Free music streaming is coming to Google and Amazon

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For Amazon Music Unlimited, a free version of the service will first launch in America. It can be used on the Echo smart speakers, which means songs can be voice-activated. Google’s free service will be through YouTube Music. Read more…

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Donald Glover to collaborate with Adidas on new shoe line

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Donald Glover and Adidas have sealed a partnership for a new footwear line and a set of comedic short films that feature Glover. Read more…

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Everyone is using Blink-182 as their password and the band is not cool with it

What's my password again, what's my password again?
What’s my password again, what’s my password again?
Image: Getty Images

The world is awash in ’90s nostalgia — and it’s even showing up in our passwords.

A new study from the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has revealed the world’s most easily hacked passwords, CNN reports. The top no-brainer passwords overall are impersonal number combinations, like 12345. But in the category of “bands,” the most breached password is the name of the popular ’90s pop-punk outfit, Blink-182. 

That means that if you’re part of the apparently enormous group of people who use their passwords to pay homage to the spirit of teenage rebellion, you’re at risk of getting hacked. 

Blink-182 bassist and vocalist Mark Hoppus is not stoked about his fans’ lax attitude on cybersecurity. He quote-tweeted the study, appending a withering “you guys.” to the news.

Drummer Travis Barker clearly did not feel as strongly about password health as his bandmate. His response to the news of these private tributes? A shrug emoji.

Blink-182 still tours, and hits like “What’s My Age Again” only get more salient as Blink’s formerly teenaged fans age. But, come on. That doesn’t mean your password is the right place to show your love for “Adam’s Song.”

Perhaps people opted to honor Blink-182 in their passwords because it’s a phrase that contains both letters and numbers. Many people mistakenly think this — along with adding in a rogue exclamation point or other character — is the key to password health. However, a passphrase that contains three or more random, personal, but not guessable words, is actually the Small Thing that could keep your accounts safe. 

Now go change your passwords, Blink fans.

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Beyonce will release 'Lemonade' to all streaming platforms

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April commemorates the third anniversary of Beyonce’s visual album, Lemonade. According to Variety, Queen Bey will celebrate the occasion by releasing the audio tracks to all streaming platforms on April 23. Read more…

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SiriusXM’s new streaming-only ‘Essential’ plan targets smart speaker owners

Last week, Amazon and Google rolled out free music streaming services to cater to the growing base of smart speaker owners. Now, SiriusXM is going after this market, too. The company has launched a new plan called SiriusXM Essential which targets those who listen in-home and on mobile devices, but not in cars. The streaming-only plan is also more affordable — $8 per month, versus the $15.99 per month (and up) plans for SiriusXM’s satellite radio service for cars.

With a subscription to Essential, customers can stream to in-home devices including Amazon Alexa, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku, Sonos speakers, Xbox, Sony PlayStation and others, as well as to phones, tablets, and desktops.

The plan offers SiriusXM’s full lineup of over 300 channels, including 200+ channels of commercial-free music stations, and its new Pandora NOW station. There are also 100+ of the newer SiriusXM Xtra channels that offer more music and the ability to skip through songs. Beyond music, listeners can access sport talk channels, as well as entertainment, news and comedy stations.

“The strength of SiriusXM’s programming is evident in the tens of millions of people who subscribe and listen in their cars year after year. We’ve now created the Essential subscription as an appealing option for the many people, particularly younger consumers, who don’t have a car or don’t spend a lot of time in their car,” said Matt Epstein, Vice President of Marketing, SiriusXM Outside the Car, in a statement. “The Essential plan offers an attractive bundle of content at a competitively low price among streaming services,” he added.

The launch comes at a time when several markets are adjusting to better serve a younger demographic that often lives more urban, and doesn’t own a car — or waits until later in life to get one, having also delayed things like marriage, home ownership, and starting a family. That cuts into SiriusXM’s core business of offering in-car subscription radio.

The new plan also arrives just as smart speaker ownership has hit critical mass in the U.S. That’s led to increased competition from streaming music providers, who have now launched entry-level free services to reach listeners in the home. Amazon and Google, for instance, both launched ad-supported free music services last week for their respective smart speakers — the Amazon Echo and Google Home. These free tiers serve as funnels to the companies’ premium, paid subscriptions. Similarly, SiriusXM’s lower-cost subscription plan could later send its users over to pricier plans, if they later on do acquire a vehicle.

But it also caters to those who want a more radio-like experience, with news, sports, and entertainment, not just music; plus always-on streams of curated music, not playlists programmed by A.I.

SiriusXM Essential is $1 per month for three months before converting to the full price of $8 per month.

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