SiriusXM Launches an $8 Monthly Plan for People Without Cars

SiriusXM is trying to expand its satellite radio service to those who do not have cars or compatible car stereo systems.

The company is doing this through a plan that they call SiriusXM Essential.  The plan costs $8 per month and provides more than 200 radio stations that users can listen to either at home or through mobile devices.

SiriusXM Essential includes all the music programming the company offers through its Premiere Streaming plan, and it also includes a number of sports channels as well as news and comedy channels.  Still, many notable radio channels are missing from the plan. Among those channels not included in the plan are:

  • Howard Stern’s two radio channels
  • NBA
  • NHL
  • NCAA

Those who do not have cars (or compatible stereos) but are interested in these premium channels will be able to purchase the Premiere Streaming plan for in-home and mobile listening sometime in mid-May for $13 per month.

Matt Epstein, vice president of marketing at SiriusXM, said that SiriusXM Essential is an attempt to reach a younger demographic.

He said that young people generally do not drive enough to make the purchase of a satellite radio system worth it.

Even worse, Epstein noted that because some young people do not own cars, they do not even know about the existence of SiriusXM.  That presents a serious awareness issue, with competitors like Spotify and Apple Music obviously not suffering the same issue.

Epstein also mentioned that the company wanted to take advantage of the explosion of smart speakers.  Already, Sirius has witnessed a dramatic increase in listening at home.  Smart speaker listening has increased by 60% in the last year alone, according to the company.

Some may wonder if SiriusXM Essential is in competition with Pandora, which Sirius bought last year for $3.5 billion. But in spite of similar offerings, Epstein insists that the services are complementary.

SiriusXM Essential is initially offering a 3 month trial for $1.

Beyonce Received $60 Million for a Three-Project Netflix Deal

Beyonce has inked a $60 million project deal with Netflix, according to details now emerging.

According to a report from Variety this weekend, Beyonce has signed a three-part deal producing multiple projects with the streaming company.

Homecoming, the name of the first of three projects, is a behind-the-scenes look at Beyonce’s 2018 Coachella performance. The price tag associated with this project by itself is reported to be $20 million.

Beyonce is also releasing a live album associated with the documentary. The album is 40 songs and includes two bonus songs near the end.  The bonus add-ons are “Before I Let Go” by Frankie Beverly & Maze and “I Been On,” a song that was uploaded to Soundcloud back in 2013.

Other sources indicate that Netflix may have outbid HBO to secure Beyonce’s documentary. This is a departure from Beyonce’s 2016 association with HBO, Lemonade.  Neither HBO nor Netflix have commented on the details of these discussions.

The documentary of the behind the scenes performance promises to be an impressive display.

Expect to see many backup dancers, a marching band, and an impressive musical showcase.  At one point, over were counted on stage. The performance was a performance feat, with Beyonce stating that she wanted to “bring her culture” to Coachella.

Netflix has previous experience with similar content, include Lady Gaga’s Gaga: Five Foot Two. Other popular music-based documentaries include the recently-released Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, though perhaps that one should thrown into a different sub-category entirely.

Beyonce’s live album is available on all major streaming platforms: Apple Music, Google Play, and Spotify. Netflix subscribers can also watch the documentary right now the streaming platform.

As for remaining projects slated for the $60 million dollar deal, no further announcements have been made.

Nicki Minaj & Chris Brown Embarking On Tour This Summer

A recent report by Variety revealed Nicki Minaj and Chris Brown would be teaming up for a tour this year. Breezy confirmed the news Instagram but shared a small correction.

“THE TOUR WILL NOT BE IN THE FALL!!!!!!!” Brown wrote. “IT IS IN THE SUMMER! THIS SUMMER.”

Variety originally reported the tour would begin in the fall. The publication cited Brown and Minaj having a date scheduled at the Prudential Center in New Jersey on September 13. But according to Brown, this will be on the tail end of the tour as opposed to the beginning.

Breezy and the Black Barbie recently collaborated on a new single titled “Wobble Up.” The track also features G-Eazy.

Stream Brown’s “Wobble Up” single with Nicki and G-Eazy below.

