19 Insanely Cool Gadgets That Are Going To Sell Out Soon
Theses Products Are Going To Be Selling Like Hot Cakes Well Into The New Year
We’ve been keeping track of gadget sales through all 2018, and the following 19 products are going to be selling like hot cakes well into the new year (each with at least an average user rating of 4.5 stars). Before the offers run out, snag one of these as a gift or save it for another occasion while the price is right! Now here’s the catch with these sweet, sweet gadgets… they’re only available ONLINE. You won’t find these in-stores. It’s expensive to sell retail, so the most innovative gadget-makers are now going straight-to-online. And as a thank you to Prime readers, we’ve negotiated with these gadget-makers to get special deals for first time buyers! Most of our finds are under $60. They make perfect gifts and are perfect for those that want to splurge a little on themselves. Come back often because we’re always updating the list!
Fixd was one of the biggest Kickstarter campaigns ever. It’s a revolutionary device that allows YOU to know what’s wrong with your car before taking it in to a mechanic so they can’t take advantage of you ever again. Just plug it into your car, pair the Fixd device with your smart phone, and viola! It tells you EXACTLY what’s wrong with your car, no mechanic needed! It’s one of our favorite devices we’ve seen and all of us here at the office got one for our cars.
If you store your photos and videos on your computer or ‘the cloud’ then you know the risks that come with it: Computer crashes, viruses, and power surges that could wipe out 1,000’s of your digital memories in seconds. And that’s why The Photostick is one of the most in-demand gadgets of 2018, selling over 1,000 units per day. The Photostick is a clever new device designed to protect your photo and video memories and be super easy to use.
Using the Photosick is easy, just connect this small thumb-sized drive to your PC or Mac, press ‘Go’ and it will automatically sync your pictures and videos into the stick. It even finds and removes duplicates so you don’t spend hours deleting them manually.
No technical knowledge or computer expertise is required and all your photos are stored safely offline where only you have access to them. The PhotoStick is perfect for anyone who wants to safeguard their digital memories and doesn’t trust “the cloud”.
Like Photostick, Photostick Mobile can be used to back everything up very easily, except it’s for mobile devices. This is also a perfect and thoughtful gift for a person who cherishes their memories. With the push of a button, it instantly finds, organizes, and secures all photos on any mobile device so you will never lose any of your memories. It’s the best way to “organize your life” for anyone who has hundreds or thousands of scattered photos on their phones they want to save will love this.
Is there anyone on your gift list who likes movies, sports, and TV? There is? Great, because we’ve got the best gift ever! The Bluewire Antenna allows for an awesome selection of movies, TV, and sports programming, without monthly subscriptions.
The Bluewire Antenna is simple to install (it can go right on a window near the tv), and can receive up to 100 High Definition stations for free. No other devices needed –no USB sticks or smart TV’s or converters or anything else. Just the Bluewire TV Antenna and some free time to watch all of the awesome TV it delivers (an estimated 85% of the most popular stations are here for free–all of your favorites.)
This is a unique and gadget that can save you a ton of money, plus it also makes for a great gift.
Do you or someone you know wear glasses? If so, chances are you’re tired of how often they get smudged, and having to use your shirt to try and rub off the smudges, which only ends up rubbing them around and not truly clearing your lenses. That’s why we love Peeps! They are one of the best designed glasses cleaners in the world and use NASA carbon lens cleaning technology to give you the most crystal clear view through your lenses. They’re small and portable and on sale now through our exclusive link!
Unlike other sleep remedies that provide temporary solutions, Dodow light metronome actually RETRAINS YOUR BRAIN to fall asleep – while it mesmerizes you to sleep! Dodow’s slow rhythmic light is scientifically designed to quickly quiet your busy mind, slow your breathing, and relax your body – swiftly lulling you into a deep, peaceful slumber.
This simple keychain can save your life. Fitting in the size of your palm, this extra layer of security roars an ear-splitting alarm (130 dB) that scares off attackers and calls for help. Even if you’re walking to your car in an empty dimly lit parking lot, you’re never really alone. Stop fearing for your personal safety and experience why 93,000+ women are calling this simple device their “invisible bodyguard.” Order today and get up to 75% off while supplies last.
