Category: Spotify

June 6, 2019 Off

Every Final Fantasy soundtrack is now on Spotify and Apple Music

By Jill T Frey

Just in time for your road trip to LA for E3, Square Enix has suddenly made the soundtracks to every main Final Fantasy game available for free to listen to online. Just log into Spotify or Apple Music and search for “Final Fantasy original soundtrack.”

I just checked and Final Fantasies I-XV and some sub-sequels are all there, some in original and remastered versions, plus plenty of popular (or not) side titles like FF Tactics (come out on Switch already!) and Type-0. There’s even the soundtrack for the ill-considered 2001 movie, The Spirits Within.

No X-2, unfortunately for the few who liked that one (usually very intensely), and a few of the other non-main entries (like Tactics Advance and A2) are missing right now but perhaps only late to arrive. So it’s not every every Final Fantasy, but close enough that I don’t feel bad about putting it in the … Read the rest

June 5, 2019 Off

Which type of funding is actually best for your business?

By Jill T Frey

When starting a tech company, there seems to be a playbook that most entrepreneurs follow. While some may start with a bit of bootstrapping, most will dive straight into raising seed money through investors. In many cases, this is a great path. It’s a path I’ve taken twice myself, first with GroupMe, and then again with Fundera.

Ironically, though, my second venture-backed company is a business focused on helping entrepreneurs find debt financing—a process I’ve gone through only once myself. But after five years of building and scaling this business, it’s made me take a step back and consider the question of when and where debt financing might be a … Read the rest

May 31, 2019 Off

Slack narrows losses, displays healthy revenue growth

By Jill T Frey

Workplace messaging powerhouse Slack filed an amended S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday weeks ahead of a direct listing expected June 20.

In the document, Slack included an updated look at its path to profitability, posting first-quarter revenues of $134.8 million on losses of $31.8 million. Slack’s Q1 revenues represent a 67% increase from the same period last year when the company lost $24.8 million on $80.9 million in revenue.

For the fiscal year ending January 31, 2019, the company reported losses of $138.9 million on revenue of $400.6 million. That’s compared to a loss of $140.1 million on revenue of $220.5 million the year prior.

Slack is in the process of completing the final steps necessary for its direct listing on The New York Stock Exchange, where it will trade under the ticker symbol “WORK.” A direct listing is an alternative approach to the stock … Read the rest

May 31, 2019 Off

Spotify is building shared-queue Social Listening

By Jill T Frey

Want to rock out together even when you’re apart? Spotify has prototyped an unreleased feature called “Social Listening” that lets multiple people add songs to a queue they can all listen to. You just all scan one friend’s QR-style Spotify Social Listening code, and then anyone can add songs to the real-time playlist. Spotify could potentially expand the feature to synchronize playback so you’d actually hear the same notes at the same time, but for now it’s a just a shared queue.

Social Listening could give Spotify a new viral growth channel, as users could urge friends to download the app to sync up. The intimate experience of co-listening might lead to longer sessions with Spotify, boosting ad plays or subscription retention. Plus, it could differentiate Spotify from Apple Music, YouTube Music, Tidal and other competing streaming services.

A Spotify spokesperson tells TechCrunch that “We’re always testing new products and … Read the rest

May 29, 2019 Off

Delane Parnell’s plan to conquer amateur esports

By Jill T Frey

Most of the buzz about esports focuses on high-profile professional teams and audiences watching live streams of those professionals.

What gets ignored is the entire base of amateurs wanting to compete in esports below the professional tier. This is like talking about the NBA and the value of its sponsorships and broadcast rights as if that is the entirety of the basketball market in the US.

Los Angeles-based PlayVS (pronounced “play versus”) wants to become the dominant platform for amateur esports, starting at the high school level. The company raised $46 million last year—its first year operating—with the vision that owning the infrastructure for competitions and expanding it to encompass other social elements of gaming can make it the largest gaming company in the world.

I recently sat down with Founder & CEO Delane Parnell to talk about his company’s formation and growth strategy. Below is the transcript of our … Read the rest

May 28, 2019 Off

SoundCloud buys artist distribution platform Repost Network

By Jill T Frey

The past year has seen Spotify embark on a series of acquisitions to beef up its service, particularly on podcast content. Now it is the turn of SoundCloud, another European music startup — albeit one that had lost its way in recent years — to go deal-making: the Berlin-based company has picked up Repost Network, a service that helps artists get the most out of SoundCloud.

