Tag Archives: Spotify

Apple vs Spotify. App Store antitrust violations

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Recently, the EU Commission preliminary stated that Apple with its App Store commission on mandatory in-app purchase system (IAP) and anti-steering provisions, which prevent users from being informed about alternatives, distorts the competition. Now Apple has 12 weeks for official response.

What is IAP?

IAp or in-app purchase system is the element of an App Store application with which user/customer is able to make an in-app transaction to buy a subscription or any stuff inside an app. For that kind of utility, Apple charges about 30% of the initial price.

Why is that important?

You may say that Apple has created their marketplace platform on their iOS. This marketplace is again on their Iphones or IPads. Hereby they are the ones who can charge apps such a price and, as Fortnite case showed us, you will be absolutely right. At the same time there is one but. Apple owns Apple Music. With that argument, Spotify claims that they have unfair price advantage as they can charge customer 30% less and earn the same amount of profits or they can pay more to the musicians. This actually happens as Apple pays $0.0076 per stream while Spotify pays in the range of $0.0026-0.0049.

What is anti-steering provisions?

Basically, anti-steering provisions is the tool that limits the ability of app developers to inform users about alternative purchasing possibilities outside apps.

The influence of the feature

We know that Apple cuts 30% from in-app transactions. The logical behavior of the developer is to offer a purchase outside the app, which is allowed by App Store rules. Nonetheless, it is really a burden to inform a user about such possibility as there are restrictions on that notion.

Back to the Case

In response to Commission’s allegation Apple stated that at this timeframe Spotify leads the market of music streaming and 99% of their users have no connection to IAP. Moreover, they have said that Apple charges only 15% of Spotify subscription. They have also added that Spotify wants all the benefits of Apple’s marketplace and does not want to pay a penny for that which is unfair competition.

Below you can see how Spotify’s founder, Daniel Ek reacted to Antitrust case

Aftertaste

Apple has been struggling with antitrust cases for a while now. All of the proceedings by now have been won by Apple. However, if only once in a blue moon they are punished it will lead to even more allegations towards Apple monopoly. In that case, Apple will lose tons of reputation and money earned on commission.

Sources:

https://www.businessofapps.com/data/apple-music-statistics/

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Mischievous AI judges your taste in music

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Do you want to know how terrible your taste in music is to end an already terrible year? Look no further than the “How Bad Is Your Spotify” project on Pudding.cool, that will ridicule your taste in music, in a good way of course.

If you’re a Spotify user you probably got your Spotify Wrapped earlier this month which nicely summed up your music taste for this year. The Pudding’s new AI tool is nothing like that. Besides analyzing your listening history, it interacts with the user in a playful manner.

The app uses artificial intelligence which was trained by by Matt Daniels and Mike Lacher for The Pudding.

Once users visit the website they are asked to grant access to their Spotify to let the “sophisticated A.I” judge their “bad taste in music”.

The bot explains that it has “been trained on a corpus of over two million indicators of objectively good music, including Pitchfork reviews, record store recommendations, and subreddits you’ve never heard of,” when you click on “how do you know what’s good?”

The quiz takes users through a series of amusing questions making you feel like you’re chatting with a passive-aggressive snarky friend. It said things such as: “lol… omg… okay hold up… Do you really listen to [artist name]…?”

After the A.I is done mocking your musical taste with its questions, it analyses your answers and tells you how “bad” your Spotify is.

The AI bot gives a rundown of tracks the users listen to “too much,” artists they listen to “to an uncomfortable extent,” rates how “basic” your musical taste is and highlights the decade you’re “stuck” in.

Mike Lacher, one of the brains behind the witty bot says,”We wanted to make something similar to Spotify Wrapped, but instead of celebrating your music, it would insult it. For us personally, we knew that the stuff we stream privately is often embarrassing, so we thought it would be funny to make a bot that would look through all that stuff and judge you. We wanted it to feel like a judgemental friend, or a snobby record store clerk.”

