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How $1bn push into podcasts led to Spotify’s growing pains | Spotify

He was supposed to be Spotify’s biggest acquisition, one who would transform the music streaming company into a one-stop shop for all kinds of online audio.

But controversy over “misinformation” on Joe Rogan’s podcast precipitated a hellish week for the Swedish firm as high-profile boycotts, a social media backlash and a share price drop challenged the viability of its meteoric growth.

With questions mounting over whether streaming companies pay artists their proper due, a second and arguably bigger issue has emerged: whether Spotify can be held responsible for all of the material on its platform.

The row started when a group of more than 250 US professors and public health officials called on the company to crack down on Covid-19 misinformation after an episode of The Joe Rogan Experience included “several falsehoods” about vaccines.

Later, when Neil Young issued an ultimatum to Spotify to remove either his music or Rogan’s podcast from its platform, the company chose to back Rogan, whose podcast is its most popular, with an estimated audience of 11 million.

Despite an apology from Rogan, in which he pledged more balanced and better-researched content, and a decision by Spotify to add content advisories to episodes discussing Covid, there were a slew of further boycotts, including from Joni Mitchell, Nils Lofgren, India Arie, and the podcasters Roxane Gay and Brené Brown.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who have a podcast deal with Spotify, said they had previously raised the issue of misinformation with the company. On the same day that Spotify staff were reportedly up in arms about the chief executive Daniel Ek’s defence of Rogan, there was an intervention from the White House calling on it to “do more”.

But when Spotify paid a reported $100m (£73m) in 2020 for an exclusive licensing deal with Rogan, known for his brash and often polarising content featuring members of the so-called “intellectual dark web”, it made a value judgment that the boost to revenue was more attractive than avoiding any future controversy.

At the time, Spotify had begun to assert itself as a key player in the podcast world, buying up rights to more and more shows, including from the Obamas. It has now spent more than $1bn on podcasts, with revenues from podcasts up 627% year on year.

“To be frank, had we not made some of the choices we did, I am confident that our business wouldn’t be where it is today,” Ek is reported to have told staff this week.

According to Mark Mulligan, an analyst at Midia Research, “Spotify with Joe Rogan is where Netflix was with House of Cards. It’s original audio content.” He explained that when Spotify got going, “radio basically owned the rest of the audio business, but in the intervening years podcasts have become much bigger. If it wasn’t doing podcasts, other companies would take some of its listening time away.”

Spotify, he added, “doesn’t own the music catalogue, it’s entirely dependent on record labels. A podcast is a way of saying ‘we’ll invest in our own content and we’ll generate a much higher profit from that content’.”

The debate has become larger than Spotify itself, touching on the cornerstones of today’s culture wars such as free speech and censorship. MailOnline ran an article headlined “Why Spotify must stand up to the luvvie bullies trying to stifle free speech – especially if Meghan and Harry join the Joe Rogan witch-hunt”. Another in the Hill read: “Can Joe Rogan save free speech?”

Andrew Hartman, the author of A War for the Soul of America: A History of the Culture Wars, said the dustup was the latest in “a long list of controversies over pop culture and censorship, with capitalism and commerce in the mix.”

Most of these battles, Hartman said, had historically entailed efforts by conservatives, often religious conservatives, to censor liberals wishing to express transgressive views – for example, efforts to censor Martin Scorsese’s Last Temptation of Christ. “Now we have liberal musicians working to kick Joe Rogan off a platform for expressing or giving voice to views that are seemingly conservative,” he said.

All of which leaves Spotify facing a heady cocktail of crises. The UK’s competition watchdog recently launched a study of whether streaming services such as Spotify hold excessive power, after a scathing report by MPs called for a “complete reset” of a model in which they said only big labels and superstar acts profit.

“It’s like waiting for a bus,” Mulligan said. “Suddenly, many crises will come along at the same time. Arie removed her catalogue because of an episode Rogan did on race. Now more and more artists will be looking at all the other stuff he’s said, and other podcasts Spotify is supporting, and think: is this the place I want my music?”

But comparing and contrasting streaming companies is difficult business. Since leaving Spotify, Young has directed his fans to use Amazon Music to stream his songs – a company criticised for its treatment of workers. His music remains on YouTube, which factcheckers say is a major conduit of fake news.

“Surely there is misinformation on YouTube, Apple and Amazon, much of it worse than Rogan’s show – why are these artists not withdrawing from them too?” said David Hesmondhalgh, a professor of media, music and culture at Leeds University.

While Spotify continues to retain more paying subscribers than any other audio streaming service (more than 406 million monthly users and 180 million paying subscribers), its market share is declining. This week the company’s shares briefly fell as much as 18% after it forecast current-quarter subscribers lower than expectations.

