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During the interview blogger John Gruber sat down for an hour long conversation with Apple execs Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi. I previously broke down the interview where the group discussed the current state of Apple products and where they recognize areas for improvement. In the entire discussion, the part that sticks with me still is how Eddy Cue had made a passing statement of an incoming “refresh” for iTunes coming this month. Exactly what Cue meant by a “refresh” is the question I keep coming back to, and something I believe may be alluding to more than he let on.
In the conversation with the execs, both acknowledged difficulties with various parts of their platforms. They both agreed that there were areas where Apple could definitely improve and that they were constantly thinking about what they could do to improve them. The difficulties with iTunes brought up how it related with the still new Apple Music. A confusion between the different services and systems was starting to form.
Cue explained that at one point they even thought of making the entire system “cloud based” since Apple Music and iTunes for all intents and purposes already were cloud based. They acknowledged that iTunes had been built during a time when everything was being synced with a cable. A centralized place for syncing activities was key. Not having to launch multiple apps to manage a device was and is important for Apple.
The idea of a cloud-based system was soon scrapped when they recognized that they still needed a way to allow users to have the ability to upload music easily. Especially when millions of devices are still manually syncing to iTunes using a cable. They didn’t want to push all of Apple Music and iTunes into a cloud platform when users still had to manage personal libraries. Not all of the other competing music streaming services offer a way to upload music already owned to the cloud, and Apple wanted to retain that.
Cue stated that for the short term, they wanted to focus so that when you were in Music in iTunes, all you saw was music. He believes that if they had built a separate Music syncing application, it would look a lot like the current Music section of iTunes. This part of the conversation is where my ears began to perk up. Cue says, “Right now we think we designed iTunes, with a refresh coming in OS X next month, that makes it even easier to use in the Music space.”
And this is where we get to the crux of our conversation. What would happen to Apple’s Music services and sections within iTunes that could simplify it? Taking a look at iTunes’ Music section today, it’s immediately apparent how overly complicated the UI has become.
The primary iTunes Music sub-sections, and what services and systems they correspond to.
While there are multiple discussions to start iTunes from scratch, I want to hone in on the one area where I feel iTunes really needs a “refresh”: the music section’s toolbar at the top of iTunes. As of iTunes 12, there are 7 different music sub-sections in the toolbar. Two are library specific, four dedicated to Apple Music, and one for the traditional iTunes Store.
The first group of options in this section alone are already overly messy. ‘My Music’ and ‘Playlists’ both contain various types of music libraries. Under either of these, users can see music from their local on-disk library, music from Apple Music, music from iTunes in the Cloud, or even music from iTunes Match. The only way to tell and understand what is what is to enable the ‘iCloud Download’ and ’iCloud Status’ columns. Apple even created a support document specifically to help understand these icons and statuses.
From these varying sections, how would a user quickly jump in and make an immediate purchase? Depending on what selection the user made in any of top three subsections, they’ll see different results and options for each view.
iTunes has quickly outgrown itself and is struggling to keep all its services together and organized cleanly. I appreciate having options and control, but I don’t at all enjoy having to think for longer than a few seconds of where I should go to purchase something.
Oversimplifying the solution, Apple could re-implement iTunes into a way that detects what services the user currently has. Are they Apple Music subscriber? Show the Apple Music section. Are they searching for music, subscribe to Apple Music, and the music isn’t available on Apple Music? Show results indicating as such, and point them to iTunes where they’ll be able to purchase the music.
I’ve done it multiple times. Searched for content on Apple Music, only to discover it doesn’t exist, and then having to re-do the search under the iTunes Store subsection. This bouncing around and having to think of where my searches are run just doesn’t coincide with Apple’s market cohesiveness.
Tom Koszyk’s Apple Music Redesign
Dribbble is full of UI redesigns, but I haven’t seen one that handles all the disorganization of iTunes well. Tom Koszyk’s Apple Music experience redesign goes through nearly all of my gripes and designs the interface in a way that drives discovery. I believe it’s time that Apple gives iTunes’ music sections an experience refresh, and I’m hoping that’s exactly what Eddy Cue had meant.
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If you’re a musician who wants his own songs on Apple Music, you may be wondering how to upload them to the streaming platform.
It’s easier than you might think, but it’s not as simple as uploading MP3s to a digital music store and calling it a day.
Table of ContentsYou Need a Music Distributor
Apple does not deal directly with artists, so there’s no way for you to upload your music to the service on your own. However, if you’re an artist signed by a record label, the label will do all the work for you when dealing with Apple.
