Music Industry Torn Over the Battle for Digital Downloads

The music industry is struggling and technology is to blame. Such has been the lament of artists, producers, and music labels for almost two decades.

Gone are the days of passing out flyers to promote a band’s new record or upcoming album release, despite the fact that Americans use 9 billion tons of paper a year. Technology is undoubtedly revolutionizing the music industry, but certain groups of people within the industry believe it’s changing for the better, while others, specifically many smaller musicians, are worried about their future.

In 2014, there were roughly 173,000 self-employed musicians working in the United States. Although some of those artists went on to have extremely lucrative and successful careers in the music industry, the majority of self-employed artists have to continually fight to survive in this competitive and increasingly digital industry.

According to Forbes, payments to musicians, songwriters, and the companies that represent them are at extremely low rates in 2017, and computers are actually making a bad problem worse. With more music fans streaming music online, incorrect metadata is resulting in missed payments, low payments, or the wrong rights holders receiving payments altogether.

Digital Music News, however, is optimistic about the outlook for the music industry, which might be showing signs of a comeback.

“The revenue returning to rights holders through these [streaming] services in 2016 amounted to $553 million,” reported the International Federation of Phonographic Industries. “By contrast, a much smaller use base of 212 million users of auto subscription services [both paid and ad-supported], that have negotiated licenses on fair terms, contributed over $3.9 billion.”

Some old school musicians, especially those who made fortunes off the “old way” of doing thing, are much less optimistic about the industry. Now, some of these music legends are speaking out.

And according to at least one aging rocker, the prognosis for the future of the music industry is grim:

“Good luck to ’em. I am not a supporter,” said co-leader of KISS Gene Simmons, referring to Spotify and other streaming services. “If you wanna earn a living, you can’t get the music out there. So you’re living in your mother’s basement, you have to have a day job and the kids get your music for free…And the people that killed all the new bands are the fans themselves. It wasn’t corporate America, it wasn’t aliens from space.

“The people that killed the music they love are the people who love the music.”

Market Reports Expected Growth for Global Construction Industry Over Next 4 Years

The United States currently has the second largest construction market in the entire world. The U.S. construction market contributes over $900 billion in expenditures. On a global scale, the overall construction market is expected to continue to grow over the next few years.

Market officials are optimistic about the current state and future of the construction industry, despite technology automating a significant amount of jobs in other industries.

General construction will be a major part of the upcoming construction growth because of the increase in popularity of newly built homes. Roughly 41% of the American population prefer a brand-new home over an older existing one.

According to The Stack, by the year 2021, the global data centre construction market is expected to grow to $73.87 billion.

“The general construction sector occupies a majority 43% of the global data center construction market,” said Abhishek Sharma, a lead analyst at Technavio for construction data research. “This sector encompasses the design and construction of a well-secured facility, in addition to installing the setup, flooring, internal frames, external walls, windows, doors, installation of infrastructure, and disposal fittings.”

As Yahoo Finance reports, in addition to the general construction sector, electrical and mechanical construction will play important contributing roles in the growing global market as well.

The electrical construction segment is projected to reach $20.9 billion by 2021 and the mechanical construction segment is projected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of over 9%.

“Data center designs include mechanical components such as cooling solutions and racks. It also includes sprinklers, piping, belts, filters, water pipework installations, and lifts,” Abhishek added.

Despite the industry optimism, a stronger emphasis on safety must be placed on each sector of the construction market. In 2015 alone, a total of 4,836 construction workers were killed while on the job, which equals 13 deaths each day.

The overall report took into consideration revenue, emerging trends, forecasts and current analysis.

More Millennials Are Becoming Wine Snobs, and Big Beer Companies Can’t Handle It

Think Millennials are stuck in their college days and prefer beer as their alcoholic drink of choice down at the bars? Well, think again.

Turns out that instead of asking their bartender what’s on tap, Millennials are more likely to pick between red, white, and rose. Millennials are consuming more wine than any generation before them, and large beer brands are starting to notice.

