Kids get an exciting new YouTube with a cool new look and their own profiles

Children are getting a whole new look to YouTube which brings with it an enhanced experience for kids of all ages.

YouTube say that they’ve spoken with “parents all over” to find out that kids who love using YouTube want the platform to grow with them as they get older. A big overhaul of YouTube Kids brings an enhanced experience for children of all ages.

Sign in with your Google Account to set up your children’s new YouTube experience:

  • Kid profiles to customize your kids’ experience: Now you can create a profile for each of your kids. Even better, kid profiles work across all different devices!
  • App design tailored to your kid’s age: When you enter a date of birth on the kid profile, YouTube Kids changes the way the app looks. Younger kids will get less text, while older kids will get more content on the home screens.
  • A new setup process: The new app parent setup process will give you detailed information to help you make the right choices for your family before your kids use the app.
  • Passcode for kids: Kids can set a secret passcode to get into their profile (and keep their brother or sister out). Don’t worry, you can always override their passcode.

YouTube Kids is now live in 37 countries, has more than 70 billion views in the app, and more than 11 million weekly active viewers.

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YouTube say: “We’re looking at ways to build an even better experience for families. Coming soon, we’ll give parents the option to have more content available in the app experience for their child. Our team is working to identify the most relevant content categories for tweens to make the app even more awesome.”

Google Home puts you into Stranger Things with a new game

Transform your Google Home into a walkie talkie and join the Stranger Things characters as they journey through the perilous adventures of season 2.

Google have teamed up with Netflix’s hottest series (except maybe Orange is the New Black) to take you on a journey to The Upside Down. Do you have what it takes to be part of the Hawkins Middle School AV Club? That’s what Google wants to know.

From today you can transform your Google Home into a walkie talkie and go on an interactive adventure through the new season of Stranger Things. Simply say to your Google Home speaker, “Ok Google, talk to Dustin from Stanger Things” and you’ll join the Stranger Things boys from the other side of their walkie talkies.

Google say that the journey will take you through the adventures of Stranger Things season 2 as you help to guide the characters and give them “crucial direction”. Unfortunately it seems like the game only works on Google Home and Google Home Mini speakers, and not any Google Assistant powered device. It’s also only available for US, UK, Canada, and Australia users.

Google have also integrated Stranger Things support between Chromecast and Google Home. This means that watching the new season of Stranger Things is as easy as asking: “Ok Google, play Stranger Things on Netflix”. You’ll need a Netflix subscription of course.

Make the most of it whilst Google are Stranger Things crazy and get involved in the story.

Hide behind the sofa, Stranger Things and is back with a terrifying soundtrack

The long awaited follow-up  to Netflix’s 80’s style horror series has dropped and it’s everything you’ve been waiting for and more.

Last year Netflix released the star-studded throwback Stranger Things that became an instantly loved phenomena, combining amazing acting with a uniquely spooky story, 80’s thriller inspiration and a glorious soundtrack. The recipe came together into a perfectly baked show that captured the hearts of millions around the world. Now it’s back.

The show’s second series is now on Netflix in all it’s glory, just in time for the Halloween season. Whilst the show’s glory comes in unifying so many wonderful ingredients, the soundtrack is incredible enough to stand on it’s own as a feat of musical prowess.

The soundtrack was created by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein of S U R V I V E after Distasterpeace originally turned down the task for the first series. The two musicians/composers efforts coalesce old-school synth sounds with emotional ambience that can take you anywhere from crying on the floor like a baby to hiding in the bathroom with a knife expecting Jack Nicholson to burst through at any moment.

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Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon, engineers behind Stranger Things’ lauded soundtrack

Dixon and Stein created their beautiful, ominous and eerie sounds using a combination of classic and contemporary equipment. Analog synths involved in the process include the Prophet V, Roland SH-2, and a Mellotron as well as a heap of filters and effects that helped shape the alien yet magnificent sounds which are paramount to the unique feeling and atmosphere that envelops Stranger Things.

