Tag Archives: Spotify

What did they not see?

You think it is simple, but if you have been in photography like me (1975), that question becomes easier to comprehend, but explaining that becomes harder, I get that. Distractions, obstructions, light and focus are 4 basic elements of missing a detail, optionally several details. Yet the professional photographer learned not to be hindered by obstructions and to adjust for focus and light, which leaves the focussed photographer and the photographer. So the focussed photographer can make the ‘snatch’ shot and the photographer merely looks for a tissue. Seems bland and crude but this example matters.

To see one application, we need to turn to ‘Telstra, NATO and the USA’ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/06/20/telstra-nato-and-the-usa/), an article I wrote in 2018 “unless you work for the right part of Palantir inc, at which point your income could double between now and 2021”, the shares were at $9.69 and ended last night at $23.18, basically I saw that coming a mile away. And that is not all, there are several avenues where their value should at the very least double within the next 19 months. It is the flaws we set ourselves up for and when the stupid people (loud mouthed politicians) realise that their loud mouths will require data, Palantir is close to the only option they have.

That article has a few more connections to what is to come, the most important part if 5G and there is a lot going on (at https://www.gadgetguy.com.au/australian-5g-speeds-truth-revealed/) in Australia. Gadget Guy gave us last week one take (not the highest quality source), but they do give us  “There are two issues for Australian 5G speeds. The primary is that despite Telstra insistence that it covers 50% of Australians and 75% of the population by the end of June, it does not! nPerf (based on real 5G user’s) shows minimal reception. The second is real download and upload speed. While the average is 240.9/15.5Mbps Mbps, it is well short of Telstra’s hype – so fanciful we won’t embarrass it by mentioning it’s up to 20Gbps claim debacle when first introduced”, oh hold on, did I not give you “The problem is that even as some say that Telstra is beginning to roll out 5G now, we am afraid that those people are about to be less happy soon thereafter. You see, Telstra did this before with 4G, which was basically 3.5G” with a reference to ABC in 2011 on how Telstra was BS’ing the population on the 28th of September 2011. So thats two elements where we see that their ‘photographers’ ignored obstacles, blamed the lens makers for focal points, the sun for shining to brightly and they all went running for their tissues. They audience got distracted (as I personally see it) by all the baubles that they were offering. It worked in 1700, so why not in 2021? Yet CMO gives us 2 days ago (at https://www.cmo.com.au/article/688024/tourism-australia-7-eleven-telstra-balancing-data-driven-engagement-consumer-consent/) “Panel of digital executives share the role of first-party data and personalisation in their customer experience approaches against consumer consent and control of their privacy”, a setting where we might see that a panel of 5 are slicing the new currency (data) cake in a way that THEY are happy with, all whilst we are told “the key is to balance data sophistication as a business with consumer controls and transparency. He also noted the varying levels of control and regulation around using data across geographies such as Europe versus the US, which the tourism bureau is operating in”, yet the answer which was not really an answer is about ‘balance data sophistication’, all whilst ‘consumer controls’ (for the consumer) will be as nonexistent as possible. We might not get that when we see “invest in first-party identifiers as well as a unified ID for the tourism industry that can be leveraged”, yes but to what extend it is leveraged is never stated, merely implied, the additional ‘unified ID’ would have a much larger impact, but that too is never stated, they all want as large a slice of that data pie and Cambridge Analytica has made them very very cautious. 

These two elements are merely that, elements. Yet the underlying data there will require analyses and whilst some will claim that they can, Palantir is close to the only source that actually can analyse the whole lot and that is what I saw coming a mile away. 

A linked small digression
You see it takes a massively large level of stupid (and greed) to cater to this, but I believe that the EU (Margrethe Vestager) is trying and optionally succeeding in pulling this off. She is all about “European Commission anti-trust regulator Margrethe Vestager tweeted that “consumers are losing out”. It relates to charges brought two years ago by music streaming app Spotify which claimed that Apple was stifling innovation in that industry”, you might think that, but I do not. You see the article (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-56941173) gives us “It relates to charges brought two years ago by music streaming app Spotify which claimed that Apple was stifling innovation in that industry”, no it had set a premise to all (which it does not), all 23,000,000 Apple developers. It set a premise where they could develop whatever they want whilst having zero deployment cost and they would be charged as they gained incomes, so not the $75,000 upfront to get started, but after the fact and with no time limit. As such wannabe innovators flourished. It never stifled innovation, it limited greed. So whilst we see the painting of bad bad evil Apple, no one is looking at the fact that Spotify is paying artists HALF of what Apple and Google pays them, it amounts to $0.0032 per stream, so to make 1 cent, the song needs to be requested 3 times. This is why I still buy music, at least the artists I care about will get a much better slice. 

And when we see the image where they are now CHARGING for algorithms, all whilst they made a brute gross profit of $575,000,000 in Q4 2020, I think that the EU commissioner is massively loopy. You see, this is about consolidating greed plain and simple and in the process it will endanger consumers (the ones she claimed to protect). 

The image is merely one element of greed, it goes further. That part is not directly seen, but the BBC does give the goods with ‘The ransomware surge ruining lives’ (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-56933733), there we see “Ransomware gangs are now routinely targeting schools and hospitals. Hackers use malicious software to scramble and steal an organisation’s computer data”, in this the larger stage is not merely the theft, it is how they use larger systems to spread across all the internet and with 5G that danger becomes 5,000%. You see people like Spotify, Epic Games et all want to be outside the Google and Apple store, but they will limit protection (they will call it something else) and when the consumer ends up paying for that, we will get to see all kinds of apologies, but it was not entirely THEIR fault. As such I say, when you get hit (and you will) make sure that as you sue Spotify for damages, you add Daniel Ek and Margrethe Vestager to the culprits of your damages. Organised crime is getting better and better in walking away and as such their greed must be addressed in courts and their approach towards a ‘too big to fail’ setting must be answered, the data will be out there and s such players like Palantir will make even more money, it will be all about the data from 2022 onwards, in this the OCCRP their 2021 serious organised crime threat assessment where we see “The threat from cyber-dependent crimes is set to further increase in volume and sophistication over the coming years”, and in this stage Margrethe Vestager is willing to open the floodgates towards greed driven idiots setting the stage for organised crime getting more? You think that will ever be a great idea? I think not. 

