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Not just for drunken sailors: how sea shanties took over TikTok | Folk music

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Name: Sea shanties.

Age: At least 600 years old.

Appearance: Just about the hippest thing on TikTok right now.

TikTok? The app where people dance? More or less, yes, although it’s worth pointing out that recently TikTok users collaboratively designed, built and patented a cutting-edge pill bottle specifically to improve the quality of life of people with Parkinson’s disease. But, yes, also dancing. And now sea shanties.

I also do not know what a sea shanty is. It’s a type of collective folk song typically performed by merchant sailors, fishermen or whalers as they engaged in shipboard labour. Shanty is thought to be derived from the French verb “chanter”, which means to sing.

But that all sounds very old. Why is it big on TikTok? Well, there are two competing theories. The first is that the collaborative nature of TikTok lends itself to things like massed singing, so if someone uploads a video of themselves performing a sea shanty, it’s only natural that other users will want to hop aboard and harmonise.

What’s the other theory? That lockdown has broken us to such an extent that we’re forced to sing sea shanties on the internet for fun. They both hold up.

How did this even start? It seems Nathan Evans, a Scottish singer, is to blame. At the end of December, he uploaded a video of himself singing a tune called The Scotsman. When that took off, he uploaded another of The Wellerman, a 19th-century New Zealand sea shanty about waiting for supplies of tea, sugar and rum sent by the Australian whaling company, Weller Brothers.

And then? Next day, a user named Luke the Voice added a bass harmony to the video, and then all bets were off, frankly.

More harmonies? That’s putting it mildly. By last week, a succession of nicely bearded boys in lovely jumpers had added their voices to the song, and the virality began. Now the ranks have swollen to such an extent that The Wellerman now has several singers and two different violin tracks and the musical ranks are more gender balanced.

Where is this going to end? It’s already starting to sound like the Game of Thrones theme tune, so who knows? A sax solo?

I must say, this is all rather wholesome and charming. Right. Meanwhile, Twitter remains a flaming hellpit of Nazis. Do you think we might all be on the wrong social media platform?

Do say: “What shall we do with the drunken sailor?”

Don’t say: “Force him to record a meticulously harmonised ancient song on an app to highlight the emptiness of his life.”



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Tencent shares fall over 5% after closing in on $1 trillion valuation

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WeChat mascots are displayed inside Tencent office at TIT Creativity Industry Zone in Guangzhou, China, May 9, 2017.

Bobby Yip | Reuters

GUANGZHOU, China — Tencent shares dropped more than 5% on Tuesday — one day after a huge rally pushed its valuation to nearly $1 trillion for the first time.

The Chinese internet giant saw its shares hit as high as 767.5 Hong Kong dollars on Monday, rallying 11% at one point. That pushed the company’s market capitalization to 7.35 trillion Hong Kong dollars ($949 billion) on Monday.

Monday’s rally appeared to be propelled by bullish calls by two investment banks. In a research note, Citi raised its target price to 876 Hong Kong dollars from 734 Hong Kong dollars, a 14% rise from Monday’s close.

UBS also upped its price target on Tencent from 700 Hong Kong dollars to 830 Hong Kong dollars — that’s a more than 8% rise from Monday’s close.

But investors took profit on Tuesday, driving Tencent shares lower by around 5.48% to 724.50 Hong Kong dollars at 2.45 p.m. local time. The stock was down over 6% earlier in the day but pared some losses.

Investors are waiting for Tencent’s 2020 results for the fourth quarter and full year, which will be released in March.

Analysts are expecting revenue to come in at 131.83 billion yuan (about $20.36 billion) for the December quarter, a 24.6% year-on-year rise, according to Refinitiv estimates. Net income is expected to grow nearly 29% to 32.85 billion yuan.

Tencent is known for its huge gaming business which analysts expect to have performed well in the fourth quarter. Revenue from smartphone games in particular are expected to grow 46% year-on-year to 38 billion yuan, helped by new title releases, according to a recent note from Jefferies.

Other analysts have also backed that up.

“We expect solid results in upcoming 4Q20, with strength in the game business overall,” Macquarie analyst Han Joon Kim said in a note published Jan. 19.

