October 25, 2020

Welcome to this week’s edition of the RoundUp.  This week: Spotify tests a poll feature for podcasts; Apple suspends its 30% charge for the next 3months; Spotify branches out into shows adaptations; California bans sales of Internal Combustion Engines starting 2035 etc.

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  • Music streaming platform, Spotify,  is testing a poll feature that anonymously  allows listeners vote on a podcast. The catch here is: listeners can view performance on a poll once they participate via vote.  Spotify is in a tough race to grow and own the podcast space against Apple and recently, Link


Why this is Important:  This could increase activity  and usage of  the app especially the podcast side seeing it’s steadily but gradually gaining traction.  It will also serve as a feedback tool/mechanism for content creators on published works.


  • Apple has for now, suspended its 30% charge for subscriptions and payments done  on apps listed on its iOS Store such as Facebook (for its online events) and Airbnb.  Apple in recent times has found itself on the wrong side of public opinion,  as it insists on a 30% charge on transactions consummated on its platform by content owners. Fortnite, makers  of Epic Games are at the forefront of this fight to eliminate or reduce this fee as it breaks revenue models and in some cases, hurts developers. Link


Why this is Important:  Public opinion may have played a role in this as independent developers considered forming a union of some sort to fight the Apple Tax.  While Facebook is appealing this fee or its suspension,  it has provided the opportunity to use its payment processing infrastructure, Facebook Pay for merchants. For Google, would this offer it some opportunity to make its Android PlayStore an option for developers?

  • Again, Spotify made the news last week after its strategic plans to turn it’s exclusive podcasts to shows.  This,  it will do in partnership with Chernin Entertainment,  the production company behind Hidden Figures,  the movie. Link


Why this is Important:  If we consider how hard it is to monetize podcasts owing to its recency as a new medium for entertainment and marketing,  this move seems a strategic one.  We could see more networks like Gimlet (acquired by Spotify) step forward for acquisition.

By partnering with an experienced entity like Chernin,  Spotify gets a learning opportunity to stand a chance to compete with incumbents like Netflix and Hulu in the long run.  This, it can eventually do by acquiring Chernin.

Importantly,  by extending its brand beyond music,  podcasts and now show adaptation,  it has fortified the moats around it.

  • The State of California has led the way with an executive order banning the sales of new internal combustion engines within its borders. It cites climate concerns and health risks as major reasons for the Executive Order.  Link



Why this is Important:  California is home to Silicon Valley.  We should expect technology enthusiasts and companies to warm up to this Order.  We could see the launching of more zero emissions mobility companies  out of the State in the coming months/years.

There’s no doubt other technology hubs and clusters use California as an inspiration, the ripple effect from this executive order should be felt soon.

On the policy side,  having passed the AB5,  a law governing gig work,  other legal jurisdictions would be taking notes from the state of California.



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