If you’re an independent artist not signed to a label, you’ll need a music distributor. Specifically, you’ll have to use one of the music distributors on Apple’s approved partner list. At the time of writing, 28 partners listed on Apple’s site offer music distribution services.
The exact services offered by each provider can differ. For example, some only handle music, and some also handle music videos or live concert performances. In addition, some provide translation services for your metadata (e.g., track names) or let you submit the lyrics for your songs.
Different distributors are suitable for different kinds of artists. They also have specific registration processes, steps to enter information into their database, and uploading the music to Apple Music. This is why we can’t provide step-by-step instructions on how to add files on a distributor’s site and publish them.
They are all different, and all appeal to different types of artists. However, they guide everyone on how to upload a single, album, or video.It Costs Money to Publish
Music distributors don’t provide their services for free. You’ll have to pay a publication fee for your music to add it to the service. These fees are small but help to deter frivolous music submissions. Do cross-shop among the different distribution partners to see who offers the best rate.
You should also consider the distributor’s commission. A lower cut for the distributor might justify a higher upfront fee, especially if your music gets lots of listens!
For example, TuneCore charges a fee for each registration and upload but takes no commission. CD Baby, on the other hand, takes a 9% cut of streaming and download revenues, and 15% of publishing royalties.Your Music Must Meet Minimum Technical Standards
Today, anyone with the right skills can make professional-quality music in their homes. That doesn’t mean you can just upload and have it published.
Music distributors have minimum technical standards aligned with Apple’s requirements. Some distributors may have additional requirements if they publish your music to streaming platforms such as Spotify or YouTube Music. Not every distributor may agree to put lossless versions of your music online.
If your music doesn’t conform to what the distributor requires, you may have to export your songs again from your music production software, or you’ll have to convert your original files. For example, TuneCore has a guide for its clients with the technical specifications for the songs and how to convert music that doesn’t conform using the Music app on Mac or iTunes on Windows systems.You’ll Need Cover Art
The metadata you can include with your music submission is optional. Still, one thing you must produce in addition to the music itself is the cover art. Because you’re publishing digital music for streaming doesn’t mean your “album” doesn’t need a cover.
A fantastic album cover is visually attractive. Before you make yours, check the quality and dimensions of the artwork for the music distributor of your choice.
If you aren’t much of a visual artist and can’t afford to pay someone for album art, you still have several affordable options. For example, you can use a photograph and a tool such as Canva to create an album cover. Even AI image generators, such as MidJourney or DALL-E 2, will draw anything you can imagine for a tiny fee.You Must Have Rights to the Music
You must own the copyright to the music you upload or have it properly licensed from the rights holder. You may have to sign a declaration or provide evidence that you have the rights and permission to upload music to the distributor.
If you’ve made a cover version of an existing song, you’ll need the permission of that song’s rights holder to publish your cover and make money from it. Even if they consent, they are entitled to a percentage of your revenue through royalties. Ensure that before you try to upload your music files to a distributor.
If your music samples another artist’s music, the same rules may apply depending on the specific laws in effect and how you’ve sampled the music. If you’ve used samples from a royalty-free music library, check the terms and conditions since the royalty-free status may come with some strings attached.
While your work is technically copyrighted as soon as it’s recorded, a formal registration with the music rights body makes it easy to prove in any disputes. The rules of composition or writing credit may vary from one country or jurisdiction to the next.Music Must be Correctly Credited and Royalties Distributed
Music rights can be complicated. If you collaborated with someone else (e.g., you’re in a band) or someone contributed to the music composition or lyrics, they are entitled to writing credits. It’s a good idea to register your songs with your local music rights organization, listing everyone entitled to a revenue cut.
If you don’t provide the correct information to the distributor, it can lead to legal issues later with injured parties looking to claim their rightful slice of the revenue.Promoting Your Music
Getting your audio files distributed is half the battle! Once your music is on music streaming services, you still need to convince people it belongs in their iCloud music library. The dream would be to get your songs on a popular Apple Music playlist or even featured on the service’s front page.
Some music distributors offer tools to promote your music. Some of these tools may attract additional fees or a higher cut for the distributor, but the rising tide lifts all boats. Spending money on the right promotion types is never wasted, but you don’t have to invest much money to promote your music. Here are some ideas to get started:
Create YouTube content that links back to your Apple Music page.
Use social media to promote your music or get help from social media management professionals.
Create music videos or capture live performances and use this for promotional material.
