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Justin Wilson’s “gar-on-tee”

Justin Wilson’s “gar-on-tee”

I had misassigned the “Gar-On-Tee” to Chef Paul Prudhomme for some reason. Justin Wilson is the chef who filled my kitchen with empty promises.

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How Much Do YouTubers Really Make?

How Much Do YouTubers Really Make?

© 2016 Bloomberg Finance LP

The first time I realized the true potential of YouTube was when my children were very young. A few of my boys were sitting on the floor staring at the television and completely enthralled with what they saw — a grown man playing with toys.

I wondered what the heck was going on. What was this video? And more importantly, why were my kids watching this stuff?

After a quick Google Search, I found out the channel they were watching — Ryan ToysReview — was a wildly popular medium where someone, in this case Ryan, basically plays with toys so kids could watch. It was strange, I thought, but there wasn’t any harm in it, either.

Only a few weeks later, I learned that this wasn’t just some sort of hobby. The Ryan ToysReview channel was making real money at the time, which I found out after discovering the channel had more than 11 million followers!

Crazy enough, Ryan ToysReview now boasts over 18 million subscribers. It also brought in a reported income of $22 million dollars in 2018.  And trust me, you would never guess it by watching one of his videos.  Case in point example:

This just goes to show the amazing potential YouTube has in terms of monetization, as well as the wide variety of topics you can cover. Who would have thought opening and playing with toys could help someone earn millions of dollars per year?

Not me. That’s for sure.

How Much Do YouTubers Really Make?

Fast forward a few years and my outlook has totally changed. I started my YouTube channel — Wealth Hacker — in January of 2011, but it took me a long time to gain any real traction.

YouTube Channel – Wealth Hacker™

Jeff Rose

In the meantime, I learned a ton about the various monetization methods YouTubers use as well as what it takes for the most successful content producers to grow their annual income into the millions of dollars.

I also watched as several people I followed grew their online influence over the years in real time. One YouTube star who really influenced me is Emily Noel, although she actually started her channel in 2006.

Emily was once a morning anchor at the ABC affiliate in Illinois where I used to live, but she started a makeup-focused YouTube channel along the way.

Over time, she got to the point where she could quit her job to create makeup videos as her full-time job. Crazy enough, Emily Dihle (Emily Noel is her YouTube username) now has over 1 million YouTube subscribers as well as her own makeup line known as Emily Edit you can buy at ULTA beauty stores.

But Emily and Ryan ToysReview are not the only channels making bank on YouTube today. Forbes actually outlined the highest-paid YouTube stars in 2018, but their list is really just the tip of the iceberg.

Some of the most impressive (and rich!) YouTube stars you should know about include:

Logan Paul

Logan Paul started his YouTube channel in 2015, but it didn’t take long for his channel to explode. He has over 18 million subscribers as of early 2019, and Forbes reports he had 2018 earnings of $14.5 million.

What does Logan Paul talk about? Plenty of pranks that shock viewers along with random topics that aren’t necessarily appropriate for our readers here at Forbes.

Alpha Male

Alpha Male has almost 5 million subscribers to his YouTube channel, most of which show up to hear him wax poetic about male confidence, how to dress for success, and quirky topics like tattoo do’s and don’ts.

Founder Aaron Marino has been featured on Shark Tank not once but twice! While we’re unsure how much Alpha Male earns each year, Shark Tank investors offered him $100,000 for 10% of his product — his own brand — in 2016 according to GQ.

PewDiePie

PewDiePie is a Swedish gamer who has risen to online stardom since starting his YouTube channel in 2010. With over 90 million followers at his disposal, he earned $15.5 million playing video games online in 2018.

Jeffree Star

Jeffree Star is a drag queen and makeup mogul who earned $18 million via makeup videos and tutorials in 2018. The YouTube star was able to leverage a basic YouTube presence to launch Jeffree Star Cosmetics, which Forbes has estimated brings in up to $100 million in revenue per year.

