more cities at some point later in the year, 2015 seems like an experimental year for the service.

Despite the question marks, Sony’s new TV service seems robust and well-implemented. It’s an important early step ushering in an era where consumers where have considerably more choice in how they pay for TV. However, those choices will be much more convoluted than the old cable bundle. In addition to Vue and Sling TV, Apple is reportedly prepping a similar cable-like service, while networks like HBO, CBS and Nickelodeon are planning to offer their content on a stand-alone basis.

“What we’re beginning to see is a continuum of offers,” says Dan Cryan, a broadband media analyst at IHS. “I dont think we know yet what the sweet spots are along that spectrum.”

Read next: 5 Things Apple’s TV Streaming Service Will Need to Kill Cable

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TIME Media

More Channels Could Be Coming to Apple’s TV Service

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Presents Democalypse 2014: South By South Mess
Rick Kern—Getty Images for Comedy Central Host Jon Stewart at "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" covers the Midterm elections in Austin with "Democalypse 2014: South By South Mess" at ZACH Theatre on October 28, 2014 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for Comedy Central)

Discovery and Viacom are reportedly in talks with Apple

Apple’s rumored upcoming pay-TV service may be getting a more robust channel offering than originally thought.

The Wall Street Journal, which first reported on the new service, now says that Discovery Communications (owner of Discovery Channel and Animal Planet) and Viacom (owner of Nickelodeon and Comedy Central) are in talks to partner with Apple, a move that could bring programs like MythBusters and The Daily Show to the platform.

The Journal had earlier reported that Disney, CBS and 21st Century Fox were considering bringing their channels to the service, which would deliver content via the Internet on Apple devices such as the Apple TV and iPad.

The price of Apple’s service is still up in the air, but figures ranging from $25 to $40 per month have been floated so far in media reports. If the new service actually launches, Apple will be competing not only with traditional cable operators but also other tech companies like Sony that are also planning on launching pay-TV offerings.

(Read more: 5 Things Apple’s TV Streaming Service Will Need to Kill Cable)

TIME Media

5 Things Apple’s TV Streaming Service Will Need to Kill Cable

Apple IPads Sales Down
Peter Macdiarmid—Getty Images In this photo illustration the logo on an Apple iPad is seen on August 6, 2014 in London, England.

Apple's streaming TV service could be announced this summer

The rumor mill is once again churning over an Apple television service.

This time, the Wall Street Journal claims Apple is on the verge of rolling out a TV streaming service that could be announced as soon as June. But exact details about the company’s offerings are few and far between.

In the past, Apple TV rumors have ranged far and wide, from an Apple-manufactured television set to a partnership between the tech giant and Comcast. But the arrival of several Internet-based television streaming services on the market in early 2015 paints a clearer picture of the opportunities and constraints Apple will be working with as it enters a quickly growing market.

By surveying the current playing field, we’ve determined five features Apple’s television service needs to compete if it hopes to disrupt the pay-TV world the way iTunes changed the music industry:


Content is king, as they say, and there is no content more important than the world’s most popular sports network. ESPN’s stranglehold on the pay-TV ecosystem is well-documented — and it’s only growing stronger as live events become a lone bright spot in a world of continually declining television ratings.

The Disney-owned channel nets a massive $6 per subscriber from cable operators, yet never gets into the public negotiation spats that can consume other networks. It’s long been considered a given that any pay-TV bundle has to include ESPN, though Sony is planning to launch its own online TV-service without the network. Whether that strategy will work out remains to be seen, but common wisdom suggests any service that wants true mass adoption absolutely must include ESPN.

A Cheap Price

The average price of basic cable is now $64.41 per month, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Many Americans pay more than $100 per month for expanded cable packages. Apple’s service will attempt to undercut these rates with pricing at about $30 to $40 per month, according to the Journal, for a bundle of about 25 channels.

That price is still a lot more than services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Instant Video, which cost less than $10 per month. Dish Network’s competing cable replacement Sling TV, meanwhile, costs $20 per month for a bundle of about a dozen live channels that includes ESPN and AMC. If Apple wants to compete in this area, it will probably have to tap into its massive cash hoard and offer television fans a deal that’s simply too good to refuse.

A Slick Interface

The easiest leg up Apple and other tech companies will immediately have over traditional cable operators will likely come through their user interfaces. There’s no doubt Apple’s solution will be elegant and intuitive in a way that traditional cable is not–juding by the efforts of Sony and Dish Network, it will probably place an emphasis on helping people find specific programming based on genre or show name rather than forcing users to scroll through dozens of channel schedules.

The lack of installation fees (no more waiting all afternoon for the cable guy!) will also be a plus. Expect tight integration with Apple’s iOS devices as well, letting users watch shows on the go (though certain content, like NFL broadcasts, is already tied up in mobile-specific deals).

Built-in DVR

DVR has long been an added luxury that cable subscribers can opt to splurge on — but tech entrants into pay-TV are now making it standard. Sony’s PlayStation Vue has a cloud-based DVR that automatically records three days of most of the service’s content. It also allows users to save individual shows for as long as 28 days.

This feature makes sense for young subscribers who have eschewed appointment viewing in favor of binging on TV shows when they get a chance to catch up. Apple needs a feature like this to let users continue the behavior they’ve grown accustomed to using services like Netflix.

Integration With Other Video Services

Even as several online TV streaming services are touting their ability to merge content from many channels into a more elegant interface, they often still remain siloed off from one other. Some set-top boxes, like Amazon’s Fire TV, have made some effort at integration by including content from Hulu and Crackle in search results along with Amazon Video content. But a service that allowed the user to seamlessly choose between content from live TV, traditional video-on-demand, and popular platforms such as Netflix would truly be something special. At the very least, Apple’s service should make it easy to switch between live-TV content and shows or movies bought on iTunes.

