June 25, 2014 Last Updated 9:16 am

App updates: Amazon Music gets updated as some customers confused by sign-in process

Tribune Digital Ventures updates Newsbeat Radio, concentrates on broadcast properties as newspaper spin-off date is set

The new music streaming service from Amazon is getting off to a bit of a rocky start on iOS devices. Users have given the app which used to be called Amazon Cloud Player, but is now Amazon Music, very mixed reviews both for its poor selection of music, and for its confusing sign-in process. Many new users of the app are finding it difficult to link up their Amazon Prime account to the app.

AmazonMusic-iPhone5-lgAs a result, Amazon released a new update last night which reminds users that they do not need to go online to sign-in.

“Simplified sign-in process,” the app description says as one of the features updated. “Only customers creating a new Amazon account or updating payment information need to visit www.amazon.com/musiclibrary from their computer.”

User reviews are about as varied as they come (usually users like to only give an app a 1-star or 5-star review). But some reviewers have praised the app’s higher quality streaming, while at the same time lamenting the app’s poorer selection of music compared to such services as Beats or Spotify.

I saw today that the app for the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) had been updated by the vendor behind the app, Magzter. Like other apps of a similar fashion, the app uses up the name of the magazine, which will prevent the magazine from using its own name in the future due to Apple’s rules concerning apps with the same name.

seo_cw_productBut one wonders whether it is time to simply retire the magazine, in any case. CJR has a good website, and its writers do a good job of promoting their stories through such devices as Twitter. Since the publisher has demonstrated no interest in its digital edition it probably will have no interest in creating a new digital magazine if and when the time comes to shutter the print edition – why not just pull the plug now?

Maybe they are doing better in print than it appears, as their issues contain few ads, making designing the magazine a bit awkward. Like many newspaper rate cards, their advertising rates seem high considering an unaudited rate based of 16,000.

Maybe it is just me, but their whole approach to its magazine feels tired. On the other hand, neither Editor and Publisher or any of the trade publications covering the magazine industry have launched anything other than replica editions – it appears those the least excited about the future of newspaper and magazine publishing are those that have covered the industry industry.

Tribune Digital Ventures updated its app for Newsbeat Radio, its app which reads you the news. The app hasn’t made a big splash, but for the most part user reviews are positive.

Do readers really want to have the news read to them? I’m not sure, but at least the idea is unique.


RedEye for iPad

Since the release of Newsbeat Radio, Tribune Digital Ventures has released two other apps – Salem WGNA and NEWSABQ Radio.

With the Tribune Company looking to spin-off its newspaper holdings this summer, August 4 is now the date, the new digital ventures will most likely concentrate on the broadcast holdings.

At one time the Trib looked pretty interested in native digital editions, launching a few new digital sports publications that used the Mag+ platform. Of those, only RedEye for iPad still remains.

It is unlikely that the newspapers, once spun off, will be doing much with new digital products, as they are being burdened with $350 million in debt once they become a stand-alone company. To get rid of that debt, it is likely that the new company will concentrate on selling off their assets one by one. This is why Tribune Company structured the spin-off this way: if it couldn’t sell the properties upfront it can structure the deal so it gets its money out right away, and the sales can come later.

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