Pandora-powered channels will come to SiriusXM’s app this year

SiriusXM this week offered a few more details on how it plans to leverage its newest asset, Pandora, following its $3.5 billion acquisition of the streaming music service last year, which officially closed on Friday. At the time of the deal, the company spoke about the potential for cross-promotion opportunities between the services and new subscription packages. Now, those efforts are getting off the ground — starting with a promotion within the Pandora app for SiriusXM subscriptions, followed by the launch of Pandora channels within the SiriusXM app.

Currently, SiriusXM offers a variety of programming packages, ranging from a cheaper ($11/mo) “Mostly Music” sampling of channels all the way up to a premium “All Access” ($21/mo) subscription. It also runs various time-limited promotions that offer its service for as little as $5 per month for a set period, like six months.

According to Sirius XM CEO James Meyer — speaking to investors on the Q4 earnings call on Wednesday — the company will now start promoting special SiriusXM packages to Pandora listeners.

The company, he said, intends “to capitalize on cross-promotion opportunities between SiriusXM’s more than 36 million subscribers across North America and Pandora’s approximately 70 million monthly active users. In early February, we will begin a targeted promotion to SiriusXM subscribers and Pandora listeners,” he noted. “Select Pandora listeners will receive an offer to obtain a unique $5 a month ‘Mostly News,’ ‘Mostly Music’ or ‘News Talk’ [SiriusXM subscription] package in their satellite-equipped vehicle.”

In other words, SiriusXM will be pushing low-cost $5 per month streaming plans within the Pandora app itself.

The company believes the cross-promotions will be successful because of the overlap in the two services’ customer bases. It found that approximately half of the owners of the SiriusXM-enabled vehicle fleet of 100 million cars have used Pandora in the past two years, for example. SiriusXM aims to leverage those Pandora listeners’ data in order to convert, retain or bring them back to SiriusXM.

In addition, the exec said that existing SiriusXM subscribers would receive extended 14-day trials to Pandora’s Premium service.

By mid-2019, the company plans to launch a new Pandora-powered channel within its own SiriusXM app, based on their favorite artist. It will also add a new radio channel to the SiriusXM app that’s driven by the latest trends from Pandora’s “billions of thumbs” — meaning the “thumbs up” (likes), songs receive within the streaming app.

Meyer spoke briefly about the challenges facing Pandora — specifically a decline in listening hours, which SiriusXM believes can be fixed by improving Pandora’s in-car listening statistics, making the Pandora app more compelling, and adding more content.

“This is just the beginning. We expect, over time, to create new, unique audio packages that will bring together the best of both services, creating a powerful platform for artists to reach their fans and to create new audiences,” said Meyer.

The merger of the two companies has not been without upheaval, though.

This week, the company announced that Pandora CEO Roger Lynch and other executives would be stepping down, including general counsel Steve Bene, CFO Naveen Chopra and chief human resources officer Kristen Robinson. Meyer will instead lead the combined company, he said, in order to streamline decision-making and increase the speed of the integrations.

SiriusXM reported record revenues for the fourth quarter and year, at $1.5 billion and $5.8 billion, respectively. Net income was $251 million for the quarter, up from a loss of $37 million in the year-ago period. Full-year 2018 net income grew 81 percent to a record $1.2 billion.

The newly combined company will have more than 100 million listeners in North America, with nearly 40 million self-paying subscribers and more than 75 million on trials or using ad-based products.

YD JOB ALERT: Join the Bose team as a Hardware User Experience Designer!

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Arguably one of the most valued companies in its industry, Bose is responsible for producing some of the most high-end consumer audio equipment internationally. Founded by Amar Bose in 1964, Bose is best known for its home audio systems and speakers, noise-canceling headphones, professional audio systems, and automobile sound systems. The company has also conducted research into suspension technologies for cars and heavy-duty trucks, and even into the subject of cold fusion. Bose is looking to hire a Hardware User Experience Designer to join their headquarters in Framingham, Massachusetts.

ABOUT BOSE

We are capable and curious individuals who champion user-centered design. Our work reaches and delights millions of people daily. We are professionals skilled in multi-faceted interaction design creation. We derive satisfaction by creating the best hardware, software, and mobile application experiences. This role focuses on hardware-based user experience challenges.

WHAT DRIVES YOU?

• Elated seeing your design emerge in iterative physical forms.
• Fascinated by user behavior and energized by new technologies that solve real problems.
• Seeing value in multiple approaches to solve a problem. Pursuing the balance between vision and pragmatism.
• Sweating the details and expecting the same of your colleagues.
• Dissatisfied with the status quo and comfortable taking risks, failing fast, and learning quickly.
• You get ID, and they get you.

