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CDs Receive Wave Of Support From Music Lovers As Sales Decline

Many major retailers have ceased selling CD’s as a physical format for albums. Tesco recently became one of the larger retailers to announce they would be clearing the shelves of all CDs, sparking a major wave of support online from music lovers who appreciate the versatility that compact discs offer.

In 2007, the CD market was at its peak, with more than 2 billion physical copies of albums being sold globally. The digital music streaming platform, Spotify, was then launched in 2008, revolutionizing the way we consume music. CD sales began to immediately decline with the launch of the platform.

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Last year, however, CD sales saw an unexpected rise in sales thanks to Adele’s ‘30’, ABBA’s ‘Voyage’, and Ed Sheerans ‘=’.

Rob Sheffield also published a love letter to CDs in Rolling Stone last month: “Compact discs were never about romance – they were about function. They just worked. They were less glamorous than vinyl, less cool, less tactile, less sexy, less magical. They didn’t have the aura that we fans crave.

“You didn’t necessarily get sentimental over your CDs, the way you fetishized your scratchy old vinyl, hearing your life story etched into the nicks and crackles …. But CDs work. They just do. You pop in the disc, press play, music booms out. They delivered the grooves so efficiently, they became the most popular format ever.”

“Things like CD box sets, bootlegs, mixes from friends old and new, young bands whose albums I buy from the merch table at live shows and lamented the ephemeral nature of streaming culture.

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A recent article in Wired magazine also praised the “CD format, and its ridiculous affordability. Streaming was for the masses, vinyl was for hipsters, said the author, but his experiment in CD listening had brought unexpected joys.”

Some music fans just prefer the tangible aspect of having their favorite artists work in a compact physical form. Adele’s album was able to help aid CD sales after she gave an interview where she discussed how albums “tell a story, and those stories should be listened to as we intended,” meaning in order of the tracklist.

“We may be seeing the end of CDs as a mass-market product, but we could also be seeing the beginning of the repositioning of the CD as a more fetishistic item,” Bassett said.

“It’s unlikely to match the vinyl revival of recent years. There is not the same romance, the magic of dropping a needle on to vinyl. The plastic cases cracked easily. I remember listening to Nirvana’s Nevermind on the school bus and every time that the bus went over a bump, your CD would skip,” he added.

Sean Jackson of Reckless Records in Soho said “some customers insisted that the quality of analogue sound was superior to digital. But unless you’re really concentrating, you probably wouldn’t notice the difference. There’s a market for everything – vinyl, CDs, cassette tapes. Formats go in and out of fashion, but music doesn’t.”

Building Amazon

Amazon Cloud Network Outage Sparks Outrage Amongst Customers

Amazon’s web services experienced a major outage — as well as other impairments — for over several hours Tuesday, leading to rippling effects in areas like streaming services, payment apps, and shipping. The outage primarily affected services in the eastern U.S., and sent the daily lives of millions spiraling.

Amazon’s network provides remote computing services to many companies, universities, and websites, the reason why so many frequently-used platforms and services were disrupted by Amazon’s technological issues.

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Among the Amazon products affected include Amazon Music, Kindle ebooks, voice assistant Alexa, and home security Ring. Bloomberg reported that many Ring users were frustrated due to having to redownload or reboot the Ring app before finding out about the shortage. Some users weren’t even able to get into their homes due to the app inaccessibility.

Video streaming such as Disney+ and Netflix experienced outages or slow speeds, as did other services like Robinhood, Ticketmaster, PUGB, and Slack. Delta and Southwest Airlines also saw problems with customers trying to book or change tickets, with Southwest switching over to West Coast servers.

Amazon sellers were unable to access Seller Central, while Amazon’s bread and butter, their delivery services, took heavy hits. Warehouse workers and delivery drivers were unable to access Amazon’s Flex app, preventing them from scanning packages and accessing delivery assignments and routes. NBC News noted the amount of warehouses and delivery stations that were impacted aren’t known.

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As the issues continued, many workers simply waited in break rooms or ended up being sent home for the day. The outage couldn’t have come at a worse time for Amazon, considering it’s in the middle of the holiday season, and the pressure is on for packages to arrive in a timely fashion. The potential backlogs created from this widespread incident could become more apparent in the coming weeks.

