Three Things (June 1st)

Tuesday, Jun 1st 2021

Commentary

“That's life, that's what all the people say. You're ridin' high in April, shot down in May. But I know I'm gonna change that tune, when I'm back on top, back on top in June.” - Frank Sinatra

1) Apple delays the launch of its subscription podcast product, as it looks to improve design and reliability

In typical Apple fashion, Apple is delaying the launch of its marquee subscription podcast product rather than rolling it out before it’s ready. The platform launch, previously expected in May, has been pushed back a month as the company looks to improve the app’s interface, as well as reliability issues related to Apple Podcasts Connect. We believe this suggests a welcome degree of focus on a key growth vertical that Apple has not previously prioritized nearly as much as you might expect (for a company whose products practically gave birth to the word “podcast”).

2) In a similar punt, Apple was recently revealed to have been in talks to acquire Verzuz before being outbid by Triller

Verzuz, the livestreaming music platform created by rappers Swizz Beatz and Timbaland, was recently acquired by social video platform Triller for an undisclosed price. Prior to the acquisition, Apple was reportedly in deal talks as well, in a bid that likely sought to revive Apple Music’s long-standing efforts in social audio (see Ping, Apple Music Connect). While there could have been any number of reasons the deal failed to go through, we see this news as indicative of Apple’s continued ambitions to merge social with audio, and as an assuring signpost of capital allocation discipline for a company whose ability to splurge on acquisitions is far from constrained.

3) “Over the counter” traders buoy cryptocurrency sentiment amid ebbs and flows in regulatory headlines

A big driver of cryptocurrency volatility over the past few weeks has been heightened concerns over stricter regulation in China, one of its biggest and most active markets. However, off-exchange or “over the counter” traders have begun to display a steady recovery in sentiment, as trades placed via OTC platforms tend to be difficult to trace (and, accordingly, difficult to end via wholesale ban). We expect investors will continue to eye the exchange rate between China’s yuan and the stablecoin Tether, as they seek to suss out local market sentiment trends amid continued regulatory volatility.

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