Get 3 months of Spotify Premium Free before 2021

Sign up to Spotify Premium before the end of the year and you’ll get three full months of unlimited, ad-free streaming for free.

Spotify are offering a fantastic deal from now until the 31st of December to ensure that everyone’s year goes out with a musical bang. Users who haven’t already trialled Spotify Premium can take advantage of 3 whole months of their Premium music subscription service at no cost.

If you’re not aware of what Spotify Premium offers you; it removes adverts which interrupt your streaming experience so you can listen to a whole album seamlessly, allows you to download music to listen offline and on the go, you can skip music unlimited times and play any song of your choosing including on mobile devices.

Spotify Premium is a great choice for the music lover and listeners who don’t want their listening experience interrupted. You can take advantage of the offer now – it only applies to individual Spotify subscriptions – until the end of the year.

Your Spotify 2020 Artist Wrapped is ready – see how far your music has grown this year

Image credit: Spotify

See your musical milestones in 2020 and connect with the fans that stream your music, by sharing your achievements on social media with sharecards.

Spotify’s Wrapped for Artists celebrates your year’s highlights as an artist, such as how many streams you gained, how many hours your music was streamed for, your total number of unique listeners, how many countries listened to you and so much more:

  • Total hours streamed
  • Moment when the most people were listening to the artist at the same time
  • Number of times listeners played any of the the artist’s songs on repeat
  • Info showing the journey of an artist’s top track: Number of streams, how it traveled around the world, the moment when it had the most listeners at the same time, playlist adds, and more
  • Countries where the artist was streamed for the first time, including the one that listened to them the most
  • Increases in followers, total listeners, new listeners, streams, or playlist adds
  • Number of fans that had the artist as their most listened to artist
  • Total number of fans sharing the artist’s profile, albums, and songs, including the song that fans shared the most
  • List showing some of the artist’s collaborators

All of this is ready to share with the fans that replayed you the most on social media with sharecards. Here are some examples from some of Spotify’s top new emerging artists who debuted in 2020 and made a big impact:
Danna Paola, Péricles, Brandy, Mt. Joy, Zoe Wees, Emanuel, Jenevieve, Mustafa, glaive.

Image credit: Spotify

Log in or claim your account at Spotify for Artists to access your 2020 Artist Wrapped.

Listeners can access their 2020 Spotify Wrapped here.

Beats drop a limited-edition pair of Studio 3 Wireless in FaZe Clan’s iconic red tiger camo

Apple’s Beats by Dre in collaboration with esports organization FaZe Clan drop a red tiger camo pair of Beats Studio 3 Wireless headphones on NTWRK app.

Professional esports and entertainment organization FaZe Clan first partnered with Beats back in May. Now the two companies are teaming up to launch a special limited run of 500 headphones wrapped in FaZe’s red tiger camo inspired by the elite skin in their favourite first-person shooter, along with a similarly branded hard case.

The custom Beats Studio 3 Wireless dropped on shopping app NTWRK that often sells limited runs of products to Gen Z and millennial consumers. The drawing for the headphones is now closed. Those selected will be able to purchase the rare headset for $350.

FaZe partnering with Beats has been a super meaningful moment for gaming and music culture. We’ve created so much cool content together but now that we’re teaming up on a product release with these Studio 3 wireless headphones in the classic FaZe Red Tiger Camo, our fans are going to go wild. I hope everyone loves them as much as I do.

Kristopher “FaZe Swagg” Lamberson, new FaZe Clan member
FaZe Clan Beats Studio 3 Wireless

The headphones were first teased in a horror film trailer from Brian ‘FaZe Rug’ Awadis. Ten pairs were handed out to fans who won a digital scavenger hunt across FaZe’s social accounts.

Internally, the over-ear headphones are identical to before, with ANC, 22-hour battery, on-ear controls, and Apple’s W1 chip for quick pairing, switching between devices and Audio Sharing.

NTWRK was founded by Jaime Iovine, the son of Beats founder Jimmy Iovine. NTWRK has obtained the exclusive global rights to all future FaZe Clan products, as existing apparel and merch is also integrated into the platform. No words on the financials of this deal.