WHO ARE YOU?

You think flexibly
• You think about the individual design requirements and implementation, but constantly consider the continuity through multiple experiences.
• You’re trained to deliver thoughtful and complete user needs analysis, with clearly prioritized and defined user workflows to inform architectural requirements.

You get it done
• You launched physical products into the world that delighted customers.
• You highlight the problems others don’t notice, and deploy a refined design toolset to tackle these challenges.
• You are capable of multi-tasking and prioritizing your own work, as well as helping junior designers do the same.

You want to be part of a team
• You take direction while effectively leading others toward a clear experience vision, articulating the value of a human-centered approach to the business and to our customers.
• You enjoy engaging with multiple team members and value diverse perspectives. You want feedback and recognize the necessity of working together to get a product out the door.

REQUIREMENTS

Basic Qualifications
• Three to five years of launching physical products into the world. Hands-on experience designing consumer electronics products
• You have a bachelor’s degree in human factors engineering, User Interface/Interaction Design, HCI, Behavior Sciences or a related field, with several years of related work experience.
• An online portfolio that demonstrates strong experience in creating concepts and detailing consumer journey, specifying interaction for hardware, but mindful of associated digital assistants for consumer products.
• You are highly capable using the tools of our trade including Sketch, Zeplin, InVision, PowerPoint/Keynote, Illustrator, and learning new tools as they arise.
• Extensive experience in working directly with engineers and leading complex discussions in UX design.
• Excellent communication, presentation, and interpersonal skills.
• Incredible time management and organizational skills with the ability to multi-task and meet tight deadlines.

Preferred Qualifications
• Master’s or equivalent degree in Design, HCI, or related field, or equivalent professional experience in the design field.

WHAT WE OFFER

• Competitive compensation, including both a 401k and pension plan (Yes, pensions still exist!)
• Generous benefits including medical, dental, and vision
• A culture that recognizes the importance of your life and learning outside the walls of Bose. – with financial support to continue your education
• Co-workers who want you to succeed, because your success is our success.
• Management which focuses on removing roadblocks, enabling and growing individuals, and championing the work of the team.
• An atmosphere where failure is seen as an opportunity to grow, taking risks is encouraged, and respect is paramount.

LOCATION

Framingham (Massachusetts), USA.

CLICK HERE TO APPLY

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7 Websites to Find Free Creative Commons Music and Sounds

You’re reading 7 Websites to Find Free Creative Commons Music and Sounds, originally posted on Designmodo. If you’ve enjoyed this post, be sure to follow on Twitter, Facebook, Google+!

7 Websites to Find Free Creative Commons Music and Sounds

One of the most significant mistakes many creatives make is the failure to promote their work. You can have the best product in the world, the greatest app ever, or the most beautiful WordPress theme, but if you don’t showcase …

The Accessport Air brings Bluetooth 5.0 to your trusty wired headphones

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/991035804/accessport-air-bring-back-the-headphone-jack-wirel/widget/video.html

The world changed as we knew it in 2016 when Apple announced that their phones would no longer carry the 3.5mm headphone jack. They were obviously pushing for wireless audio, as they also launched the AirPods that year. As with everything Apple does, the entire industry followed, dropping the jack from their smartphones, resulting in an awkwardly high amount of wired headphones now becoming undesirable. See, wired headphones may be a sort of nuisance, but some of the best headphones in the world are wired, not to mention wired earphones are much more reasonably priced than their wireless alternatives.

If you’re like me, and you have a wired headphone that you’d love to use with your smartphone but can’t, the future isn’t too entirely bleak. You can either spring for a dongle, which makes sense for a while, but when you migrate to a new phone from a different company, that dongle is essentially useless… or you can take your old earphones/headphones and turn them wireless. It’s as simple as plugging it into a Bluetooth transmitter, which in this case, is the Accessport Air. Bluetooth transmitters come a dime a dozen but not many of them boast of the kind of features you’d find in the Accessport Air. Built with Bluetooth 5.0, aptX high-resolution audio playback, low latency for gaming, and 9 hours of playback on a single charge, the Accessport Air works with all phones that have Bluetooth and all playback devices.

