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Bryan M. Wolfe
| March 3, 2013
The AppAdvice Week In Review: The Music Edition
Celebrating The Music IndustryAfter nearly 15 years of declining sales, the music industry has reason to celebrate. For the first time since 1999, the industry saw sales growth of 0.3 percent worldwide. One of the reasons for this has been the growing demand for digital music, whether it be through downloads or streaming. In the same week that the music industry announced sales growth, a number of music-related apps for iOS were making fresh moves to convince users to keep listening. Shazam! Shazam was the first out of the gate when the world’s leading media engagement company announced that 300 million people had now downloaded one of their apps. Additionally, they announced an upcoming update to their popular iPad app. The new app will include a number of new features. These include an interactive mapping feature, which will enable fans to zoom in on any city in the world to discover, buy, and share the most popular music people are listening to in that location. The design will also feature a new home screen that shows the music that folks are currently tagging. Amazon Makes A Move Meanwhile, the Amazon Cloud Player app is now universal. The free app now features an interface that is consistent with the look and feel shared by at least two other major Amazon iOS apps, Kindle and Amazon Instant Video. The app lets you listen to all of the music you’ve bought from Amazon right on your iDevice. This includes MP3s converted from any AutoRip CDs you’ve purchased from Amazon since 1998. Spotify Gets An Update Spotify arrived for iPad, the company's iPhone app has gotten a makeover. It now looks a lot like the iPad version, which Aldrin Calimlim calls a "similarly pleasant and easy interface." New features include a sidebar to facilitate navigation, a Now Playing bar, and more. TuneIn Radio Finally, TuneIn Radio, the highly rated music streaming app, introduced TuneIn Live for iPad. The app features “an all-new way to listen to the world’s radio." As Calimlim reported, "TuneIn Live for iPad presents a visually appealing array of album artwork and show titles grouped by genre. What’s more, the items in this array flip every time something new starts."
In-App Purchases Take The Spotlight[caption id="attachment_388515" align="aligncenter" width="642"] Zombies vs Ninja[/caption] Apple has settled a class action lawsuit that could mean $5 iTunes Gift Cards for many users. The lawsuit claimed that users younger than 13 could purchase game content via IAPs, that minors could open their own App Store accounts, and that minors could easily use their parents’ accounts. To be eligible for payment in recompense for the IAP ploys, users must first “attest that a minor bought ‘game currency’ and that the user did not provide the minor with the Apple password.” Danny Kitchen's parents would probably qualify for the $5. The 5-year-old racked up in-app purchases totaling over $2,500 in just 10 minutes playing the game Zombies vs Ninja. In racking up the bill, Danny had purchased dozens of in-game weapons and keys, including 12 purchases of “336 keys,” which run $99.99 each. He also purchased seven “333 ecstasy bombs,” which also cost $99.99 a pop. Other purchases included: Five “9,000 darts” at $99.99, five “4,200 darts” at $7.99, and additional ecstasy bombs totaling around $5.
As Sharon Kitchen recalls:
Danny was pestering us to let him have a go on the iPad. He kept saying it was a free game so my husband put in the passcode and handed it to him … We had lots of visitors in the house and were both a little preoccupied. I woke up Monday morning and looked at my emails and had loads from iTunes.Apple eventually refunded the family the money. At the time, I suggested that this was a brilliant public relations move, but one that I didn't feel was necessary. As I stated:
However, given the restrictions that Apple had long ago placed on in-app purchases, the blame here is clearly on the parents. For one, a 5-year-old shouldn’t be playing Zombies vs Ninja as the game is rated 9+ in the App Store. For another, no one should be giving their children passwords for online use even when a game is marked “free.”Naturally, this story lead to a number of comments from AppAdvice readers. Ken suggested that "it's absurd to refund money to adults who are negligent enough to give their password to a 5 year old. Why not refund iap purchases made by irresponsible 15 year olds with their own passwords? (sic) Stefan concurred, stating, "why can't stupid people ever learn? To leave pass codes to children,or let children use Internet capable devices withouth supervision is clearly wrong,I would never ever trust anybody that much." (sic) Finally, TMB333 blamed everyone for the ease in which Danny spent the money on in-app purchases, stating:
Everyone is to blame here. But I mostly think Apple is at fault because they market their device as being 'user friendly' when it clearly isn't. MANY of their customization settings are buried in unusual locations, so it's hard for the 'average' person to know what settings control what. [sic]What say you?
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