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Spotify's revamped podcasts will include more photos and video

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 12:44:00 -0500

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Spotify announced today that it's launching a new multimedia format called Spotlight that will pair visual elements like photos and videos with podcasts, audiobooks and other audio content. It's the first big feature from Courtney Holt, Spotify's head of studios and video who joined the company last September after Tom Calderone left in August. When Holt was hired, Spotify said that he would be focusing on expanding premium video content as well developing podcast and audio programming offerings. "We are excited to launch Spotlight, a new format that merges great storytelling, news, information and opinion with visual elements all delivered in playlist form across a number of content categories," Holt said in a statement. "Playlists play an important role in the daily lives of our users bringing them closer to the creators they love."

Via: Variety

Source: Spotify




Siri’s news bulletin feature goes live in the UK and Australia

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 07:07:00 -0500

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Brits can now ask their iThings to give them a brief update on what's happening in the world with the command: "Hey Siri, give me the news." Siri doesn't actually read the news, though, and instead will automatically play the latest podcast from a trusted source of your choice. I was treated to a 2-minute bulletin from BBC News when I said the magic words to Siri this morning, which also offered Sky News and LBC up as alternative sources.

Via: 9to5Mac




'Nintendo Power' is back as a podcast

Thu, 21 Dec 2017 13:07:00 -0500

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Nintendo Power published tips, strategies, news and everything Nintendo for 24 years until it shut its doors in 2012. The magazine met its demise due to the rise of new media, but now it's back -- in the form of a podcast. Nintendo of America has announced the podcast's debut episode on Twitter, where it has also revealed that the show is hosted by Chris Slate, the magazine's former Editor-in-Chief. Slate talked about Breath of the Wild in the debut episode with the game's producer, Eiji Aonuma, and director, Hidemaro Fujibayashi. A fitting start considering the success of Switch and the Zelda title itself.

Source: Nintendo of America (Twitter)




FX will turn podcast hit 'Welcome to Night Vale' into a TV show

Sun, 10 Dec 2017 03:33:00 -0500

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It's not just Amazon hoping a podcast's success will translate to a TV series. FX has reached a deal with Sony Pictures Television to turn Welcome to Night Vale into a TV show. Most of the details haven't been nailed down, but Better Call Saul executive producer Gennifer Hutchison will handle the adaptation with the blessing of podcast co-creators Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink. The story certainly lends itself to TV: it imagines the fictional town of Night Vale as a place where every conspiracy theory is true.

Source: Night Vale Podcast (Twitter), Deadline




Duolingo podcasts are a casual way to learn a new language

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 12:52:00 -0500

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Duolingo is moving beyond gamifying language learning and into podcasts. The first season focuses on simple-to-understand Spanish-language stories. But they aren't fiction. The first episode is about a boy who loves soccer (football to the rest of the world) and his local Mexican team getting promoted to Division One. The podcast has a NPR feel to it, which is probably because it's hosted by Martina Castro, who co-founded the broadcaster's Radio Ambulante series.

Via: VentureBeat

Source: Duolingo




We're listening to: Chelsea Wolfe and 'The Sounds In My Head'

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 13:00:00 -0400

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Welcome back to IRL, our series dedicated to the things that Engadget writers play, use, watch and listen to. This week, we're focusing on music and podcasts, from Chelsea Wolfe through to Kelela. First up, Senior Editor Daniel Cooper explains why he can't stop listening to an erotic novel.




Podcast patent troll's fight might finally be over

Fri, 03 Nov 2017 11:21:00 -0400

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We've been covering the frankly absurd claim that Personal Audio LLC owns podcasting for awhile now, but it looks like the patent trolls have finally been stopped for good (for real this time). Back in August, a three-judge panel of US Court of Appeals rendered the organization's patent invalid, and it looked like that was the end of this bizarre legal ride. But Personal Audio LLC wasn't quite finished. The organization's lawyers argued that this three-judge review process violated their client's constitutional right to a jury trial. This week, the appeals court rejected this argument without comment.

