Spotify’s Head of Original Video and Podcasts, Tom Calderone, Departs

Spotify's Head of Original Video and Podcasts, Tom Calderone, Departs

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Spotify will focus its video efforts around Rap Caviar
  • Music industry executives would like Spotify’s video efforts to focus on
  • Spotify has over 60 million paying subscribers

Spotify is parting ways with Tom Calderone, the head of original video and podcasts, after the music-streaming company’s initial round of programs failed to catch on with audiences.

The online pioneer confirmed Calderone’s departure in an email Thursday. Spotify will focus its video efforts around Rap Caviar, the service’s most popular playlist, Rock This and other features, a spokesman said.

With the move, Spotify is narrowing its video ambitions. Calderone, the former head of cable network VH1, commissioned a dozen series from producers including Tim Robbins and Russell Simmons. He also oversaw podcasts, an area of growing importance at the world’s largest paid music service. Now the company is making clearer that it wants videos on the service to stay closer to the music industry.

While Spotify has known for some time it wants to offer more programming beyond music, the company has struggled to settle on a strategy.

Before YouTube, Hulu or Sony introduced online TV services, Spotify tried to assemble a bundle of TV channels for a live video service in Europe. The company abandoned those plans after failing to line up all the channels it wanted for the right price, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Spotify also licensed short-form videos from Vice Media Inc., Viacom’s Comedy Central and Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN in 2015. Then in 2016, the company hired Calderone to oversee an in-house studio. He led Viacom’s VH1 during its heyday and quickly ordered shows including Simmons’s “Traffic Jams,” where musicians composed a song while stuck in traffic and performed the it on reaching their destination.

Despite those efforts, video never been featured prominently within Spotify, a source of frustration for many partners. No series has broken out.

Music industry executives would like Spotify’s video efforts to focus on music. That would bring more attention to their artists and new releases, and not divert royalty-generating listeners to other content. Thanks to Spotify, the music business is growing for the first time in almost two decades and record labels aren’t especially keen to see the company diversify into other forms of entertainment.

And of late, Spotify has tested seeding playlists with music videos and short documentaries, including Rap Caviar.

While Spotify is still formulating a video strategy, its investment in podcasting continues to grow. The company has purchased advertising in popular shows Reply All and The Bill Simmons Podcast, and plans to announce a new slate of original podcasts soon.

The company is planning to go public later this year or early next, and just reached a new long-term deal with Warner Music Group, the third-largest record label.

With more than 60 million paying subscribers for the music service, Spotify has commissioned non-music content to increase the amount of time users spend with the app and keep them from leaving to watch video on YouTube or Facebook. Non-music programming also benefits the company by reducing the share of sales it must hand over to music rights holders.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Laptop Ban Lifted in Egypt, Morocco

Laptop Ban Lifted in Egypt, Morocco

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Egypt and Morocco’s airlines say electronics ban has been lifted
  • The original ban affected airports in Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, and more
  • The ban remains in place for Riyadh and Jeddah

Egypt and Morocco’s airlines have said a ban against carry-on laptops on US-bound flights has been lifted, leaving only two Saudi airports under the restrictions put in place in March.

Morocco’s Royal Air Maroc said in a statement Wednesday that the ban, imposed amid fears the Islamic State group was developing a bomb concealed in electronics, would be lifted as of Thursday.

EgyptAir said late Tuesday that the United States had also lifted the ban for the carrier’s flights to New York from Wednesday.

The ban remains in place for Saudi Arabia’s two main international airports in Riyadh and Jeddah.

The original ban affected airports in Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, as well as Turkey.

ALSO SEELaptop Ban: Royal Jordanian, Kuwait Airways Say Now Exempt

But last month, the US Department of Homeland Security issued directives to 180 carriers around the world flying into the United States to improve security procedures, especially in screening baggage and electronics.

The directives included pressure to install explosive-detecting scanners within weeks, as well as adding more bomb-sniffing dogs.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

iOS 10.3.3, macOS 10.12.6, watchOS 3.2.3, and tvOS 10.2.2 Updates Released: What’s New

iOS 10.3.3, macOS 10.12.6, watchOS 3.2.3, and tvOS 10.2.2 Updates Released: What's New

HIGHLIGHTS

  • New versions are minor updates
  • Available worldwide for supported devices
  • iOS 10.3.3 brings security fixes and other improvements

Apple rolled out minor software updates for all its major platforms – iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS – on Wednesday evening, most of which have to do with bug fixes, performance improvements, and security updates.

iOS 10.3.3 fixes a number of security issues that could affect core services such as Messages, Safari, WebKit, and Contacts. Meanwhile, macOS Sierra 10.12.6 is said to improve security, stability, and compatibility of your device. It also patches a few enterprise aspects, such as SMB, Xsan, and the Terminal app.

The Apple Watch update – watchOS 3.2.3 – fixes some of the same issues that plagued iPhone and iPad, aside from kernel and Wi-Fi security improvements. That leaves tvOS 10.2.2, which is only available for the most recent 4th-generation Apple TV. It too handles similar security updates.

iOS 10.3.3 can be downloaded through the Settings app under General > Software Update, while macOS Sierra 10.12.6 is available via the Mac App Store. As always, we advise you backup your iPhone or iPad before installing the update.

watchOS 3.2.3 can be found in the Apple Watch app under General > Software Update, and tvOS 10.2.2 is available under Settings > System > Software Updates.

In fall this year, Apple will release major new updates for all of its platforms in the form of iOS 11, macOS High Sierra, watchOS 4, and tvOS 11. Public beta versions are already available for some of these operating systems if you wish to test out the new features, though do understand that beta software can be buggy and can even lead to data loss.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Samsung, Panasonic and 20th Century Fox join hands for HDR tech alliance

Samsung, 20th Century Fox, Panasonic, HDR 10 plus, HDR

Samsung Electronics on Monday said that it has agreed to join US’ 20th Century Fox and Japan’s Panasonic Corporation to expand the ecosystem for the High Dynamic Range (HDR) 10 Plus technology. (Image Credit: AP)

Samsung Electronics on Monday said that it has agreed to join US’ 20th Century Fox and Japan’s Panasonic Corporation to expand the ecosystem for the High Dynamic Range (HDR) 10 Plus technology.

The agreement is aimed at inducing more TV producers and movie productions to join the ecosystem for the new technology, Yonhap news agency quoted Samsung as saying.

The HDR technology allows screens to deliver vivid displays by optimising brightness depending on colours, boasting improved display quality.

The HDR 10 Plus technology is a next-generation standard for high-resolution video content developed by Samsung. Samsung said the companies will establish a license agency for HDR 10 Plus technology in January.

The participating companies will be able to share the technology to produce improved visual content. “The partnership of the three companies will help users around the globe experience the HDR 10 Plus technology,” Samsung said.

Samsung plans to host the QLED and HDR10 Plus Summit on the sidelines of the Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) in Berlin, which kicks off for a six-day run on September 1, inviting business partners to promote the technology.

[“Source-indianexpress”]