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Leslie Moonves Nixes Purchasing CBS Corp. – Variety

Leslie Moonves Nixes Purchasing CBS Corp.
During an appearance Wednesday at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., the CBS Corp. CEO poured cold water on the oft-speculated possibility that he would lead an investor group to acquire the Eye. “The board of directors will decide the …
CBS will 'probably' be part of the new Apple TV serviceMacworld

CBS will 'probably' sign a TV deal with AppleBBC News
Moonves: CBS likely to do deal with Apple TVUSA TODAY
all 54 news articles »

Pebble Time beats Google Android Wear – The Australian

The Australian
Pebble Time beats Google Android Wear
The Australian
This might come as a surprise, but the best smartwatch for Android users wasn't developed by Google. For now, that honour goes to the Pebble Time, the latest from the company that pioneered the idea of a wristwatch for smartphone notifications. While the …
Pebble Time begins shipping to Kickstarter backers — everyone else can VentureBeat

Can Pebble Time compete with the Apple Watch and Android Wear?Mashable
Pebble Time Is Long on Battery, Short on FeaturesTIME
Engadget –Gizmodo
all 56 news articles »

We’re Doomed: Robots Can Now Learn To Adapt To Injuries – Fast Company

Fast Company
We're Doomed: Robots Can Now Learn To Adapt To Injuries
Fast Company
In case you had any doubts that we will one day be annihilated by invincible robots, science has a new, sobering reality for you: Robots can now learn to adapt to injuries on the fly. A new study published today in Nature explains how robots can use a sort of …
Adaptable robots 'on their way' to the homeBBC News

Go ahead and break this robot's legs. It can figure out how to chase you without Washington Post
Beware the wounded robot: scientists develop machines that adapt to injuryThe Guardian
Daily Mail –Yahoo News –Phys.Org
all 28 news articles »

430000-Year-Old Murder Victim Discovered – Live Science

Live Science
430000-Year-Old Murder Victim Discovered
Live Science
Age: unknown. Sex: unknown. Cause of death: blunt force trauma. Time of Death: 430,000 B.C., give or take a few thousand years. Archaeologists may have unearthed one of the world's oldest cold cases — a skull fragment found in a Spanish cave from an …
430000-Year-Old Murder Mystery: Broken Skull Hints at Earliest HomicideNBCNews.com

Ancient skull could hold clues to humanity's oldest murder mysteryChristian Science Monitor
Could this be the world's first known murder?CBS News
Telegraph.co.uk –Forbes –Nature World News
all 39 news articles »

Is Apple Watch a hit? – USA TODAY

Is Apple Watch a hit?
ec. LOS ANGELES – No matter how you look at it, the new Apple Watch is no iPhone/iPad type monster hit. You can't currently Apple's latest new product in stores, availability online for new orders won't be fulfilled until late June/early July, and now Apple's …
Apple exec: Native Watch app development kit is coming June 8VentureBeat

Apple's Jeff Williams teases with 'car is the ultimate mobile device' claimComputerworld
Better Apple Watch apps are coming this yearQuartz
Digital Trends –CNET –ZDNet
all 119 news articles »

Watch out Google Now, Siri may get ‘Proactive’ in iOS 9 – Macworld

Watch out Google Now, Siri may get 'Proactive' in iOS 9
Android fans love to extol the virtues of Google Now, the personal assistant that goes beyond Siri's capabilities to intuitively give you information throughout your day. And they're kind of right. googlenowios2. Google Now is already available on iOS as a tool …
Apple iOS 9 Will Copy Android's Biggest DifferentiatorForbes

Apple May Be Creating a Google Now Alternative for iOS 9Gizmodo
Apple is reportedly working on its answer to Google NowEngadget
The Verge –9 to 5 Mac (blog)
all 39 news articles »

GM rolls out CarPlay, Android Auto across 14 models – USA TODAY

GM rolls out CarPlay, Android Auto across 14 models
General Motors will allow Apple and Android smartphone owners to connect with MyLink infotainment systems in 14 of its 19 Chevrolet models beginning later this year, CEO Mary Barra announced Wednesday at the Code tech conference in Los Angeles.
GM to Offer Android Auto and Apple CarPlay on ChevroletsWall Street Journal

GM to Offer Android, Apple Systems in Many 2016 ModelsNew York Times
Chevy bets big with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in 2016 line-upCNET
PC Magazine –PCWorld
all 33 news articles »

Miranda Lambert, Hank Williams Jr. Headline New Country-Rock Fest

With 264 residents spread over six square miles, Sparta — a former railroad stop that sits 45 minutes south of Cincinnati — is one Kentucky’s smallest cities. Come August 28th, though, the local population will swell to more than 30,000, thanks to a new three-day music festival co-headlined by Miranda Lambert, Hank Williams Jr., Brantley Gilbert and other country heavyweights. 