I ended the last paragraph with the words ‘playback devices’ on purpose. The Accessport Air doesn’t just make your wired headphones or earphones wireless. It works with speakers, amplifiers, and even your car audio system. Basically anything that can connect to the Accessport Air via its 3.5mm audio input can be made wireless. Using the Air is as simple as plugging the playback device in, switching the Air on, and connecting to it with your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. In order to give your playback devices the power of Bluetooth 5.0, the Accessport Air comes with an internal battery that lasts for 9 hours on a single charge. Enough to watch movies, play games, listen to long playlists at the gym, at work, or on the subway, or even connect to your car audio system for those long drives!

Designer: Peter Yoon of ADVANCED SOUND GROUP

Click Here To Buy Now: $29.00

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Click Here To Buy Now: $29.00

Spotify launches Car View on Android to make using its app less dangerous behind the wheel

Spotify is making it easier to use its streaming app in the car, when the phone is connected to the vehicle over Bluetooth. The company today confirmed the launch of a new feature called “Car View,” which is a simplified version of the service’s Now Playing screen that includes larger fonts, bigger buttons, and no distractions from album art. In Car View, you’re only shown the track title and artist, so you can read the screen with just a glance.

The site 9to5Google was the first to spot the feature’s appearance in Spotify’s settings. However, some users have had the option for weeks in what had appeared to be a slow rollout or possibly a test, pre-launch.

Spotify this morning formally announced the launch of Car View in a post to its Community Forums.

The company says the feature is currently available only on Android devices, and only when the device is connected over Bluetooth.

When the phone connects, Car View is automatically enabled when your music or podcast starts playing.

Above: Car View in action; credit: 9to5Google

Spotify already offers several in-car experiences through integrations with other apps like Google Maps, Waze, as well as through Android Auto, and has experimented with other auto-focused features in the past. However, using the music app while behind the wheel has been very distracting and difficult.

I’ve personally found Spotify so dangerous to navigate while in the car, that I just won’t use it unless I set it up to stream before I drive. Or, in some cases, I’ll hand the phone to a passenger to control instead.

Given the difficulty with Spotify in the car, Car View’s lack of support for those who use the app over an AUX cable is a little disappointing.There’s no good reason why users should not be allowed to manually enable Car View from the Settings, if they choose. After all, it’s just a change to the user interface of a single view – and it’s been built!

Of course, manually toggling Car View on might not feel as seamless as the Bluetooth experience, but a feature like this could prevent accidents caused by people fiddling with their phone in the car. Hopefully, Spotify will make Car View more broadly accessible in time.

According to Spotify, once Car View is enabled, you can access your Library, tap to Browse, or use Search. While listening, you can use the seek bar to skip to another part of the song.

In the case that a passenger is controlling the music on your phone, they can temporarily disable Car View by way of the three dots menu. And if, for some reason, you don’t want to use Car View, the feature can be disabled in the Settings. (But keep it on, OK?)

Spotify also noted Car View supports landscape view, and will arrive on iOS in the future. It didn’t offer a time frame.

Car View officially launched on Android this week, and is now rolling out globally to all users.

 

Tinder is testing the ability to share Spotify music clips in chat

Tinder has already developed a fairly robust chat platform within its dating app, with support for sharing things like Bitmoji and GIFs, and the ability to “like” messages by tapping a heart icon. Now, the company is testing a new integration — sharing music via Spotify. Tinder confirmed with TechCrunch it’s trying out a new way to connect users, by allowing them to share music within their chats.

The test is currently taking place on web and iOS across global markets, and Spotify is the only music service involved.

The new feature was first spotted by the blog MSPoweruser, which speculated the addition could be an experiment on Tinder’s part, ahead of a public launch. That does seem to be the case, as it turns out.

According to screenshots the site posted, a green music icon has been swapped in for the Bitmoji icon. Clicking this allows you to enter a query into a search box and see matching results displayed above. You’re not able to share the full song, however — only a 30-second clip.

Above: Tinder music test with Spotify; credits: MSPoweruser

Tinder, like its rival Bumble, has offered integration with Spotify’s streaming music service since 2016.

Both apps allow users to connect their Spotify accounts in order to showcase their top artists on their profile. As Tinder explained at the time of launch, music can be a powerful signal in terms of attraction, and plays an important role in terms of getting to know a new connection, as well.

The company even launched its own profile on Spotify, with playlists focused on dating, love and romance as a part of its collaboration with the music service.

The Spotify integration has paid off for Tinder in terms of user engagement within its app, the company tells us.

“Users love connecting over shared tastes in music,” a Tinder spokesperson explained. “In fact, users who update their ‘Anthem’ are most likely to start a conversation via Feed. With this in mind, we’re testing the ability to share music with a match while chatting on Tinder,” they added.

