Three tech companies that are redefining modern living

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The dawn of technology brought forth innovations that have not only improved people’s way of life but have transformed how the world sees the future. Today, we’re witnessing an era of boundless opportunities, and that is all thanks to the game-changers, the powerful companies, and institutions that broke the limits of not only our imagination but of our perception of reality as well.

Here are some of the most influential and powerful companies that continue to imagine, innovate, and beat the odds.

  1. Facebook

With over two billion active users every month, Facebook is one of the fastest growing tech companies in the world and its influence have contributed to a global avenue where people from every part of the continent can interact with one another with a single click. Nearly a staple in most portfolios—including offshore investments—this social media giant has taken on other business ventures beyond the platform, investing in different innovations like virtual reality and augmented reality technology.

  1. Microsoft

As a resident member of the Fortune 500, Microsoft’s influence in the tech industry remains dominant even after years since it was established. Aside from the company’s massive investments in the cloud computing technology, its mission of making the world a better place by focusing most of their assets of corporate and social responsibility with two primary goals: through the power of technology, protect human rights and save the planet.

  1. Tesla

Tesla is an emerging that has been making headlines because of its visionary and oftentimes ambitious projects. Despite the early failures, this tech giant’s role in making environmentally-friendly technology available to everyone has made it one of the most important front-runners of future tech. The company focuses on different projects committed to social responsibility: solar-panel manufacturing, sustainable energy storage, to name a few.

Factors that influence the cost of producing digital music

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Technology has transformed the way music is produced, with new formats emerging in almost every decade. Gone are the days when buying cassette tapes, CDs, and Vinyl was the only means of measuring the financial strength of recorded music. The advent of digital music production made it easier for artists and record labels—both mainstream and independent—to be more creative with their work without burning a hole in their pockets. The very same technology has also allowed smaller musicians to become adept at recording, mixing, and eventually, distributing their own tracks—effectively democratizing popular music. The likes of iTunes, Youtube, and increasingly, Spotify, completely changed the game in the business.

However, the creation of an album is still a costly endeavor regardless of how advanced technology has become, and this is especially true for those who really want to release high-quality tracks. As such, one of the most important factors to consider when producing an album is the production cost itself. Here are some of the main factors that may dictate how expensive an album will become:

  1. The cost of studio time

A professional studio is where most of the action happens, and is therefore, an essential part of the whole process. Today, music recording is way cheaper and more accessible than ever, all thanks to relatively affordable but highly developed equipment and facilities. However, the time spent in a studio varies widely.

Sometimes, a musician spends more than a year to complete a full-length album which includes the editing, mixing and mastering. In other cases, musicians are charged based on either a “per hour fee” or “flat rate,” for an amount of $40 to $50/hour and an average cost of $5,000 and up to complete their recording session.

  1. Music video production

Globally, there are billions of people streaming on different social media platforms every day, mainly Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram. In fact, most of the most popular celebrities like Justin Bieber, Psy, and Luis Fonsi have gained billions of audience and made millions of revenue out of Youtube alone.

Creating a music video is probably the best promotional method to increase the popularity a certain song. However, music video production can be very time-consuming and often costly—unless very simple methods and visuals are used. The major expenses artists will have to consider are basically production equipment, props, the location/venue, talent, and crew.

  1. Producer fee

Hiring a music producer has a lot of perks but can make a big impact on the budget. They are one of the most important elements within the music business, hence the very high price tag. If you’re an independent recording artist who aim for a successful album, working with a professional music producer is a great advantage for you, as her or she has a larger network to help increase the marketability of your album. Technically, a producer is most likely responsible for selecting a song, talent coaching, and overseeing the entire recording sessions and album production.

