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Week of July 3–9

37% of US consumers and 42% of global consumers report they will begin their holiday shopping early this year as a result of inflation, while 15% of US consumers and 17% of global consumers said they weren’t sure if they would even purchase gifts this year. 

Salesforce further predicts that while stores with brick-and-mortar locations are poised to grow online sales 1.5x faster than those without, they will also feel the pinch on labor costs—especially as workers could face a nearly 200% increase in “costs to work” (think clothing, gas, etc.), and the expected seasonal bumps in retail pay could “eat directly into margins if not managed effectively.” 

In June, the NFT market brought in less than $1 billion in sales for the first time since July 2021. Nevertheless, KBV Research analysts—citing an increased global interest among artists and companies to embrace Web3 (including Facebook, which recently launched digital collectibles support with select creators in the US)—believe the NFT market will continue to grow and reach a market value of £84 billion (~$100 billion) by 2028. 

TikTok is scaling back its live commerce plans in Europe and in the US. Citing unnamed sources, the Financial Times reports that a shop feed—which would serve as a hub for TikTok Shop and allow people to browse and purchase products—was slated for Germany, France, Italy, and Spain during H1, and later in 2022 in the US.

Instagram is testing a feature that automatically turns video posts into reels as part of the app’s ongoing efforts to “simplify and improve the video experience.” Currently, the test is being conducted globally among select users. It’s unclear whether Instagram has plans for a wider rollout.

Most marketers (69%) are budgeting more for influencers now than prior to the pandemic. Whether on YouTube, Instagram, or TikTok, influencers have become essential to some of the largest marketing organizations in the world, filling a role to pitch products and closing creativity gaps left by the advertising industry’s “brain drain” as many of its creatives turn to freelance or tech platforms. 

TikTok is testing a feature that would allow users to restrict livestreams to viewers who are 18 years of age and above. The new setting—which comes after both an October 2021 congressional hearing and a subsequent February 2022 policy update to make the platform safer and more secure for younger users—is intended to help creators prevent minors from encountering content that may not be age appropriate.

Gas fees for Ethereum have plummeted to $1.57 (0.0013 ETH) after sitting at an average of $40 for nearly two years and peaking on May 1 this year at over $196. Gas fees are necessary to complete on-network transactions and had been rising; after NFTs gained sudden popularity, fees surged further. Now that both cryptocurrencies and NFTs have experienced drops, gas fees have come down with them. 

Music streaming platforms must pay American songwriters and publishers a record 43.8% increase in mechanical royalty rates following a ruling made by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB). For artists that means an increase from 10.5% to 15.1%. The determination covers the 2018–2022 streaming period; Spotify, Google, Amazon, Apple, and Pandora (that is, the five companies who pay out 96% of these types of royalties) are fighting to delay retroactive payments.

Newspapers in the US are closing at a rate of two per week, with over one-fourth of all newspapers (most of them weeklies) having closed since 2005 and the figure expected to grow to one-third by 2025. At the end of May, the country had 6,377 newspapers and 31k newspaper journalists, down from 8,891 newspapers in 2005 and ~75k newspaper journalists in 2006. 

Grown-ups like fun too: A 2021 Toy Association survey found 58% of adult respondents had purchased toys, games, and collectibles not just for the kids but for themselves. Of those respondents, 65% bought board games, 61% crafts or building kits, 53% collectibles, and 52% video games. This collective embrace of play and nostalgia is also reflected in the rise of products like “grown-up-sized Razor scooters, artsy Lego sets, and a $105 Barbie dressed like David Bowie.” 

Peacock, NBCUniversal’s streaming service, has secured $1 billion in up-front ad revenue this year. The sum doubles its 2021 total ad revenue—a milestone helped along by securing the Super Bowl and the Olympics back in February, plus a deal in April for 18 Sunday morning MLB games. The service entered Q2 with 28 million active US accounts and 13 million paid subscribers. 

Amazon has acquired a 2% stake in Grubhub, netting Amazon Prime users a one-year membership to the food delivery service. Just Eat Takeaway, which purchased Grubhub last year for $7.3 billion, continues to explore a partial or full sale of the company. 

A Brightcove survey revealed how videos can help boost consumer confidence in e-commerce purchases: 48% of consumers say videos are a swaying factor, while 51% say customers’ videos sharing product opinions are the “most trustworthy” content a seller can offer. Category-wise: 81% said videos helped inform consumer electronics products purchase decisions, 38% said videos helped enhance their perception of grocery products, and 36% said videos help with product discovery.

Contributing Editor: Recap Media

Salesforce, Salesforce, Bloomberg + NFT Evening + TechCrunch, Financial Times, TechCrunch, Axios, TechCrunch, Coin Telegraph, Digital Music News, AP News + Northwestern University, The Hustle, Front Office Sports, CNBC, Chain Store Age + Brightcove

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