Ypulse Essentials: Spotify Radio Revamped, Google Currents, Video Streaming Updates

Spotify just got even cooler with an enhanced version of Spotify Radio (which lets users create unlimited stations by artist, track, or genre, receive recommendations with an improved feature, and skip as many songs as they wish. This should make listening to music and discovering artists a whole lot easier…watch out Pandora! In other music news, iTunes just released their top songs of the year and we’re not surprised that hits from Adele, LMFAO, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, and Cee-Lo Green were the top downloads since they also ruled the Billboard charts with Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” being the #1 song on both lists! Other Millennial-favored content also topped the other categories on iTunes’ list with Angry Birds as the top paid iPhone/iPad app and “The Social Network” as the best-selling movie) (Mashable) (Spin) (Billboard) (Seattle Times)

Google is the latest company to launch a news aggregation app for mobile devices (aptly called Google Currents. Similar to Flipboard and other newsstand-style apps, Google Currents pulls content from hundreds of sources, letting users customize their own online news magazine. We now have a new favorite way to check out Forbes, Fast Company, and The Daily Beast, which come preloaded on the app) (Digital Spy)

- Amazon Prime has struck back in the battle of the streaming services (by adding current and past episodes of “Glee” and “Sons of Anarchy” to its instant viewing offering. But Hulu also launched a cool feature called Face Match, where viewers can scroll over a character in a video to identify the actor and what he or she has been in. Think IMDB but while you’re watching. We wonder if more streaming services will pick up on this feature…) (Hollywood Reporter) (TechRadar)

Nickelodeon is taking vending machines to a whole new…

 
 

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“I saw some heartbreaking stories in the internet, and decided to look up some international charities and donate to them.”—Male, 20, WA

Magazine covers aren’t dying in the age of digital—even when publications go out of print. Digital-only covers are “captur[ing] the print magazine's tangible essence” while building hype for media brands on social media (especially Instagram). PorterComplexNylonGQ and more publications have taken on the trend, featuring celebrities like Chance the Rapper to Sophie Turner. For magazines looking for a comeback with young consumers, digital-only covers can “translate their own brand for the web." (Fashionista)

Following “a series of scandals,” YouTube is taking major steps to overhaul its video review process and ad placement policies. The new guidelines “kick tens of thousands of video makers out” of the ad program by requiring anyone who generates ad revenue to produce 4,000 hours of content and gain 1,000 subscribers in one year, upping the ante from the previous requirement of 10,000 lifetime views. YouTube is also promising to manually review every video in its top tier of advertising (Google Preferred), and they’ve hired 10,000 new employees in the last year to get the job done. (recode)

Some Millennial parents are applying their minimalist tendencies to their kids’ toy chests to battle play clutter with “toy limitation.” It’s not a new concept—some schools of thought that have “advocate[d] simple, open-ended toys” include Montessori, Waldorf, and RIE—and today’s advocates say limiting toys can improve focus and happiness. A report from the University of Toledo concluded that toddlers “played ‘better’” when given fewer toys, meaning they played with each toy for longer and in more creative ways. However, some parents worry that they’re “denying [their children’s] self-expression” when they limit toys, and so the debate continues. (Slate)

Tostitos is giving fans their very own personalized Super Bowl ads to invite friends to their game parties. The platform takes a user's name, address, and other invite info and spins it into a video perfect for Customization Nation. Each ad features a different combination of Super Bowl clichés, including a “talking baby, puppies, sassy older women, [and] a celebrity pitchman.” Considering Ypulse data shows 64% of 13-34-year-olds watched some or all of the 2017 Super Bowl with friends and family, it’s a safe bet at least some will be sending out invites, possibly with some Tostitos product placement this year. (Adweek)

Facebook’s new feature lets Groups co-view each other’s content. “Watch Party” allows Group admins to show any Facebook video to members simultaneously, and to comment on a “dedicated reel” for a “shared viewing experience.” The feature is another step towards the platform’s new goal to “encourage meaningful social interactions,” and their new focus on Groups. The push for social viewing could possibly be integrated into other aspects of Facebook and its properties, like group chats. (TechCrunch)

“I plan to go to a free barre class at a local studio that is offering them as part of a New Year's promotion.”—Female, 33, MA

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