Say goodbye to neck pain! Neck Hammock quickly relieves neck pain from the comfort of your own home. It’s patented technology combines resistance bands and gravity to give you a controlled stretch, helping with improved posture, increased circulation, and fewer pinched nerves. It pulls the tension out of those tight, inflamed muscles in your neck while you rest! Dr. Oz calls it “one of the best health finds of 2018!”
Inspired by fighter jet technology, Vizr is truly the GPS of the 21st century. It’s the first GPS of it’s kind that allows you to drive without having to take your eyes off the road, utilizing Air Force heads up display technology. Because of this, you’re much more likely to avoid dangerous and potentially fatal car accidents because you had to glance down at your phone and take your eyes off the road. This is our editor’s pick for coolest gift this year, not only because it’s awesome, but because it will help you avoid more accidents on the road.
According to the National Safety Council, nighttime driving is 3x more dangerous than driving during the daylight hours. Reduced vision, bright lights, and glare from oncoming traffic affect millions of drivers each night. Wearing NightGuide HD glasses dramatically reduces the risk involved in driving under low light or foggy conditions.
In fact, NightGuide was voted the #1 solution for safe driving at night. The specialized yellow tint provides 100% UV protection while enhancing contrast and clarity. This leads to less strain on your eyes which can cause drowsiness and migraines. NightGuide HD glasses are also lightweight and designed to fit easily over prescription glasses.
Try these high-definition lenses today and you will notice an increase in your vision the second you put them on.
Whenever you buy a new computer, everything feels fast and it is fun to use. A few months later, the computer starts slowing down, and eventually, you wonder how was this the same computer you bought when it was brand new? This new Gadget called Xtra PC works with any computer (Mac or Windows) made after 2004, and it is FAST (and will never slow down).
You can plug this little USB device into your computer, restart your computer and start using Xtra PC immediately. This will bypass your older/slow computer and operating system while STILL having access to all of your files and it comes with the programs you need to browse the web, send/receieve emails, listen to music, etc.
Get this amazing brand new computer on a memory stick now–before special offers run out!
Imagine getting home after an 8-hour shift and you’ve been looking forward to your favorite time of the day. Post-work bathroom break in the comforts of your home. Just you, your phone, and the internet. Nothing is more annoying when you’re finally comfortable on your porcelain throne and the WiFi doesn’t quite reach your upstairs bathroom.
Why We Love Super Boost WiFi: With the Wi-Fi booster, you can make sure your home is covered from corner to corner. Don’t let this simple problem get in the way if your ‘Me-time’. You’ll thank me later. Click Here To Learn More About Super Boost WiFi »
This incredibly useful and fun toilet gadget makes your toilet safer, cleaner and a much better time!
Glow Bowl was invented to address safety, hygiene and our never-ending desire to have fun and unique stuff. It’s the coolest way to safely navigate the bathroom at night, while eliminating those messy toilet misses…forever. Plus, it comes with a replacable air freshener! Glow Bowl will make your toilet the coolest, cleanest and freshest smelling toilet around. Let’s be clear. Glow Bowl is no joke. Millions have sold, and it’s been featured on NBC news and received rave reviews from Shark Tank’s Kevin Harrington. So what are you waiting for? Make potty time, party time!
If you’re like me and don’t upgrade your phone every year, this charger has been my saving grace. Before I would charge my phone the entire night only for it to drain back to 0% after a few hours. Without getting the latest ($1100) iPhone; I purchased this thin adapter that turned my phone into a wireless charging device. It feels like I got a new phone with the way that I’m watching Netflix on the train Today! Try this first before committing to a new phone.
You want to give the ultimate James Bond, 007 spy device to someone? This is it. It’s a portable tracker that you can put on anything from your keys to your dog to your luggage to your bike. It allows you to see EXACTLY where things are on a map so you never lose anything ever again. A lot of people are putting them on their keychains and purses so they don’t lose their keys or purses. It’s just an overall cool device. It’s also just a beautiful design, and we love things that are designed well.
This is a gift for anyone in your life who likes practical, space-saving items. KeySmart eliminates the need for a bulky keyring. The patented “S” design allows you to organize up to 14 keys and a car key fob, and fits just about every size, shape, and type of key. KeySmart protects your keys, and also protects other items in your purse or pocket from getting scratched by your keys. In less than a minute, you can attach your keys and any accessories. KeySmart also comes with a handy clip so you can easily attach it to a bag or belt loop. Make KeySmart the perfect gift by customizing it: KeySmart comes in a variety of colors, and a variety of attachments like a USB stick or bottle opener can be added on at checkout.
