Bytes: What’s new in tech
Spotify pairs music with makeup
As part of Spotify’s effort to diversify its platform, “you can now buy makeup” on the streaming-music site, said Ingrid Lunden in TechCrunch.com. Spotify, which is expected to go public in early 2018 and has 60 million paying users, first expanded into merchandise sales last year, partnering with Merchbar to sell artists’ shirts, bags, and accessories on Spotify profile pages. The new offering is an expansion of that partnership, allowing fans to “‘shop the look’ of a particular artist” by buying lipsticks, eye pencils, and other cosmetics offered by Pat McGrath, “a makeup artist to the stars with a huge social media presence.” Spotify will not share in the profits. “The idea, instead, is to sweeten the deal for artists and give them more opportunities to make money on Spotify beyond streaming.”
Personalized ads coming to TV
“TV stations are about to track you and sell targeted ads, just like Google and Facebook,” said Brian Fung in The Washington Post. The Federal Communications Commission last week approved rules paving the way for what the industry calls Next Gen TV, which “among other things, will enable television broadcasters to collect data about your viewing habits” and sell targeted ads. Supporters of Next Gen TV contend the changes will help networks “compete in a world of internet media.” But privacy advocates called the development “a setback for consumers” that will “accelerate the erosion of consumer privacy as the TV industry becomes more consolidated.” Under the FCC rules, stations can adopt Next Gen TV on a voluntary, market-driven basis.
Most jobs require IT skills
“The window of opportunity for workers without basic digital skills or a college degree is closing,” said Tom Simonite in Wired.com. The use of digital technology has grown in importance “in occupations of all kinds,” according to a new study by the Brookings Institution. Researchers examined government data on work tasks “to track how use of digital tools changed in a wide range of occupations between 2002 and 2016” and found that the most pronounced changes happened for workers “traditionally least reliant on tech skills,” such as home health aides and truck mechanics—both of whom now use computers to “diagnose problems or record their work.” Nearly twothirds of new jobs created since 2010 require “high or medium digital skills, such as familiarity with spreadsheets or other software.” ■