Erick Sermon Shares "Vernia" LP

Erick Sermon has returned with a new solo album titled Vernia.

The EPMD member’s latest LP features collaborations with Raekwon, AZ, Devin The Dude, Xzibit, Shaquille O’Neal, Big K.R.I.T. and more. Rockwilder, DJ Battlecat, Apathy and E Double himself are among those responsible for the production.

View Sermon’s Vernia stream, cover art and tracklist below.

Erick Sermon Shares "Vernia" LP

1. Payne Intro f. RJ Payne
2. Wake Up/No Fear
3. Da Wave f. Yummy & Da YoungFellaz
4. Tha Game f. AZ & Styles P
5. Go f. No Malice, Try Bishop & Kaelyn Kastle
6. My Style f. Raekwon, N.O.R.E. & Boogeyman
7. That Girl f. Big K.R.I.T. & Ricco Barrino
8. Cabinet
9. Stay Real Part 2 f. Nature & Keith Murray
10. Zion f. Xzibit, David Banner & Shaquille O’Neal
11. May Sound Crazy f. Too $hort, Devin The Dude & Maine
12. 300 E f. Kami Marsden
13. Vernia

Stream Kanye West’s Sunday Service & Final Day Of Coachella 2019

Indio, CA – The 2019 Coachella Valley Arts and Music Festival comes to a close on Sunday (April 21) with a special presentation by Kanye West. The G.O.O.D. Music boss is kicking off the final day by hosting an edition of his Sunday Service series.

Kanye’s Sunday Service began in January, but this Easter version will be the first time it’s been open to the public. Fans around the world will be able to witness Yeezy’s unique celebration as part of the Coachella livestream on YouTube.

Later, the festival wraps up its second weekend with another jam-packed day of performances. YG, Pusha T, Rico Nasty, Khalid, Playboi Carti, Lizzo, SOB x RBE, Kaytranada, H.E.R. and Gucci Gang (Gucci Mane, Lil Pump and Smokepurpp) are among those scheduled to take the stage.

Watch Kanye’s Sunday Service and the rest of Coachella 2019 above.

Wiz Khalifa Drops New Project ‘Fly Times, Vol. 1’

Wiz Khalifa celebrates 4/20 with the surprise release of Fly Times, Vol. 1: The Good Fly Young.

On his second project of 2019 (following his Curren$y collaboration 2009), the Taylor Gang boss calls on friends including Ty Dolla $ign, Problem, Curren$y, Chevy Woods, and Houston singer Young Deji, who appears on six of the 14 tracks. The surprise release also features production from hitmakers like DJ Fresh, Harry Fraud, Statik Selektah, and TM88.

“I’m back and rolling joints bigger than ever,” the superstar stoner boasts on the opener “Real As You Think.”

Earlier this week, Wiz premiered his Apple Music documentary series Wiz Khalifa: Behind the Cam. During the five episodes, he offers fans an intimate glimpse into his life, with appearances from those closest to him including his son, mother, and Taylor Gang family. He can also be seen playing a skunk in Lil Dicky’s star-studded video for “Earth.”

Roll up some Khalifa Kush and get Fly below.

Stream Wiz Khalifa’s Project ‘Fly Times, Vol. 1: The Good Fly Young’

Wiz Khalifa celebrates 4/20 with the surprise release of Fly Times, Vol. 1: The Good Fly Young.

On his second project of 2018 (following his Curren$y collaboration 2009), the Taylor Gang boss calls on friends including Ty Dolla $ign, Problem, Curren$y, Chevy Woods, and Houston singer Young Deji, who appears on six of the 14 tracks. The surprise release also feature production from hitmakers like DJ Fresh, Harry Fraud, Statik Selektah, and TM88.

“I’m back and rolling joint bigger than ever,” the superstar stoner boasts on the opener “Real As You Think.”

Earlier this week, he dropped his Apple Music documentary series Wiz Khalifa: Behind the Cam. During the five episodes, he offers fans an intimate glimpse into his life, with appearances from those closest to him including his son, mother, and Taylor Gang family. Wiz can also be seen playing a skunk in Lil Dicky’s star-studded video for “Earth.”

