Why the US-China Trade war can be a good thing for other economies

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Despite the growing tension between China and the United States because of their ongoing trade war, experts and economic analysts argue that something good could still grow from the rising spat, especially for specific countries and economies that provide agricultural and petroleum-based products.

India, for instance, is one of the countries that can enjoy the benefits of the US-China trade war, especially on their cotton export sector. How? Basically, the United States is the number one exporter in the world of products such as fiber and it mainly answers to the biggest demands of millions of Chinese consumers – and the growing dispute may change all that.

With China’s imposition of a 25-percent tax on imported goods especially on U.S. farm commodities, including tones of cotton every year, this opens up an opportunity for other suppliers, especially India, to take on the role and engage with the huge Chinese market.

In fact, several contracts between Indian suppliers and Chinese importers have already been closed, assigning the biggest advanced deals of this year, with 500,000 bales of cotton heading directly to China after the first harvest season.

The same pattern will be expected once China finalizes its plan of imposing higher tariffs for goods from the U.S., especially when it comes to agricultural products – and this is where other countries of Asia can enter the picture.

Additionally, energy experts also predict that the expensive value of the U.S. oil due to the current US-China trade war may prompt Chinese purchases to focus on other sources such as Iran. In other words, China can easily replace their American-sourced oil with a much cheaper and accessible Iranian crude oil.

How to take advantage of Influencer Marketing to promote your brand

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The popularity of the Social Media and other online networking platforms gave rise to influential online personalities, also known as “influencers,” who use their massive followings to promote their ideas, share their skills, or even empower people to move and make a difference.

Different influencers represent specific niche, creating content for a particular demographic or social group. Having this access to a particular audience gives them the power to reach the people who actively consume their content – and this particular structure makes influencer marketing a great tool when it comes to online marketing, even for small businesses.

In fact, many companies who made it into the top have sought the help of influencers to promote their brand to their target market. Small or big enterprises have their options when choosing their influencer marketing strategy based on their budget: investing in micro-infuencers or large-scale influencers.

However, investing in influencers to promote your brand is not as simple as paying someone with an impressive number of followers to mention your product or services. The first challenge that you might encounter is how you can reach out to them. While it’s easy to talk to lesser-known influencers, their more popular counterparts with over 100,000 followers may not be as accessible.

Choosing the influencers to promote your products should also be properly considered. The most important things to keep in mind is the quality of the influencer’s content. Additionally, the ideas that they represent should also align with your brand.

Lastly, credibility and validity should also be taken into consideration and this is where research will help the most. Bots, spam, and followers from fake accounts often make up a relatively large percentage of their list so make sure to check for a “verified” icon on their profile.

The economics of the Oscars and what it means for film producers

The film industry is not just an avenue where filmmakers and actors can create art and expression through their work – it’s also a type of business where producers and movie makers expect to double or even triple their investments.

While some earn their prize in the box office and other business models designed to market and sell products related to the film franchise, other channels where moviemakers can boost an impressive return on investment is by winning recognition from experts, especially given by bodies as highly-recognized as the Academy Awards, the Oscars.

The question that most people wonder about is this: what are the financial benefits of winning big especially from award-giving bodies like the Academy? Most importantly, what does it mean for film producers, financially, to nab this highly-sought acknowledgment?

For starters, Oscar winners don’t get cash prizes. Instead, they receive a swag bag worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. While these may seem less grand, the gold rush from being recognized by the Academy comes after this milestone.

For instance, the earning potential even for movie producers of small-budget films doubles after the awards night. Movie houses and cinemas across the world will take advantage of their newly won popularity by running and re-screening the winning films to sell more tickets – and this means millions of dollars from additional gross ticket sales.  The gold mine that is the box office will be followed by increased DVD sales, international television streaming franchises, and media franchising demand not just in their home countries but from around the globe.

Everything that comes after an Oscar victory can easily be translated to an expected growth in demand from actors and filmmakers when choosing where to take their next masterpieces.

