TWIT 861: Magic Internet Money

Beep boop - this is a robot. A new show has been posted to TWiT…

What are your thoughts about today’s show? We’d love to hear from you!

In Prime increased service fee. Yes it is not good, however I personally have the prime credit card and receive 5% back on all my purchases, which accounts for the prime membership and more by the end of the year, so I’m still in the clear.

I have to agree that I likely could drop prime and use target and other sources for products, but since prime is essentially free for me currently, things are ok… So far…

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Absolutely stellar conversation on Joe Rogan and Spotify. Bravo!


I agree, this was a good discussion on Rogan. For the Jon Stewart angle: there is a very strong push among many comedians to push back against “cancel culture,” which is generally understood as the Twitter-adjacent outrage that is a result of a performance. Jerry Seinfeld had a show on Netflix called “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” where this topic was often brought up with his guests—often among a crowd that tended white and male, with at least one notable exception. The episode with Steve Harvey kind of exhibits the conversation that many comedians seem to have. Additionally, the “cancel cancel culture” milieu strikes a very poignant (read: valuable) chord among many listeners. Dave Chappelle made about $24 mil on each of his last 2 Netflix specials, which were essentially comedic manifestos on the topic. Notably, Netflix has also stood by Chappelle’s content even as some of its employees went on strike for loosely-related reasons. I’d say the Rogan situation somewhat mirrors that.

Perhaps unsurprisingly based on my rant last week, I disagree with one of the cohosts imploring us to “call Spotify what they are.” Granted, “Spotify the platform” is vague, but it is extremely limiting to only label the tech company by the way that money flows. Spotify has lots of additional activities that aren’t precisely music streaming: the social aspect of their service is an important human aspect of the service, even if it is not a purely economic one. Through technology, that service is not merely transactional but intersects with consumers’ lives in ways that others do not, e.g. through integrations with Discord. Spotify is not only the deli market giving you a slice of turkey, but the entire deli filled with all of your friends and acquaintances, which keeps you coming back every week. The duties of the former (to give you precisely the food you order) and the latter (to do this while fostering a community) are different to the customers. Perhaps the deli market metaphor doesn’t match my government metaphor from last week, but the idea is the same: these non-immediately-profiting activities can’t be convenient filtered out when we analyze the company’s responsibilities or else the entire business doesn’t make any sense.

I don’t know what Spotify’s ethical responsibility should be wrt Rogan, but I’d guess they are weighing the responsibilities the customers think they should have with those that their non-mass-media content creators think they should have—like comedians and podcasters who might worry about being pulled from a service if they say the wrong things.

EDIT: And more importantly @Leo you are fined 1 credit for a violation of the verbal morality statute.



Very well put and well thought out.

Coming from a country that doesn’t have the same levels of freedom of speech - knowingly lying is an offence in many areas, for example Holocaust denial, as is actively promoting/glorifying national socialism, racial hatred or calling out for violence against groups of people of individuals.

Two young police officers were shot down during a routine vehicle check last week - they had unnkowingly stopped poachers and one of them opened fire as they approached the vehicle, killing them both. Afterwards, there were a lot of posts on social media saying what a great action that was, by the poachers, and others calling for people to go out and kill police officers. This has led to several arrests and has again put the spotlight on Telegram, which has moved its HQ to Dubai and refuses to help authorities track down illegal content.

I’m all for freedom of speech, but within limits. Open hatred and calling for people or groups of people to be killed is a step too far, for example. Knowingly spreading misinformation is another, where I would draw the line.

But I think the bigger problem is that “people” don’t know how to think for themselves, how to look at arguments rationally and do proper research into what is happening, to come up with their own conclusions. The news has changed dramatically, since I was young. The press used to be considered unbiased, at least where I grew up. That was before the days of Murdoch’s death grip on the industry.

I was also taught at school to check facts for myself. But the face of media has changed, it is no longer about reporting the facts, it has to have a bias (I think maybe the US was always this way?) for a political agenda of some kind.

German news seems to still be relatively unbiased. All news shows and reporting I read seems to make no exceptions for one party or another, if a politician says something dumb or does something wrong, they are automatically taken to account for it. They aren’t allowed to weasel their way out of it.

When I look at the UK press, especially the BBC, and see how far it has sunk, since I left the UK at the turn of the Century, I am disgusted by what I see.

In Germany, we had politicians who tried to profit from COVID, getting contracts for masks and other equipment for their companies or taking commission to approve companies as preferred suppliers. This happened in the UK as well, on a much larger and more obvious scale.

In Germany, those politicians were called out and had resigned by the end of the day, for the sake of the party, whilst independent inquiries were held.