And it does not stop there. The fact that the exchange hack was hard to detect for a long time, some hacks were out in the field for years and now we see greed driven idiots scale away the two decent bastions of protection that consumers have (Apple and Google) and let others skate around them? How long until we see some corrupted Amazon like app via a phishing spree be offered to millions. By the time some will have a clue billions will have been shifted and who pays for that? Insurers?  I very much doubt that. As such these two will be required to sit in the dock explaining their catering to greed. You see if Margrethe Vestager was really about the consumers, she would also be about protecting the artists and where is it acceptable that they get one third of a cent for a song? Is there more? Yes, but I will admit that this is part speculation. The BBC article gives us “The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, also a member of the Ransomware Task Force says it handled more than three times as many ransomware incidents in 2020 than in the previous year”, you see paying a bitcoin is only one part, the data can still be shared with others and as data become currency the damage setting goes up by a lot. The dangerous part is that commissioner Vestager knows that the law and policing are not up to the task and she is catering to someone with dubious greed needs? One that underpays artists by what I consider to be as close as criminal levels of renumeration? And in my mind, some excuse ‘If we get this they get more’ does not float, in that setting their business model was wrong from day one, in addition, the entire algorithm setting shows a larger exploitation to kindle greed and leave an artist with less. So how accomodating to EU consumers do you think Margrethe Vestager actually is, that in opposition to catering to greed driven players? Apple and Google might not be god, not great but they agreed on a format to keep their consumers safe all whilst giving an option for starting developers to score big, the fact that these players were not as good as they hoped they would be and as they relied on advertisement to push the players is a mere side effect, but without these store protection, the mess will be close to unimaginable and players like Palantir will have the data  and the greed driven players (as well as some not too bright politicians) get to defend themselves in the dock against lawyers with massive class actions. When that happens, be sure that you have  stocked up on popcorn, because it will be worth watching. It will be reality TV with lots of fake tears and CEO’s claiming that they did not know certain things and watch their fortunes dwindle. It will be a much better class of reality TV for some time to watch.

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The politics of 5G technology

I was watching the news and all the announcements of the new iPhone series and it dawned on me that even as they are not just the most expensive phone, they are close to 400% the price of the top Huawei P20. So why is this now a massive price jump? It is not merely that it is a 512 GB Phone, or that is has 4GB RAM, or that it is IP68 dust and water resistance (maximum depth of 2 metres for up to 30 minutes). I think that Apple is changing the game. It is realising something different, It is also why I designed the ‘dumb’ smart devices for 5G.

You see, for better or for worse, I ask you the question: ‘What is this?’ You swill respond with it is a phone (or variant of it), it is a connection to everything, it is your personal assistant. No, it is none of those. It is important that you realise that this is now becoming your personal data server. When 5G enters your life it will be the foundation of you. You must realise it now, or lose your personal value very very fast; even as we are shown the political ‘BS’ on Telstra regarding Huawei, US telecom companies and other players. This is the vault all the players want. This is the setting of the next generation. Apple is cashing in on mere then just the price of a product. They are setting a stage that Huawei is already walking (slower in some regards, faster in others). This is the future and the Apple version of that future arrives within the next 7 days.

Google is on that path too. Its mint flavoured (or is that coloured?) is arriving in 4 weeks, they too are on the path of the future. That path is you and your personal data server. You better get used to that very quickly, you better realise that you, you yourself enabled all this. So even as we will not know the specifics of the new Pixel 3 XL, we all know that this too will be the personal data server, just like the Huawei P20 series, the Apple Xs series, the Samsung Galaxy and the Google Pixel 3. No longer merely phones, no longer merely the Spotify point. You see, the steps we have had with 4G are closing down, and the marketing changes. It is no longer ‘Fastest Mobile Broadband Network‘, it is no longer ‘Live More Internet‘ (which might be Ogilvy’s worst slogan), and it was never ‘Rethink Possible‘. It will be ‘Whatever you need, anywhere you need it‘. That is the foundation of 5G, anywhere you need it is going to be your cornerstone. It is in that part, when you have transplanted yourself in that new dimension you will get exposed to the change and the need to protect your personal data server wherever you are, because your personal data server (the next mobile phone) will become to some extent: “Your Identity”. Now you will need to consider getting it properly protected, because your data value is you and you need to realise that your mobile phone will have more processing and collection power than any server that was out 10 years ago, facilitating for you and 49 other employees. This personal data server will work for you, on your behalf and to your needs. This was why I came up with the protection layer of ‘dumb’ smart devices. No matter whether you go for IOS or Android, you will be your own cornerstone to social life, to entertainment, to business ventures and to your financial pathway. Consider what you are doing now on your phone. Your banking needs, your radio, your TV, your games, your appointments, your insurances and your investment and retirement portfolio. You do it all from your mobile phone and soon with block chain added to the data stream we are now moving towards a point of non-repudiation. In non-repudiation it means that you and only you could have done this. It is the one step above authentication; it is your future of accountability. At that point you cannot go to the judge stating you lost everything, because your phone got stolen. The easy path is getting removed; that is the future of whatever you want, anywhere you need it. Because only you could have wanted it and the new phones are about setting the stage enabling you and protecting you and foremost keeping your data safe, as long as you realise what you are doing.