Announced this morning, the NiFi Festival is the first in a series of national fests launched by Nitro Fidelity, a California-based entertainment group, and Speedway Motorsports, Inc., the auto racing corporation that owns eight of America’s most popular speedways. Working together, the two companies plan to host top-tier festivals at more than half of Speedway’s racing tracks over the next decade, including an event at the Texas Motor Speedway in 2016 and, if all goes according to plan, a Sonoma Speedway festival that could rival California-area events like Coachella and Outside Lands. 

The inaugural NiFi Fest, which kicks off August 28th at the Kentucky Speedway and runs through the 30th, will model itself after camping festivals like the upcoming Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tennessee. Top Chef contestant Edward Lee is heading up the food operations, and Huka Entertainment’s A.J. Nyland — who helped launch festivals like Hangout and Tortuga — is booking the entertainment. On the lineup are a handful of A-list rock bands, including Green Day and Kings of Leon, as well as some of country music’s biggest acts: Lambert, Gilbert, Williams, Jake Owen, Trace Adkins, Joe Nichols, Josh Turner, Jana Kramer, Nikki Lane and others. Early bird tickets start at $245, with VIP passes and deluxe camping packages — or “glamping,” as NiFi Fest’s website calls it — driving up the price for well-heeled attendees. 

Tickets go on sale Thursday morning at 10 a.m. ET.

5 Great Ways Musicians Can Use Facebook Video

Facebook_VideoPlaybook-184x2502015 is the year Facebook video will reach parity with YouTube’s feature set and audience. The introduction of auto-playing video, changes to the platform’s algorithm to favor video, and Facebook’s strong investments in their mobile offerings are all coming together to create a powerful marketing platform.


Guest Post by Jeremy Rosen. This post is part of a regular series by The Orchard.

The Orchard has been working with Facebook’s video offering for almost two years; here are five things we’ve learned in that time to help labels and artists use Facebook Video to the fullest.

You’ll want to know more when you’re done, so please download The Orchard’s full Facebook Video Playbook here.

1. Make Facebook Video an Integral Part of Your Marketing

Facebook has done a fantastic job deploying native video in their news feed. The latest numbers show that Facebook video receives 70% more engagement on Facebook than do embeds of videos from YouTube. From our campaigns, we’ve found that videos on Facebook get more engagement than videos on YouTube.

Facebook-inc-news-feedPeople on Facebook are leaning more and more toward interacting with and sharing video and rich link posts. A seamless integration into the news feed, fantastic calls-to-action (CTA) and increased engagement will benefit every album, single or video campaign. The easiest tactic we’ve deployed is around video premieres, where we post a clip of the video instead of a link to it at YouTube or a premiere partner.

We typically choose an interesting 15 seconds so we can also post to Instagram. The video is uploaded natively to Facebook, we type up a captivating description, and we use the CTA feature for videos to link to the full video at the end. These clips get vastly more engagement and click-throughs than a YouTube or website link. This way, we tie the social power of Facebook into the monetization and platform of YouTube.

2. Set Your Page Up for Success

Ensuring your Facebook page is laid out well is considered part of programming. Think of programming in the context of television, where you plan out what a viewer sees and when with the goal of attracting the most viewers.

Here, programming starts with your page photo and cover image. Some pages can get incredibly creative so that the photo and cover work together as one image. Cover photos can include programming notes, such as the date and time certain things are arriving, like albums or videos.

Your profile image should be striking as it’s the picture most-associated with your page. Individuals should use a good photo of their faces that takes up most of the frame. For groups, it’s usually better to use a logo, preferably one that’s light on actual text.

Facebook recently launched a CTA feature for pages with multiple options. These appear as buttons next to your like button on the page, and for our purposes we’d suggest using the “Watch Video” CTA to link to your latest video.

3. Think About How You Write Your Posts

One of the changes Facebook made de-emphasizes marketing posts in the news feed. “Make sure you buy our record at iTunes” accompanied by a link to the retailer is likely to be ineffective. If you’re not already having a natural conversation with your fans, this will pose problems for how you engage with them.

