Spotify use During Pandemic has Soared

Spotify usage has completely been derailed from the usual statistics. Obviously, spotify usage in cars have dropped because of the Stay-at-Home order. But Spotify usage at home on T.V. or game consoles have soared, reaching an increase of over 50% of usual number.

From their data, Spotify has found that everyday usage seems like a weekend. In the mornings, people are constantly streaming music on the apps that would often only happen more on the weekends.

More Spotify usage has been happening around their family during cooking, chores, family time, and relaxing at home with their numbers doubling. Spotify descriptions such as “chill” or “instrumental” have also seen an increase. This is most likely because an ambient sound is looked for while performing activities with the family.

More US consumers are seen to be using music as a stress reliever according to surveys. Spotify is proud of the fact that they are able to continue providing service with little disruption during this time of chaos.

Opposite of Spotify usage in the US, Italy and Spain has seen a decrease in streams.

People cancelling their subscriptions have said there reason for cancelling was due to the pandemic. They were also said to have renew their subscriptions when economic balance is restored.

Spotify has reached 130 million paid subscriptions, which is above forecasted numbers. But ad-supported revenue has been below forecasted numbers as a result of Covid-19.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, said the company is in better position because the company relies less on revenue derived from advertisements.

Spotify has also began investing more into podcasts which has seen a tremendous leap this year, especially due to the Coronavirus.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/29/media/spotify-earnings/index.html

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Unprecedented Popular YouTube Video Topics

YouTube has been a hub for prank and cat videos, but now since the pandemic even more odd videos have come up to surface. A couple months ago, the popularity of these videos would have made no sense, but because of the pandemic these videos are being watched worldwide.

Tutorials on making fabric face masks and “pandemic makeup” have been buzzing on YouTube recently. On a more serious note, videos that touch upon the dangers of online education have also became popular.

YouTube CEO, Susan Wojcicki mentions how the YouTube company would have never seen these videos coming. Tutorials such as hand-washing have become popular. Information on really basic information has become popular on YouTube.

YouTube users are also seeking other people’s lives under quarantine as a form of entertainment. People are interested in what exercising, doing dishes, fixing appliances, and giving haircuts are like in quarantine. These are all unprecedented popular videos people are viewing.

YouTube views has skyrocketed since the stay at home order. In the first week of April, there were 32 billion minutes being watched within a week. Compared to last years, 15 billion minutes, that is a lot.

With more viewers comes more concerns. YouTube has been working on giving out the right information about the Coronavirus. YouTube has been working with the World Health Organization to keep the information as accurate as possible. New claims can now be flagged on YouTube videos such as “medically unsubstantiated” claims. Videos that would get flagged as such are videos that claim there is a miracle cure to the Coronavirus. Videos that contradict WHO’s recommendations are also being flagged as misinformation.

YouTube now offers a section of their homepage dedicated towards Coronavirus news. In this section one can be updated on current status as well as extra tips into keeping safe away from the virus.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/23/media/youtube-videos-pandemic/index.html

Late Night Shows Impacted by the Pandemic

As late night shows are directly impacted, hosts and broadcasting stations have found ways to keep viewers entertained. The biggest late night television stars are keeping the show going by filming from inside their homes. With this in home production comes many pros and cons.

Aside from all the production, the hosts have seemed to lack the energy driven by a live audience. With late night show hosts missing that energy, comes a lot of authenticity as well. Show host’s like Stephen Colbert adds that his dog has created a more intimate and relaxed environment to his job. In the privacy of their own homes, hosts have been able to feel less tense also in part of the less promotional stunts they would usually have to perform.

Jimmy Fallon adds that you can’t really fake anything. It is really you on National T.V. and that is all. Other late night show hosts have changed their normal ways. John Oliver has embraced the minimalist approach to Late Night shows while Bill Maher has added audience laughter to his monologue to add a more familiar setting.

Music has become a big source of entertainment during these shows as well. “One World: Together at Home” concert was on April 18, which played on multiple networks to fund raise for those fighting Covid-19

Other broadcasting stations are practicing alternatives towards their content. Saturday Night Live added the “at home” experiment which began a solo act for comedians to perform. Another innovative idea came from ESPN, while they created a “HORSE” competition in which known sports figures can compete in a game of “HORSE” for entertainment.

Although these companies are trying new ways to entertain the public, it has not come with the most exciting response. This sort of content can bore a viewer very quickly. Needless to say, their efforts are appreciated during these times of uncertainty. Any sort of entertainment to keep our minds off the pandemic is appreciated.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/17/entertainment/social-distancing-tv/index.html

Apple Music Gives Back to Independent Labels Hit by Covid-19

Record labels are also being hit hard by the Coronavirus crisis.  Physical sales are essentially decimated.  Live events are not happening so licensing income from public performance plays and sync use has fallen.  Labels which participate in their artists’ live income are obviously seeing that revenue reduced to zero as well.