 

REPOST: ​Vinyl sales show strong increase as digital music sales continue to drop

Despite the growing shift to streaming services for music listening (which put digital and CD formats in massive decline), vinyl sales are surprisingly keeping physical music relevant. According to Nielsen Music, nearly 10 million vinyl albums have been sold this year, so far. Read more on MixMag:

Nielsen Music, the information and sales tracking system, has released its Q3 report and found that this year’s vinyl sales have already surpassed 2016’s numbers with Q4 still to come, according to Billboard.
After analyzing data from album sales in the United States, Nielson revealed that both physical and digital sales have fallen, with the one exception of vinyl sales. CD sales fell 19.9 per cent and digital sales fell 19.5 percent, but vinyl sales increased by 3.1 per cent, with close to 10 million units sold.

As digital music sales continue to drop, streaming numbers continue to climb at a staggering pace. In the past nine months audio and video streams hit 442.44 billion, an increase of 40.5% from 2016.

In other vinyl related news, Discogs is growing strong as well, having recently passed the 9 million mark for releases logged in it’s online database. Discogs COO Chad Dahlstrom touched on how this reflects the current market:

“What we’re experiencing in the growth of contributors and submissions to the Discogs Database only echoes the thriving passion for music’s physical formats. The Discogs Database mission will never lose focus on preserving physical releases in any format imaginable from every part of the world.”

Judging by these numbers, it’s clear that streaming platforms are leading the music industry, while vinyl is keeping physical music relevant.

Here’s how famous Youtube artists have turned their passion into business

Social Media have provided many important resources for millions of people, especially for artists who wish to hone their craft and at the same time, create better earning opportunities to support their passion. Youtube, for example, has been an essential space for up-and-coming musicians.

On this online space, artists can cover songs, put out their own music, and successfully build a solid following and attract millions of crowd around the world without leaving the comfort of their home studios. Let’s take a look at some of the different ways musicians make money from Youtube:

  1. Drive as much traffic as possible

Before thinking about earning from your videos, it’s important to focus first on the primary piece of the million-dollar puzzle: your audience. How? Increase views and drive more traffic to your page.

For starters, by making some changes in your Youtube channel’s setting menu , new viewers can have instant and easy access to your videos. It also helps A LOT to include tags and fill in the Genre and Location sections to effectively take advantage of Youtube’s current tag trends, allowing old and new viewers to find your page through popular search keywords.

  1. Allow ads on your videos.

Make sure you have properly set up the right video monetization settings in your page. Different ads make different money, and carefully choosing the ones most appropriate to your music genre can make a big difference.

For instance, Skippable Video Ads can be perfect for musicians because these can only play for a few seconds and users can have the option to skip the sponsored message or keep on watching. Putting this decision in the hands of the viewers-slash-fans is important and it can still earn you some decent dollars.

  1. Ensure fan retention through subscriptions.

Ask your fans to subscribe to your channel after the end of every video. The Subscribe button serves this purpose of notifying your viewers/subscribers/fans of new contents and updates on your music. In addition, add descriptions and annotations on your videos for more interactive contents.

  1. Offer merchandises and services.

Having built a sizable fan base, it is perfect opportunity to use your own channel to promote related merchandises and services, such as custom-designed t-shirts, accessories, performance bookings for special events, and even your independently produced albums! Earnings will not come directly from Youtube, but the platform will significantly help you market your products or services.

REPOST: US music sales keep climbing thanks to streaming

While sales from conventional formats, such as CDs and digital downloads, have been steadily decreasing, the music industry as a whole remains financially sound. The rise of streaming services is making this possible. Read more on ENGADGET:

Michael Loccisano via Getty Images

Last year, streaming generated more money in the US for the music business than all other forms of distribution for the first time ever, and that trend is continuing in spades. In the first half of 2017, the industry raked in just under $4 billion, up 17 percent over the same period last year, with 62 percent of that coming from streaming. If the trend continues, the industry should easily surpass the $7.7 billion it earned in 2016, which was already the best year for music since 2009.

These stats are from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), an organization that has had a notoriously combative relationship with internet companies. Despite its objections (and continued demands for more money from YouTube and others), streaming generated $2.5 billion thanks to 30 million paid subscribers in the US.