The “Anthem” is a feature that lets you pick a favorite song or one that’s representative of your tastes or personality. This is then highlighted in a special section on your Tinder profile.

Tinder did not offer any details as to when it expects the test to wrap or when it would launch music sharing more broadly.

Lenovo’s ultraportable speaker is as slim and small as your phone

The Lenovo 700 Ultraportable Bluetooth Speaker is quite literally the most portable one ever. Most portable Bluetooth speakers are portable alright, but they aren’t slip-into-your-pocket portable. Audio drivers tend to have depth/thickness to them, resulting in speakers that may be small and lightweight, but are almost always chunky too, making them ideal for laptop bags, but not pant pockets.

Lenovo’s latest offering wants to be the kind of Bluetooth speaker you carry around with you, the way you carry your phone. Designed to be pretty much the same size as the phone you have, the Lenovo 700 slides right into most pockets with ease. At just 11mm thick, it’s probably the slimmest Bluetooth speaker to exist, and can fit into your pocket without you even noticing the difference. However, take it out and tap it against your phone and the Lenovo 700 becomes a speaker worth noticing. Built with NFC and Bluetooth 5.0, the speaker pairs with your device almost instantly when brought close to it, and a set of controls located on the base of the speaker grill let you toggle through your music and even answer and reject your calls.

Given that the Lenovo 700 is too thin to stand on its own and needs to be placed lying down, the speakers are built to push sound outward in 360°, rather than just upwards. This approach makes it easy to listen to your music no matter where you are in relation to the speaker. The speaker provides 8 hours of use on a completely charged battery (which takes two hours to charge to 100%), and even comes with an IPX2 rating, making it splashproof. Designed to be carried everywhere you carry your smartphone, the Lenovo 700 was made to be used both indoors and outdoors, at work or at home, and even be the speaker-of-choice to take to the gym or even the poolside.

The speakers were a part of Lenovo’s CES 2019 showcase, but are yet to be launched.

Designer: Lenovo

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Pandora launches a personalized voice assistant on iOS and Android

Pandora today announced the launch of its own, in-app voice assistant that you can call up at any time by saying “Hey Pandora,” followed by a request to play the music or podcasts you want to hear. The feature will allow you to not only control music playback with commands to play a specific artist, album, radio or playlist, but will also be capable of delivering results customized to you when responding to vague commands or those related to activity or mood. For example, you’ll get personalized results for requests like “play something new,” “play more like this,” “play music for relaxing,” “play workout music,” “play something I like” and others.

The company reports strong adoption of its service on voice-activated speakers, like Amazon Echo devices, where now millions of listeners launch Pandora music by speaking — a trend that inspired the move to launch in-app voice control.

“Voice is just an expected new way that you engage with any app,” notes Pandora Chief Product Officer Chris Phillips. “On the mobile app, we’re doing more than just your typical request against the catalog… asking: ‘hey, Pandora,’ to search and play or pause or skip,” he says. “What we’re doing that we think is pretty special is we’re taking that voice utterance of what someone asks for, and we’re applying our personalized recommendations to the response,” Phillips explains.

That means when you ask Pandora to play you something new, the app will return a selection that won’t resemble everyone else’s music, but will rather be informed by your own listening habits and personal tastes.

The way that result is returned may also vary — for some, it could be a playlist, for others an album and for others, it could be just a new song, a personalized soundtrack or a radio station.

“Play something new” isn’t the only command that will yield a personalized response, Pandora says. It will also return personalized results for commands related to your mood or activity — like workout music, something to relax to, music for cooking and more.

For podcasts, it can dig up episodes with a specific guest, play shows by title, or even deliver show recommendations, among other things.

Voice commands can be used in lieu of pressing buttons, too, in order to do things like add songs to a playlist or giving a song you like a thumbs up, for instance.

The new feature, called “Voice Mode,” taps into Pandora’s machine learning and data science capabilities, which is an active battleground between music services.

Spotify, for example, is well known for its deep personalization with its Discover Weekly and other custom playlists, like its Daily Mixes. But its own “voice mode” option is only available for its Premium users, according to a FAQ on the company’s website.

Pandora, meanwhile, is planning to roll out Voice Mode to all users — both free and paid.

For free users, the feature will work in conjunction with an existing ad product that allows users to opt in to watch a video in order to gain temporary access to Pandora’s on-demand service.

While this option is not live at launch, the plan is to allow any user to use the “Hey Pandora” command, then redirect free users with a request to play music on demand to instead play the opt-in ad first.

