The transition from physical media and digital downloads to streaming music has not been without speedbumps. Artists have been reluctant to give up royalties from sales for the much less lucrative streaming royalties, but the fight seems to be nearing an end. Physical sales are nearly non-existent and the new benchmark of success is number of streams, but that doesn’t mean everyone in the industry is falling in line. Artists like Taylor Swift have been adamant about seeking fair streaming deals and Thom Yorke has pulled his solo albums from streaming altogether, but there is a new kid on the block who is rewriting the monetization playbook in this streaming-first era.
‘Tis the season when your loved ones ask what you need (or, in my case, your kids proclaim what they want)! In the spirit of gift-giving, we penned a letter to Energy Santa with our “wish list” of energy-related products and services. The ideas are based on results from our 2016 Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™ study, and although they apply to energy consumers in general, we’re focusing on the group nearly every company hopes Santa will deliver—Millennials.
My Recent Experiences with Project Fi from Google
As your spring social calendar went from St. Patrick’s Day parties to the festivities of Cinco de Mayo, you might have overlooked another recent celebration in the telecommunications space. Project Fi (“Fi”), a very different wireless service from Google, recently celebrated its first birthday, and quietly went from being an invite-only beta to throwing open its doors to all US wireless subscribers.
Google launched Fi with minimal fanfare in the spring of 2015, positioning it as a new take on the traditional wireless model. Instead of relying on connectivity from cellular towers, smartphones on the Fi service will prioritize any available Wi-Fi connection for their voice and data traffic. Only on the occasions where Wi-Fi signals are weak or unavailable does the Fi service switch seamlessly over to the cellular networks of its partners—T-Mobile and Sprint—and then runs like a traditional mobile virtual network operator (MVNO).
Google has long known that most of us spend the majority of our waking hours connected to Wi-Fi, and so is cleverly stringing together millions of hotspots as its “network” and only using cellular for a fraction of the average subscriber’s voice and data usage. In doing so, it is able to leverage existing free infrastructure and forego the massive network investments of traditional wireless providers, and subsequently can pass those savings on to its subscribers.
Project Fi: How it Works
At the heart of Project Fi is the concept of dynamic network selection—the service intelligently connects the subscriber to the best available network at their location, whether it’s Wi-Fi (the majority of the time) or one of either T-Mobile or Sprint’s 4G LTE networks.
Fi offers a single, no-contract plan. It’s $20 for the base service, which includes unlimited calls and text, and then $10 for each 1 GB of data. The novel part is that the subscriber only pays for the data that they actually use. So if you prepay for (say) 3 GB of data, but only end up using 2 GB, Fi refunds you $10 for the unused 1 GB. Similarly, if you have a 1 GB plan but end up using 3 GB after streaming that NBA playoff game, you’ll only get charged $20 for the extra 2 GB. No overage penalties or price escalations.
The plan also has an attractive international component. It includes free international texts, and for those who travel abroad and have been burnt by roaming charges in the past, there is comfort in knowing that the exact same data costs apply in over 120 countries.
The only catch is that Project Fi is currently limited to Google Nexus phones only. They currently sell the Nexus 6P (from Huawei) starting at $499 and the Nexus 5X (from LG) starting at $199.
In theory, it is a brilliant design, but how well does it work? Well, let’s find out.
Opening in theaters recently, Baz Luhrmann brought us perhaps the best screen retelling yet of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel of decadence—and loss—in The Great Gatsby. The life and times of the fictional James Gatz is retold with verve, color and authenticity—and in 3D to boot. The film, like the book, is the tale of one man’s meteoric rise from the depths of poverty to the pinnacle of nouveau riche New York society during the Jazz Age and Prohibition.
In a twist though, Luhrmann seamlessly incorporates Jay-Z’s modern day music into the soundtrack, alongside jazz standards and fashions of the 1920s. The presence of Jay-Z’s music serves to modernize the film, but more importantly, intentionally or no, points to some pretty stark similarities between Jay Gatsby and Jay-Z.