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NEW YORK, June 19, 2018 (News Wires) - YouTube extended its music streaming service to Europe a month after it launched in North America and parts of Asia.

YouTube Music will offer Europeans millions of songs and videos advertising-free for a subscription of €9.99 a month - 11 per cent more expensive than its US version.

An existing free version of the standalone service with ads will continue with “a reimagined mobile app and brand new desktop player”, it said.

The Google-owned giant said it would have “thousands of playlists... millions of songs, albums and artist radio” - a tool than allows listeners to build radio lists around a singer or band.

The new service is an attempt by the Californian digital empire to combat its fast-growing rivals like Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer.

Google boasts that 1.3 billion internet users already listen to music via YouTube, but it wants a bigger slice of the paid-for music market.

The music industry lobby group, the IFPI, said that 176 million people around the world paid to stream music in 2017, the majority on Sweden-based Spotify, which has 75 million paying subscribers.

YouTube has faced criticism from the music industry for abusing its position, with the IFPI saying that it only pays $1 a year per user in royalties to artists while Spotify pays $20.

But YouTube said it has agreed new more equal terms with music companies.

The money paid by streaming operators has helped revive the music industry over the last three years.

Google is also rebranding its YouTube Red services as YouTube Premium offering ad-free music streaming alongside a video platform.

The service, which includes children's shows like the Karate Kid-inspired Cobra Kai and a gaming app, is priced at €11.99 per month.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook said in a recent Bloomberg interview that the company has 50 million paid and trial subscribers on its music service, which launched in 2015 and does not have a free tier.

Deezer, which claims to specialise in “cooler” bands and in niche and local markets, has around 15 million subscribers, according to the IFPI.


By Amira Sayed:

Public opinion has recently had a look back in time to 2012 as Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court, headed by Chancellor Ahmed Abul Azm, issued on May 26 this year its final verdict banning the video-sharing website YouTube for one month on the grounds of broadcasting the trailer of an anti-Islamic film dubbed "Innocence of Muslims". Though this video first appeared nearly six years ago,  in June 2012, it  again came under fire following the recent ruling.

The film triggered outrage in many Muslim countries and prompted an Egyptian lawyer to file a lawsuit against YouTube in 2013. The lower administrative court issued an initial verdict in 2013, ordering the Egyptian National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) to block YouTube for one month.

NTRA  managed to appeal the ruling  due to the numerous hurdles that hamper blocking this website. It pointed out at the time that blocking YouTube requires disrupting the Google search engine which would entail a hefty cost. It added that  blocking it would harm the investment atmosphere as many companies rely on this site for advertising. It would also lead to a big loss of jobs. Now, after five years, the administrative court has upheld its initial ruling, rekindling the debate on this issue.

Speaking to The Egyptian Gazette, Lawyer Naser Ali said that legal proceedings usually take a long time due to successive appeals that halt initial verdicts. But , eventually, the court issues its final ruling after thoroughly reviewing the case.

"We have to bear in mind that the court deals with highly technical issues of fact and law. I know that it seems illogical and meaningless to issue a verdict related to an issue that took place six years ago, but from judiciary perspective, it happens.  The long proceedings do not affect the court's jurisdiction and its final decisions. Once the court becomes fully aware and convinced of evidence, it issues its binding ruling even after ten years," the lawyer stressed.

Generally speaking, the recent verdict is final and binding, raising many questions regarding Egypt's ability to implement such a ban. According to a NTRA statement, it has not received the official version of the court ruling yet.

"Egypt technically can block any website. It has already blocked many websites that pose serious threat to national security. There is a difference between websites and mobile applications. The Government can block the website but it still does not have the tools for blocking apps. Therefore, I think there is nothing hampering the implementation of the verdict," Sayed Mahrous, an IT expert at a multinational company told the Gazette.

Egypt won't be the first country to take this step. Many countries, Mahrous continued, have banned social networking websites like YouTube to maintain their security." I support the implementation of the verdict not just because of the movie issue, but to send a message to such websites that they have to respect our country, its  culture and its policies and avoid similar malpractice," he said. “Social media have now become a breeding ground for fanaticism, extremism and profanity. Stricter regulations are needed.”

An economic expert Mohamed Osman told The Egyptian Gazette that such a ruling, if carried out, would deal a severe blow to the investment environment. "Many companies rely on YouTube for their advertising campaigns. Blocking such vital website for one month would make companies incur major losses. This way the country punishes companies not the film makers," he said.

In addition, Osman, who is a professor of Economics at Al Azhar University, said  issuing such a verdict after six years of broadcasting the film is useless. It , moreover, may lead to adverse consequences. "People have forgotten that film. Now, by bringing this issue under spotlight once again, many people, who had not heard of the film, might search for it out of curiosity, giving it publicity."

BOSTON, June 9, 2018 (News Wires) - A robotics company that made its animal-like walking machines famous on YouTube is emerging from a quarter-century of stealth.

Former employees of Boston Dynamics said that the secretive Massachusetts company has long acted more like a research lab than a business.

But there are signs that's changing now that it's no longer funded by US defense grants.

Boston Dynamics founder and CEO Marc Raibert says mass production of the dog-like SpotMini will begin next year. It's the company's first commercial robot since its founding in 1992. It will be marketed as a camera-equipped security guard.

Raibert played down fears that the company's scary-looking robots could one day be used to kill.

Google bought the firm in 2013, then sold it to Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank in February.


SAN FRANCISCO, May 20, 2018 (News Wires) - Google's YouTube said it will launch a new music streaming service, YouTube Music, next week and unveil soon a premium service that will charge more for its original shows.

YouTube Music, which will be launched on May 22, comes with extra features like personalised playlists based on individual's YouTube history and other usage patterns, YouTube, owned by Alphabet Inc's Google, said.

The video streaming company said it will also launch YouTube Premium, the revamped YouTube Red subscription service.

The new ad-supported version of YouTube Music will be available for free, while YouTube Music Premium, a paid membership without advertisements, will be available at $9.99 (a month, YouTube said in a blog post.

YouTube plans to charge $2 more for its premium service, as it includes YouTube Music service along with its original shows. YouTube Premium will be charged at $11.99 for all new members, the company said.

“YouTube Premium includes ad-free, background and offline across all of YouTube, as well as access to all YouTube Originals including Cobra Kai, Step Up: High Water and Youth & Consequences,” YouTube said.

For existing YouTube Red members, the current price will continue for YouTube Premium, it said.

YouTube Music will be launched in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and South Korea on Tuesday. It will be expanded to some other countries in the following weeks.

SAN BRUNO, Calif. April 4, 2018 (Reuters) - A woman who had voiced complaints online about YouTube opened fire with a handgun at the tech company’s headquarters near San Francisco late on Tuesday, wounding three people before shooting herself dead, authorities and media said.

It was the latest in a string of mass shootings in the United States in recent years. Most recently, the massacre of 17 people at a Florida high school has led to calls for tighter curbs on gun ownership.

Police did not identify the suspect or say what might have motivated Tuesday’s shooting at YouTube, a video-sharing service owned by Alphabet Inc’s Google which employs nearly 2,000 people at the San Bruno, California offices.

The woman approached an outdoor patio and dining courtyard on the campus around lunchtime and began to fire before entering the building, police said.

An affiliate of ABC and other local media, citing unnamed sources, identified the woman as Nasim Aghdam.

San Bruno police officials could not immediately be reached for comment on the identity of the attacker.