The magic of activated charcoal continues to amaze even scientists. Discover new ways to use its already-proven purifying power. Imagine never having to spray a bottle again. New Charcoal bags are a simple trick to remove foul smells around your apartment or house. BreatheGreen is now having a package deal: the more you get, the more you can save.
When you’re in high heels all day, whether it’s at work or at the club it’s eventually going to take it’s toll on your feet. It’s going to show in the form of blisters, sore muscles, or just overall aching, and when you’re trying to look hot, or doing your job the last thing you want is to display your discomfort to the world. That’s why we’re so excited about a new product made just for women who wear high heels. It actually makes wearing high heels so incredibly comfortable that it becomes much easier for you to look and walk gracefully through your day! They’re called Vivian Lou.
Bondic has gained an incredible 1500+ 5-star reviews because it’s just that much better than super glue. If there’s anything around the house that you need to fix, from glasses to door hinges Bondic can fix it. It’s really an incredible technology that you can now have in the palm of your hand to not only get things fixed fast, but fixed STRONG. It’s the perfect gift for a college student, a homeowner, dad, or someone who just likes to be able to fix things and feel like James Bond doing it. We love this one.
Things Facebook Doesn’t Want Conservatives to See
A List Of Times When The Social Media Giant Censored Conservatives
Senator Ted Cruz nailed Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg for censoring conservatives on his social media platform. Cruz only spoke for a few minutes, but raised important points. I think we all know someone who has been sent to “Facebook jail,” meaning, they said something Facebook’s woke censors didn’t like and were suspended temporarily or in some cases, permanently.
Zuckerberg testified before Congress in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica “scandal.” When Facebook gave Obama’s re-election campaign access to nearly twice as much personally identifiable information, it barely made the news.
Between Facebook actively helping the Obama campaign and suppressing conservative voices, we know where they stand. To prove it, we’ve assembled a list of times when the social media giant censored conservatives, both small and large.
As Senator Cruz referenced, Gizmodo reported in 2016 that the “Trending” bar on Facebook is a joke. They suppress conservative stories about the Conservative Political Action Conference, Rand Paul, Mitt Romney, and others. They also force stories that aren’t “trending” into the slot, so that you will pay attention to them. There have been multiple reports of reach being stopped cold so it never makes it into your newsfeed. Zuckerberg defended the algorithm as if it was utterly impartial, but the reality is that liberals are programming the algorithm to suppress conservative views.
Tom Champlin, who owns the libertarian news website “The Liberty Review” and runs its associated Facebook page, was banned for 30 days from Facebook for posting a Tide pod meme. Facebook claims to, “allow humor, satire, [and] social commentary,” but this meme violated the site’s “community standards” by showing a Darwin award winner and possible future Democratic Congressman biting into a packet of laundry detergent. Triggered, much?
Phil Robertson became a household name because of his show, “Duck Dynasty” and for being a proud Christian, conservative voice in a popular culture that is hostile to those ideals. The excuse liberal techies used to censor his video in October 2017? Graphic violence. What on earth was he doing? Field stripping ducks to eat; so apparently, meal prep triggers Facebook’s city slickers.
Jeff Sanford, the owner of Shiloh Gun Range, felt compelled to do something after an Islamic extremist murdered 50 people at Pulse Night Club in Orlando. Sanford offered free concealed carry handgun classes to people in his community. After the local news reported on his generous offer to empower others, Facebook disabled his account.
Dr. Alveda King is a pro-life activist and Christian evangelist that was critical of Barack Obama and has ties to President Trump. She is also the niece of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She partnered with Indiegogo, to crowdfund a pro-life movie. Together, they launched a petition and a donation page for a film chronicling the history of Roe v. Wade and highlighting the racism of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger. Facebook blocked them for “misusing” the site.
By 2017, Facebook’s hubris had reached a new level. The platform attempted to tell us (intelligent, rational human beings) who we could believe and who we should ignore. They endorsed the New York Times and other established outlets – even with their track record of lying about Joseph Stalin’s state-managed famine in Ukraine, claiming 7-10 million lives, and Jayson Blair’s prolific plagiarism – and called smaller outlets untrustworthy. Unsurprisingly, many people bristled at the idea of being told what to think by a bunch of millennials in Silicon Valley. In 2018, Facebook tried another way, by using algorithms to deprioritize pages associated with specific (right-of-center) ideas and organizations, meaning that unless you are an individual, you won’t show up in someone’s newsfeed like before.