This incident is also giving many a new perspective on just how dependent their lives have become on the internet, as well as one company in particular. Speaking to the Associated Press, technologist and public data access activist Carl Malamud explained that the internet’s original goal of not being dependent on a singular factor has been undone by giants like Amazon.

“When we put everything in one place, be it Amazon’s cloud or Facebook’s monolith, we’re violating that fundamental principle. We saw that when Facebook became the instrument of a massive disinformation campaign, we just saw that today with the Amazon failure.”

Following multiple hours of the outage, Amazon reported they had mitigated the underlying issue that caused devices to be impaired, but were still working on a full recovery for additional services. Amazon has yet to comment further on the outage beyond giving repair updates on their status page.

Amazon Web Services is a major profit maker for the company. In the third quarter of 2021, AWS totaled $16.11 billion, up from 39% a year ago. It trumped the experts predictions of around $15.48 billion. AWS — which accounts for about 15% of Amazon’s total revenue — also leads the cloud infrastructure market with 41% of shares in 2020.

Major Hollywood Union Votes To Ratify Contracts For Better Streaming Payments

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), a major Hollywood union, have ratified their new film and TV contracts this week after six months of contentious negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). LA locals rejected the deal in a popular vote. 

“From start to finish, from preparation to ratification, this has been a democratic process to win the very best contracts,” said IATSE International President Matthew Loeb in a statement today. 

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“The vigorous debate, high turnout, and close election, indicates we have an unprecedented movement-building opportunity to educate members on our collective bargaining process and drive more participation in our union long-term.”

AMPTP released a statement as well, stating: “We congratulate IATSE President, Matt Loeb, the IATSE Bargaining Committee and Board for their leadership in achieving ratification of the new contracts. Throughout the negotiations, IATSE leadership advocated changes to improve quality of life for those they represent. These agreements meaningfully reflect the industry’s endorsement of those priorities and keep everyone working.”

The union uses an electoral college system for ratification votes such as this one. During this particular vote, 359 (56%) voted in favor compared to 282 (44%) who voted against it out of 641 total delegate votes; the votes were taken from 36 local unions nationwide that were eligible.

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The Basic Agreement was rejected in the popular vote with 49.6% voting yes to 50.4% voting no. Overall 50.3% voted yes to 49.7% voting no for both contracts. In the end, “72% of the 63,209 eligible members cast digital ballots this weekend,” according to IATSE.

According to media reports, “there were actually two separate contracts that were ratified: the Basic Agreement, which covers 13 Hollywood locals, and the Area Standards Agreement, which covers 23 locals outside of Los Angeles.”

“For the LA centric Basic Agreement, the vote was 256 voting for the deal that IATSE made with the AMPTP last month, yes to 188 no. In regards to the non-LA based Area Standards Agreement the yes vote was 103 to 94 no votes for the more recent deal,” according to Deadline. 

“Our goal was to achieve fair contracts that work for IATSE members in television and film—that address quality-of-life issues and conditions on the job like rest and meal breaks. We met our objectives for this round of bargaining and built a strong foundation for future agreements,” Loeb stated. 

Aaliyah Estate Releases Statement After Former Label Teases Music Release 

The late Aaliyah was truly an icon in the 90’s. Her untimely death left a true void in the pop/R&B sphere but her talent has continued to live on for decades. However, a majority of the singer’s music is unavailable to stream on most platforms. Her albums One In A Million (1996) and Aaliyah (2001) have remained off all platforms since the dawn of their existence. 

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Aaliyah’s earlier singles and debut album Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number (1994) are available. This week, fans on social media began to speculate that the remainder of her discography would finally be uploaded to streaming services after the account Blackground Records 2.0 shared a new website and hashtag: #AaliyahIsComing. 

The original Blackground Records was owned by the late singer’s uncle and former manager Barry Hankerson, who released the majority of Aaliyah’s music. Hankerson owns the majority of Aaliyah’s master recordings aside from her debut album, and he confirmed that he’s behind the label’s “2.0” revival which suggests he’s also behind the new hashtag. 

The Estate of Aaliya Haughton shared a statement this week, detailing the battles behind the scenes they’ve faced when it comes to releasing the icon’s music, including this recent attempt: “We’ve battled a lot behind the scenes, enduring shadowy tactics of deception with unauthorized projects targeted to tarnish the work.” 

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“Although we will continue to defend ourselves and her legacy lawfully and justly, we want to preempt the inevitable attacks on our character by all the individuals who have emerged from the shadows to leech off of Aaliyah’s life’s work.” 