Roll up and get Fly with Wiz below.

Spotify Zombie App Alert: Android Installs Cross a Record 500 Million

Spotify has surpassed 500 million downloads on Android, despite having only 207 million monthly active users.

How many ‘zombie apps’ does Spotify have?  According to the latest Google Play Store counts, Android devices alone have 500 million total Spotify apps installed.

The high install number is undoubtedly inflated by people who no longer use the app.  But the same person installing Spotify across multiple Android devices also counts, making a precise ‘zombie’ estimate difficult to calculate.

Still, this is the first non-preloaded music streaming app to pass 500 million downloads on Android — ever.

Spotify has beat Pandora, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, Deezer, and several others to the 500 million mark.

Both TIDAL and Apple Music still have a paltry 10-50 million downloads. That’s in comparison to the previously mentioned apps which all have 100-500 million downloads.

The stat comes with good news, and bad news.  Even with the inflated numbers over actual subscriber counts, it appears that Spotify is the most popular streaming app among Android users.  It’s not hard to see why, especially when Spotify with Android-heavy manufacturers like Samsung.

There are also rumors that Spotify is looking to create its own physical hardware in the future.  Earlier this year, The Financial Times reported that Spotify would release an in-car music player this year.  The rumored player is expected to cost around $100.

Spotify is attempting to compete at the same level as pre-loaded music streaming services.

Apple Music and Google’s have the advantage of coming pre-installed on every iOS or Android device.  Spotify is the new default on all Samsung devices, which is a direct threat to YouTube Music.

Spotify is hoping that most auto owners will want a single service device that can be left in their car. Instead of fiddling with the Spotify app every time you want to listen to music, Spotify’s in-car solution is just a few taps away. Spotify has already released a for Android users, which activates automatically when connected to a car’s Bluetooth.

Spotify Zombie App Alert: Android Installs Cross a Record 500 Million

Spotify Zombie App Alert: Android Installs Cross a Record 500 MillionSpotify Zombie App Alert: Android Installs Cross a Record 500 Million

Spotify Zombie App Alert: Android Installs Cross a Record 500 MillionSpotify Zombie App Alert: Android Installs Cross a Record 500 Million

Spotify Zombie App Alert: Android Installs Cross a Record 500 MillionSpotify Zombie App Alert: Android Installs Cross a Record 500 MillionSpotify Zombie App Alert: Android Installs Cross a Record 500 MillionSpotify Zombie App Alert: Android Installs Cross a Record 500 MillionSpotify Zombie App Alert: Android Installs Cross a Record 500 Million

Sonos Speakers Finally Getting Apple Music Support Thanks to Alexa

Certain varieties of Sonos smart speaker can now stream Apple Music with the help of Amazon’s Alexa.

Amazon’s Echo speakers officially got Apple Music support in December of last year. With that, many people wondered when third-party devices would be able to interface with Apple Music. The answer is now, at least for users in the US, UK, and Ireland.

Alexa can stream Apple Music to Sonos One and Beam devices, just like the Amazon Echo smart speaker.

Sonos smart speakers sound much better than most of the Echo speakers, so the new change is welcome. The Apple Music skill will need to be enabled in the Alexa app, with your account linked. To use the service, you will need to add “on Apple Music” when you make your requests.

Sonos has confirmed you can even send audio to its devices that aren’t Alexa-equipped. They have to be part of the same audio group as a Sonos or Alexa device, however. It’s an okay solution, but certainly not ideal. As far as integration goes, you can’t request content uploaded to your iCloud Library. Smart playlists are still iOS-only, and shuffle doesn’t work with Alexa.

Last year, Sonos and let employees go after crushing competition in the smart speaker niche.

Now, the company is looking at expanding in markets beyond just the home.

Sonos is looking at expanding into the Bluetooth over-the-ear headphone market to compete directly with Apple’s Beats product. Sources familiar with that matter said . They are expected to cost around $300 and will support Alexa, Google Assistant, and more.

Sonos’ IPO in August was not as successful as the company had hoped. The $15 initial Sonos stock price has dropped from its debut price down to $10 before bouncing back. The stock hovers at around $12 for now as investors seem undecided on the company’s broader focus and minority stake in one of its core markets.

