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Snap signs music licensing deal with Universal Music Group
by Paul Hill
Snap has announced that it has signed a deal with Universal Music Group (UMG) so that its artists can have their music included in Snap’s library and be used in Sounds, Lenses and more. Sounds is a fairly new feature on Snapchat that allows you to add music to your Snaps. With the UMG deal, you’ll have more songs to choose from when publishing your Snaps.
One of the UMG artists is the Jonas Brothers. In a statement about today’s news, they said:
Since launching last October, Sounds has been made available around the world on Android and iOS. Videos created with music from Sounds now total 521 million and the collective views total 31 billion views. If you couldn’t find the right song to play in the background of videos before, the UMG deal may change this for you.
Prior to the UMG deal, Snap had already signed multi-year agreements with various publishers including Warner Music Group, Merlin, NMPA, Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner Chappell Music, Kobalt, and BMG Music Publishing.
Snap buys WaveOptics, the display maker of SPS 2021 Spectacles
by Subir Kathuria
Yesterday Snap Inc, the parent company of Snapchat announced its latest generation of Spectacles, the SPS 2021. Now the company has announced that it is acquiring WaveOptics, the manufacturer of the augmented reality displays that power its newest Spectacles for $500 million. The deal is the company's largest-ever and a testament to Snap's long-term goal to push its way into a future where AR eyewear could go mainstream and be ubiquitous. Fifty percent of the deal amount will be paid in stock at closing and the rest will be paid in either cash or stock after two years.
The team will report to Steen Strand, director of Snap's hardware division.
WaveOptics, the Oxford, UK-based firm was founded in 2014 and has over 100 employees spread over U.K., U.S., China, and Taiwan. It makes displays with a technology called waveguides, which allows for the overlaying of virtual objects onto the real world through a transparent surface like glass and accompanying light projectors. The firm has received $60 million in funding to date. Other investors in the company include Octopus Ventures, IP Group, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, China’s Gobi Ventures, Goertek, and HostPlus.
The move from Snap is seen as a defensive step against its rivals. Apple bought the holographic waveguide-maker Akonia in 2018, Google has posted a job listings so it can create a team to build waveguides, and Facebook has Oculus in the VR field and is planning to build products for AR as well.
The deal does not stop WaveOptics from supplying waveguides to other companies. But it will work exclusively with Snap on custom optical systems. The deal prevents WaveOptics from falling into the hands of a rival that could potentially stop Snap from getting any technology for its use. Snap has been developing Spectacles for years, with three generations of publicly available models. This deal is an indication that Snap has no intention of going slow on its AR vision any time soon.
Source: The Verge
Snap unveils SPS 2021 Spectacles aimed at creators
by Paul Hill
Snap has unveiled its latest generation of Spectacles dubbed SPS 2021. Unlike other Spectacles that the firm sells, the SPS 2021 are not available to purchase but instead are designed specifically for creators who can express an interest to receive an SPS 2021 unit.
With these new glasses, creators will be able to more easily overlay the Snapchat Lenses they create directly onto the world. Using the glasses should make it easier for creators to test their Lenses rather than going backwards and forwards to their phone to re-test changes that have been made.
The SPS 2021 come with Dual 3D waveguide displays and a 26.3-degree field of view overlay which displays the Lenses as though they were really there. The software powering the glasses is called Snap Spatial Engine which uses various tracking methods to make the Lenses look more realistic.
After each charge, the battery on the SPS 2021 will last for about 30 minutes but its light weight of 134 grams makes it highly portable. It’s powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 Platform and is designed to work well both indoors and out. It also comes with 2 RGB cameras, 4 built-in microphones, 2 stereo speakers, and a touchpad to provide a multi-sense experience.
If you’re lucky enough to receive the SPS 2021 Spectacles, you’ll be able to design your Lenses in Lens Studio on the desktop and wirelessly push them to the glasses for rapid testing. Once you’re happy with a Lens, you can distribute it through the Snap AR platform.
By Steven P.
Amazon is offering Prime at 50% off for government assistance recipients
by Steven Parker
Image via Polygon Amazon has announced that it is discounting Prime membership for low-income US residents that are receiving government assistance with a EBT or Medicaid card. The company hopes to tap into a market which finds Prime membership costs too prohibitive.
The discount will knock a massive 50% off of the total cost of Prime, bringing the price down from $12.99 to $5.99 per month. Over the course of the year, this will save customers $84. Amazon Prime offers customers several perks including free delivery on millions of items (including groceries), plus access to a selection of online films and TV shows at no extra charge.
This is just one of several moves that Amazon has taken to encourage budget-conscious the poorer members of society to get onto its platform. The first step was to allow customers to pay on a monthly basis instead of paying out one large sumpayment on a yearly basis; an R.W. Baird study found that this move saw Prime membership growth become the strongest in households making less than $50,000 per annum.
When you sign up through this method, you will have to provide details and a copy of your valid government assistance program card, such as an EBT or Medicaid card, and the first 30 days are free, after which it'll cost $5.99/month. You can quit at anytime during the free triaail.
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Snap: Gen Z set to drive post-pandemic recovery with tech
by Paul Hill
Snap Inc, the firm behind Snapchat, has been working with Oxford Economics to see how Generation Z will drive the post-pandemic recovery by leveraging their skills in the digital economy. The firm said that the current narrative around Gen Z suggests that the members of the cohort face a future of uncertainty, but its report actually found that members have a case for being optimistic about the future.
Unlike any generation before it, Gen Z has grown up with technology having been born between 1997 and 2012 and is, therefore, more comfortable with its use than previous generations. According to the research, these digital skills will help Gen Z become the “dominant force” in the workplace. In Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States - the nations that were looked at in this study - there will be 87 million workers from Gen Z by 2030, three times more than today.
With the coronavirus accelerating the shift to home working, it will be more important that employees have digital skills. With Gen Z growing up around technology, they’re more likely to have these skills. According to the report, Gen Z is more likely to have skills such as agility, curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving which will be in demand in tomorrow’s job market.
With their success in the workplace, they also become one of the main drivers of consumer spending which forecasts suggesting they’ll spend $3.1 trillion in the aforementioned markets in the year 2030.
As we’ve seen in previous years, smartphones became more easily adopted by the youngest adult generations before being adopted by those in older age groups. Snap says that augmented reality will be similar and that Gen Z will be the generation that begins adopting the technology first. It said by 2023, the AR market is expected to increased four-fold and will transform healthcare, education, architecture, entertainment, and manufacturing fields. Snap said jobs in AR are becoming more popular and tend to favour Gen Z.
If you’d like to read the full 50-page report, you can download it now in English, French, German, and Dutch.