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7:40 AM ET, April 17, 2021

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 Top News: 
Jeff Benson / Decrypt:
An NFT combining Edward Snowden's image and pages of a court ruling on surveillance sold for $5.45M in Ethereum; proceeds go to Freedom of the Press Foundation  —  An NFT artwork created by Edward Snowden has sold for $5.4 million in Ethereum.  —  “Stay Free” portrays the NSA whistleblower …
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Charlotte Klein / Vanity Fair:
AP will soon begin auctioning off NFT-backed digital art files based on iconic photos and event coverage; Time magazine is exploring more blockchain integration  —  The New York Times, Time, and the AP have racked up six-figure sales of digital assets that could be a future revenue stream—or the next bubble to burst.
The New York Times Company:
NYT's Choire Sicha is stepping down as Styles editor to become a senior editor working on expanding the paper's newsletter portfolio  —  After a great run leading the Styles section, Choire is taking on a new challenge to help expand our newsletter portfolio.  Read more in this note from Dean Baquet, Joe Kahn and Sam Sifton.
Anne Steele / Wall Street Journal:
In a letter to artists, Apple says it pays a penny per stream, roughly double Spotify, which pays an average of about one-third to half a penny per stream  —  Streaming services open up about artist payouts, seeking to win credibility and subscribers  —  Apple Music told artists it pays …
RELATED:
Jem Aswad / Variety:
Looking at payment per stream metrics for music streaming services can be misleading when considering artist pay, as many factors determine streaming royalties  —  Early Friday, Apple Music sent a carefully worded letter to artists, music labels and publishers that briefly explained …
Dieter Bohn / The Verge:
Firefox and major Chromium browsers like Edge, Opera, Brave, and Vivaldi are not joining FLoC, Google's proposed ad technology to replace third-party cookies  —  Brave, Vivaldi, Edge, and Mozilla are all out  —  Google is going it alone with its proposed advertising technology to replace third-party cookies.
Kia Kokalitcheva / Axios:
Crypto-focused media startup The Block says it has bought out all non-employee shareholders as it wants “to be disentangled” from VCs to cover them without bias  —  The Block, a cryptocurrency-focused media startup, tells Axios that it has bought out its non-employee shareholders …
Michael Grothaus / Fast Company:
Simon & Schuster says it won't distribute the book written by one of the police officers who shot Breonna Taylor; Post Hill Press says it will still publish it  —  Publishing giant Simon & Schuster has announced it will not distribute the book written by one of the police officers …
Katie Robertson / New York Times:
Reuters is introducing a paywall: after registration and a free preview period, subscriptions will cost $34.99/month; it also plans to launch newsletters  —  Reuters will begin charging for access to its website as it tries to capture a slice of the digital subscription business.
Annie Linskey / Washington Post:
White House is offering a weekly “virtual” slot in the briefing room to regional reporters and has begun monthly briefings for regional outlets  —  President Biden's White House is launching a new strategy of focusing more on local and specialty media, offering a weekly “virtual” …
 
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 More News: 
Adweek:
Google adds brand safety feature intended for small advertising teams to create dynamic exclusion lists that automatically add new web pages and domains
Sarah Scire / Nieman Lab:
As news outlets grapple with whether to show the video of Adam Toledo's shooting, Block Club Chicago chose to run one version of the story with and one without
Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism:
Interview with journalism professor Nikki Usher on the return of partisan news outlets, how big news organizations are increasingly by and for elites, and more
 Earlier Picks: 
Aidan McLaughlin / Mediaite:
Twitter permanently suspends James O'Keefe, founder of Project Veritas, for violating rules on platform manipulation and spam
Brian Steinberg / Variety:
ViacomCBS combines CBS News and local stations in a single unit to be led by former ABC stations chief Wendy McMahon and former Hearst exec Neeraj Khemlani
Megan Greenwell / @megreenwell:
[Thread] Megan Greenwell, editor of Wired.com and former EIC of Deadspin, announces she is leaving Wired next week, saying she's drained and needs a break
Mark Stenberg / Adweek:
Ziff Davis union is staging a 24-hour walkout after failing to reach a contract establishing a $65K salary floor with Ziff Davis, owner of PC Mag and others
Hamish McKenzie / Substack Blog:
Substack announces Substack Local, a $1M initiative to help up to 30 independent writers build local subscription news outlets via a cash advance, advice, more