08-15-2020  6:48 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Portland State Disarms Campus Police Two Years After Black Man's Death

In June 2018, two campus officers fatally shot Jason Washington, a Navy veteran, while he was trying to break up a fight outside a bar off-campus.

City Awards $548,000 in Cannabis Revenue to BIPOC-Focused Organizations

Six groups receive grants to focus on restorative justice, closing income gap. 

PHOTOS: Snapshots From Downtown Portland

View a slideshow of recent photos taken by The Skanner downtown Portland.

Prosecutor Won't Act on Low-level Portland Protest Arrests

At least several hundred people who have been arrested in the past few months will not face criminal prosecution.

NEWS BRIEFS

Girl Scouts of the USA Announces First Black CEO In Its 108-Year History

Judith Batty follows in the footsteps of Gloria Dean Randle Scott, Ph.D., who was elected as the first Black national president of...

Wyden, Colleagues Announce College Athletes Bill of Rights

Landmark proposal would guarantee fair and equitable compensation, enforceable safety standards and improved educational opportunities...

Oregon Continues Sending Families Pandemic School Meal Benefits

More than 230,000 students have received benefits in six weeks. ...

Ryan Narrowly Wins Over Smith for Portland Commissioner, Position 2

Dan Ryan will fill the seat on the Portland City Council previously held by Nick Fish. ...

MISSING: Michael Bryson Was Last Seen August 5

The Eugene man was last seen at campground SE of Cottage Grove ...

Cars getting towed at crowded recreation areas, trailheads

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Public officials in Oregon and Washington have a warning for people visiting trailheads and recreation areas across the region this weekend: park illegally and you might get towed. The U.S. Forest Service tweeted a photo Thursday showing a car being towed from a...

Portland police declare unlawful assembly amid protests

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland police declared an unlawful assembly Friday night and ordered protesters to leave, saying people were throwing things at officers. Anyone ignoring the order could face arrest or crowd control methods such as tear gas, police said. Police have been targeted with...

LSU adds Missouri, Vanderbilt in revamped SEC schedule

Defending Southeastern Conference and national champion LSU will host Missouri and visit Vanderbilt in its expanded Southeastern Conference schedule, while Alabama will visit Mizzou and host Kentucky in league play revised by the coronavirus pandemic. The league on Friday released two additional...

Missouri's Drinkwitz takes side in mask-or-no-mask debate

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Eli Drinkwitz has been the head coach at Missouri for just over seven months. He has yet to lead the Tigers onto the football field, much less win a game, yet his role in the community already has forced him to take some important stands.First, it was supporting his new...

OPINION

Historians Offer Context, Caution on Lessons 1918 Flu Pandemic Holds for COVID

Scholars find parallels of inequitable suffering between pandemic of 1918 and pandemic of 2020 ...

US Reps Adams and DeFazio Call on Postmaster General to Resign

The legislators say Trump appointee Louis DeJoy is sabotaging the US Postal Service and could harm the election ...

Da 5 Bloods and America Abroad

Even before I returned to the United States from my combat tour in Vietnam, I had decided that we were fighting an unjust war. ...

Falling Behind: COVID, Climate Change, and Chaos

Multiple Crises, Multiple Obstacles ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

AP FACT CHECK: Trump skews record on Biden-Harris, economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump greeted the Democratic presidential ticket of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris this past week with a litany of distortion and falsehoods, raging against cases of voting fraud where they didn't exist and declining to quash conspiracy theories about...

Georgia park with Confederate sculpture shuts gates to rally

ATLANTA (AP) — Suburban Atlanta's Stone Mountain Park, home of a giant sculpture of Confederate leaders, says it will close its gates Saturday in the face of a planned right-wing rally.The event has sparked fears of violence, especially before an all-Black militia said earlier this week that...

Freeman's legacy endures long after Sydney's flame went out

In a momentary pause between reality sinking in and her victory celebrations fully starting, Cathy Freeman looked toward a track official and twirled her index finger to signal a full circuit.It wasn’t a question of if, but for how long.Within seconds, she had an Australian flag and the...

ENTERTAINMENT

J Balvin says he is recovering from the coronavirus

NEW YORK (AP) — Colombian superstar J Balvin says he is recovering after battling the coronavirus.In a pre-taped video that aired Thursday night as Balvin accepted an award at Premios Juventud 2020, the performer revealed he contracted COVID-19 and that it impacted him heavily.“At...

Dev Patel celebrates India from his Los Angeles front yard

LONDON (AP) — Quarantine brought opportunities to Dev Patel’s front yard.From a safe distance, the British actor was able to enjoy both his birthday and his relationship with India without leaving his L.A. home.The first was courtesy of his girlfriend, Australian actress Tilda...

'Succession' star Nicholas Braun writes a virus dating song

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Actor Nicholas Braun, who plays fan favorite Cousin Greg on HBO’s “Succession,” has captured the fraught nature of dating during the pandemic in a catchy new punk song that started as a joke. “If you come within 6 feet, it’s mask on, mask...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Fewer people but deep faith on Greece's Assumption holiday

TINOS, Greece (AP) — In twos and threes, in small groups or alone, they came. Most walking, many crawling,...

