Where to find the best streaming holiday music and movies

The holidays come with trappings and tradition; with family, flavors, and favored evergreens among them. Adding to the atmosphere is holiday entertainment—the sentimental songs and movies entirely inappropriate in mid-March that are the perfect December accompaniment.

Given that this media has such a limited shelf life, most of us don’t bother to acquire it. Rather, when family and friends gather, we too often flip channels on the TV or hope that the local FM station is playing something appropriate. And that’s so 20th century. Today the one thing that separates us from scads of holiday fare is a fair-to-middling broadband connection. The only remaining trick is finding the good stuff. And we’ve got you covered. Just jingle over this way.

Streaming free holiday music

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10 excellent movies to stream on Netflix over Thanksgiving weekend

Thanksgiving is the perfect time of year to gather on the couch and watch a good movie. While we're sitting there, moaning in pain, having eaten too much yet again, and thinking about how miserable it was to travel, and how crazy our family members are, these 10 movies are a reminder that we're not alone in the world. And, indeed, despite everything, there are many, many wonderful things about this time of year, and plenty of things to be thankful for. Like Netflix.

Addams Family Values

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Pharrell, John Lennon tunes could get pulled from YouTube over royalty spat

If you somehow haven't heard enough of Pharrell Williams' “Happy,” you might want to enjoy it on YouTube right now.

According to Bloomberg, media mogul Irving Azoff has demanded that YouTube remove songs from several popular artists, including Williams, John Lennon, The Eagles and Steve Miller. Azoff is acting on behalf of Global Music Rights, a royalty collection agency that recently took over rights management duties from Ascap and BMI for 41 songwriters and composers.

The group claims that there's no evidence of YouTube having a license to play its clients' music. And as Azoff told the Wall Street Journal, it's been difficult to get YouTube to prove otherwise. He's hoping that a unified group will compel the streaming video service to respond, either with takedowns or a new royalty agreement with significantly higher pay for clients.

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Now Streaming: 10 movies full of violence and conflict

Great stories, and movies, too, are born out of conflict. These can be small ones, such as a father and son trying to communicate during a road trip, or big ones, like a band of downtrodden citizens storming through a train. This week Netflix offers a selection of terrific movies that deal in conflict, especially forms of violence, in fascinating ways.

Nebraska

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A new Chromecast challenger appears: Vudu Spark streaming dongle hits FCC

It appears Walmart-owned video streaming and download service Vudu wants to get into the HDMI dongle game, too. A Chromecast-like device dubbed "Vudu Spark" recently popped up on the Federal Communications Commission's website, as first noticed by GigaOm.

Walmart didn't make the filing itself. Instead South Korea-based Inkel Corporation, an electronics maker, is behind the FCC filing. Presumably, Inkel is the white label manufacturer for the device and we can expect an announcement from Walmart in the coming weeks.

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The Vudu Spark as pictured in documents filed with the FCC.

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CBS brings a round-the-clock streaming news network to cord cutters

CBS is looking to cover one of the biggest blind spots for cord cutters with a free, 24-7 streaming news network.

Dubbed CBSN, the streaming channel offers a continuous feed of news stories around the clock. On weekdays, 15 of those hours will be live, anchored coverage. Unlike CBS’s new $5.99 All Access service for TV shows, the news service is completely ad-supported, with commercials occasionally working their way into the feed.

CBSN is available now through any web browser and in apps for Roku players, Roku TV sets and Amazon’s Fire TV. It’s also part of a new CBS News app for Windows and Windows Phone, and is coming to Android and “other leading platforms” (the iPhone, presumably) by year-end.

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SoundCloud's premium subscription music service will launch in 2015

SoundCloud users who can’t wait to get those new ads out of their streams will have to hang on until next year for a commercial-free version.

Alexander Ljung, the streaming music site’s CEO, told the Wall Street Journal that an ad-free subscription service will launch in the first half of 2015. SoundCloud first revealed its subscription plans in August, after it started rolling out audio and display advertising for all users.

The subscription service is guaranteed as part of a licensing deal with Warner Music Group, the Journal reports. SoundCloud will pay royalties to Warner and its publishing division any time users play one of the label’s songs on either the ad-free or ad-supported version. Warner will also get some equity in the company.

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