“If I was Spotify I’d be more worried about that than about the Joe Rogan debacle,” Mulligan said. “The attention economy – how much time we spend with stuff – was peaking before lockdown and then boomed when everybody had a lot more time on their hands. That was always going to start receding when normal life resumed.”



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8 Reasons Why Highly Intelligent Individuals Tend To Embrace Messiness At Home

By Darren Wilson

In the realm of intellectual brilliance, the concept of order and tidiness often takes a backseat. Highly intelligent individuals, driven by a relentless pursuit of knowledge and innovation, forge their paths in a world of ideas and creativity.

This propensity for intellectual pursuits can give rise to living spaces that may seem cluttered and untamed to the untrained eye.

Here, we dive into eight compelling reasons why some of the brightest minds in history tend to gravitate towards messy households, shedding light on the unique relationship between intelligence and chaos.

1. Unkempt Homes Foster Creativity and Novelty

For highly intelligent individuals, a chaotic environment serves as a crucible for creativity.

Studies from the University of Minnesota have shown that disorderly settings encourage thinking outside the box. In experiments, participants in cluttered rooms generated ideas perceived as more enjoyable and innovative.

This environment fosters a unique brand of creativity, allowing brilliant minds to explore uncharted territories of thought.

2. Disinclination to Adhere to Social Norms

Conformity rarely finds a place in the lives of the highly intelligent. These individuals possess an independent streak that extends to their living spaces.

They question the societal expectation of a meticulously clean home, choosing instead to embrace the chaos that mirrors their unconventional thinking.

Their rejection of conformity extends to their environment, where their independent spirit takes precedence over tidiness.

3. Energy Allocated to Intellectual Pursuits

The pursuit of intellectual endeavors consumes the majority of their energy. Immersed in research, contemplation, and problem-solving, these individuals leave minimal room for routine tasks like cleaning.

This single-minded dedication to intellectual pursuits manifests in a living space that reflects their prioritization of knowledge over cleanliness.

4. Immersed in Thoughts, Oblivious to Surroundings

The minds of highly intelligent individuals are a whirlwind of intellectual activity. Lost in contemplation about the nature of existence and the complexities of the universe, they often become oblivious to their immediate surroundings.

This profound mental engagement takes precedence over the physical environment, resulting in spaces that may appear untamed to others.

“In the world of a true entrepreneur, chaos and creativity dance in perfect harmony.”

– Raza H. Qadri

5. Cleaning Appears Boring and Monotonous

Geniuses often find routine tasks like cleaning to be uninspiring and monotonous.

Their minds are wired to seek intellectual stimulation and challenge, rendering cleaning a lower priority.

They possess a higher threshold for messiness, requiring mental engagement that everyday tasks cannot provide.

6. Independence Trumps Social Approval

Independence is a hallmark of highly intelligent individuals. They chart their paths, setting their own standards and disregarding external validation.

WATCH: 22 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT ALBERT EINSTEIN

This autonomy extends to their living spaces, where their personal preferences dictate the level of tidiness. They clean not to conform but to accommodate their own thresholds of disorder.

7. Priority on World-Changing Pursuits

For these exceptional minds, the pursuit of groundbreaking ideas takes precedence over mundane tasks.

Cleaning, considered peripheral in the grand scheme of their intellectual pursuits, is deferred to allow room for the development of technologies and solutions that shape the course of progress.

8. Aversion to Mundane Tasks

The brilliance of these minds lies in their ability to envision a transformative future. The act of cleaning pales in comparison to the exhilaration of ideation and innovation.

Cleaning becomes a secondary concern, reserved for moments when disorder reaches an insurmountable level. The brilliance of their minds manifests not in pristine living spaces, but in the ideas and innovations that have the power to change the world.

8 Reasons Why Highly Intelligent Individuals Tend To Embrace Messiness At Home

“Glimpse” by PS Art

In the tapestry of intelligence, the threads of brilliance are often interwoven with chaos. Highly intelligent individuals find their stride amidst clutter, using their mental prowess to craft worlds of innovation and creativity. While their living spaces may appear untamed, they stand as a testament to the extraordinary minds that inhabit them.

In the pursuit of groundbreaking ideas and transformative technologies, the genius of messiness finds its place. It is a reminder that the true measure of brilliance lies not in the pristine order, but in the world-altering ideas that emerge from the minds of these exceptional individuals.


Thank You For Your Love And Support!

— By Darren Wilson | Team ‘THE VOICE OF EU

— For more information & news submissions: info@VoiceOfEU.com

— Anonymous news submissions: press@VoiceOfEU.com


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“The Creator”: A Glimpse Into A Future Defined By Artificial Intelligence (AI) Warfare

By Cindy Porter

In “The Creator” visionary director Gareth Edwards thrusts us into the heart of a dystopian future, where the battle lines are drawn between artificial intelligence and the free Western world.

