Inside Music - February 14th, 2020 |

Inside Music (Feb 14th, 2020)

AR piano player app / New music out today / Bandsintown partners with Waze

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Every Friday, I'll highlight a few of the most notable songs and albums that have been released:

1. Music releases out today:

Justin Bieber has finally released his long-rumored album that was just officially announced a few weeks ago. The album is packed with guest features from artists like Post Malone, Travis Scott, and Summer Walker. The Guardian says, "He’s still one of the world’s biggest pop stars, but this subdued, fitfully lovely album suggests Bieber no longer wants chart domination."

Billie Eilish's James Bong tune, "No Time To Die" has predictably caused a stir online, but most of the fan reactions seem to be positive. The song is softer and subtler than most of her other music but is within familiar James Bond territory. With the release of this song, Eilish becomes the youngest singer to write and perform a 007 theme.

2.  Apps: A new augmented reality piano app will let you sit a virtual pianist at your unoccupied piano and play a song for you. If you don't have one, you can add a virtual piano to your room. Along with the fun-factor, the app comes with features that slow down the music and let you see the notes to practice playing on your own. The AR app comes from Massive Technologies and is causing a mini kerfluffle with people gushing over it. Founder of XOXO conference, Andy Baio said, "It's amazing" on Twitter, while Editor in Chief of The Verge, Nilay Patel, said it's "so cool." The app is in beta and available for free for iPhone and iPad on the App Store. — THE VERGE

3. Political: A Los Angeles union, which represents some 7,000 musicians working in TV, film, and other industries, has endorsed Bernie Sanders for president. The Local 47 of American Federation of Musicians said that Sanders was “best able to champion the priorities and values of the musicians union,” as part of its reason for the vote of confidence. While Sanders has a good record of working with labor unions, other entertainment union organizations have declined to back a candidate at the moment. — HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

4. News: Spotify has made quick use of its acquisition of The Ringer with a new, exclusive, music-focused podcast from the site. The new show, "Music Exists with Chuck Klosterman and Chris Ryan," is the second Spotify-exclusive from The Ringer and seeks to talk about how music shapes us and the world around us. It will explore, "concerts, fandom, criticism, genre, lyrics, and more." The 15-episode season debuts on February 19. — MUSICALLY

5. Apps: The concert-planning app Bandsintown has partnered with the navigation app Waze. If you've never used it, Bandsintown tells you when artists from your music library are in town and will let you track tours you want to see. Adding Waze integration directly into the app comes via Google's new Navigation APK and will let you get real-time directions and road closures. — HYPEBOT

In my opinion, this integration makes surface-level sense, but really, everyone already has a GPS navigation app on their phone they like and would likely prefer to use so is this really necessary? What's your take? Hit reply and let me know! 

6. Apps: Spotify’s kids app has now rolled out to the UK and Australia. SpotifyKids is a standalone app geared towards kids three and older and first debuted last year in Ireland for people with premium family accounts. The app will let parents pick whether to allow music for younger kids or music for older kids and filters out specific content accordingly. It also features customizable characters and colors and story content alongside the musical offerings. SpotifyKids should come to more countries in the near future. — MUSIC BUSINESS WORLDWIDE

7. Gear: Sony has debuted a wireless speaker that is also a TV remote. In terms of cross-breeding devices, a speaker and a remote is one of the more interesting choices but is somehow typically Sony in that regard. The reason for the mashup is that the wireless speaker will play audio from your TV through it, making the dialog easier to hear or to take with you to a different room. Priced at $180, the remote/speaker debuts in Japan on February 22. — SLASHGEAR

8. Gear: Mpow has a pair of active noise-canceling headphones for just $30. While the unfamiliar brand does not illicit instant affection, these low-priced wireless Bluetooth headphones might do the trick for occasional office use. I haven’t used these specific headphones, but I have tried some earbuds from Mpow in the past, and they were pleasantly decent in general considering the low cost. The noise-canceling feature on headphones will typically put them over the $100 mark, so these could be a steal for the less decerning ear. — THE INVENTORY 

9. Gear: Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked event surprisingly didn't produce it's Home Mini speaker for everyone, but it did make an appearance for those in one country. The main focus of Samsung's event was the S20 phone and those in South Korea can get a free Galaxy Home Mini when preordering the latest S20 phone, starting today. It's unclear if this deal will come to other countries. The speaker should make its way to the U.S. as it has popped up at the FCC, but still no word when that will happen. — CNET

10. Music: New albums have been announced by:

Sam Smith announced his new album, "To Die For" and released the first single with the same name today. While The Weeknd hasn't given a release date for his next full length yet, he has released two new tracks and will host SNL on March 7. Up and coming R&B artist Ambar Lucid has teased he first album with a new track, "Story to Tell."

Tyler Hayes is a writer and early adopter in both music and technology. He's based in California and has contributed to Fast Company, BuzzFeed, and Billboard, among others. You can reach out at @TylerH.

Edited by Sheena Vasani, staff writer at Inside.

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