Jake Paul

Jake Paul, who is the brother of Logan Paul, earned $21.5 million dollars in 2018. Some of his income came from the outrageous pranks and rap songs he shares on his YouTube channel, but Jake also sells merchandise on his own Fanjoy website.

What Does it Take to Succeed?

Obviously, the YouTube millionaires above represent the exception — not the rule. Most people who start a YouTube channel will never make millions of dollars, and it may not even matter how many followers they have.

The reality is, it takes a lot more than a bunch of followers to earn a ton of money — and especially millions of dollars — with only a YouTube channel.

Don’t believe me? Tim Schmoyer of Video Creators, a YouTube channel with over 465,000 subscribers of its own, told me that he knows a YouTube star with over 2 million followers who only earns a couple hundred dollars per month.

How is that possible? Schmoyer says most creators with large channels have a plan for how to create and deliver value, but most do not have a plan for how to capture value.

“They leave their monetization strategy in YouTube’s hands and just hope that the money will appear as their channel grows,” he said.

The thing is, the amount of money a creator earns is actually based on the business plan they’ve wrapped around their channel — not the size of their audience.

“It’s the combination of intentionally creating, delivering, and capturing value,” he said. That’s why so many of the top-earning YouTube stars have more than just a YouTube channel. The most successful YouTubers sell products or learn how to monetize their influence in other ways.

How Do YouTubers Make Money?

So, how do YouTube stars make earn real money online? Schmoyer, whose channel earns over $500,000 per year with less than one million views per month, says savvy YouTubers diversify with multiple income sources instead of just one.

The main income streams YouTube stars use to build real income include:

Google Adsense

To become a YouTube partner and be eligible for certain monetization strategies like Google Adsense, you must have at least 1,000 subscribers, have more than 4,000 watch hours in the last 12 months, and live in a country where this program is available.

Once you link Google Adsense to your YouTube account, you can get paid when someone clicks on an ad or watches your videos for at least 30 seconds. The problem? Getting someone to watch your videos for more than 30 seconds can be more difficult than it sounds and having a ton of viewers doesn’t always translate into revenue, either.

For those reasons, the size of a YouTube channel doesn’t always dictate its Google Adsense income. And really, Adsense is one of the least likely income streams to rely on if your goal is making millions of dollars.  

Merchandise Sales

You’ll notice some of the biggest YouTube stars like Jeffree Star and Jake Paul sell their own products. This is part of the reason they’re able to earn so much. By coming up with products they can sell, they are able to leverage their online presence to build their customer base.

While some YouTubers sell makeup, T-shirts, or fan gear, others take a different approach and focus on online education.

For example, another famous real estate YouTuber, Graham Stephan, makes a killing selling real estate courses through his Real Estate Agent Academy. His courses start at $497 each, so that shows the potential that’s out there!

Sponsored Content

In addition to Adsense and merchandise sales, many YouTube stars with a large following accept money for sponsored content. Typically, this income stream requires the content creator to talk about and feature a product or service in their video. Examples can include a makeup vlogger featuring a certain type of makeup in their video in exchange for payment.

Another popular finance channel, Minority Mindset, shared in one of his videos how lucrative sponsored content can be.  He was offered $150,000 to promote a product in crypto currency space.  He didn’t feel the product was worth promoting to his audience, but it definitely shows sponsorships are not to be ignored.

A study from The Economist notes that influencers with at least 100,000 followers on YouTube can typically earn $12,500 for sponsored content, but those payments can escalate from there.

Free Merchandise

Many YouTubers also accept free merchandise they can review on their channels. These freebies don’t necessarily translate into money, but they can help them save money and try new products without paying out of pocket.

Peter McKinnon, a cinematographer turned YouTuber has racked up a huge following – over 3.3 million subscribers at a rapid pace.  He’s also mentioned on several of videos how much free product is sent his way.  He typically pays for all the camera gear he chooses to review on his channel, which is one of the factors that has led to him being a trusted voice in the photography space.

Even my wife, who has a substantial Instagram following, gets a ton of free stuff for our home based on her following alone — things like rugs, lamps, and vacuum cleaners.