Back in 2015, the Millennial generation as a whole consumed 159.6 million cases of wine. This represented about 36% of all the wine sales in that year, a statistic that has only risen since then.

Not only that but when Millennials drink, they drink a lot. This generation is on its way to becoming wine connoisseurs, as the number of high-frequency wine drinkers has risen from 8% in 2005 to 13% back in 2010, according to the Wine Market Council (YMC).

It turns out that when Millennials pick a favorite wine, they really do mean business.

Some believe that this trend change is a means of identification and maturity for the generation that struggles to be taken seriously in the public eye.

“Wine drinkers are beginning to sort themselves out,” President of the WMC, John Gillespie, explains to Business Insider. “It’s the self-identification of, ‘Yeah, I’m a wine person.'”

So what does this mean for the big beer brands that have thrived off Millennials and college-aged drinkers in the past few years? Inexpensive brands such as Bud Light, Pabst Blue Ribbon, and Heineken have been trying their hardest to market to young generations but aren’t having the best of luck ever since wine entered the picture with a splash.

Budweiser, in particular, is having many problems maintaining Millennial drinkers. The brand, known for its Americana vibe, Clydesdale horses, and adorable puppies, is starting to become quite stale in consumer’s eyes. This could be due to the fact that Budweiser is an internationally recognized brand of beer and doesn’t have the variety or the unique tastes craft beer has. Plus, as a whole, craft beer is becoming more and more popular for consumers, with the market being worth $19.6 billion.

The brand is still struggling despite recently having one of the most expensive celebrity endorsements ever. Right after the Superbowl, which is one of the most lucrative advertising opportunities for American businesses, Budweiser got a post-game shoutout from Patriots Quarterback Peyton Manning. Estimated to be worth about $3.2 million in media opportunity, while this endorsement led to a social media surge, it did not provide a lasting impact on sales.

To put this in perspective, more than 80% of social media discussion about beer on Super Bowl Sunday was related to Budweiser. And even though a good majority of social media users report that what they read online– such as what is posted on Facebook–makes an impact on their purchasing decision, Budweiser hasn’t been so lucky. va-facebook

Even though sales continued to drop, this past fiscal year was one of the best in Budweiser’s history, as the company admitted that the brand’s total market value dropped 15 points as a whole. Considering that per capita, Budweiser consumption fell from 30 cans annually to just 18 cans between 2004 and 2013, this does not fare well, despite expensive celebrity endorsements.

So for the brand that calls themselves the “King of Beers,” their Millennial “subjects” are changing their pace to something a bit more fruity. Plus, with the growing popularity of the craft beer market, we’ll have to wait and see who will come out on top as the new ruler of the alcohol world.

Study Reveals People with ADHD Have Differing Brain Structures

Approximately 96% of parents believe that proper education can make up for a child’s learning disorder, but a new study has provided substantial evidence that people with ADHD have brain structures that differ from neuro-typical individuals.

The data gathered has led scientists to believe that ADHD should be considered an issue of brain development, not of motivation or family dynamics. The study was published in the Lancet Psychiatry and was “the largest brain imaging study of its kind,” according to the Washington Post.

The study, conducted by a consortium called ENIGMA (Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics through Meta Analysis), included cranial scans from children, adolescents, and adults who are diagnosed with ADHD. Researchers reported that the biggest discrepancies in brain volume were present in children.

When compared to a control group, patients with ADHD experienced slower development in five out of seven regions in the brain, including the amygdala. The amygdala is responsible for regulating emotional responses and had the greatest volume reduction of the seven regions studied. This surprised researchers because while the amygdala is an important regulator in the brain, there was previously no evidence that suggested it was linked to ADHD.

Geneticist and study author Martine Hoogman of Radboud University in the Netherlands said the amygdala “is involved in emotion regulation and … in the process of [inhibiting] a response. Both cognitive processes are characteristic of ADHD, so it does make sense to have found this structure to be implicated in ADHD.”

