Dating App Happn Integrates With Spotiify To Enable Virtual Serenading

Read original story on: The Verge

French dating app Happn has announced a new integration with popular music streaming service Spotify to enable users to virtually serenade each other by sending full-length Spotify songs, which can be streamed directly inside the app. User can also choose to display their favorite Spotify songs on their dating profiles.

As more and more people joins online dating, various dating apps continue to grow at a rapid pace. Our POV on dating apps (click here to read) explored the unique ecosystem they form and explained how brands are reaching mobile users on these new platforms. As mobile apps grow increasingly intertwined with integration, we expect the emerging platforms of dating apps continues to mature and expand.

LINE Tests Messaging Apps’ True Potential With Music Streaming Service

Read original story on: TechCrunch

LINE, the Japanese messaging app with 205 million active users, is continuing its platform expansion by launching its own in-app music streaming service. First tested in Thailand two months ago, the paid service is now officially rolling out in Japan, LINE’s main market.

According to the source, however, due to the stronghold of conservative record labels, Japan remains a rare instance in the global markets where music streaming has yet taken hold and sales of physical copies still dominates—even Spotify doesn’t have much presence in the country. Therefore, LINE will have to find a way to leverage its huge user base to jump-start the music streaming market.

This new service came as a natural step in LINE’s vigorous platform expansion. Within the past year alone, the popular messaging app has introduced its own mobile payment component, dipped into in-app ecommerce in Taiwan and SE Asian markets, launched LINE Taxi to compete with Uber in Japan, and even pilot-tested LINE TV, a YouTube-like video service in Thailand. This new branch-out into music stream will continue to diversify its services and revenues, showcasing the vast potential that messaging apps hold as full-fledged media platforms.


Fast Forward: The Biggest Announcements From Apple’s WWDC 2015 Event

Your guide to tech-driven changes in the media landscape by IPG Media Lab. A fast read for you and a forward for your clients and team.

What Apple Announced

“Proactive” Search Extensibility
Apple kicked off the presentation with previews of the next-gen operating systems—OS X El Capitan for laptops and iMacs, and iOS 9 for mobile devices. One feature that stood out was “Proactive Assistant,” a new AI-enabled search for iOS 9, complete with deep-linking capability for apps and even indexed websites. Working with an enhanced Siri, the new search feature is context-sensitive, suggesting apps and content based on time, location, and even user habits.

Enhanced Personalization On Apple Watch
Apple unveiled the new OS for the recently launched Apple Watch, promising to bring more personalization to the device, such as “complications” which display customizable information from third-party apps right on the watch face. The new watchOS also added support for HomeKit, allowing the watch to interact and remotely control the various new sensors and connected devices.

Apple Pay Upgraded To Wallet
Apple Pay got a major upgrade, adding support for loyalty and store cards and more. The prior lack of integration with retailer loyalty programs and CRM systems had been cited as the biggest obstacle to retailer adoption of Apple Pay. These additions will help give more credibility to Tim Cook’s January claim that “2015 will be the year of Apple Pay.”

In an effort to support small businesses, Apple Pay will be compatible with a new reader from Square, launching in the fall. Moreover, Pinterest is integrating Apple Pay with their new buyable pins. Due to all these development, Passbook has been rebranded as Wallet. And, of course, all of these new features will be supported on the Apple Watch.

New Apps for Music and News
By introducing the new Music and News apps, Apple is officially getting into content curation to further enhance its mobile experience. Besides a paid-only streaming subscription service that rivals Spotify, the new Apple Music also puts curated music discovery front and center with a “for you” recommendation channel and a new 24/7 global radio. Similarly, the News app promises content recommendation based on reader interest and editorial curation.

Market Impact

“Proactive” Attack On Google
The new proactive features in iOS 9 are Apple’s take on the same user problems as Google’s new “Now On Tap” feature, as both aim to make use of the massive data that mobile users generate and leverage the behavioral insights into a more anticipatory user experience. As users move away from the mobile web into apps, Apple is deep-linking app content from search results to solidify its app ecosystem and help users find what they are looking for more quickly.

Apple is offering APIs for controlling how content appears in iOS Search. This applies to both websites and apps and amounts to a major new search platform for brands to optimize for. Today, brands have more control of their destiny on iOS than on Android, where Google is holding all the cards.

Making Apple Watch More Brand-Friendly
Allowing third-party complications on the watch face provides brands with a great opportunity to get on the prime real estate on the wrist. For example, Volkswagen’s Remote Control app was featured in the demo, and included a complication which puts the carmaker’s logo prominently on the watch face with the car’s battery charge level. HomeKit integration and native apps, with access to all of the Watch’s sensors, will significantly expand the Watch’s functionality and reach making the platform more valuable for brands to get on board.

Moving Beyond Just Payment
Apple Pay has been making remarkable progress since its launch, set to top 1 million available locations in the U.S. next month*, and now it will soon be making its first overseas expansion into the UK next month in over 250,000 locations, including London’s transportation system. The integration with Pinterest’s buyable pins also points to Apple’s ambition of integrating Apple Pay into ecommerce platforms. More importantly, the new inclusion of rewards and loyalty cards will offer brands a great platform to maintain their relationships with the loyal customers via built-in loyalty programs as well as personalized offers.

Apple Getting Into Content Curation
While it is still early to tell how much impact the Music and News apps will have on the digital publishing and music industry, respectively, Apple is clearly making an effort to take more control over content, taking on competitors such as Spotify and Facebook’s Instant Articles. For content creators, including brands, these could be interesting new channels to connect directly with fans, and, especially in the case of Music, lead to additional commerce opportunities such as ticket sales. It will also affect advertising, as publishers can sell ads directly and retain 100% of revenue, or use iAd and retain 70%.