Many, after using the app, went on social media to share their results. One twitter user commented “the accuracy of the how bad is your Spotify thing is terrifying.” Another user said “I tried the “how bad is your Spotify playlist” AI and I am too embarrassed to share the results…”

It’s all fun and games but it’s important to realize that artificial intelligence and the music industry are incredibly linked together.  The fact that they can store an incredible amount of information for comparison and analyze human taste on a platform like Spotify can open a new era for the music industry.

Go check out “How bad is your Spotify?” on pudding.cool !

References:

https://pudding.cool/2020/12/judge-my-spotify/

https://www.musictech.net/news/how-bad-is-your-spotify/

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Spotify’s Tastebuds tool will enhance your social music discovery

Reading Time: 3 minutesThe new function aimed at Spotify will allow us to slightly broaden our musical tastes. All thanks to our friends from the platform.

New Spotify’s feature logo
Source: https://techcrunch.com/2019/12/18/spotify-tastebuds/

 

How music sharing options look like now?

Thinking about what Spotify can offer today, we can mention social media integration. It is a popular feature that enables users to connect their Spotify accounts to their Facebook and Twitter profiles. That lets them access their friends’ favorite music and playlists and share their choices with others as well. Individuals can create, share, and edit playlists with other listeners. If users want recommendations, they can integrate their system with Last.fm, an application that provides music recommendations based on listening history. However, this is an external application that does not belong to Spotify. You can also view a Friend Activity ticker of songs your Facebook friends are currently listening to on the desktop app. You can search for specific users and follow them or view playlists they’ve made public too. Spotify doesn’t promote user search much anyway.

 

Why Spotify need a change?

Sharing playlists on Spotify is not a problem, but when it comes to speeding up the entire algorithm, things get complicated quickly. If we listen to music in a random way, it is known that Spotify will not start sending us recommendations based on it. If that were the case, playlists created using algorithms would not suit certain user’s tastes. Social sharing has never been the main priority for Spotify. The Activity Feed, which shows what your friends are currently listening to, is limited to the desktop version of Spotify. The in-app messenger for sharing music was nixed in favor of letting users share songs on social media or on their Instagram Stories. Apparently, that was a mistake as far as we know that Tastebuds is coming.

Tastebuds feature on Spotify
Source: https://techcrunch.com/2019/12/18/spotify-tastebuds/

 

But what will Tastebuds really give us?

As the information on the site is telling: Tastebuds will let your friends discover music that you trust. This description appears in the tab that has not yet been launched, but the developers have already sewn it in the application – in the left column, next to the Home Page, Browse and Radio. The prototype feature was discovered in the web version of Spotify by reverse engineering sorceress Jane Manchun Wong. She gave some more details on how it works. By tapping on the pen icon, users can view information about what their friends have been playing most. Then, they can easily listen along or add songs to their own library.

Tastebuds feature discovered in the web version of Spotify thanks to reverse engineering
Source: https://techcrunch.com/2019/12/18/spotify-tastebuds/

Spotify Tastebuds code
Source: https://techcrunch.com/2019/12/18/spotify-tastebuds/

 

It remains to wait for deployment

When will the new feature come into effect? There is no official information about it. A Spotify spokesperson confirms that they are always testing new products and experiences, but have no further news to share with the audience. For now, anyone can access a non-functioning landing page for the feature at https://open.spotify.com/tastebuds. Tastebuds could be a rebranded version of the Friends Weekly playlist that was discovered in May 2019. Whatever it may be, the test could be a sign of more social listening features to come.

Social is a huge but under-tapped opportunity for Spotify. Social recommendations could get users listening to Spotify for longer. While competitors like Apple Music or YouTube might offer similar music catalogs, users won’t stray from Spotify if they become addicted to social discovery through Tastebuds.

Do you think Tastebuds is just what Spotify needs? Maybe something else would make the application more user-friendly? Share your opinion.

