Music Identification App SoundHound Now Offering Free Unlimited Usage

-- The race to identify the world's music is heating up. The free SoundHound music ID app now offers an unlimited number of music IDs. Previously free users were limited to five music IDs per month while the paid version of the app ($4.99 at Android Market and iTunes App Store) offered unlimited IDs.

SoundHound's main competitor, Shazam, allows for five music IDs in its free version and unlimited music IDs in its paid version ($4.61 at Android Market, $5.99 at iTunes App Store). Both Shazam and SoundHound offer more features in the paid versions of their apps. At their core, both apps ID songs by analyzing the music they hear. Unlike Shazam, SoundHound will ID a song based on singing or humming.

The company says its mobile user base has increased 500% and usage has increased 1,000% in the last year. In addition, the company claims to be the top music application in Apple's App Store in more than 25 territories. The SoundHound app won the Best Music Engagement Application at the inaugural Billboard Music App Awards earlier this year.

The San Jose-based company was founded in 2005 as Melodis Corporation. Its earlier music ID app was called Midomi. In May of this year the name of both the company and the flagship app were changed to SoundHound. The company has received funding from Global Catalyst Partners, TransLink Capital, Walden Venture Capital and Felicis Ventures.

( Press release)

Motorola On Way To Offering Users Access To The Clouds

-- Motorola Mobility got deeper into the cloud-based media game on Wednesday when it acquired cloud storage startup Zecter. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Zecter has two products: ZumoDrive and ZumoCast. ZumoDrive is a cloud-based file storage service. The service is priced based on storage. So, for example, 1GB is free, 25GB costs $6.99 a month and 200GB costs $37.99 a month. ZumoCast allows you to stream your cloud-based music and video collection on a web browser and array of mobile devices.

With this acquisition, it's not difficult to see where Motorola is headed. Zecter's services give Motorola a practical service to offer its customers at a time when cloud-based media services are beginning to take off. By acquiring Zecter, Motorola is aiming to offer the kind of seamless experience that comes with tight integration of hardware and software. And the acquisition makes sense from a competitive point of view as well. This is the kind of service that mobile companies will use to position their products and differentiate against their competitors.

Zecter was founded in 2007 and has received funding from Y Combinator, Tandem Enterpreneurs and Sherpalo Ventures.

( Press release)

News Corp Continues Unloading Its Digital Assets

-- News Corp sold Fox Mobile Group to investment company Jesta Group on Wednesday. News Corp has dumped quite a few digital companies in 2010, including Rotten Tomatoes, Photobucket and its Digital Publishing Group. The most anticipated sale would be that of MySpace. Earlier this month, News Corp COO Chase Carey said the company was open to selling the company or partnering with others to improve the struggling social network.

( mocoNews)

WikiLeaaks' Doc Show U.S. Pressuring Spain to Increase Its Anti-Piracy Efforts

-- The latest Wikileaks controversy has hit the entertainment industry. As explained by Ars Technica, the diplomatic cables depict U.S. pressure on Spain to improve its anti-piracy efforts. The release by Wikileaks came just before lawmakers went to vote on a bill that would allow the Ministry of Culture to request ISPs to block access to certain web sites. The bill, know as the "Sinde law," died in Congress after an 18-to-20 vote by the Economics Committee.

The bill's failure may have been partially the result of resistance to the pressures of the U.S. government, which was pressured by the entertainment industry. But based on the coverage in El Pais, the revelations in the leaded diplomatic cables may not have mattered. Opposition to the bill was already strong. Thousands of signatures had been gathered to protest the bill and 150 writers had signed a manifesto that says the Internet should be a free and neutral medium.

( Ars Technica, El Pais)

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