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It’s all about the music this week! 🎸 Uppbeat provides a solution for creators who have fallen afoul of copyright issues when adding music to videos. Amazon Music is set to overtake Pandora as the No.2 streaming service in the US. And just up the street here in D.C., Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” tech is ‘appening at Whole Foods in Glover Park. Our Stat of the Week looks at crypto donations flowing to Ukraine. And What’s dAppening reports on the world’s first NFT vending machine.

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🎬 Takes

🛒 📱 Whole Foods – First Store with Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” Technology Opens

Tired of waiting in line to pay for your organic sparkling water? Whole Foods here in Washington DC (the one in Glover Park) now uses Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” technology, meaning you fill your basket and walk out the door. Use your app, credit card, or your palm (Amazon One payment) when entering the store, then scan or tap out when you leave; there’s no need to scan individual items as cameras track what goes in your basket. If you want, you can opt out and pay at the register which kind of defeats the purpose, but each to their own. Amazon, which bought Whole Foods in 2017, has already used this tech in its Amazon Fresh stores in North America and Europe, and it has provided Just Walk Out for venues like Resorts World Casino and TD Gardens, and retailers like Hudson. But this is a first for its Whole Foods division. The choice of a DC location seems to be no coincidence either, given Amazon HQ2 is being built in Arlington, VA, which is right on the doorstep of the nation’s capital (and 3Advance HQ). Whole Foods also plans to open a Just Walk Out store in California later in 2022. #BigTechGroceries Read more here.


🎵 🎙️ Uppbeat – Music Platform Raises Helps Creators Avoid Copyright Issues

Here at 3Advance, we love hearing stories where innovative tech solves problems with simple solutions. Content creators on platforms like YouTube run into many difficulties when adding licensed music to their videos. For example, YouTube uses an algorithm called ContentID to scan videos for the use of copyrighted music, and it can automatically remove your videos from the platform or get you into legal trouble with the rights holders. Enter UK based Uppbeat, a service for creators that provides quality music free of copyright. We like to think of it as a kind of Shutterstock for music, although it has other options like sound effects that might titillate different types of creators. Uppbeat already has 500K users, and it has just raised over $6 million in Series A funding to grow the service further. It costs $6.99 a month for the Premium service, but there are free plans (with more limited resources) available. You’ve read our takes on the many apps that are empowering creators these days, and we love the simple solution Uppbeat provides. #UppbeatCopyrightFree Read more here.


🎸 📈 Amazon Music – Set to Overtake Pandora as No. 2 Music Platform in the US

Insider Intelligence has crunched the latest music streaming numbers, and it predicts that Amazon Music is set to become No.2 in the US (behind the mighty Spotify) with 52.6 million users this year, overtaking Pandora in the process. Is Pandora still a thingAsks everyone outside of America. Yup. But it’s expected to see a decline of 6.7% in its 52.3 million users this year, whereas Amazon Music is set to grow by 5.3%. Why all the love for Amazon Music? Well, it’s made some improvements (always listen to your customer feedback, folks), including the addition of lossless (high resolution) audio and an increased emphasis on podcasts. Spotify has yet to implement the former, whereas the latter, podcasting, is expected to form the battlefield for streaming services for years to come. We should note that reporting music streaming numbers can get messy, as there’s often a conflation of paid subscribers and those on free plans. So, while Apple Music is technically behind Pandora, all of its 38 million users are on paid plans; only 7 million of Pandora’s users pay a subscription. As for Amazon Music, there’s a free plan, paid-for subscriptions, and some overlap from its Prime Membership deals. Therefore, hats off 🎩 to Insider Intelligence for untangling this one. #AmazonMusicNo2 Read more here.

🧐 Stat of the Week — $80M+ Crypto Donations for Ukraine

It’s been dubbed the “world’s first crypto war” by the Washington Post, and it feels apt given the role cryptocurrency is playing in donations to Ukraine. The moment Ukraine’s official Twitter account tweeted, “now accepting cryptocurrency donations”, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Polkadot, and even Dogecoin started rolling in. At the time of writing, it has topped $80 million in donations (this will likely rise by the time you read this). Originally, the Ukrainian government had planned an airdrop to help those in the war effort, but this idea was later canceled. Instead, they announced plans to release NFTs to support the armed forces. Beware, though, that scammers are already launching tokens made to look like they are coming from official Ukraine government wallets. If you want to donate crypto to the relief effort, you can find legitimate information here. #UkraineCrypto Read more here.

🕸️ What’s dAppening?

💳 🐒 Neon – Vending Machines Offer Opportunity For In-Person NFT Purchases

In a low-key location in Manhattan, nuzzled between a deli and clothes store, you’ll find the world’s first NFT vending machine. For as little as $4.99 (not all NFTs cost millions), you can use your credit card and buy your very own NFT as easily as buying a bag of chips. The vending machine is owned by a Chicago-based startup, Neon. Of course, you don’t physically get an NFT; you get a QR code to scan with your phone, then you can mint your NFT on the Solana blockchain. The question is: Where does this go from here? Will there be an NFT vending machine on every corner? Will you be able to pick up a CryptoPunk NFT at your local Whole Foods (without paying at the register, of course)? We are a little skeptical, but it’s another example of the mainstreaming of NFTs, and we have to give props to Neon for coming up with such a neat concept. #NFTsWithYourDoritos Read more here.

Meanwhile at 3Advance…

A few weeks ago we talked up one of our go-to internal tools, Notion, and their Block by Block conference that happened last week. We already know that Notion is truly a great app, but we also got to witness first hand how great their conferences are too. It was jam-packed with guest speakers, insightful sessions and even a live jazz trio at the end. 🎷 And on the note of applying user feedback to make apps better, Notion announced that they’re rolling out a host of new features including an updated sidebar, improvements to customized databases, external tool connections and new community programs. Check ‘em out here. If you missed the conference, we compiled some of our take-aways, and you can catch the recordings for yourself here. 📹

  • From the Keynote session with Martha Stewart: No one should just build a brand – Martha saw success because she herself constantly lives her brand and her brand’s values daily.
  • From the Scaling a Company Through Hypergrowth session: A focus on increasing revenue is a waste of time until you have a product you love and are fully confident in. If you don’t yet, then spend more time refining that first.
  • From the Building a Connected Company session with Bumble’s President: Having great technology and internal tools helps, but no matter what, the core ingredient to a high functioning team is intentionality.
  • From the In Conversation with Ira Glass session: Finding the best solutions means carving out time – purposefully adding this into a timeline allows for a team that’s building something together to talk things over and stay connected.