So that got me thinking of the old Re-Flex hit: ‘The Politics of Dancing

We got the message, I heard it on the airwaves
the politicians are now DJ’s
the broadcast was spreading, Station to station
like an infection, across the nation

We see and hear it all as these settings evolve; politicians are becoming evangelists for places like Telstra, Vodafone and T-Mobile (to coin an example). The speed and radius of influence increased with every technology jump, three times in the last 10 years alone. Forever growing, ignoring borders and natural obstacles.

When we look at the refrain we see:

The politics of dancing, the politics of ooh feeling good
the politics of moving, aha, If this message’s understood

The setting of movement, dance and self-gratification, the fastest way to move the population in the direction they needed you to go in. You better realise this now and not too late.

You see, In Australia Telstra is the best example to look at. In 2016 they themselves set the stage with: “The Connected Government Program is Telstra’s premier thought leadership program for the public sector“. You did not think this was some philanthropic society, did you? This was the initial culling of those good for the in-crowd and those who are not. And I will also include “Dramatic economic, political, cultural and technology changes are creating opportunities and risks for growth, inclusion and sustainability that are making new demands on government and the public sector which require the ability to lead for innovation in conditions of volatile change, ambiguity and fragile trust“. This is all about growing the status quo for Telstra against whatever threatens it (Huawei is a nice example). Whatever they consider to be ‘innovative‘, I personally view it to be, ‘innovative at whatever speed Telstra can manage in an optimised setting of ROI and profit from whatever was deployed before‘. That is not the same is it?

So here we see the setting of 5G, you all want it and your personal data server will be the first choice that either enables of limits you. This is why Apple has upped the ante by a lot and until the answer of Google is ready, I am unwilling to make any choice other than Huawei, especially as it is at merely 25% the price of the new iPhone. 5G is optionally 2 years away for consumers at the facilitated speed of the new apps and protections; we see that this system needs to be at full force when the City Gates of Neom opens, because that will be the first fully fledged setting of a 5G environment giving you whatever you need anywhere you need it. Interactive information posts, shops that inform you 24:7, giving you the data you needed and showing you the products and offer sales and interactivity even when the shop keeper is asleep. All setting the stage for the explosive data growth you will be faced with and your personal data server is your link to all that. In this Google has the advantage as they solved three elemental parts in that essential need, added to that the marketing agents who specialised and focused on actual engagement. That is where you see the benefit of the next generation of data and visibility at the speed it needed to be at. This is not marketing through the eyes of their clients, this is marketing through the eyes of the respondents and how they envisioned it to be. A flexible setting set to the owner of the owner of the personal data server, not the approach towards that server as players like Telstra thought it needed to be, based on their metrics and their perception. Two distinct different ways and many marketeers and self-professed evangelists never understood that part, or learned it too late.

So yes, Re-flex was partially correct when they stated: ‘The politicians are now DJ’s‘, yet they did not forgot it, it was merely in a time when that option did not yet exist. Now there is no lack of choice and the owner of that personal data server can switch channels in the blink of an eye, an engagement opportunity lost as the focus of the evangelist (read: marketeer) was set to the wrong party. The owner who gets whatever they want, whenever they want it also gains the power to decide on what they want, any time they need or desire something, so making sure that there is engagement also gives the strength of retaining that person for a much longer time and in this game in 5G time is close to absolutely everything. It is the one where we start to realise that time is the essential unit of measure. It was there in the old days. CPU time set the stage of costing; it was there in the old phones, where the duration of a call was the unit of costing. Down the road it was trivialised in most places and set to zero, but it was never zero. Now we get to the next stage, yet now it is in the hands of the consumer, because the time of engagement is the sales funnel, so engagement becomes the stage for success. It is close to the end of mass marketing. It will be the stage of smart marketing. In that setting phishing becomes the new skeleton key and there is the first clear need to protect your personal data server and to protect the data it holds. A setting of consideration in 3G and 4G becomes a setting that is essential for anyone that wants to remain in the game in the next generation with a setting of continued value.

#40800SecondsTillMondayMorning

 

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Prognosticated WaterhouseCoopers

