Taylor Swift's new album, Red, sold more 1.2 million copies in its first week — the highest first-week sales total for an album in over a decade. She did it partly by answering a surprisingly complicated question: What's the best way to sell an album?
There are so many ways to release your music these days. You can sell it at Amazon, iTunes, Wal-Mart, and Starbucks. You can release it to streaming sites like Spotify. You can go on tour.
If you've ever checked the ingredient list on a PowerBar or a high-protein smoothie, you probably have stumbled across these words: "Whey protein concentrate." You'll find it in a growing number of prepared foods.
This mysterious ingredient is derived from one of the oldest of human foods — milk. But capturing it requires huge factories that look more like oil refineries than farms.
The election is over and the deadline for the so-called "fiscal cliff" is drawing closer. Host Michel Martin speaks with NPR Senior Business Editor Marilyn Geewax about how the two relate, and what it could mean for America's economic future.
Originally published on Sun November 11, 2012 7:50 pm
Fast-food giant McDonald's said today that revenue at its restaurants that have been open at least 13 months fell 1.8 percent in October — the first time it has suffered a month-to-month decline in that key indicator since April 2008, according to BloombergBusinessweek.
And a strike by workers in Milwaukee, is pitting a group of Mexican immigrants against their employer - a family-owned business that itself was founded by immigrants. As WBEZ's Niala Boodhoo reports, the dispute - involving workers and their legal status - reflects struggles of other immigrants in the workplace.
NIALA BOODHOO, BYLINE: You could call Palermo's Pizza the quintessential American success story. The company was started by Italian immigrant Gaspare Fallucca, from a small bakery and restaurant on Milwaukee's East Side.
NPR's business news starts with a whole bunch of insurance plans.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
INSKEEP: Maybe also some auto industry stimulus here. As many as a quarter million cars and trucks damaged when Sandy stormed up the East Coast will have to be scrapped. That's according to the National Automobile Dealers Association. The estimate is less than the 325,000 cars ruined by Hurricane Katrina, but it's still an awful lot of cars.
When Stephen Wheeler realized he had an aching, swollen finger, he called his primary care doctor, who works for MedStar Health. The doctor referred him to PromptCare, an urgent care clinic in a strip mall in the Baltimore suburbs.
Wheeler says he probably would have ended up waiting a long time if he'd gone to the doctor. And even longer at the emergency room.
A growing number of U.S. consumers are finding much to enjoy in this fruity alcoholic beverage, driving an increase in cider sales. The Vermont Hard Cider Company now produces 70,000 cases of Woodchuck Hard Cider each week.
A couple hundred years ago. hard apple cider used to be the drink of choice for thirsty Americans. It was easy to make and easy to find. But as people moved into cities, and beer became more popular, cider fell out of fashion.
Now it's come roaring back. U.S. hard cider sales are up 65 percent over last year, and just about all the big beer companies sell it, as well as many artisan brewers. Finding cider at your local bar is often no longer a problem.
With the election over, attention in Washington has turned to the nation's debt and deficit challenges — most immediately the looming fiscal cliff. That's the $600 billion worth of expiring tax breaks and automatic spending cuts set to start taking effect Jan. 1.
The president and Congress agreed to those automatic measures to force themselves to find a more palatable compromise to rein in deficits. On Wednesday, there was an attempt to jump-start that process.
Originally published on Sun November 11, 2012 11:58 am
Hi! I'm back. I was once a banker and now I write for Dealbreaker and answer your questions about the financial world here. You can send questions to email@example.com with "ask a banker" in the subject line, or ask on Twitter (@planetmoney).
Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 1:39 pm
If you're a coffee drinker, chances are the cup of java you drank this morning was made from beans that were produced or harvested by women. Women's handprints can be found at every point in coffee production.
In fact, on family-owned coffee farms in Africa, about 70 percent of maintenance and harvesting work is done by women, according to an analysis by the International Trade Centre, but only rarely do women own the land or have financial control.
Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 11:14 am
What a difference $46 million in TV ad spending can make.
At least that was the consensus in the wee hours of the morning at the Yes on Proposition 37 party, held at a performance art space in San Francisco's Mission District, even before the final votes were tallied.
Outspent many times over, "we couldn't get up on the air," organizer Stacy Malkan told The Salt when it appeared the measure was going down. "You need a certain saturation to have an impact."
The economy has been a central issue in this presidential election, but it has been improving little by little. In the end, President Obama handily rolled to reelection, pledging, last night, to complete the country's recovery. For more, we turn to economic correspondent John Ydstie. Good morning.
JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: Hi, Renee.
MONTAGNE: Now, the weak economy was what Republicans hoped would unseat the president and that did not happen. What are the reasons for that?
Media companies are counting themselves among the winners in the 2012 election. SuperPAC spending on political ads will push the total amount spent past 2008 totals. The biggest beneficiaries are the usual suspects: Comcast, Disney, NewsCorp and CBS, but also locally owned TV and radio stations — especially those in swing states like Ohio and Florida.
More than an hour before taking the stage to formally announce his re-election, @Barack Obama tweeted his victory. He wrote, "This happened because of you." Obama was one of millions of people who tweeted on Election Day. Traffic on the social networking site peaked at 11:19 p.m. Tuesday when the TV networks called the race.
NPR's business news starts with a dive on Wall Street. Just this minute, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down about 317 points. It's considered the worst drop of the year, so far. We're a little bit before noon in New York City. What's going on? We're going to try to find out. We're joined now by DavidWessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal. And David, as best you can determine, what's driving the drop?
Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 8:40 pm
For months, Americans have been watching the presidential political drama play out nightly on the news. Now, with President Obama's victory, that story is ending.
But for the economy, an action thriller is just beginning.
Congress has just weeks to jump to the rescue of an economy moving closer and closer to the so-called fiscal cliff. That phrase refers to a $600 billion cluster of automatic spending cuts and tax hikes — all coming together at year's end.
Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 12:17 am
Exit polls showed the economy was Issue No. 1 with voters in this presidential election. And it didn't take long for labor organizers and business leaders to start offering their thoughts on the re-election of President Obama.
Because of White House policies, the U.S. economy is "beginning to pick up steam," AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement. He cheered Obama's win and put congressional Republicans on notice that Democrats will focus on "ending the Bush tax cuts for the rich and opposing any cuts to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits."
Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 10:03 am
Severe weather could be headed for regions hard hit by superstorm Sandy, so many homeowners are scrambling to make repairs. The rush might make them vulnerable to so-called storm chasers — con artists posing as contractors. Host Michel Martin speaks with Angie Hicks, founder of the website Angie's List, for tips on how to avoid home repair scams.
Eastman Kodak received approval yesterday to end retiree benefits by year's end. The ruling in a New York State court will save the company millions as it emerges from bankruptcy. It will also mean higher health care costs for thousands of retirees and their families.
Carlet Cleare of member station WXXI reports.
CARLET CLEARE, BYLINE: Retiree Alyce Hahn says Kodak's decision and yesterday's court ruling has left her with a sense of betrayal.