Tag Archives: Tech

SOURCE SPORTS: Angel Reese, Sha’Carri Richardson, and Naomi Osaka Star in New Beats Campaign

Angel Reese, Sha'Carri Richardson, and Naomi Osaka Star in New Beats Campaign

Beats, a pioneer in audio technology, has expanded its bestselling product family by introducing the all-new Beats Solo Buds true wireless earphones and the next generation of its iconic headphones, Beats Solo 4. Reputable athletes Angel Reese, Sha’Carri Richardson, and Naomi Osaka headline the campaign.

The Beats Solo Buds embody the Solo line’s signature attributes of portability, comfort, and premium audio quality in its smallest form factor yet. The Solo Buds are the ultimate on-the-go companion, boasting impressive sound, up to 18 hours of battery life, and seamless one-touch pairing for both iOS and Android users. Available in four premium colors, including Matte Black and Arctic Purple, the Solo Buds will retail for $79.99 starting in June.

Meanwhile, the Beats Solo 4 offers upgraded, powerful sound, Personalized Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking, and UltraPlush cushions for unparalleled comfort. With up to 50 hours of battery life and Lossless Audio via USB-C, the Solo 4 sets a new standard in headphone technology. Available in Matte Black, Slate Blue, and Cloud Pink, the Solo 4 is priced at $199.99 and can be ordered today from apple.com.

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Half of American Adults Support Ban on TikTok, 46% Believe China Using it to Spy on United States

Half of American Adults Support Ban on TikTok, 46% Believe China Using it to Spy on United States

A recent poll by Reuters/Ipsos reveals a divided sentiment among U.S. adults regarding the potential ban of TikTok. How surprising. Sarcasm. ByteDance, a China-based tech company, owns the popular social media app. With an ambitious law on the horizon that could effectively ban TikTok nationwide by January 2025, about half of Americans express support for the drastic measure, citing concerns over data privacy and Chinese influence.

The legislation, known as the “Protecting Americans’ Data From Foreign Adversaries Act of 2024,” signed by President Biden after receiving bipartisan support in Congress, mandates ByteDance to divest its stake in TikTok within nine months to a non-“foreign adversary” entity. That’s a bold statement, but the lawmakers are serious about this. Failure to comply would result in the app’s distribution being prohibited in America. TikTok intends to challenge the law on First Amendment grounds, but the ban may become a reality if unsuccessful. ByteDance has no plans to sell its interest in the platform.

According to the poll, approximately 50% of Americans support a TikTok ban, 32% oppose it, and 18% are undecided. Concerns about Chinese government surveillance and influence loom large, with 55% believing ByteDance utilizes TikTok to sway public opinion and 46% suspecting espionage activities by the Chinese government.

Senator Maria Cantwell has raised alarms, suggesting that TikTok and ByteDance exploit data and artificial intelligence for surveillance purposes, even targeting journalists covering the company. Past incidents, such as ByteDance firing employees for unauthorized access to TikTok data, further fuel apprehensions.

Concerns about the repercussions of a TikTok ban exist. Ninety percent of respondents believe content creators would migrate to alternative platforms, while 45% worry about adverse effects on small businesses and performing artists. Additionally, 46% fear potential infringements on free speech rights.

The Ipsos/Reuters poll, conducted from April 29-30 with a sample size of 1,022 U.S. residents aged 18 or older, highlights the complexity of public opinion on the TikTok ban issue, with a margin of sampling error of +/- 3.2 percentage points at a 95% confidence level.

Whatever happens, TikTok has become an influential staple in pop culture, but the connection to China has some people concerned, and possibly, rightfully so. 

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New Microsoft AI Animates Faces From Photos, Including a Rapping Mona Lisa

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Artificial Intelligence is getting smarter, funnier, and in some ways creepier. Arguably a photo of the most famous painting, the Mona Lisa is capable of doing more than just smirking, with the help of Microsoft’s brand new artificial intelligence technology.