But Tencent has also been growing other areas of its business including advertising, cloud computing and financial technology via its WeChat Pay mobile payment system.

WeChat, in particular, has been a focus of investors.

Last week, Tencent announced that transactions on its WeChat Mini Programs rose more than 100% in 2020 from 800 billion yuan in 2019. The company did not reveal the 2020 figure. But it highlights the way that Tencent is trying to monetize and increase the stickiness of its messaging app WeChat, which is used by over a billion people.

Mini Programs are apps people can use within WeChat without having to leave the messaging app. They have been a key part of the growth of WeChat.

Though the monetization efforts of WeChat are still in the early stages, analysts see this as a long-term effort.

“We continue to find stronger emphasis on improving accessibility and functionality than monetization. We think lack of monetization of mini programs in 2021 is fine, as there is limited expectation of such embedded in earnings expectation anyways,” Macquarie’s Kim said.

“Rather, Tencent’s growing influence in on-line commerce activity will strengthen the stock’s long-term narrative and support its valuation multiple.”


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Google says PAC won’t fund Congress members against election results

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Sundar Pichai

Source: CNBC

Google’s political action committee won’t fund members of Congress who voted against the presidential election results this cycle, the company confirmed to CNBC on Monday evening.

“After the disturbing events at the Capitol, NetPAC paused all contributions while undertaking a review,” a Google spokesperson said in an emailed statement to CNBC. “Following that review, the NetPAC board has decided that it will not be making any contributions this cycle to any member of Congress who voted against certification of the election results.”

Axios first reported the funding pause.

Last week, tech companies including Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft announced they would pause contributions from their political action committees in the wake of the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Insurgents planned to forcibly turn over election results after high-profile Congress members and former President Donald Trump falsely alleged a “stolen” election.

Google’s PAC donated to Sen. Ted Cruz’s Senate campaign in 2017 and 2018.

The company up until Jan. 7 — after the insurgence — allowed the same lawmakers and Trump to recite voter fraud falsehoods on YouTube. Trump’s YouTube home page still automatically plays a 46-minute video rife with false allegations of voter fraud. It has been up for a month and had nearly 6 million views.


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Chinese video app Kuaishou Hong Kong IPO could raise over $5 billion

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A Kuaishou app interface on a mobile phone, Yichang, Hubei province, China, Jan 20, 2021. Kuaishou is gearing up for an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong.

Costfoto | Barcroft Media | Getty Images

GUANGZHOU, China — Chinese short video app Kuaishou has priced its Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO) as it looks to raise funds to take on rivals such as Douyin, the Chinese version of TiKTok.

Kuaishou said it would issue 365,218,600 shares each priced between $105.00 Hong Kong dollars to $115.00 Hong Kong dollars.

At the top end of the range, the company could raise around $42 billion Hong Kong dollars ($5.42 billion). The amount could be raised if the so-called over allotment option is exercised. The option allows the underwriting banks to issue a certain percentage more shares if demand is high.

Shares will begin trading on Feb. 5 in Hong Kong.

Kuaishou’s IPO comes as Chinese regulators look to crack down on the country’s technology sector and have already made moves to reign in livestreaming platforms. In November, State Administration for Radio, Film and Television’s put caps on how much people can spend on virtual items and banned teenagers from purchases.

Virtual items are where viewers purchase some sort of digital gift to give to their favorite streamers. In the nine months that ended Sept. 30, Kuaishou made 25.3 billion yuan (approx. $3.9 billion) of revenue from live streaming, which accounted for over 60% of total revenue. A large part of live streaming revenues come from virtual gifting.

Kuaishou’s other revenue drivers include advertising and a fledgling e-commerce business where users can buy goods through its app.

Regulators in China have been laser-focused on the tech sector looking to introduce rules in areas from data protection to micro-lending and antitrust.

WeChat owner Tencent, is one of Kuaishou’s biggest backers, and owns around 21.5% of the company.

Kuaishou said it will use the proceeds for growing its products, research and development, selective acquisitions around content, social entertainment and software and general working capital.

Loss-making


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