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When you think about profits in the music industry, you'd think that by now the likes of Spotify and Pandora would be making hundreds of millions of dollars - but in reality, they don't.
According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), music streaming revenue has increased by 27% year-on-year, while vinyl sales have jumped 52% in the same period of time. In the first half of 2015, vinyl sales made $222 million while streaming revenue hit $163 million. Apple Music isn't included in these results, so the streaming side of things will see an uptick when Apple gets onboard.
According to data analyst Joshua Friedlander: "Overall, the music industry has become the most-digital in terms of all traditional media outlets - magazines, newspapers - in terms of transition. There is more optimism out there than there was. Two-thirds of the market is still physical [CDs]. It used to be monolithic. Now it's a mix of things, a revenue diversification that makes a more stable source to grow off of. [Streaming] services have mostly grown through word of mouth. There hasn't been a big Spotify advertising push. When you get a player like Apple involved, that really generates a whole new level of awareness".
Reload Studios has just secured $4 million in its first round of funding, with Reload Studios' CEO James Chung saying: "Now the foundation is set. Gaining partners who believed in the future of VR is like gaining a huge army for the battle. We are ready to take on the whole world of VR".
The investors included Rothenberg Ventures, World Innovation Lab, Barunson E&A, YK CRCM RS LLC as well as a few undisclosed private backers. Reload Studios has only just announced its first VR title 'World War Toons' as well as the creation of its own VR Lab. The studio has partnered up with WoofbertVR, an arts education VR company.
General Partner at YK CRCM RS LLC, Chun Ding, said: "Today's digital consumers will best experience and embrace virtual reality through its most exciting and breath-taking content. We applaud the talented team at Reload Studios for what they have accomplished and are thrilled to partner with them to bring the best of these contents to the consumers".
Hours after we broke news that AMD might not have the HBM2 game wrapped up, news has broken that AMD will be culling 5% of its global workforce. Around 500 jobs will be lost due to a restructuring process, which is said to streamline AMD's business and reduce costs as the company continues to struggle against Intel, reports Bloomberg.
AMD will record charges of around $42 million due to the restructuring plan, which will outsource some of its IT services and application development. The company will save around $2 million and $7 million in the last two quarters of the year, and a total savings of $58 million in 2016.
While Bloomberg might say this is down to Intel beating the company, AMD is taking an even worse battering from NVIDIA. In the discrete GPU market, NVIDIA controls 82% of the dGPU market share with its GeForce products, leaving AMD with scraps. The new Fiji-based cards powered by the next-generation High Bandwidth Memory seem to be few and far between, with stock not filling shelves, or gamers' PCs.
Amazon continues to evolve, with the launch of its latest service that pays part-time drivers to deliver packages for Amazon. Amazon Flex is an Uber-like delivery service that pays drivers between $18 and $25 per hour to deliver packages using Amazon Prime Now, within the promised one-hour delivery window.
Interested drivers need to be at least 21 years old, have their own vehicle, an Android-powered smartphone, and have to pass a background check. We don't know how many drivers Amazon is after, the delivery distance and package size they'd be handling and other factors that would determine how much a driver is paid per hour.
Part-time drivers can work two-, four-, or eight-hour shifts to supplement their income - or with the eight-hour shifts, it could very well be a full-time job. It's not as flexible as being an Uber driver, but the benefits are there. Amazon Flex drivers can work as much as they want, as Amazon needs delivery drivers seven days a week.
Volkswagen continues to dig a bigger grave for itself, but the company is getting its hands dirty trying to crawl out of it. The company's fresh CEO, Matthias Mueller, has told his employees that the company will be contacting customers in the coming days to fixing their diesel-powered cars.
We don't know how the company will do that, whether it's going to be something mechanical or whether it will be a software-based patch. Regulators are going to be busy with Volkswagen when it happens, to make sure that the solution is absolutely 100%. Volkswagen is ready to spend $7.3 billion cleaning up the massive problem, but things are just continuing to get worse, with the likes of BMW and Mercedes now caught up in it.
Earlier this month we reported that AMD had split its GPU division off into Radeon Technolgoies Group, while the larger chunk of the company was hoping to sell a 20% stake in itself to investment firm Silver Lake.