Physical sales of music, surprisingly, are relatively flat, down just one percent. That’s thanks in part to vinyl sales that went up by three percent, and a drop in old-school CD sales of just three percent, because you still haven’t convinced your Mom to use Deezer yet.

Continue reading HERE.

 

How much did the world’s most ambitious music videos cost?

Music has been a big part of our everyday life and in fact, we can no longer imagine a world without it. However, not everyone knows that before we get to enjoy the latest single from our favorite singer, artists, and producers have to put a lot of work, time, and financial resources into every creation just to complete one masterpiece. Here are the singles that went above and beyond to earn them the title as the world’s most expensive music videos of all time.

1. “Scream” (Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson)

The production cost of this legendary music video by the Jackson siblings reached a nearly $11 million, adjusted for current prices. The straight out of science fiction single is from Michael’s album, HISTORY: Past, Present and Future, Book I – and its elaborate and black and white sci-fi themed set has fascinated fans and audience from around the world. The plot of the video expressed the Jackson siblings’ reaction towards how the media have been portraying them during that time.

2. “Black or White” (Michael Jackson)

The King of Pop’s interesting and controversial 11-minute video also topped the charts for the most expensive music video of all time for its $6.9 million production cost. The single was from Jackson’s album, Dangerous, and it was introduced to the public on all music channels at the same time, in 27 countries with an estimated viewers 500 million.

3. “Express Yourself” (Madonna)

Several of Madonna’s singles have actually made it as top placers for the most expensive music videos in the world (Die Another Day for $7.9 million, Bedtime Story costing’s $7.7 million). The producers of Madonna’s sci-fi inspired single “Express Yourself” have reportedly spent $9.4 million (adjusted for inflation) and it was actually the most expensive music video ever made back in 1989. The music clip showing the singer in a masculine yet sexually charged fashion was directed by David Fincher and the plot was based on the German film, Metropolis.

While music videos have been proven to influence a song’s (or album’s) music sales, their production cost will not necessarily dictate their actual commercial performance. How the music translates to listeners’ taste will eventually decide if it will become a hit or not. Lavish and highly creative videos, however, may add prestige to the artists and production teams behind them.

Record-breaking concert events of the past century

Every century gives birth to legends and the music industry has its own share of epic personalities and legendary artists that have changed the world and have inspired millions of people to dance and celebrate life through the art form (and business) that they know best. In the past century, we were given the gift of extremely talented musicians and their grand performances that have rocked the world one song at a time, attracting not only hundreds of thousands but millions of people to come together in one epic event. Let’s take a look at the biggest concert events of all time and relive their greatness.

 

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Paz Sin Fronteras II in Havana

Held in the Cuban capital of Havana in 2009, Paz Sin Fronteras II, translated as “Peace Without Borders II” was the second of several rounds of concerts organized to promote peace and unity in the entire Latin American region.  It was headlined by Colombian artist, Juanes and it featured several pop music figures from all over Latin America. Currently, it holds the record as the biggest concert event of all time in the region, gathering over 1.5 million concert goers.

 

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Paris La Defense in Paris

The event was held in the French capital in 1990 and it was a celebration of the country’s Bastille Day. Both the French Ministry of Culture and the city’s group of local business leaders organized and funded the concert, commissioning superstar Jean-Michael Jarre, a French electronic genre musician known for his record-breaking million-attendee performances. As expected, around 2.5 million made it to the biggest concert in Paris, holding one of the top ranks in the Guinness Book of Records.

 

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Oxygene in Moscow

It was in 1997 when the greatest concert event of all time was held in the Russian capital. Organized in honor of the city’s 850th anniversary, Oxygene highlighted superstar Jean-Michael Jarre. In this event, Jarre attracted an impressive crowd of 3.5 million people, grabbing the world record for the biggest number of participants in a live concert.

REPOST: Music: It’s good for the soul and patients who are healing

Music does not only evoke emotional responses to relax or stimulate the mind and soul, but also helps people heal and boost their overall well-being. While technically not a pill, surgical procedure, or any other form of medical treatment, music is believed to have its own unique healing powers. More on this from Wreg.com:

You’ve heard the old saying music is good for the soul.