It’s easy to imagine how a YouTube star with a ton of followers could get substantially more stuff over time, although it depends on their niche and the demographic of their following,

Think You’re a YouTube Star in The Making?

Remember the days when most jobs entailed sitting in a cubicle and working for “the man?” Those days are long gone, and in 2019 there are an endless number of ways to earn money online.

You can start a YouTube channel and learn to monetize it for sure, but you could also become an online freelance writer, blog for profit, create online courses, or become a social media manager.

The YouTube stars we profiled here really do show that the possibilities are endless, but it’s important to remember they beat out thousands of other people to get where they are.

Is earning millions with YouTube possible? Absolutely. Is it likely? Probably not.

“>

© 2016 Bloomberg Finance LP

The first time I realized the true potential of YouTube was when my children were very young. A few of my boys were sitting on the floor staring at the television and completely enthralled with what they saw — a grown man playing with toys.

I wondered what the heck was going on. What was this video? And more importantly, why were my kids watching this stuff?

After a quick Google Search, I found out the channel they were watching — Ryan ToysReview — was a wildly popular medium where someone, in this case Ryan, basically plays with toys so kids could watch. It was strange, I thought, but there wasn’t any harm in it, either.

Only a few weeks later, I learned that this wasn’t just some sort of hobby. The Ryan ToysReview channel was making real money at the time, which I found out after discovering the channel had more than 11 million followers!

Crazy enough, Ryan ToysReview now boasts over 18 million subscribers. It also brought in a reported income of $22 million dollars in 2018.  And trust me, you would never guess it by watching one of his videos.  Case in point example:

This just goes to show the amazing potential YouTube has in terms of monetization, as well as the wide variety of topics you can cover. Who would have thought opening and playing with toys could help someone earn millions of dollars per year?

Not me. That’s for sure.

How Much Do YouTubers Really Make?

Fast forward a few years and my outlook has totally changed. I started my YouTube channel — Wealth Hacker — in January of 2011, but it took me a long time to gain any real traction.

YouTube Channel – Wealth Hacker™

Jeff Rose

In the meantime, I learned a ton about the various monetization methods YouTubers use as well as what it takes for the most successful content producers to grow their annual income into the millions of dollars.

I also watched as several people I followed grew their online influence over the years in real time. One YouTube star who really influenced me is Emily Noel, although she actually started her channel in 2006.

Emily was once a morning anchor at the ABC affiliate in Illinois where I used to live, but she started a makeup-focused YouTube channel along the way.

Over time, she got to the point where she could quit her job to create makeup videos as her full-time job. Crazy enough, Emily Dihle (Emily Noel is her YouTube username) now has over 1 million YouTube subscribers as well as her own makeup line known as Emily Edit you can buy at ULTA beauty stores.

But Emily and Ryan ToysReview are not the only channels making bank on YouTube today. Forbes actually outlined the highest-paid YouTube stars in 2018, but their list is really just the tip of the iceberg.

Some of the most impressive (and rich!) YouTube stars you should know about include:

Logan Paul

Logan Paul started his YouTube channel in 2015, but it didn’t take long for his channel to explode. He has over 18 million subscribers as of early 2019, and Forbes reports he had 2018 earnings of $14.5 million.

What does Logan Paul talk about? Plenty of pranks that shock viewers along with random topics that aren’t necessarily appropriate for our readers here at Forbes.

Alpha Male

Alpha Male has almost 5 million subscribers to his YouTube channel, most of which show up to hear him wax poetic about male confidence, how to dress for success, and quirky topics like tattoo do’s and don’ts.

Founder Aaron Marino has been featured on Shark Tank not once but twice! While we’re unsure how much Alpha Male earns each year, Shark Tank investors offered him $100,000 for 10% of his product — his own brand — in 2016 according to GQ.

PewDiePie

PewDiePie is a Swedish gamer who has risen to online stardom since starting his YouTube channel in 2010. With over 90 million followers at his disposal, he earned $15.5 million playing video games online in 2018.

