All posts by amandakrebs

Streaming Services: Why Apple Music, Spotify & TIDAL are still in the game, and why they still have competition

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Streaming music has hit a breaking point.  The market has populated, and now we’re all waiting with baited breath to see who is going to come out on top and who is inevitably going to fall behind.  I wanted to address the major players and pin point what they’ve done well to get them in the game, where they’ve made some mistakes, and what might’ve saved them some trouble.

Apple Music

 

Win: Taylor Swift

 

Because everyone wants to secretly jam out to ‘Shake It Off.”  I’ll admit that I fall in the category of people that wants to listen to Taylor Swift but doesn’t care quite enough to buy her album, so I would love to be able to stream it.  Tay-Tay is a force to be reckoned with, and who knows how they were able to get her on board, but what a massive win.

 

Win: 3 Month Free Trial

 

People aren’t likely to abandon Spotify for only 30 days.  If you’re trying to get someone to switch to your service, you need a big offer to entice them.  90 days will do the trick.

 

Loss: Still ripping off artists during free trial

 

Yes, they decided to pay artists during the free trial period, but at a lower rate than a paid account.  While still a step in the right direction, also still a slap in the face to artists

 

Loss: Last to the game

 

Apple has 11M users now, but what happens after the trial period ends?  Have they convinced enough people to stay?

TIDAL

 

Win: More Royalties to artists

 

Did you know that TIDAL is actually foregoing profits to make sure that artists are compensated fairly?  In a strange economy for an indie artist, this is respectable.

 

Win: Innovative Integration

 

Did you also know that TIDAL integrates with live events to further the experience?  For instance, some lucky TIDAL members were treated to a free Jay-Z show in NYC awhile back.  Something no other streaming service has done, and something that truly transforms the fan experience.

 

Loss: Epic Marketing fail (this counts as about a million losses)

 

The thing is, you probably didn’t know about these two cool things TIDAL does because they didn’t tell anyone.  All they did was throw up a bunch of celebs on a stage and say, “You should do this because we said so.  Now watch us sign this piece of paper.”  To which the fans responded, “You’re all filthy rich – why should I support you?”

 

If you’re going to support indie artists, having a stage full of THEM would have gotten you much further.  If a struggling artist came forward with a story about how TIDAL has helped support them, given them more royalties, and benefitted them and their fans, that would’ve been a story I could get behind.  I had to hunt to find out for sure what TIDAL was paying artists.

 

Loss: High Fidelity Bullshit

 

Yes, the idea is cool, and offers a great net profit for those who actually care about this.  However, please don’t quiz me and then tell me about how I’m not good enough for your HiFi service.  It’s rude, and literally loses you money.

 

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Spotify

 

Win: They got there first

 

What’s there to say?  Biggest user base, most paid subscribers, most integrated, most brand recognition.  Win.

 

Win: Loyal customer base

 

I’m sorry, I said loyal?  I meant lazy.  Spotify users have their playlists all set up and they sure as hell don’t want to re-make them.  It’s so much easier to stay.  Sorry not sorry.  Good luck getting these people to budge.

 

Loss: Lazy Communication

 

I mean, let’s start with CEO Daniel Eck’s response to Apple Music’s launch.  Passive-aggressive, rude, and unwelcoming.  Way to make an enemy before you even begin.

 
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And let’s end with their response to the recent outcry about their changes to the Privacy Policy.  It’s titled, “SORRY.” I don’t know about you, but “SORRY” doesn’t sound incredibly sincere.  I get the frustration – I work for a tech company.  It doesn’t give you the right to speak to your customers in that tone.

 

Transparency and sincerity go a long way, and Spotify has neither, as far as I’m concerned.  Their customers might be lazy too, but they do have a breaking point.  Let’s hope Spotify doesn’t find out what that breaking point is.

 

Loss: Lack of respect for artists

 

Since Spotify came around, artists have been complaining about the unfairness of Spotify’s freemium ad-supported model, yet they continue not to budge or really even acknowledge the issue.  As long as they’re on top, you can bet that they won’t be changing it up any time soon.

 

So who will actually win and who will actually lose?  It’s fair to say that TIDAL will have to do a 180 to stay in the game.  Between the other two, we’ll just have to see how many people stay on Apple Music after their free trial ends.

