The Spotify Music Awards??



In recent news, Spotify has announced that it will be launching their own music awards. The first Spotify Awards will be held in March 2020 in Mexico City. Spotify has teamed up with Warner Media to broadcast the award show live in all Spanish-language countries. Spotify states that Mexico City is their largest market with more listeners than other major markets including New York City, Los Angeles, London, and Paris.

The award show will be entirely based on user-generated data, like the majority of their other features. According to Spotify, “Your plays, patterns, and habits will help determine the award categories, finalists, and winners for the Spotify Awards by providing a true reflection of what fans are listening to. You can get excited for an awards ceremony that actually speaks to what the people are streaming”. Spotify hopes that by making the awards show based on data, users will be encouraged to stream as much music as possible from their favorite artists.

The company is modeling their awards show off of the Billboard Music Awards where most finalists and winners are based on three criteria; sales, streaming, and user-engagement data. In 2019, Spotify’s active monthly users grew by 30% and paid subscriber growth grew by 31%. With the amount of users and data that Spotify is able to collect on a yearly basis, it is no wonder that Spotify is creating an awards show that is entirely based off of their user’s listening habits and engagement.

Spotify Is Launching Its Own Music Awards, Based on Streaming Data


Spotify’s Discovery Feature Turns to Podcasting


In recent news, Spotify has taken its first steps towards personalizing their user’s podcast recommendations. Spotify’s first step towards personalization was the launch of its “Your Daily Podcast” playlist, which offers users a personalized list of podcasts they could be interested in. After seeing positive results during a testing period, Spotify has decided to roll out the feature to all users in the US, UK, Germany, Sweden, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

The playlist, which personalizes user’s podcast recommendations, mixes podcasts that users already follow along with Spotify’s own recommendations. To gather a list of podcasts that users might be interested in, Spotify takes into account listening history and podcasts users currently follow. The playlist is set to feature trailers along with long podcasts and shorter news segments. Emily Rawitsch, Director of Product Design, states that, “Listeners might be shown an episode in a series they already listen to; a show about a similar topic to something they already like; a popular show in a genre they like; or a show with a host they already enjoy.” Spotify plans to stick with listening behavior as a determining factor for podcast recommendations with plans to role out a further developed algorithm in the future.

In my opinion, I think this is an awesome move for Spotify. There really hasn’t been a great place (at least not that I know of) to discover new podcasts and with Spotify’s new feature, this could be the beginning of a better discovery process. Their current music discovery playlists and features are awesome and if they are able to replicate the same thing with podcasts, I think this could be a big hit. I currently only listen to two podcasts, so I am pretty excited to be able to use Spotify’s new discovery feature to find new podcasts.

How do companies maintain a positive image around their brand?


Do you ever wonder if what you are seeing on social media is true to how consumers ACTUALLY feel about a product? Recent news about negative social media comments states that what you are seeing online doesn’t actually tell the full story. Respondology, a Colorado-based brand safety firm, has rolled out a new service titled “The Ad Mod”. The Ad Mod is a new technology that combines AI and human monitoring to automatically delete negative comments on paid ad content. The service is specifically designed for paid advertisements through social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

The company’s first partner, Horizon Media, used the service for the launch of the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich. Horizon Media used the service to track comments on professional athlete’s Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube accounts who were paid to promote the new sandwich. While using “The Ad Mod”, the campaign saw a 10.8% increase in engagement.

Companies that use Ad Mod will be able to launch their posts through a dashboard and see which comments are screened by Ad Mod. The service screens all comments on a selected post with machine learning. The machine automatically removes comments that are seen as negative towards the brand, as well as racist, sexual and violent comments.

In my opinion, I think this app can be good and bad. I feel like this app can be great for removing comments that are seen as racist, sexual, and violent, however I think it is wrong to hide comments that are seen as “negative” towards a brand. Removing negative comments promotes a false narrative or image around a brand, especially if a majority of individuals feel poorly about a product or brand. It seems kind of shady, especially if 8/10 comments on a post are removed because they are negative.

Current Issues: fact-checking on social media


Fact-Checking – An Effective Weapon Against Misinformation?

In recent news, over one hundred fact-checkers from around the world gathered in Menlo Park, California this past week to participate in a Fact-Checking Partner Summit held by Facebook. The event was held to gather third-party fact-checkers together to provide each other with experiences and feedback relating to fact-checking.

To start off the meeting, Facebook announced to the attendees the three tracks they are using to fight misinformation. Facebook stated that they are focused on targeting and taking down fake accounts through technology, spammers that have financial reasons to post false content in the platform, and also on providing content and context to its users. There were also two major announcements made at the meeting. First, the International Fact-Checking Network announced their joint endeavor with Facebook, The Fact-Checking Innovation Initiative. This initiative was created to “support the development of projects focused on new and creative ideas around fact-checking, misinformation, and disinformation.” Second, Facebook announced their plans to partner with Agence France Press to fact-check content in Bolivia, Chile, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Peru.

