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Microcast #99 — EVs

Reflections on taking delivery of an electric vehicle (EV), including charging, business lease, and other rambling thoughts.

Show notes

Image: taken by me on my first run-out to Druridge Bay

Songs are not meme stocks

Remember NFTs? This article in The Guardian will help remind you of the heady days of early 2022 when digital images of monkeys were apparently extremely valuable. That article ends with a question: “what will the next NFT be? When will it drop? How much money will normal people end up spending on it?”

Here’s one answer: owning a slice of your favourite song. Or perhaps a popular song. Or an up-and-coming song. It’s essentially applying capitalism at the very smallest level possible, and treating cultural artifacts as commodities.

The article below in WIRED discusses a platform which offers this as a service. It’s a terrible idea on many levels, not least because, as we’ve seen recently, AI-generated music is tearing fandoms apart. I’ll sit this one out, thanks.

Imagine a retirement portfolio stocked with Rihanna hits, or a college fund fueled by Taylor Swift’s 1989. In a post-GameStop, post-NFT-mania world, it sounds plausible enough. Wholesome, even.

A new music royalties marketplace, Jkbx (pronounced “jukebox”), launched this month and plans to officially open for trading later this year. It has filed an application with the US Securities and Exchange Commission and is waiting for notice that the SEC has qualified its offerings. As long as that goes according to plan, Jkbx—god, why no vowels?—will allow fans to buy “royalty shares,” or fractionalized portions of royalties, fees, and other income associated with a particular song. Prices are within reach of regular people. One share of composition royalties for Beyoncé’s “Halo,” for example, is $28.61. You could also buy a slice of the song’s sound recording royalties for the same price.


Jkbx is debuting with some big-name slices, and is led by a guy with a good track record. “They are very sophisticated,” Round Hill Music founder and CEO Josh Gruss says. “The real deal.” Others agree. “We think they are going to be successful,” Hipgnosis Songs CEO and founder Merck Mercuriadis says.

Still, plenty of industry analysts and insiders view Jkbx, and the larger world of royalty trading, warily. “I think there are going to be very modest levels of return,” says Serona Elton, a music industry professor at the University of Miami.

“There is skepticism about how good of an alternative investment strategy something like this is,” musician and data analyst Chris Dalla Riva says.

“I don’t understand why people keep trying to spin this idea up,” adds producer and music tech researcher Yung Spielburg. “I just don’t get it.”

Source: The Next Meme Stock? Owning a Slice of Your Favorite Song | WIRED

Adversarial interoperability to return to a world of ‘fast companies’

Cory Doctorow is one of my favourite people on the entire planet. I’ve heard him speak in person and online on numerous occasions. I met him a couple of times while at Mozilla, and he’s even recommended swimming pools in Toronto to me when I visited. (He’s a daily swimmer due to chronic back pain.)

His new book, which I’m saving to read for my next holiday, is The Internet Con: How to Seize the Means of Computation. In this interview as part of promoting the book, he talks about how we’ve ended up in a world without real competition in the technology marketplace. Essential reading, as ever.

There used to be a time when the tech sector could be described as a bunch of “fast companies,” right? They would use the interoperability that’s latent in all digital technology and they would specifically target whatever pain points the incumbent had introduced. If incumbents were making money by showing you ads, they made an ad blocker. If incumbents were making money by charging gigantic margins on hard drives, they made cheaper hard drives.

Over time, we went from an internet where tech companies more or less had their users’ backs, to an internet where tech companies are colluding to take as big a bite as possible out of those users. We do not have fast companies anymore; we have lumbering behemoths. If you’ve started a fast company, it’s probably just a fake startup that you’re hoping to get acqui-hired by one of the big giants, which is something that used to be illegal.

As these companies grew more concentrated, they were able to collude and convince courts and regulators and lawmakers that it was time to get rid of the kind of interoperability, the reverse engineering that had been a feature of technology since the very beginning, and move into a new era in which no one was allowed to do anything to a tech platform that their shareholders wouldn’t appreciate. And that the government should step in to use the state’s courts to punish anyone who disagrees. That’s how we got to the world that we’re in today.

Source: Cory Doctorow: Silicon Valley is now a world of ‘lumbering behemoths’ | Fast Company