Diamond and Silk became YouTube stars when they went viral for supporting Donald Trump in their sassy videos. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for Facebook to start messing with the reach of their videos. When confronted, the company sent them an email stating that “they deemed our content and our brand unsafe to the community” according to the pair. In what parallel universe are these videos unsafe?
Zuckerberg testified before Congress in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica “scandal.” When Facebook gave Obama’s re-election campaign access to nearly twice as much personally identifiable information, it barely made the news.
– AAN [Amercan Action News]
Apollo 13 returns to Earth- History On This Day : Apr 17, 1970
Apollo 13, a U.S. lunar spacecraft that suffered a severe malfunction on its journey to the moon, safely returns to Earth.
* On April 11, the third manned lunar landing mission was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying astronauts James A. Lovell, John L. Swigert, and Fred W. Haise. The mission was headed for a landing on the Fra Mauro highlands of the moon. However, two days into the mission, disaster struck 200,000 miles from Earth when oxygen tank No. 2 blew up in the spacecraft. Swigert reported to mission control on Earth, “Houston, we’ve had a problem here,” and it was discovered that the normal supply of oxygen, electricity, light, and water had been disrupted. The landing mission was aborted, and the astronauts and controllers on Earth scrambled to come up with emergency procedures. The crippled spacecraft continued to the moon, circled it, and began a long, cold journey back to Earth.
* The astronauts and mission control were faced with enormous logistical problems in stabilizing the spacecraft and its air supply, as well as providing enough energy to the damaged fuel cells to allow successful reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. Navigation was another problem, and Apollo 13’s course was repeatedly corrected with dramatic and untested maneuvers. On April 17, tragedy turned to triumph as the Apollo 13 astronauts touched down safely in the Pacific Ocean.
Thank you for reading this article.
Eric Church Offers Full-Length Virtual Reality Concert
Nashville’s “wild card” (Billboard) is taking his “expertly crafted show” (Rolling Stone) to a whole new level
by offering fans a full-length concert experience via vantage.tv’s virtual reality experience
The concert, that features Eric Church’s headlining performance from Stagecoach, offers 180 and 360-degree views from the audience and the stage itself using an eight-camera set up along with immersive audio allowing fans to feel as though they’re rocking with The Chief right there at the festival. This on-demand experience can be purchased by fans here and watched on their iPhone or Android phone via Google Cardboard, or Samsung Gear VR.
Fans will be immersed in the music as Church plays his biggest hits like 3x Platinum-certified “Springsteen” and Platinum-certified favorite, “Creepin,” as well as songs off his latest album Mr. Misunderstood including his recent No. 1 hit “Record Year” and “Knives of New Orleans.” With the experience, fans will even be part of a moment, true to Church’s rowdy show, where the crowd threw their boots on stage for Church during his performance of the famous, “These Boots.” Virtual concert goers can choose how they experience the 13-song set by choosing either the multiple camera director’s cut, front row of the concert, or a full 360 view. All access to this virtual event will be $19.99 for a VR Ticket to view the concert and $34.99 for the VR Ticket +VR viewer bundle.
Samsung officially recalls Galaxy Note7 over exploding batteries
It’s official: Samsung’s finally recalling its Galaxy Note7. The recall comes a week after the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced the Korean electronics giant was working with it on an official recall and advised Note7 owners to turn their devices off and stop charging them. The recall affects phones sold prior to Sept. 15.
The CPSC is advising Note7 owners to locate their device’s IMEI number on the back of the phone or packaging and enter it online in Samsung’s IMEI checker. The CPSC recommends Note7 owners “contact the wireless carrier, retail outlet or Samsung.com where you purchased your device to receive free of charge a new Galaxy Note7 with a different battery, a refund or a new replacement device. Go to www.samsung.com for more details.”
“Samsung has received 92 reports of the batteries overheating in the U.S., including 26 reports of burns and 55 reports of property damage, including fires in cars and a garage,” states the CPSC.
Tim Baxter, president of Samsung Electronics America, also urged Note7 users to turn them off and exchange them through its replacement program. “New Note7 replacement devices will be issued to exchange program participants upon completion of the CPSC process. In the interim, consumers can return their Note7 for another device,” Baxter said in an emailed statement.
