Streaming Services: The New Gateway Drug to Piracy
You want Kanye’s record first? Better sign up for Tidal. Need zero-day access to Drake’s upcoming album? Pony up for Apple Music. Wanna stream Adele’s latest? Don’t bother. Sometimes new business models are messy and end up provoking unintended consequences for the disrupters as well as the disrupted. All these conflicting exclusives, the features intended to differentiate the new music-streaming services, are muddying online music services and, according to The Verge’s Ashley Carman, may be driving music fans back to piracy. The need to subscribe to multiple services to get everything makes the proposition too expensive and complicated — and there’s never any question whether The Pirate Bay or Demonoid will have the latest by your favorite. It’s worth remembering that Napster rose not primarily because people like to steal but because the legal rights holders couldn’t get their collective act together. Is it happening again?
The Downside of Open
In business, “open” has become one of those attributes that everyone wants. But the world at large can close down in ugly ways, as Quartz’s Kevin J. Delaney writes in this soulful look at what happens when closed becomes the default. Using the rising barriers in Europe as his prime example, Delaney is frank about the risks of open (it’s messy, it can skew competition) but still champions it. We all share the same world. Borders between countries are, to one degree or another, arbitrary.
Siri Needs New Material
The Washington Post reports that the new hot job in Silicon Valley is poet. Writers have been toiling for tech companies as long as there have been manuals and help files, and “poets in the Valley” could turn out to be just the latest iteration of the same long trend. What appears to be different this time, though, is that the tech industry’s new writing needs are less transactional and more creative. Competitive bots need rudimentary but consistent and engaging backstories. They also need to be updated regularly based on external events, which is different from updating documentation to accommodate a new software iteration. And figuring out how a bot answers questions about politics is a lot more fun than explaining how to center the text in a Word document.
Everything You Know About Millennials and Student Debt Is Wrong
Everybody knows that student debt is crushing millennials, turning them into three-pack-a-day ramen eaters who are ruining the economy by waiting longer to buy homes and get married. But everybody might be wrong. Research from a Sallie Mae spinoff (WSJ) suggests that student loan debt, while a problem for college grads, is nowhere near as big a problem as having student loan debt without having earned a diploma. Graduates have more debt than dropouts, but they have much better jobs too.
This Solar Roadway Will Supply Power to Five Million People
The French Ministry of Ecology and Energy has signed a contract with the company Colas to lay down about 1,000 kilometers, or about 620 miles, of solar panels on roads over the next five years. Once finished, Colas’ Wattway panels are expected to generate enough power for five million people, or eight percent of the nation’s population.
Detroit Opens Up
Your NewCo Daily editor is in Detroit today, where our Festival begins tonight. (Note to procrastinators: If you’re reading this early in the day, we may have some tickets left.) If you’re not lucky enough to be here with us, you can see our coverage of Detroit companies and trends. If you’re in the Motor City, here’s where you’ll find me.
Photo: Cash Money
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