Via: Ars Technica

Source: EFF (1), EFF (2)




Google buys short-form audio startup to bolster its podcast efforts

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 18:07:00 -0400

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60Db, the short-form podcast app, looks like it's shutting down. The app's developer Tiny Garage Labs has joined Google, according to a post on Medium. Haven't heard of it? Well, then you probably won't miss it much come November 10th. In the past year though, the team worked with some 80 editorial partners to produce "hundreds of audio stories." What they're up to next isn't clear. As Business Insider notes, Google Play Music already has a section for podcasts, so perhaps this is a move to help revamp a seemingly abandoned portion of the mostly abandoned app.

Source: Medium




The Engadget Podcast Ep 44: Amazon announces all the things

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 10:00:00 -0400

At last, an episode of The Engadget Podcast where we have no reason to talk about Apple! This week, we turn our attention to a small underdog of a company with a narrow, well-thought-out product line. Just kidding, we're talking about Amazon, which has enough money to roll out a wide range of products and see what sticks. We ranked the company's confusing new lineup from "sensible" to "weird," and also carved out a few minutes to rant about Twitter's new 280-character experiment. With that, we're going dark again for a little while, but hope to bring you new episodes soon enough, possibly in a new format. Suggestions? Feedback? Feel free to email us or leave your thoughts in the comments. frameborder="no" height="300" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/344446852%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-SjAQK&color=%23ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%"> Relevant links: Amazon is hosting a surprise Alexa-focused event today at 1:30PM ET Amazon's redesigned Echo features improved sound Amazon's Echo Connect gives you a smart speakerphone for your landline Echo Button is Amazon's tiny accessory for party games Amazon's Echo Plus packs in a smart hub Amazon's new Fire TV is a 4K-capable, Chromecast-style dongle Amazon launches Echo Spot, an Alexa-powered alarm clock Hands-on with Amazon's new Echo and Echo Plus Amazon Echo Spot hands-on Every new Echo announced today -- and a Fire TV Amazon's confusing new Echo lineup: There's a method to the madness Twitter experiments with doubling its character limit Twitter proved its priorities are screwed up with just 280 characters Subscribe on Google Play Music Subscribe on iTunes Subscribe on Stitcher Subscribe on Pocket Casts [...]



The Engadget Podcast Ep 43: Hits, misses and leaks

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 10:00:00 -0400

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If last week's episode was overwhelmingly about Apple, this week's episode includes some partial respite, in the form of another tech titan: Google. For the first half of this episode, senior editor Chris Velazco and I recap his review of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which posted on Tuesday. We also get into the Apple Watch Series 3's LTE connectivity issues, and reminisce about other Apple product launches that haven't gone quite as planned. Then, in the second half of the episode we talk about the implications of Google buying HTC's Pixel team, and finish up by running through everything that's been leaked about Google's upcoming hardware announcement. (And my, there have been a lot of leaks.) Enjoy!

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Relevant links:

Subscribe on Google Play Music

Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher

Subscribe on Pocket Casts




Amazon is building a haunted house to hype its spooky 'Lore' series

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 17:42:00 -0400

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Amazon's podcast-turned-series Lore is launching on Friday, October 13th, just in time for pre-Halloween fun. But the online shopping has more up its sleeve to get folks in the right spooky holiday spirit. Amazon is opening an immersive haunted house experience in Los Angeles next month that's themed to the show's thesis: "The scariest stories are often true."

Via: The Verge

Source: Just Fine Productions




NPR's biggest podcasts are available on the iHeartRadio app

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 13:39:00 -0400

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There's a new place to listen to your favorite NPR podcasts: the iHeartRadio app. A press release says that Fresh Air, How I Built This, Invisibilia, Planet Money and Up First will be available via the app, among some 30 others. So, wherever the iHeartRadio app exists (Android, iOS, Alexa are a few examples) you'll be able to catch up on Radiolab. It isn't the biggest news in the world, but more access to NPR's podcasts is sure to make a few people happy today.

