Camber Bytes w/c Mar 8, 2021

Brice Gramm
March 8, 2021

This is the lil tech news you need to know for the week commencing March 8, 2021.

🤭 Passé

Looks like “subscribe” might be going out of fashion, at least for Apple Podcasts. Soon, Apple will change the action button in its Podcasts app from “subscribe” to “follow.”

Our take: While it doesn’t seem like a big deal, changing what a button says can have a dramatic effect on user behavior–especially when you have the kind of scale Apple Podcasts does.

In a world where everyone seems to want a monthly payment from you, “subscribing” can feel like death by a thousands cuts. “Following” feels like it’s asking for less, and asking less is a great way to get people to say yes to what you’re asking for. We like the change, and think it will increase podcast follows.

🤝 Odd Couple

Square–the proprietor of Cash App and payment solutions for businesses online and off–acquired a majority stake in music streaming platform Tidal from co-founder JAY-Z for ~$300 million. JAY-Z will also join Square’s board of directors.

Tidal’s user numbers aren’t publicly known, but it’s suspected to lag far behind competitors like Spotify and Apple Music. Financially, Tidal reportedly losesabout $35–55 million per year.

What Tidal does have is an image as an artist-first platform, with a number of prominent artists counted among its ownership group.

With this acquisition, Square sees an opportunity to expand on its mission of “economic empowerment” within the community of artist entrepreneurs in the music industry.

Our take: If it seems like a strange pairing, you’re not the only one thinking so. Will Tidal bring credibility to Square as an artist-friendly service provider that they couldn’t have gained otherwise? Will Square be able to improve the business fundamentals of the Tidal platform? Perhaps this was more of a strategic acqui-hire situation. JAY-Z is an incredible get for the Square board, after all. We’ll be interested to see what develops from this.

💸 The $2.5 Million Tweet

Jack Dorsey–founder and CEO of Twitter and Square–is selling the first-ever tweet from his personal account. At the time of this writing, the highest offer stands at $2,500,000 (that’s a lot of commas). He’ll be donating the proceeds to a charity platform that helps users give money directly to impoverished people.

“But that tweet is available to anyone for free,” I hear you plea. No contest. However, I have a very unpleasant combination of syllables to explain what’s going on here: Non-Fungible Tokens.

Mercifully acronymized as “NFTs,” these are digital goods which are made scarce and collectible by blockchain technology. Think of it like turning anything digital–a tweet, a gif, a drawing, a song recording–into a limited edition digital trading card. On the blockchain, that item is uniquely identified and can be owned by only one person at a time. The blockchain itself establishes the authenticity of the item, as well as documents its chain of custody.

There are already online marketplaces where NFTs can change hands with a monetary transaction (like the one where Jack listed his tweet for sale).

Our take: This is some bleeding edge stuff, but all things are as valuable as someone what someone is willing to pay for them. A piece of animated artwork has already sold for as high as $6.6m on the NFT market–taking the idea of “rare memes” to new heights. We think the digital collectibles space, powered by NFT technology, is going to be big business. Obligatory: this is not financial advice, and it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to empty your bank account buying up extremely volatile NFTs. kthxbye

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