Sonos Speakers Finally Getting Apple Music Support Thanks to Alexa

Sonos Speakers Finally Getting Apple Music Support Thanks to Alexa

Sonos Speakers Finally Getting Apple Music Support Thanks to AlexaSonos Speakers Finally Getting Apple Music Support Thanks to AlexaSonos Speakers Finally Getting Apple Music Support Thanks to AlexaSonos Speakers Finally Getting Apple Music Support Thanks to AlexaSonos Speakers Finally Getting Apple Music Support Thanks to AlexaSonos Speakers Finally Getting Apple Music Support Thanks to Alexa

Lil Nas X Responds To Dave East With Kevin Hart Soundbite

Dave East, without provocation, gave his unadulterated opinion on Lil Nas X’s mega-hit “Old Town Road,” calling it “wack with a cape on it! And super wack!”

The Billboard top-charter responded with a not-so-subtle Twitter post of a Kevin Hart video clip from an interview with Joe Rogan.

Hart articulates, “What’s cool is being negative. This is a great example … we talk about Titanic. Titanic, one of the biggest movies of all-time, fuckin’ great movie, (acting as Joe) yes it was a great movie, and one guy for no reason goes ‘I fuckin’ hated it!’”

The movie star continues, “Tell me why’d you hate it? ‘I don’t got time to talk to y’all about that.’”

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nobody: ti in 2006:

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Rogan then slightly contests speaking, “I don’t know if it’s a cool thing — I think it’s usually people that are frustrated with their lives. I did a joke before saying do you think Michael Jordan leaves YouTube comments? I bet he doesn’t; that’s not for winners.”

Hart expounds, “What do you have going on that you have that time to just simply be that negative? I don’t think people understand how valuable they can be if they use their time correctly.”

“Old Town Road” is on a massive run, with the assistance of Billy Rae Cyrus, it surpassed Drake and set a new record with 143 million streams according to Billboard.

The track has been No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks consecutively.

Ghostface Killah Hops On Nicole Bus’ "You (Remix)"

Nicole Bus brings back a Wu-Tang Clan classic with the remix to her hit single, “You,” featuring Ghostface Killah.

Following the last Rick Ross-assisted remix of her single, Bus’ new take overflows with Hip Hop nostalgia, anchored by The Charmels’ “As Long As I Got You” sample and the familiar piano trill of Wu-Tang Clan classic, “C.R.E.A.M.”

The updated remix also presents Ghostface’s first verses of 2019, as he gears up to join De La Soul and Public Enemy this summer on the Gods of Rap Tour.

Bus originally debuted “You” as a single late last year and its climb up the Hot R&B Songs Chart and new remixes recently landed her on Billboard’s Emerging Artists Chart.

The Dutch-born, Roc Nation singer will perform with Cardi B, Teyana Taylor and City Girls as a part of the Femme It Forward Tour on May 25 and 26.

Check out the Ghostface Killah-blessed remix above.

03 Greedo Says New LP Promotes L.A. Unity: “That’s Really Powerful For The City”

Los Angeles, CA – Following the release of a 20-minute documentary with Noisy titled Project Genius: The Story of 03 Greedo, incarcerated Watts rapper 03 Greedo finally dropped Still Summer In The Projects, executively produced by DJ Mustard. The project is the first by the rapper since beginning his 20 year prison sentence last summer.

Propelled by the buzzing second single, “Trap House” featuring Shoreline Mafia, it’s clear Greedo isn’t letting his current situation slow his ascent in any way.

”It’s good [so far],” Greedo tells HipHopDX from a Texas prison about the response he’s gotten from the new LP. “The Shoreline Song (“Trap House”) is one of the fastest growing songs of my career.

“I hear they playing it in my project,” he adds. “I ain’t gonna lie when they play my shit in my projects that’s how I know it’s fire. Feels good.”

Originally slated to drop April 5, it was one of the many albums pushed back in the shadow of Nipsey Hussle‘s March 31 murder, an event so significant it prompted a truce — and unity meeting — between Bloods and Crips.