Jeffree Star

Jeffree Star is a drag queen and makeup mogul who earned $18 million via makeup videos and tutorials in 2018. The YouTube star was able to leverage a basic YouTube presence to launch Jeffree Star Cosmetics, which Forbes has estimated brings in up to $100 million in revenue per year.

Jake Paul

Jake Paul, who is the brother of Logan Paul, earned $21.5 million dollars in 2018. Some of his income came from the outrageous pranks and rap songs he shares on his YouTube channel, but Jake also sells merchandise on his own Fanjoy website.

What Does it Take to Succeed?

Obviously, the YouTube millionaires above represent the exception — not the rule. Most people who start a YouTube channel will never make millions of dollars, and it may not even matter how many followers they have.

The reality is, it takes a lot more than a bunch of followers to earn a ton of money — and especially millions of dollars — with only a YouTube channel.

Don’t believe me? Tim Schmoyer of Video Creators, a YouTube channel with over 465,000 subscribers of its own, told me that he knows a YouTube star with over 2 million followers who only earns a couple hundred dollars per month.

How is that possible? Schmoyer says most creators with large channels have a plan for how to create and deliver value, but most do not have a plan for how to capture value.

“They leave their monetization strategy in YouTube’s hands and just hope that the money will appear as their channel grows,” he said.

The thing is, the amount of money a creator earns is actually based on the business plan they’ve wrapped around their channel — not the size of their audience.

“It’s the combination of intentionally creating, delivering, and capturing value,” he said. That’s why so many of the top-earning YouTube stars have more than just a YouTube channel. The most successful YouTubers sell products or learn how to monetize their influence in other ways.

How Do YouTubers Make Money?

So, how do YouTube stars make earn real money online? Schmoyer, whose channel earns over $500,000 per year with less than one million views per month, says savvy YouTubers diversify with multiple income sources instead of just one.

The main income streams YouTube stars use to build real income include:

Google Adsense

To become a YouTube partner and be eligible for certain monetization strategies like Google Adsense, you must have at least 1,000 subscribers, have more than 4,000 watch hours in the last 12 months, and live in a country where this program is available.

Once you link Google Adsense to your YouTube account, you can get paid when someone clicks on an ad or watches your videos for at least 30 seconds. The problem? Getting someone to watch your videos for more than 30 seconds can be more difficult than it sounds and having a ton of viewers doesn’t always translate into revenue, either.

For those reasons, the size of a YouTube channel doesn’t always dictate its Google Adsense income. And really, Adsense is one of the least likely income streams to rely on if your goal is making millions of dollars.  

Merchandise Sales

You’ll notice some of the biggest YouTube stars like Jeffree Star and Jake Paul sell their own products. This is part of the reason they’re able to earn so much. By coming up with products they can sell, they are able to leverage their online presence to build their customer base.

While some YouTubers sell makeup, T-shirts, or fan gear, others take a different approach and focus on online education.

For example, another famous real estate YouTuber, Graham Stephan, makes a killing selling real estate courses through his Real Estate Agent Academy. His courses start at $497 each, so that shows the potential that’s out there!

Sponsored Content

In addition to Adsense and merchandise sales, many YouTube stars with a large following accept money for sponsored content. Typically, this income stream requires the content creator to talk about and feature a product or service in their video. Examples can include a makeup vlogger featuring a certain type of makeup in their video in exchange for payment.

Another popular finance channel, Minority Mindset, shared in one of his videos how lucrative sponsored content can be.  He was offered $150,000 to promote a product in crypto currency space.  He didn’t feel the product was worth promoting to his audience, but it definitely shows sponsorships are not to be ignored.

A study from The Economist notes that influencers with at least 100,000 followers on YouTube can typically earn $12,500 for sponsored content, but those payments can escalate from there.

Free Merchandise

Many YouTubers also accept free merchandise they can review on their channels. These freebies don’t necessarily translate into money, but they can help them save money and try new products without paying out of pocket.