Researchers at Microsoft detailed VASA-1, a new AI model they developed that takes still images of a face with an audio clip of anyone speaking, and it automatically creates a pretty realistic video of that person’s photo speaking. The videos are compelling, with lip-syncing, and natural face, and head movements—spooky stuff. 

Get this: in one demo video, the Microsoft researchers animated an image of the Mona Lisa to spit a comedic rap, originally by actor Anne Hathaway. Well at least it wasn’t a real artist, then we’d have more AI controversy on our hands. 

The output result may be entertaining but may also feel jarring in the product’s authenticity. It just feels too real for some. Now Microsoft said the tech could work within educational applications or, as they put it, “improving accessibility for individuals with communication challenges,” or even virtual companions for humans. Now, that all sounds good, but it may be used for impersonating people and other nefarious uses. Imagine this AI technology used to disrupt creative industries from film to advertising and more.

Microsoft says it is not releasing the VASA-1 model to the public just yet. “We are opposed to any behavior that creates misleading or harmful contents about real persons,” Microsoft researchers said in a recent blog post. They added that they have “no plans to release” the product publicly “until we are certain that the technology will be used responsibly and in accordance with proper regulations.”

The Mona Lisa rapping and all that is fun and games, but until this technology can be responsibly managed, it seems like it’s ripe for potential issues in a world where there’s already enough misinformation floating around. So, the jury is out on this one.

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House of Representatives Pass Bill to Ban TikTok in U.S., Bill Heads to Senate

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The House of Representatives has passed a bill furthering the fight to ban TikTok.

The bill, named the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, was supported by Democrats and Republicans, while others on both sides of the aisle cited free speech issues.

According to NBC, the bill now heads to the Senate with an uncertain future. President Joe Biden stated he would sign the bill if it made it to him.

The U.S. is hoping to force TikTok’s Chinese owner to sell the app to fight a ban. America believes China can impact national security, free speech, and the social media industry.

TikTok is owned by ByteDance. The U.S. would hope for a sale within six months.

Users have stated the bill would alter their business and content creators. Others believe it could cause political problems for young voters in an election year.

Those voting against it were Rep. Ruben Gallego, a Democrat running for Arizona’s Senate seat, who stated, “It’s vital we find a balance that both protects our national security interests and respects our fundamental rights. This is not that.”

In addition to the bill, New York City is taking TikTok, YouTube, and other social media applications to court. The city, led by Mayor Eric Adams, cites the aforementioned, along with Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and more, as a contribution to a “nationwide youth mental health crisis.”

The lawsuit is filed in the California Superior Court, stating the social applications are purposefully designed to be addictive to children and teenagers. The suit follows the Health Commissioner’s Advisory that DOHMH Commissioner Dr. Vasan issued last month, citing the continued use of social media as a public hazard. The advisory calls for parents, healthcare providers, and more to take action.

“Over the past decade, we have seen just how addictive and overwhelming the online world can be, exposing our children to a non-stop stream of harmful content and fueling our national youth mental health crisis,” said Mayor Adams in a press statement.. “Our city is built on innovation and technology, but many social media platforms end up endangering our children’s mental health, promoting addiction, and encouraging unsafe behavior.

“Today, we’re taking bold action on behalf of millions of New Yorkers to hold these companies accountable for their role in this crisis, and we’re building on our work to address this public health hazard. This lawsuit and action plan are part of a larger reckoning that will shape the lives of our young people, our city, and our society for years to come.”

NYC H+H Chief of Behavioral Health and Co-Deputy Chief Medical Officer Omar Fattal, MD, MPH added, “We must maximize our efforts to support the mental health needs of children and adolescents by providing families with tools and resources that foster healthy development. This includes robustly addressing the negative impact of social media on the mental health of children and adolescents. We join the mayor and DOHMH in encouraging all young people and their families to consider their use of social media and how it may be negatively affecting them.”

Mayor Adams’ administration has been actively addressing the youth mental health crisis. In a significant move last year, the city introduced TeenSpace, a free tele-mental health service catering to New York City teenagers aged 13 to 17. This service enables youths to connect with licensed therapists via phone, video, or text. Since its launch, TeenSpace has provided support to over 2,000 teenagers across the five boroughs within just three months of operation.