The first series’ soundtrack was so notable and vital to the success and wonder of Stranger Things that both volumes of the first series’ soundtrack were nominated for the Best Score Soundtrack Category in the 2017 Grammy Awards… seperately! The duo behind it then went on to win the Emmy for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music.

You can listen to Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein discuss the creation and inspiration behind the series’ beloved theme song in a new Song Exploder podcast. Listen to it here:

Spotify drops their original TV shows, but signal big video reboot

After a couple years of dipping their toes in the water of video, music streamers Spotify are reportedly dropping their shows – but this isn’t the end of Spotify shows.

Spotify are cancelling their original shows and rebooting their video content once again, according to sources talking to Bloomberg. After multiple attempts to make video content a thing on Spotify, to varying degrees of success, it looks like they’re going to reboot shows on Spotify for the 2nd time – and hopefully this time get it right.

Previous attempts have included a Shows section for third-party content like shows from Adult Swim, chat show clips, news stories, and so on. After realising no-one wanted to watch something on Spotify that they could easily watch elsewhere, especially since it was a mobile & tablet exclusive feature, Spotify delved into original shows.

Bloomberg’s information comes from “people with knowledge of the matter” who say that Spotify are cancelling their original video series in general as well as ones still in production. They also claim that Courtney Holt, their newly appointed head of video chosen to take Spotify’s video in a new direction, is exploring a new format that would be special to Spotify.

Previous video heads have failed to bring video on Spotify to any real fruition after Matt Baxter licensed video content from Walt Disney Co., Viacom Inc. and Vice Media Inc. Baxter’s efforts saw little activity, so Tom Calderone stepped in as head of video and took about creating original created shows for Spotify. Whilst they were well made, good ideas on interesting subjects a lack of advertising or prevalence in their service left them mostly ignored. Spotify hope Holt can connect the dots and create a unique and engaging video experience on the world’s favourite music streaming service.

Holt is reportedly in the process of pitching a service called Spotlight that would synergise video, music, and images to create a captivating hub for all of the top content on Spotify. The sources say that this is nowhere near concrete as Spotify would have to redesign their app, spreading the effort amongst multiple departments. Despite their relentless attempts to make it work it’s still unclear as to how much Spotify is willing to push video.

As Spotify continue to struggle making a profit despite their success, video could be their route to financial security. Especially as Spotify are still yet to fulfill their plans of going public, and need to assure that there company has enough value to fulfil a successful IPO.

Apple hires TV exec to take on Netflix and Amazon video

As Apple seemingly move more and more towards working with video they’ve just hired a British TV executive involved in Bake Off and Sherlock.

Apple have hired TV executive Jay Hunt, poaching her from Channel 4 where she was responsible for the £75 million acquisition of the new TV fad The Great British Bake Off. Joining Apple as the Creative Chief of video operations in Europe, Jay Hunt’s hire strongly suggests that Apple have something larger planned for video than just some series on Apple Music.

Jay Hunt has an impressive history throughout British TV having spent time in notable roles at Channel 4, the BBC and Channel 5 – missing only ITV for a staple British channels bingo. Hunt quit channel 4 earlier this year just days before they announced the new Chief Executive which Hunt was considered the favourite of six candidates for, raising questions over her exit – leaving officially in September.

Hunt will report to Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, the worldwide heads of video at Apple who have both themselves joined from prestigious positions at Sony Pictures Television. Erlicht and Van Amburg have some serious credentials in their past being involved in the production of hit shows like Breaking Bad and The Blacklist.

Hunt will start work at Apple in January when we may have a better idea at what their plan is for video. We already know that they have been creating original shows for Apple Music, their music streaming service, to give more value to the service. However their bold TV and video hires recently suggest a much larger ambition.

Apple recently started their new series of Carpool Karaoke which they bought from The Late Late Show with James Corden, they now both have series of the popular format. Other shows from Apple include Planet of the Apps, a show which sees apps and developers face a panel of celebs including Will.I.Am, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jessica Alba. Planet of the Apps was received with unwelcoming hands and hasn’t set the greatest precedent for original content from Apple.

