Tag Archives: Google Play

JayZ! What’s Up With Tidal?

Tidal, JayZ’s music streaming service, is still going through some changes. Some say its going out of business. Others say it’s on solid ground and growing. It’s all about who you believe. But any way you look at it, things are happening.

The most recent announcement from Tidal is that it is launching apps for Apple and Android streaming television. Subscribers to Tidal will now be able to stream not only  Tidal’s entire library of music but also video content like concerts, livestreams, and music videos directly on their TVs. 

The new apps are just the latest moves by Tidal.  Tidal recently added support for Apple’s CarPlay along with integration with Sonos speakers. The move is seen as a way for Tidal to reach listeners on AppleTV which doesn’t have a Spotify app.

The Tidal TV app is currently available on iTunes and Google Play.

But there is more to this story. Can Tidal even survive? Music streaming is a brutal business. JayZ knew this when he got in the game. His edge was to pay artists more for their work than other music streaming services and include them as part owners. Good idea. But is it working?

News reports are surfacing that Tidal is facing both money and subscriber growth issues. According to Norway’s Dagens Næringsliv (DN) Tidal is losing money to the tune of  $44 million dollars before taxes in 2016. The report also said that Tidal is down to just six months of operating capital. Most recently Tidal picked up a nice chunk of change from Sprint who purchased a 33 percent stake for $200 million.  The deal included a reported $75 million fund for exclusive content. Was that enough to keep Tidal afloat? According to JayZ’s business partner Juan Perez the money gave Tidal “sufficient working capital for the next 12-18 months.” 

A spokesperson for Tidal told Endgadget, “We have experienced negative stories about Tidal since its inception and we have done nothing but grow the business each year.” The company claims it will achieve profitability in middle of this year.

But Jay-Z’s report of Tidal’s subscribers is in dispute. In September 2015, Jay-Z tweeted that Tidal had over 1 million subscribers. But DN reported internal records of payments to record labels showed that number to be closer to 350,000. Six months later JayZ claimed it had reached the 3 million subscribers. Some say the number was actually 850,000. Internally Tidal claims about 1.2 million subscribers but has kept quiet about the numbers every since. 

But whatever the numbers are they lag way behind the really big boys of music streaming like  Spotify which, as of July of last year, claimed more than 60 million subscribers and Apple Music with 30 million subscribers.

One final note, JayZ’s boy, Kanye West, might want to pay attention since he considering a move into music streaming. There are lessons to be learned here.

Breaking It Down.

Tidal is in trouble. JayZ has the right idea to pay artists more and offering them ownership in Tidal. But JayZ has to do two things. First he needs to get real and come clean about the subscriber situation and the money situation. Get that out there. Then he needs to take a step back and focus on building audience. He has the content and he and his wife can reach millions of people. Focus on bringing the upcoming generation to his Tidal service. Bring new artist up. I know he has the connections with the top artists in the industry. But can he find the next big star? The new names. JayZ needs to take hip-hop and pop music forward a step or two. Forget competing with Apple or Spotify. Forget whats happening now. Work on what going to happen next. Someone found JayZ on a street corner in New York. He needs to go back to that same corner and see who took his place. Focus on a smaller segment of the market. Become a more exclusive service for the new generations. Bring in new names and subscribers will come running. Tidal is small. Stay that way until you get big.

 

Cryptocurrency – What’s It All About?

What is cryptocurrency? Or you may call it Bitcoin. Where does it come from? How does it work? Is it real money? In case you haven’t heard we are in the midst of a monetary revolution. Many people are raving about Bitcoin. Some say it’s the money of the future. Others are saying it’s a scam or worse. So what’s it all about?

First of all lets clear up the definition. Bitcoin is cryptocurrency but not all cryptocurrency is Bitcoin. As a matter of fact there are as many as 1,000 different brands of cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin is just the most valuable.

What is Cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a digital form of currency that is different from real money. Money or currency is produced by banks and nations who create the money’s value based economic strength. This money is managed through a central banking system of that nation.

How is cryptocurrency different?

Transactions of traditional money are controlled, taxed and tracked by banks and nations.  Cryptocurrency transactions are made with no banks or governmental interference.  Some economist and investors like to say that transactions are frictionless. Cryptocurrency users are anonymous . So essentially cryptocurrency is stateless money with no banks and the users are completely unknown. That is until they change Bitcoin into real cash. 

