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The music industry continues to undergo drastic change, and music labels are unsure how to deal with paid download sales dropping as more users begin to enjoy streaming music.
Paid album downloads dropped 9 percent year-over-year down to 257 million albums, with paid individual song downloads dropping 12 percent to 106.5 million in 2014, according to Nielsen SoundScan statistics. Currently, streaming music has been unable to restore the music industry - the RIAA counts 1,500 song streams as a single album purchase, and listeners are tuning in - but generating revenue from this effort remains difficult.
More users are enjoying streaming music, whether sitting at the PC or using mobile devices, with 164 billion songs listened to in 2014 - a whopping 54 percent increase year-over-year. Record labels will have to find methods to ensure they monetize this change in how listeners listen to music, though will have to do so while limiting intrusions stations and listeners will endure.
Netflix is undoubtedly one of the biggest and best online-streaming platforms available today, but unfortunately for some countries (like Australia), its services aren't supported - seeing them region locked due to copyright and various other laws. As there is a demand we've seen a sub-culture of users who are located within this 'exclusion zone' - they're still paying members of Netflix, but utilize a VPN to trick this service into thinking they live in America.
Are they pirates or not? Its a commonly asked question among media entities and the public. Although these users are paying members and are not stealing content, they're using a VPN to trick the streaming platform into thinking they live in a supported country.
TorrentFreak has just reported of Netflix's implementation of specific blocks, said to block some services that get around geo-blockers. Although not everything has been taken down just yet, reports claim that more of these VPN extensions and applications may be stamped out one-by-one from here on in.
Google is apparently eyeing India, the second largest country in the world, as the next candidate for Google Fiber services. Google is planning to provide fiber broadband services as part of the Digital India program, with a small roll-out planned as a proof-of-concept project. Along with the blazing bandwidth, 100 times faster than normal connections, Google is offering unlimited uploads and downloads, and 1TB of free cloud storage.
There are several hurdles in the way. Google might have to acquire a telecom licence, which is apparently quite the feat in India, and several large native telecom companies are lining up to oppose the plan. The expansion to India would open a massive market of over 1.2 billion people up for Google, but there are numerous challenges and low internet penetration for the average citizen. The latest numbers from 2013 indicate only 15.1 citizens per 100 have internet access in India, which puts India at number 146 of 211 countries globally.
The Pirate Bay previously made its website open for hosting by anyone with "minimal web knowledge". After it was closed recently time and time again thanks to various lawsuits, GitHub has seen 372 copies of "The Open Bay" created, seeing The Pirate Bay hit the open source market.
Being starred over 2,282 times and forked 679 times over on GitHub, this source codes front-page reads "we, the team that brought you isoHunt and oldpiratebay.org bring you the next step in torrent evolution. The Pirate Bay source code."
Isohunt has called out to developers across the globe, asking them to band together to make oldpiratebay.org something of a nostalgic improvement to the long-standing and popular torrent website, them stating that "our current goal is not only make it open source, but eventually provide fully decentralized torrent database for the community." As The Pirate Bay still remains shut down, where will users go for their illegal downloads? The answer is basically everywhere - with us previously reporting on the fact that torrent traffic has not slowed down at all since this large-scale shutdown.
Apparently, the North Korean government isn't happy with the Obama Administration and Sony's decision to release "The Interview." The North Korean National Defense Commission (NDC) released a statement that accuses the US of crippling its Internet - which has happened twice in less than one week - while also lobbing a racial slur towards Obama.
"Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest," said someone from the North Korean Policy Department, in a statement published by the Korean Central News Agency.
Once Sony Pictures reversed its decision to release "The Interview," it seemed likely the North Korean government would issue public statements. Furthermore, this isn't the first time North Korea has issued racially-driven statements aimed towards Obama, though this appears to be nothing more than political posturing.
US Internet, a company that offers fiber-optic service to 30,000 households in Minneapolis, has announced that it will offer 10-gigabit per second internet speed to its customers. This equates to 10,000 Mbps, or an amazing download around 1.25 GB/s. Yes, 1.25 Gigabytes per second.
The cost isn't cheap though, a blazing fast connection will weigh in at $399.00 per month. US Internet describes the service as the fastest internet service the world has seen, and if they manage to deliver the service they will take the crown. US Internet has a relatively small user base, so we shouldn't expect this to expand much further than the Minneapolis area. It is good to see this type of service being deployed, it is very likely the larger ISP's are taking note of US Internet's advances.
The North Korean internet failures have generated a massive amount of international press coverage. One would expect this to be the work of a sophisticated group of hackers, possibly even with the funding of the United States, or other governments wishing to stem the tide of North Korean hackers. Turns out, a 12 year old kid can likely do it. North Korea only has 1,024 IP addresses for the entire country, compared to the 1.5 Billion IP addresses in the United States.
There are potentially thousands of computers behind each IP address, but the odds of that are very unlikely. Sanctions and embargoes have severely limited access to computers. Researchers monitoring the North Korean internet have detected a few PlayStations and Xboxes on the network, and one solitary MacBook has been detected....in the entire country. The North Korean agency responsible for hacking is likely contained behind only a few IP addresses, so isolating and monitoring them shouldn't be too taxing for a heavyweight like the NSA. North Korean citizens have very limited access to the internet, which is reserved for government officials, foreign ambassadors, and relief agencies.
Madonna was forced to release six songs from her new album because 13 pre-released recordings - her entire album - were posted online. Madonna and her manager, Guy Oseary, have taken to Twitter in an effort to identify how the music, along with other data, managed to find their way to the Internet.
"We don't put things up on servers anymore," Madonna recently said in an interview with Billboard. "Everything we work on, if we work on computers, we're not on Wi-Fi, we're not on the Internet, we don't work in a way where anybody can access the information."
Despite increased security protocols Madonna tried to put in place, that doesn't mean her music was safe - it would appear it was an outside attack, as unpublished photos of Madonna were also made available at the same time "Rebel Heart," one of the songs from her album, were leaked online.
Netflix has come out talking about an offline feature for its media streaming service, saying that the offline feature was "never going to happen." It was being reported that the company would unveil the offline feature to certain tablets, but the company has come out slamming down the rumor.
During a recent interview with TechRadar, Cliff Edwards from Netflix talked about offline playback being a short term fix for something that was a much bigger problem thanks to the lack of widespread, and varying speeds of Internet.
Hackers of New York recently found a vulnerability in Delta's online portal, which allowed other passengers to view or alter other users boarding passes without knowledge or permission of the original owner.
Described as a direct object reference vulnerability, this issue saw Dani Grant from Hackers of New York contact Delta for an explanation. However they only received an apology for an "unfortunate online experience" with Delta choosing not to comment on any flaw that may have, or current does, exist.