Our full coverage of WWDC 2015 is here. Please contact Engagement Director Samantha Holland ([email protected]) at the IPG Media Lab if you would like more detail or to schedule a visit to the Lab.

This is the second of our Fast Forward analysis. Please reply with any constructive criticism or feedback. We want these to be as useful as possible for you and your clients, and your feedback will help us immensely. You can read our first Fast Forward analysis on Google I/O Event here.


*Editor’s Note: updated on June 9, 2o15 12:40pm to include stats on Apple Pay in the states.

What Starbucks Is Teaming Up With Spotify For

Read original story on: Wired

Starbucks and Spotify announced a new partnership to bring the music streaming service to all of the coffee chain’s U.S. retail locations this fall, the two companies announced earlier this week. As a result, every Starbucks U.S. retail employee will receive a Spotify Premium account for free, which will be used to curate music playlists in stores. Moreover, Starbucks customers who have signed up for its rewards program will be able to influence in-store music programming, and they can also earn Starbucks rewards points by paying for Spotify.

Without a doubt, this partnership will help promote Spotify’s premium service in Starbucks stores across the States. Starbucks has long been a major force in the music business, selling millions of exclusive albums in their stores. In addition, the Seattle-based company has a long-standing partnership with Apple to promote iTunes store and app download. Now with Apple readying its own Beats-based streaming service for launch, it’ll be interesting to see how this partnership will impact the music industry.


How The Shifting TV Landscape Caused Mindy’s Cancellation

The TV Upfronts are coming up next week, and reports on the fate of your favorite broadcast TV shows are popping up. The first big surprise cancellation came yesterday when Fox announced that The Mindy Project will not be coming back for a fourth season on the network, making it the first show in seven years to be axed with over 66 episodes under its belt.

Typically, when a network show reaches such numbers, the prospect of lucrative syndication deals would prompt the networks to grant shows with low ratings another season to produce sufficient episodes so as to bulk up its leverage in syndication negotiations. And that’s the way it’s always been done.

But with the recent rise of OTT streaming services disrupting the TV landscape, that rule seems to no longer apply. In this new circumstance, Universal Studios, which produces the show, could easily ship the show off to a streaming service where it can attract a niche audience and cumulate more episode counts, rather than negotiating with Fox to find the show a burn-off time slot for cheap.

And that’s exactly what they are doing – the Mindy Kaling comedy seems to be heading to Hulu, as sources report that the streaming service, partially owned by Fox and NBC Universal, is already in talks to acquire the show for multiple new seasons. If true, Mindy would join high-profile series in development at Hulu as the streaming service bulks up on original content to compete for audience attention.

The Lab has always been fascinated by the shifting landscape of the TV business, and we have been closely following the ongoing trend towards OTT streaming viewing. Come talk to us if you are a media owner or simply want to understand the changing audience behaviors and how to reach the fragmented viewers.

Streaming Music Gets More Personal With Ads

Read original story on: AdWeek and AdAge

Music streaming services like Pandora and Spotify are enhancing the way that they target ads by getting more intimate with listeners. Spotify announced that it will allow brands to target specific consumers through custom playlists based on user activity and preferences. Ideally, the streaming company will be able to infer the context in which people are listening to playlists to deliver the perfect ad. Similarly, Pandora is moving closer toward programmatic advertising by allowing brands to target users based on more specific demographics like the users’ declared age, gender, and location, showcasing the wealth of targeted data they can provide brands.

Apple’s Music App Is Getting “Spotified”

Read original story on: 9to5Mac

Earlier this week, Apple released the first developer beta of iOS 8.4, giving the world a first look at its long-rumored redesign of the Music app. And with its all-new interfaces and improving queuing features, the new music app may easily remind users of the Spotify app.

With the announcement of Apple’s streaming music service expected at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference starting June 8th, the revamped music app also puts Apple’s current music streaming service iTunes Radio front and center, with other design factors that heavily hint at further integrations of streaming functionality.

Another Messaging App Ventures Into Video Content

Read original story on: TechCrunch

LINE, Japan’s most popular messaging app, continues to expand its core business as it starts testing LINE TV, a YouTube-like video service in Thailand. Available via Android and iOS apps as well as on the web, the platform features a wide range of TV shows and music videos from local Asian markets.

More importantly, LINE TV is deeply integrated with LINE’s messaging app so that users can easily share content with friends. Some videos even contain quick links to follow the official accounts of featured actors within the messaging app. By trying to take control of both the media channel and content, LINE is ambitiously building its business towards a multi-faceted media channel, not unlike what Snapchat is doing.

Here’s How Apple Is Planning To Compete Against Spotify

Read original story on: 9to5Mac

Apple acquired streaming services Beats Music back in May 2014, and now we are finally getting some updates on its fate. Reports suggest that Apple is planning to launch a redesigned Beats Music later this year that will be deeply integrated into iOS, iTunes, and the Apple TV.

To compete with existing services like Spotify or Rdio, Apple is reportedly looking to set the monthly subscription fee at just $7.99. Would the Cupertino company be able to upend the OTT music market with system integration and competitive pricing? Stay tuned to find out.

What’s Going On With HBO Go Standalone?

Read original story on: The Verge

Back in October, HBO announced plans to soon launch a “standalone, over-the-top” HBO Go subscription, and now some surprising new details are emerging. HBO is reportedly aiming for an April 2015 launch, just in time for the new season of Game of Thrones. This makes perfect sense, considering the HBO flagship series is the most pirated show in the world.

Moreover, HBO has opted not to build the standalone OTT service in-house, but instead will use external technology from MLB Advanced Media, which already provides white-label streaming technology for clients like WWE Network. As long as they can build a platform capable of handling the huge streaming volume brought in by the quality content, the audience couldn’t care less who is delivering the content.