The Bankwatch

Tracking the consumer evolution of financial services

Social media meets lobbying meets activist meets Industry Powerhouse Taylor


Social media meets lobbying meets activist meets Industry Powerhouse.

Taylor Swift conducted what was obviously a well thought through campaign on her blog, presumably because 140 characters sometimes is just not enough. (Go blogging, but I digress).

To Apple, Love Taylor.

taylor eddie

To bring everyone up to speed, the Apple Music streaming service was proposed to launch with a 3 month trial period. This is longer than the normal 1 month trial. The kicker was that Apple were not planning to pay an artist royalty during that 3 month period.

Apple had dealt with that potential dissonance with a 2 – 3 % increase to 30% being the payment Apple would pay to the musicians following the 3 month trial.

Taylor was able to talk about the poor “young songwriter” and make the case that the non payment to them during the 3 months was a huge deal financially to those artists.

Mission acconplished. Eddie Cue tweeted

“We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple” (seriously she is #13?)

Apple’s deep pockets pose threat to Spotify in music battle

With days to go before the launch of Apple Music, the company was facing an intensifying chorus of criticism from artists and independent record labels about key terms of its new $9.99-a-month subscription service. Singer Taylor Swift said in a blogpost that it was “shocking” and “disappointing” that Apple was refusing to pay artists for music carried during a free three-month trial period for users.

Yet within a day of the rebuke from Ms Swift, Apple changed its tune and announced that it would pay for every single stream. Eddy Cue, the group’s senior vice-president of internet software and services, tweeted: “We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple.”

Relevance to Bankwatch:

There are so many issues at play here its hard to know where to begin. Here are some I thought of:

  1. Apple didn’t properly externally consult and think through the business model of Apple Music
  2. Apple bean counters created a model that in theory over compensated artists but only if they are successful for a long time. I didnt do the math, but I am estimating that in a PV/ FV calculation it takes a long time to recoup three months working for free
  3. Apple saw an opportunity to support a Spotify hater and be on the side of good (the sceptical view)
  4. Apple over-estimated an issue that ‘might’ blow over
  5. Taylor went corporate with help of her ‘people’ using social media that post was a very well constructed piece that placed the product (Taylor) selflessly and somewhat tongue in cheek at the top of the pile (“Thankfully I am on my fifth album and can support myself, my band, crew, and entire management team by playing live shows”)

Something is changing here in terms of industry power shift. Music has been on the back foot for 20 years. This is one small move for music.

What is more intersting is whether this is a one off or whether other industries than music might see such influence. For now I believe this is a one off that is related to the influence embedded in the Taylor Swift brand. (Eat your heart out Kanye).

Taylor Swift probably hit JayZ status in terms of indutry influence though and there could be impications for Apple Vs Tidal that are going on here.

Written by Colin Henderson

June 22, 2015 at 18:24

Posted in Uncategorized

Apple WWDC 15


Its Apple WWDC 15 day, and I watched the keynote tonight of course on my Apple TV which was handily added for the event. The detailed engineering stuff is handled over the week in ‘tracks’.

Back to the keynote. First off was software upgrades for OS X (El Captane) and iOS 9; both coming this autumn, with a summer customer beta. As expected not too much realy exciting except speed and efficiency. They have introduced Apple Metal which a method of bypassing Open GL and basically ensuring apps interact more efficiently with the computer.

There are updates for some apps including Notes which is long overdue.

Other new stuff which comes mainly with the new OS’s and before they got to the big event, Apple Music.

  • Apple Pay launching in UK with most of the big banks. A quick scan suggested Barclays is missing. Luanching in 100’s of retailers including the London Tube and buss service.
  • A News app that replaces Newstand
  • ipad multitasking
  • Proactive Assistant which I desperately hope they rename. It works to co-relate your own data, documents, calendar, email, and related information such as weather to provide in context guidance for your day. This will draw inevitable comparisons witg Google Now and really there is none. Apple went to great lengths to note that any update in PA for things like weather never used your Apple ID. Its a different model and narrower in focus.
  • significantly improved screen handling. Have to see this in action. This was a feature that was offerred with big splash with Windows 7 and pretty much flopped as too complicated to remember all the keystrokes.
  • improved Safari with a new feature that allows you to clip favourite sites in the bar providing access with a click.

Then Apple Music. Hard to get excited until we see it, and it was too compicated with Apple Music, Beats1 a radio station, and @connect to allow new and old artists to upload stuff and generally interact with fans.

They brought on Toronto’s own Drake to announce Connect and he was so nervous which was surprising. I suppose Apple can overwhlem anyone. I dont see Connect taking over the existing social media sites, but who knows.

Apple Music apppears to be a straming service for $8.99 pm in US so $12.99 in Canada is my guess. This one could be big. Beats1, ho hum.

And someone please Tell Tim Cook to stop saying ‘we are so excited’.

Back to the beginning, I am most looking forward to the OS upgrades. Big reductions in battery usage, and faster loading apps are the simple promise there and as expected from this WWDC.

Written by Colin Henderson

June 8, 2015 at 19:44

Posted in Uncategorized

City of Toronto asks court to shut down Uber


Toronto is on the verge of a major step backwards as 2 days of court hearings on the City request to shut down Uber finishes.

The judge is practically telegraphing a negative result by indicating this will surely go to Appeal, although Uber note they may not bother.