 

References:

[1] https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/spotify#section-overview

[2] https://rms.pl/aktualnosci/sprzet/3239-spotify-tastebuds

[3] https://www.spidersweb.pl/2019/12/spotify-tasetbuds-czego-sluchaja-znajomi.html

[4] https://www.theverge.com/2019/12/18/21028474/spotify-tastebuds-playlist-friends-music-discovery-social-sharing-feature

[5] https://techcrunch.com/2019/12/18/spotify-tastebuds/

[6] https://www.engadget.com/2019/12/19/spotify-social-music-discovery-tastebuds/

[7] https://www.theverge.com/2018/5/9/17337182/spotify-testing-new-friends-weekly-playlist

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Facebook sells its users’ data!

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The fact that web portals manage the data of their users without their awareness is known not from today, but the way in which Facebook does, it’s just beyond comprehension.

The New York Times is showing the truth.

In connection with recent reports from The New York Times, we read that Facebook sold access to various types of “sensitive data” about its users to such companies as: Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, Netflix, Spotify. Netflix and Spotify had even access to private correspondence. In most cases, the data obtained by the companies were to help in the selection and positioning of advertisements for users of the said portals. It does not change the fact that through the sale of these data Facebook broke an agreement from 2011 with the American Federal Trade Commission, which clearly states that Facebook can share user data only if it is given accurate and explicit consent.

Companies answer the allegations!

All companies mentioned in the report of The New York Times issued a special statement. One of them is the statement of the Netflix press office regarding access to private correspondence of Facebook users. We read in it about:

“Over the years, we’ve tested various solutions to help Netflix understand the wider community, one of which was a feature introduced in 2014 that allowed site users to recommend their favourite series and movies to their Facebook friends via Messenger or a Netflix account. It has not been that popular as we assumed, which is why we decided to remove it in 2015. At no time did we have access to private messages of Facebook users, or we asked for the possibility of receiving them. “ – Netflix press office says.

The New York Times was really well prepared for this investigation.

It doesn’t change the fact, that The New York Times interviewed more than 60 people, including former employees of Facebook and its partners, former government officials and privacy advocates. Thanks to that we can be sure that Facebook did something illegal and now tries to bury the truth.

“The Times also reviewed more than 270 pages of Facebook’s internal documents and performed technical tests and analysis to monitor what information was being passed between Facebook and partner devices and websites.” – as The New York Times said.

What is my view about this situation?

In my opinion, companies that have access to sensitive data of their users should make every effort to ensure that this data does not leak. In this way, eg. Apple, which extremely highly appreciates the safety of data users of their products and whenever they commit some “mistakes at work”, they plead the guilty and try to repair the whole situation (eg. icloud leaks affair).

Facebook approaches similar situations in a different way, which tries to whitewash the truth and pass the buck on others. The Cambridge Analytica scandal is a perfect example of frauds and deceptions, thanks to which we learned how Facebook can influence election results in one of the most powerful countries in the world, such as the USA is. That sort of stuff is not conducive to peace but exacerbates the conflict on the Facebook and Users relations.

Counter-argument to this whole situation is the fact that the majority of Facebook users do not care about privacy policy. They accept all consents without prior reading. They do not follow the basic security rules on the Internet. They share their private lives via Twitter, Instagram, YouTube etc. For this reason, it can be assumed that such users agree to full surveillance, which is not said to be bad. If we have nothing to hide, why should we be disturbed by the fact that someone can earn from it. I believe that if there is already such a situation, it would be great if the company / person who earns money on their users, would inform them about everything and admit theirs guilt when they fails.

Sources:

https://cnn.it/2LJ9ZYd
https://cnn.it/2EUlpGY

Photos:

https://bit.ly/2SuobXh
https://bit.ly/2EZFLiM
https://bit.ly/2CH3Zfx

author: Michał Żelazo

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Spotify plans to launch hardware device

Reading Time: 2 minutesA few days ago, Spotify announced that it will announce some news on April 24th. So far, there has not been much information on this subject but it is speculated that it will be a hardware device for handling music in the car.

