YouTube lands indie label deal for upcoming streaming music service

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YouTube has signed a crucial licensing deal for its long-in-the-works streaming music service with Merlin, an agency that represents thousands of independent record labels. That’s according to a report from the Financial Times, which claims the newly reached pact didn’t come quick; it took “months of acrimonious negotiations” for both sides to hammer out a deal that could bring music from artists including Adele to YouTube’s subscription offering. (Adele was signed to indie label XL Recordings before also coming under the Columbia Records umbrella.)

In June, the Financial Times reported that YouTube would pull down videos from artists attached to Merlin as talks between the two appeared to stall. But that hardball negotiating tactic…

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Don’t Let Mobile Pass You By

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person holding tablet Today’s consumers engage with their favorite brands through multiple touch points, ranging from social media, email and mobile. Smart marketers have embraced this cross-platform, cross-device ecosystem to uncover the growth levers that are integral to the success of their businesses. But many are hesitant to venture into the “new world” of mobile — they may not have… Read More

Calling All Angels, Executives, VCs And Everyone Else To Write Guest Columns For TechCrunch

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shutterstock_109157030 The heart of any website or blog is its community of readers, contributors and commenters. At TechCrunch, part of that has been the guest columns that we publish each week. We have provided space for contributors to enlighten the tech community with their industry insights. And now, things are changing. Read More

Dropbox Updates Web Interface For Easier Sharing

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share-a-folder2 Dropbox said today it’s adding a new feature designed to make sharing easier on its service. On the Dropbox website, logged in users will now see a new sharing button that allows you to quickly add people who are allowed to view and sync your shared files and folders with their account, and a new “send link” option for adding people with read-only access. After clicking… Read More

A Gift Guide For On-The-Go Bloggers, Students And City Dwellers

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giftguide-splash The life of a blogger can be nauseating. You’re a rolling stone and wherever you lay your laptop is your home. Your laptop bag is essentially your corner office and must contain everything needed for a day’s work. What follows is a gift guide for your favorite blogger, but can easily apply to college students, city dwellers and anyone else living out of a messenger bag. Brunton… Read More

Samsung doesn’t know where virtual reality is headed, but it has a plan

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Perhaps by the sheer force of its market power alone, Samsung immediately became one of the top contenders in the nascent virtual reality space earlier this year when it announced Gear VR — a headset powered by Samsung’s Note 4 smartphone, built in conjunction with Oculus. We haven’t heard much about the future of the Gear VR since it was announced, but Samsung appears poised to break its silence at its second annual developers conference, which kicks off today in San Francisco. VR will be a major topic of conversation, and the company is counting on those developers to help build the case for the Gear VR — and virtual reality in general.

“For virtual reality to really cross into the mainstream, it’s gotta be more than just really…

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The best action video game ever made is getting a sequel

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Chances are you haven’t heard of Just Cause 2, the open-world action game that lets you do practically anything you’d see in an 1980s action film. You have a grappling hook, a parachute, a small military’s worth of weapons and explosives. You can ride on fighter jets, or jump a dirt bike off a mountain top. Practically everything explodes. If you’re wondering how you missed this game, well I don’t know for sure, but my guess is the marketing sucked.

Anyway, it’s okay if you missed Just Cause 2 for two reasons.

The first reason: Avalanche Studios finally announced Just Cause 3 at GameInformer, making the worst kept secret in the industry official. This time the game is set in the Mediterranean. Other than that, details are slim though…

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George Lucas wrote the story for an animated musical, and it’s coming out in January

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Usually movies are announced well in advance of their release, but Lucasfilm decided to surprise everyone today by revealing that it has a new animated movie coming out just over two months from now, on January 23rd. The film is called Strange Magic, and it’s a musical with a story created by George Lucas himself — that’ll make this film one of the more notable things that we’ve seen from Lucas lately. There still aren’t a lot of details on what it’ll be about, but the studio calls it a “madcap fairy tale” inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The music in it will be composed of hits from the past six decades.

The film is directed by Gary Rydstrom, who previously wrote and directed the Toy Story short Hawaiian Vacation. George Lucas is…

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Microsoft Band review

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I slept terribly last night. I don’t know exactly why, but between going to sleep at 11:56PM and waking up at 6:49AM, I woke up 12 times. I got two hours and 45 minutes of light sleep and one hour and one minute of restful sleep. I woke up feeling like garbage.

33 minutes and 51 seconds of exercise later (maximum heart rate: 118 beats per minute), I feel a little better. It’s going to take me an hour and two minutes for my body to recover, which is just enough time to shower and eat…

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Join us today at 3PM ET for a live Small Empires Google+ Hangout with Alexis Ohanian!

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As you may already know, Small Empires is back! In week one, Alexis and co. traveled to Atlanta to talk with PartPic, a company trying to solve the difficult problem of identifying and buying spare parts. Last week, Small Empires visited Miami to chat with OpenEnglish, a people-powered language learning program. And this week, Alexis visits Two Roads Brewing Company, a beer-making facility in Connecticut that provides a platform for any small craft beer to program their own flavors. If you haven’t seen the episode yet, be sure to check it out here.

Today at 3PM ET, join us for a live Google+ Hangout with Alexis, series showrunner Stephen Greenwood, director Kirk Larsen, and me, Sam Sheffer, The Verge’s social media manager. We’ll also…

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Sony is screwing up Spider-Man

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Sony wants Spider-Man to be as big as The Avengers, and no property is too good to milk for all it’s worth. On top of The Sinister Six and the third Amazing Spider-Man film, Latino Review now reports that Sony executives are batting around the idea of a movie focusing on Peter Parker’s Aunt May. And she’ll, of course, be a spy in the swinging Mad Men era. Even if Sony comes out and says this isn’t happening, that it’s even a rumor worth addressing hints at how bad the Spider-Man franchise is already getting.

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Target’s Black Friday 2014 deals include $0.01 Samsung Galaxy S5 and discounted PS4, Xbox One

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America’s annual holiday shopping frenzy Black Friday is still more than two weeks away, but big retailers are already trotting out their lists of discounts and deals. Target, for one, claims that this year’s Black Friday will be its “biggest” and “most digital” ever (perhaps trying to make up for its earlier massive credit card hack). It’s certainly starting early and will have lots of gift card rebates, according to its Black Friday preview ad. Target will offer some pre-sale Black Friday discounts in stores and online starting Wednesday, November 26th, but you need to check Target’s weekly ad here on Sunday, November 23rd to find out what specific details will be offered at your local store. Target stores will open on at 6 PM local…

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Amazon Cloud Drive Gets Its Own API

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amazon-cloud-ecosystem Amazon is working to make its Cloud Drive service more competitive in the crowded online storage market. After recently bundling free, unlimited photo storage on Cloud Drive for Amazon Prime customers, today the company is going after developers with a new Cloud Drive API. The API will allow third-party developers to integrate Cloud Drive into their own applications, so they can focus more… Read More

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