I forgot what fun it is to go up against PwC, I missed slapping them around and the article ‘Netflix and Amazon ‘will overtake UK cinema box office spending by 2020’‘ was a mighty fine reason. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/jun/14/netflix-amazon-uk-cinema-box-office-film-dvd-blu-ray-pwc) gives us a few things. The title is fine, I have no issue with that and there is every reason to believe that this is true. I always prefer and love to watch the big screen, but I know that I am a majority here. It is the subtitle that got me. With “Film industry will remain ‘pretty healthy’ but DVD and Blu-ray sales will go into ‘terminal collapse’, says PwC” they gave me a reason to have a go at them. As I search deeper and deeper, we are confronted with a wave of titles that have been released on Blu-Ray and DVD, yet there is no Netflix date, they do not seem to have any titles released to disc from 2017. So that is the first group. I reckon the Marvel fans would race to the shop to pick up Logan as soon as Wolverinely possible. The second thing I found is that a decent list of TV series is absent. This is a lot harder to predict, yet Grimm, Lucifer, Sleepy Hollow, Battlestar Galactica and a list of others do not even show on Netflix. This makes the need of Blu-ray consistently there. There is no doubt that those with really good bandwidth will prefer Netflix, so there will be an impact, yet the size of that impact is not a given for now. You see, as Net neutrality becomes more and more endangered, we will see shifts. We saw President Trump put Jessica Rosenworcel in the FCC seat and she apparently champions net neutrality, yet there is a rustling in some bushes, especially the adult entertainment bush. What people ignore, or like me do not care about is that certain ‘settings’ is seen in International Business Times (at http://www.ibtimes.com/july-12-net-neutrality-day-action-will-slow-down-your-pornhub-videos-2552375). It is a place like ‘Pornhub’ that brings the news. The quote “Pai’s proposal would remove the FCC’s authority to enforce net neutrality and other consumer protections while simultaneously allowing companies including Verizon, Comcast and AT&T to create “slow lanes” that force consumers to pay more for certain sites or as a competitive move among corporate telecom rivals“, is one thing, the second quote from a related article gives us “The Washington Examiner reported Trump deliberately withdrew her nomination when he took office. That move temporarily gave Republicans a majority in the FCC. Since then, the FCC has voted to revoke net neutrality regulations. If Trump’s renewed nomination leads to her confirmation, as is expected, then this idealist could return to take on the telecom industry head on.“, these quotes give only an indication of what will happen next, it is seen a little better when we consider the Law Times (at http://www.lawtimesnews.com/201706126217/focus-on/focus-u-s-and-canada-diverge-on-net-neutrality), which is 3 days old. Here we see: “With the possibility of broadband rate regulation looming on the horizon, companies investing in next-generation networks hesitated to build or expand networks, unsure of whether the government would let them compete in the free market,” he wrote, advocating for a return to a “light-touch” approach to Internet regulation“. This is now the indication, as the FCC rolled back a few things, they leave it with the providers and a ‘free market’ to offer ISP packages, which of course comes at different prices. So, as net neutrality comes back, it comes with the option that is linked to a Service Level Agreement and they tend to come with $$$ labels attached. In addition we see “The CRTC’s decision and policy position on “differential pricing” arose out of Videotron’s 2015 launch of Unlimited Music, a premium service that allowed customers to stream as much music as they liked on services such as Spotify without having the data use count against their monthly allowance“, so as we get premium ISP options, how do you think that this will impact the Netflix use? Are you sure that this billion user service will not come with nails attached? You see, the issue is no longer mere net neutrality in speed; it is now ‘the elimination of data caps for home and mobile Internet use for Canadians?‘ This implies not just Canada; it is merely a stepping stone for America as they use Canada as a show case, what will happen when the gamers are added? This is a simple math part. Assassins Creed Unity sold over 2 million copies (exact number unknown), now in December 2014, the owners had to download a patch that was 34GB in size. So consider 2 million downloads of that patch, how congested will the internet get? As the number was global, there is no way to tell how the patch impacted on areas, yet as caps are removed, we will see more and more shabby developers getting new patches out ‘as soon as possible’ making us download patches more and more. So as there are globally well over 105 million Consoles (next Generation only), the millions of Gaming PC’s, now consider the amount of patches and the impact on the internetworking’s, as well as the Internet of Things, because bandwidth hits all options. Now consider 3 massive games released per month, game download and patches and now consider how Netflix is impacted, because it will. I am putting those two groups together because they get their ‘net mobility’ from the very same fuel tank. Now add Spotify and a few other players in this domain. There was never any question that there was a need for net neutrality, yet in all this it goes via an ISP and that player is greedy, so if the cap cannot be pushed in place, or when it is removed, why do you think will happen next? There will be an impact on speed.

This is set in an easy equation (not an accurate one, but it shows certain factors). Fuel = data_amount * speed * users, so if data_amount is infinite, how will that impact speed? The same we see when the user base become massively larger, speed is again impacted. yet there is another consideration, to keep speed high, the number of user and data_amount needs to remain in a state of balance and set at a nominal place, when we realise that this is not an option from day one, speed will always be impacted and that is where the ISP’s are now, creating in a conjoint setting the Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) and the option to price it all. The FCC can claim it is out of their hands and as the FCC is about avoiding ‘anything that negatively affects competition and innovation in the sector‘, the FCC rules are altered and whatever comes back might seem nice, but will come with the ability to let the ISP call the shots. As such Netflix, unless it sets ironclad contracts with ISP’s, these users will see a shift of options and usage, at a price that is.

How does this make sense?

You see, even as the numbers are global based, the US has a lot more congestion than the UK at present, yet the current growth as seen, which is before the upcoming 5G data need, the ISP’s have been milking their system and these providers have not been addressing the ‘fuel tank’ they had. Now, this issue is in the UK and Western Europe is nowhere near the mess that the US is in, but as the UK rural growth is now growing at an accelerated rate, the congestion is still becoming a factor, Cisco tells us: “Services like YouTube, iPlayer, Netflix, NOW TV and Amazon Prime Video continue to be a huge draw, which has in turn helped to fuel demand for superfast broadband connections”, in addition, we get “Cisco forecasts that the average Internet user is expected to generate 140GB (Gigabytes) of Internet traffic per month in 2021”, which is average and I expect that to be a conservative low estimate. Now consider that a Netflix movie can take up to 7.5GB, now consider 3 million people in London alone will watch a Saturday movie, and now consider that in the UK another 15 million will do the same, do the numbers start adding up? Even if these 18 million do not start it on the same time, there will be a sizeable overlap, there is enough indication that congestion will be an issue, which either ups the price of the internet, or there will be an increased agitation for Netflix. This is why there is enough questions on ‘terminal decline’, there is in addition consideration that when 5G hits, the curve will steepen by a lot. It is too soon to predict a near exponential growth for data need, but it is not unrealistic, especially when we consider the push from 3G to 4G and data usage curve when most moved to 4G.