This message of unity is one that Greedo hopes people take away from the album. “[It’s] something that represents L.A. more so than any other project I’ve dropped,” he says.

“We are connecting the East/West side and that’s really powerful for the city – especially right now.”

Greedo was sentenced to 20 years behind bars in 2018 after pleading guilty to 2016 charges of drug trafficking and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon. The charges carried a potential life sentence.

According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s website, Greedo is scheduled to become eligible for parole on September 19, 2020. 

Tee Grizzley & Timbaland Announce Collaborative Project

Tee Grizzley is fresh f the release his latest single, “God’s Warrior” which arrived yesterday. Timbaland held down the production on the track but it looks like it’s not just a one-f collaboration. Tee Grizzley announced that his next project will be produced entirely by Timbo.

Tee Grizzley recently sat down with Zane Lowe on Beats1 Radio where he discussed his latest single and his upcoming project before Timbaland FaceTimed in on the conversation. Tee Grizzley announced that he and Timbaland are dropping a joint project together and explained how Kanye West was a catalyst in making it happen.

Tee Grizzley & Timbaland Announce Collaborative Project
Joe Scarnici/Getty s

“Kanye wanted me to come to the studio,” Grizzley said. “He wanted to hear some my new stuff, and for me to come hear his new stuff. It was my first time meeting him. It was crazy. My objective in the room was don’t say nothing, just listen. If somebody talk to you that’s the only time you can talk. So I’m just sitting back and everybody’s just vibing, kicking it. I play him some new stuff and they start going crazy.”

Grizzley continued to detail the studio session with Kanye, explaining how the “Yikes” rapper told Timbo and Tee that they needed to work on a whole project together.

“The focus shifted from them doing something to ‘we need to do a whole tape. You and Timbaland need to do a whole tape.’ Ye said you and Timbaland need to do a whole tape,” Grizzley said.

Peep the interview below. 

Supah Mario On Lil Uzi Vert’s Character: “He’s One Of The Most Solid Individuals I Know”

There’s something to be said for the chemistry between an artist and a producer. You need to look no further than acts like Gang Starr or — more contemporary still — Daringer and the Griselda camp for great examples; do the artists and sound smiths thrive in their own, sure. However, every producer will quickly tell you that there is that one artist that is ultimately their number one.

For Supah Mario, the one-time janitor who credits Young Thug as being the missing link between making music as a hobby and turning it into a fruitful career, his artist none other than Lil Uzi Vert.

“He’s one of the most solid individuals I know right now,” he tells HipHopDX of his relationship with Uzi, for whom he produced “Mood” alongside TM88 and Southside.

“One of my biggest issues, people never used to like to credit me when I produced for them … for some reason they don’t want to tag. They don’t mention me when I’m doing stuff for them,” he says. “But other producers, they seem the big up and make sure that they’re in the limelight with them whenever they drop records together.”

It’s understandably frustrating, especially for a producer whose racked up massive credits like “Wyclef Jean” by Young Thug and “Blue Tint” off of Drake’s Billboard behemoth Scorpion.

He further explains, “No artist is ever done that for me except for Uzi,” adding that much of his career has been an uphill battle. “I’ve been trying to get noticed and not just be a guy in the background making the music.”

More so than just one-off placements, Mario says he has a personal relationship with Uzi. He points out that this type of connection is something all producers should strive for in their career. “[Uzi] calls me once a week, like ‘send me a new pack.’ They’ll FaceTime me and like play me some of the new stuff that we just made.

“We got like 20 more joints that we’ve done. He’s thinking about putting six or seven on the album (Eternal Atake),” he says, adding “I don’t think it’s going to happen knowing how these labels work, but I’m pretty confident that I’m going to be on it, and that’s crazy.”

Eternal Atake would be only one of the big plays this year for the Mario, who was also invited to be a part of the Dreamville sessions for Revenge of the Dreamers III that flooded the imagination of fans earlier this year. (“It felt like a giant cookout with people that you haven’t seen for a while, but instead of it being just food it’s smoking, music, and work being done,” he says of his experience.)