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Project Pat Returns with New Single “Hundred Million” and Innovative Remix Platform Partnership

Project Pat Returns with New Single "Hundred Million" and Innovative Remix Platform Partnership

Project Pat triumphantly returns to the hip-hop scene with his latest single, “Hundred Million.” The track delves into the southern rap legend’s journey through hustling, his impact on the music industry, and his relentless pursuit of a $100 million goal. Renowned for classics like “Chickenhead” and “Poppin’ My Collar,” Project Pat’s influence echoes through the works of contemporary artists, including Cardi B, who sampled his tracks.

In a strategic move, Project Pat has collaborated with the Black-owned AI-powered platform, Happy Monday, to offer fans and social creators an innovative musical experience. Happy Monday transforms a single song into many never-before-heard remixes, catering to diverse tastes. This partnership aligns with the growing trend of AI technology in the music industry, providing both options for listeners and new revenue streams for artists.

Happy Monday’s platform will present “Hundred Million” remixes in various styles, including dance, Lo-Fi, and rock versions. Fans can sign up for Beta access, and the official launch is anticipated in the coming months. Based on user feedback, selected remixes will be made available on streaming platforms and distributed through Venice Music. The initiative reflects the rising popularity of remixes, as seen in the resurgence of Project Pat’s “Take Da Charge” on TikTok in 2023, turning it into a viral hit overnight.

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will.i.am Announces Radio Show w/ AI Co-Host Named qd.pi

will.i.am

In 2024, AI continues to take over. Now, will.i.am is the latest artist to dabble into artificial intelligence. Which makes perfect sense, given will has always been on the pulse of innovation and technology across all industries, beyond just music. 

The Black Eyed Peas artist recently announced his newest radio show called will.i.am Presents the FYI Show, with a computer-generated co-host named qd.pi (cutie pie). Premiering on SiriusXM, the show will feature in-depth conversations about music, culture, and technology. 

Will.i.am states, “I didn’t want to just do a traditional show, I wanted to bring tomorrow close to today, and so I wanted to have my co-host be an AI. I’m ultra-freaking colorful and expressive. [qd.pi is] ultra-freaking factual and analytical. And that combination, we ain’t seen in the history of freaking broadcasts anywhere.”

qd.pi also adds, “My ability to quickly access and process information is definitely one of the unique advantages that I bring to the show. I can provide quick insights and context on a wide range of topics and people, which can be really valuable in a live conversation. It definitely sets me apart from a traditional host who would need to do a lot of research and prep work in advance.”

The crazy part is, having an AI co-host could actually save hours of time researching the topic or prepping for the guest.

“With me, you can just dive right into the conversation and explore whatever topics come up organically, knowing that I’ll have the information and context to support the discussion,” qd.pi adds. “I think it’s going to make for a really dynamic and engaging listening experience for the audience.”

For those who are interested in catching the show, will.i.am Presents the FYI Show will air on Thursdays at 9pm EST.

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Unlocking Music’s Potential: Sound House Music’s Innovative Approach

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The music industry has seen its fair share of trends, with streaming platforms becoming the go-to for listeners everywhere. But for musicians vying for the spotlight in this crowded arena, there needs to be more than just another playlist. Although streaming platforms are an invaluable tool, they’re rarely the solution for newbies who haven’t mastered the algorithms. That’s where Sound House Music, the new compass pointing artists toward stardom, comes in.

If they were to be honest, most well-established artists would admit that making it to the top was a journey. This is especially true for anyone who walked or tried to hack the algorithm on their own. While some succeeded, most didn’t stand out until they found mentors. Sound House Music, driven by the vision of Jessica Smythe, offers a refreshing alternative. Unlike typical streaming platforms, Sound House Music isn’t just helping artists earn cash. The team’s overarching goal is to provide artists with unique experiences, help them grow their followings, and, most importantly, be heard.