It’s a good idea to observe how successful independent artists on Apple Music market themselves. It’s also important not to limit your audience to those with an Apple Music subscription. Many distributors will also publish your music on other streaming music platforms, and getting your music distributed as widely as possible can be a good thing.Claiming Your Artists Page
Once your music is uploaded to Apple Music, the final step is to claim your Apple Music Artists’ Page. You can’t do this until your content is live, but once your content is on the platform, you can use the Apple Music for Artists app to claim your page after providing the artist’s name. Of course, you must have an Apple ID or create one to complete this process.
You’ll have to provide some evidence that you are affiliated with the artist, but once you comply, you should be given access. While you can’t upload music, you can add additional information about your act and other aspects of the artist page.
You can claim your page from the iOS app on iPhone or iPad, or you can do it from any other platform like macOS, Windows, or Android.
Music has been part of Apple’s soul since the launch of the iPod almost 16 years ago. Launched with the slogan ‘a thousand songs in your pocket,’ it’s no exaggeration to say that the device transformed the way we listen to music. It also transformed Apple into a major mobile device manufacturer, and laid the ground work for the iPhone.
Fast-forward to today, and Apple still places a huge emphasis on music. Its largest ever acquisition was the $3B it paid to buy Beats in 2014. The Beats Music service became Apple Music, a streaming service which has grown to 30M paid subscribers.
Apple’s move into exclusive video content also has a strong emphasis on music documentaries.
But there’s still one odd omission from the company’s music offerings …
Sure, you can rip CDs into lossless formats, and that’s the solution most audiophiles adopt when they want to have their music collection available in iTunes, but the last MacBook with an optical drive was the non-Retina MacBook Pro, last updated in 2012. Apple discontinued sales of the 15-inch in 2013, and the 13-inch last year. You can still buy an external drive, but Apple’s view is clearly that this is outdated tech. If we buy music at all – rather than stream it – Apple wants us to download it.
Lossless audio of course involves large file sizes, which was a good reason not to do it back in the early days of iTunes when we were all on slow connections. But that’s not a good argument against it today.
Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) typically gets an album down to around 400MB, and that’s not an unreasonable amount of data to download on the kind of broadband connections many of us have today. Given that we’re not downloading albums every day, I’d say that’s eminently viable.
And I think everyone would benefit from the option: consumers, music labels, musicians and Apple.
Lossless file formats are the only way we can enjoy music at its full quality. Now, you can argue that the AAC 256Kbps format currently used by iTunes is very good, and I’ll agree with you. You can argue that the difference between that and ALAC wouldn’t make much difference when listening to music on the move on a mobile device, and I’ll agree with that too. But play both on a decent hifi system in a quiet room at home, and I don’t think you have to be an audiophile to hear the difference.
But even if you disagree, I think it doesn’t matter. If there’s one lesson we’ve learned from the early days of mp3 music, it’s that technology improves, storage gets cheaper and what sounded acceptable five years or ten years ago sounds horrible today. What I want isn’t something that sounds good today, it’s something that will always sound good.
The only way we can guarantee that is to have a lossless copy in the first place. Maybe we’ll never listen to it in that format, maybe we’ll just output it to AAC 256 and call it good. But in five years’ time, when iPhones have 2TB of storage and we’re using a much better lossy format, we’ll be able to output to that. Lossless is future-proof; whatever today’s flavor of the month might be, isn’t.
Music labels & musicians
Streaming generates tiny amounts of income. Apple Music is more generous than Spotify and YouTube, but it still only pays $0.00735 per stream – and that amount is then split between the label, the musician and the songwriter. Unless you’re a big artist, you’re not going to pay many bills from streaming.
Given the right marketing, and presenting people with a choice between an AAC album at say $11 and an ALAC one at say $20, I could see a profitable minority opting for the premium version – not dissimilar to those who opt for the top storage tier on an iOS device or max out a Mac.
Photos: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg; Squintyt4e; Apple
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Artificial intelligence can probably find the perfect love match for you
Artificial intelligence can play an integral part in the online dating experience by collecting your data and customizing your experience. You might have a renewed sense of appreciation for technology when you learn just how helpful AI can be.Assists With Providing Relevant Matches
It may seem like the profiles you see on
are completely random or based on your provided location. While your current and home locations do contribute to the selection of profiles you’re shown, machine learning algorithms also play a part.
This innovative technology learns from your profile data and swiping choices to refine your potential date options. Rather than being shown a random selection of suitors, you’re shown those that algorithms deem more matched to your interests and behavior.Filters Your Messages
It might seem like a
breach of privacy
to have artificial intelligence screening your messages, but it actually might be doing you a favor. As millions of people begin using dating apps, unsolicited content has become a significant problem. People have experienced online stalking, abuse, and unsolicited pictures. AI has been a game-changer in filtering out this content and giving users the choice to view it or not.