Read next: Here’s Everything That’s Wrong With Cable and Satellite TV Bills

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TIME Media

34 TIME Magazine Covers That Appeared to Give People Horns

Hillary Clinton joins Pope Francis, one large animal and many others who have appeared on the magazine's front with the eyebrow raising features

There was some hubbub online Thursday over TIME’s latest cover, which appeared to show Hillary Clinton sporting a set of horns. (This sort of thing has happened before.) Given the shape of the letter “m” in the magazine’s name and its location on the cover, many other subjects in the past have also appeared to sprout extra features (in fact this happened to Hillary Clinton at least once before. Same goes for Bill Clinton. George W. Bush too). Check out everyone from Margaret Thatcher to Pope Francis to Jesus to Darth Vader who have received the rough end of TIME’s “horns.” Any resemblance to cats, bats or devil horns is entirely coincidental.

Read next: 51 TIME Magazine Covers Featuring a Bush

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TIME Economy

How FDR’s Radio Voice Solved a Banking Crisis

A Fireside Chat
MPI / Getty Images Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivering one of his fireside chats to the nation, circa 1935

Mar. 12, 1933: FDR delivers the first of his 30 “fireside chats,” addressing America’s dire financial situation

March of 1933 was a terrifying month for Americans. A quarter of the nation’s workers were unemployed. Farmers and bankers alike suddenly lost their livelihood. Stocks were down 75% from 1929 — and in those four years the suicide rate had tripled.

In New Orleans, hundreds of tourists in town for Mardi Gras found themselves stranded on March 2, with no money to get home, after Louisiana shuttered its failing banks. By the next day, 21 more states had followed suit. When Franklin Delano Roosevelt took office on March 4 — the last such term of office before Inauguration Day moved to January — his first act was to declare a national bank holiday to stall the run on banks that was quickly liquidating the Federal Reserve.

It was under these grim circumstances that FDR broadcast the first of his 30 “fireside chats” on this day, March 12, in 1933. These speeches, and his frank, down-to-earth manner, may have been the most effective tactic used to soothe the panicked public since the beginning of the Great Depression.

His language was inclusive. “My friends,” he began, “I want to talk for a few minutes with the people of the United States about banking.”

And it was intentionally simple. “I recognize that the many proclamations … couched for the most part in banking and legal terms, ought to be explained for the benefit of the average citizen,” he went on. “I owe this in particular because of the fortitude and the good temper with which everybody has accepted the inconvenience and the hardships of the banking holiday.”

These fireside chats were not literally delivered by the fireside. As TIME noted in 1937, they were broadcast from the White House Diplomatic Room, which has no fireplace. But the speeches, which ran anywhere from 11 minutes to more than 40 — depending on the speech itself and the number of “persuasive pauses,” per TIME — gave Roosevelt a chance to explain and defend his New Deal policies. They were known for their comforting effect on an uneasy populace, as much during the Depression as they later were during World War II.

While future presidents followed FDR’s lead, using the technology of their times (Obama broadcasts his own addresses via YouTube and has reached out to millennials on Reddit, Instagram and Twitter), it would be difficult to name anyone who did it better than Roosevelt. After this first chat, he was inundated with fan mail from listeners who felt they now knew him intimately. Herbert Hoover had averaged 5,000 letters a week; FDR got 50,000, according to “FDR’s First 100 Days,” a publication by the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum.

“The broadcast brought you so close to us, and you spoke in such clear concise terms, our confidence in the Bank Holiday was greatly strengthened,” wrote one California woman.

She was not alone. Sixty million people listened to Roosevelt’s first radio address; the next day, per the Roosevelt Library, “newspapers around the country reported long lines of people waiting to put their money back into the banks. The immediate crisis had passed.”

Read original 1933 coverage of the state of the economy at the time of Roosevelt’s inauguration, here in the TIME archives: The Presidency: Bottom

TIME Media

Sony’s Cable TV Killer Is Launching Very Soon

Sony Corp. PlayStation 4 As Game Console Goes On Sale In U.S.
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images A logo sits on the front of a Sony PlayStation 4 (PS4) games console, manufactured by Sony Corp., in this arranged photograph taken in London, U.K., on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013.

New service will let PlayStation owners stream live TV via the Internet

Sony’s new, cable-like service for TV lovers is almost here.

The company plans to launch PlayStation Vue, an online pay-TV service that will stream live programming, within the next two weeks in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia, according to the Wall Street Journal. A national rollout is expected by the end of the year.

Vue is simultaneously a play to lure in “cord cutters,” people who have ditched their cable subscriptions in recent years, while also expanding the appeal of the PlayStation brand beyond video games. Sony has signed up several big-name media companies to offer their channels on the service, including NBCUniversal, 21st Century Fox and Comcast. Notably absent is Disney, which owns ABC, ESPN and several other popular cable networks.

Vue will be available on the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation 3, as well as Apple’s iPad.

Pricing hasn’t been announced, but early impressions indicate that the Vue bundle of channels is extremely large and features many niche networks, just like cable. If that’s the case, Sony may end up trying to compete based on ease of use and Vue’s built-in DVR service rather than on price.

That would put it in contrast with Sling TV, the streaming TV offering from Dish Network that offers a fairly modest selection of channels for $20 per month and allows users to pay $5 extra for genre-specific bundles.

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