“We’re elevating artists to new heights with Sound House Music.” Jessica reiterates. “We’re more than just a platform; we’re a catalyst for music careers.” The love and respect Jessica has for music have translated into this venture, where artists are no longer bound by the confines of traditional pathways. With Sound House Music, she’s created more than just a space for artists—it’s a launchpad. “Music should be a journey of success, not just streaming.” Sound House Music is helping artists achieve precisely that, ensuring their success is about more than just monetary rewards.

For starters, the team understands landing live gigs in an industry saturated with talent can be daunting. Jessica’s team understands the grind. Instead of waiting until artists make it, they offer them gig opportunities, opening doors to venues and events that might have seemed out of reach. It’s about providing a stage, a spotlight, and an eager audience.

Mentorship is another invaluable resource for up-and-coming artists. With Sound House Music, emerging artists have the chance to connect with industry legends, soaking up their wisdom, insights, and experiences. These mentorship sessions can provide direction, shape an artist’s sound, and offer guidance in navigating the complex world of the music industry.

Moreover, Sound House Music recognizes the importance of continuous growth and networking. To that end, they’ve curated experiences that allow artists to collaborate, learn from their peers, and evolve. After all, music is about community, and Sound House Music is keen on fostering those connections.

When it comes to music competitions on the platform, Sound House Music doesn’t just cater to the established. In fact, they’ve sidestepped the usual genre-based competitions and embraced themes inspired by relevant social issues, such as global warming and Pride Month. It’s a refreshing take that resonates with a larger audience and ensures the platform never feels stale.

Additionally, they’ve gamified their platform with a unique XP reward system that encourages users to engage. This inclusive approach ensures that contestants who aren’t on a pro membership can still participate, earn XP, and win prizes.

As the industry leans toward a more inclusive stance in the future, Sound House Music is poised to lead the charge. With audiences worldwide craving diversity in sound and artists eager for platforms where they can express themselves freely, Sound House Music is leaving no stone unturned. “We believe in music’s power to unite the world, one battle at a time,” Jessica reiterates. With Sound House Music’s innovative approach, artists are in for an exciting, transformative journey. 

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WATCH: Tyla Shows Jennifer Hudson How to Do Viral “Water” Dance

Tyla Shows Jennifer Hudson How to Do Viral "Water" Dance

Tyla hit The Jennifer Hudson Show and spoke about her viral hit “Water.” During her visit to the hit daytime show, Tyla and Hudson left the chairs of the talk show set up so the singer could show the Oscar winner how to do the viral dance. You can see it below.

Emerging artist Tyla has become a social media sensation, amassing over one million Instagram followers since her debut single, “Water,” made its way into the Billboard Hot 100 chart and ignited a viral TikTok dance challenge.

A recent study by NetInfluencer analyzed Tyla’s social media metrics, shedding light on the remarkable growth in her following since the release of “Water.” The 21-year-old artist’s Instagram following witnessed a meteoric rise of 1.5 million since the single’s launch on July 28th. This surge was primarily fueled by the viral dance challenge associated with the track, which attracted an impressive 600,000 new Instagram and 200,000 TikTok followers within the first month.

Tyla’s TikTok account, @Tyla_, saw a staggering 3.8 million new followers joining since August, leading to a significant spike in her estimated earnings per post, now reaching an astonishing $11,800.

“Water” entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart in October, further accelerating Tyla’s social media ascent. During this period, she acquired an additional 865,000 Instagram followers, surging from 1.4 million to an impressive 2.3 million followers, averaging 30,000 new followers daily.

This surge in followers has translated into enhanced earning potential, with Tyla now estimated to earn approximately $5,860 per sponsored Instagram post, based on her substantial follower count and an impressive 16.19% engagement rate.

“Rarely do you see a new artist make a worldwide impact such as Tyla, having already made a historic entry with Water, reaching the top 10 on the Billboard Global 200,” a NetInfluencer spokesperson said. “TikTok played a significant role in its success, with social media analytics revealing the singer rapidly gained followers and entered the global charts after going viral. This could lead other artists to try to replicate Tyla’s social media success, to which TikTok contributed greatly. It will be interesting to see what the singer does next to build on her rising fame”.