8 NYC Apartment Search Mishaps

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Well, I’ve done the impossible.  I put down a deposit on an apartment in New York City (well, Brooklyn).  The great thing about looking for an apartment in New York is that there is no shortage.  I can see apartments and houses from all walks of life and all price ranges.  The bad part? Everything else.  Here are 8 things I encountered while searching for an apartment within the time span of one week:

The roommate requirements

Right off the bat, Craigslist can be so iffy, and people are so strange.  My favorite ad, aside from the ‘Free Rent to Submissive Girl In Need’ ads, was the one for a shit hole room living with a guy who travels a lot. His description of his new potential roommate started with “About You: ~15 minutes in the shower.”  That was his most important quality in the new tenant.  He may as well have said “Man who prefers not to shower,” but whatever.  Good luck, asshat.

The ‘It’s my first week’ realtor

This girl was the sweetest, but she just couldn’t find her keys for the building…or open the door once she found the right key.  I think if you want to make a decent living, start filling rooms for rent in New York – anyone can do it.

First,last and security before you apply

The asshole realtor who said ‘I’m not in the business of processing applications, I’m in the business of filling rooms.”  3 months is a lot of money to put down before I know if I got the room, even for a cheaper room.

7 “bedroom” 1 bath loft KILLER VIEW

Yes, I put bedroom in quotations on purpose.  So, you’re really asking me if I want to put down 3 months’ rent on this shit hole 7 bedroom/1 bath loft that three other guys have already signed onto tonight?  I don’t like the view of the Empire State Building that much.

The two older cuban guys who are probably nice, but no thanks

Yes, this happened.  And they didn’t even pick me for their crappy closet-sized third room.

The girls looking for a new roommate and 15 perfectly normal people show up

This quickly turned into a group interview, something I’ve never excelled at (though I did make it to round two!).  I was reminded that girls are extremely petty, and when I was asked, “What would you do if there was a sink full of dirty dishes that had been sitting for 5 days?” I was out.

The unfinished creepy basement

Are they going to finish the basement by the time someone moves in?  Where does that creepy industrial metal door go – your torture chambers?

The pricing makes no sense at all

“This room is $1100 – sorry about the view of your neighbor’s bathroom, and that huge one over there is $900 because it doesn’t have a window.  This closet-sized one is $1500 because it has its own, hardly usable entrance that you’re never going to use (the fire escape).”

 

To the Kahlers

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Ah, the sibling battle.  All I did for the first 14 years of my life was hate my big sister, and she hated me too.  I remember a period of time, around seven years old, that we didn’t go a day without fighting about something.  Fast-forward to 2014.  My sister is my best friend in the world.  I call her just about every other day.  And this weekend, something amazing happened.  My big sister got married to the best guy anyone could’ve asked for.  I’m so happy I could cry.  Life is full of changes, and I feel as though instead of losing a sister, I’m gaining a brother.  I can’t give a toast because they didn’t have a reception, but I can write a blog (which is better, because I can’t burst into happy tears this way).  So, in honor of Mr. & Mrs. Kahler, here’s the 5 best and worst moments from my sister and me:

WORST MOMENTS

5. All the times we knew we were right about something and would argue to the death

You know how it goes.  You’re playing a game and then, all of the sudden, you both think the score is different.  I thought we were tied, so how are you winning by two now?  And then, you just argue until somebody cries or tattles.

4. Every time you punched me really hard and thought it was funny 

You hit really hard.  Seriously, not cool.

3. All the times we stole each other’s stuff, and then lied to the other person’s face

I still specifically remember a pair of shorts that I’m pretty sure you stole and then wore in front of me.  You denied it, and you probably still would.

2. The time you got mad at me for leaving the dishwasher open

It’s not my fault you didn’t see the dishwasher when you were carrying the glass tank and tripped.  You blame me, and I blame your peripheral vision.

1. That time I told on you for driving without a license

Yeah, that’s just a “my bad.”  If it makes you feel any better, I never would have done that now.

BEST MOMENTS

5. The time you made me a bunch of mix CDs when I got dumped for the first time

Just sweet.  A little cheesy.  Mostly sweet though.

4. Splitting a bottle of dry, red wine and watching movies

No one else that I know likes dry, red wine, and I can’t finish a bottle by myself.  Thanks for being my wine buddy.

3. The time you ripped the neighbor girl’s hair out for making fun of me

We were still new in town and didn’t know that many people.  Thank you for beating up one of your best friends in my defense.