Now I go back to these gamers, even as the Statistics state the gamers group to be a steady penetration of around 42%, their data need has grown more than exponential. The Next generation consoles, as well as the growth of being online whilst gaming has grown. So this is not just about downloads and patches, merely the online presence which fuels uploads, Even as some statistics state that they are on average 5 hours per week online, there is enough data to question that. Polygon gave us the title ‘PS4 owners spend about 50,000 years a week gaming’, again a global number, but that already gets us an average of 7 hours a week, which is 40% higher and these are 2016-2017 numbers. As it all comes from the same ‘fuel tank’, I hope that we can clearly see that it impacts the ability to service Netflix. I believe that congestion will be its worst enemy and as we see a shift in costing, the prediction is unlikely to become reality (yet, I am willing to accept that I could be wrong)

So back to the Guardian article! The quote “PwC predicts a “terminal decline” for DVD and Blu-ray sales from £1.22bn in 2016 to just £533m by 2021. The report predicts that internet video will overtake DVD sales this year, but some analysts claim this has already happened“, I believe that the market will adjust in a different way. I believe that the initial shift will be in price. The price of $40 for a new movie cannot be maintained with monthly services and as the margin is large, we much consider that shift. It has been stated a few times that “high-definition mastering costs for Blu-ray will run close to US$40,000 per title with a pressing cost of US$2.00 per Blu-ray disc”, so at 100,000 discs sold, the making comes to about $2.50, so selling at $20 would still leave a large margin, There is a given that mastering goes down in price, yet at this pace, the impact becomes negligible. So when we consider that owning a movie we like at $20 is still a good idea, even if we have Netflix, my view is that there is an impact, yet not to the degree PwC claims.

Could PwC be right?

Yes, that is indeed the case, especially if the economy does not pick up. If the economy stays in the bad shape it currently is in now, Netflix might be the only option for some people, yet the options will still depends on whatever internet options that household has. In that, we see the impact on both sales down as the economy faltered whilst buying movies is equally a non-option.

There is one element that has been ignored by me and it is time to address that now. The mention ‘some analyst’s claim this has already happened‘ is one that needs a look at. It comes from the January article ‘Film and TV ​streaming and downloads overtake DVD sales for first time‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/jan/05/film-and-tv-streaming-and-downloads-overtake-dvd-sales-for-first-time-netflix-amazon-uk). one element is ‘Netflix has rapidly grown to 6 million UK subscribers since launching in 2012‘, which is fine and the issue that physical retail is in decline cannot be countered either. The fact that the UK cost of living has been through the roof; so as we see the price of a Blu-ray being equal to 2 months of Netflix, people adjusted their budget. Yet in all this, the internet bandwidth remained an issue. As long as it could be pushed through Wi-Fi and more importantly the Free Wi-Fi places, people were fine, yet just like some of the more advanced filters, when those places start actively blocking Netflix, the user game changes too. You see, Spotify demands cellular data and does not stream via Wi-Fi. So remember the earlier formula? Spotify has 50 million users. Now consider that the other elements were speed and data amount. As these services grow congestion will be a logical consequence, meaning that the ISP’s have reasons to push through the SLA solution, solving all their issues and none of yours.

Netflix is here to stay, nobody opposes that, there will be an impact on DVD/Blu-ray sales and nobody opposes that either. It is the part of ‘terminal collapse‘ that I oppose and I am certain that at some point it will happen, yet not in the time period PwC says it will be. I could be wrong of course, but I don’t think so.

If they were wrong, then nothing is lost, for that PwC analyst there could be a golden future in show business for them as a the new member in Orange is the new Black Season 7 named ‘Wall Street Bitches‘ (speculated conjecture).

In the end?

In the end, the Guardian article does have one larger benefit; it is bringing congestion issues to the surface, as such the article had a good side, In the UK most people know it as ‘Internet Rush Hour’, yet what happens when the infrastructure will no longer provide for that side? The BBC gave us in 2011 “UK broadband speeds drop by an average of 35% from their off-peak highs when most people are online in the evening, according to a report”, yet the growth that we have seen then was at the beginning of 4G, even as the ISP’s upgraded their equipment, the user base In the last year alone, went up by 1.5% for the entire population. In addition, over the last 5 years, the amount of inactive internet users decreased by 13.3%, which is a lot, also consider that the UK Netflix user base is expected to double between 2015 and 2020; these numbers show a dangerous part. The largest one is that the numbers seem to have been incorrectly speculated. I get there as the growth of subscriptions grew by 1.8 million during 2015-2016, which was almost a third of the 100% expected growth. You might think that the Guardian article is therefore a lot more accurate, I still disagree, merely for the fact that congestion is a larger risk, which now gets us back to the Net Neutrality issue. Because as this grows, ISP’s will have additional ammunition to start thinking and pushing for Service Level Agreements on consumer markets, it is what the FCC sees as ‘anything that negatively affects competition and innovation in the sector‘, yet what the ISP sees as commercial opportunity. Here I truly hope to be wrong, yet some sources (read: ISPreview) are already revealing prices to rise close to 10%, in addition, the prices will rise even more next year due to the 2017 Digital Economy Act. This is where we get back to the ‘Pornhub’ part. You see, I give not a toss about them, but they illustrated a part that other sites are now getting into. When we look at Endgadget, we get: “There’s one slight issue with age gates in that we’re still no clearer on how they are to be implemented. Proving age using credit card details, the electoral roll and pay-monthly mobile phone contracts have all been suggested, but the government has admitted that forcing you to expose your identity might be a step too far. And so, it’ll likely be some time before this new law can be enforced as the government and newly appointed regulator decide on the best and least intrusive way for porn sites to verify age.” You see, it is not about the fact that it is about adult content, it is about the option to classify, so consider that via politicians (never a good start) to settle on what defines the boundary and needs more than mere access. It is the first time that there would be commercial option to slice services, not cutting them, but restraining the maximum bandwidth. When we see the quote ‘the new data-sharing regime effectively being lawful already’, we might think ‘government’ but that is the least of our concern, it is “Any business that handles large volumes of personal data is required to employ a data-protection officer under the new rules, and any breach must be disclosed within 72 hours”, you might think that this covers it, but what about back-ups, what about social media with multiple ownership over a larger amount of nations? It is the commercial value that is being played with and the EU does not have a great track record when it comes to commercial versus private interest. So as these elements come into play, there are now already three upcoming levels that would cater to ‘Service Level Agreement’, which is defined to charges a person has. It gives one more level that Net Neutrality is already a thing of the past. This is seen in “Reed Hastings seemed to walk away from fighting for net neutrality but his company has done a big 180”, so in the two days that I worked on this, Netflix did a massive corporate ‘about face’, the direct implication of ISP’s and the limit of bandwidth is showing now, almost a year before it actually hits us. News Network (at http://www.news.com.au/technology/online/after-ceo-downplayed-the-importance-of-net-neutrality-netflix-changes-tact-and-rejoins-the-fight/news-story/654c63348e3dbd4f7d697fe322eeb350) also gives us “major Telco company AT & T is in bed with media conglomerate Time Warner. Because of this high level of “vertical integration” there’s a lot more scepticism in the US that companies will be compelled to engage in anti competitive and “non mutual” practices”, which I already knew. Yet the clarity as given in my earlier setting in ‘anything that negatively affects competition and innovation in the sector‘, is now showing its fruition and that is before the dozens of new 5G services come to our mobiles and TV settings. As this collides, and it will! People will happily return to a worry free Blu-ray ad DVD, if the makers adjust pricing and remove the 5 iteration contribution application, the discs will be here to stay for at least a decade or (hopefully) two more.