The source of the explosions appears to be faulty batteries produced by Samsung’s SDI battery division. While investigations are still ongoing, Samsung UKwrote: “Based on our investigation, we learned that there was an issue with the battery cell. An overheating of the battery cell occurred when the anode-to-cathode came into contact which is a very rare manufacturing process error.”
It’s believed only Note7 phones, which made up about 70 percent of up to 2.5 million phones shipped worldwide before Samsung halted production, had faulty batteries produced by Samsung SDI. Note7 phones shipped to China appeared to be unaffected since they contained batteries made by the country’s Amperex Technology Limited. However, Reutersreported on Wednesday Samsung’s recalling 1,858 Note7 phones in China. Samsung hasn’t publicly laid out plans for the limited China recall. China’s civil aviation authority has banned using, charging and storing the phones in checked-in baggage on flights.
The severity of the defective Note7 batteries has heightened since Samsung created a Note7 replacement program following 35 reports of phones inexplicably combusting.
One Florida man’s Jeep was reportedly destroyed after his Note7 exploded and engulfed his vehicle in flames. Earlier this week, a 6-year-old was injured from a Note7.
Meanwhile, Canada has reportedly recalled about 22,000 Note7 phones that were sold between Aug. 19 and Sept. 1.
The explosive Note7 has prompted the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and various other public transportation systems such as New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to issue official warnings against using the Note7.
In South Korea, Samsung plans to release a software update that’ll limit Note7 charging to 60 percent, preventing them from overcharging and overheating, and potentially exploding. The software update is a preventative measure for existing Note7 owners who have not replaced their defective devices.
It’s unclear if the software update will be released for Note7 devices outside of South Korea. A U.S. Samsung representative told Mashable the company couldn’t comment on future plans (presumably as it figures out an official recall protocol with the CPSC) and that it’s only encouraging Note7 users to power their devices down and exchange them or receive a loaner phone.
Mashable has created a resource on how to exchange your Note7 in the U.S., which can be found here.
The Note7 disaster has caused Samsung’s stock to plunge with losses as much as $14.3 billion since the unofficial recalls and exchange programs according toMarketWatch.
– Roy Wong
WhatsApp to share user data with Facebook
Facebook acquired WhatsApp in February 2014 for $16bn
WASHINGTON: Mobile messaging service WhatsApp on Thursday announced it would begin sharing subscriber data with parent Facebook, giving advertisers better access to information on WhatsApp’s one billion-strong user base. The company said the change would allow Facebook to target advertising at WhatsApp users who are also on the social media platform, and help WhatsApp fight spam on its service. But the move was sure to raise eyebrows among privacy advocates.
“By connecting your phone number with Facebook’s systems, Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads if you have an account with them,” WhatsApp said in a statement. “For example, you might see an ad from a company you already work with, rather than one from someone you’ve never heard of.”
Microsoft’s popular calling and messaging platform Skype, a WhatsApp competitor, already serves up advertising to users.
WhatsApp said the change would not involve third-party banner adds or other undesirable content.
The decision comes four months after WhatsApp rolled out strong end-to-end encryption as a default feature for all users, saying this made the content of their communications impenetrable to all but those sending or receiving a given message.
“Even as we coordinate more with Facebook in the months ahead, your encrypted messages stay private and no one else can read them. Not WhatsApp, not Facebook, nor anyone else,” the company said.
Warner Music Issues Potentially Devastating Blow to Small Record Stores
WEA shuts down accounts of a number of stores doing less than $10,000 in business annually with them
WEA, Warner Music’s distribution and marketing arm, has shut down the accounts of “about a hundred” retailers that did less than $10,000 in business with the company last year, a WEA source has confirmed to Pitchfork. The move put into effect an existing policy requiring a $10,000 minimum annual order for stores holding direct accounts with WEA. This could have a devastating effect on small record stores around the country, representatives for various shops tell Pitchfork.
A WEA rep said in a statement: “WEA proudly supports hundreds of independent vinyl retailers across the country with direct distribution, and many more through other channels. Last week, in accordance with our long-time policy, we recommended that a limited number of retailers would be better served by working with one of the many vinyl wholesale partners that carry all of our artists’ releases.”
A WEA source clarified that the accounts did not all sell vinyl and that more than one-third of the shuttered accounts hadn’t ordered vinyl in more than a year. The source said the retailers affected included not just record stores but also museum gift shops.