”There, was probably like 20 or 30 producers for every writer. It got to the point where it was so packed that people were showing up before the studio opened to make sure that they secured a room to have those artists come in, listen, and recording and stuff like that,” he says with a laugh, adding that he was one of the first to pick up on that.

If he feels less than confident that an overarching label decision may prevent six of his tracks from being on the long-prophesied Uzi record, the Dreamville project is even more dicey, with Ibrahim Hamad telling Mario that he had garnered roughly 1000 songs that spanned four hard drives during the 10-day marathon of creativity.

Still, with placements from some of the industry’s most prominent players on the horizon, Mario is quick to recognize his blessings. “Regardless of whether there’s money involved, I’d do it. I think just having a passion for it led somehow to it making me money.”

Amazon Music's New Freemium Tier May Bite Into Spotify's Long-Term Advertising Strategy

Amazon’s freemium music service soft launch may force Spotify to reevaluate its own strategy to keep advertisers.

In an interview published earlier this year, David Limp, Senior Vice President of Devices and Services over at Amazon, shared a surprising figure.

The e-commerce giant’s voice assistant Alexa was now available in over 100 million devices around the world.  This includes Amazon’s line of Echo smart speakers and over 150 partner devices.

While an impressive figure, this number still remains shy of Apple and Google’s voice assistant installed base – over 500 million each.

According to the Voice Assistant Consumer Adoption Report, global consumers can now access smart assistants on over one billion devices.

To capitalize on the growing smart speaker boom, Amazon has unveiled its own free music tier.

Will consumers readily abandon Spotify and YouTube Music freemium in favor of Amazon?

Earlier this week, Amazon it had struck deals with the Big 3 – Warner, Sony, and Universal Music – to launch its own freemium streaming music service.

Keep in mind the e-commerce giant already offers two subscription streaming music tiers – Music Unlimited and Prime Music.

Similar to Prime Music, Amazon’s free, ad-supported tier would feature a limited catalog.  This would likely serve as a ‘teaser’ for Echo users.

Emerging data shows Echo devices handle a large amount of music-related requests.  These include demands to play a song, clarify a song title, identify a song based on a lyric snippet, or pull up a popular playlist.

In , Spotify revealed it had around 209 million monthly active users (MAUs) around the world.  The popular service also had 96 million subscribers.  This means the company has around 113 million MAUs streaming music on its free, ad-supported tier.

Yesterday afternoon, Amazon unveiled its freemium ‘Spotify killer.’  Yet, it did so through a soft launch.

Available only to U.S. consumers with an Alexa-enabled device, the freemium service remains rather limited. Users, for example, can only request songs, which will lead to an Amazon-curated playlist or station instead of a full album.

According to analysts, the limited freemium tier serves a two-fold purpose.  First, the music service will boost its own advertising income.  Second, the company aims to boost sales of Echo speakers.

Stating Amazon freemium won’t change “anything major” in the music industry, MusicWatch analyst Russ Crupnick explained,

It will probably have little impact on the established players — Spotify has incredible loyalty with its listeners and I don’t see people marching off to Amazon because it’s going to have a free tier.

Amazon has a much more casual audience — it’s large, but they spend much fewer hours [on the platform], and are generally less engaged with music.

Yet, he noted the new freemium tier may bite into Spotify’s much-needed advertising revenue.

This clearly fits in with Amazon’s larger advertising plan: It’s not hard to imagine, after a consumer asks Alexa to play a song, the voice then saying, ‘After you’re done listening to the song, check out this product, available now on Amazon…’.

Midia Research analyst Mark Mulligan agreed.

Amazon’s in the process of building new, large-scale digital properties as a platform for its advertising business, which is growing faster than any of the other tech majors’, and is already a fifth of the size of Facebook’s entire ad business,

Issuing a stern warning to Spotify, he added,

Spotify should be worried, not just because Amazon has already proven itself a more-than-able competitor in subscriptions, but also because it has the ad sales infrastructure that Spotify does not.

A free music audience without effective ad sales is just a cost to the business; a free music audience with a well-oiled ad sales machine on top of it is a cash cow.

 


Featured image by Amazon Music.