Set against the backdrop of a post-rebellion Los Angeles, the film grapples with pressing questions about the role of AI in our society.

A Glimpse into a Future Defined by Artificial Intelligence (AI) Warfare

A Glimpse into a Future Defined by Artificial Intelligence (AI) Warfare

While the narrative treads familiar ground, it is timely, given the rising prominence of artificial intelligence in our daily lives.

A Fusion of Genres

Edwards embarks on an ambitious endeavor, blending elements of science fiction classics with contemporary themes.

The result is a cinematic stew reminiscent of James Cameron’s “Aliens” tinged with shades of “Blade Runner” a dash of “Children of Men,” and a sprinkle of “Akira” This concoction, while intriguing, occasionally veers toward familiarity rather than forging its own distinct identity.

Edwards’ Cinematic Journey

The British filmmaker, known for his foray into doomsday scenarios with the BBC docudrama “End Day” in 2005, has traversed a path from indie gem “Monsters” (2010) to the expansive Star Wars universe with “Rogue One” (2016).

“The Creator” marks another bold step in his repertoire. The film introduces compelling concepts like the posthumous donation of personality traits, punctuated by impactful visuals, and raises pertinent ethical dilemmas. It stands as a commendable endeavor, even if it occasionally falters in execution.

Navigating Complexity

In his pursuit of depth, Edwards at times stumbles into the realm of convolution, leaving the audience grappling with intricacies rather than immersing in the narrative.

While adept at crafting visual spectacles and orchestrating soundscapes, the film occasionally falters in the art of storytelling.

In an era where classic storytelling is seemingly on the wane, some may argue that this approach is emblematic of the times.

AI: Savior or Peril?

“The Creator” leaves us with a question that resonates long after the credits roll: Will artificial intelligence be humanity’s salvation or its undoing? The film’s take on machine ethics leans toward simplicity, attributing AI emotions to programmed responses.

This portrayal encapsulates the film’s stance on the subject – a theme as enigmatic as the AI it grapples with.

“The Creator”

Director: Gareth Edwards.
Starring: John David Washington, Gemma Chan, Madeleine Yuna Boyles, Ken Watanabe.
Genre: Science fiction.
Release Year: 2023.
Duration: 133 minutes.
Premiere Date: September 29.

WATCH: TRAILER

Top 5 Movies by Gareth Edwards:

1. “Monsters” (2010)

– A breakout hit, “Monsters” showcases Edwards’ talent for blending intimate human drama with towering sci-fi spectacles. Set in a world recovering from an alien invasion, it’s a poignant tale of love amidst chaos.

2. “Rogue One” (2016)

– Edwards helms this epic Star Wars installment, seamlessly integrating new characters with the beloved original trilogy. It’s a testament to his ability to navigate complex narratives on a grand scale.

3. “End Day” (2005)

– This BBC docudrama marked Edwards’ entry into the world of speculative storytelling. Presenting five doomsday scenarios, it set the stage for his later exploration of dystopian futures.

4. “The Creator” (2023)

– Edwards’ latest venture, “The Creator,” immerses audiences in a future fraught with AI warfare. While not without its challenges, it boldly tackles pertinent questions about the role of artificial intelligence in our lives.

5. Potential Future Project

– As Edwards continues to push the boundaries of speculative cinema, audiences eagerly anticipate his next cinematic endeavor, poised to be another thought-provoking addition to his illustrious filmography.

“The Creator” stands as a testament to Gareth Edwards’ unyielding vision and his penchant for exploring the frontiers of speculative cinema.

While it doesn’t shy away from the complexities of AI, it occasionally falters in navigating its intricate narrative.

As we peer into this cinematic crystal ball, we’re left with a stark question: Will artificial intelligence be our beacon of hope, or will it cast a shadow over humanity’s future? Only time will unveil the answer.


We Can’t Thank You Enough For Your Support!

— By Cindy Porter

— For more information & news submissions: info@VoiceOfEU.com

— Anonymous news submissions: press@VoiceOfEU.com


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Energize Your Property Value: The Surge In Demand For Home EV Charging Points

By Raza H. Qadri (ALI)

In a rapidly evolving real estate landscape, home electric vehicle (EV) charging points have emerged as a coveted feature. Here, we will explore the surge in demand for these charging stations and their potential to transform property value desirability.

Surge in Demand:

Estate agents are witnessing an unprecedented uptick in requests for properties equipped with EV charging points. Rightmove reports a staggering 592% increase in listings mentioning EV chargers since 2019. This summer, Jackson-Stops even incorporated EV charging points into their top-ten must-have property features for the first time.