In the UK, some of the press covered it, but the politicians just shrugged it off and carried on. The PM has continually lied in front of Parliament, something that has seen some of his predecessors forced to resign, but he just shrugs it off with a laugh and the press barely even reports it. Only after Partygate blew up was there any real press coverage, but instead of reprimanding the PM or kicking him out, he just lied in Parliament and when other politicians complained or pointed out the lies, they were censured, forced to apologise and banned from Parliament for a period of time, if they refused to retract their accusations.

A lot of the general public fall for the biased reporting and openly wonder where the problem is, when they are interviewed for the news. that is the real problem. They have taken the pro-Brexit and pro-Johnson rhetoric of the last couple of years without question and still think both are great, even whilst they are suffering as a result*.

The whole thing is a farce and makes me ashamed to be British, even if I no longer live there.

The US seems to be the same way, just on a larger scale.

(*) The politicians and a majority of the “free” press reported that Brexit would be “taking back control”, that it was about sovereignty and that, once the UK left the EU, things would be better. The UK would still have the open trade borders, but the they’d have control and they’d be able to close it from “dirty foreigners” coming in, but British citizens would still be able to travel freely in Europe.

A quick look at the rules around the EU would quickly tell anyone with half a whit of intelligence, that that was just a pack of lies, but the people running the campaign were charismatic and were pushing the patriotism button and the press lapped it up, without actually bothering to check, they joined in the populist chants for “freedom to choose”.

Come Brexit and suddenly a lot of people who voted Brexit were faced with sanctions, restrictions on exports and ruined businesses, shouting “this isn’t the Brexit I voted for!” Whilst a lot of patriotic people still froth at the mouth, when confronted with the obvious results, but the Government have then tried to deflect the problems on the evil EU.

The fact that the UK decided to take third country status, completely failed to properly negotiate and are now being treated exactly like any other third country (i.e. not a country that is a member of the EU) is all down to the evil EU, they are making an example of the UK. That this is in the EU charter, that the UK helped formulate back in the 70s is neither here nor there.


So… It sounds like you are not in favor of Brexit?

No. It never made any sense.

As an expat with German citizenship as well as British, it doesn’t affect me directly, I just feel sorry for those who are suffering as a result.

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Something I found a little surprising in this episode was Owen’s assertion that Apple deserves a cut of app sales for building the platform.

That’s never been the case with PCs, including the Mac. Apple makes its profit by charging the user for a Mac. Sometimes Apple sells third-party software and accessories for the Mac and gets a cut of the profits from that, but Apple does not get a cut when someone sells software for the Mac through other channels.

Why should the iPhone be different?


Yeah, that was bizarre to me too. There was an implicit assertion that the app store provided promotion and visibility. I find that a bad faith argument: why isn’t there a free tier where there is no promotion but the apps are simply listed?
If you follow that logic: Apple is desirable because of the apps their developers create. Why isn’t Apple paying developers for their improvement of the platform?

The reason Apple performs this gross malpractice is simple: because they can. They are the governing authority in their digital world and may collect taxes regardless of what is fair.


App devs can make money from the app store without even having having someone download the app. Think about how @Leo mentioned his son was featured in one of an app preview images on the app store. (Reference to another show) This is another avenue of profit for popular apps.

I think if Apple prevents users from installing applications for other App market places, then they shouldn’t charge as there is no other option. However, if they allow users this access, then they should be allowed to charge.

It takes man power to run and filter these market places. Can’t have everything for free… When I would shop at CompUSA, they used to add margins to the product cost and pass on to the user. So I’m not sure how this would be different?

I understand that there is no free lunch, but there’s another side of this story. Yes, app devs can make money just from automatic promotion, but the devs aren’t the only ones who benefit from the relationship. Apple wants to have high-quality apps on the store that they can promote. This demonstrates the value of iOS, helps retain users, and directly benefits the company. Further, Apple already charges plenty of money from the consumers to get a device which would be far less valuable without the devs’ contributions.

I also agree that this is compounded by the inability to install apps elsewhere. But I don’t know if that’s the only factor. It seems to me that it’s problematic that Apple controls the entire platform so that they could monopolize the “App Store on iOS Market” to the extent that such a thing exists.

And in the spirit of fairness, the preceding paragraph also seems to apply to Google. We don’t see many App Stores on the platform gaining traction. Is it just untenable to have an alternative App Store, or is the default App Store playing a similar role as a default browser/search engine?

Not sure. I use both Google play and f-driod. The Galaxy store looks like I’m about to install malware…

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Just to clarify: I wasn’t asking a leading question. I don’t know either!

I also use F-droid. I think I completely blocked out Samsung’s store from my memory just because of the sheer horror of Samsung’s UI elements.

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Since I don’t have the data Google or Apple have on this subject it’s hard to know how often apps are installed outside of their play stores. :frowning:

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