In the past, small sample sizes have inhibited ADHD research and created unreliable results, but this study put much of that uncertain data to rest. Just as neglecting vehicles can cost the U.S. economy over $2 billion annually, neglecting proper research can have a great cost.

A grand total of 3,242 people from ages four to 63 were observed in the study. Almost half of the study participants undergoing MRI scans were control subjects, but the other half had ADHD.

Jonathan Posner, who wasn’t involved in the study but who does pediatric brain imaging research at Columbia University Medical School explained that this is something of a breakthrough in ADHD research.

“Because this study was orders of magnitude higher in terms of participants, and because it involved sampling broadly and internationally, it gives us more confidence,” he said.

The study has given other researchers hope for the future of ADHD research as well. Scientists knew that ADHD patients’ brains displayed small differences, but this most recent study has solidified claims that were once a bit cloudy.

Above all else, ENIGMA researchers hope that this study will help reduce some of the stigma that surrounds those people living with ADHD.

Facebook Could Soon Compete With Netflix

Currently, Netflix is the single largest bandwidth user on the Internet, accounting for over a third — 38% — of all online traffic during peak evening hours. Although HBO Go, Hulu, and other streaming services have tried to compete, no one has able to steal the crown from Netflix. Facebook, however, after dominating the social media industry for years, could potentially pose a threat to Netflix in the future.

According to Investopedia, Facebook recently hired Mina Lefevre, the former head of scripted development at Viacom, the company that ran MTV Networks. Lefevre will help the company transition from a social media powerhouse to a “video-first” company by creating compelling video content.

“We want people to think of Facebook as a place for interesting and relevant video content from professional creators as well as their friends,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Quartz reports that since 2014, Zuckerberg has continually stressed the importance of video playing a role in the company’s future. Hiring Lefevre is a major move for Facebook, but one that has stayed in line with some of the other decisions the company has made in recent months.

Facebook is currently developing an app for set-top boxes that will allow users to watch potential studio-quality videos from Facebook on the television. In addition, Facebook confirmed late in 2016 that it’s in talks with major studios in an attempt to acquire licensing deals for content that could soon appear in Facebook’s video tab.

According to Tech Crunch, Facebook used Instagram to help secure and revolutionize the photography market and could soon do the same for video.

“We’re focusing more on shorter form content to start,” Zuckerberg added. “Over the longer term… people will experiment with longer forms of video as well as all kinds of different things.”

Opioid Epidemic Continues Across United States

Prescription drugs and heroin issues continue to plague people across the Untied States.

The U.S. holds roughly a 40% share of the global pharmaceutical market. Recently, and seemingly more and more each week, prescription drugs are causing serious problems for people across the country and are even leading to heroin addiction.

“We knew that this was going to be an issue, that we were going to push addicts in a direction that was going to be more deadly,” said Dr. Carrie DeLone, Holy Spirit Medical Group Medical Director. “But, we also know that you have to start somewhere. You have to understand what you’re doing. You have to regulate this. It can’t just be business as usual.”

According to The Sentinel, the influx of prescription pills has become such a significant problem that in some areas of the country, particularly in Pennsylvania, the problem had to be addressed immediately in order to save the lives of addicted individuals.

“The initial problem is that we have people who are addicted and now we are not giving them as many pharmaceutical-grade painkillers, so they are moving to heroin,” DeLone added.

The Daily Cardinal reports that far too many children have had their lives lost at the hands of these opioids.

“We want people to know that opioids, though they are prescribed by doctors, can be very dangerous,” said Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleeisch, head of the Opioid Task Force.

Sadly, many of these opioid addictions aren’t starting from young people abusing drugs just to experiment, but rather from being legally prescribed after experiencing an injury or having surgery or dental work done.

According to University of Maryland Professor of Criminology Katie Zafft, a multifaceted approach to addressing this heroin and prescription drug issue must be implemented on a national scale.

“When they [addicts] become this entrenched in a community, we need a holistic approach to bend that curve down again,” Zafft added.

