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Spotify Introduces Stories Tool For Influencers



International media services provider of Swedish origin, Spotify Technology S.A. is testing a new Stories feature that will allow influencers to integrate video elements into their public playlists. This is according to US-based publication Tech Crunch. The new Stories feature will work in a similar way to other Stories tools on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube. But Spotify has a unique take on the format that involves the use of music.

Influencers can also share video clips that contain small song snippets and album art as a way of previewing the songs in their playlist. The tool will not be available to artists at the moment, rather only select influencers will be able to use it.

“At Spotify, we routinely conduct a number of tests in an effort to improve our user experience. Some of those tests end up paving the path for our broader user experience and others serve only as an important learning experience. We have no further news to share on future plans at this time,” a Spotify spokesperson told Tech Crunch.

Although it is similar to other products, Spotify is not trying to turn the Stories tool into another social media app. Instead, the music streaming service will use influencers’ existing accounts on other platforms to lure followers.

The first influencer to test the feature is makeup and fashion vlogger Summer Mckeen, whose social media fan base includes 2.33 million YouTube subscribers as well as 2.1 million Instagram and 126 000 Spotify followers, respectively. Mckeen is using the new feature to introduce a playlist of her all-time favourite songs, which she’s titled her ‘all time besties’.

Spotify last tested a Stories-like product called Storyline that was similar to Behind the Lyrics, but instead allowed artists to share their own insights, inspiration and other details more directly.

Stories can only be seen on iOS and Android devices, not desktop, and the feature is available to all Spotify users. It’s not clear what the criteria for eligibility is at this point but the service will be rolled out to notable names across the entertainment, lifestyle and music industries soon.


Kantanka Automobile Building Fingerprint Car Ignition



The world is advancing in terms of car technology and in the same fashion, Ghana’s own car-making company, Kantanka Automobile Limited is also bringing in the latest technological advancement in the vehicles they produce.

Recently, Kantanka Automobile produced its electronic vehicle which is yet to hit the market.

Now, the company is in the testing phase of a fingerprint start and stop car ignition.

People no longer do not turn a key to start their care engines anymore. Now they are using voice recognition and a push of a button to start and stop their engines.

In a demonstration video at the Kantanka facility, a staff member showed how by using a registered fingerprint the car engine starts and stops.

The company is also building a safety prototype in which nothing in the car will work if the seat belt is not fastened.


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Spotify Introduces Pages For Songwriters



On Wednesday (Feb. 12), Swedish streaming service, Spotify announced the launch of songwriter pages, touted as “a new way for fans, collaborators and industry partners to dive deeper into the creators behind their favorite songs.” The streaming service states that the pages will allow songwriters to share the music they’ve written on Spotify and further discovery by fans and/or potential collaborators.

A Spotify spokesperson tells Billboard that the songwriter pages will be rolled out incrementally and includes only a limited number of songwriters to start, though more can request to be involved by filling out this form. At launch, the beta includes pages for songwriters Meghan Trainor, Fraser T Smith, Missy Elliott, Teddy Geiger, Ben Billions and Justin Tranter.

To make songwriters more discoverable on Spotify, participating songwriters’ names are now clickable in Spotify song credits. After clicking a name, users are then routed to an individual songwriter page, which includes a list of all the songs they’ve written and their most frequent artist collaborators. Songwriters will also have the ability to share a link to their songwriter page via their social media pages and official websites, which others can access whether they’re a Spotify user or not.

Each songwriter page will also feature a “Written By” playlist of songs – discoverable via search – that users can opt to follow. In an effort to publicize the beta, these “Written By” playlists will be featured on the home tab for all Spotify listeners.


In a release, Spotify claims that since it began publicly displaying song credits in 2018, the service has seen a 60% increase in the frequency of labels and distributors crediting songwriters on their new releases.

“Spotify is always working to create new and better ways to promote music discovery — for artists, for songs and, increasingly, for songwriters,” said Jules Parker, Spotify’s head of publishing & songwriter relations, in a statement. “The launch of publicly visible songwriter credits on Spotify in 2018 was merely a first step. Together with the publishing industry, we’ve continued to evolve our data sharing and analytics efforts, and are proud to unveil this next iteration. …We’re excited to see how the world interacts with these new features, and look forward to enabling them for more and more songwriters.”

In his own statement, BMG director of digital strategy Christopher Ludwig praised the launch of the new pages, calling the initiative “a significant step forward for the whole industry.”

The unveiling of the songwriter pages comes amidst strained relations between streaming services and the songwriter community. In January 2018, the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) awarded a royalty rate increase of nearly 44% over a five-year period to songwriters and publishers, the largest rate increase in the organization’s history. After the increase was finalized the following January (and retroactively applied to January 1, 2018), Spotify, Amazon Music, Pandora and Google filed an appeal of the decision, with Spotify specifically noting that while it supported a royalty rate increase for songwriters, the formula the CRB used to determine the increase had “significant flaws.”