 

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The Spotify Data Trap

Today’s event did not come from me, or from any papers. This is a little issue my friend had and it is costing her dearly! As many others, she is embracing the social mobile environment. Tweeting like a budgie, Facebooking all over the place and of course, the music. Yes, as per recently, the people on route can listen to the sweet sweet music that is brought to them by Spotify.

To phrase the words from Spotify quite literally “Spotify is now free on mobile and tablet. Listen to the right music, wherever you are.
With Spotify, you have access to a world of music. You can listen to artists and albums, or create your own playlist of your favourite songs. Want to discover new music? Choose a ready-made playlist that suits your mood or get personalized recommendations
” (source: Google Play). Yes, it sounds so sweet, and perhaps it is, you know the sound many will dread as 83.5446% of a train carriage all start listening to Bieber sounds at the same time.

Yes! Lord Lucifer could not have created a hell any better, even if he had intensely tried!

But you know the terms ‘is now free‘, which often sounds like ‘road to hell‘ and in this case, it is a little more direct than my friend destined it to be. In just one week she blew 7.7 GB out of her 10 GB data allowance. Now, me being the sceptical type, had a quick look at perhaps a setting or something else, yet, Google Play, Spotify.com, none made mention of the mobile data usage of the app. Which is weird because an app switching from 3G/4G to Wireless is not that big a leap, some of the cheapest games offer this with online play, so why not offer the wireless option, even if that is just for the premium users, is that such a big leap? I am even more miffed on how there is no mention in Google play or on Spotify dot com that the mobile app uses mobile data. It seems that this oversight is an unacceptable act.

So, I searched for a second and yes, the forums are all over it. Most information is incomplete, so the impact is not a given. Yet, others are willing to go overboard on information. The best information comes from the famous yellow dummies books, in this case at http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-force-the-spotify-mobile-app-offline.html

Here we see in the first two paragraphs: “Going into Offline mode with your mobile device is particularly handy if you’re on the go and won’t be around a Wi-Fi connection. Whenever you’re using a 3G mobile connection, you usually need to keep an eye on your data usage because costs can mount“, which we know and my friend is finding that out the hard way.

The second part is the kicker “Being offline means that no data is being consumed, but you can still listen to the songs you synced previously“, so basically whatever you sync can be listened to, the rest costs bandwidth. So in my view, for mobiles, Spotify should be regarded as the joke of the year.

That view is reinforced through: “I have only listened to music in playlists already downloaded for offline use, but Spotify itself has been online. In Settings ‘Download over 2G/3G’ is set to OFF – although as stated I have not been listening to anything requiring a download and have also not sync’d any new playlists, except while on Wi-Fi last night when I sync’d one new album.

In the two days, 19th and 20th, Android shows Spotify as having used nearly 100MB of network traffic.

The source is https://community.spotify.com/t5/Help-Android/Spotify-Android-app-using-a-LOT-of-data-on-3G/td-p/46797

The last part is from a topic typed in 2012, so it seems to me that this issue has been around for some time, making the fact of Spotify not adding the text “This app uses mobile bandwidth when listening/downloading music” on the Google Play page, should be seen as a little more worrying. In addition, I remember mobile data costs in 2012 to be a lot more expensive than it is now.

The Spotify website does mention one thing for android “Free users can skip 6 tracks every hour. Upgrade for unlimited skipsARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?

So skipping is mentionable, the fact that Mobile Data is used does not get any mention is a big negative.

I myself would have caught the issue on that same day as I check my usage daily, yet not everyone does this and as such many people will learn, (likely they have already learned) that nothing is for free, in some cases it will be an expensive lesson as some providers make you pay through the nose for extra bandwidth. I myself am happy that I still rely on my iPod and after 10 years it still does what it did since day one, play music and let me enjoy the moment whilst the battery will not hinder the drained option to tweet all over the place, what a luxury!

