Artists Equity Is Launched to Share the Wealth with Creatives

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck have launched a production company called Artists Equity that will offer profit participation to creatives working behind the scenes as well as on camera. The new venture has secured $100 million in financing from RedBird Capital Partners, and Affleck and Damon have also committed undisclosed sums. Affleck has committed to working exclusively for Artists Equity while Damon says he will star in a predetermined number of films. The move is in response to streamers’ reluctance to share earnings, and reported industrywide dissatisfaction with that new status quo. Continue reading Artists Equity Is Launched to Share the Wealth with Creatives

Annual YouTube Music Payments Up 50 Percent to $6 Billion

YouTube global head of music Lyor Cohen announced that the platform paid $6 billion to the music industry between July 2021 and June 2022, a 50 percent increase over the $4 billion distributed in the same period in the prior frame. The amount includes monetization across all formats — short and long form video, audio only, live, user-generated content and more — on all platforms (desktop, tablet, mobile, and TV), in over 100 countries. For the second consecutive measurement period, UGC drove more than 30 percent of the payouts for artists, songwriters and rights-holders, according to the company. Continue reading Annual YouTube Music Payments Up 50 Percent to $6 Billion

Subpoenas Fly with Tech Elite Drawn into Musk-Twitter Battle

More than 100 subpoenas have reportedly been issued in the legal battle between Elon Musk and Twitter, creating a full employment act for lawyers recruited to represent Silicon Valley’s elite. In addition to Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, those summoned to speak include investor Marc Andreessen, Oracle executive chair Larry Ellison, tech investors David O. Sacks and Joe Lonsdale, and former Twitter security head Peiter Zatko. The matter is set to be heard in Delaware Chancery Court starting October 17. “Every firm in the Valley is salivating like dogs trying to get in on that action,” said University of San Francisco professor of legal ethics Carol Langford. Continue reading Subpoenas Fly with Tech Elite Drawn into Musk-Twitter Battle

EU Advances Crypto Regulation in Face of Small Investor Pain

The decentralization that promised to make cryptocurrencies accessible, transparent, and an everyman’s investment dream has turned into a nightmare for many. While professional investors have largely done well shorting blockchain stock, other individuals haven’t been as successful. Fortune wrote of “crypto carnage” in a market that has so far lost $1 trillion in this year’s market selloffs. Bitcoin has lost about 50 percent of its market value this year, while Ethereum has fallen by 56 percent since January. Last week, the European Union advanced a framework for crypto-assets that includes consumer protection and safeguards against cybercrime. Continue reading EU Advances Crypto Regulation in Face of Small Investor Pain

FCC’s Carr Says TikTok Should Be Banned from App Stores

TikTok is facing blowback from the Federal Communications Commission, with one member asking Apple and Google to remove the social video platform from their app stores. FCC commissioner Brendan Carr warned in a joint letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai that “TikTok is not what it appears on the surface. It’s not just an app for sharing funny videos and memes,” but a sophisticated surveillance tool “that harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data.” As a division of China’s ByteDance, TikTok is “required by Chinese law” to share data with the PRC government. Continue reading FCC’s Carr Says TikTok Should Be Banned from App Stores

Apple to Shake-Up Financial Services Sector with BNPL Plan

Apple’s all-in approach to buy now, pay later (BNPL) is viewed as an indicator of the company’s increased emphasis on financial services. Apple Pay has been around since 2014, and three years ago the tech giant issued a credit card with the help of Goldman Sachs. Now, Apple Pay users will be able to avail themselves of the new Apple Pay Later. A subsidiary of the Cupertino-based iPhone firm has received the necessary licenses to launch the new financial offering in most U.S. states. Apple’s initial plans are to underwrite and fund loans capped at $1,000. Continue reading Apple to Shake-Up Financial Services Sector with BNPL Plan

Wall Street Begins Dabbling in Crypto While Some Hang Back

Wall Street is warming up to cryptocurrencies. Large banks and other financial institutions have been staffing departments ready to serve clients’ blockchain needs. Hedge funds and professional investment outfits led the way, with many mutual funds and pension managers now following along, lest they be perceived as out of touch. Some say the involvement of traditional investment sectors could add some stability to the often-volatile crypto markets, whose ongoing viability is hardly assured. Although Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong thinks it is, predicting that at least one billion people will have tried crypto within a decade. Continue reading Wall Street Begins Dabbling in Crypto While Some Hang Back

Twitter Board Attempts to Block Musk as Equity Firms Circle

Twitter is fending-off Elon Musk’s takeover intentions with a poison-pill strategy that will make it much more costly for him to buy the company once his holdings exceed 15 percent. Although the Twitter board has yet to formally respond to Musk’s $43 billion offer of $54.20 per share, it is expected to reject it based on the defensive posture  adopted Friday. The poison-pill plan would be in effect for nearly a year, giving Twitter time to find another buyer. While Musk has not detailed how he would fund his offer, word surfaced Monday that Apollo Global Management is evaluating participation. Continue reading Twitter Board Attempts to Block Musk as Equity Firms Circle

