✖ 'Tarzan Economics': the good, the bad, and the next vine
And: Metaverse skepticism; Stevie Nicks, Limp Bizkit, et al cancel tours; Catastrophy awaits; Curators all the way down; Tyler, the Creator album release teardown; Creator economy in crisis
Tarzan Economics aims to switch your understanding of the world from thinking about transactions to thinking about consumption. Will Page argues for around 300 pages that we should all be interested in data that explains how people consume instead of data on what transactions they make. This is a question of economics, of course, but also of many other possible subjects, such as psychology, neuroscience, and sociology. Page writes well and seems to enjoy making economics something everyone can grasp. Half the time, as a reader, I didn’t even realise he discussed economic concepts until he is well and truly deep into them. One such example is when Page takes several pages to discuss the concept of ‘fair division.’ He talks about himself coming home late and drunk, watching a program on TV called The Mint. It’s a game show with simple background music. The show itself was evidently an awful rip-off for viewers, but so was the music for the wider community of composers. The simple background music earned its composers lots of money due to the broadcaster’s, ITV, blanket license deal with the PRS. Not only does Page explain ‘fair division’ in an easy-to-grasp example, he also immediately lays bare the crux of Tarzan Economics.
I go into the good and the bad, and explain what the next vine will be for music.
🛎️ Techies think we’re on the cusp of a virtual world called ‘the metaverse’. I’m skeptical (Sean Monahan)
“Tech oligarchs like Zuckerberg, with his Sauron-like ambition to own the One Ring to rule them all, seem like the worst choice to put in charge of building a new world. I’m more sympathetic to the crypto community’s nascent interest in the metaverse. The promise of crypto, it seems to me, is its potential to spark decentralization in an already overly centralized world, to play Gutenberg to the next generation’s Martin Luthers. The metaverse proposes a smoothed-out and rationalized version of our messy and chaotic world. The question that crypto seems to face most pressingly is: Why should crypto matter to everyone? If crypto is to be truly revolutionary, then it will have to give an answer that formats digital life down to a human scale, not up to a megalomaniac’s.”
💐 Curators all the way down (Gaby Goldberg)
“So it’s fitting that exactly a decade later, we’ve come to another watershed moment. Software has eaten the world, and now it’s a commodity. It’s not about the technology anymore. The era of the engineer has ended; the era of the curator has begun.”
💰 The major music companies now turn over $2.5m every hour – and will generate more than $20bn between them this year (Tim Ingham)
“Combined, the recorded music arms of the three major music companies generated $4.63 billion in the three months to end of June – up by a whopping 40.1% (or +$1.32 billion) on the same period of 2020”
🛑 Senators target Apple’s App Store exclusivity in new bill (Makeena Kelly)
“For years, Apple and Google have squashed competitors and kept consumers in the dark—pocketing hefty windfalls while acting as supposedly benevolent gatekeepers of this multi-billion dollar market. This bipartisan bill will help break these tech giants’ ironclad grip, open the app economy to new competitors, and give mobile users more control over their own devices.”
Senator Richard Blumenthal
🤙🏿 Tyler, The Creator's 'CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST' teardown (Amber Horsburgh & Dan Runcie)
We began with the pre pre-launch, that saw Tyler doing a number of collaborations and then moved on to the pre-launch in early June, when billboards sporting just a title and a phone number started popping up all around the world in major cities like L.A., London, Paris, Berlin, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Sydney, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. I love how the confusion and excitement of this unknown was stoked even further when you called the number and you got to hear snippets from the album.”
🧰 The creator economy is in crisis. Now let’s fix it (Li Jin)
“As in the gig economy, the creator economy is marked by the incentivization of over-supply: there is a multitude of creators willing to create content, and algorithmic feeds serve up a steady stream of alternatives. As a creator, one’s content is commoditized and substitutable with rival offerings. When there is one monolithic feed built with an algorithm that uses a preferential attachment model, a small set of creators rise to the top, and all creators compete with each other to capture the attention of audiences. The result is a zero-sum competition between creators that results in over-supply and devaluation of content. Though creators are trying to implement the playbook of leveraging social media platforms to build an audience before porting them elsewhere, the movement of one's audience is a non-trivial process that platforms are resistant to facilitating.”
🔕 Stevie Nicks cancels tour over Covid fears: ‘At my age, I am extremely cautious’ (Ben Beaumont-Thomas)
Nicks isn’t alone either, Jason Isbell and Limp Bizkit are just two others.
“The system is still very flawed. Even if the performers, crews, staff, and promoters do their best to ensure safety on and behind the stage, that doesn’t ensure the safety of the audience as a whole. We are all in this together, and we all – individually and as a whole – have to make our best efforts to be as responsible and proactive as possible moving forward to combat and stop spreading Covid.”
Fred Durst, Limp Bizkit frontman
😷 Catastrophe awaits new concert cancelations (The Cadence)
Going deeper into the struggle hinted at in the piece above, The Cadence explores the three party arguments where artists, venues, and promotors are all pointing fingers arguing it’s someone else’s responsibility.
“However, it seems less-than-ideal to abdicate the responsibility for those decisions to artists and their teams, who seem the least well-equipped to make these calls. Venues and promoters have people on the ground in each city who—while not public health experts—at least have a better sense of what’s happening in their communities.”
💉 Only four out of 40,000 Kanye West fans got the vaccine at his ‘DONDA’ listening event (Elizabeth Aubrey)
“The event also gave fans the chance to receive the vaccine, but according to a stadium rep at the venue, only four people took up the offer.”
Considering my recent article on merch, it’s interesting to note that Kanye West made $7 million from merch sales during the event.
📷 Who called the paps? (Beatrice Hazlehurst)
“To orchestrate a celebrity “candid,” relationships to a plethora of players must be established — starting with a plugged-in publicist. The first step, says Church, is ensuring your client is in hair and makeup. Next, you optimize their schedule for picture-taking opportunities. Finally, their itinerary must be shared with one or two trusted photographers.”
An artist I discovered recently and have listened to incessantly since is quest?onmarc. They tend to make pretty hard music, but their taste is eclectic. In their recent FACT mix they really go all out on the latter. Dropping in their own music mixed with the likes of Burial, Radiohead, The Cranberries and KoRn. If you think your taste in music is diverse, I challenge you to this mix.