 

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Dumping costs

I saw the news two days ago, but I left it on the side as I was looking at other issues (like Euro leaders enabling Greece and so on). Yet, the article ‘Taylor Swift criticises ‘shocking, disappointing’ Apple Music‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jun/21/taylor-swift-criticises-shocking-disappointing-apple-music) is a lot more important than you think. I was unaware for two reasons. One, I do not use streaming services. I go to the shop and buy those silver coloured circular contraptions. I think that they are called CD’s. For all the ‘security’ claimed to be, I do not trust online providers. If someone ever wipes their records, whatever I owned will be gone. There are other reasons, but they do not matter at this moment. What is the real price now is the light that Taylor Swift throws on big business.

You see the quote “Swift has joined independent labels in attacking Apple’s plans not to pay royalties during the three-month free trial of its new Apple Music streaming service” is pretty important. The richest corporation in the world decided to attempt a new business model. So this corporation, the wealthiest one in the world basically will not pay royalties to new and starving artists (the 99.9999943% who are not Taylor Swift or successful).

How come, it takes one artist to open her mouth whilst the media and so many others remain quiet? One artist speaks up and suddenly we become aware. Can anyone explain to me how it is possible that Rolling Stone Magazine (at http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/apple-introduces-apple-music-streaming-service-24-7-radio-20150608) did not lead with this fact when the article was published on June 8th 2015?

It is also very interesting how Taylor Swift opened the door for everyone to suddenly give voice, where none were saying anything at all (in this I am referring to the larger news outlets, not the smaller and small digital reviewers who seem to have been asking questions as early as the first week of June, perhaps even longer.

The sheer audacity that a third party seems to have to pay for the cost of a trial business model is plenty of reasons to ask Apple some questions, especially as they are already using tax havens to a planetary maximum. In all this we also see the Wall Street Journal where they (at http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2015/06/15/apple-to-pay-common-royalty-rates-for-music-service/) that initially the quote “Apple is offering a three-month free trial from June 30. During that period, Apple won’t pay music owners anything for songs that are streamed” (on June 15th), whilst the people at the Wall Street Journal seem to be devoid of opinion in that article. Consider that this is the Wall Street Journal, and the used business model, a clear model of exploitation is not raising any clear questions on an editorial level is even more astounding.

I am on the fence for two reasons, as I will concede that I might have missed it until it came to the Guardian or BBC, the fact that pages of newspapers in online searches are only now catching on is equally disturbing to me. Why did this issue remain below the radar for so long? I have mentioned before that too many newspapers seem to ‘appease’ (read cater to) their advertising base (read large corporations), this event only seems to enforce the unacceptable trend.

The WWDC2015 did not seem to have any information at all (June 8th). I understand that Apple might have steered clear from mentioning it, yet that others had not considered these events is equally questionable. The last part is visible in the Guardian article at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/may/08/apple-streaming-music-regulators-beats-music-spotify. This was on May 8th, where we see that several questions are being asked, yet not the royalties part, moreover, when we consider those involved, we must take a look at the quote ““Apple has been using its considerable power in the music industry to stop the music labels from renewing Spotify’s license to stream music through its free tier,” claimed its report, which also alleged that Apple had offered to pay major label Universal Music a fee “if the label stopped allowing its songs on YouTube”“, whilst the royalties part was overlooked. Now, it is very valid that royalties issue is initially overlooked, yet consider that Dr Dre (Beats Music) is gunning for Spotify, was he also unaware, if so, keeping many in the dark from that date onwards, does that not point towards another set of questions? Even though the competition Commission was taking a look (at http://nypost.com/2015/04/01/competition-commission-probing-music-streaming-services/), where we see “a probe of Apple and other premium music-streaming services to see if they are working with music labels to unfairly squash no-fee streaming services” yet the fact that Apple in addition would not pay royalties for the first three months is an additional worry, was it not?

So in light of all this, The Wall Street Journal article does not ask questions regarding that business mode and Rolling Stone Magazine, seen as the one place for performers and music lovers refrained from illuminating that issue, so why are questions not asked, more important, why are the bulk of reporters only now shouting their articles regarding all of this? At least as a non-journalist (that be me), who focusses on non-musical issues has a decent excuse, what about all the others? All this illuminates a silent acceptance of events, just like the people seem to respond to FIFA. In that light it seems that the legal field who should be all about justice and social legality should have been a lot more protective against these large corporations a lot sooner, where were they?

 

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When the offer is free

Try this for free! This is the commercial teaser we all see when we are offered a dozen of options. There is LinkedIn Premium, Spotify, Salesforce and the list goes on for a very long time. It is a way to get interested in a service or product. I myself tried ‘Today Calendar’ for free, than I upgraded, trials are to some extent a great solution. Try before you buy is a way to get into it. There are games that let you download their Demo, DLC’s that work for a week or two, then you decide, buy or fly!

It is an old marketing option that costs little and bring great reward for those employing the situation. There is however the detail. This we see in the article ‘Why are Amazon Prime customers angry?’ (at http://www.channel4.com/news/amazon-prime-charges-anger-customers-online). Several sources had the story, but Channel 4 read the clearest. The sub-line gives us the goods “Amazon defends a free trial of extra benefits, which ends in an automatic upgrade to paid membership costing £79 a year“. Amazon additionally responded with “Amazon says everyone who signs up to Prime gets an email telling them the duration of the free trial, how to avoid continuing to paid membership and how to cancel membership“. This seems clear enough. So when the guardian gave us ‘Giles Coren declares war on Amazon Prime over free trial‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/feb/16/giles-coren-declares-war-amazon-prime-free-trial-subscription), the impression was left with me that someone did not read their e-mail properly, now that person is crying wolf.