Where did cryptocurrency come from?

Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor, created Bitcoin in 2009. He has never been seen. No one even knows who or where he is. He may not even be a single person but a group of programmers. No one really knows. So cryptocurrency’s origin is a mystery. However, some believe that the National Security Agency has identified him. As usual the NSA has declined comment.

How is it created?

Cryptocurrency is created or “mined” using computers to solve incredibly complex math problems. Performing this work eats up a lot of electricity. So much electricity that you could never make a profit with the average computer. Cryptocurrency “miners,” as they are called, have begun building their own computers or hijacking other people’s computers to create Bitcoins. This has become known as Cryptojacking.

Mining a Bitcoin is not easy or cheap. Bitcoin’s value is about $6,000. How many Bitcoins would you have to produce to deal with a monthly $6,000 electricity bill and still make a profit? 

After a computer solves a series of problems it becomes known as a block. The blocks is then verified by other users and, once confirmed, are added to what is called the blockchain. The blockchain grows rapidly with a new block being added about every 10 minutes. A blockchain is a record of the Bitcoins created. It also records Bitcoin transactions that can never be changed. The blockchain never ends and is not hosted in single location making it immune to hackers.

How do you store or spend Bitcoins?

Bitcoin transactions move between users like email. Each transaction is digitally signed using cryptography and goes to the entire Bitcoin network for verification. These transactions are open to the public and can be found on the blockchain. All Bitcoin transaction leads back to the point where the Bitcoins were first mined.

Bitcoins are kept in a bitcoin wallet or the digital equivalent of a bank account. You can download the Bitcoin wallet from the Google Play store or iTunes. Your wallet allows you to send, receive and store Bitcoins. 

To complete a Bitcoin transaction you need two things; a public encryption key and a private encryption key.

Public keys or Bitcoin addresses, are random sequences of letters and numbers that work the same as an email address or username. Public keys are safe to share. You must give your Bitcoin address to receive Bitcoin. The private key must keep secret. This private key allows you to spend the Bitcoin.

Is Bitcoin real money?

Well, that is where Bitcoin may run into problems. First of all Bitcoin must meet the current standard of what money is. There are four basic standards for money.

ScarcityThere can be a only a limited amount available to secure its value. There can only be 21 million Bitcoins in the world. Right now there are about 9 million Bitcoins. Once it reaches 21 million no more Bitcoins can be mined.

Durability It must stand up to constant handling with no maintenance or special treatment. Bitcoin is completely digital and is never actually touched but human hands. However, Bitcoin is vulnerable. User error can cause the loss or destruction of Bitcoins. Users have lost or forgotten their private key making access to the currency impossible. Recently a a single user error caused the destruction of over $300 million worth of Bitcoin. So durability is an issue as well as security.

FungibilityIs every Bitcoin worth the same.  Let me make this simple for you. According to CoinMarketCap.com there are 1,037 different cryptocurrencies available. So not every one is worth the $6,000 I spoke about earlier. 

PortabilityCryptocurrency can be carried anywhere you carry your smartphone just like cash. So it is portable.

Breaking It Down.

Cryptocurrency is growing in acceptance but is not yet considered a viable currency. Its value is unstable and it is considered  an unacceptable risk by most financial experts and the coin of the future by others. In addition, governments are now examining the cryptocurrency phenomenon. Its anonymity makes it useful for crimes such as drug dealing, terrorism, money laundering and tax dodging. So the future right now depends on the view world governments take. A single law or crime could bring the whole thing to a halt or change the very definition of cryptocurrency.

 

Celebrity Cyber Report – Barry Jenkins, Prince

Barry Jenkins

Barry Jenkins, director of the Academy Award winning film “Moonlight” has signed a deal with Amazon. Jenkins will write and direct a dramatic series based on the best selling book “The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead. The streaming television series will follow the life of a young escaped slave named Cora.