“Ultimately, we desire closure and a modicum of peace so we can facilitate the growth of the Aaliyah Memorial Fund and other creative projects that embody Aaliyah’s true essence, which is to inspire strength and positivity for people of all creeds, races and cultures around the world,” the statement continued. 

The estate also released its own hashtag, #IStandWithAaliyah, which superstar Missy Elliott, who was also close with Aaliyah, retweeted. 

“While we share your sentiments and desire to have Aaliyah’s music released, we must acknowledge that these matters are not within our control and, unfortunately, take time.”

Man Listening to Music at Home

Paul McCartney Joins Call From Musicians To Change Music Streaming Payments

Over 150 musicians signed an open letter to change the 1988 Copyright Act which prevents many musicians from receiving proper payments for their work on streaming services.

Netflix on TV Screen

Netflix Reportedly Spends $450 Million On Two ‘Knives Out’ Sequels 

It’s been reported that Netflix purchased the rights of two “Knives Out” sequels in a deal worth $450 million. Back in February 2020 director Rian Johnson announced that he was officially developing a sequel to his beloved 2019 murder mystery which included an all star cast of Hollywood’s most likeable actors, such as Chris Evans and Jamie Lee Curtis. 

Now, it’s been announced that “Knives Out 2” and “Knives Out 3” will be developed for Netflix. The $450 million price tag on this deal marks the biggest film purchase in history, and doubles the platform’s previous record-holder for most expensive original film; “The Gray Man” cost Netflix around $200 million to create. 

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According to reports from Deadline, “the first picture will begin shooting in Greece on June 28th, and casting will begin immediately.”

The first “Knives Out” movie was released by Lionsgate in November 2019, and immediately became one of the biggest movies of the year, grossing $311 million worldwide. It’s rare for an original production to breakout in the box office in such a major way, but since it did it’s no surprise that a sequel, or two, would be in the works. 

“Knives Out” stars Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc, a master detective who investigates the murder of a wealthy crime novelist. The film featured an ensemble cast, including Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette,, Lakeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, and the late Christopher Plummer. 

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In “Knives Out 2” and “Knives Out 3,” it’s expected that Craig’s Benoit Blanc will investigate new murder mysteries. The first film was nominated for three Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture Comedy or Musical, Best Actor in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical for Daniel Craig, and Best Actress in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical for Ana de Armas. Johnson himself was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the 2020 Oscars. 

“I’ll tell you, the truth is I had such a great time working with Daniel Craig and I had so much fun doing this on every level, from writing it to making it,” Johnson said last year after the film initially premiered. 

“I’ve never really been interested in doing sequels, but this, the idea of doing more of these with Daniel as his character, is not sequels. It’s just what Agatha Christie did. It’s just coming up with a whole new mystery, a whole new location, all new cast, whole new mechanics of the appeal of a mystery and everything. It’d be a blast.”

Right now it’s unknown when we can expect the first sequel to hit Netflix, but some experts think it’ll be around early 2022.

Football Stadium Field

Super Bowl LV Most Streamed Game In NFL History

In general, this was the least-watched Super Bowl in recent history, but it was the most streamed game in NFL history, likely due to the multitude of platforms that now exist and offer live television for its users.

Sundance 2021

Must-See Films From Sundance 2021 That You Can Stream A Home

While the Sundance Film Festival may have looked a little different this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, filmmakers from all over were still able to show off their magnificent works and make it available to individuals at home who are riding out the rest of this pandemic. Here’s a list of some of the most talked-about films that premiered at Sundance 2021:

“The Blazing World” – Carlson Young has made her feature directing debut this year with the short “The Blazing World.” The film stars Young herself, along with cult film icon Udo Kier, Dermot Mulroney, Vinessa Shaw, and singer/songwriter/actress Soko. Young plays a woman haunted since childhood by the accidental drowning of her twin sister. When her self-destructive path leads her to an alternate dimension where her twin sister may still be alive, adventure ensues.

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“Bring Your Own Brigade” – Lucy Walker is no stranger to Sundance, and has actually premeried ten films at the event over the years. This year, she’s releasing a film about the causes of wildfires, and takes her film crew into dangerous disaster zones to talk to actual firefighters and residents of places like Paradise, California; which was completely destroyed by the 2019 wildfires in California. 

