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Apple Shazam: Why is the US company buying the music app?

Scan your eyes over Apple’s just-published list of the year’s most popular iPhone apps, and there’s one notable omission: Shazam. In fact, it’s been a while since the song-identifying software squeezed its way into the iOS App Store’s top 10. So, why has Apple confirmed it is “combining” its business with that of the smaller London company? It has not revealed the price it is paying, but the sum is rumoured to be as much as $ 400m (£300m), which would make it one of Apple’s most expensive takeovers to…

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Gossip 

Has original music saved The X Factor?

The X Factor was a little different this year. OK, very different. There was no deadlock, the live shows were revamped and cut in number, there were far fewer sob stories and each week Dermot revealed which act had come top of the public vote as well as bottom. But perhaps the most interesting change was contestants being allowed to perform their own songs at the live shows, rather than just covers. It resulted in an original song (Dimelo by Rak-Su) being chosen as this year’s winners’ single – a…

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Spotify and Tencent Music buy stake in each other

Two of the world’s most popular online music streaming services are buying shares in one another. Spotify and China’s Tencent Music Entertainment will buy minority stakes in each other, the companies have said. Neither the value of the deal nor the new shareholding sizes were disclosed, but reports have suggested they will both be taking a 10% stake. Tencent Music Entertainment’s owner, Tencent Holdings, will also separately buy a minority stake in Spotify. Spotify launched in 2008 and now provides music streaming to 140 million users globally, of which 60…

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Now That's What I Call Music albums dominated iTunes in 2017

If you think the instant availability of all of the music, all of the time has killed off compilation albums… you’re completely wrong. Apple Music has just revealed its biggest albums of the year, and the Top 10 includes four entries for the Now That’s What I Call Music! series. Now 95 is the most popular collection, coming third in the year-end chart. Now 96, Now 97 and Now That’s What I Call Christmas also feature in the countdown. The list combines figures from Apple’s streaming service, Apple Music, and…

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Culture 

Turning Hurricane Data Into Music

During the 2017 hurricane season, major storms in the North Atlantic devastated communities in and around Houston, Florida, Puerto Rico and the wider Caribbean. The destruction shows how important it is to understand and communicate the serious threats that these storms pose. Scientists have made great strides in forecasting many aspects of storms, but if the people at risk don’t understand the danger they’re in, then the impact is lost. We are colleagues from different areas of the Penn State campus: One of us is a professor of meteorology, and…

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Gossip 

R&B star Miguel on making music 'at the brink of war'

“We’re at the brink of war. Literal war.” Miguel, the R&B star best known for priapic boudoir anthems like Adorn, has had a rude awakening. “Immigration, gun violence, terrorism. We are at the brink of war. “And, at the same time, we’re the most advanced we’ve ever been, technologically. “We have the ability to communicate in every single way, at any time, but that’s just causing more turmoil.” He doesn’t say it outright, but the singer is talking about Donald Trump’s Twitter tirades. We talk on 9 October, the day…

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Russell Simmons: Music mogul steps down after sex allegation

Russell Simmons, the music mogul who co-founded Def Jam Records, has stepped down from his companies after being accused of sexual misconduct. Jenny Lumet has said he directed his driver to take her to his apartment after she’d said she wanted to go home, before they had sex, around 1991. Simmons said her memory of that evening is “very different from mine”. But he apologised for being “thoughtless and insensitive” in some relationships over the years. In a statement, he said: “While I have never been violent, I have been…

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