Peter McKinnon, a cinematographer turned YouTuber has racked up a huge following – over 3.3 million subscribers at a rapid pace.  He’s also mentioned on several of videos how much free product is sent his way.  He typically pays for all the camera gear he chooses to review on his channel, which is one of the factors that has led to him being a trusted voice in the photography space.

Even my wife, who has a substantial Instagram following, gets a ton of free stuff for our home based on her following alone — things like rugs, lamps, and vacuum cleaners.

It’s easy to imagine how a YouTube star with a ton of followers could get substantially more stuff over time, although it depends on their niche and the demographic of their following,

Think You’re a YouTube Star in The Making?

Remember the days when most jobs entailed sitting in a cubicle and working for “the man?” Those days are long gone, and in 2019 there are an endless number of ways to earn money online.

You can start a YouTube channel and learn to monetize it for sure, but you could also become an online freelance writer, blog for profit, create online courses, or become a social media manager.

The YouTube stars we profiled here really do show that the possibilities are endless, but it’s important to remember they beat out thousands of other people to get where they are.

Is earning millions with YouTube possible? Absolutely. Is it likely? Probably not.

Read More

I Retired At 38. Here’s What I Didn’t Expect via Hvper.com

I Retired At 38. Here’s What I Didn’t Expect via Hvper.com

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Tractica Report: Virtual Reality for Enterprise and Industrial Markets

Tractica Report: Virtual Reality for Enterprise and Industrial Markets

Tractica Viewpoints
Head and Eyes Viewing Virtual Reality

Even with the continuing growth, market adoption of enterprise VR use cases is moving slower than previously anticipated due to market acceptance lagging behind for the education and location-based entertainment use cases.

Introduction

While enterprise markets have made use of professional-grade virtual reality (VR) technology for some time, the recent debut of consumer-grade VR head-mounted displays (HMDs) from companies like Facebook/Oculus, HTC, and Samsung has raised the profile of VR immeasurably and, more importantly, sparked the potential for enterprise VR use cases leveraging consumer-grade VR solutions.

This report examines the market and technology issues surrounding enterprise VR, with an emphasis on hardware, software, ecosystem, and use cases, taking into consideration consumer-grade VR equipment, software, and ecosystems.

Market Observations/Key Trends

Leveraging highly customized and expensive equipment, enterprise use of VR has existed and improved for a number of years, particularly for military training, civil flight training and simulation, and some industrial three-dimensional (3D) modeling. But now, thanks primarily to recent exponential advances in graphics component technology, cheaper, mass-produced consumer-grade VR is coming to market, with ramifications for both the consumer and enterprise markets.

This cheaper, more readily accessible consumer-grade VR equipment and ecosystem is opening up new enterprise use cases, some of which have vast addressable markets. Tractica estimates the addressable market of the five largest areas where enterprise VR will grow is worth over $1 trillion in 2018.

Enterprise VR is poised for significant change. Key trends in the enterprise VR market are:

  • Customized legacy VR hardware and software sales continue to be negatively impacted by consumer-grade enterprise VR hardware and software. In the span of less than 16 months, the price of flagship PC-based HMDs (VIVE, Oculus Rift) has dropped nearly 40%.
  • Legacy VR hardware and software will remain critical to vertical markets that require professional-grade equipment and experiences. Areas include many military applications, VR-assisted surgery, and aeronautics.
  • All-in-one or standalone HMDs are entering the marketplace in 2018, ranging in price from $200 to $900. While these products are more limited than PC-based HMDs, if their performance level is sufficient, they will spur the market for enterprise VR use cases.
  • Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are expected to introduce HMDs with integrated eye tracking capabilities in late 2018 and 2019, launching affordable and capable standalone HMDs and introducing a potential tipping point for VR.

Market Drivers and Barriers

There are several market drivers and barriers for enterprise VR.

Some of the key drivers include:

  • Low-Cost Consumer-Grade Solutions: A rapidly growing number of companies are aggressively pursuing enterprise use cases that leverage accessible, relatively low-cost consumer-grade HMDs (compared to customized professional-grade VR HMDs). Smartphone-based VR expands the enterprise market even further.
  • Increased Productivity, Improved Results, Efficiency: In a new era of consumer-grade VR availability for enterprise use, potential benefits expand. Enterprise VR can potentially produce superior results over other methods for mental or physical healing, as well as learning and understanding complex subjects.