Pandora Voice Mode will launch today, January 15, to a percentage of the iOS and Android user base — around a million listeners. The company will track the speed, accuracy and performance of its results before rolling it out more broadly over the next couple of months.

Users with a Google Home device can also cast from their Pandora app to their smart speaker, and a similar feature will arrive on Alexa devices soon, the company believes.

Pandora works with Siri Shortcuts, too. That means you can now use voice to launch the app itself, then play a personalized selection of music without having to touch your phone at all.

Voice Mode will be available in the Pandora app via the search bar next to the magnifying glass.

Guess what Sony’s latest bluetooth speaker looks like…

You may constantly need to explain yourself to your parents or conservative family members when they first take a look at the Sony LSPX-S2 Glass Sound Speaker, because trust me, it looks uncannily similar to something you’d find in a college-going teenager’s room.

Mary Jane reference aside, this product, weird as it may look, is classic Sony. Sony as a company is famed for creating products that are state of the art, but also weird (Verge has chronicled most of them down)… and the LSPX-S2 or the Glass Sound Speaker is the latest entry into that category. Designed to look like a candle stand (I believe that was the original intent), the Glass Sound Speaker was made to serve as an all-round piece of audiovisual entertainment as it packs a light into it too. Made to sit on tabletops or bedstands, and to serenade one with music while cozy in bed or while preparing a meal or having a romantic dinner, the light within flickers with the intensity of a candle flame, but what’s more interesting is the audio setup that sits underneath.

The speaker, right below the glass tube, comprises a 35 mm mid-range driver and a passive radiator to deliver the mids and the low-ends. However, for the higher frequencies, the speaker relies ON the glass tube. “The organic glass body itself vibrates after being tapped by the actuator under it to spread the sound vertically in a 360-degree direction. The organic glass tube tweeter has a wider surface (compared to conventional speakers) to create crystal clear sound with minimal loss of volume.”, says Sony. Innovative, for sure, but I still can’t shake off the overall shape that Sony decided to go with… and priced at $700 that’s a mighty expensive water-pipe looking piece of tech right there.

Designer: Sony

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Spotify will now let brands sponsor its Discover Weekly playlist

Spotify has begun testing a new type of ad in Discover Weekly, its personalized playlist of music that’s the streaming service’s flagship feature. The company says that, for the first time, it will allow a brand to “sponsor” this playlist as opposed to just running ads. It believes many advertisers will be interested in this opportunity due to the playlist’s ability to reach heavily engaged Spotify users, and because it allows advertisers to “own the personalized listening experience” on Spotify.

According to Spotify, Discover Weekly listeners stream more than double the amount of users who don’t listen to the playlist because of the personalized experience it offers. That will make the ad product more compelling, compared with brands’ existing ability to sponsor other editorial playlists on the service.

With Spotify’s Sponsored Playlist ad product, brands can surround Spotify’s free listeners with audio or video messages in ad breaks, and gain Spotify’s help in building a collaborative marketing plan.

Microsoft will kick off the launch of branded ads by running an A.I. ad campaign called “Empowering Us All.” This will explore A.I. across sectors like Education, Healthcare and Philanthropy. Spotify says it was a good fit for the launch, as Discover Weekly is customized for each user by taking advantage of A.I. technology.

“At Microsoft we are focused on empowering every individual and organization to do more. Our work in AI is a central part of that mission to unlock human ingenuity,” said Erin Bevington, General Manager of Global Media at Microsoft, in a statement. “Our partnership with a technology innovator like Spotify offered a way for us to effectively share that message within a personalized entertainment experience powered by AI.”

Spotify recently passed 200 million monthly active users, but is now looking to new ways to generate revenue from its user base beyond simply converting free users to premium subscribers.

The company has been growing its subscriber base at a steady pace, but Wall St. hasn’t been happy with its financials. One issue is that its newer promotions, like its low-cost student and family plans, have seen its average revenue per user dropping – as of Q3 2018, it had fallen 6 percent year-over-year to $5.50. A more valuable ad product could help bring these numbers back up. 

“Personalization has quickly gone from a nice-to-have to an expected consumer experience that delights audiences and marketers are craving opportunities to be part of it” said Danielle Lee, Global Head of Partner Solutions at Spotify, in a statement. “Our new Discover Weekly ad experience positions advertisers for success and ensures that our fans are hearing messages that embody the ethos of discovery.”

Brand sponsorships for Discover Weekly are currently in beta testing, says Spotify.