The deal is undisclosed and it actually was announced last week, although it was not widely reported — perhaps an anecdotal sign of SoundCloud’s position as a relative outsider in today’s streaming market.

Once a pioneer of online distribution for artists, it has watched Sweden-headquartered Spotify takes its service global with a total audience of over 200 million monthly listeners. The competition includes services from Apple and Google as well as the likes of Pandora, Deezer and Jay-Z-owned Tidal.

Soundcloud had its … Read the rest

May 23, 2019 Off

Indian PM Narendra Modi’s reelection spells more frustration for US tech giants

By Jill T Frey

Amazon and Walmart’s problems in India look set to continue after Narendra Modi, the biggest force to embrace the country’s politics in decades, led his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party to a historic landslide re-election on Thursday, reaffirming his popularity in the eyes of the world’s largest democracy.

The re-election, which gives Modi’s government another five years in power, will in many ways chart the path of India’s burgeoning startup ecosystem, as well as the local play of Silicon Valley companies that have grown increasingly wary of recent policy changes.

At stake is also the future of India’s internet, the second largest in the world. With more than 550 million internet users, the nation has emerged as one of the last great growth markets for Silicon Valley companies. Google, Facebook, and Amazon count India as one of their largest and fastest growing markets. And until late 2016, they enjoyed great … Read the rest

May 17, 2019 Off

Spotify is test driving a car hardware thing called ‘Car Thing’

By Jill T Frey

For anyone following Spotify, this no doubt felt like an inevitably. As the streaming service looks to diversify, the company’s already had some loose partnerships with hardware companies like Mighty. Now it’s looking to build its own thing.

That thing being “Car Thing.”

The piece of automotive hardware isn’t a consumer device exactly. Spotify is actually just using it to study subscribers’ in-car listening habits. The voice-controlled product will be offered up to “a small group of invited Spotify Premium users” in the U.S. who will be getting a comped subscription in return.

It’s a voice-controlled product that plugs into the car’s cigarette lighter — and it’s apparently just the beginning of this kind of public beta user testing. “We might do similar voice-specific tests in the future,” Spotify explains, “so don’t be surprised if you hear about ‘Voice Thing’ and ‘Home Thing.’ ”

The testing will be starting Read the rest

May 16, 2019 Off

Anchor’s new feature lets listeners leave voice messages for podcast hosts

By Jill T Frey

February’s acquisition of Anchor was a savvy move on Spotify’s behalf. It’s a clever and rapidly growing company that will help the music service get a big leg up in its bid to build its podcast operation. From the looks of it, however, the big buy-out isn’t making Anchor complacent when it comes to building out its own offerings.

The startup has done a fine job providing tools designed to further lower the bar of entry for podcasting. Anchor’s latest feature is an interesting addition on that front. Voice Messages is designed to offer listeners a way to offer spoken feedback to show hosts.

As the company notes, the feature previously required users to have the Anchor app. The newly revamped feature now lets them record feedback by clicking a link on a show’s Anchor profile and leaving up to a minute-long note. Once finished, a notification will be sent … Read the rest

May 14, 2019 Off

Spotify-owned Soundtrap launches a podcast studio in the cloud

By Jill T Frey

In November 2017, Spotify picked up the online music studio Soundtrap as part of its efforts to offer more services to artists on its platform. Now that Spotify has a growing interest in podcasts and the needs of podcast creators, Soundtrap is launching a new product to address that market instead. The company today announced the launch of  Soundtrap for Storytellers, a cloud-based podcast creation platform with a number of advanced features, including the ability to transcribe and edit podcasts, collaborate with others, and more.

Soundtrap isn’t the only podcast creation service Spotify now owns. It also bought the lightweight podcast creation app Anchor in February 2019 as part of its big push into podcasts.

Like Anchor, Soundtrap is focused on making it easier to podcast. But unlike Anchor, which is free, Soundtrap is available by subscription, starting at $14.99 per month (or $11.99 per month, if billed annually).… Read the rest