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Strategy Analytics: Streaming music hurting music industry revenue

The music industry is struggling to generate revenue from streaming music, as it is seeing paid digital download sales dropping, according to the "Will Royalty Crisis Defeat the Music Streaming Industry" report from Strategy Analytics.

 

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Popular streaming music services Pandora and Spotify are paying extremely high acquisition costs as subscribers and listener figures increase, making it difficult for them to get ahead of the cost curve. Pandora generates 82 percent of its revenue based on advertising, while Spotify earns 91 percent of its revenue from user subscriptions.

 

"Technology is evolving and changing the way consumers discover, listen to, share, and interact with music, but it is also a significant factor in the decline of music industry revenues," said Leika Kawasaki, Digital Media Strategies analyst and report author. "Many artists feel they are under compensated by streaming services, but as currently structured the underlying economics won't support higher royalty payments by these services, particularly for free ad-supported services."

Continue reading 'Strategy Analytics: Streaming music hurting music industry revenue' (full post)

Samsung announces the UHD Alliance, for a better world of 4K

CES 2015 - Samsung had a lot to discuss at their CES 2015 press conference, announcing they've teamed up with various industry giants to form the UHD Alliance.

 

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The South Korean giant has partnered up with DirecTV, Dolby Vision, Netflix, Panasonic, Sharp, Technicolor, Disney, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros to form the UHD Alliance, for all things 4K and beyond.

 

We don't know how long it'll take for us to see the fruits of the UHD Alliance's labor, but I'm sure it won't be long.

North Korea lashes out against United States following new sanctions

The Obama Administration announced new sanctions against the North Korean government last week, in an effort to retaliate against North Korea for reportedly hacking Sony Pictures. Obama responded to "the provocative, destabilizing, and repressive actions and policies of the Government of North Korea," and its decision to target Sony Pictures.

 

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In addition to previous sanctions designed to pressure the North Korean government, ten government agents - working in China, Russia, Iran, Syria and Namibia - have been added to the sanctions list. Pyongyang wasn't happy with the release of "The Interview" by Sony Pictures, and was accused or orchestrating a crippling cyberattack against the company. It's no surprise that government officials are unhappy with the United States and the Obama Administration for even more sanctions designed to disrupt its government operations.

 

"The persistent and unilateral action taken by the White House to slap sanctions against the D.P.R.K. patently proves that it is still not away from inveterate repugnance and hostility toward the D.P.R.K.," a North Korean government official reportedly told the media.

Following data breach, US government hits North Korea with sanctions

The United States has issued new economic sanctions against North Korea, as Pres. Obama and lawmakers look for methods to retaliate against North Korea. Even with increasing pressure stating otherwise, the FBI and Obama Administration still believes North Korea is directly involved in bringing down Sony Pictures, ahead of the launch of "The Interview."

 

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Here is what White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest noted in a press statement: "This (executive order) is a response to the Government of North Korea's ongoing provocative, destabilizing, and repressive actions and policies, particularly its destructive and coercive cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment."

 

This reportedly is the first step by the Obama Administration, though could be nothing more than a symbolic effort - North Korea endures heavy sanctions, so any additional sanctions could end up being meaningless. However, the newest sanctions will target the Korea Mining Development Trading Corporation, Reconnaissance General Bureau and Korea Tangun Trading Corporation, in an effort to hurt the government's intelligence and arms dealing sectors.

Continue reading 'Following data breach, US government hits North Korea with sanctions' (full post)

Apple faces lawsuit over massive storage space required by iOS 8

A class-action lawsuit has been filed by two Florida residents, accusing Apple of deceiving its customers regarding storage space required for the iOS 8 operating system. The company didn't inform customers that 23 percent of storage space on iPhone smartphones and iPad tablets would be used by iOS 8 alone, which many users have found to be frustrating.

 

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"We feel that there are a considerable number of Apple purchasers that have been duped, and we'll be following the claims briskly," said William Anderson, attorney at Cuneo Gilbert & Laduca, when discussing the lawsuit.

 

The iPhone 5s has 18.1 percent storage capacity unavailable to users after installation, 18.8 percent for the iPhone 6, and 20.6 percent unavailable for the iPhone 6 Plus.