The non-FaZe Beats Studio 3 Wireless still retail on the Apple Store for $349.95, which is waaayyy overpriced for a three year old product, but can be found on Amazon renewed for $195.49. Still, I’d recommend these top 5 ANC headphones over the Studio 3 Wireless, or these top 5 headphones under $200 if you’re on a tighter budget.

Last month, Beats collaborated with fashion brand Ambush for a special edition of their Powerbeats line.

Your 2020 Spotify Wrapped is ready – Who did you stream the most this year?

Spotify’s yearly Wrapped is a great way for listeners to see which artists, songs and podcasts they streamed the most over the last year.

December this year means three things, the start of Christmas, the near end to a year that’ll go down in history and Spotify Wrapped once again – the yearly tradition of bragging that you have a better music taste than your friends.

Spotify Wrapped shows you your year in music and podcasts, with in-depth details on your most streamed artists, tracks, genres and playlists, as well as details like songs you listened to before they were cool.

As usual, Spotify Premium members get even more info on what they’re listening to. New additions to 2020’s Spotify Wrapped include:

  • New in-app quizzes – Guess your top podcasts, artists and decade you streamed the most.
  • Story of Your 2020 – From the date you listened to your top song for the first time, to its 100th stream and other notable milestones in between.
  • Deeper dive into podcast listening – How many minutes you spent listening to podcasts.
  • New Badges (for Premium listeners) – For example, if a number of your playlists gained significant new followers you’ll be crowned Tastemaker, or you listened to a song before it hit 50,000 streams you’ll be a Pioneer, or if you’ve added a large number of songs to your playlist, you’ll be a Collector.
  • New personalized playlists – Your Top Songs, showing all of your most streamed songs in one playlist, Missed Hits, songs Spotify thinks you’ll like that you didn’t listen to in 2020. Listeners in the U.S., UK and Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada also get On Record, a mixed media playlist that features songs and playlists featuring your top artists.
  • The world of Wrapped to non-users – even if you’re not subscribed to Spotify, you can still see the latest global music and podcast listening trends, such as the most streamed artists, tracks, podcasts and decades. Find more here.
Spotify Wrapped Top Streamed Songs Globally

Head to the Spotify app on iOS or Android to watch your year unwrapped. Click here to see your 2020 Wrapped playlists as well as the top tracks, artists and podcasts around the world and locally.

Why have Spotify introduced stories to their app?

Spotify are testing a new Instagram-like stories feature on their app, but is a music streaming service the right place for stories?

Following in the footsteps of many social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn (I didn’t know about that one either) and recently Twitter, Spotify are currently testing the new feature on a handful of playlists with clips from major artists.

As hilarious as it is that every social media platforms (and now other types of services) have seemingly directly copied Snapchat’s feature, is Spotify really the place for stories?

Spotify stories could be a good place to hear more from artists or playlists curators, with a behind-the-scenes look at the albums creation or curators decision to include certain tracks. But are playlists really the best place to introduce this feature?

Personally I don’t care what inspired Meghan Trainor’s new Christmas song, however should the feature be rolled out to all artists, I would be interested to see stories from artists that I follow (not friends that I follow, I have Instagram) appear at the top of the homepage, letting me know about their new single or shouting out a similar artist.

Time will tell if this feature catches on and becomes available to more artists or playlist curators as it moves out of testing. We’ll be sure to let you know if Spotify brings this feature to the masses.

How to get your music on Spotify’s artist breaking playlists.

Spotify test stories feature on playlists with behind-the-scenes clips from artists

First debuted in earlier this year, Spotify now expand the feature to some of their most popular playlists, including Christmas Hits and tear drop.

Following the success of Snapchat, Instagram and whole bunch of other social media platforms, Spotify test their own stories feature out after a small introduction earlier this year with select influencers. Spotify invite some of the biggest artists on their playlists to record video clips about their new and classic singles and albums.

Spotify’s Chistmas Hits playlist includes the new feature, with clips from Ava Max, Meghan Trainor, Kelly Clarkson, Brett Eldredge, Stevie Mackey, Jennifer Lopez, Pentatonix and Phil Springer. When viewed on iOS or Android, you’ll see a circular animated preview above the playlist title. Much like Instagram stories, tap the preview to open the story, tap to the right to see the next clips, tap to the left for the previous clip and swipe down to exit. The clips can include track previews. Unlike Instagram, clips are not limited to 15 seconds.

