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Spotify introduces a new music-and-spoken word format, open to all creators

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Spotify today is launching a new feature that combines spoken word audio commentary with music tracks. The new format will allow Spotify to reproduce the radio-like experience of listening to a DJ or a music journalist offering their perspective on the music. But Spotify is also making it possible for anyone to use the format to create a music-filled podcast through an integration with Spotify’s own DIY podcasting app, Anchor.

Spotify says the new shows will still compensate the artist the same as if the track was streamed normally, as the format relies on Spotify’s music catalog licenses just like regular streams.

However, the experience will be customized to listeners based on what tier of Spotify’s service they use.

Image Credits: Spotify

Premium subscribers will be able to hear the full tracks as part of the shows, Spotify explains, while free listeners will only hear the 30-second previews.

Listeners can also interact with the music content within the shows as they otherwise could in a playlist — by liking the songs, saving the track, or viewing more information about the track without having to leave the episode page or do a search. To do this, you’ll hit “Explore Episode” on the show’s episode page, or tap the play bar at the bottom of the screen to pull up the track list.

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The format is similar in some ways to Pandora’s Stories, also a combination of music and podcasting, introduced last year. But Pandora’s effort focused on allowing artists to add narratives to their music — like talking about the meaning of a song or what inspires them. Other creators could also apply for access.

Spotify’s new format, meanwhile, is immediately open to all users in supported regions.

As of today, the Anchor app will now allow any user to create a show using this format in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland, to start.

The app’s update will allow users to select a new “Music” tool, which then connects them with the entire Spotify music catalog of over 65 million tracks. Users will also be able to connect their Spotify account to browse and select songs from their own playlists to add to shows.

This is a significant update, as limitations around streaming rights had previously limited podcast creators from being able to easily integrate licensed music in their programs.

Image Credits: Spotify

Creators will also be about to insert ads in their shows, via Anchor Sponsorships. The company notes that this process is still considered a beta, and it will be manually reviewing shows using the format for now. The review process can take up to 24 hours.

Spotify says the feature will expand to more markets soon.

At launch, Spotify is also launching its own set of seven Spotify Original Shows that put the new format to work, which can be found in the new “Shows With Music” hub in the Browse section of the Spotify app or in a programmed shelf in your Home tab.

These first seven shows include (descriptions via Spotify):

  • Halleloo Happy Hour with DJ Shangela – Grab a drink and join our effervescent host, “Shangela” (A Star is Born, Ru Paul’s Drag Race), for her weekly happy hour playlist! Featuring games, guests, and tea. Halleloo!
  • Murder Ballads – Explore the history and folklore behind some of America’s most mysterious and violent songs.
    60 Songs That Explain the 90s – The 1990s were a turning point in music. Listen along as The Ringer’s preeminent music critic Rob Harvilla curates and explores 60 iconic songs from the ‘90s that define the decade.
  • Our Love Song – Every week a couple shares the soundtrack that defines their love story. As a culture we are fascinated by love and romance. It is why the majority of songs are about love and heartbreak. This show will not only explore entertaining love stories, but also the classic songs that define these relationships.
  • Conspiracy Theories: Music Edition – A deeper look at some of the most fascinating theories surrounding famous artists and the music industry as it affects the world.
  • Rock This with Allison Hagendorf – Rock This with Allison Hagendorf is a weekly show celebrating all things Rock & Alternative culture, featuring one of a kind interviews and highlighting music from your favorite and emerging artists.
  • 10 Songs That Made Me – An artist or celebrity creates a storytelling playlist of 10 songs that mark meaningful moments in their lives, providing personal insights into each song choice.

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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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Apple will replace AirPods Pro for free with faulty noise cancellation, static or crackling

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Today, exactly one year after Apple first launched the AirPods Pro — and thus the same day the very first AirPods Pro owners will see their one-year warranties expire — Apple has launched a repair program that offers free repairs or replacements for another whole year if your AirPods Pro experience issues with noise cancellation or static.

Specifically, Apple will fix:

Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone

Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Apple says only a “small percentage of AirPods Pro” are affected by the issues, but it apparently wasn’t just an early batch — Apple says affected units were manufactured “before October 2020,” meaning every AirPods Pro ever made might be eligible. That’s quite a recall if so. Apple says it will repair faulty AirPods Pro for two years after you first buy them.

We’ve heard complaints about degraded noise cancellation before, and at least one Verge editor has replaced their AirPods Pro under warranty. It’s nice to hear that Apple isn’t just cutting buyers off as soon as that warranty expires.

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This 55″ 4K TCL Smart TV Hangs on Your Wall for $200

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

TCL 55″ S434 4K Smart TV | $200 | Best Buy

Best Buy has an insane deal going for a brand new 55″ 4K TCL smart TV. It’s the S434, which is pretty baseline for TCL’s lineup, but at just $200, there’s little to complain about. TCL’s panels are plenty sharp and accurate, and with this set, you’ll get HDR10 compliance for enhanced color and brightness in supported games and video content. This model has Android TV onboard for all your app needs, and with an included voice remote, all your favorite content is just a shout away with the help of Google Assistant.

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