Continue reading 'Apple faces lawsuit over massive storage space required by iOS 8' (full post)

Bitcoin supporters hope the cryptocurrency has booming 2015

The bitcoin cryptocurrency was expected to make a major impact in 2014 - and while interest in the volatile payment infrastructure increased - its value dropped 70 percent year-over-year. However, bitcoins are expected to draw a significant amount of headlines in 2015, even with values dipping closer towards $300.

 

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"Regardless of the price, it was a huge year for bitcoin," said Sonny Singh, BitPay chief commercial officer, in a statement to CNBC. "A year ago people didn't know if bitcoin was a fad, but today it's for sure that it's going to stay for a long time."

 

Consumer adoption increased in 2014, with Microsoft, Dish, Overstock.com, Expedia and other major companies announcing they would begin accepting bitcoin payments - as Coinbase, BitPay and other bitcoin companies helping provide stability in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Uber facing class action lawsuit over 'Safe Rides Fee'

Two Uber users are unhappy with paying the $1 'Safe Rides Fee' for their services, claiming that it's unfair. This extra add-on is implemented by Uber, who claim that their drivers have to undergo extensive background and safety checks before getting the tick of approval to operate, much more-so than regular taxi companies.

 

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What's the truth? Forbes says that they don't. If you're looking to join a traditional taxi service, you're going to have your fingerprints taken and many various methods will be utilized to prove your identity and safety. Uber has been slammed by members of the public and media, claiming that it's simply too easy for someone to use another persons identity to sign up as an UberX driver, faking your credentials and background checks.

 

So what exactly is involved with the Uber background checking system? Gizmodo emailed this emerging company back in 2013 and was hit with a reply claiming it was a "trade secret". Many more news outlets have been trying to pry this information away from Uber, surely it can't be that difficult to release? One concern that may arise is if Uber release their selection process, people will be made publicly aware and start developing methods to work around these facts.

Continue reading 'Uber facing class action lawsuit over 'Safe Rides Fee'' (full post)

Apple CEO Tim Cook named 'CEO of the Year' by CNN

Tim Cook has been named "CEO of the Year" for 2014 by CNN, with the rise of Apple stock and record-breaking iDevice launches for the year cementing Cook as CNN's CEO of the Year. Cook took first place, while John Chen of BlackBerry, Mary Barra of GM and Meg Whitman of HP weren't too far behind him.

 

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CNN said that Apple was the "apple of Wall Street's eye again" thanks to its stock driving up 40% this year, as well as other individual factors that led to the stock price going up. CNN said that Cook did "an amazing job" over the year, with the successful launches of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, as well as other various launches, including Apple Pay.

 

All eyes are watching for the launch of the Apple Watch early next year, which could be another big win for both Cook and Apple. CNN said "Cook has arguably the toughest CEO job in America. He's had to convince skeptics that Apple can still innovate after the death of Steve Jobs. He's proven all the naysayers wrong."

US Postal Service interested in embracing e-commerce to revolutionize

The US Postal Service is desperate to attract customers and business clients interested in making shipments via the USPS service. Since 2012, the USPS has ramped up efforts to appeal to e-commerce businesses to combat stiff competition from FedEx, UPS, DHL, and other rival services.

 

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The e-commerce business sector continues to increase, and fighting for customers making frequent shipments has proven difficult for the USPS. However, real-time package scanning and new handheld scanners of delivery workers are two strategies besieged Postal Service executives have tried implementing.

 

Fighting for profitability will remain a major undertaking for the USPS, as first-class mail - the most profitable business for the USPS - continues to slide, contributing to the $5.5 billion fiscal 2014 loss suffered by the Postal Service.

Facebook spies on private messages, gets hit with class action lawsuit

Facebook has been hit with a class action lawsuit in the United States, with the social network being accused of reading users' private messages, without their consent.

 

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On Tuesday, Judge Phyllis Hamilton ruled in an Oakland, California court that the social network must face a class action lawsuit for violating its users' privacy by scanning their private messages, so that it could used the gathered data for targeted advertising. Facebook shot back, arguing that their actions are covered by an exception under the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act for interceptions by service producers occurring in the ordinary course of business. The court replied, saying that Facebook hadn't explained how this practice fell within the ordinary course of business.

 

The lawsuit itself was filed two years ago, and it could benefit any user that sent or received linked through private messages. The suit is asking for damages of up to $10,000 per person, and it would also like to see Facebook not scanning private messages going into the future.

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