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Quick Hits: Listening in on Alexa. Digital distributors. Vinyl on Bandcamp.

Brief news items and worthy reads from around the web:

Alexa listens to you, and it’s not the only one: When you own a device with a microphone that’s always on, it seems a safe assumption that someone, somewhere can listen to what you say. A team of Amazon employees does indeed go through transcripts and audio recordings to better understand how the voice assistant works. However, that opens up a wide range of concerns about privacy. Bloomberg profiled some of the things those Amazon workers might hear, from the mildly embarrassing (off-key singing in the shower) to the legally complicated (a possible sexual assault). The technology may be on the rise, but there are still lots of complicated questions to answer around it.

Digital distributors on the rise: Many music companies have been getting in on the digital distribution market, with new service launches and big-ticket mergers. Billboard examined the trend and what it means for the business and infrastructure of the music industry.

Bandcamp to offer vinyl pressing: Vinyl has been a growing source of physical format revenue in many markets, and Bandcamp is getting in on the act. It noted that only 9% of albums sold on Bandcamp in 2018 had a vinyl version available, yet vinyl sales on its network have risen 600% in the past five years. The direct-to-consumer platform announced that it is now offering a service in pressing vinyl that would allow more artists to take advantage of the renewed interest in records.

Anna Washenko

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