Source: iTunes, Google Play, iHeartRadio




The Engadget Podcast Ep 42: Everything Apple

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 10:00:00 -0400

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Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that Apple held a keynote at its glass-empaneled new "spaceship" campus this week, during which it announced a boatload of stuff. So much stuff, in fact, that my colleague Chris Velazco and I devoted an entire episode of the Engadget Podcast to it. Join us as we talk about the new iPhones (all three of them), plus the Apple TV 4K and LTE-enabled Apple Watch Series 3.

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Relevant links:

Subscribe on Google Play Music

Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher

Subscribe on Pocket Casts




We're listening to: 'You Must Remember This' and Brand New

Mon, 11 Sep 2017 10:00:00 -0400

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Welcome back to IRL, our series dedicated to the things that Engadget writers play, use, watch and listen to. This week, we're focusing on music and podcasts, with new albums from Queens of the Stone Age and Brand New. Sandwiched between the nostalgia-filled music is a ... nostalgia-filled podcast about old Hollywood.




Engadget Podcast Ep 41: High Hopes

Fri, 08 Sep 2017 10:00:00 -0400

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This week senior editor Chris Velazco and I meant to recap Chris's review of the Galaxy Note 8, but this quickly devolved into speculation about next week's Apple event and opining about the crowded smartphone space in general. Also, we made some diversions into Apple Watch etiquette and the apps we've considered getting rid of. (For the record, I do think there's a polite way to glance at your watch.) All that and more in a short 30-minute-ish episode. Enjoy!

frameborder="no" height="300" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/341381560%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-1iPGS&color=%23ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%">

Relevant links:

Subscribe on Google Play Music

Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher

Subscribe on Pocket Casts




Spotify's new head of podcasts and video ran Disney's Maker Studios

Wed, 06 Sep 2017 14:55:00 -0400

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That didn't take long. Less than a week after Spotify lost its head of video and podcasting Tom Calderone, its snatched Disney's Courtney Holt for the job. As Variety notes, Holt led Maker Studios when the House of Mouse purchased it back in 2014, and became CEO a year later. Spotify confirmed the hiring to Engadget and said that he'll focus on expanding premium video offerings in addition to podcasts and other types of audio programming. This hire serves as evidence that the streaming service is taking another swing at pushing deeper into podcasts. Here's to hoping for more stuff like Traffic Jams, too.

Source: Variety




Engadget Podcast Ep 40: This Is Your Night

Fri, 01 Sep 2017 15:30:00 -0400

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Hello there! After a summer-long hiatus, The Engadget Podcast is back, starting with a five-episode run through the month of September. Because our usual host Terrence O'Brien is out on paternity leave ('grats, Terry!), you're stuck with yours truly and senior editor Chris Velazco as co-hosts. In this week's episode, we chat about Google's newly announced ARCore developer kit as well as highlights from IFA, which is going on this week in Berlin. (Hint: Google Assistant is everywhere at the show.) Enjoy, and if you're wondering about the song in this week's title, well, let's just say there was an earworm going around the studio as we hit record. Many thanks to our audio engineer, who edited out any singing.

frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/340486789&color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%">

Relevant links:

Subscribe on Google Play Music

Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe on Stitcher

Subscribe on Pocket Casts




Spotify's head of video and podcasting leaves the company

Thu, 31 Aug 2017 22:58:00 -0400

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Last year Spotify rolled out a package of original video shows, however, they've mostly failed to make an impact and now the executive in charge of the initiative has left the company. Bloomberg first reported that Tom Calderone, a former head of VH1, was out after overseeing the rollout of a dozen music-related series last year. In a statement provided to The Hollywood Reporter, Spotify said that "We are focusing our expanding video offerings on Rap Caviar, Rock This and other popular Spotify owned and operated playlists...Building out our video and podcast content remains a priority for Spotify and we will have more information to share on our future plans soon."