For instance, when the company, Open Road Film, won their first Best Picture for “Spotlight” in the 2016 Oscars, the bragging rights of winning big and being recognized by the Academy have boosted the film producer and company’s brand image. Similarly, in 2009 Academy Awards, sleeper hit “Slumdog Millionaire” went from earning $44.7 million in domestic box office before Oscar nominations to bringing home additional $100 million (approximately) after its Best Picture win. In this year’s edition of the awards show, the Guillermo del Toro-directed sci-fi film “The Shape of Water” won the top accolade. As experts are predicting, it may well pull off dramatic box office growth over the next few days or even weeks following the victory.

Transportation industry: Big changes we will see in the future

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With the technology that the world has now, it’s not hard to imagine a future where anything is possible. This idea is true for most industries out there, especially when it comes to the transportation sector. Here are the big innovations that you should expect in the coming years and how it will transform the transportation industry as you know it.

Self-driving vehicles

As early as 2016, the world has already caught a glimpse of the future in the form of Tesla’s autonomous cars. In the future, day-to-day vehicles will be driving autonomously, that means, without human intervention.

While there are already car makers that are starting to take the first steps like Mercedes and BMW, by 2020, over 10 million self-driving vehicles are expected to cruise major highways not only in the U.S. but around the world.

Drone air taxi

You’ve read that right. Recent collaboration efforts led by Volocopter tested the possibility of an aviation-type taxi service that will hopefully introduce the concept of unmanned flying vehicles in the future’s commuting and transportation system.

Aside from removing the worries of heavy traffic and other on-road obstacles especially in megacities, it’s a faster and more effective means of taking passengers from one place to another.

Unmanned cargo transport

It’s not only land transportation that is expected to get an upgrade in the future – even cargo ships will not need human crew onboard, making it cheaper and providing more room for cargo.  Through a land-based control hub, multiple ships can be remotely controlled wherever they are in the world. The vision is expected to go beyond transporting goods as it’s also expected to be applied in commercial shipping.

REPOST: The World’s 30 Highest-Paid Celebrities Under 30

In the world of show business, getting that big break is tough. However, once fame is successfully unlocked, becoming ultra-wealthy even at a young age also becomes a very inevitable (and natural) outcome. Take a look at Hollywood’s richest young celebrities (30 and under) as published on Forbes:

In 2010, Abel Tesfaye started releasing free mixtapes under a mysterious moniker, The Weeknd. You can still listen to his music for free, but the 27-year-old gets a hefty paycheck.

The Weeknd is the world’s highest-paid celebrity under 30, earning $92 million in the year leading to June 1, 2017, before taxes and fees. The Weeknd ranked sixth on the FORBES Celebrity 100, our list of the 100 highest-paid celebrities in the world.

Despite clocking 3.2 billion streams in our scoring period, most of his eight-figure haul came from an estimated $75 million touring advance. As The Weeknd told FORBES, the entertainment economy has evolved. “We live in a world where artists don’t really make the money off the music like we did in the Golden Age,” says the Weeknd. “It’s not really coming in until you hit the stage.”

Fellow Canadian Justin Bieber takes second place. Bieber graced the cover of FORBES in 2012 when he was barely 18 and made the Celebrity 100 with $53 million. The 23-year-old pop star shows no signs of slowing down, collecting a whopping $83.5 million.

British songstress Adele, who turned 29 this past spring, rounds out the top three with $69 million. Her album 25 was the bestselling album of 2016 with 1.73 million copies sold, even though it was released in 2015.

Together, the 30 highest-paid celebrities under 30 earned $1.24 billion combined between June 1, 2016, and June 1, 2017, before management fees and taxes. Earnings estimates are based on figures from Nielsen, NPD Bookscan, Pollstar, Box Office Mojo, Songkick, D’Marie and IMDB, as well as interviews with industry insiders and sometimes the stars themselves.

Eleven of the cohort barely made the cut at 29 years of age. Twenty-year-old Kylie Jenner is the youngest of the bunch with $41 million, ranking 10th overall. The most junior scion of the Kardashian-Jenner clan is also new to the ranks of the world’s highest-paid celebrities, as are many of these young entertainers, including 24-year-old Chance the Rapper (No. 24, $33 million).

Continue reading HERE.

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.