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Spotify Is Considering Raising U.S. Subscription Prices, CEO Daniel Ek Says, Following Apple and YouTube – Variety

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For years, there has been one quick solution to at least partially remedy the low royalty payments most musicians receive from streaming services: Raise subscription prices.

In the past several years, streaming has revived a music industry that had seen its revenue literally cut in half due to illegal downloading and plummeting CD sales. Yet the the U.S. subscription price, which was set at $9.99 per month at the dawn of the streaming age more than two decades ago to mirror the cost of a Blockbuster video-rental subscription, implausibly had not budged until recent weeks. In fact, the ground war for market share had become so grueling that streamers were competing in a race to the bottom, via dozens of different plans — including ad-supported, a.k.a. free models, student and family plans, bundling and more — all of which added up to less money for musicians and songwriters.

“It makes no sense,” Milana Lewis, CEO of the distribution and payments platform Stem, told Variety earlier this year. . “The price of everything else on earth is going up, and they all keep finding new ways to make subscriptions cheaper.” Surveys have shown that users are willing to pay more.

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But that is finally changing. On Monday, Apple Music raised its subscription price to $10.99 per month for individuals, with the family plan jumping two dollars to $16.99/month, among other plan increases. YouTube is raising the price of its U.S. Premium Family plan from $17.99 to $22.99 monthly. Deezer, which is a smaller player in the U.S. but the fourth or fifth largest globally (depending on whether one counts China-only Tencent) has raised its prices internationally.

During Spotify’s third-quarter earnings call on Tuesday, co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek said the company is considering one as well.

“When our competitors are raising their prices, that is really good for us,” he said, noting that the company has raised prices more than 40 times in markets around the world.

Raising the subscription price in the U.S., the world’s largest music market by far, “is one of the things we would like to do and it’s something we will [discuss] with our label partners. I feel good about this upcoming year, and what it means about pricing for our service,” he said, without providing further details.

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So Who Is The Game Awards’ ‘Elden Ring’ Bill Clinton Kid? – Forbes

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Last night at The Game Awards, as many expected, Elden Ring took home Game of the Year in the final award of the night. But as director Hidetaka Miyazaki, his translator and team took the stage, something…weird was going on behind them.

A kid was lurking there. A teen maybe. He looked out of place among the middle-aged Japanese men standing there, and on Twitter everyone was asking who exactly he was. One of their children?

And then he took the microphone.

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The best transcript of what he said in some sort of unidentifiable accent is “I think I want to thank everybody and say that… I think I want to nominate this award to my reformed orthodox rabbi bill Clinton, thank you everybody.”

At that point, it became clear he was not supposed to be there, and he was quickly ushered off stage. Geoff Keighley, organizer and host of The Game Awards, tweeted shortly after that he had been arrested. And the internet then positively blew up with Elden Ring-based memes and jokes and just…disbelief, trying to understand what they just saw.

Here’s what we believe we know about this kid and what he was doing there, though I will refrain from posting his name as he appears to be a minor.

  • A Twitter account appearing to belong to the kid has posted about the interruption, taking credit. It’s an old account, tied to his past online activities which is mainly protesting police brutality and government oppression in Hong Kong.
  • Previously, this kid did something similar in 2019 at BlizzCon where he interrupted a World of Warcraft panel by shouting “Free Hong Kong.” That is documented on this same Twitter account.
  • Also in 2019, he was on TV at a Clippers game holding up a Hong Kong shirt that the cameraman had to pan away from:
  • He has a TikTok that is mainly about Hong Kong, and at times, he has put on an accent similar to what we heard in this incoherent Game Awards speech.
  • Perhaps most strangely of all, he appeared on conspiracy network InfoWars two years ago, who described him as “one of the young stars of the conservative movement” and had him talking about his Hong Kong protests.
  • There are unverified DMs being posted showing him claiming that he was going to do this walk on stage prank ahead of time, and posting in the moments leading up to it.
  • He follows me on Twitter, it turns out, so I’ve asked him to verify his identity and comment on why he did what he did on stage, and will update if I hear back.

Of course, what he said when he got up there was not tied to Hong Kong, and references to his “reformed orthodox rabbi Bill Clinton,” while nonsense, does feel like it could be tied to some sort of anti-Semitic and Clinton-focused conspiracy of which there are a thousand variants online. Or he’s just a kid who’s trolling.

But it’s more than trolling, because for Keighley and The Game Awards, a show that was last watched by 85 million people in 2021, this represents a serious security breach. While the kid just went up there and spouted nonsense, it’s easy to imagine a different scenario in which a troubled kid wandered up on stage in a bulky black coat during an event watched by tens of millions of people full of industry celebrities and things could have gone…very badly, if he had ill-intent. There will have to be security overhauls after this, as well as an examination of how he was at the show in first place, how he was in a position to just walk on stage, why he was left up there so long and why he was even allowed to speak without his mic being cut.

So, that’s what we know so far. It’s a kid who has done this sort of thing before but now, on the biggest stage in the industry. We’ll see what happens next from here, and I will update with any developments.

Follow me on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. Subscribe to my free weekly content round-up newsletter, God Rolls.

Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series and The Earthborn Trilogy.

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Armored Core VI Announced, Which Isn’t A Souls Game

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ARMORED CORE VI FIRES OF RUBICON – Reveal Trailer

I have not played an Armored Core game in a very long time, and even then I was never the biggest fan. But this looks cool as hell. It’s coming in 2023 for Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, PS5 and PC.

Here’s some official words:

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ARMORED CORE VI FIRES OF RUBICON will offer a game experience based on the mech game know-how FromSoftware cultivated over 25 years of developing games in the series, but now introducing groundbreaking gameplay found in the developer’s recent action games. The new ARMORED CORE title will combine these elements into thrilling action that only mechas can provide. The game promises to be a unique entry in the mech action game genre.

In ARMORED CORE VI FIRES OF RUBICON, players will be able to freely move through massive three-dimensional environments with rapid maneuverability while experiencing visceral vehicular combat. Signature to FromSoftware’s carefully crafted game design, the game will feature challenging and memorable battles along with a fulfilling progression system and deep gameplay, all of it now powered by assembling mechs and going into combat with massive bosses. Players will recognize the sense of satisfaction and achievement when they overcome a difficult situation and relish momentary victory, and perhaps a boost to their standing, before encountering the next challenge.

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After Heated Battle, Genshin Impact Wins Player’s Voice at The 2022 Game Awards

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Genshin Impact has won the Player’s Voice award at The Game Awards 2022, following an intense battle against Elden Ring and Sonic Frontiers.

Unlike other awards bestowed at The Game Awards, which are primarily determined by members of the press and other influential individuals in the industry, the Player’s Voice category is 100% fan-voted. Earlier this week, ahead o the show, the results projected that Genshin Impact would edge out both Sonic Frontiers and Elden Ring. Other nominees for the Player’s Voice category include God of War: Ragnarok and Stray.

Although Elden Ring, in particular, did not get selected, FromSoftware’s latest project did go home with a few awards, including Best Art Direction and Best Game Direction. For more on the winners from this year’s Game Awards, check out our roundup that features the nominees and winners of each category.

Taylor is the Associate Tech Editor at IGN. You can follow her on Twitter @TayNixster.

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