Partner of dead Belarus protester believes police shot him

MINSK, Belarus (AP) — The partner of a man who died in the protests engulfing Belarus says she does not...

Delaware thrust into unlikely starring role in 2020 campaign

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — Delaware isn't a swing state. It has three electoral votes. Driving its entire...

Fewer people but deep faith on Greece's Assumption holiday

TINOS, Greece (AP) — In twos and threes, in small groups or alone, they came. Most walking, many crawling,...

Japan marks 75th anniversary of war end with no Abe apology

TOKYO (AP) — Japan on Saturday marked the 75th anniversary of its surrender in World War II, with Emperor...

75 years later, can Asia shake off shackles of the past?

TOKYO (AP) — Northeast Asia doesn’t so much repeat history as drag it along like an anchor. The...

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Richard Sherman wearing Beats
Ryan Nakashima, AP Business Writer

In this Aug. 17, 2013 photo, Seattle Seahawks' Richard Sherman wears Beats headphones before a preseason NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, in Seattle. Apple's $3 billion purchase of Beats Electronics, by far the company's largest acquisition, is at least in part recognition that Beats founders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine might be able to help Apple incorporate more style and flair into its premium technology gadgets —especially a coming wave of wearable devices. (AP Photo/John Froschauer, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Apple's $3 billion purchase of headphone maker and streaming music company Beats Electronics sheds light on a rarely recognized reality in the music-streaming industry: It's hard to succeed in the business without offering other products and services.

Streaming-music companies like Beats Music, which charge users up to $10 a month, can sometimes pay as much as 70 percent of their revenue in artist royalty fees. That leaves little left for advertising and promotional campaigns to explain to consumers the benefits of paying for a music service.

“The only people that can afford to get into this business have other main businesses,” said Mark Mulligan, a music industry analyst and blogger with MIDiA Consulting. “Every service ends up putting itself into significant debt just to cover its basic operating costs.”

Even streaming leader Spotify — with 10 million paying customers worldwide — is reportedly burning through cash as it seeks to attract enough subscribers to help it turn a profit. With just 250,000 subscribers, analysts say Beats Music is even further from that goal.

Although analysts say Apple's purchase is largely an acquisition of talent and a way to offset the declining popularity of iTunes song downloads, the company notes its main source of revenue has always been from devices. Music is just a hook to make those devices more usable and attractive.

Observers believe Apple's purchase of Beats could have both positive and negative effects for other streaming companies.

On the one hand, if Apple Inc. pushes hard to promote streaming-music subscriptions and makes the idea more acceptable to a broader audience that currently purchases downloads or acquires pirated music, the company's efforts could help all music services.

After all, Apple has been the driving force in many new product categories. It popularized digital music players with the iPod, gave birth to the smartphone era with the iPhone, and was instrumental in creating consumer demand for tablets with the iPad.

“We're cheering from the sidelines,” said Paul Springer, senior vice president of the Americas for Rhapsody International, which has 1.7 million paying music subscribers worldwide. “When the most valuable company in the world says that music subscriptions are strategic to its future, that's great for our sector. That's great for customer awareness.”

Even so, there's a downside for the industry. Apple could easily devalue music subscriptions by running the service at a loss because it makes plenty of money elsewhere. Apple is likely to advertise and possibly offer bundled discounts to make Beats Music a bigger force.

Already, prices across the industry for unlimited streaming plans are starting to drop from the original price of $10 a month. Beats itself offers a family subscription for $15 a month for up to five people, as long as they're on a group account with cellphone operator AT&T. For a limited time, mobile carrier Sprint has cut Spotify Premium prices to $5 a month per person as long as six people are on a family plan.

If Apple creates an even more attractive bundle for people who buy Beats headphones or Apple devices, stand-alone music services may find it tougher to compete.

“It makes Spotify nervous,” says James McQuivey, a digital content business analyst with Forrester Research. “They only have the one revenue stream. It would be harder for them to compete in a marketplace against someone that doesn't have to return the same cash.”

Even before Apple jumped in, the paid streaming music business was in a tight squeeze. Spotify, based in Sweden, reportedly lost about $80 million, despite more than doubling revenue to around $590 million, in 2012. Its results for 2013 are expected in the next couple of months, although Spotify said earlier this month that its paying subscribers jumped 66 percent over the last 14 months.

Rdio, the streaming service backed by Skype co-founder Janus Friis, last year sold a 15 percent equity stake to radio station network operator Cumulus Media Inc. in exchange for $75 million of on-air advertising. The deal was an acknowledgement that cash flow from its operations wasn't enough to pay for marketing.

It's unclear what Apple's purchase means for the value of other streaming operators, because the $3 billion price tag includes some amount for the hugely popular headphone portion of the business, which is profitable and posted $1.1 billion in revenue last year.

What is clear is that music streaming is just a part of the mix for Apple. Figuring out how best to match music with its devices could help Apple stand out in an increasingly crowded consumer electronics market.

“Apple always bundled software well with hardware,” says Moshe Cohen, an assistant professor at Columbia Business School. “That is a big advantage. How to create those bundles is important to producing a superior product and a much bigger business.”

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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