Apple Music is on track to have more U.S. subscribers than its main competitor, Spotify, by this summer, The Wall Street Journal reports. While Sweden-based Spotify continues to dominate the global music streaming market, Apple has seen a monthly growth rate of 5 percent in America, versus Spotify's 2 percent.
Part of Apple Music's successful push in the U.S. stems from the service coming preloaded on all of the company's devices, including iPhones and Apple Watches. When Apple Music's free and discounted trial users are factored in, the service has actually already surpassed Spotify in the States, although "neither company publicly breaks out figures for the U.S. or any other single market," the Journal writes.
Both services cost $9.99 a month, with Spotify also offering a free version and a catalog of 30 million songs. Apple Music has a slightly bigger library, with 45 million songs. Spotify has almost twice as many subscribers worldwide compared to Apple, 70 million as opposed to 36 million. Jeva Lange
In a blunt PSA Wednesday night, Samantha Bee shared some tips with male Hollywood executives who constantly find themselves sexually harassing women, with the big one being to "keep your business in your pants."
Bee was speaking on good authority, as she's a "world-renowned expert on not sexually harassing her employees." Her "Penis PSA" got pretty graphic, but one thing it didn't do was name names — she never once uttered "Harvey" or "Weinstein." Watch the very saucy, NSFW clip below. Catherine Garcia
Kristin Beck knows what it's like to be in the military — over the course of her 20-year career as a Navy SEAL, she was deployed 13 times to places like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Bosnia, and received the Bronze Star for valor and Purple Heart for wounds suffered in combat.
Beck is a transgender veteran, and wants President Trump to know that his decision to ban transgender people from the U.S. military will have a negative impact on many, and there's no reason for this policy. "Being transgender doesn't affect anyone else," Beck, a member of SEAL Team 6, told Business Insider on Wednesday. "We are liberty's light. If you can't defend that for everyone that's an American citizen, that's not right."
In 2016, the RAND Corporation estimated there are between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender people serving in the military, and Beck, who was born Christopher Beck, said any unit with a good leader wouldn't have any issues with transgender troops. "I can have a Muslim serving right beside Jerry Falwell, and we're not going to have a problem," she said. "It's a leadership issue, not a transgender issue." What really bothers Beck is that Trump claimed his decision was partly based on the cost of services that could be used by transgender service members. "The money is negligible," she told Business Insider. "You're talking about .000001 percent of the military budget. They care more about the airplane or the tank than they care about people. They don't care about people. They don't care about human beings." Catherine Garcia
Forget the cheer of Christmas classics like "Silver Bells" or "Jingle Bell Rock" — if you'd like to wallow in your sorrows this Christmas, but want to try something new, Miley Cyrus and LCD Soundsystem are here to help.
Cyrus recorded "My Sad Christmas Song" with the help of The Flaming Lips, and with lyrics like, "This is my sad Christmas song / so I rip another bong," she's surely aiming for a certain demographic.
Indie band LCD Soundsystem sounds similarly morose this Christmas, with frontman James Murphy claiming that the new single, "Christmas Will Break Your Heart," was simply the song that he had been "singing to [himself] for the past 8 years." But the fact that it exists at all is a triumph, as it's a hint that the band, which broke up in 2011, might reunite in 2016. Listen below:
A reflective Mitt Romney is the rather surprising guest on the newest podcast from David Axelrod, the former chief strategist for both of Barack Obama's presidential campaigns. Bet you didn't see that one coming.