Some key barriers include:

  • Consumer-Grade Cost and Requisite Equipment: While vastly cheaper than professional-grade equipment, the cost of consumer-grade VR HMDs, accessories, premium content, and the requisite computing hardware for PCs will be a barrier to wider enterprise adoption for the next few years. Complete setups from Oculus and VIVE run in the $400 to $500 range, having dropped from the $700 to $900 price range a year ago. The price of today’s PC-based headset is less of an issue than the cost and requirements of the PCs on which they run. PC-based HMDs require significant central processing unit (CPU) and graphics processing unit (GPU) capabilities, usually found in high-end gaming computers in the $1,500+ range. Tractica estimates that of the global installed base of more than 2 billion PCs, between 10 million and 14 million machines meet the minimum requirements to run these HMDs.
  • Consumer-Grade Quality of Experience: VR experiences on consumer-grade VR equipment can be unsatisfactory for a number of reasons. Immersion and realism can suffer when a user experiences frozen video, judder, skipping, and streaking. Even worse, a VR user can become nauseous and experience motion sickness. Tracking issues and field of view (FOV) limitations are also major contributors to poor experiences. Over time, technological breakthroughs in optics, processing efficiencies, cloud computing, and streaming, as well as increased access to higher quality, high-speed broadband, will improve and accelerate the broad availability of consistent, high-quality VR experiences.

Key Industry Players

A diverse range of companies operates in the enterprise VR ecosystem. Tractica estimates the number of players to be more than 100. They include tech giants (Facebook, HTC, Intel); technology enablers (Tobii, Leap Motion); and content developers. This report profiles 18 key industry players across various segments of the value chain.

[This article is from research firm Tractica’s report on artificial intelligence services. View full report details.]

Market Forecast Highlights

Global shipments of consumer-grade HMDs have been adjusted downward significantly from Tractica’s 2017 enterprise VR report. In 2017, Tractica estimated annual HMD shipments would reach 38.5 million in 2021. Our new projection has annual HMD shipments reaching 15.2 million in 2021, a reduction of more than half the previous estimate. The primary reason for this is a slower adoption rate for the education use case.

The total global revenue associated with enterprise HMDs and VR software has also been revised downward from last year’s report. In 2017, Tractica estimated global revenue of $9.2 billion in 2021. Our new projection has annual total revenue reaching $4.6 billion in 2021. More easily monetized hardware will account for the majority of revenue throughout the forecast period, still accounting for more than 60% of all revenue in 2025.

In 2018, approximately 2.3 million consumer-grade HMDs will be shipped and sold for enterprise VR use cases (1.3 million smartphone HMDs, 980,000 PC-based HMDs, and 10,000 standalones). In 2025, the makeup of the type of HMDs sold will look significantly different than 2018. Tractica believes significant progress in eye tracking will make standalone user experience and pricing attractive by 2022, accelerating capabilities within the defined use cases. In 2025, HMD shipments for enterprise VR use cases will reach more than 41 million (15.9 million smartphone HMDs, 2.6 million PC-based HMDs, and 22.7 million standalones). In terms of revenue, standalone HMDs are the largest contributor to the overall VR hardware market, generating $17.5 billion in revenue from 2018 to 2025. In comparison, PC-based HMDs will generate $8.5 billion and smartphone HMDs $5.9 billion from 2018 to 2025.

