All in Technology

Spotify’s RapCaviar Curator Leaves Ahead of IPO

CBx Vibe: “God’s Plan” Drake

The genius behind Spotify’s RapCaviar playlist Tuma Basa is taking his talents to YouTube. His exit comes one day after Spotify filed paperwork for its IPO with the Security and Exchanges Commission. Will Basa’s departure have any impact on the company’s ability to attract new subscribers as they get ready to enter the public markets?

Why This Matters: As one of the music industries most notable figures Basa had been putting together playlist for Spotify since 2015. While he’s best known for RapCaviar which has nearly 9 million listeners, Basa also helped grow its most sought after playlist Today’s Tops Hits to 19 million listeners. In a statement to Billboard the company plans to continue its focus on the playlist. "The RapCaviar team, which is rapidly expanding with boots on the ground globally, is committed to building the brand and giving its users the best hip hop experience on the platform" according to the statement.

Although Spotify’s subscriber numbers have grown it has struggled to become profitable. They now have 71 million paid subscribers and 159 million active users in total. Competition continues to heat up in the streaming space with companies like Apple Music which reported it had 36 million paid subscribers. Only time will tell if Spotify can keep its curated playlist edge and attract more subscribers with Basa no longer in the mix.

Apple and Tesla Buying Modern-Day Vibranium From the Congo

CBx Vibe: “Nu Africa”, CyHi the Prince

All of our devices have one thing in common, the origins of a key component called Cobalt. This metal which resides in Africa is used by nearly every major tech company to power smartphones, tablets and even cars. So just how charged up are these companies?

Why This Matters:  Roughly 60% of global Cobalt production takes place in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Cobalt prices increased 129% in 2017, finishing the year at $75,500. Due in large part to automakers racing to produce electric vehicles. Analysts project prices to top $90,000 this year. The Congolese government recently increased its tax on Cobalt exports by 50% and is considering labeling the mineral a strategic resource which would increase the royalty for Cobalt from 2% to 10%.

Apple is one of the world’s largest end users of cobalt primarily for its iPhone production. However, Tesla is encroaching on its territory with the ramp up of its Model 3 electric vehicle and Gigafactory. A smartphone uses about eight grams of refined cobalt whereas a battery for an electric car requires over 1,000 times more. Darton Commodities is predicting Cobalt use in batteries is going to jump from 50,000 tons in 2016 to more than 320,000 tons by the year 2030.

Vista Equity Partners Squares Up with Google and Facebook

A new front is opening up in the battle for advertising dollars. Last week, Mediaocean and Adobe announced a partnership in which Adobe is licensing Mediaocean's Spectra platform that will enable advertisers to purchase TV ads digitally.

So what?

For decades, the TV industry has used the same ad buying model which is surprisingly manual. Mediaocean's Spectra platform allows TV ad buyers to purchase ads through its digital platform. A move to digital ad buying will increase the dynamism of TV ad buys, creating space for innovation in the way ads are delivered to consumers.

For example, imagine your phone listening to what you're watching on TV and you getting ads that correspond on your phone. This Mediaocean/Adobe partnership would help make this sort of automation possible, creating all sorts of avenues for monetizing consumers.

This is also where the next battle front is. Google is trying to get TV ad buyers to use it's auction platform to buy ads and Facebook has been working on getting ad buyers to purchase ads through their platform for their app-based viewership. Whoever builds a moat around unifying the tv ($178B) and digital ($209B) ad buying market will do quite nicely.