But while there are a couple awkward moments of referring to your party verses mine, the conversation otherwise flows smoothly from topics such as Ann Romney's multiple sclerosis to Donald Trump's churlishness. The 2012 GOP nominee also weighed in on the darker side of contemporary politics, citing extremes on both sides of the aisle as the new norm:
There's no question that in our political system right now that the extremes in our respective political parties are having a louder and louder voice and demanding more attention and demanding immediate action as opposed to than collaborative action. And that, in my view, flows in part from the change in the world of media. There was a time when we all got our news with the same facts, if you will. We had three networks that we watched for the evening news, we mostly got newspapers […] So we got the same facts whether or not we agreed on them, we could pull in different directions. Now, my sons, I don't think any one of them gets a newspaper […] They get their news on the web. And they tend to read those things which they agree with […]
Google, for instance, looks at what you'd been reading last and then gives you articles it thinks you'll enjoy, so you're not seeing the other side. If you watch the news, some of us will watch Fox, some will watch MSNBC. So we're not even getting the same facts and then we have commentators who are hyperbolic in expressing their views and issues and people are becoming more and more divided […] I think that divisiveness is one of the things that's lead to Washington having such a hard time getting things done. [The Axe Files]
Romney added that if he were running now, he'd want his team to have a camera on him at all times so his statements could never be taken out of context — and so he could learn how to always say things exactly right. Hear him out for yourself below, or head over to Soundcloud for the rest.
British singer-songwriter Sam Smith has written the theme for the new James Bond movie, Spectre, NME reports. Smith's Bond track will be released tomorrow.
Smith said on BBC's Radio 1 this morning that he wrote the James Bond theme in just 20 minutes. "I got called into the office with Barbara Broccoli and Sam Mendes and they gave me the script, I read the script... they said 'have a go at the song,'" Smith said, according to NME. "It's the quickest I've ever written a song — it took 20 minutes... and they loved it! I love the song so much."
Last week Smith denied his involvement with the film, claiming he was "definitely not" working on it because he was too busy. But that should have tipped everyone off, since no one is ever too busy to do the James Bond theme; past performers have included Adele, Paul McCartney, Duran Duran, Nancy Sinatra, Tina Turner, Jack White, and Madonna. Jeva Lange
The record industry decided in 1989 that albums would come out in the U.S. on Tuesdays, with records released Mondays in the U.K. and Canada and Fridays in Australia and Germany. And that's how it worked for a quarter century. Until now.
Starting today, new music will be released on Friday in America.
The switch will allow Americans to hear music on the same day as 44 other countries worldwide, rather than having to wait through the weekend for the music to come out stateside. (And it certainly doesn't hurt that people tend to spend more money on weekends).
If today's record release day took you by surprise, no sweat, we've got you covered. Below are some albums out today. Happy listening! Jeva Lange
Ezra Furman — Perpetual Motion People
Doused in saucy saxophones that make it sound like the sort of ramshackle '50s retro revue that Mac DeMarco might make if he fronted Dexys Midnight Runners, [Perpetual Motion People] hops, skips, and jumps between genres with abandon. [NME]
Veruca Salt — Ghost Notes
After all these years, the members of Veruca Salt are like sparks banging into each other, their notes and beats still giving off heavy heat. And ultimately, that is what makes Ghost Notes work. [Paste]
Hunter Hunted — Ready for You
Ready For You, is rampant with melodic pop songs colored with tinges of rock and dance influences with catchy vocal harmonies. "We're not going to be in a genre that is associated with a lifestyle, but that doesn't mean we're not excited about EDM music and where that is and how that's being incorporated [in our music]," [band member Michael] Garner says. "Right now is an exciting time to find what we're excited about in each different genre and kind of meld that together." [Billboard]
Ghostface Killah — Reasons to Die II
Ghostface Killah's renaissance — see his solo album 36 Seasons, and Sour Soul, the collaboration with jazz trio BadBadNotGood — continues with the second installment of his hardboiled hip-hop caper made with Adrian Younge, LA producer and soundtrack composer: Younge's lavish, jazz- and soul-tinged production providing the aural red carpet for one of rap's greatest yarn-spinners. [The Guardian]
Duke Ellington & His Orchestra — The Conny Plank Session
A new album with four previously unreleased tracks shows that Ellington remained eclectic in his musical endeavors late into his career. [The Wall Street Journal]
The British singer-songwriter's cover of Macy Gray's hit single starts out a little shaky, but just give it a few seconds. When George Ezra hits the chorus in BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge, his version of "I Try" moves from iffy karaoke crooning to a bass-heavy blues-rock jam worthy of a full listen. Luckily, Ezra doesn't try to mimic Gray's delightful gargling-fiberglass vocals. —Peter Weber