Tractica’s revised forecast for this report is lower than the 1Q 2017 report. Broadly, this is due to slower adoption in the education and location-based entertainment use cases. In the 2017 report, Tractica estimated 2021 combined spending on enterprise VR hardware and software by use case would be:

  • Location-based entertainment (attractions), $4.5 billion
  • Training and simulation, $2.2 billion
  • Education, $1.6 billion
  • Medical therapy, $357 million
  • Virtual prototyping/3D modeling, $349 million

Tractica’s revised forecast for 2021 combined spending on enterprise VR hardware and software by use case:

  • Location-based entertainment, $1.4 billion ($3.1 billion lower)
  • Training and simulation, $1.8 billion ($500 million lower)
  • Education, $587 million ($1.01 billion lower)
  • Medical therapy, $602 million ($244 million higher)
  • Virtual prototyping/3D modeling, $225 million ($125 million lower)

While revenue for the earlier portion of the forecast is less, the market for enterprise VR use cases will accelerate significantly between 2021 and 2023, nearly doubling in revenue (2021: $4.6 billion, 2023: $8.8 billion). The overall combined revenue compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2016 to 2025 is a healthy 47.8%.

Conclusions & Recommendations

Market adoption of enterprise VR use cases is moving slower than previously anticipated due to market acceptance lagging behind for the education and location-based entertainment use cases. Lagging market acceptance in these two use cases is due to slower adoption of smartphone HMDs; in education because of the cost of hardware and access to smartphones, and in location-based entertainment because many venues desire higher immersion/quality VR experiences, which smartphone HMDs cannot deliver.

Despite some retrenching in the market, there is momentum and accelerated activity, particularly for location-based entertainment and medical therapy use cases.

Smartphone HMDs in enterprise use cases are proving to be less desirable than other HMD options as entities fear smartphone breakage, theft, and/or reluctance to use personally-owned smartphones to power smartphone HMDs.

Technological advancements continue apace to help speed market adoption of enterprise and consumer VR. Most notably, standalone HMD market adoption will accelerate in 2020 as eye tracking becomes widely incorporated into HMDs. This will allow OEMs to incorporate lower cost microprocessors, causing overall pricing for standalone HMDs to gradually fall, while quality for standalones will increase to near PC-based HMD standards.

Leveraging consumer-grade VR solutions, several market forces will be key for driving enterprise VR adoption: profit motive for location-based entertainment, improved outcomes for education, prototyping/3D modeling, and medical therapies, and cost reductions/economies of scale for training and simulation.

Forward-thinking school districts (education) and public service agencies (for first responders) would be well served by quickly establishing pilot VR programs within their districts with the intent of measuring outcomes. This will accelerate budget allocations and boost VR curriculum development.

VR entrepreneurs in medical therapy should seek to engage health insurers as potential partners. There are compelling reasons for such companies to consider solutions that offer improved, lower cost outcomes.

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How ICE Gets the Music for Its Super Bowl Propaganda

How ICE Gets the Music for Its Super Bowl Propaganda

With a pair of press conferences and a one-minute video posted on YouTube this week, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, aka ICE, kicked off its annual Super Bowl tradition: turning its inexplicable presence at the big game into a steady stream of marketing material. The Super Bowl, deemed by Homeland Security as a potential target for terrorism, enlists numerous government agencies for support, and as a participating partner, ICE seizes the opportunity for self-promotion. Nearly half of the videos that the agency posted in 2018 on its YouTube page detailed Super Bowl-related work, such as confiscating counterfeit merchandise.

Given ICE’s authoritarian reputation, it’s easy to understand why the agency might find value in advertising its more benign work. Other videos on ICE’s social channels, though, more readily remind viewers of the agency’s primary identity as a violent instrument in America’s mass deportation regime. (According to recent reports, ICE detains over 44,000 people daily and deported 256,085 people in the 2018 fiscal year.) Tracking down fugitives, protecting victims of violent crimes that happen to be committed by immigrants: these are the types of stories the agency’s video team likes to tell along with tales of wiping bootleg Super Bowl shirts from the streets. The low-polish clips are soundtracked by ominous synth drones and martial drums, or sentimental guitar wandering, or self-serious documentary-style strings. The music choices are made possible by the production music library Killer Tracks, a subsidiary of Universal Music Publishing Group, which has a five-year contract with ICE, currently worth $9,425, for “licensed music tracks used for agency video production,” according to publicly available federal procurement records first reported by Sludge.