When thinking about how to translate these into video, start with the descriptions. Descriptions should be short and free of phrases that sound like a sell. I know that’s hard to accomplish when you want your audience to buy something, but that’s where you need to be creative. Think about how you can turn that kind of a sales message into a video, then describe the video.

Instead of “Buy our album at Amoeba Records,” go to Amoeba Records and film yourself buying your record. When you post the video, your copy could read: “Our new album Trogdor came out today. Watch us get a copy at Amoeba Records.” These posts go over well, increase reach and engagement, and make fans (and ultimately retailers) more excited about the promotion.

4. Don’t Overlook Video Titles

Video titles are still almost entirely ignored by most uploaders on Facebook. This is a shame because titles are actually extremely helpful in driving traffic and can lead to the individual video page.

Titles can appear in a myriad of places on Facebook, so you’ll want to give them some thought. After watching one video, users are often offered suggestions of other videos to watch on Facebook. A compelling title will induce a user to click.

When a video is shared, the title acts as a description for the video, which can also compel people to click. At the time of this writing, the title appears above the description you provide and is clickable, leading to the single page view for that video. Simply including a title will put you ahead of most other brands.

5. Need Inspiration? Take a Look at BuzzFeed

The ultimate goal of a video on the Facebook platform is to get shared, and shared a lot. Facebook makes this technically easy for you, but it’s up to you to make video that’s compelling-enough to share.

Borrow inspiration from BuzzFeed. Their listicle videos are produced for maximum exposure and usage on multiple platforms. The videos look great, they repeat spoken audio in text, and they are promoted everywhere.

The most obvious application of this to music is uploading a lyric video, which would encourage fans to turn on sound and engage with the post. The same can be done with short album trailers, closed captioning of behind-the-scenes content, or film trailers.

Bonus Tip: Be Wary of Targeting Native Video

Obviously I’m a fan of native video, and we’ve done a lot of work with it at The Orchard. One tactic we’ve deployed a few times is to create video drops from a band for each city on a tour. These videos are then posted to Facebook and targeted to those specific locations.

Naturally, we expected these to have fewer interactions than an untargeted post, but have discovered that, with some exceptions, they have a drastically lower percentage of interactions than expected. While we’re not entirely sure why, it’s clear that some core set of activities is not happening around this type of post, and the algorithm is then not favoring it for the targeted people’s news feeds.

For further information on how to use Facebook as a musician, download The Orchard’s full Facebook Video Playbook for free here.

Check out this article on VideoInk, too, where it originally premiered. 

RZA Directing Common, Azealia Banks in New Rap Film ‘Coco’

Wu-Tang Clan mastermind RZA and rapper Azealia Banks are teaming for the upcoming musical drama Coco. RZA will direct the Lionsgate/Codeblack Films feature, which stars Banks as a “twentysomething female rapper named Coco.” The Brooklyn-set film – which co-stars Common, Jill Scott and Lorraine Toussaint – has already begun shooting in New York. 

In the film, Banks’ protagonist dreams of pursuing a hip-hop career, but is persuaded by her parents to finish college. In a poetry class, she is transfixed by “the power of the spoken word,” developing a verbal strength that ends up propelling her toward her rap goals.

“I’m extremely excited and vigorously inspired to be working with Azealia Banks in my new directorial installment,” RZA said in a statement. “Producer Paul Hall and I have assembled a cool and eclectic cast to surround Azealia. Our story, which is set in today’s contemporary youth culture, will bring a new voice to cinema that needs to be heard.”

The Hollywood Reporter notes that Scott will play a “a professor who believes that rapping and slam poetry cannot co-exist;” Toussaint will reportedly play Coco’s mother, and Common will appear as a “mentor figure.”

Banks released her debut LP, the bold EDM-rap hybrid Broke With Expensive Taste, in 2014. RZA made his directorial debut in 2012 with the Seventies Kung-Fu homage The Man With the Iron Fists, which he co-wrote wrote with horror director Eli Roth.

In December, a fully reunited Wu-Tang Clan released A Better Tomorrow, their first album in seven years. Three months later, RZA teased a group of 200 listeners with “the first, the last, the only public listening session” for the group’s near-mythical seventh album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. There is only one copy of the LP, which will be sold on auction site Paddle8.com – and RZA claims he’s already received offers up to $5 million.

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