Source: Bloomberg, The Hollywood Reporter




Amazon's podcast-inspired 'Lore' series premieres October 13th

Tue, 29 Aug 2017 12:58:00 -0400

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Amazon embraced the podcast revival late last year when it opted to turn the nonfiction podcast Lore into a Prime Video series, and you're about to see whether or not its effort was worth the wait. The internet giant has revealed that its Lore adaptation will reach Prime Video on October 13th. It's a six-episode stint, but it could be intriguing even if you haven't listened to a single episode of the show that inspired it. It combines documentary footage with cinematic scenes to tell the origins of horror myths, and it stars big names like Terminator 2's Robert Patrick and True Blood's Kristin Bauer van Straten.

Source: Amazon, YouTube




Anchor's app turns your podcasts into social videos

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 14:40:00 -0400

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Podcasts might be enjoying a resurgence, but they're not exactly designed for social networks. Are your friends really going to notice the link to your latest episode when there's a cute cat video beckoning? Anchor might have a way to capture their attention. It's updating its Android and iOS podcasting apps with an option that turns your recordings into easily shared videos. The software automatically transcribes your dialog (you can fix any hiccups, of course) and exports it a slick-looking clip that fits the format of your choice. If you want to get the word out through Instagram, you can have a square-shaped video ready within moments.

Via: The Verge

Source: App Store, Google Play




Federal court steps in to protect podcasts from patent troll

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 13:16:00 -0400

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The venerable podcast is the bastion of broadcasters big and small, from major news outlets to DIY publishers. But, for the last few years, this hallowed ground has come under threat from patent troll Personal Audio -- which has tried to sue podcasters of all sizes. It claims it created the concept of the podcast. Thankfully, the U.S. Court of Appeals disagrees. A three-judge panel of the court just affirmed a previous decision rendering Personal Audio's patent invalid. The ruling declares the company was trying to protect an invention that already existed. Meaning podcasters and listeners can rest easy, for now.

Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation




Podcast helped free a Swedish man after 13 years in prison

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 14:02:00 -0400

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If you're in prison for murder, may I suggest getting yourself onto a podcast? It worked for Kaj Linna, a Swedish man just released from prison after a podcast got him a retrial.

Source: BBC




What we're listening to in June

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 12:00:00 -0400

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We spend every minute of the working day bringing you news, reviews and features on every aspect of technology. Like everyone else, though, we also use tech outside of work hours. Last month we launched a new series about the gadgets we use every day, the apps and services we can't live without and what we watch and play.

This week, it's time for music and podcasts. We start with a personal story from Dana Wollman on her on-again-off-again relationship with podcasts, before four other editors offer quick takes on the music and shows they've been obsessing over this month.




Apple podcast updates will help you catch up on 'Serial'

Sat, 10 Jun 2017 18:24:00 -0400

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Podcasts have come a long way from the days when they represented a novel way to fill up your iPod. There are now shows with seasons (like Serial), teasers and other trappings that you'd normally expect from TV. Simply speaking, podcast apps need to evolve to keep pace with listening habits... and Apple knows it. The company has detailed changes to the specs for iOS 11's Podcasts app that will make it easier to listen to shows as intended. The spec now supports seasons, and you'll have the option of downloading an entire season in one go if you're catching up. Creators can specify that a show is meant to be heard in chronological order, and they can tag podcasts as bonuses or teasers. And that's not all -- Apple is also helping podcasters make a better living through ads.

Via: Six Colors

Source: Apple (PDF)




LeVar Burton is reading to you again on his new podcast

Fri, 09 Jun 2017 21:59:00 -0400

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In a world where everyone has a podcast (or two -- you've subscribed to ours, right?), this new one is interesting. LeVar Burton is joining the game with a new weekly storytelling podcast that should take millennials right back to their Reading Rainbow childhoods. LeVar Burton Reads will be available for free on all platforms beginning June 13th, however starting with episode two, it will appear on Stitcher Premium a week early.

Source: Levar Burton Reads