After what seemed like the longest week of the decade, the US will get a new president in January and a potential COVID vaccine has just been announced.
A lot will be written about these elections. While I think Biden is the President this country needs right now, I can't shake the feeling that there's a lot of work ahead of us. The outcome of this election seemed to me more a repudiation of Trump than an endorsement of Democrats, and once we're done laughing at memes we'll have to seriously find ways to unify a very divided country. As Bob Hoffman puts it, "If you can't slam dunk an election in which you are facing a corrupt, fatuous, and incompetent incumbent; when a quarter of a million citizens have died from a disease that is raging out of control; when tens of millions are unemployed; when a very popular national health program is under threat of being dismantled; when the President of the United States pays hush money to porn "stars"... something is very, very wrong." One day, another authoritarian will take the stage, and he will be much more competent.
Enough politics for a while. This week we'll talk about the future of entertainment:
- How TikTok became the king of short-form video by catering to lurkers,
- Lessons from Billie Eilish's livestream event,
- How to rethink the movie theater experience,
- Creative work from Audi, Apple, Playstation, and Xbox.
🧠 Brain Food
While Quibi is shutting down, TikTok is dominating short form video. The article below points out what I believe is one of the most important factors of its success: the ability to cater to lurkers - "silent users that consume but rarely create content."
7 minute read | Shreya Sudarshana
The primary reason that most lurkers use social platforms is to find a sense of community. For example, the vast majority of Reddit users are lurkers; they might subscribe to a multitude of subreddits, or communities, yet they never actively post in them. Although content creators also seek community, lurkers uniquely search for communities with engaging content without actually having to post anything themselves or having to follow specific individuals, revealing a specific user behavior. Their strong need for community, paired with their strong desire to stay under the radar, creates a unique user type.
Lurkers are not only the majority of users, but also the primary consumers of content. TikTok is unique in its ability to provide lurkers with a sense of belonging with minimal effort, regardless of what type of community they’re looking for.
TikTok’s impartiality towards content is another reason it has grown so quickly, allowing users to find their niches and express themselves. This contrasts with other short-term video social platforms on the market, as no other competitor has the breadth of content combined nor the means to curate content for this type of consumer behavior.
Last month, Billie Eilish performed a ticketed livestream event 'WHERE DO WE GO?' It might become a playbook for the future of the music industry. It was a masterclass in multi-media, fan-fuelled, hype-driven, quality entertainment.
8 minute read | Zoe Scaman
Not only was the livestream a re-imagined version of her WHERE DO WE GO? 2020 arena tour, but the medium allowed Billie to perform in a 3D rendered environment, meaning anything — yes anything — was possible. Although we’ve already seen hints of this with Travis Scott x Fortnite, up until now artists’ livestreams have largely lived within the limited confines of IG and TikTok. Ofc, Billie teaming up with lili Studios, the production studio whose website proudly boasts “the most advanced live streaming experiences”, Moment Factory on immersive visual content, plus the hosting smarts and technical prowess of Maestro, most definitely produced the most pivotal panny-d pop culture moment, periodt.
She worked with Spotify to tease content ahead of the event, releasing fan-focused ltd edition merch, as well as a number of other partners (Verizon, Postmates, Global Citizen).
For artists, livestreaming provides an opportunity to achieve other-worldly performances, previously impossible or unattempted before. After yesterday, it’s clear: Billie is seizing the opportunity to not only perform in settings of her wildest dreams, but also communicate with fans on full service platform that promotes creativity (XR technology), authenticity (Q&A + BTS with crew) and community (fan interaction throughout + GOTV).
"Movies are one of the best things to have happened to the human race, probably ranking right up there in the top 5 with eating, sex, indoor plumbing, and music." I for one miss going to the movie theater, but maybe the pandemic is an occasion to rethink the theater experience.
5 minute read | Input Mag
For most movie-goers, story-driven dramas or more challenging fare has been pushed aside, and studios are building a growing catalog of movies that cost hundreds of millions of dollars to make, with the expectation that the takehome will be in the billions. Since everyone is competing to find the next superhero saga they can turn into a decades-long money train (hello DC universe), a lot of good, interesting, important movies are getting pushed to the margins — or not getting made at all.
That means the space for new voices, new ideas, and new ways of telling a story is increasingly in short supply at your local multiplex. And that sucks.
What if it's time to let the old way die, and rethink how we deliver movies to audiences? This doesn't mean that the theater needs to end, only that we need to find ways to better fit that experience into the lives of people.
Maybe the answer isn't an end to the theater we know and love. Maybe this is a chance to figure out what the theater of the future should be. There's still a place for big crowds and expensive blockbusters, but we shouldn't go back to business as usual once we're all able to safely jam ourselves into a 100+ seat moviehouse.
🏅 Stuff I recommend
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🎁 Box Of Random
🎬 Not a fan of corporations selling the "all you need is a phone/camera to be a filmmaker" dream to inexperienced users, but I'll admit this campaign by Apple is pretty amazing.
🎤 To advertise Audi's used car program, Romance agency placed pre-roll ads on YouTube videos of iconic performances:
🎵 Because of COVID, director Keith Schofield couldn't shoot Duck Sauce's new music video. So, they decided to release the animatic. Pure genius. (NSFW)
🎮 An epic launch commercial for PS5 by Somesuch directors Alex Hulsey and Daniel Wolfe, combining archive footage with live action re-enactments:
🌎 Equally epic is Xbox's latest campaign by Ian Pons Jewell starring Black Panther's actor Daniel Kaluuya:
📢 A case study on the psychology of how fake news gets shared on Facebook 👇
💡 Ideas are just a multiplier of execution (via Derek Sivers):
To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.
AWFUL IDEA= -1
WEAK IDEA= 1
SO-SO IDEA= 5
GOOD IDEA= 10
GREAT IDEA= 15
BRILLIANT IDEA= 20
NO EXECUTION= $1
WEAK EXECUTION= $1000
SO-SO EXECUTION= $10,000
GOOD EXECUTION= $100,000
GREAT EXECUTION= $1,000,000
BRILLIANT EXECUTION= $10,000,000
To make a business, you need to multiply the two.
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