From Apple Music’s U.S. growth to Spotify’s new feature connecting them with emerging markets. Here are the top Tech stories you need to know:
Audio Streaming Is At An All-Time High
Hot off the heels of Drake’s record-breaking week, audio streaming has proven its power to help artists reach fans around the world. Spotify continues with a strong presence including over 70 million paying subscribers worldwide. As of this week, Apple Music has seen a recent increase within the U.S. reaching a milestone of 20 million paying subscribers. While audio streaming continues to trend, there seems to be no slowing down these powerhouse platforms.
Instagram Adds New Video Chat, Camera Effects, & Topic Channels
Instagram has added three new features for its users to enjoy. The latest app update includes:
- Topic Channels– In an effort to cater to its 200+ million daily users, the Explore tab was redesigned to increase organization and discoverability. Now when a user taps into the tab, a new set of personalized ‘Topic Channels’ will appear. The first channel listed is titled ‘For You’ and features a mix of content that Instagram’s algorithm curates based on your interests and behavior. The other featured Topic Channels are based on more general topics including Sports, Beauty, Music, and Fashion. To further personalize this experience, users can search hashtags to find additional trending topics or mute certain topics by pressing and holding the channel.
- Video Chat– Video content has officially slid into DMs with Instagram’s new video chat feature. Now users can set up a video call with individuals or small groups (up to 4 people at a time) within Direct Messages by opening up a new message thread and tapping on the camera icon on the top right. During the video sessions, users can multitask and browse the app.
- New Camera Effects– Instagram enlisted the help of a few major brands and influencers to design the latest set of camera effects that are currently live on Instagram Stories. Users can now rock custom filters by Ariana Grande, Baby Ariel, Liza Koshy, Buzzfeed, and the NBA. Please note that you must be following these accounts to access these new filters.
Spotify Begins Testing New Lite App
Streaming giant Spotify has begun testing a slimmed down version of its mobile application in select markets around the world. The new app, Spotify Lite, was built to save users valuable storage space and data on their mobile devices. To do so, Spotify Lite lets users set a limit for the mobile data it will use throughout the month in addition to limiting how much storage it will take up. Throughout the month, the app will track and inform how much data allowance users have consumed. Since Spotify Lite is only 15MB in comparison to its main app’s 100MB, it has also put a limit on main features. For example, offline playback, extreme quality playback, and Spotify Connect (which streams audio to external speakers) are not available in the Lite version. Additionally, Premium users do not have the ability to select specific songs to play, like Free users, their content will be shuffled.
This move towards a lighter app has become a common trend for major brands. Spotify Lite is following the footsteps of Facebook, Messenger, Uber, and Instagram to offer users an alternative in emerging markets where connectivity is less reliable and available.
For more of technology’s top news, make sure you check back next week!