2. The time you hit the little boy for making fun of me

My grandma always liked to tell a story about when I was a baby and a little boy made fun of my arm.  She said my 4 year-old sister went up to him and smacked him.  Most precious 4 year-old ever.  You may have been a violent child, but it usually worked to my advantage.

1. The time you called me to say you were getting married

I would just like to brag for a millisecond and say that I was the first person to know. Mwahahahahahaha

 

Thank you, Dave, for taking care of my best friend.  I know I never have to worry when you’re around.  I love you both, and I’m so happy for you.  To the Kahlers! *clinks glasses*

 

Letter to the Class of 2014

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Dear Class of 2014,

Congratulations!  You’ve made it.  This is the definition of success.  That little piece of paper with your name on it will be mailed to your parent’s house in six months.  You’ve studied hard.  You’ve slept through many classes.  You’ve mastered the sport of Beer Pong (yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s a sport).  You are victorious.

When I was about to graduate from college, I had read a very uplifting blog by Jen Glantz (twitter).  This girl had graduated from college two years ago, and now she had a writing job in New York City.  The underlying perseverance message was all over it.  If you work hard,  you will make it in this world.  I had worked my ass off.  I had earned that full-time job, and I was going to get one.

If you read Jen’s blog post, you may have noticed that I skipped over the part where she moved three times in two years,  cried in the bathroom, and got no answer from “thousands” of job applications.  I don’t know that I thought I was better than that, but looking back, I wonder what exactly I was thinking.  It’s been one year since I graduated college.  I have yet to ruin a bathroom rug with tears, but my track pad on my laptop has had a bout of schizophrenia after the last time I cried all over it.  (Pro Tip: Wait to look for more jobs until after you’re done crying about the last one you didn’t get.)

In the past year, I’ve held six different jobs, only two of which have been in my field of study.  I quit my first job in the music industry after two months.  As soon as I found out about the company’s terrible reputation and realized just how much they lied to their clients, I was out.  I still have my second job in the industry, and I’m pleased to report that I worked a record 12 hours last week.

There’s nothing quite like the emotional roller coaster of almost landing a job.  The high point is right after you know you’ve nailed the interview.  You start planning your new life at your new job.  You know what you’re going to buy with that first paycheck.  You’ve mentally decorated and organized your desk.  And then, there comes the steep drop of “We’ve decided to go in another direction.”  I’ve been in the top five applicants, the top two applicants, etc. for amazing jobs, and they always go in another direction.  There’s always someone more experienced, more qualified, more connected, and better-looking than you.  I always hold onto the fact that I know I’m the one who is most passionate about the job.  I know that if they would just give me a chance, they wouldn’t be sorry.  I learn faster, work harder, and am more determined than any of those other bitches.  After all, I was named “Most Determined” at Fifth Grade Graduation (side note: I’m pretty sure that wasn’t a compliment, looking back on it).

I don’t have a job to show for my year in Nashville, but I do have a much larger professional network.  Especially in the entertainment/arts world, 99% of the jobs you’ll land will not be through Jobs2Careers.com.  They’re going to be through people you know.  People who know your work ethic and talent.  One of my old internship supervisors, Leah, always used the phrase “Your network is your net worth.”  It’s cliche, but true.  No matter how many times you hear that networking is important, you won’t fully understand it until you join us in the real world.

I wish I could write you from the office of my full-time, salaried job in the field of my choice, and tell you that everything is going to work out.  I’m actually writing this from my part-time job at a shoe store.  The truth is, no one knows if it’s going to work out.  Most of us are just making it up as we go.  This won’t be the last time we cry over a lost opportunity, think about starting over in a new city, or just giving up and going home to live with mom and dad (you know you miss the food there, anyways).  The one thing we can all hold onto is faith in ourselves and our work.

With that said, here’s 10 tips to help you through your first year out of school:

  • Get a lot of roommates
  • Go out  a lot
  • Save as much money as you can
  • Learn to drink something other than vodka.  People will judge you.
  • Talk to strangers (sorry, mom), but don’t go home with them.
  • Get business cards that don’t say “student” or anything about a university
  • Learn new skill sets whenever possible
  • Try to eat something healthy every once in awhile (you’re welcome, mom).
  • Never turn down an opportunity
  • Always work hard

Best of luck, Class of 2014.  I know you’ve got it in you.  “It” being work ethic, or determination, or something.  Get your mind out of the gutter.

xoxo Amanda