May 5, 2017

Axios Login

By Ina Fried
Ina Fried

We're on a bit of a music kick today, which makes me wonder, if Login had a theme song, what would it be? Send your suggestions to ina@axios.com. (The same e-mail also works well for scoop tips).

British musician taps augmented reality for latest album

While many musicians bemoan what technology has done to the recording industry, Beatie Wolfe embraces the opportunity.

Wolfe has used near-field communications chips and mobile apps to distribute her music in the past. Wolfe is streaming her new album, "Raw Story," live in 360-degree video on YouTube. The live stream will run for a week, starting today, broadcasting from the world's quietest room — the anechoic chamber in Nokia Bell Labs.

Synchronized visuals will appear in augmented reality. Each time a person logs in, they will see different visual elements from the track they are listening to.

"A record player will be physically live streaming my album on repeat for a week from the anechoic chamber... and people will be able to login wherever they are in the world, hear the album played in that unique sonic environment and explore the chamber in live 360-degree video," Wolfe told Axios. "The idea is they can't skip, shuffle etc, but wherever the album is in that cycle, that's what they'll hear."

You can check out the YouTube trailer here and view the live 360-degree stream here starting at 8 a.m. PT.

Fender looks to apps to improve its amps

Speaking of music and technology, Fender on Friday is announcing its first Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-connected amplifier line, the Mustang GT series, along with a companion app Fender Tone, that lets players manage various presets.

It's the company's second app, after Fender Tune (an app for guitar tuning), and is part of an effort by the music instrument-maker to bring its gear into the smartphone era.

An Uber investigation enters the criminal realm

The Department of Justice opened a criminal probe into Uber's use of software, called "Greyball," to evade law enforcement, Reuters reported on Thursday, citing anonymous sources.

Bloomberg spotted some documents suggesting a criminal probe last week, but Uber has now received a subpoena from a Northern California grand jury for certain documents, according to Reuters. Uber declined to comment.

The lowdown on Greyball: Uber's program, which involves manipulating what particular users see in its app, was uncovered by the New York Times in March, and the company has since said it will no longer use the software to avoid law enforcement. Uber has admitted that it used its Greyball technique on 17 rider accounts of mostly government officials in Portland during a two-week period in late 2014, before the city had implemented regulations for ride-hailing.

Separately: The Intercept wonders why, with all the focus on sexual harassment inside Uber, more attention isn't being given to the harassment of female drivers.

Warren Buffett sold a third of his IBM stake this year

In an interview with CNBC set to air on Friday, Warren Buffett revealed that he has sold a third of his stake in IBM this year.

"I don't value IBM the same way that I did 6 years ago when I started buying... I've revalued it somewhat downward," Buffett told CNBC. The network said that Buffett owned 81 million shares as of the end of last year.

Buffett told CNBC that IBM hadn't lived up to his expectations.

"I think if you look back at what they were projecting and how they thought the business would develop I would say what they've run into is some pretty tough competitors. ... IBM is a big strong company, but they've got big strong competitors too."

Why it matters: Obviously, Buffett is not just a large shareholder, but an influential investor as well. IBM has weathered many past technology transitions, but people are raising questions about whether the company can continue that streak.

Take Note

On Tap: Cinco De Mayo

Trading Places: Former FCC General Counsel and DOJ antitrust litigation head Jon Sallet is joining law firm Steptoe & Johnson ... Intel data center chief Diane Bryant is taking a 6-8 month leave of absence for a "personal family matter" and will return in a new role, the company said Wednesday; Navin Chenoy, general manager of Intel's client computing unit, will take over her post.

ICYMI: Facebook's Oculus unit is shuttering its in-house VR production house, Story Studio. ... Tablet sales continue to be in the doldrums. ... Whirlpool is buying recipe search engine Yummly.

After you Login

In case you are inspired to make your own music, UJAM lets you do that online.

Ina Fried

Have a good weekend. I'll be in Boston next week for MIT's Solve conference, where I am moderating the opening session.