Many labels are also postponing album releases due to the fear of a soft marketplace.  Apple music will announce later today, they will be funding $50 million to independent labels and distributors who meet a minimum quarterly threshold of $10,000 in Apple Music earnings.  This means Apple Music is hoping these independent labels will pay their artists to keep things in operation during these hard times.

Apple has also seen a surge of subscribers since the beginning of this pandemic, despite streaming volumes on all audio services dipping.  This means the money is going more directly to independent labels for their license of music rights.

Company-wide, Apple has been trying to help those in in need.  Tim Cook, CEO of Apple announced he will be donating $20 million to mask production and shipping. 

What is going to happen to Olympic Sports and other Sports Broadcasters?

The Tokyo Summer Olympics will not be happening this year.  For obvious reasons, athletes and sporting federations have chosen to push back the Olympics to hopefully next year.  The Olympics have been postponed three times in history.  Once because of World War I and another because of World War II.  The Prime Minister of Japan has insisted the Olympics to not be cancelled but postponed to next year.  Although Japan has made great progress in dealing with this crisis, the rest of the World has not.  Not until 2 weeks ago, people were insisting that the Olympics go on, but it is becoming seen as impossible and seriously ill-advised to do so.

NBCUniversal has already signed contracts with local stations and distributors for them to use their production.  Now that the Olympics are pushed to next year and their contract extended, NBCUniversal could make them end up paying double. 

But given the long-term relationships with these companies, NBCUniversal will most likely come up with accommodations in order to not decimate these local stations.  On the other hand, NBCUniversal would probably end up facing serious lawsuits if they chose to make their partners pay double.  No decision has been made yet.

Media executives worry politicians may carry-out a plan to have all TV bills be paid back to their consumers.  A large domino effect that comes from no sports being paid.

There are campaigns for sports networks to refund some of the paid subscription back to the consumer for no sports.  This would result in hundreds of millions of dollars, but sports broadcasters are trying to come up with accommodations in order to not lose out on so much money.  Many broadcasting stations are figuring out ways to keep the consumer’s happy by rearranging release dates and payment plans.  The Michael Jordan documentary was supposed to be released in July but has been pushed up to keep consumers happy.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/01/coronavirus-sports-cancellations-set-up-media-fights-over-refunds.html

Sports Broadcasting Services and their Providers; What happens?

One would think because of the Coronavirus pandemic, people would more likely be inside spending time watching T.V.  Although this seems logical, because many of these people are becoming unemployed, they are more likely to cut cable to save extra money.  The FCC has already issued warnings to distributors and local T.V. stations about renewed contracts. 

As this crisis ensues, cable operators and programmers have called a temporary truce to set aside questions regarding refunds on undelivered programming, such as the NBA, NHL, Olympics, and many other big television marketing programs.

Distributors agreed to pay programmers a certain amount of money based on the shows the are supposed to deliver.  Many sports media channels are the reason consumers pay big bucks too, so a resolution must be brought up.

“CBS is not going to pay for this season and have no financial recourse at all,” Pilson said. “The networks are not paying for games that aren’t delivered. They may have a formula where certain monies change hands and eventually they’ll get credit for that.”

AS the NCAA basketball tournament has been cancelled, the effect chain goes further than professional sports.  The colleges that had a contract with programmers that are now diminished as well with the fees. 

Professional sports on the other hand, may have a more difficult time with the contracts they had with distributors.  Professional sports like, NBA and MLB don’t have clear provisions on how to demand refunds in case of a unavoidable cause.  While there are mentions of natural causes such as tornados, hurricanes, or what have you, there is no specifications for pandemics. 

NFL is working on renewing TV rights with their partnerships, like ViacomCBS, NBCUniversal, Disney and Fox.  While they are most likely to stick with these distributors until 2022, there are programmers who are on the fringe of stealing a partnership.  Companies such as Apple, Google, and Amazon are likely competitors.    

These distributors payed a lot of money for these games to be broadcasted.  NFL and MLB hold a lot of weight, in being able to not refund the broadcasters fully for what they have paid.  Streaming service DAZN has informed leagues that it will not pay rights fees for any games that have been suspended.  CBS, ESPN, and NBC all have not demanded refunds or threatened to withhold payment for games yet. 

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/01/coronavirus-sports-cancellations-set-up-media-fights-over-refunds.html

Zoom Sued for Sharing Personal Data with Facebook

Zoom Video Communications is under serious scrutiny as they have been caught giving personal data of users to outside companies such as Facebook. The popular web-camming company that has gained popularity due to the Coronavirus outbreak is under serious legal troubles.

A lawsuit filed Monday stated that Zoom’s software would give information about the user such as the device the person is using, device’s model and the device’s advertising identifier.

“The unique advertising identifier allows companies to target the user with advertisements,” the lawsuit states. “This information is sent to Facebook by Zoom regardless of whether the user has an account with Facebook.”

Zoom officials have said they have changed the practices after they were caught.

After a news report by Vice Media, CEO of Zoom, Eric Yuan, said the data sharing began after a user signed up for Zoom through facebook. He says, “Our customer’s privacy is incredibly important to us, and therefore we decided to remove Facebook SDK (Software Development Kit) in our client and have reconfigured the feature so that users will still be able to login with Facebook via their browser.”