Jenkins was a relative unknown until he directed “Moonlight.” His work includes the film “Medicine for Melancholy.” He directed one episode of the Netflix series “Dead White People“, and one episode of Futurestates on PBS

If you follow the Oscars you will remember that “Moonlight” was at the center of an onstage debacle at the Oscars.  The award for Best Picture was mistakenly given to the film “La La Land“. The mistake was quickly corrected and the statuette was handed over on stage. Moonlight also won for Best Adapted Screenplay, and Mahershala Ali won Best Supporting Actor.

Jenkins’ Pastel Productions will executive produce the series in cooperation  with Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment. Pitt and Plan B also produced “Moonlight.”

Jenkins praised the partnership with Amazon saying the streaming service’s “reference for storytelling and freeness of form” as being “wholly in line with our vision.”

Prince

Prince is reborn online. His Royal Purpleness had a rocky relationship with the Internet and his music was rarely found online. But since his tragic death Prince’s music has returned to online streaming.

Prince’s music hasn’t been on Spotify  or any music streaming service for years. Prince fans can still buy it on iTunes,  but its availability on Apple Music is very limited. 

Prince was always very protective of his work and felt the Internet cheated artists of their true value. He removed his music a from the major streaming services, with the exception of  JayZ’s Tidal. But with his death things are changing. The Purple One is back.

Prince’s albums and compilation albums from Warner Bros., 27 of them, have returned to to streaming sites. Albums now available include some his most popular including “For You”, “Prince”, “Dirty Mind”, “Controversy”, “1999″, “Purple Rain”, and others.

Prince, the man is no longer with us. But Prince the artist lives on and continues to produce music. CEO of Warner Bros. Records, Cameron Strang  said in a statement that the company is “deeply aware of our responsibility to safeguard and nurture his incredible legacy.” Warner Bros. is planning to release a re-mastered edition of Purple Rain. In addition the company is also working on two albums of Prince’s unreleased music,  and two live concert films scheduled for relaese early this summer.  Prince has an agreement with Warner Bros. to license his pre-1996 music releases. 

Prince’s music catalog, including unheard rare releases, landed on the streaming services after the Grammy’s. You can hear his mighty Purple legacy on streaming music services, including Apple Music, Amazon Unlimited, Deezer, Google Play, Pandora and Spotify.

Online Holiday Shopping 2016 – Fake Apps & Online Stores

id-10079637

Courtesy Stuart Miles

Holiday shopping for the best deal is a chore. Like most smart shoppers you use whatever tools you can find to get that great deal. But avoiding holiday scams is a real job and you have to be alert. Fake shopping apps and online stores are making your job a lot more difficult.

The holidays offer cyber criminal a great opportunity to fool customers into downloading malware . Once this malware is on board your computer, laptop or smartphone it can easily steal your personal and banking information. Criminals can and do create perfect replicas of popular brands and websites that draw unsuspecting customers to their site or mobile app.

A recent FBI press release warns consumers about fake app scams. These scams are often disguised as games. But don’t be fooled by fake apps that mimic well-known brands like Nordstrom’s and Nordstrom’s Rack, Dollar Tree, Dillard’s  and other popular stores and websites. Smartphone users can be fooled into downloading the app and then connecting it to their Facebook account or email. Like most things connected to Facebook the victim willingly  gives away personal information. These apps can also infect your phone or tablet with malware.

Just because you downloaded an app from the Apple App store or Google Play do not assume that you are safe. Recently Apple found and removed hundreds of fake shopping apps from its app store.

Chris Mason, co-founder of Branding Brand warns consumers to look for red flags before downloading shopping apps.  Warning sign of a fake app include typos and run-on sentences in app descriptions. Mason says to look beyond a brand’s logo when you download an app from Google Play or the Apple Store. Don’t download the first one you see. Check customer reviews for poor or one-star reviews or numerous user complaints about excessive advertising. All these could be a red flag that the app is fake.

There are also FBI warnings about fake deals from unfamiliar sites. The holidays are prime season for fake pop-up websites. And these sites are not so easy to spot. Cyber criminals are extremely clever at making these stores look legit. According to Inc.com these fake sites price most products competitively, but you can also find ridiculous deals designed to entice shoppers. Regular priced items mixed with the unbelievable deals make them look like a real store. But remember two things; “If it looks to good to be true it probably is,” and just because a store shows up in Google search doesn’t mean it’s legit.