CODA” – Siân Heder’s newest coming-of-age story follows British actress Emilia Jones, who plays the child of two deaf parents who is torn between helping them manage their day-to-day tasks, and following her musical ambitions. 

“Eight for Silver” – British filmmaker Sean Ellis is back with his newest entry into the evolving “contemporary period horror canon.” This film is a modern werewolf tale that also paints a gothic portrait of a community coping with unexplainable horrors brought on by these mythical creatures. The film contains curses, magic, and other gothic elements that really transports the viewer to another time. 

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“Flee” – Director Jonal Poher Rasmissen’s new animated documentary follows the experiences of a gay refugee from the Middle East who attempt to rebuild his life in Denmark. According to reviewers who have seen the film, “Rasmussen blends a colorful, hyper-real style with personal recollections as its subject struggles to reconcile his troubling past with a stable present. The drama extends across decades, following its evolving character from a war-torn childhood through the many changes that follow.”

“How It Ends” – Zoe Lister-Jones and Daryl Wein are no stranger to Sundance, and this year they’re returning with a comedy film that is appropriately about the end of the world. The partners wrote, directed, and starred in the film alongside Olivia Wilde, Fred Armisen, Helen Hunt, Lamorne Morris, and Cailee Spaeny. The film is set in LA on the last day of earth, and follows  “one woman [who] goes on a journey through LA to make it to her last party before the world ends, running into an eclectic cast of characters along the way.”

“In The Earth” – Ben Wheatley, known for his film “Kill List,” is back with a film inspired by the Covid-19 pandemic. The movie follows actor Joel Fry who plays a park scout who joins a scientist on a walk in the woods on a terrible night. What exactly is in the woods that caused the two to fight for their lives? You’ll have to watch to find out…

Warner Bros Media

Warner Brothers To Release Entire 2021 Movie Line Up On HBO Max

After Warner Media releases the films for the first month on HBO Max, each one will then leave the streaming service and continue its scheduled theatrical release in the US and international territories; all films will be given a customary distribution schedule.

Woman Streaming Show

Quibi’s Quick Decline Shows How Competitive The Streaming World Is

Quibi announced recently that they would be calling it quits, less than one year after launching into the streaming service industry that is now saturated by big business owners and their endless content.

The app’s demise was officially announced this past Wednesday, six months after its launch, in what’s being referred to as the most predictable business failings of 2020. The app was founded by Disney and DreamWorks alumnus Jeffrey Katzenberg and former Hewlett Packard and eBay CEO Meg Whitman.

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The app initially advertised itself as a streaming service that delivers face-paced, short-length television episodes and movies that the average individual can watch throughout their day whenever they have free time. The idea behind Quibi was that you can watch an episode of a TV show while waiting for the train, or on your lunch break, without having to worry about stopping the episode half-way through when you have to return to your daily responsibilities.

Hence its name, Quibi, which means “quick bites” of entertainment. On average the TV shows and documentaries were 7-9 minutes in length. Initially, the app had a lot of Hollywood agents and investors ready and willing to dip their toe into this new form of streaming. However, when the Covid-19 pandemic arose in March, the idea of “on the go entertainment,” became a foreign idea for most who were now quarantining in their homes indefinitely.

In March, when Quibi was asked about the dilemma of running an app that advertises itself as entertainment on the move in the middle of a pandemic that forces everyone to stay home, the company dismissed the concerns. However, the pandemic wasn’t the only issue that arose with the app. After the first two months users were left uninterested in the limited and quick content that it offered, and many began deactivating their accounts.

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Quibi also arrived on the market months after the initial wave of major companies in the world announcing their participation in the streaming service industry. Platforms such as Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, and of course the more established Netflix and Hulu have existed for quite some time now, so a completely new streaming service offering a new type of entertainment entering into the market right at the beginning of a global health crisis, set Quibi up for some massive failures.

In a recent open letter published by both Katzenberg and Whitman, the two acknowledged that they personally may never understand why the platform failed as quickly and greatly as it did.

“The media migration from the traditional ad-supported template to a direct-to-consumer subscription model continues to basically fly blind, leaving companies largely guessing about where the saturation point resides.”

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings recently was interviewed about the future of the streaming industry and the multitude of new players trying to get involved. He claimed that additional service casualties will definitely be expected as time progresses, but overall “we’ll see what happens.” Quibi unfortunately set the standard of these casualties, which will likely lead many businesses to rework their plans for new services.