Greg Glover, a co-owner of Commercial Astoria, which sells vinyl records alongside clothing, jewelry, and accessories in Astoria, Oregon, said he didn’t find out his account was closed until after spending the weekend prepping a $1,400 order. “No product flow means no business,” Glover told Pitchfork.
Small businesses that can’t afford to order directly from WEA will now have to order through intermediaries. Glover said that will be more expensive and lead to higher prices for customers.
Rick Wojcik, co-founder of Chicago’s Dusty Groove, said that while his store shouldn’t be affected, the move reflects how the record industry has always tended to undervalue the smallest stores. “When we started, and were quite small, we found it very difficult to work with record companies—even some of the small ones—because we were seen as ‘peanuts’ compared to the big retailers out there,” he told Pitchfork. “These days, those big retailers are all gone, while we’ve slowly grown, and numbers that once seemed negligible to the music business are now the numbers of success. The vinyl revival is one example of that, where the numbers pressed are tiny, but seen as driving the bigger business of these companies, so it is a bit of a surprise that they’d be shaking loose customers who were small, but important.”
Nate Niceswanger, owner of Des Moines, Iowa’s ZZZ Records, said his shop’s account also appeared to be fine, but added that raising the limit too much further could have a seriously adverse effect. “If that happens, we’re probably out of the game at that point,” he told Pitchfork.
Wojcik at Dusty Groove said, “Through all of this is the continuing self-fulfilling decline—in which the industry shuts doors on music retailing, then complains about its failure.”
– by Marc Hogan Pitchfork
Microsoft’s Purchase Of LinkedIn One Of The Most Expensive Tech Deals In History
“IMAGINE a world where we’re no longer looking up to tech titans such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook…because we are one of them.” Jeff Weiner, boss of LinkedIn, in an open letter on June 13th
Not much imagination is necessary. Microsoft had just announced it would pay $26.2 billion to buy the professional social network, making it the third-largest acquisition in the history of the tech industry. The deal was accompanied by substantial promises from Mr Weiner and Microsoft’s boss, Satya Nadella, that the deal would transform businesses’ and workers’ productivity worldwide. Those pledges seem fanciful.
Microsoft is paying a high price for a firm that has suffered its fair share of setbacks. Although LinkedIn is the largest professional social network by far, with around 430m registered users and 100m visitors to its site each month, some analysts have questioned how much bigger it can become. LinkedIn makes most of its money by selling subscriptions to corporate recruiters, who prowl through its database of executives looking for prospective employees. Revenue growth has been slower than expected, and rolling out new businesses and improving existing ones has proved pricey.
Microsoft’s boss, Satya Nadella
Concerns over the pace of progress came to the fore in February, when LinkedIn’s share price sank by more than 40% in a day, shedding $11 billion from its market value, after the firm reported that forecasts of revenues for 2016 were lower than expected. LinkedIn had also revealed that it made a net loss of around $165m in 2015, despite revenues of $3 billion, in large part because of excessive stock-based compensation. The decline was the biggest one-day fall since the company went public in 2011. Its share price has not fully recovered.
Despite these worries, Microsoft paid a generous 50% premium over LinkedIn’s share price to acquire the firm. Michael Cusumano at MIT’s Sloan School of Management reckons that the social network would have cost considerably less in a year’s time. Mr Nadella may have felt that he could not wait.
Unassailable during the desktop-computing era, Microsoft is still the world’s largest software-maker, but now has to compete with rivals such as Google and Amazon as computing shifts towards mobile devices and the cloud. Unlike his predecessor, Steve Ballmer, who was slow to invest in these areas, Mr Nadella has a grand scheme to reposition Microsoft. This involves putting less emphasis on Windows, the firm’s flagship operating system, as well as beefing up cloud computing and putting the firm at the forefront of advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Acquiring LinkedIn is an element of this masterplan. The social-network firm has an enviable team of data scientists, a commodity coveted by tech firms. These boffins design algorithms to find patterns in big piles of digital information. LinkedIn will be useful to Microsoft for other reasons, too. The firm gathers detailed information about its users, including their employment history, education and whom they know. These data could prove valuable to Microsoft as it attempts to build offerings for managing relationships with customers and to compete with Salesforce, a firm it reportedly tried to buy last year.