That appeal arrived simultaneously to a separate one from the National Association of Music Publishers (NMPA) and the Nashville Songwriters International Association, which disputed a membership discount the CRB determination granted to streaming services that would have resulted in decreased payouts to publishers and songwriters. Further angering publishers and songwriters, in June 2019, Spotify revealed it would be retroactively applying that discount, making moves to recoup what it claimed it had “overpaid” publishers the prior year.

In November, the Music Artists Coalition (MAC) and the Songwriters of North America (SONA) filed a joint amicus brief urging the D.C. Court of Appeals to uphold the CRB’s royalty rate increase, arguing that the compulsory license songwriters had been subject to for over a century hadn’t kept pace with musical works’ actual value and exerted a “depressive effect” on songwriter income.

How to access songwriter pages:

  • Right-click on a track (or, if you’re on mobile, tap the “…” next to the track)
  • Hit “Song Credits” Select a clickable songwriter’s name
  • Every songwriter page includes a “Written By” playlist spanning that writer’s work. On their page, click or tap “Listen on Spotify” to check them out.

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Ditto Music To Launch Bluebox Application In May



JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA, January 28, 2020/ – UK-born global distribution and record label services company, Ditto Music last week announced that it will in May, launch the Bluebox application which uses blockchain technology to record data, and will offer tools that let record ownership and split royalty payment to musicians

Ditto says Bluebox will increase collection rates while significantly reducing the amount of earnings lost by artists. The technology will also instantly create legally binding smart contracts between all parties involved in the composition of songs, including producers, writers and sample owners, among others. The news comes after Ditto raised $1m to kick start the new service.

Any information supplied to Bluebox will be verified using blockchain technology. This will allow more accurate multiple split payments for the period of the sound recording. The application will be also used in Ditto Music’s new music publishing division. Bluebox has already secured the support of music industry partners such as MGM and Sentric Music.

Ditto claims it pays out about $100m a year to artists across the world and will be among the first to incorporate the blockchain-backed Bluebox technology into its pool of 250 000 users. This could be great tool for all independent musicians around the world. Jammber Splits, a similar service that lets musicians record ownership and track royalty collection on their mobile devices, was launched last year but only works in the US.

According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Founder of Ditto Music Lee Persons, Aside from the billions of dollars in unclaimed royalties that Bluebox will be tackling, the Bluebox app will let creators lock in their split payments at the point of creation and get paid separately and accurately for each use of that song, adding that, It’s going to revolutionize payments across the music industry and help the millions of artists claim what is rightfully theirs.

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Green Conference Re-shapes The Career Focus Of Ghanaian Architecture Students



CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA, January 14th, 2020/ – Architecture students from the Central University in Accra say the have started the new year with a clearer career focus following their participation in the Green Building Council of South Africa’s annual conference in Cape Town.

The students, Cheryl Omani-Baah, Olufemi Abodunrin and David Gifat Ampiaw, have a new perspective after the conference, placing a larger value on the importance of sustainable design. Bringing their experience home to Ghana, the students aim to be change agents, inspiring their colleagues to design green and help the Ghanaian government enforce their new green building code.

The students told News Ghana in an interview that they were pleasantly surprised to see that people in Cape Town were so conscious of the environment. “The property sector in Cape Town has gone far in making the city sustainable,” said Cheryl Omani Baah. “The materials that we normally throw away in Ghana are being reused in Cape Town and not as much waste is being produced. I hope that one day our building sector gets to the level where we are equally enthusiastic about saving the environment.”

Green building expert shares his experience with the students

Olufemi Abodunrin agreed. “What I gathered from the conference is that Cape Town is advanced in terms of green buildings and people are very conscious of protecting the environment.”

The students continued with how the experience in South Africa has helped to influence their interest in sustainable design. “Since returning from the conference, I’ve been more focused on how to reduce carbon emissions,” said David Gifat Ampiaw. “I’ve also been sharing the knowledge I acquired at the conference with my peers to influence them to think of the environment as they design their projects.”

Cheryl Omani-Baah agreed. “Since we came back, I’ve been able to influence my mates to design in a new way. When we leave the classroom, we’re going to influence other architects, our friends and families to also go green. It really starts with one person spreading the concept.”

The students concluded their conversation with News Ghana with advice for architects to be more conscious of the environmental impacts of buildings when executing projects. “In Ghana, we tend to design to fit what the client wants,” Cheryl Omani-Baah said. “We’re not thinking of how we may end up destroying the environment. In the design stage, we should inform the client of the environmental impact of the building and suggest a greener way. If we do that, we will help the entire economy of Ghana.”

Cheryl Omani-Baah at the IFC EDGE Student Design Awards

David Gifat Ampiaw, Olufemi Abodunrin and Cheryl Omani-Baah are winners of the Architectural Design Competition organized by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and its partners in July 2019.

The competition challenged students to design a cutting-edge, single-family home intended for a young family on the outskirts of Accra, using locally-available materials and IFC’s EDGE software. Homes had to reach the EDGE standard of a minimum savings of 20 percent less energy, water, and embodied energy in materials.

Winners of the competition travelled to Cape Town to attend the Green Building Council of South Africa’s conference in early October last year.

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