Adding Value To Property:

Integrating electric vehicle (EV) charging points into residential properties has become a key factor in boosting their market value. According to insights from the National Association of Property Buyers, homes equipped with EV charging facilities can see an uptick in value ranging from £3,000 to £5,000. This trend aligns with the increasing demand for sustainable features in real estate. Rightmove’s Greener Homes report highlights a remarkable 40% surge in listings mentioning EV chargers in comparison to the previous year. Such statistics underscore the significance of these installations as a sought-after feature among buyers.

Beyond the potential increase in property value, homeowners can reap substantial benefits from dedicated EV charging points. These specialized units offer significantly faster charging speeds compared to standard three-pin plugs. With an output of 32 amps/7kw, a dedicated charger can provide up to 28 miles per hour of charging, a substantial improvement over the 9 miles offered by a standard plug.

Moreover, safety considerations play a pivotal role. Standard domestic sockets may not be designed for prolonged high-output usage, potentially leading to overheating and related wiring issues.

Therefore, the integration of a dedicated EV charging point not only adds tangible value to a property but also ensures a safer and more efficient charging experience for homeowners and their electric vehicles.

Benefits Beyond Convenience:

Dedicated charge points offer benefits beyond convenience. According to James McKemey from Pod Point, these units deliver significantly faster charging speeds compared to standard three-pin plugs. Safety considerations also come into play, as standard domestic sockets may not be built for prolonged high-output usage.

Cost-Efficiency:

Charging an EV at home proves more cost-effective than relying on public charging stations. Smart charging capabilities enable homeowners to take advantage of lower rates, typically offered during off-peak hours, such as at night.

Charger prices vary, ranging from approximately £300 to over £1,000, with installation costs potentially adding another £400 to £600.

Solar Integration:

Solar integration presents a game-changing opportunity for homeowners seeking both environmental sustainability and financial benefits. The global solar energy capacity reached an astounding 793 gigawatts (GW), illuminating the rapid adoption of this renewable energy source.

For homeowners, integrating solar panels with an electric vehicle (EV) charging point can lead to substantial savings. On average, a standard solar panel system costs around £6,000 to £7,000 per kWp (kilowatt peak), with the typical installation size being 4kWp. This equates to an initial investment of approximately £24,000 to £28,000.

However, the return on investment is impressive. Solar panels can generate roughly 3,200 kWh (kilowatt-hours) per year for a 4kWp system in the UK. With the average cost of electricity sitting at 16.1p per kWh, homeowners can save approximately £515 annually on energy bills.

Moreover, the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) scheme allows homeowners to earn money by exporting excess electricity back to the grid. As of September 2021, the SEG offers rates ranging from 1.79p to 5.24p per kWh. Over the course of 20 years, a solar panel system can generate savings of over £10,000, demonstrating the substantial financial benefits of solar integration. This trend is expected to surge further as advancements in solar technology continue to drive down installation costs and boost energy production.

Regulations and Grants:

Regulations surrounding EV charging point installations vary, particularly for listed buildings, which require planning permission for wall-mounted units. However, for flat owners, renters, and landlords with off-street parking, there’s an opportunity to benefit from government grants.

These grants provide a substantial subsidy, offering £350 or covering 75% of the total installation cost, whichever is lower. This incentive has spurred a surge in installations, with a notable uptick in applications over the past year.

In fact, according to recent data, the number of approved grant applications for EV charging points has risen by an impressive 68% compared to the previous year. This demonstrates a growing recognition of the value and importance of these installations in both residential and rental properties.

Renting Out Your Charging Point:

Renting out your EV charging point also presents a compelling opportunity for homeowners to capitalize on the growing demand for electric vehicle infrastructure.

According to recent market trends, the number of registered electric vehicles worldwide surpassed 14 million in 2023, marking a significant milestone. With projections indicating an annual growth rate of 29% – 34% for the global electric vehicle market, the need for accessible charging solutions is set to skyrocket. In the UK alone, the number of electric vehicles on the road has tripled over the last three years, reaching over 857,000 at the end of 2023.

This surge in EV ownership underscores the potential market for homeowners looking to rent out their charging points. Platforms like JustPark and Co Charger facilitate this process by connecting drivers in need of charging with available charging stations.

By participating in this shared economy, homeowners not only contribute to the expansion of EV infrastructure but also stand to generate a supplementary income stream. This symbiotic relationship between EV owners and charging point hosts aligns with the broader shift towards sustainable transportation solutions.

WATCH: EV CHARGING & OPPORTUNITIES

Finally, we can conclude that the surge in demand for properties with EV charging points signals a shifting paradigm in real estate. With added convenience, cost-efficiency, and potential for monetization, these installations are poised to become a cornerstone of future property value and desirability.


We Can’t Thank You Enough For Your Support!

— By Raza H. Qadri | Science, Technology & Business Contributor “THE VOICE OF EU

— For more information & news submissions: info@VoiceOfEU.com

— Anonymous news submissions: press@VoiceOfEU.com


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