Court hearing into City of Toronto’s request to shut down all of Uber’s operations wraps up after two days of arguments

Written by Colin Henderson

June 2, 2015 at 19:29

Posted in Uncategorized

Google I/O

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I’m watching Google I/O and some interesting developments. Watching on Apple TV and nothing blew up so far.

Biggest item of note.  Mobile is not a section of the conference.  Mobile is the conference with Android front and centre.  There is much voicing between comparisons on iOS and Android and I’ll avoid that  here are some real differentiators from Google

Some notes:

  • Android pay- super simple especially when tied to fingerprint recognition. This outs pressure on hardware manufacturers to get on with this feature.
  • type c USB support for Android
  • sleep mode that provides long battery usage
  • Watches – even have a Brit announcing. Watch is always on but still careful with battery usage. Another continuation of battery conservation. Map remains on he watch while walking around. “Just a glance away”.
  • Emoji recogniser- there seems to be a mini emoji battle underway. Probably advantage Google on that.
  •  Nest: Internet of things. + android and Chrome. OS and communication layer. Project Brillo. Derived from Android but at the kernel layer. Minimal system requirements, board silicon support and sting security support.
  • Internet of things that talk to each other. Standardized schemas. Door, lock, camera with consistent communication schemas.
  • Example: recipe app using Brillo can turn on your Brillo enabled oven.
  • Brillo is scaled down version – Weave is full stack
  • machine learning investment: deep neural networks
  • 30 layers involved in image search using machine learning.
  • Google Now and Inbox providing everything you need in context of moment
  • aparna from Google now
  • last train home in Tokyo
  • new open house in your neighbourhood
  • etc
  • understand your context
  • What, where you are and when
  • context engine
  • 100 million places
  •  Google knowledge Graph
  • 100 billion entities from restaurants to baseball teams
  • infonfrom apps ingested into Google Now
  • Now on Tap – new capability
  • whats his real name ( knew listening to Skrillex)
  • somewhat similar to force press on new Mac. Offers context of a word by holding it longer on mobile. Slick and not hardware dependent.
  • Understands get the dry cleaning from chat and creates a reminder.
  • Available to developers. Wonder where this’ll go. Visions of Tom Cruise and Minority Report
  • context of the moment
  • Now – Photos
  • Google Photos
  • home, organize, share and save
  • auto organize by people or places
  • auto group by person
  • snowstorm in Toronto – searches photos that match Toronto and snow
  • select and get a link – still shows the photos in high quality
  • unlimited storage for free (my brother will appreciate that)

Written by Colin Henderson

May 28, 2015 at 21:38

Posted in Uncategorized

RBC add Mobile Cheque Deposit


RBC join the Mobile Deposit club in Canada. This leaves ScotiaBank and BMO of the big 5 Bank without this mobile service.

Written by Colin Henderson

May 21, 2015 at 09:41

Posted in Uncategorized

Krebs has it right – you are the one who has been hacked


How many times do we hear that another site has been hacked, whether icloud, twitter, Facebook, Sony and now Starbucks.

The media generally does an extremely poor job on describing these situations, and the average user just gets confused. This is a different scenario than Target

Krebs sums the recent Starbucks situation up well here.

Starbucks Hacked? No, But You Might Be

Those customers had all chosen to tie their debit accounts to their Starbucks cards and mobile phones. Sullivan allowed in his story one logical explanation for the activity: These consumers had re-used their Starbucks account password at another site that got hacked, and attackers simply tried those account credentials en masse at other popular sites — knowing that a fair number of consumers use the same email address and password across multiple sites.

How many of you and others use the same username and password for more than one site? And perhaps one of those sites is the latest app du jour that you signed up for. It is perhaps a beta, and no hardening or monimal security controls are in place.

When bad guys hack into that site with relative ease they now have a large set of email addresses and passwords. They can also get those credentials from a key logger that sits on your computer after that malware you inadvertently downloaded last month.

Now all the bad guys have to do is run those credentials against all the popular cloud sites, social media sites, and of course some will be successful. Once they get a successful log in that site has ‘been hacked’ in the eyes of the media.

Its tempting to use a low difficulty and common password for multiple sites that you are signing up for to try out. However, NEVER use the same password more than once where financial information, credit cards e-commerce are involved. You will eventually be caught out, and that easy password on app.com will give the bad guys access to your credit card or worse.

Krebs has it right Starbucks users. You have been hacked. The bad guys just logged into that site as you.

Written by Colin Henderson

May 19, 2015 at 09:29

Posted in Uncategorized

GCHQ marks the importance of Alan Turing in a symbolic gesture


This is definitely in the so sad, but never too late category.

Alan Turing is a god to anyone who knows anything about computing history. He also happened to be one of the single greatest contributors to the Allied victory over the Nazi’s as documented in the recent film “The Imitation Game”. His brilliance is obvious.

“Turing was elected as a fellow at Cambridge at the age of 22, and he published his most influential paper, “On Computable Numbers,” at 24.

While his brilliance is undoubted, the film takes liberties no doubt to make it more viewable for mass audiences.

It is unfathomable to us today that a mere 7 years following the war in 1952 Turing was found guilty of homosexuality and chemically castrated. He committed suicide shortly thereafter.

The most symbolic gesture in his remembrance is not the movie. GCHQ which is basically the great grandchild of Turing’s work, today marked the occasion.

Written by Colin Henderson

May 17, 2015 at 17:45

Posted in Uncategorized

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