The lawsuit goes further, claiming Zoom was being paid to share data. Court documents won’t disclose how much money Zoom allegedly received.

New York Attorney General Letitia James is asking Zoom to provide details on how they will change their practices to ensure user privacy. Zoom may have a hard time transitioning privacy practices because of the already intact data sharing system.

As Zoom is becoming more popular due to the work from home lifestyle everyone is adapting to, more hackers are using it as a medium to spread hate messages. Also as stocks have been hit hard, Zoom’s stock has soared 46%.

Source: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/zoom-app-personal-data-selling-facebook-lawsuit-alleges/

Tucker Carlson Warns of Coronavirus as Fox Attacks Media Coverage

Tucker Carlson of Fox News has expressed his concerns over the Coronavirus. Even though his colleagues at Fox have downplayed the media’s coverage of the virus, Carlson has other words to say. On monday night, Carlson seemed to disapprove of President Trump’s message regarding the virus. “People you trust, people you probably voted for, have spent weeks minimizing what is clearly a very serious problem,” Carlson said. “it’s just partisan politics,’ the say. ‘Calm down. In the end this was just like the flu and people die from that every year. Coronavirus will pass.”

Meanwhile on Fox, Carlson’s colleague, Trish Regan was dismissing coronavirus than nothing more than an attempt to impeach Trump. Also, Sean Hannity claims that the media is using the coronavirus as a weapon against Trump. This is not a surprise for Fox is a very right winged news broadcasting channel that will support anything the President has to say. Rush Limbaugh even claims the democrats are using this virus scare to stop Trump rallies.

CNN on monday has begin calling this virus a pandemic. It is a big decision to begin calling it a pandemic because of the severity that implies. CNN chief medical correspondent, Sanya Gupta says, “While we know it sounds alarming, it should not cause panic.” By calling it a pandemic, Gupta is not trying to scare more people, but simply provide the correct information.

Many other media outlet companies have already begun taking precautions on this pandemic. The Washington Post, Vice Media, A+E Networks, New York Times, and more have all begun taking precautionary steps during this time. All companies have begun encouraging the employees to work from home. It seems as if every new company is focused on the actual matter at hand, while Fox shows stubbornness to the facts.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/10/media/tucker-carlson-coronavirus-warning-reliable-sources/index.html

Clearview of Your Personal Life

Hoan Ton-That an Australian techie and onetime model is inventing technology that would end the ability to walk down the street anonymously.  Providing this technology to local cops in Florida, F.B.I. and Department of Homeland Security

In this article by Kashmir Hill, a company called Clearview by Hoan Ton-That can disclose any personal information of you. His company has created an app where anyone can take a picture of a person and upload it.  The app will then retrieve all the online data of that person using facial recognition. The database for this facial recognition can be anything a person has ever posted online, including Facebook, YouTube, and even Venmo.  This technology goes beyond anything any of the Silicon Valley giants or United States government has ever created.

Federal and state law enforcement officers have used this app to help solve cases of shoplifting, identity theft, credit card fraud, murder, and child sexual exploitation cases.

This technology is often frowned upon though, because of its invasion of privacy.  Google’s chairman in 2011 said this piece of technology was the only thing they refrained from because it could end up harming society more than it is helping.  San Francisco has barred police from using this technology.

This company has made ways through law enforcement.  More than 600 law enforcement companies have used this technology without publicly announcing that they have been using it.  Clearview is also refraining from disclosing this list of companies who are using it.

This technology goes beyond identifying criminals.  The computer code has been analyzed by The New York Times and it has been discovered that this technology is being linked with augmented-reality glasses.  Users could identify anyone through wearing these pair of glasses.  This would be including an activist in a protest, an attractive classmate, anyone.  This would not only reveal their name, but also where they live!  It can reveal a lot of information about that person, even what they did and who they know. 

Burger King’s New Moldy Burger

In a time when breaking the norm is becoming the norm, Burger King has just released an ad showing the ugly side of food advertisement. In promoting their new stance on removing artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, Burger King has caught the attention of millions by advertising a moldy old burger. Founder of drinks brand Tenzing Natural Energy, Huib van Bockel, said, “I love it. It’s about time. It’s so important to be open and honest. Of course, food perishes what is controversial about that? Only thing that worries me is: were there actually artificial preservatives in there?” It’s a step into marketing real product.

Not only does this promote realism, but it also has attracted a lot of attention towards Burger King. Conversations on social media platforms have almost doubled about Burger King. A divide between people who praised and criticised the advertisements has also formed. There are just as many critics and people who like the real advertisement.

Johnny Shaw, chief strategy officer at VCCP New York, thinks the advertisement has gotten the target audience all wrong. The people who are talking about it are people who wouldn’t step foot in a Burger King to begin with. The advertisement has reached an audience past it’s normal target audience.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/20/burger-kings-moldy-whopper-ad-is-dividing-marketing-experts.html