There is however another side to this debate. Should silent transfer be allowed, or should there be a mandatory change to an opt-in transfer? So, should the trial be auto cancelled after 30 days and in addition should we see a second confirmation after 30 days that the continuation is no longer free? This option is the one we usually see in software, when a trial is over, we see that the software no longer functions unless you start paying. On the other side we could consider that some consumers are too stupid to be allowed to have a credit card. The man considers himself an adult. He signed up for a trial, if we accept the response from Amazon that confirmation e-mails have been send, with the explanation on how to cancel it, he himself got into this scuffle by ignoring the message. The Guardian also shows another side that people seem to ignore. The two items involved is a tweet by Giles Coren “I mean, @amazon, offer a free trial in 2012, then quietly start charging £79 and never tell me. That’s what sicko porn sites do! I’ve heard“, so he has been charged for membership in 2012, 2013, 2014 and perhaps even 2015 and only now he ‘wakes up’? Now, this can happen, it has happened to many people, including me, yet 79 pounds is not a costs you easily oversee. To some it amounts to the 6 months fee from your internet provider, which should be taken into account. The second piece of information from Amazon is “Customers who sign up to a free trial of Prime receive an email informing them of the duration of the free trial and how to avoid continuing to pay Prime membership. Customers who become full Prime members can cancel their membership at any time and we will refund the full membership if the customer has not made any eligible purchases or used any Prime benefits“, which gives us the second part. So from that it would seem that Giles Coren must have used some of the services and now he is miffed on having paid for it. That conclusion I get from him not getting a refund, which means he had used the Amazon Prime services.

The article is not just an Amazon or an e-Commerce article. It is also an article that shows the unjustified demand of continued free services after the free trial ends. The two sides pulling on this are Amazon as well as pragmatic realism, as one Tweeter replied to Giles with “Shocking indictment of Oxford and private education as former student doesn’t understand the words ‘free trial’“, which pretty much sums up the ignorance people are showing when they accept free trial whilst not looking at the conditions. The one part I will also illuminate is the complaint we saw from a man called Richard Brown: “Regardless of the legality of the transaction and the stance that Amazon will take that it involves selection and a follow up email each year, the structure of this service is clearly designed to benefit from the customer’s lack of attention“. That too can be seen in two ways. I do agree with Richard on that Amazon should send a follow up e-mail on the subscription every year. These places can send you marketing mails until your hard drive has zero space left, but then shows a lack of ‘tenacity’ to inform their ‘customers’ via e-mail on the payment made, which I see should be a mandatory act in the first place (perhaps that happened, but no one mentioned it in any of the articles I saw).

It is the second statement from Richard Brown that bothers me “this service is clearly designed to benefit from the customer’s lack of attention”, not whether that is the case or not, but in regards to the consideration. This reminds me of the initial marketing when we saw the presentation from Microsoft on the launch of Windows 95. The slogan was ‘without even thinking‘, it was brilliant to some extent. Windows 95 was the first step towards people and true intuitive use of computers. Now, many (pretty much most users) are using their devices intuitive, but there is the added part we see that is at the core, marketing is all about getting a foothold, now we see part that implies (emphasize implies), is that consumers are either getting dim (not that unheard an idea), or that we are faced with two new elements, the first is ‘intuitive buying‘ and ‘intuitive marketing‘, the second one is the holy grail of achieving revenue. When used correctly it is seen as ‘Achieving influence without persuasion‘, there is an interesting article (at http://intuitiveconsumer.com/blog/intuitive-marketing-achieving-influence-without-persuasion/ ). It talks about the six mechanisms of influence used by intuitive marketing. They are ‘Trust: Intuitive marketing builds trust and relies on trust‘, ‘Consistency: Intuitive marketing is consistent and therefore communicates reliability‘, ‘Fluency: Intuitive marketing is easy on the mind‘, ‘Emotional reward: At the opposite end of the spectrum from high aspiration is the realm of small emotional rewards‘ and there are the final two ‘Aspiration‘ and ‘Aligned intent‘. As you see (especially after you read the linked article), the Amazon Prime situation seems to address 4 of the 6 elements of intuitive marketing, so when we see the Amazon Prime issue, is there deception? I personally say no! Amazon offered an agreement, one that gives you a cool down period of 30 days. The definition can be seen as “offer, acceptance, and consideration (payment or performance), based on specific terms“, this is what is at the heart of it all. The emotional response of Giles Coren with the reference to ‘that’s what sicko porn sites do!‘ which in my view holds no value, yet ‘the structure of this service is clearly designed to benefit from the customer’s lack of attention‘, the mention by Richard Brown is much better and decently more apt, but is it valid? ‘Lack of attention’ sounds nice for sure, but does that make the consumer less responsible? Especially when Amazon offers, “Customers who become full Prime members can cancel their membership at any time and we will refund the full membership if the customer has not made any eligible purchases or used any Prime benefits“, which is a decent counter offer, which was part of their offer as I see it. So first, the person gets a 30 day cool down and if the person has not used the service at all, they could get a refund. It seems to me that Amazon offers a decent service, so why do these events cause such a strong reaction?

The part I have not touched upon is ‘intuitive buying’. One vendor had this little slogan with their product ‘intuitive buying just like in an internet shop’. Now we get back to the initial Windows 95 slogan, this gives us in the end ‘buying without even thinking’. So we have a complete picture, but what neither article skates on is when will we see the accountability of the consumer. The person who was given a credit card, an adult who was supposed to be of sound state of mind. The person buying, was notified and then did not react. Intuitive buying does not make a person unaccountable, is that what the articles are steering to? No matter how many complaints we see, the clear indication is given that Amazon gave up front and it allows for correction in hindsight.

Hidden under this is the issue, not on the side of Amazon, but on our side, we consumers need to consider the clear truth that nothing is free! Should any internet offer be treated the same way trial software is? That remains valid, but if so, is that because consumers are no longer to be considered ‘adult’ or accountable, or is it because of another path of reasoning?

 

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