The Simple-Royalties Edition Saturday, July 16, 2016

Apple, In Seeming Jab At Spotify, Proposes Simpler Songwriting Royalties, by Ben Sisario, New York Times

According to Apple’s proposal, made with the Copyright Royalty Board, a panel of federal judges who oversee rates in the United States, streaming services should pay 9.1 cents in songwriting royalties for every 100 times a song is played. This formula would replace the long passages of federal rules for streaming rates, which often leave musicians bewildered about just how the money flows in streaming music.

But even in this seemingly innocuous proposal, which was not made public but was obtained by The New York Times, Apple’s target is clear: Spotify, its archenemy in streaming music. The proposal would significantly raise the rates that Spotify pays, and the filing includes lines that are clearly directed at Spotify and its so-called freemium model.

iBooks Market

How A Groton Geek Won The Education App Sweepstakes, by Rick Tetzeli, Fast Company

The story of how a high school Spanish teacher reached the App Store’s main page is one of those feel-good stories in which ingenuity, perseverance, and an original application of technology combine to overturn industry standards. Over the past four years, Breaking the Barrier, Conner’s four-employee company, has defied the odds and become a top 5 seller of iBook textbooks, right alongside industry giants like Houghton Mifflin, McGraw-Hill, and Pearson. It has succeeded in a notoriously insular business. High school textbook standards are set by state education boards; given their purchasing power, states like Texas make decisions that other states often feel compelled to follow. Big publishers, who can sustain relationships with these boards over decades, have a big leg up. They also have a major incentive to maintain the high profit margins they get from their paper textbooks, which helps explain why kids still lug massive backpacks to school every day, rather than simply toting a Kindle or iPad stocked with e-books.

Back When Cyberdogs Roamed

When Yahoo Ruled The Valley: Stories Of The Original ‘Surfers’, by Vindu Goel, New York Times

Back in the mid-1990s, before Google even existed, the world’s best guides to the internet sat in Silicon Valley cubicles, visiting websites and carefully categorizing them by hand.

They were called surfers, and they were a collection of mostly 20-somethings — including a yoga lover, an ex-banker, a divinity student, a recent college grad from Ohio hungry for adventure — all hired by a start-up called Yahoo to build a directory of the world’s most interesting websites.

Character, Fate And Yahoo, by Quentin Hardy, New York Times

The Apple co-founder Steven P. Jobs reportedly told Yahoo early in the millennium that it had to decide whether it was a tech company or a content company. This was a sensible and profound point, and something Yahoo never accomplished.


New App Lets Parents See Through Baby’s Eyes, by Mallika Marshall, WBZ

Dr. David Hunter, a pediatric ophthalmologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, says newborn babies don’t have 20/20 vision and while their vision improves quickly over the first year of life, it isn’t fully developed until about age 5.

Shift 1.1, by Preshit Deorukhkar, Beautiful Pixels

Shift beautifully handles all your scheduling needs across time zones.


The Library Of Last Resort, by Kyle Chayka, n+1

Whatever early progress the Library of Congress made on the internet has been squandered.

Rethinking The Modern Bartender, by Jim Meehan, Lucky Peach

Bartending is no longer just a side job or something to do during a summer in college. You don’t fall into bartending anymore; you choose to be a bartender. The industry has evolved—there’s an unprecedented interest in cocktails—and we have evolved along with it, whether we want to admit it or not. A bartender no longer has to work behind a bar—he or she can focus on sales or operations, advocacy or consulting. Bartenders are journalists and educators. The opportunities are endless. Bartending is a career—and we need to start treating it as such.

How did this happen?