After the announcements, fact-checkers from various countries including Brazil, India, Kenya, Spain, Israel, and the United States took the stage to share case studies, experiences, lessons they’ve learned, and feedback regarding fact-checking in their countries. In one case, India presented on false ads and posts regarding a pill created by a fake doctor. In another case, Spain showed how easy it is to mix migration and false numbers to create a false narrative within their country.

Fact-checking and fake news topics have been seen all over the news in recent months and it will only continue to get worse. In my opinion, I think technology/social media companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram need to take more action toward fact-checking content. It is extremely important to monitor this as it can drastically effect large populations of people, especially those who are not as good with technology. It is also important to realize that not everything you see on the internet is real and that individuals should conduct their own research on information they see online. It would be cool to see companies provide free crash courses for users on fact-checking and spotting misinformation.

Over 100 fact-checkers are in Menlo Park for Facebook’s Fact-Checking Partner Summit. So how did it start?

Google launches apps to track phone usage

Vector Mobile Phone With Icons In Flat Style


In recent news, Google has launched a series of apps through the Android phone to help users spend less time on their phones. The apps launched by Google are a part of the company’s ongoing Digital Wellbeing effort which promotes healthy phone habits.

The first app that was released by Google is called “Unlock Clock”. According to the play store, “Unlock Clock helps you consider your tech usage, by counting and displaying the number of times you unlock your phone in a day.” The app allows the number of times you unlock your phone in a day to be highlighted through a wallpaper where users constantly see the number every time they use their phone.

The second app that was released by Google is called “Post Box”. This app was created to rethink how individuals receive notifications through their phones. Instead of allowing the phone to constantly send notifications to the user, the app allows you to choose a time when you can see all of your notifications at once.

The third app that was released by Google is called “Morph”. The app acts as a folder for apps based on the time of day and situation you are in. If you are at work, you can choose to only be shown apps that you use at work until you leave the office for the day. Google shows an example called “holiday” where it limits all of your app time so you can be more present with others!

The fourth app that was released by Google is called “We Flip”. The app allows users within a room to join the same session which counts the amount of time everyone in the session goes without using their phones. The app is meant to promote spending time with family and friends away from technology and off of your devices.

The fifth and final app that was released by Google is called “Desert Island”. The app was designed to help you focus on only the essential apps you need for a particular day. The app allows you to pick essential apps you need for the day, and then starts a 24-hour period where you can only access those select apps.

In my opinion, I think this is a great initiative from Google and I honestly wish they had these apps on the iPhone. I always think about phones and how much time I spend on it and having these apps on my iPhone would be extremely beneficial. We live in a society where the majority of people are always connected to their phones and these apps can truly help people who are addicted to their phones or just need to take a break to become more productive throughout the day.

AMC joins the streaming trend

In the weird world of movies, streaming, and television, one of the top names in film has made the switch to streaming: AMC. Movie fans will be able to rent and buy movies in the comfort of their own homes from one of the United States’ largest movie theater chains. The movie theater company, AMC Entertainment, will roll out an iTunes-style video store in the United States starting October 15th. The service is said to offer over 2,000 films to rent or purchase and will have a similar layout to iTunes, Amazon, and other video-on-demand retailers.

In light of the new streaming service companies like Disney, Warner Bros., Universal, Sony, and Paramount have all made deals with AMC for catalog and new-release movies. Ron Sanders, president of worldwide distribution at Warner says, “For us, it’s all upside. Most of our other big digital partners are focused on multiple other categories — music, books. The great thing about AMC is that movies are the whole focus.” Mr. Aron, an executive at AMC says, “Our theater business is mature. There is a high-growth opportunity in this digital expansion.”

In my opinion, I think this is a great move from AMC. With the expansion of technology and streaming, movie theaters have become less and less popular. AMC moving into the streaming game opens up a whole other world for them. The article talks a little bit about the company using this service hand-in-hand with their AMC Stubs program and I think that’s a great idea. In the article it says, “AMC Stubs members bought about six million tickets to ‘The Lion King’ over the summer. When ‘The Lion King’ becomes available digitally on Tuesday, ‘those people will all get a personalized message from AMC saying that they can now enjoy it at home through AMC Theaters On Demand.'” I think this is such a good idea and even if a small percentage of the people who receive the message rent or purchase The Lion King, the company will still be generating more revenue (after factoring in costs of content acquisition).

New move shows the BBC is ready for change


In light of the recent trends regarding how individual’s view and interact with television, the BBC is preparing to revamp its streaming service. This move from the BBC comes after facing tough competition from Netflix in the past couple of years. Besides competition from Netflix, the BBC is attempting to combat the changes in the way individuals view television and is also planning to focus on their younger audience. The BBC’s streaming service is titled iPlayer and will become the main avenue for people to view their programming. Television shows on the service will now be available for up to a year, instead of the previous 30-day restriction. In previous years, the BBC’s iPlayer held a 40% share of the streaming market however, that number has dropped to 15% after the growth of Netflix.

The relaunch of the iPlayer will change the entire “look and feel” of the service. BBC’s director general says that the relaunch will open “a new front door for British Creativity”. The director general also promises their talent “unprecedented levels of freedom” and a “broader shop window” on all of their platforms. The Director of Content for the BBC also says that, “the iPlayer will become the heart of everything we do; the gateway to all our programmes – a total TV experience, which will bring everything you want from BBC television into one place for the first time.”