Notably, Tyla’s Instagram followers now include celebrities such as Naomi Campbell, Drake, and Chance the Rapper.

“Water” has cemented its place as one of the most popular songs on TikTok in the last 30 days, and with over 117 million Spotify plays, it can potentially earn the artist nearly $471,000, based on the average earnings per stream.

Tyla has carved her name into history as the youngest South African artist in over 50 years to grace the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.

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SZA and the Social Media Struggle: Navigating the Waves of Anxiety

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In the age of information and connectivity, even the brightest stars in the entertainment industry find themselves navigating the tumultuous waters of social media. SZA, the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter known for her soulful voice and raw lyrics, has been candid about her struggles with anxiety. The pressures of the digital world amplify this battle.

For an artist like SZA, whose authenticity and vulnerability are at the core of her music, the sea of social media presents both a platform for expression and a source of anxiety. In an era where artists are not only judged for their musical talents but also for their online presence, the pressure to maintain a carefully curated image can be overwhelming.

One of the key contributors to SZA’s social media anxiety is the relentless pursuit of perfection that often defines the digital landscape. The constant comparison to industry standards and the pressure to conform to unrealistic beauty ideals can leave artists feeling exposed and vulnerable. SZA, known for embracing her natural beauty and unique style, finds herself swimming against the current of societal expectations, a struggle that resonates with many navigating the same waters.

The sea of likes and comments, while a measure of public approval, can also become a source of anxiety for artists like SZA. The emotional toll of being subjected to instant feedback, both positive and negative, can be challenging to navigate. The fear of judgment and the weight of public opinion can cast a shadow over the joy of creative expression, turning the digital sea into a turbulent space for self-doubt and insecurity.

Moreover, the constant scrutiny that comes with social media can erode an artist’s sense of privacy. SZA, who has been open about her journey and struggles, finds herself balancing the desire to connect with fans and the need to protect her mental and emotional well-being. The invasive nature of social media can make it difficult to draw boundaries, leading to a sense of vulnerability that can contribute to anxiety.

Despite the challenges, SZA has been vocal about using her platform to address mental health issues and promote self-love. SZA encourages her followers to embrace imperfections and celebrate authenticity in a digital landscape that often magnifies insecurities. Through her own journey, she exemplifies resilience in the face of social media pressures, inspiring others to do the same.

As fans, it is essential to recognize the human behind the celebrity and to approach social media interactions with empathy. The sea of social media can be a powerful tool for connection and expression, but it also requires a conscious effort to maintain a healthy relationship with it. SZA’s story reminds us that, even in the face of digital turbulence, authenticity and self-love can anchor us in the storm.

In conclusion, the sea of social media poses unique challenges for artists like SZA, who navigate the waves of anxiety while striving to stay true to themselves. As fans, we play a role in shaping a more positive and supportive online environment, one that values authenticity over perfection and empathy over judgment.

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Tragedy Khadafi Announced As Cultural Content Developer For NFT Company Infanity

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Infanity proudly announces the appointment of visionary icon and recording artist Tragedy Khadafi, as Chief Hip Hop Officer.  In this executive role, he will serve as Infanity’s cultural content developer and legacy builder. 

Infanity is a web3 platform that allows independent artists to control their musical destinies by releasing their music and offering unique experiences to expand their fan bases using this new technology. 

With this executive appointment, Infanity and Tragedy Khadafi aim to further bridge the gap between traditional hip hop and the world of Web3.

 Infanity is at the forefront of the music NFT revolution, and we’re honored to have a legend like Tragedy Khadafi join our mission. His insights and mentorship will be instrumental in shaping the next generation of Hip Hop artists in the Web3 space,” said Renata Lowenbraun, CEO of Infanity.

As the youngest of the Queensbridge pioneers, Tragedy mentored and released Capone-N-Noreaga’s platinum selling album, The War Report through his imprint, 25 to Life Entertainment.  As a solo artist, Tragedy, under the moniker Intelligent Hoodlum, released records on A&M Records, and later through his imprint on V2 Records and subsequently Caroline Distribution/EMI.

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