Is the Popularity of Older Songs Hurting The Sales of New Music?
It is getting harder to launch new music. People are listening to the same songs for longer and seeking out new artists less often. According to a recent Businessweek article, “half of the 10 best-selling albums in the US during the first half of the year were released in 2021.” The article notes that “it’s not clear if people are listening to more old music, or if more old people are streaming.”
Perhaps both, but when music goes viral on TikTok, as it often does, “a fan is usually the one dancing in the clip. The result, industry executives say, is that a lot of new songs come and go in a matter of weeks” because people may not even know who the artist was. This new reality is driving a shift in the long standing hit-dependent business model of most record labels where they are now forced to become less dependent on finding the next breakout superstar and more on finding artists who can create music that stays relevant for longer.
The optimistic way to see this is that more musicians might get a chance to be discovered. The flip side, of course, is that the so-called “big break” that every aspiring musician dreams of might not even exist anymore.
California DMV Approves Usage of Pointless Digital License Plates
If you’ve been patiently waiting for your chance to buy a digital license plate for your car … you clearly have too much money. This week, California approved a digital license plate for use on all vehicles. So what does it do?
The features for this relatively pointless innovation include a combination of everything you can already do on your phone (renew your registration without going to the DMV!) and features that most electric cars already have (remind yourself where you parked!). The digital plate can also turn from dark to light, display a custom banner message, broadcast that your car is stolen and allow you to track the thieves location (unless they happen to remove the license plate!).
The problem is, this license plate doesn’t do any of the things that drivers would actually want from a digital plate. Like changing my plate number to a random number when I’m going through a zone that has photo speed cameras. Or letting me broadcast an angry message to the asshole driving too close behind me. Or letting me use a really cool photo or piece of digital art as the background to personalize my look. I mean, if you’re going to create a frivolous way for me to waste my money, at least make it fun.
The Danish Tradition of Friluftsliv Is One We Should All Embrace
In the mid-1800s the Norwegian poet Henrik Ibsen used the word “friluftsliv” to describe the value of spending time in remote locations for spiritual and physical wellbeing. The literal translation is “open-air living.” During the pandemic, artist Thomas Dambo decided to inspire more Danes to get outdoors by building a series of ten larger-than-life-sized trolls outside as part of a scavenger hunt known as The Great Troll Folk Fest. In an article for the BBC, writer Kristin Vuković describes troll seeking and visiting island “dark sky” havens in a way that will inspire your wanderlust for new experiences. The good news is, right now is perfect weather in many parts of the world for adventure. So this weekend, why not ditch your phone, head outside and find a bit of friluftsliv for yourself?
People Can Now Climb the Statue of Liberty (Again) … But Should We?
When I was a kid, I remember running to the top of the air traffic control tower at Washington Dulles Airport or climbing the pyramids during a childhood trip to Egypt. Over the past few decades, the rules have changed.
Tourists are no longer allowed in the main crypt at the Taj Mahal, or to climb the pyramids, or even in the tower at IAD airport. After years of desecration and controversy, in 2019 Australia finally respected the wishes of local aborigines and banned tourists from climbing the sacred site of Uluru in the Northern Territory.
This week, moving in the opposite direction, New York decided to reopen the crown at the Statue of Liberty for tourists to climb for the first time since the pandemic. From what I hear, it is a magical experience … and a wonderful thing to reopen. It is also not sacred ground or a resource that gets diminished by allowing people to interact with it. Perhaps that should be the metric we use to decide what monuments and experiences to keep free and open versus which ones need protection.
NOTE – This will be my non-obvious story of the week. You can watch the short 2 minute video on this playlist later today >>
Palace Skateboards Elevates Product Descriptions To An Art Form
In the Introduction to a fascinating new book from Palace Skateboards co-founder Lev Tanju, literary critic Sam Buchan-Watts declares that Tanju has “pioneered an artform in a place where few people thought to look.” That’s true. Palace Product Descriptions, published by art book publisher Phaidon, features a curated selection of the unique product descriptions used by the brand since its inception in 2013.
Great marketing can be iconic. Sometimes it is truly an underappreciated type of expression, offering the same commentary on our culture as any other form of art. To that end, this book is an argument that this lowbrow perception of marketing as nothing but noisy manipulation isn’t always accurate.
As a reviewer from the luxury news site Highsnobriety writes: “the book not only serves as a catalog of some of the brand’s best (and funniest) works, but is a constant reminder of how an underground skate label from South London broke the mold to change the way we perceive the UK streetwear scene.” Similarly, maybe this book might also change how we perceive the potential cultural value of marketing itself.
Even More Non-Obvious Stories …
Every week I always curate more stories than I’m able to explore in detail. Instead of skipping those stories, I started to share them in this section so you can skim the headlines and click on any that spark your interest:
- Al Ries, Father of Positioning, Dies at 95
- Scientists Have Discovered a New Set of Blood Groups
- How India’s Proposed Digital Rupee Would Be Different From Cryptocurrency
- Meet the AI That Can Redesign Your Interior From a Photo of Your Living Room
- Insights and News From The Dubai Future Forum Gathering of Global Futurists
- iPhone 14’s Crash Detection Feature Being Set Off By Roller Coasters
How are these stories curated?
Every week I spend hours going through hundreds of stories in order to curate this email. Want to discuss how I could bring my best thinking to your next event as a keynote speaker or facilitator? Watch my new 2022 speaking reel on YouTube >>
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