Now one local hospital is using it to help their patients heal.

In January, Methodist Germantown Hospital began a music therapy program where local musicians play in the hallways, the lobby and even in the patients’ rooms.

Studies suggests music therapy not only helps patients, but their family members and even hospital staff as well.

Patients said the music definitely makes them feel better.

“I loved it . I`m a firm believer in music. I played the piano and organ for many years of my life and I believe it`s a holistic approach to healing because music touches your soul. Some places medicine can`t go music can go,” said Kathy Tuberville.

“It helps to calms them down and reduces levels of stress and anxiety,” said Dr. Joseph Sturdivant. “It may even help decrease the levels of the stress hormone cordezal which can help improve healing and wound care.”

The music therapy program was made possible by a $12,000 grant from the Methodist Women’s Auxiliary.

The hospital is looking for additional funds to continue the program.

Playlists: The role of music in boosting work productivity

Music is a product of man’s limitless creativity, but does music itself help one be more inventive and productive?

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When it comes to accomplishing tasks, whether at home or at work, we do things differently. We have our own mechanisms to cope with various responsibilities and fulfill objectives. Some of us work more efficiently without needing for additional hand; others produce the best results through collaboration. But whatever the case, almost all of us have a universal productivity booster: music. A workplace without music is nearly unimaginable.

Whether it’s instrumental, hip hop, or contemporary R&B, the genre we are most comfortable listening to can inspire us to deliver quality output. The science behind this process is still unclear, but it does do wonders most of the time. In a study conducted in 1972, for example, researchers discovered that factory employees did their best work when they were allowed to listen to happy or upbeat music. Of course, how we use music as a productivity tool will largely depend on our preferences.

Image source: postofficeshop.co.uk

Some of the top entrepreneurs in the world have somehow used music as catalyst for big ideas. Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg is particularly fond of Lady Gaga and Daft Punk; Steve Jobs once expressed passion for classic rock and folk music and how they inspired him to keep motivated in his endeavors; The Virgin Group founder Richard Branson enjoys a playlist comprised of Peter Gabriel and Mike Oldfield’s songs, all of which make him happy at work.

Music may be used in a variety of ways work-wise. Sometimes, its main role is purely to fill up boring silence or drown out distracting background noise; at other times, it helps people keep their creative juices flowing. And still in other occasions, music itself is the source of a specific output (for example, a writer might get the best words for his piece from a song’s lyrics). Music has a unique energy that helps us stay focused, enthused, and driven.

REPOST: Apple Joins Smart-Speaker Race With Music-Focused ‘HomePod’

Just as the same way his company revolutionized portable music, Apple chief executive Tim Cook plans on reinventing home music. Their latest offering, the HomePod, is a Siri-powered music system that is like a hybrid of Google Home and the Mac Pro. More about this story on NPR:

Apple executive Phil Schiller introduces the HomePod speaker at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, Calif.
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

 

And then there were three.

Apple has finally unveiled its answer to Amazon’s and Google’s smart speakers slash digital assistants — and it’s called HomePod.

This has been one major area in consumer electronics lacking Apple’s footprint. Amazon has heavily dominated the field with its home speaker called Echo, which uses the digital assistant Alexa. Google Home followed in October and Microsoft’s assistant, Cortana, is also finding a home in home speakers.

Both Amazon Echo and Google Home respond to voice commands to play songs, look up stuff online, check the weather, set a reminder or control Internet-connected home appliances.

Siri can do those things, too, but Apple’s pitch for Siri-powered HomePod is instead focused heavily on music — the company appears to bank on consumers paying for smart speakers that deliver high-quality audio sound as a sort of gateway into the world of smart home assistants.

“Just like we did with portable music, we want to reinvent home music,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the Worldwide Developers Conference, where HomePod was unveiled, becoming Apple’s first new device since the release of the Apple Watch in 2015.

 

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