Other playlists with stories includes tear drop and Megan Thee Stallion presents Good News, the Enhanced Album.

The Unlikely Return Of Cassettes

Image by Brian Kostiuk

In the age of streaming the cassette is returning and surprising everyone with its success.

The internet has made music consumption easier than ever before and given rise to the age of streaming and digital content. The days of queuing outside your record store for the latest release are pretty much gone. At the click of a finger and at a very accessible price streaming services
– such as Spotify and Apple – provide a massive back catalogue of music to listeners. Even the way we digest music videos is totally different, gone are the days where you’d flick between Scuzz, Kerrang and MTV watching the latest music videos of your favourite artist, now YouTube dominates in this area. 

Even with this rise of technology and the initial demise of record sales there has been a bounce back of physical music sales. Vinyl sales have bounced back and as we head into 2020 they’re at an all time high since 1990. CD sales are also still in high demand but there has been a slight drop, but generally CD sales are steady. The one format that no one expected to not only return but flourish is cassette, but they have. There are several reasons to as why they’ve returned and they all play into each other. The standout reasons being that they are seen as quirky and niche, pop culture and the rise of retroisms and the increase if DIY labels and artists. 

Like vinyl they have a certain charm that streaming is not able to capture. In your hand you have the physical recording of the artists music. You get to listen to it as the artist intended without a skip button. It allows for the listener to sit back and truly lose yourself in the music, an art form that dwindling. When you hold it in your hand you feel as if you’re feeling a bit of the artists soul, which in some ways you are. Much like vinyl they are often accompanied by artwork, this too brings you closer to the music and adds a value to it that digital versions cannot. 

At the end of 2019 roughly 75,000 tapes were sold but that still only counts for 0.2% of all album sales in 2019. Interestingly the biggest sale in 2019 was a pop release, Billie Eilish’s debut album ‘When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’ with 4,000 sales. This was followed closely by Catfish & The Bottlemen’s ‘The Balance’, Madonna’s ‘Madame X’ and Lewis Capaldi’s ‘Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent’. All very mainstream artists. However, in comparison to overall sales this is very low, which suggests that cassettes are (for mainstream artists at least) simply another form of merch. For example Billie Eilish released an extremely limited edition on fluorescent green cassette, her trademark colour. It’s a similar marketing tactic used by artists who release limited edition vinyls in an array of colours. 

Another example of cassettes being used in a unique way was by Nas, who hid golden cassettes around Manhattan, with clues on his and Def Jam’s instagram, a real fusion of new and old. The fans who found the cassettes first won invites to the launch party of his The Lost Tapes 2′ compilation, available on a limited edition white cassette. 

But cassettes aren’t just a fad used by mainstream artists for marketing tricks or novelty. A lot of underground artists, who are normally followed by dedicated music fans, use cassette as a genuine medium for their music. This is especially prevalent in the underground punk, noise and rock scenes. In the UK there are several DIY cassette labels that have a vast array of artists on their label and an even more impressive back catalogue of music. The ones that stand out though are Opal Tapes, Sacred Tapes and Tombed Vision Records. Each one respectfully masters in their field and working within a rising subculture called tapeheads. There now exists a vibrant online community around cassettes, there is the tapehead forum and the cassette culture subreddit. Not to mention a variety of online publications and zines dedicated to new tape releases and news, such as Cassette Gods, Die or DIY and Tabs Out (also a popular podcast). Within this community there is also a comment on the audio quality, unlike vinyl’s attraction in being superior, cassettes attraction is it’s rough and ready sound. The hiss and hum of the recording is a selling point, in some cases the more the merrier (particularly in the noise scene). 

The reason for this boost in cassette labels and cassette fans can also be equated to price, cassettes are cheap to manufacture and sell. Which makes it very attractive for labels and for fans who want to own physicals of certain releases but may not be able to invest in every record release. The standard price for a new vinyl is roughly in the £20 range, cassettes are half that and cost around £10. A start difference and a no brainer if you’re a music fan with a budget. Artists such as Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall have been releasing music on cassette since their beginning. They have kept on doing so even with solid album sales success. 

