Media Beat: August 30, 2021
It’s not in your head: The world really is getting worse
Since the 1970s, wages, infrastructure, and the pace of technology have all stagnated. Can it be reversed? – Andrew Potter, The Walrus
Google Play app store’s almost shocking revenue generation
Alphabet Inc’s Google generated US$11.2B in revenue from its mobile app store in 2019, according to a court filing unsealed on Saturday, offering a clear view into the service’s financial results for the first time.
Attorneys general for Utah and 36 other U.S. states or districts suing Google over alleged antitrust violations with the app store also said in the newly unredacted filing that the business in 2019 had $8.5B in gross profit and $7B in operating income, for an operating margin of over 62%. – Paresh Dave, Reuters
New blockchain music investment firm with a difference
Electronic dance music artist and producer Justin Blau, a.k.a 3LAU, stirred the music industry in February when he sold the world’s first-ever tokenized album, which grossed US$11.7M in under 24 hours and briefly held the record for the most expensive single non-fungible token ever sold. In total, the musician has earned over $20M from more than a dozen NFT auctions over the past year.
Now he wants to enable fans to earn money alongside their favourite artists, establishing music as an investible asset class. – Nina Bambysheva, Forbes
A dark web scammer offering murder for sale
The dark web’s reputation as the lawless corner of the internet where anything from drugs, guns and even hit men can be bought has become modern urban legend. Recently released court documents reveal how one dark web broker claiming to offer murder-for-hire was a scammer acting as an FBI informant. – Thomas Brewster, Forbes
People are hiring out their faces to become deepfake-style marketing clones
Like many students, Liri has had several part-time jobs. A 23-year-old in Israel, she does waitressing and bartending gigs in Tel Aviv, where she goes to university.
She also sells cars, works in retail, and conducts job interviews and onboarding sessions for new employees as a corporate HR rep. In Germany.
Liri can juggle so many jobs, in multiple countries, because she has hired out her face to Hour One, a startup that uses people’s likenesses to create AI-voiced characters that then appear in marketing and educational videos for organizations around the world. It is part of a wave of companies overhauling the way digital content is produced. And it has big implications for the human workforce. – William Douglas Heaven, MIT Technology Review