A trade group that represents Facebook, Google and Amazon sent a letter to President-elect Donald Trump on Monday that included a roadmap of key policy priorities covering topics like immigration and net neutrality, as well as copyright and patent reform.
The Internet Association, whose members also include Netflix and Uber and other tech companies, congratulated Trump on his victory and said the industry “looks forward to engaging in an open and productive dialogue” about key issues.
Source: Tech Giants Send Trump a Roadmap on Copyright, Encryption, Net Neutrality | Billboard
Apple Music may be preparing for a major price drop, according to a pair of sources working closely with the streaming service. If implemented, the drop could be as much as 20%, which would put the final monthly price below $8. The change, if implemented, would allow Apple to minimize any damage from a seriously undercutting Amazon Music.
The sources are not inside Apple, but have been working closely with the Apple Music service since its launch. They also emphasized that the changes are still under discussion, albeit ‘under serious discussion’. Still, there are valuation debates underway, and the price chop may not be implemented.
Source: Apple Music Price Drop ‘Under Serious Consideration,’ Sources Say
Amazon.com Inc. said it plans to start a new music streaming service that—like at least half a dozen competitors—offers on-demand, unlimited access to tens of millions of songs for a monthly fee.
Distinguishing Amazon Music Unlimited, which was to launch Wednesday: Customers using the retail giant’s voice-activated Echo speakers will pay just $3.99 a month—less than half the $9.99 charged by most rivals—and will be able to stream music in a markedly different way.
Source: Amazon’s Music-Streaming Service Competes on Price and Robotic Assistance – WSJ
Amazon.com Inc. is in talks with European Union regulators to settle an antitrust probe into how its e-book contracts with publishers may be squeezing out rival distributors, according to people familiar with the case.
Amazon, already the target of an EU investigation into its tax arrangements with Luxembourg, is trying to do a deal with the European Commission that would shut down the year-long e-books probe, said the people, who asked not to be named because the talks are confidential and at an early stage. Any deal would have to be tested with publishers before it became final, they said.
Source: Amazon Said to Weigh EU Settlement in Bid to End E-Books Probe – Bloomberg
Technological change has democratized the production of content, long-tail markets allow everything to be distributed, and digital piracy creates a world where it is nearly impossible to control consumers’ access to movies, shows, music, and books. What is scarce today—and what major firms need to compete for—is customer attention, and a detailed understanding of customer preferences.
So if you’re a traditional publishing firm, what can you do? Economic studies have provided an answer: start selling books in bundles. These studies have shown that selling content in large-scale bundles is much more efficient than selling the same content separately, and that by setting the right price for the bundle, firms can make more money. Bundling also creates significant economies of scale, which in the extreme can lead to a single “winner-takes-all” outcome for the company with the largest bundle.
Source: For Publishers Looking to Make Inroads into Big Data, Bundling is Key
Because streaming music advances their other ambitions, Apple Music, Amazon, Alphabet’s Google and YouTube units, don’t need their services to be hugely profitable, though none of them are selling subscriptions at prices that suggest a willingness to lose money. That gives the tech companies a major advantage over smaller companies like Pandora Media Inc., Spotify AB and French counterpart Deezer, whose main businesses are music streaming.
“I think that any company that has some other motive [for offering streaming] is going to win,” said Paul Young, a music-business professor at the USC Thornton School of Music. That is at least partly because the music-only companies are burdened by heavy costs. The paid services typically spend 70% of their revenue on licensing music and much of the rest on acquiring customers.
Source: Tech Giants Boast an Edge in Music Streaming – WSJ
Audible has been making audiobooks more visible to potential customers. It is providing audio clips for Amazon.com as well as Amazon’s book-recommendation site, Goodreads. Amazon also is more prominently featuring Audible’s Whispersync for Voice option, which allows e-book readers to toggle back and forth between an e-book and a discounted audiobook version. (Using this technology, someone could, for example, read a few chapters on the train home and then switch on the audiobook while cooking dinner.)
Whispersync sales were up nearly 60% in 2015 compared with the previous year—a reflection of both its increased visibility and an uptick in available titles to around 100,000, according to Audible.
Source: The Fastest-Growing Format in Publishing: Audiobooks – WSJ