Spotify certainly has problems generating profit. The company’s revenues grow from year to year, but more and more money is given to artists. From the beginning, the company did not make any profit, but it recently announced a several billion profit in 2021. Spotify understood that they do not earn money on streaming music, which is why the company decided to release the device, which will be available for an additional fee.

Spotify’s in-car music device

According to The Verge, several existing customers of Spotify got an offer to purchase the device together with the above-mentioned device. The price ranged from $ 12.99 to $ 14.99 per month in subscription model. Customers were informed that the device would have built-in data transmission and could operate independently of the smartphone. There is also information that voice control will be available and the device will have support for Alexa’s assistant from Amazon. As part of the subscription, the user would receive a small, round device with buttons to control the device and the LED screen in the center.

It’s difficult to say whether this is a good decision and whether this device is actually needed. More and more cars are equipped with a radio with a Bluetooth module and the connection of a smartphone to the car radio takes a few seconds. For now, however, this is pure speculation, but the first pictures of the device have already appeared, which could indicate that the work on the device is already far advanced.

 

Sources:

https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2018/4/6/17207452/spotify-car-music-player-hardware-leak

https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidphelan/2018/04/07/hey-spotify-streaming-giant-rumored-to-launch-4g-smart-music-player-for-the-car/#1af95f342fe7

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Spotify’s bizarre IPO

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The stock exchange debut of Spotify – the largest music streaming service will be coming soon. However, this is not a normal Initial Public Offering (IPO), in which the founders or major shareholders decide to sell some part of the shares and let the company go public. Instead, Spotify will let the minority shareholders or investors who currently hold company shares sell their stake, the ones who could not get rid of them earlier. Generally speaking, this will not be a classic IPO, because Spotify as a company will not sell its shares, but minor investors will.

This will be the next big stock exchange debut of the tech giant after Snapchat company that went public in 2017. What is the reason for this debut? At least a few. Until now Spotify was a private company, which did not have to provide financial data, and thus the value of the company was unknown. After the debut, the market will verify the company’s financial data and evaluate it, so that existing shareholders get to know the true value of the company and will be able to withdraw from this investment (with profit or loss).

CEO – Daniel Ek during Spotify’s investor day in NYC

Various analysts have prepared different company valuations. The biggest ones are talking about $ 40 billion, which is very strange considering that Spotify generates huge financial losses every year and the founders themselves admit that it will be possible to generate profit only after achieving the effect of scale. Today, Spotify has around 70 million paid subscribers all over the world and it is not enough for the company to generate profit. Daniel Ek co-founder and CEO, calms down “Spotify has never been a normal kind of company … our focus is on the initial splash. Instead, we will be working on trying to build, plan, and imagine for the long term “.

On the other hand, existing investors believe in the company and do not plan to withdraw from the investment. Mitchell Green, the founder of Lead Edge Capital, one of the first investors of Spotify says that “Bulls on Wall Street think Spotify to generate $ 2 billion in operating profit in a few years.” Spotify founders Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon hold a total of 40% of the company’s shares and over 80% of votes at the general meeting of the company, which means that they are still in full power over the company.

 

Sources:

http://money.cnn.com/2018/04/02/investing/spotify-investor-ipo-lead-edge-capital/index.html

What to expect when Spotify goes public Tuesday

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Apple Music and Spotify has a competitor – YouTube Music

Reading Time: < 1 minuteThe popular video hosting has decided to withdraw one of its functions in a single application. YouTube Music is designed for streaming clips, holds licenses for more than 30 million songs (like the Apple Music or Spotify) and is able to search for music by artist, album or title. Currently the application is only available in the United States.

YouTube Music is available for free, but there is also a paid subscription, which gives advantages. October 28 in the United States there was a pay version of YouTube with the prefix in the name Red. It costs $ 9.99, and for users of iOS – $ 12,99. The presence of a paid subscription YouTube Red allows you to store music in a new offline YouTube Music, disables ads and provides an opportunity to listen to the tracks in minimized mode.

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