Trump’s Proposed Income Bracket Could Rattle Low and Middle-Income Americans

The average real estate investor makes far more than the average American, with one-third making more than $75,000 per year. One former mogul, however, stands out as one of the richest in the world. President Donald Trump has taken a massive pay cut to become the leader of the free world and has proposed a willingness to lift middle America out of poverty by boosting industry and providing the biggest corporate tax breaks since the Reagan administration.

Since Americans are preparing to file their taxes for the 2016 calendar year, this is becoming more and more pressing. Under ordinary income tax brackets, the more taxable income you earn, the more money you owe the IRS. Under the current tax bracket system, the majority of Americans fall within the 15% range — or the second lowest — and make between $13,351 and $50,800 per year.

President Trump has proposed reducing federal income tax rates from seven brackets to just three: 12%, 25%, and 33%. Under this system, the poorest Americans would pay more in income tax, while the top two income brackets would get a significant cut.

“For many middle-income taxpayers, the new standard deduction [under Trump’s proposal] may exceed their itemized deductions,” said Timothy Speiss, chairman of personal wealth advisors at accounting firm EisnerAmper. This, in turn, would allow them to have a higher tax deduction.

But this isn’t all cut-and-dry, of course. And not all middle-income taxpayers would benefit.

The plan also calls for the repeal of personal exemptions for taxpayers and their dependents, while also proposing to repeal the head of household filing status. Because of this, single parents with children will have to pay more in income taxes, as will married households with more than three dependents.

Some basic income advocates are optimistic about where these tax reforms will lead.

“People feel uncertain and anxious about the future,” Jim Pugh, CEO of Share Progress and co-founder of the Universal Income Project. Because Americans are hungry for change, Pugh believes that Trump may be able to use the uncertainty to project nationwide income reform and help kickstart the otherwise grassroots movement toward universal income.

But many others are far more skeptical. Trump has said time and time again that he wants to bring industry and manufacturing back to the U.S. but has failed to mention the threat of automation.

“Enacting basic income would help to revitalize parts of the country hit hardest by outsourcing and automation by spurring entrepreneurship in those areas,” Pugh also says. In theory, universal income would help improve the business sector and help lift people out of poverty.

Being just a couple weeks into Trump’s administration, it’s hard to tell which direction he may lean toward. Under the proposed tax bracket, it appears that the majority of middle-income Americans may be spared, but the poor will continue to suffer as they have before, maybe even more so.

Keep Calm and Moose On: How Volvo’s New Technology Has Prevented Moose-Related Car Crashes Globally

For the average car driver, the biggest risks on the road are other drivers acting erratically and the occasional storm. But, Swedish carmaker Volvo believes there is a not-so-hidden risk out there for drivers in the northern part of the globe: the moose.

The automaker has recently developed technology that is meant to protect drivers from wildlife getting in the way of their Sunday drive. Their Large Animal Detection System has been created to spot and identify large carbon-based “hazards” and stop the car immediately. While created with moose in mind, this detection software can stop any car from colliding with large animals such as kangaroos, deer, or bears.

While some may laugh envisioning moose as an ample threat against drivers, this technology has the ability to save lives. It was developed to reduce the number of fatalities — both human and moose — due to distracted driving. In fact, moose-related car crashes are a growing problem not only in the United States but in other northern countries such as Canada and Sweden. According to How Stuff Works, between 1996 and 2006, 17 people died from moose-related car crashes, but the moose seem to have it worse that we do, as about 138 moose die every year from cars in Anchorage, Alaska alone.

So how does it work? Volvo’s system utilizes radar to pinpoint objects around the car, then identifies them with a camera. The camera will see a seriesva-car of shapes and movements and then match what it sees to the already established database of thousands of different animals. It will then slowly start the car’s automatic braking system.

In order to make the system successful, Volvo engineers dedicated a lot of time to researching how animals move in the wild.

“We put a lot of effort in seeing how animals moved and teaching the computer to look for that movement,” Volvo lead safety engineer Malin Ekholm explains to Wired. You can’t just tell a moose to run across the road, so we created initial captures of real animals and then simulated variations of their movement for the computer.”

