The 11th Hour Dispatch – Thursday, May 17, 2018
YouTube Red — at least the YouTube Red you might be used to — is dead. The service will be split into two separate offerings starting next week. YouTube Music, a ‘roided-up version of YouTube’s previous music service, will launch May 22 and give subscribers access to ad-free music for $9.99 per month. The other product, YouTube Premium, will debut “soon” and will give all the benefits of a YouTube Music subscription along with the video platform’s original programming for $11.99 per month. YouTube Music will get a brand spankin’ new app when it drops, and any subscribers to Google’s other music service, Google Play, will automatically get access to YouTube Music. This has many thinking this new offering might replace Play altogether in the future. As for YouTube Premium, Google has said it will include “more, bigger original series and movies,” but that’s about it. One of those series will be a docuseries hosted and executive produced by Robert Downey Jr. Not too shabby.
Subscription perfume box Scentbird has secured $18.6 million in Series A funding making it one of the largest Series A rounds a female founder-led company has ever received. The round was led by Goodwater Capital and featured additional funding from Y Combinator and Soma Capital. Scentbird’s service allows customers to pick a different designer fragrance from over 500 selections for $14.95 per month. Since it was founded in 2014 by Mariya Nurislamova, it has racked up 250,000 subscribers and seen 110% growth over just the last year. Guess those subway ads are paying off.
Chinese tech giant Tencent’s WeChat hit 1 billion monthly active users. Most of the messaging app’s growth is attributed not to the incessant need to know what literally everyone in the world is doing at this very moment, but to the addition of free games. User count increased 11% over the past year, which propelled the company to that 1 billion milestone. Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp, the two biggest messaging apps globally, boast 1.2 billion and 1.5 billion respectively, so Tencent’s offering is definitely closing in. If this is the weird kind of tech competition you’re looking for, it’s your lucky day.
NOTHIN’ BUT ‘NET
GQ trolled that infamous Vanity Fair photoshop botch for their latest cover and it’s amazing.