For example, Bumble introduced a safety feature called Private Detector with AI that detects unsought pictures and allows users to decide if they wish to open them. According to some reports, this feature is
. Essentially, the goal with AI in this respect is to make sure all users are only seeing and receiving the content they want to be delivered to them.Creates a Safer Online Platform
Safety is a crucial consideration in the dating scene, regardless of whether you’re dating online or in person. While artificial intelligence is of little use for secure in-person dating, it’s proving practical in a number of online dating platforms’ safety and security measures.Promotes In-Person Meetings
Hinge promotes itself as an app that’s designed to be deleted. When you begin chatting with someone on this platform and other dating apps, the whole idea is to get off the app, meet in person, and see where your interactions take you.
However, some people need additional encouragement to move their communications into the real world, and you can rest assured that AI is there to provide those hints. Many platforms offer ideas for what to do when you meet in person and send prompts as gentle reminders about how fun it can be to meet new people.Encourages Better Dating Experiences
half of Americans
say that dating is much harder than it used to be, which may be surprising for those who have had success meeting the loves of their lives on dating apps. Realizing that not everyone has had an ideal experience, some app creators are utilizing neuro-linguistic programming to improve potential dating experiences.
Some apps, like Mei Messaging App and Crush, will analyze the contents of messages to help potential couples plan dates, while Loveflutter will use the same information to provide meeting place suggestions and calculate compatibility.Suggests Profile Changes
Even the most skilled writers have trouble writing about themselves. That task can be even more challenging when you’re trying to make yourself sound desirable to prospective dates in your dating bio.
Not all is lost if you haven’t created a winning profile the first time around. Some dating apps are relying on AI to scan your profile and offer suggestions to help make yourself more appealing to other people.
Some of the most common suggestions relate to the choice of profile picture, such as having too many people in a photo or not clearly showing your face. The app may also recommend including more
relevant information about yourself
, such as your hobbies, career, pets, and favorite foods.
Do you often find yourself in a situation where you need to convert Apple Music or iTunes songs into different formats? If the answer is yes, a powerful yet easy-to-use tool named TuneFab Apple Music Converter is your thing.
The software boasts several impressive qualities to be your favorite music converter for all seasons. It’s designed to convert DRM-protected Music, M4P songs, audiobooks and Audible audiobooks songs to MP3 with appreciable consistency. However, what sets the tone perfectly for it is the simplicity with which it goes about the business without any fuss.
Convert Music Fast Without Any Loss of Quality
The software works very efficiently in getting the task done. Plus, you can reset the bitrate sample rates as well as other vital music parameters. If you have a liking for editing your music or fine-tuning its quality, the app can ideally fit into your needs.
There are a couple of qualities that I have found really adorable in it: The high proficiency and rapid speed.
With TuneFab Apple Music Converter, you will be able to convert several songs in batch with up to 16X faster speed. That means it can save plenty of your valuable time.
Another notable quality worth mentioning is the ability to convert music without any loss of quality. I have used several music converters, and hence, I can tell you that there are very few tools that can work so consistently.
It keeps all the metadata and ID3 tags intact. Thus, you will continue to enjoy the music in the same breath on other devices. It makes the transition a smooth affair.
Convert Audiobooks in Multiple Formats
Apart from being a top-notch music converter, TuneFab also works as a highly efficient audiobook converter. Again, it performs the task not just with top speed but also without damaging the quality.
I used this tool to transform several of my audiobooks at once. It lived up to my expectation by getting the work done rapidly. What I have liked more about this software are the intuitive user-interface and easy-to-use functionality. You don’t have to take roundabout ways to carry out the task. Simply select the audiobooks and hit the convert button. And you are done.
Support Multiple Music and Audiobook Formats
I always want the music converter to have the support for several formats. It just offers you more flexibility. And, I’m glad to know that the app stands up to the mark fairly well in this regard.
With the support for several file formats like MP3, AC3, M4A, M4R, FLAC, MKA, AU, AA, AAX, AAX+, M4B and more, it ensures you never run out of options. If you have to deal with music conversion more often than not, this is exactly what you need to remain at the top of your game.
How to Convert Apple Music or the Songs Purchased from iTunes Using TuneFab on Mac or Windows
As mentioned above, using TuneFab to get rid of DRM or transform any music to another format is dead simple.
Step #1. To get started, download and install the TuneFab Apple Music Converter on your computer. Meanwhile, please make sure that you have installed iTunes on your computer previously. TuneFab needs to works with iTunes.
Step #2. Now, launch the app on your computer and then select the songs you want to convert. You can select an entire album of songs or select multiple Apple Music tracks at a time.
