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Apple WWDC: teasing smart speaker for Christmas
Rounding up recent tech news that impacts livelihoods in the creative community …
Apple's HomePod speaker plans to make the most out of your listening room
On June 5 the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference began in San Jose, Calif., with the HomePod smart speaker garnering early headlines, even though it won't be available until December. Smartphone users have likely experimented with Apple's virtual assistant, Siri, or many competing assistants running via other hardware, but Apple teases that Siri is about to evolve into being much more musicological on HomePod. It boasts a custom woofer, seven tweeters designed to work together, six microphones, and "automatic room-sensing technology." With the promise of high-resolution listening, the ability to get the most out of where it is placed, as well as the ability of multiple HomePods to work together for more immersive playback, this smart speaker has likely jumped onto many Christmas lists already.
Spotify settles songwriter litigation, agrees to create new "best practices"
Leading streaming service Spotify announced on May 26 it had reached a settlement agreement with two plaintiffs — Melissa Ferrick and David Lowery — who brought class-action lawsuits, since consolidated, that alleged unpaid royalties. A compensation fund of $43.4 million addresses financial damages but the potential built into the deal, for which judicial approval is pending, is the development of best practices and effective solutions for the future. After seven months of negotiations, a path forward exists in principle that other on-demand streaming services could be expected to join over time.
YouTube: The platform young Americans can't "live without"
AdWeek announced results on May 21 from its commissioned survey of youth sentiment toward online platforms, having received 1,452 responses from a sample ranging between ages 13–20. Driven in part by a higher male response rate, YouTube dominated all other platforms. It was used by 95 percent of respondents and identified as "the one [platform] you could not live without" by 50 percent. Survey results such as these are all the more reason why YouTube should lead the world in paying songwriters and performers fairly.