Having entered the music streaming world over 2 years ago now it seems like Apple are dipping their toes in video before moving onto something larger. Many inside the industry expect that Apple are working towards a Netflix-type video streaming service. Whatever the case, it seems like something is larger at play here – and we can’t wait to find out what!

Viral YouTube videos might make chart hits on Billboard soon

Can you imagine Gangnam Style being number one in the official charts? Billboard and YouTube might be teaming up to count video plays in chart data.

According to a new report YouTube plays are to be integrated into Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, representing the biggest music over all genres. This could have a massive impact on the charts, especially with hits that go viral on YouTube without reaching the same success outside of YouTube.

Last year Billboard added streaming data from services like Spotify and Tidal to their charts to more accurately represent the music people are listening to. Then at the start of 2017 Billboard integrated streaming into all of their music charts. Now YouTube are the next big step in corroborating music performance across every platform to depict what’s hot in the world of music.

Interestingly, a move that could truly change the dynamics of the Billboard Hot 100, the move wouldn’t just include official music videos. User-made videos that feature music will also be included in the data so that unofficial uploads of music will count towards chart performance. This is a questionable move but assuming the user’s videos are legally monetised to distribute revenue to artists it could be great for artists.

Assuming the reports are accurate this would be great news for independent artists as well. Streaming sites and YouTube have become brilliant portals for artists without access to major distribution to get a name out there. Now with a viral video or a well shared track we could be seeing much more diversity within the charts.

Whilst it isn’t currently much more than a rumour, music industry rumours have a good track record of becoming true. A source told Hypebot that talks are ongoing between Billboard and the labels about what data can be used and they are yet to make a decision about the inclusion of YouTube.

YouTube will no longer let you share web links in videos

YouTube have restricted external links to other websites being put into videos except from select creators.

In a bizarre and potentially very damaging move YouTube has decided to ban links that lead out of YouTube in their ‘end cards’ unless you’re making money for them. They have announced that the restriction will take place from now on for all users except creators in the YouTube Partners program.

YouTube claim they have introduced the restriction to curb abuse that comes from viewers following links from videos to write/cause abuse. What it seems more like from the outside is that YouTube are trying to prevent creators who haven’t signed up to make money off of video ads (which YouTube takes a big cut of) are going to be extremely limited. Yet another move to appease YouTube’s advertisers whilst ignoring any needs of it’s community and creators.

YouTube say:

In order to use externally-linking end cards in videos, creators are being asked to join the YouTube Partner program, so that we can evaluate the validity of the channel, as well as determine whether the channel is following our community guidelines and advertiser policies. This update is meant to curb abuse and does not affect current YouTube partners or existing end cards. Additionally channels do not have to actually monetize any videos as part of this requirement.

Now YouTube creators who make money from platforms outside of YouTube, don’t want to monetise their videos, or just haven’t reached 10,000 views yet can’t link out of YouTube at the end of their videos. This means official websites, Patreon sites, even relevant articles/sources can’t be added in an easily clicked end card. For fan-funded channels who make money from donations rather than ads this could spell their demise on the world’s biggest video hosting site.

For musicians, artists, producers, DJs and everyone else in music this a horrific move. YouTube is a great promotion tool for video content, but without the option to link to your fan pages, pages where you can purchase their music, or anything else YouTube is going to go from a great promo platform to a dead-end.

Safe to say a lot of creators are angry and YouTube are facing the backlash as we speak. Fortunately there is somewhat of a workaround for now that some channels can attempt. Creators have reported that if you join YouTube’s Partner Program without enabling monetisation you will be able to add links as usual for now.

Good luck recovering from this one YouTube.

BandLab taking over “Twitch for DJs” Chew.tv

BandLab have just acquired Chew.tv, a live streaming platform focused around DJs performing and learning from each other.

Chew.tv has been described as the “Twitch for DJs” and was struggling to keep going, until BandLab Technologies came in to save the day. The online, video-based community will make a solid addition to BandLab’s “social music-making” platform which will be integrated into BandLab’s website.

