What does the world think about the recent TikTok controversies? Throughout the entire year, the American government has hounded the Chinese video-sharing platform for alleged cybersecurity issues. Amid all the legalistic battles, the controversy aimed at a more cultural change: dissuade users from installing the app. Has that worked at all? Apparently, it hasn’t.
According to a study conducted by iPrice Group, TikTok is still the most downloaded entertainment app in the West and in Southeast Asia. Contrary to expectations, the platform is still popular in territories where it, theoretically, should have fallen.
The United States, the seat of the controversy, is on top, edging out China, TikTok’s own home country. Meanwhile, the other countries in the top ten are mostly in Europe or Southeast Asia.
Among this esteemed list, India remains on the eighth spot. The South Asian country recently banned the app back in August, making its entry a surprise. Although, since the survey was conducted between January to September, India will likely drop off in a future list.
The Philippines, on the other hand, is only on the 11th spot. The study suggests that the country was an early adopter before the 2020 surge. True enough, the Philippines hosted the platform during its early days. Back then, users went on singing duets with strangers. Now, TikTok is a hodgepodge of dancing trends and memes.
For most countries, Netflix trails not too far behind as the second-most downloaded entertainment app. The third spot is more varied including Amazon Prime Video and Disney+.
SEE ALSO: TikTok is suing Trump
Spotify is now adding free audiobooks
Narrators include Forest Whitaker and Hilary Swank
A few years ago, Spotify implemented support for podcasts. Practically overnight, the audio streaming platform became a top destination for podcast listening, rivalling already established giants like Apple Podcasts and Pocket Casts. However, it isn’t done with expanding yet. Spotify is now adding free audiobooks to the service.
Reported by Hollywood Reporter, the platform now has a starting lineup of nine audiobooks. Currently, because of tough copyright laws, the lineup contains books already in the public domain. However, the audio recordings themselves are Spotify’s property.
Speaking of the recordings, the voices on the audiobooks are pretty special. The narrators include Hollywood actors like Forest Whitaker and Hilary Swank. The two celebrities narrate Frederick Douglass’ Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave and Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, respectively.
Other titles include Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (narrated by David Dobrik), Jane Austen’s Persuasion (narrated by Cynthia Erivo), Jean Toomer’s Cane (narrated by Audra McDonald), Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations (narrated by James Langston), Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre (narrated by Sarah Coombs), Nella Larsen’s Passing (narrated by Bahni Turpin), and Stephen Crane’s Red Badge of Courage (narrated by Santino Fontana).
This isn’t the first time you can listen to audiobooks on Spotify. Some podcasts, even on other platforms, are essentially audiobook readings. However, the new nine-title slate signifies a new push to deliver exclusive audiobooks to the platform. The new audiobooks are currently free for all Spotify users, premium or not.
Disney+ coming to the Philippines soon?
We’re cautiously optimistic
Finally! The days of using VPN and “other means” to catch up on the latest The Mandalorian or WandaVision episodes could be coming to an end for Filipinos.
An Instagram account with the handle @disneyplusph was just activated and while it’s not verified, it certainly follows the look of other official Disney+ accounts.
Adding fuel to the fire that this is likely happening soon is the announcement that the entertainment giant’s streaming service is also hitting other Southeast Asian markets through Hotstar — a video streaming service most popular in India.
There was even news previously that Disney+ will be streaming in India via Hotstar but that was delayed.
We reached out to Disney’s representatives in the Philippines, but it still hasn’t been confirmed as of writing. There’s not a lot to go on for now but we’ll surely keep our eyes peeled for more updates.
Netflix is adding studio-quality audio to Android
Filters out noise in noisy environments
Over the years, Netflix has improved video and audio quality across the board. Today, if your internet allows it, you can select movies and shows in Ultra HD. Today, the platform is continuing its path to a better product. Netflix is adding studio-quality audio to Android.
In their official technology blog, Netflix explained the improvements over the current status quo. Though the platform already has Dolby Atmos and adaptive bitrate audio, the new feature, called, Extended HE-AAC with MPEG-D DRC, will make audio quality adapt to internet speed, filter out background noise, and “scale to studio-quality.”
In particular, the feature will improve loudness and dynamic range. Netflix aims to make audio the same levels for all genres and relative to each other. It should be a welcome feature for when the world welcomes back a commuting lifestyle.
However, if you want something more cinematic, the platform already has Dolby Atmos, as mentioned above.
Currently, the feature will be available only on Android. The platform has not announced when (or if) the feature is coming to other devices. Users will need an Android device that runs Android 9 Pie at least.
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