I find this article interesting because it is another example of a media company trying to adapt and change to the increase in streaming and the decrease in traditional television practices. With the coming years, we will see more and more of these articles describing different ways companies are switching to streaming and the innovative ways that they decide to make the switch. It is nice to see the BBC admit that what they were doing wasn’t working how it should have been. They took the necessary steps to grow with the changing times and it will be interesting to see how this works out for them.

UPS: building for the future


In recent news, UPS has announced that it has received the US government’s approval to operate a drone delivery service. UPS states that they won’t be sending out packages to its customers yet, as they will use their new drone approval to build a drone fleet to deliver packages to hospitals around the US. In the statement released by UPS, the company said that they have been trying to gain the government’s approval since the beginning of July.

UPS’s new delivery service is called, UPS Flight Forward and was granted an operating certification through the FAA. Even though drones aren’t particularly planes, the FAA still treats them as such and the federal government evaluates these drones with similar expectations and guidelines. Through the certification granted by the FAA, UPS is allowed to fly its drones with these specific exemptions:

  • UPS can fly as many drones as they want
  • UPS can let their drones fly beyond their pilot’s line of sight
  • UPS can load their drones with more than 55 pounds of packages
  • UPS can fly their drones at night

UPS is the first company to be granted this level of clearance from the FAA and federal government. Currently, other companies that are working on drone delivery but haven’t been approved yet are Amazon and Uber Eats.

In my opinion, I think this is a great thing for UPS and their development of this service will truly benefit everyone. If UPS puts a lot of effort into this service and develops it to its fullest potential, the delivery system we currently have in the United States could drastically change. It would affect how fast people get packages and mail, how individuals order food and items off the internet, and would truly disrupt the current system we have in place. Do I think that this will completely flip our current delivery system upside down? No, however it is cool to think of what the possibilities could be.

Facebook: always looking towards the future


In an age where individuals are constantly looking for the “next big thing”, Facebook may have found just that with their recent acquisition of CTRL-labs. Facebook announced on Monday that it has acquired the neurotechnology startup CTRL-labs for an estimated range of $500 million to $1 billion. With their recent acquisition, Facebook hopes to further their efforts to develop a wristband that has the power to control smartphones, computers, and other devices without having to actually touch the screen. Facebook’s main goal for the last couple years has been to innovate and transform how individuals communicate with each other and the acquisition sets them far above their competition. The company hopes to further develop a wearable device instead of technology that requires surgery.

The startup, CTRL-labs, has been trying to develop a wristband that “decodes” the electrical signals that neurons in the spinal cord sends to individual’s arm and hand muscles. The wristband will play a crucial part in developing new ways that individual’s interact with technology and the company hopes to phase out traditional technology like mouse and keyboards, touchscreens, and any form of physical controllers. Andrew Bosworth, head of AR and VR at Facebook, says that “technology like this has the potential to open up new creative possibilities and reimagine 19th century inventions in a 21st century world. This is how our interactions in VR and AR can one day look. It can change the way we connect”.

Overall, in my opinion, I feel like this could really be a huge breakthrough for technology and could propel technology even further then we think it could. It makes sense to see Facebook invest in CTRL-labs because of the recent news that they have been trying to develop technology that makes it easier for consumers to produce and consume media. Not only could this technology impact cellular devices, computers, and social media, but it would have a huge impact on the video game industry. This technology could completely change the way that individuals consume and play video games. I will definitely be keeping my eye on this and I wouldn’t be surprised if Facebook tries to roll out a product within the next year, especially since they also own Oculus VR.


Artificial Intelligence: training for live-streamed shootings


Ever since Facebook introduced live streaming to its social media platform, the company has struggled with violent streams going viral. In light of serious talks on gun violence and mass shootings in the United States, the company hopes to combat the live streaming of shootings posted to their platform by utilizing artificial intelligence. The company has partnered with law enforcement in the US and UK, who will send Facebook first-person shooter videos from their training seminars. The footage will come from police wearing body cameras during these training seminars. Once Facebook receives the videos, they plan to develop an algorithm that can detect live-streams being broadcast by active shooters. Facebook’s Vice President of Product Management said, “We will need to provide our systems with large volumes of data of this specific kind of content, something which is difficult as these events are thankfully rare.” Facebook also released a statement that said, “With this initiative, we aim to improve our detection of real-world, first-person footage of violent events and avoid incorrectly detecting other types of footage such as fictional content from movies or video games.” Facebook will receive the footage sometime in late October and will start to build the algorithm from there.

In my opinion, I think it is great that the company is trying to do something to combat this issue. With several events being broadcast on Facebook Live including the Christchurch Mass Shooting, it is nice that Facebook is developing an algorithm to block this content. It will benefit Facebook users who don’t want to see this content blasted on their social feeds, and will also aid in decreasing the attention and recognition the shooters are looking to gain from the stream. If the algorithm is actually effective, it will be interesting to see what companies can do with it in the future and how artificial intelligence will progress.