Chew.tv launched in 2015 as a place for both amateur and professional DJs to come together and learn/perform with each other. The emphasis on live video was based on gaming streams like those on Twitch from where users would flock to learn from skilled players and could engage with the gaming community.

It began to gain popularity with a faithful user-base frequenting their website to watch or record live streams. They announced earlier this year in July that they had more than 380,000 users that have created over 120,000 hours of content since Chew.tv’s conception. Following a brutal hack where their streaming infrastructure was “heavily misused” Chew.tv’s dedicated users helped save the company by raising £12,000 in donations after the team revealed they were going out of business with repairal costs.

Following recent money troubles though BandLab have stepped in to take over and fund the streamer for producers and DJs. Chew.tv will be renamed Chew by BandLab and their streaming technology will be integrated into their Android and iOS apps. This integration will make Chew available “for use by BandLab’s existing user base of close to 2 million users.”

BandLab will acquire all of Chew.tv’s technology and IP in the deal however the price of their acquisition isn’t being shared. A BandLab spokesperson said: “We’re not disclosing dollar amounts for the deal. This was a privately funded deal – we worked to find a fair price that both parties were happy with.”

BandLab CEO and founder, Meng Ru Kuok said: “I am very pleased that Chew will now be supported by the BandLab team. For the past two years I’ve been closely watching the growth and development of this great platform and community of DJs. One of the most important parts of being a musician today is performing live, and as an extension of that, it’s extremely important for us to be able to digitally support creators and musicians who want to bring their live performances to the world.”

Every winner at the MTV Video Music Awards 2017, Kendrick Lamar dominates

This year’s MTV VMAs had the poorest viewership in history but it was still a grand event, dominated by hip-hop king Kendrick Lamar.

Kendrick Lamar took home the most awards at this year’s VMAs following his 4th studio album DAMN. and the slew of artistic videos that went alongside it. The pinnacle of the ceremony, Video of the Year, went to Kendrick for his music video to Humble which also won him 5 more awards.

Other notable winners include Ed Sheeran who took home Artist of the Year and P!nk who was awarded the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. A moving performance by Logic, Khalid and Alessia Cara of his new song “1-800-273-8255” (named after the suicide hotline) was performed with suicide survivors and the mother of the woman killed at the Charlottesville rally recently alongside on stage.

Here are all the winners of the different rewards:

VIDEO OF THE YEAR

Kendrick Lamar – “HUMBLE.”

ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Ed Sheeran

MICHAEL JACKSON VIDEO VANGUARD AWARD
P!nk

BEST NEW ARTIST
Presented by Taco Bell®
Khalid

BEST COLLABORATION
Zayn & Taylor Swift – “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever (Fifty Shades Darker)”

BEST POP
Fifth Harmony ft. Gucci Mane – “Down”

BEST HIP HOP
Kendrick Lamar – “HUMBLE.”

BEST DANCE
Zedd and Alessia Cara – “Stay”

BEST ROCK
Twenty One Pilots – “Heavydirtysoul”

BEST FIGHT AGAINST THE SYSTEM
Logic ft. Damian Lemar Hudson – “Black SpiderMan”
The Hamilton Mixtape – “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)”
Big Sean – “Light”
Alessia Cara – “Scars To Your Beautiful”
Taboo ft. Shailene Woodley – “Stand Up / Stand N Rock #NoDAPL”
John Legend – “Surefire”

SONG OF SUMMER
Presented by Verizon
Lil Uzi Vert — “XO Tour Llif3”
PROFESSIONAL CATEGORIES
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Kendrick Lamar – “HUMBLE.”
Cinematographer: Scott Cunningham

BEST DIRECTION
Kendrick Lamar – “HUMBLE.”
Director: Dave Meyers & the little homies

BEST ART DIRECTION
Kendrick Lamar – “HUMBLE.”
Production Designer: Spencer Graves

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Kendrick Lamar – “HUMBLE.”
VFX Editor: Company: Timber/Lead: Jonah Hall

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY
Kanye West – “Fade”
Choreographers: Teyana Taylor, Guapo, Matthew Pasterisa, Jae Blaze & Derek Watkins

BEST EDITING
Young Thug – “Wyclef Jean”
Editor: Ryan Staake & Eric Degliomini
PERFORMANCES
KATY PERRY FT. NICKI MINAJ – “Swish Swish”

P!nk
“Get The Party Started”
“Raise Your Glass”
“So What”
“Just”

KENDRICK LAMAR – “DNA” + “HUMBLE.”