The two firms could not agree on a price at the time. Salesforce’s current market value is around $55 billion. LinkedIn is a cheaper substitute. It will also dovetail with Microsoft’s existing products in Office, its collection of business applications and services that includes Word, Excel and Outlook, an e-mail system. The latter might gain in popularity if LinkedIn keeps users’ details up to date and offers alerts if a contact moves firms. Such extra features should, in theory, encourage companies to buy new cloud services from Microsoft.
Even so, the deal’s rationale looks questionable. Mr Nadella has suggested that with LinkedIn, Microsoft will become the platform for managing workers’ personal details from around the web. He also promises that Microsoft will become better at predicting what information users might find useful, suggesting news articles related to a project someone is working on or recommending a friend of a friend online who might be able to help an employee with a task at work. In this vision, LinkedIn’s “newsfeed” will become a focus for information-sharing at the office.
Is it worth it, let me work it. There are three hitches in Microsoft’s plans. The first is financial. It is shelling out the equivalent of around $260 for each monthly active user of LinkedIn. To keep shareholders happy, it will need to add users to LinkedIn’s platform more quickly or be clearer about how it can make more money from their data.
The second is operational. Microsoft’s record with big deals is poor. Its purchase of Skype in 2011 for $8.5 billion has been no runaway success. Microsoft squandered over $6.3 billion on aQuantive, an online-advertising firm that it bought in 2007, and $7.6 billion on Nokia’s handset business in 2014. Both misfortunes happened before Mr Nadella took over, but “the historic playbook says it’s not going to work,” reckons Brent Thill, an analyst at UBS, a bank. Mr Nadella intends to keep LinkedIn as an independent company, perhaps because he has seen the pitfalls of integrating large acquisitions at first hand.
The third hitch is behavioural. Mr Nadella wants LinkedIn to become the place to go for news and other details about people’s work lives, but firms are unlikely to want to give their employees more of an excuse to spend time on social media. Some bosses regard LinkedIn with hostility because it makes money from recruiters out to poach their staff. They will not want to let LinkedIn further embed itself at their companies. Already some large firms block or restrict access to LinkedIn on their networks. Users may also grow uncomfortable if Microsoft deploys their data elsewhere and could stop using the service. Mr Nadella has acknowledged they will have to treat what they know about users “tastefully”. The deal has been welcomed for other reasons, however. It could signal an impending tech buying spree. In the days after LinkedIn’s purchase, investors looked around to see which other firms Mr Nadella and his peers might have their eyes on. Optimists pushed up the share price of Twitter, another social-media firm whose growth prospects have been questioned, in the hope that a buyer might make a move. But not every tech firm is lucky enough to have Mr Nadella coveting it.
– The Economist
After The Download: When Apple Turns Off The iTunes Store
When new formats race to the fore its easy to make the mistake of taking an eye off the legacy formats
This is risky because they usually still account for very large portions of existing revenue. Now that the marketplace has finally accepted that streaming does in fact cannibalize download sales (indeed 27% of subscribers say they have stopped buying downloads) the attention has, understandably, simply shifted to figuring out how quickly streaming revenue will grow. At a macro level this is fine, in fact it even works at a big label and publisher level. But it is far more challenging for smaller labels and publishers, and also for artists and songwriters. Each of these constituencies still depends heavily on download sales. Of course the big labels and publishers do too, but their repertoire portfolios are so large that they can take the macro view. For the rest though, because the average royalty income per album per streaming user is just $0.21, download sales remain crucial to cash flow. So, what happens when the download dies?
The demise of legacy formats normally follows this pattern:
- An accelerated initial decline as early adopters abandon the technology in favour of the shiny new thing
- A steadier, slower, long term decline as the mainstream migrates away, leaving only the laggards
- A sudden death when the sales channel no longer supports the product (think black and white TVs, cassette decks, VHS recorders etc.)
The CD is clearly following this trend but phase 3 will be long in coming because it is so easy for Amazon to continue stocking product, especially super high end box sets etc. Meanwhile discount retailers, petrol stations, convenience stores etc. will continue to find space for super low end cheap catalogue CDs. For downloads though, there is likely to be a near-sudden halt within the next 5 years. Although Amazon has made solid inroads into the music download business, Apple remains by far the dominant player. Thus the music industry is in effect dependent on the strategic whims on one partner for one of its most important revenue streams.