Shazam’ing videos on ICE’s YouTube and Facebook pages reveals dozens of compositions from the Killer Tracks collection, which offers thousands of albums of background music, some of which were created by songwriters and musicians who work with the biggest pop stars on the planet. The agency used a funky saxophone beat by Charles “Chizzy” Stephens—who has produced for Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber, and others—to soundtrack a gun-heavy video titled “A Super Week that recaps the agency’s work seizing counterfeit merch during last year’s Super Bowl. It used a dubstep-y loop by Shawn Mendes’ music director Zubin Thakkar to dramatize a look at the agency’s “Mobile Command” during the same event. Most of the musicians, though, are more anonymous, like indie rock artist Taylor Locke, whose track “Flood Blockade” scores a video called “ICE at Super Bowl 52: Spotting the fakes,” or composer Evan Beigel, whose track “Empower These Shores” was used in a video titled “ICE at Super Bowl LI: Fighting Trafficking.”

The musicians who contribute to Killer Tracks are independent contractors who don’t control how their work is used by clients, or which clients choose to use it—an arrangement similar to that of other media libraries, such as Getty Images. (The popular photo service also had a contract with ICE, worth $5,004, which expired in September.) But given recent actions by employees at other companies to protest their employers’ ICE contracts, I was curious to ask KillerTracks contributors their thoughts on their music being used by the agency executing the worst impulses of the Trump administration.

Both Locke and Beigel use Killer Tracks royalties to support their music careers, and emphasized a distinction between their actual artistic output and their work for the company. Locke first contributed in 2016, nearly two decades into a career that began in high school as founding member of the modestly successful major label power-pop band Rooney. Since the group’s disbanding, he’s formed two other bands, released an album of solo material, and opened a recording studio in Los Angeles, but never again approached the charts. He told me contributing to Killer Tracks is a “great way for independent self-employed musicians in this climate to generate extra income.”

Until I reached out a few weeks ago, Locke had no idea his music was featured in ICE propaganda. He was surprised by the placement—he rarely sees where his contributions land, citing a makeup infomercial as a past instance—and defensive about questions of responsibility. “What happens with the music after I submit it to Killer Tracks is specifically not my right or my business,” Locke said. He added, “I do think that it’s important to potentially be more protective of where things go and what they represent.”

Beigel also questioned his ability to judge Killer Tracks placements, saying, “Who am I to say who’s gonna buy it, if I’m willing to put it out there to make a living?” He expressed his disappointment that the company might work with bad actors. “I wish that that wasn’t even a conversation, you know? That people would just do the right thing,” he said. Like Locke, he, too, was previously unaware of the ICE placement.

Anna Maria Hall, head of sales and marketing for Killer Tracks, said the company has worked with government clients since 1998, but that these clients do not comprise “a significant amount of our business.” Killer Tracks has active contracts with 10 U.S. agencies, including the Navy, Federal Bureau of Investigations, and National Institutes of Health, currently worth $104,330 in total. Hall added that Killer Tracks maintains policies regarding “proper use” of content that include “prevention of the music’s use on certain kinds of media,” but did not say what type of media might violate the policies. The company also did not respond to questions about whether it has ever rejected any prospective clients.

For musicians, the ethical implications of these arrangements are muddy. Contractors providing music that is generic by its very definition may have less leverage in protesting their proximity to ICE, whether by withholding labor or by petitioning, than Microsoft employees who pushed back on their own company’s contract with ICE. In an industry that makes it increasingly difficult for most musicians to make a living, it’s hard to fault them for not doing so. (Even big names like Ennio Morricone and Chuck D have music available on Killer Tracks.)

Beigel acknowledged the moral tension. “Regardless of my own beliefs, I’ve really learned how to separate the music that I sell to Killer Tracks from my own personal music as an artist. I kind of had to force myself to do that,” he said. Meanwhile, the ICE YouTube video featuring Beigel’s music has fewer than 500 views, and many other clips on the agency’s channel don’t break three or sometimes even two figures. Any Killer Tracks contributor who feels conflicted about ICE can at least take comfort that almost no one’s watching.

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