SIR ROD STEWART FT. DNCE – “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy”

ED SHEERAN & LIL UZI VERT– “Shape Of You” + “XO Tour Lilf3”

MILEY CYRUS – “Younger Now”

LOGIC FT. KHALID – “1-800-273-8255”

DEMI LOVATO – “Sorry Not Sorry”

THIRTY SECONDS TO MARS – “Walk On Water”

FIFTH HARMONY FT. GUCCI MANE – “Angel” + “Down”

SHAWN MENDES – “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back”

LORDE – “Homemade Dynamite”

KYLE – “iSpy”

ALESSIA CARA  – “Scares To Your Beautiful”

JULIA MICHAELS – “Issues”

YouTube gets a new look and a bunch of features

YouTube have refreshed their look and design with a sleek new appearance and introduce a bunch of great features on mobiles.

When YouTube launched 12 years ago, it was a single website that supported one video format, 320×240 at 4:3 aspect ratio. Fast forward to today, and YouTube lets you watch any combination of SD, HD, 4K, 360, 3-D, and live video on nearly every device with an internet connection – from desktops to phones, tablets to TVs, game consoles, and even VR headsets.

YouTube has come a hell of a long way, but there’s no end in sight with a fresh coat re-enlivening the YouTube site and app’s appearance. As they say themselves: “We’re not even close to done. Over the last few months we’ve started releasing updates and will continue to throughout the rest of the year. When all is said and done, we’ll bring a new level of functionality and a more consistent look across our desktop and mobile experiences.”

On the website the new YouTube logo and icon is subtle but pleasant, changing very little but making it clearer and easier to work with. The new desktop design introduces Google’s Material Design to YouTube giving it a fresh new look and making the website simple and intuitive to navigate. If you’re looking to switch up YouTube’s look a bit you can now apply ‘Dark Theme’ which makes the background dark for a cinematic experience, or just if you prefer black.

New infinite scroll means you can scroll down endlessly looking at videos and comments. Verification badges have been updated to a higher resolution so that it is harder for unverified channels to imitate verified channels. Creator and account settings are now all in the right hand menu under your profile picture. Sub numbers will also be rounded to simplify stats, whilst you can still see precise numbers under the channel name on the ‘About’ section on a channel’s page.

YouTube’s mobile app meanwhile gets a bunch of new features and some still to come:

  • Clean new design: We’ve made the header white to let content take the lead and moved the navigation tabs to the bottom of the app so they’re closer to your thumbs. We also added new Library and Account tabs that give you easy access to what you’re looking for.
  • Videos that move with you: One of the things we’re working on is bringing gestures to YouTube. Earlier this year, we introduced a gesture that allows you to double tap on the left or right side of a video to fast forward or rewind 10 seconds. Give it a try! We already see billions of double taps per day. And I wanted to give you a sneak peek at another gesture I am really excited about. In the coming months, we’ll experiment with a feature that lets you jump between videos with a simple swipe of your hand: just swipe left to watch a previous video or swipe right to watch the next one.
  • Watch at your own pace: Users love that they are able to speed up and slow down the playback of a video on desktop, and we’re excited to bring this feature to the mobile app today, so you can enjoy videos at whatever speed you prefer.
  • Adapt to any video, beautifully: We’ve also been experimenting with new ways to display all videos in the best possible way. Soon, the YouTube player will seamlessly change shape to match the video format you’re watching, such as vertical, square or horizontal. That means you’ll always get the best viewing experience automatically – including vertical videos with no black bars on the sides!
  • Browse and discover while you watch: We recently added a feature that lets you view a row of suggested videos while you’re watching in full screen. We’re also working on transforming the area below the player so you can browse videos in totally new ways.