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Big Revolution - The tales your music taste tells

Welcome to the start of another week of Big Revolution. What's in store today? Get scrolling and find
September 17 · Issue #204 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to the start of another week of Big Revolution. What’s in store today? Get scrolling and find out!

Big things you need to know today
  • Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and his wife are buying Time magazine in a $190m deal. They will have no day-to-day involvement int he magazine’s operation. The move echoes Jeff Bezos’ 2013 purchase of the Washington Post.
  • OnePlus is making a TV. The company, best known for its high-spec, good-value-for-money Android smartphones, may release its smart television next year. It may not be so good for families and shared households though – it will feature a personal assistant and display users’ calendar appointments and photos. Oh, and it’ll have a built-in camera 🤔
  • Amazon is investigating claims that its employees have taken bribes to share proprietary sales information, delete negative reviews, turn over reviewer e-mail addresses, and unban banned accounts. The Verge has the details.
  • Path, the one-time challenger to Facebook’s crown, is shutting down. It was acquired by Korean firm Kakao in 2015 but saw little growth in key Asian markets since then, so it’s bye-bye Path.
The big thought
Credit: Heidi Sandstrom on Unsplash
The tales your music taste tells
Reading a Guardian column entitled ’Spotify can tell if you’re sad. Here’s why that should scare you’ yesterday didn’t actually scare me, but it did make me think.
The idea is that music streaming services build up a detailed picture of users’ tastes, which help point to their personality traits and moods.
You might have wondered whether your Google searches or Fitbit data might one day be held against you by the police or a health insurer. But even something as seemingly innocuous as your choice of music could be interpreted by a third party at some as-yet unknown juncture.
The threat isn’t so much today or tomorrow (I’m mostly listening to the new Aphex Twin EP, which means… I’m an Aphex Twin fan?) but years down the line, when you’ve forgotten you even generated the data. Maybe Spotify falls out of favour and gets sold. Then it shuts down. But the user data becomes a valuable asset in the fire sale, and gets sold on to a firm that merges the data with other data sets its acquired over the years. And then that data is sold to advertisers, insurance companies etc to build up a historical picture of people in the present-day.
And suddenly your spate of listening to The Smiths on repeat non-stop for six months in 2014 is interpreted as a history of depression when you’re applying for a job as an airline pilot, and you’re rejected as a result.
Okay, that’s an unlikely example, but the point is that we have no idea what the data we generate about ourselves (or that we generated years ago) will be used for in the future.
Laws and regulations like GDPR help matters, and the idea of platforms that give end-users ultimate control of their data is growing. But there’s still scope for data to fall through the cracks. Short of opting out of the modern world, or maintaining a bunch of fake personalities via burner phones and throwaway payment cards, there’s not a great deal you can do to stop this.
Still, this is at least another good argument for listening to more vinyl albums.
One big read
An Oral History of Apple's Infinite Loop An Oral History of Apple's Infinite Loop
Steven Levy uncovers lots of interesting tidbits in the story of Apple’s famous Cupertino HQ, only recently down-ranked by the new Apple Park campus.
One big tweet
I feel Benioff buying Time was at least as much an emotional and symbolic deed as it was a hot business deal.
jason 🦄 🇦🇺 ❤️
I love the TIME, LIFE & Rolling Stone brands — but they mean zero to people under 40.

Spending $190m on the brand is stunning, when compared to simply hiring the top 100 writers in the world for $500k a year under a new brand.

if they invest wisely it could work... but hard.
2:15 AM - 17 Sep 2018
That’s all for today...
See you tomorrow for more Big Revolution.
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