Robert Cookson

Taylor Swift clearly touched a nerve at Spotify last week when she pulled all of her music from the streaming service.

Daniel Ek, Spotify’s chief executive, has responded to her move by publishing a 1,800 word essay that defends the company’s business model and reveals some fascinating numbers about its growth. Read more

Robert Cookson

The Economist, the 171-year-old weekly magazine, is launching its first daily edition.

The new product, called The Economist Espresso, will be available from Friday via smartphone apps and email. It takes the form of a daily briefing that is designed to be read in a few minutes each morning, and is part of a drive to expand The Economist’s digital audience following the first circulation decline in more than a decade. Read more

Robert Cookson

The New York Times Company and Axel Springer are hoping that a little-known Dutch start-up called Blendle may hold the key to making money from news online.

The two media groups have paid a combined €3m to acquire a 23 per cent stake in Blendle, which was founded last year and styles itself as the “iTunes for journalism”.

Blendle was launched in the Netherlands in April and sells individual articles from a number of newspapers and magazines to internet users through its website and app. On average an article costs 20 cents. The pricing per article is set by the publishers and revenues are split 70:30 between the publisher and Blendle. If a reader doesn’t like an article, they can ask for a refund. Read more

Robert Cookson

Facebook has created a new “missed call” product for advertisers in India, marking the first time that the social network has designed a special ad format for a single country.

When a mobile phone user clicks on one of the ads, it calls the advertiser and immediately hangs up. The advertiser returns the call with pre-recorded entertainment content and a marketing message – enabling the consumer to avoid paying data charges.

Facebook’s creation of a special ad product in India, where the company has more than 100m users, is part of a broader push to develop customised solutions across emerging marketsRead more

Robert Cookson

Google has fired off a new salvo in its campaign to convince the world that Glass is cool rather than creepy.

A month after telling early adopters of the wearable technology how to avoid becoming a “Glasshole”, Google is now attempting to win over the public with a Buzzfeed-style list of “The Top 10 Google Glass Myths”. Read more

Robert Cookson

Big media companies owned by profit-hungry private equity groups don’t normally give their core products away for free.

But Getty Images, which was acquired for $3.3bn by Carlyle in 2012, is doing just that. The world’s largest supplier of stock photos has made more than 30m images available to people to share for free on their blogs and social media sites, including tumblr, WordPress and Twitter.

This is not charity, however. Behind the move lies cold commercial logic. It’s all about data, control and advertising. Read more

Robert Cookson

Technological utopians have been predicting for years that the internet will weaken the dominance of superstar artists in the music industry and enrich the teeming masses of smaller, niche creators.

But new research suggests that this “long tail” theory is wrong: superstars are capturing the vast majority of music revenues and their share is increasing – not decreasing – because of the rise of digital services like iTunes and Spotify.

The top 1 per cent of artists – the likes of Rihanna and Adele – accounted for a whopping 77 per cent of recorded music income in 2013, according to research by Mark Mulligan of Midia Consulting. Read more

Robert Cookson

For a company that distributes content to more than 390m web users each month, Outbrain has so far maintained a relatively low profile outside the worlds of online publishing and marketing.

But the fast-growing Israeli start-up is attracting an increasing amount of attention, having installed its content recommendation engine on more than 100,000 websites including 700 “premium publishers” such as The Independent, CNN and Rolling Stone. It is reported to be gearing up for an IPO that could value the company at $1bnRead more

Robert Cookson

Criteo has started delivering personalised advertising within mobile apps, a big shift for the $2bn technology group that built its business on targeting ads within web browsers on desktops.

The Nasdaq-listed company is one of many ad tech groups rushing to bring techniques that are common on the web to the nascent but fast-growing market for targeted, real-time advertising in apps. Read more

Robert Cookson

A National Security Agency employee who co-chairs an influential cryptography standards group has survived an attempt to oust him following accusations that he promoted a flawed security protocol.

Kevin Igoe, a senior cryptographer at the NSA, is joint chair of the Crypto Forum Research Group. The CFRG plays an important role in online security because it provides guidance on cryptographic techniques to the Internet Engineering Task Force, a standard-setting body that helps shape the internetRead more