JPMorgan Pegs Metaverse at $1 Trillion, Opens Virtual Bank

Investment banking firm JPMorgan Chase is betting on the metaverse, which it predicts “will likely infiltrate every sector in some way in the coming years, with the market opportunity estimated at over $1 trillion in yearly revenues.” The company has opened a virtual branch in Decentraland, a browser-based 3D world to coincide with publication of the 18-page “Opportunities in the Metaverse” report by Onyx, the blockchain division the bank launched in 2020. Although it’s the first bank known to open a branch in the metaverse, JPMorgan is just the latest of numerous businesses to plant its flag. Continue reading JPMorgan Pegs Metaverse at $1 Trillion, Opens Virtual Bank

Google Advertising Puts Alphabet Profit Up 36 Percent in Q4

Google parent Alphabet posted Q4 2021 revenue of $75.33 billion, a 32 percent increase over the same period in 2020 that outperformed expectations. The blowout results were attributed to small and large businesses embracing digital advertising as a way to reach consumers housebound by COVID-19. Profits rose 36 percent to $20.64 billion in Q4. Alphabet revenue for the year ending December 31 was $257.6 billion, a 41 percent increase over 2020. The company also announced a 20-for-1 stock split. Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai cited “a quarterly sales record for our Pixel phones despite supply constraints” among the achievements. Continue reading Google Advertising Puts Alphabet Profit Up 36 Percent in Q4

Nasdaq, Goldman Sachs Announce Migration to AWS Cloud

Nasdaq says it will in 2022 begin migrating its North American markets to Amazon Web Services in a phased approach starting with the Nasdaq MRX U.S. options market. Nasdaq AWS will use a new edge computing solution the companies designed for market infrastructure that will be made available to other entities as well as leveraged across Nasdaq’s anti-financial crime, data and analytics, and market infrastructure software programs. The announcement was issued the same day Goldman Sachs said it was teaming with AWS on a suite of cloud-based solutions for financial institutions. Continue reading Nasdaq, Goldman Sachs Announce Migration to AWS Cloud

Comcast Launching XiOne Streaming Device and XClass TVs

Comcast is upping its hardware play, launching a branded wireless streaming device, the XiOne, and offering TVs running its own software, dubbed XClass in the U.S. The cable giant plans to make XiOne its branded global platform. Comcast describes XiOne as a plug-and-play device with faster processing, more memory and a voice-activated remote. It supports Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, Wi-Fi 6, 4K UHD and HDR. XiOne boxes are currently available in Italy and Germany to some subscribers of Sky Q, which Comcast owns. Comcast has begun introducing the devices in the U.S. to customers using older boxes.  Continue reading Comcast Launching XiOne Streaming Device and XClass TVs

Embedded Finance Becomes More Popular Across Industries

Global firms such as Amazon, IKEA, Mercedes-Benz and Walmart are cutting out traditional financial institutions in favor of financial technology, or “fintech” — startups offering everything from banking and credit to insurance. Embedded finance, a term for companies integrating software to offer services like “buy now pay later” at check out, are poised to disrupt the status quo, according to Reuters, which reports that while “banks are still behind most of the transactions,” analysts are warning that as they “get pushed further away from the front end of the finance chain” they’ll be frozen out of lucrative consumer data mining. Continue reading Embedded Finance Becomes More Popular Across Industries

ByteDance Executive Shouzi Chew Is New TikTok Chief Exec

TikTok announced that Shouzi Chew — chief financial officer of parent company ByteDance — has been named chief executive of TikTok, replacing interim chief executive Vanessa Pappas. Pappas, who took on that role last year when then-chief executive Kevin Mayer departed, has been named global chief operating officer. Previous to his role at ByteDance, Chew was chief financial officer and international business president at Xiaomi, where he led the company’s initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Chew is fluent in English and Chinese. Continue reading ByteDance Executive Shouzi Chew Is New TikTok Chief Exec

Intel Plans to Build Semiconductor Fabs to Reverse Shortage

New Intel chief executive officer Pat Gelsinger stated that it will take “at least several months” to “ease the strain” of the current global chip shortage, which is impacting an array of industries. In a “60 Minutes” interview, Gelsinger added that it would take “a couple of years” to catch up to demand that was amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent increased sales of electronics. He added that U.S. companies produce a mere 12 percent of the world’s semiconductor chips, down from 37 percent 25 years ago. Continue reading Intel Plans to Build Semiconductor Fabs to Reverse Shortage