Volvo is so serious about the risk of moose that they have a test moose in their crash laboratory, and design their cars with structural defenses in case someone does come in contact with these gentle giants.

This system debuted in Volvo’s S90 Sedan and XC90 SUV, and can now be found in their off-roading V90 Cross Country Wagon.

To the moose of the world, this is for you.

While Some Republicans Praise Trump’s EPA Nominee, Some Democrats Denounce Him

The Environmental Protection Agency became a political lightning rod under President Barack Obama. Now, the same organization that spent the last decade collecting plastic bag statistics showing that only 2% of plastic bags are actually recycled in the U.S., will soon be headed in a completely different direction. reports that President Donald Trump’s nominee to run the EPA, Scott Pruitt, is regarded by some environmentalists as “the worst nominee ever tapped to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” according to Rhea Suh, the president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, which recently denounced Pruitt in a scathing statement.

Yet, at the same time, Republicans are celebrating Trump’s pick, who has promised to roll back regulations that many conservatives believe harm businesses.

“The EPA has not acted within the framework provided by Congress,” Pruitt said. “it’s Congress that gives those instruction to the EPA. EPA is an agency, not a legislative body.”

Pruitt has supporters in coal country politicians like West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, another government official who strongly supports Trump’s nomination for EPA administrator.

“I’ve been in the trenches with Scott,” Morrisey said. “I’ve witnessed his passion for the rule of law. I know that he is highly qualified for the position. He will also reinforce the EPA’s core mission and be a friend to the Mountain State.”

Pruitt, who has sued the EPA more than a dozen times as the Oklahoma attorney general, has clearly been one of the strongest critics of the agency over the years, along with Trump himself.

Although Pruitt disagrees with President Trump’s comments about global warming being a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, he still has strong reservations about climate change, despite the international scientific consensus behind man-made climate change.

“This is not a man that you want in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency,” said Suh. “Forget the language of the acronyms and crazy politics of Washington D.C., let’s [talk] about what it means to go to your tap, drink a glass of water, and know that it won’t position you. Because that’s what’s at stake.”

Pruitt still awaits confirmation to run the Agency.

Danish Hygge and Your Home — How to Bring the Idea of Nordic Comfort Into Your Home This Winter

Winter is in full force, and Americans nationwide are choosing to spend more time cuddling up in their homes. To fulfill their homes’ warm and toasty potential this winter, many Americans are looking to the Danish for some design inspiration.

Many aspects of Danish culture are based around the idea of hygge, which is the feeling associated with making living areas cozy and warm. Here are some interior designer-approved, up-and-coming hygge trends to implement for a snug home this wintertime.

Pay attention to the fireplace

The fireplace gets a lot of use in the wintertime, so it should not be forgotten when it comes to interior decorating. Use the mantle space to your advantage and spruce it up with some candles, garlands, and pieces of art for a supremely hygge-vibe.

Create a relaxation station

This trend is quite easy because it doesn’t require the homeowner to completely revamp their entire interior design. Setting up a relaxation station — think a cozy chaise lounge, plenty of blankets and pillows, and a bookshelf — will help anyone decompress and relax after a particularly stressful day.

Invest in a focal point

If your home does not have a large fireplace to gather around, then it is a good idea to invest in a piece of furniture that can be a focal point for the entire room. It can be anything from a sofa, an ornate coffee table, a stone accent wall, or a decked out television stand. Not only does this make sure the living room is welcoming, it will make you want to relax there more often and use your furniture pieces to their full potential. Plus, since furniture is usually the third most expensive thing a person will ever buy after their home and vehicle, it only makes sense to show it off with a functional focal point!

Invite the outdoors inside

Hygge was originally developed in order to recreate the snowy log cabins of the Danish countryside. To bring some elements of the outdoors into the living space, consider purchasing furniture items made of reclaimed wood, using earth-toned colors such as browns, olive greens, and grays, and incorporating wood paneled walls or ceilings.