Entertainment

Spotify is testing its own Stories feature

Currently in testing

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Every social media platform today is obsessed with the disappearing short-form video. Stemming from TikTok’s success worldwide, everyone is developing or launching a rivaling TikTok feature — or, more subtly, a Stories feature. Even Snapchat, the platform most similar to TikTok already, has recently launched its own format. Now, joining the cast of unlikely TikTok adopters, Spotify is testing its own Stories feature.

Tagging along with its holiday lineup, Spotify has unveiled Instagram-like Stories currently exclusive to its artists. Right now, users can view videos created by artists like Jennifer Lopez and Pentatonix.

At the moment, the feature is only a test. The platform has not confirmed if Spotify Stories (or whatever the final name is) will eventually open up to ordinary users.

For every other user, Spotify can link up with other social media platforms for their Stories features. With its own Stories feature on the horizon, Spotify can cut out the middleman. However, no one knows if users will warm up to Spotify Stories in lieu of their social media platforms.

Besides a Stories feature, Spotify has also developed numerous functionalities throughout the year. Among others, the music streaming platform has introduced couple plans, searching by lyrics, and listening together.

Amid the pandemic, Spotify has risen up as a true performer this year, despite the strangeness of a Stories feature.

SEE ALSO: Spotify is adding a search-by-lyrics function

Entertainment

Spotify is now adding free audiobooks

Narrators include Forest Whitaker and Hilary Swank

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A few years ago, Spotify implemented support for podcasts. Practically overnight, the audio streaming platform became a top destination for podcast listening, rivalling already established giants like Apple Podcasts and Pocket Casts. However, it isn’t done with expanding yet. Spotify is now adding free audiobooks to the service.

Reported by Hollywood Reporter, the platform now has a starting lineup of nine audiobooks. Currently, because of tough copyright laws, the lineup contains books already in the public domain. However, the audio recordings themselves are Spotify’s property.

Speaking of the recordings, the voices on the audiobooks are pretty special. The narrators include Hollywood actors like Forest Whitaker and Hilary Swank. The two celebrities narrate Frederick Douglass’ Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave and Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, respectively.

Other titles include Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (narrated by David Dobrik), Jane Austen’s Persuasion (narrated by Cynthia Erivo), Jean Toomer’s Cane (narrated by Audra McDonald), Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations (narrated by James Langston), Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre (narrated by Sarah Coombs), Nella Larsen’s Passing (narrated by Bahni Turpin), and Stephen Crane’s Red Badge of Courage (narrated by Santino Fontana).

This isn’t the first time you can listen to audiobooks on Spotify. Some podcasts, even on other platforms, are essentially audiobook readings. However, the new nine-title slate signifies a new push to deliver exclusive audiobooks to the platform. The new audiobooks are currently free for all Spotify users, premium or not.

SEE ALSO: Spotify is testing its own Stories feature

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Disney+ coming to the Philippines soon?

We’re cautiously optimistic

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Finally! The days of using VPN and “other means” to catch up on the latest The Mandalorian or WandaVision episodes could be coming to an end for Filipinos.

An Instagram account with the handle @disneyplusph was just activated and while it’s not verified, it certainly follows the look of other official Disney+ accounts.

Photo by GadgetMatch

Adding fuel to the fire that this is likely happening soon is the announcement that the entertainment giant’s streaming service is also hitting other Southeast Asian markets through Hotstar — a video streaming service most popular in India.

There was even news previously that Disney+ will be streaming in India via Hotstar but that was delayed.

We reached out to Disney’s representatives in the Philippines, but it still hasn’t been confirmed as of writing. There’s not a lot to go on for now but we’ll surely keep our eyes peeled for more updates.

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Netflix is adding studio-quality audio to Android

Filters out noise in noisy environments

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Over the years, Netflix has improved video and audio quality across the board. Today, if your internet allows it, you can select movies and shows in Ultra HD. Today, the platform is continuing its path to a better product. Netflix is adding studio-quality audio to Android.

In their official technology blog, Netflix explained the improvements over the current status quo. Though the platform already has Dolby Atmos and adaptive bitrate audio, the new feature, called, Extended HE-AAC with MPEG-D DRC, will make audio quality adapt to internet speed, filter out background noise, and “scale to studio-quality.”

In particular, the feature will improve loudness and dynamic range. Netflix aims to make audio the same levels for all genres and relative to each other. It should be a welcome feature for when the world welcomes back a commuting lifestyle.

However, if you want something more cinematic, the platform already has Dolby Atmos, as mentioned above.

Currently, the feature will be available only on Android. The platform has not announced when (or if) the feature is coming to other devices. Users will need an Android device that runs Android 9 Pie at least.

SEE ALSO: Netflix is pulling out Bridgerton sex scenes from porn sites

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