We start with Qobuz, and the announcement that Sublime subscribers in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the UK can now download music in high resolution from Universal Music’s high-res catalogue.
Until now, only subscribers in France were able to download the catalogue.
Sublime subscribers with an Android phone that supports high-res audio will also be able to stream the high-res Universal catalogue in 24-bit quality.
Qobuz launched its Sublime subscription service in May 2015, offering CD-quality 16-bit/44.1kHz FLAC files to stream, with the added benefit of being able to download 24-bit high-res tracks for a yearly fee of £220.
Xbox Music gets a new name
Another Wrap and another instalment of news from Microsoft. The company has announced it will be changing the name of the Xbox Music service to Groove. Groove has been chosen because “Groove describes what people feel and do with music".
The service will remain largely unchanged, and will launch with the release of Windows 10 later this month.
Users will be able to access the new Groove app across devices thanks to OneDrive integration. Songs, including those purchased from iTunes, can be uploaded to OneDrive and then accessed from Windows devices, Xbox, a web player and Android phones. iPhone support will arrive eventually too.
Groove won’t come with a free tier option, instead it will cost $9.99/month or $99/year, and those already with an Xbox Music pass will be able to carry this over.
EE 4G phone
EE has released the “cheapest 4G phone ever” for just £39. The Rook is available now for existing EE Pay as You Go customers, but newcomers can also get their hands on one for £49.
The cheap price is in most part thanks to the minimal specs: 4in 480x800 display; 1GHz quad-core MediaTek processor with 1GB of RAM, 5MP rear camera and 0.3MP front-facing camera. A 1500mAh battery is said to offer more than five hours of talk time.
The Rook comes with 8GB of internal storage, and will support microSD cards up to 32GB. It also comes running Android 5.1 Lollipop out the box.
Top 40 vinyl albums of 2015
The Official Charts Company has compiled a list of the 40 biggest selling vinyl albums of 2015 so far and claiming the top spot is Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and the album Chasing Yesterday. Noel can also lay claim to the biggest selling vinyl single of the year with Riverman - he’s also at second and third with Ballad of Mighty I and The Dying of the Light respectively.
Led Zeppelin’s 2014 reissue of Physical Graffiti is at number two in the album chart, the Stone Roses take third, Blur are fourth with Magic Whip (their first album in 12 years) and Royal Blood round out the top five with their eponymous debut album, which is also the fastest-selling British rock debut album in the UK in three years.
The Official Charts Company launched the UK’s first ever vinyl sales chart in April 2015 after vinyl sales hit their highest in almost 20 years, with 1.3 million vinyl albums being sold in 2014. Sales of LPs have risen again in 2015 by 56.3 percent, with predicted sales expected to top 2 million by the end of 2015.
Source: The Official Charts Company
1TB Sony PS4
A new 1TB version of the Sony PlayStation 4, dubbed the “PS4 Ultimate Player Edition”, will be released in the UK on 15th July for £350. Sony has also said that certain retailers will bundle the console with PlayStation TV, allowing users to stream content from the console to a second screen.
Netflix original movies
Following the success of its original TV shows, Netflix has announced it will be releasing original movies from 16th October. The first film will be Beasts of No Nation, which is about a warlord who takes a child soldier under his wings and stars Idris Elba. It will be released on Netflix in all territories and even some cinemas at the same time.
A new Adam Sandler movie, The Ridiculous Six, will be released on 11th December and will mark the first of four films that will be released on Netflix starring the comic actor.
Bill Murray’s A Very Murray Christmas will launch later in December and will be the first Netflix original movie to stream in 4K Ultra HD.
Other movies in the pipeline include War Machine which stars Brad Pitt. It's the streaming service’s most expensive production to date, costing an estimated $40m.
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