Subscriptions Are Key To Apple’s Services Narrative
Apple has historically been in the music business for one reason, to help sell more devices. That’s why Steve Jobs was happy to accept a 65% label revenue share model that ensured it was nigh on impossible to run a digital music business as a profit making venture i.e. he wanted to lock the market into a commercial model that neutered the competitive marketplace. We’re still feeling the effects of that now, with that 65% benchmark being the reference point against which streaming rates have been set.
No new news there. But what is new, is that Apple is trying to pivot its business towards a services based model. Apple is building a Wall Street narrative around monetizing its existing user base. It needs that narrative because device sales are slowing. Until it gets another hit device that can grow another new-ish marketplace (VR anyone?) Apple needs to focus on driving extra revenue from its base of device users. This has much to do with why Apple chose to enter the streaming market now as did any other factor. While the download business generated solid headline revenue it did not have the benefit of being predictable, on going spend in the way that subscriptions are.
So music is now more important to Apple because it is the entry point for its services based business model. Eventually music will lose importance to video, and potentially games too if Apple can build a subscription business around that. But for now Apple will be looking to migrate as many of its iTunes customers as possible to subscriptions, whatever it might actually be saying to record labels!
Turning Off The iTunes Store
And this is where the download collapse comes in. Last year downloads declined by 16% in nominal terms. This year they are tracking to decline by between 25% and 30%. If we trend that forwards there will only be a modest download business of around $600 million by 2019, down from a high of $3.9 billion in 2012. For Apple, if it continues to grow its subscription business at its current rate, hitting 20 million subscribers by end 2016 and around 28 by end 2017 etc, by 2020 its download business would be tracking to be 10 times smaller than streaming revenue but, crucially, streaming revenue would nearly have reached the 2012 iTunes Store download revenue peak. This is the point at which Apple would chose to turn off the iTunes Store. The narrative of services based music business would be complete.
Smaller labels, publishers, artists and songwriters all better have a Plan B in place before this transpires. The download was a fantastic transition product to give the music industry its first steps into the digital era. But as we transition from transactional models to consumption based ones, its role diminishes every passing year. It has served the market well, but the end is now in sight.
Vinyl LP’s Scoring Big On South Africa’s Bid Or Buy
When Music CDs Appeared In The 90’s They Struck A Fatal Blow To Vinyl Records
The consequences were felt on South African marketplace bidorbuy.co.za for years to come. The sales of LPs on the site had dwindled to such an extent that the very existence of a separate category devoted to this “dying” format was called into question.
Then in 2007 the vinyl staged a come-back in the Western world. After some time, the South African market caught on to the trend.
“Our figures show that the sales of LP records on the site began a steady upwards trend a couple of years ago”, says bidorbuy CEO Jaco Jonker. “These days, buyers are five times more likely to put a vinyl into their shopping cart than a digital disc”, he add
Between 500 and 800 LPs are sold on bidorbuy in an average week. “Last week, the sales of vinyl records reached a new peak of 1200 units, while less than 200 CDs were sold in the same period”, says Jonker.
No one can quite explain the surge in popularity of vinyl records, which has been called vinyl revival. What is certain is that on bidorbuy.co.za it has resulted in the rise of the number of sellers who are either specialising exclusively in LPs or are diversifying into LPs.
Among the latter are often sellers of various collectible items. For a good reason. There’s no doubt that the vinyl owes at least a part of its newly-found popularity to an increased number of collectors, some of whom are driven by the nostalgia for the way the music was consumed in their youth.
The bidorbuy CEO Jaco Jonker says that rock and pop genres account for more than a half of vinyl records purchased on bidorbuy. Most of them are second-hand, though some are still sealed. Buyers are somewhat less likely to go for newly pressed versions of old albums, but vinyl issues of contemporary artists have a decent following. The prices of LP records sold on bidorbuy range from about R10 to over R1000, although it is not unusual for some rare issues to go for more than R5000. Jonker adds that the vinyl section has proportionally more overseas buyers than many other sections of the site.
However, many vinyl sellers on bidorbuy point out that it is young people – the population segment referred to as millennials – that constitute the bulk of their buyers. It could be for a number of reasons: because millennials feel that LPs connect them with the past they never experienced, because they consider that LPs have a better audio quality; or because they appreciate the artwork of LP albums. Some point out that the new-found love for vinyl records could be a reaction to ubiquitous downloadable tunes. In any case, there’s no doubt that there is a certain “coolness” factor to big, bulky and beautiful LPs.
– Bid or Buy