Step #3. Next, adjust the output format depending on your specific requirements. There are different output formats that you can choose from MP3, M4A, AC3, AAC, AIFF, AU, FLAC, etc.
Step #4. Finally, hit the Convert button. The program will start converting Apple Music songs to plain MP3 format immediately.
Now, let it finish the task.
Price and Availability
This music converter works with both macOS and Windows PC. Its original price is $49.95. However, you can currently get it at $39.95.
Frankly speaking, reviewing this tool was very easy for me thanks mainly to its simplicity. I gave TuneFab a long run before writing this piece. Throughout the test, I hardly noticed any roadblocks and came out impressed with what it has to offer.
Whether it’s versatility, high efficiency or speed, the software stands up to the billing on all fronts. As for price, I think it’s competent.
Now comes the most important question. Should I recommend this software? The answer is absolute “Yes.” I would recommend it to you if you have to carry out music conversion more often and want a more effective tool to get through the task. Moreover, it can also come handy if you wish to listen to your favorite Apple Music on multiple devices without having to upgrade the plan.
Jignesh Padhiyar is the co-founder of chúng tôi who has a keen eye for news, rumors, and all the unusual stuff around Apple products. During his tight schedule, Jignesh finds some moments of respite to share side-splitting content on social media.
‘Made by Google’ was created to build trust between customers who were weary to purchase an Android device
Now, Google has kind of already started doing this. The whole “Made by Google” campaign was created to build trust between customers who were weary to purchase an Android device. Why do you think almost all of my friends have mistaken my Pixel for an iPhone? It’s supposed to be simple. It’s supposed to be recognizable. And most of all, it’s supposed to be easy to use. The Pixel is just that, with its big, easy-to-see icons and incredibly fluid touch latency. These are aspects of the phone that don’t get recorded on spec sheets, but they sure as hell bleed into the user experience.
Motorola wanted to make something that was easy to hold and easy to use… Scrolling through home screens and the app drawer was always smooth… Overall the Moto X is a very solid release that focuses more on what the phone actually does instead of just providing the specs and focusing on what it could do.
These are all quotes from our original Moto X review way back in 2013. It was obvious that Google and Motorola were focusing on making the experience as fluid as possible, and they seem to have to done that again with the Pixel line. Focusing processing power on fluid animations and touch latency is what makes a phone really shine to the mass consumer, and it is this core value smashed in the middle of a great software suite that has really helped Apple’s iPhone succeed. And while we are already seeing the benefits of Google taking the reigns in terms of software and hardware design, actually owning the company could help elevate its devices to a whole new level.
A shift in philosophy
When Google made the move to purchase Motorola, it was a temporary maneuver. Officially, the company stated that it only purchased the Motorola to acquire its patents and keep them safe from the likes of Apple and Microsoft. Everyone thought it was a strange move. Wouldn’t Google producing their own devices undermine all the other Android OEM’s on the market? With Google developing software for use in such a wide range of phones, this seemed like the case, and in the end, it kind of was.
The Moto X was a nearly stock Android handset with a few software tweaks that benefited the user, not some bloated skin the company had developed in order to differentiate itself from competitors. But this very move was also the saving grace of the company, and helped Motorola to combat Samsung and others to create more diversity in the Android space.
With HTCcompletely under its wing, Google can start focusing on tailoring its OS to its own devices more than it ever has before
Now Google has changed its mind. Creating its own devices has become a new part of its core philosophy, and it’s even gone so far as to hide the fact that HTCwas manufacturing its devices. While you could argue that the Nexus line always represented what Google’s baseline “true” experience was meant to be, working with different manufacturers almost every year caused the experience to shift every time the company introduced a new device. With HTCcompletely under its wing, Google can start focusing on tailoring its OS to its own devices more than it ever has before, and could even have its own engineers work with HTC’s fabrication team to make sure Pixel devices are as refined and tailored to Android as the iPhone is to iOS.
Google Pixel 2: Everything we know so far (Updated: September 25)
Obviously this deal isn’t set in stone. Everything is just speculation right now, but the potential of such a sale gets me really, really exited for Google’s future as a manufacturer. Is it a little weird that they started making their own devices again? Sure. But something truly magical can happen when you have the power to control the hardware and software on your devices, and since Android is still an open-source operating system, this doesn’t mean we will stop seeing competition from other OEM’s on the market.
Remember – nothing’s set it stone yet
What are your thoughts on the potential sale? There are still a lot of questions that have yet to be answered, and we’ll have to wait and see where this goes in the near future. One thing is for sure though: I want to find love again in a phone every bit as magical as the Motorola Moto X.
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