The rise of cassettes has opened up two camps, one with fans of semi-know and mainstream artists and the other for the underground scenes (which arguably never diminished). The appeal for cassettes in a wider audience though is certianly going to increase, especially as we’re in a time of retro-fetishism and nostalgia. Through mainstream media and pop culture there is an increasing rise to the retrospective. Examples of this are Guardians Of The Galaxy, the main character ‘Star Lord’ has a vintage Sony Walkman that plays 70’ & 80’s classics. It’s a main focus point of the character. Netflix’s The Crown latest season is set in the 80’s and fashion and again cassette players are on show often. These are just two examples, in general as a society we are looking backwards for inspiration. This is giving birth to a return of older formats and ways of consuming music. No matter what, like most formats cassettes will always remain, whether that is in an underground capacity or not. The medium has shown its ability to survive modern times and even adapt with it. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised is cassettes steadily incline in popularity over the years. Either way it is another physical platform for music and its success cannot be a bad thing. 

Offer: 6 Months Free Amazon Music Unlimited with Selected Echo Devices During Black Friday

Amazon is offering an amazing deal during Black Friday for its new range of Echo devices.

Click here to see the full range of Echo Devices and Offers.

Amazon is offering 6 months free on Amazon Music Unlimited (its streaming services) if you purchase a specific Amazon Echo device during Black Friday. This is an amazing deal that will save you at least $60

Music exceeded one-trillion streams in the US in 2019 alone

Image credit: Nielsen Music, MRC Data via Statista

According to provider of music sales data Nielsen Music/MRC Data, the US streamed a total of 1.15 trillion songs by the end of 2019.

The end of year report comes from Nielsen Music/MRC Data, stating on-demand audio and video (such as music videos on YouTube) streams hit one-trillion on November 25th 2019, totalling 1.15 trillion at the end of the 12 months. This amounts to roughtly 3,500 songs per person in the US.

The report shows a 24% increase in audio streaming over 2018 to 746 billion streams, plus a 41% increase in video streams to 401 billion. Between 2013 and 2019, the US has seen music streaming increase more than tenfold. As the graph above shows, in 2015 the majority of music streams were made via video streaming, the same year Apple Music launched. Since then, milions of more consumers in the US and around the world have subscribed to services such as Spotify, YouTube Music, Pandora, Amazon Music, Apple Music, etc. In 2019, audio streaming accounted for around two thirds of all music streams.

Ad-supported and subscription streaming services currently account for around 80% of US music revenue, overtaking physical music and download sales some time ago.

Forgotify Brings The Unheard Music Of Spotify To Your Ears

Image from Forgotify

Discover An Array of Unheard Music.

Tired of listening to the same mainstream sounds that EVERYONE else is? Want to take your music tastes into unknown realms? With Forgotify you can find an artist that no one has heard of, making you the most musically superior at any social gathering. 

Forgotify will tear through Spotify in search of songs with zero plays, playing songs that literally no one has listened too, which surprisingly there are many. According to data that Spotify released in October of last year, 80% of the 20 million songs (roughly) on Spotify have been listened to once. Leaving 20% totally unheard, that’s roughly 4 million songs. 

You’re probably thinking, well there must be a reason no one has heard these songs? Although there are factors of quality it is also just because of the high volume of submissions from all over the world. A lot of the song are covers but now and then an enjoyable track will pop up. 

What makes Forgotify really interesting is that after you’ve played the song it counts as a listen, so you will be the first (and maybe only) person to hear that piece of music. Each experience is unique and ephemeral. It’s also worth noting that Forgotify in itself is short lived, as in theory if the rate at which people use Forgotify supersedes the rate in which artists upload it will eventually cease. Each listen is a step towards its end. 

It’s a really interesting way of listening to music and given unheard artists some time of day. Not to mention it is really fun. It’s almost the digital version of picking through the pound bin in your local record shop. Who knows what craziness you might find, heck you may even discover the next Led Zeppelin.