Well, that deal has fallen through according to Bloomberg, which reports: "Advanced Micro Devices Inc., a struggling competitor to Intel Corp., was in talks to sell about a 25 percent stake to private-equity firm Silver Lake Management before the negotiations stalled, people with knowledge of the matter said".
Bloomberg added: "The two sides, which met over the summer, have put the discussions on hold after failing to agree on a price and strategy, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. AMD is also considering other strategic options, another person said".
Kayne West has a lot to say, and while the rapper and husband of Kim Kardashian will be running for US president in 2020, Kanye has come out slamming 3D printers.
In the latest episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians, Kanye said: "This is what I'm afraid of right here, 3D printing. Because the Internet destroyed the music industry and now this is what we're afraid of right now with the textile industry. There will come a time where people are making the shoes at home".
Kayne visited the Tumo Center for Creative Technologies in Armenia in the latest episode, which is where the quote came from, as well as Kanye adding that he "likes robots", but he doesn't like all robots. If Kayne is elected president, you can be sure 3D printers will most likely be banned under a new Executive Order.
Volkswagen is at the heart of the biggest car fraud story ever, but the likes of Mercedes and BMW will soon be involved. According to the latest on-the-road results from Transport & Environment (T&E), some Mercedes A, C, and E class cars as well as BMW's latest 5 series and Peugeot 308 cars are using up to 50% more fuel than their lab test results.
The problems that this is creating, is that the official numbers given by Volkswagen, Mercedes and BMW are different to the real-world performance numbers and this gap is becoming so wide that "it cannot be explained through known factors including test manipulations", reports Ademloos.be. Things have gotten worse in the last 15 years or so, where the official test results for CO2 emissions/fuel economy and real-world performance have increased from 8% in 2001 to a huge 40% on average for 2014.
The numbers are coming from T&E's 2015 Mind the Gap report, which takes a look at on-the-road fuel consumption by motorists and highlights what Volkswagen, Mercedes and BMW have been doing for years. These carmakers have been abusing the system, with EU regulators not closing the various loopholes that allow this to happen. T&E has added that without action, the gap will grow from 40% from 2014, to over 50% on average by 2020.
Qualcomm has just planted its seed in India, with a new venture fund of up to $150 million being spent on Indian startups. The announcement from Qualcomm is in good timing, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting Silicon Valley recently.
Modi wants to grow India into technology hub, with plenty of mobile resources to help the country grow. Qualcomm on the other hand wants to move into the Indian market more, with the Chinese market beginning to slow down as it gets slammed by regulators. Qualcomm Executive Chairman Paul Jacobs met the Indian PM at the Digital Economy event in San Jose recently, saying that the $150 million venture fund was in support of the Indian government's Digital India and Make-in-India initiatives.
Jacobs added that Qualcomm shared Modi's vision of transforming India into a "digital empowered society and knowledge economy", reports Fudzilla. Jacobs said: "India is at the cusp of a technology revolution and mobile technologies will lay the foundation for Digital India. We are committed to providing local innovative start-ups with the support needed to help India's IOE ecosystem grow, increasing consumer choice and availability".
The barrage of legal woes against Volkswagen continues as the auto company confirmed that approximately 2.1 million Audi vehicles across the globe are equipped with software that's specifically designed to cheat diesel emission tests. The auto titan was reportedly told some four years ago that the software posed a significant legal concern and would one day jeopardize the entire company, but VW ignored the warnings.
The software was specifically designed to recognize when emission tests were being conducted, then obfuscate actual diesel emissions by shifting into a low-emissions mode. Volkswagen clarified that over 1.42 million Audi vehicles in Western Europe had the software, with 13,000 cars in the United States and 577,000 in VW's native homeland of Germany.
The "Dieselgate" scandal has taken a serious toll on Volkswagen; shortly after the scandal broke VW shares fell by 30%, and the company has since suspended its heads of research and development. VW CEO Martin Winterkorn jumped ship after the guitly admission, and Porsche exec Matthias Mueller stepped in as acting CEO to take control over the company as it faces turbulent waters ahead.