🎵 Making musicians go viral


July 9, 2021

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The Hustle

Authorities in Los Angeles confiscated $1.2B of illegally grown marijuana last month. Raids resulted in 131 arrests, 65 vehicles seized, and ~375k plants netted.

Those numbers sound quite high, wouldn’t ya say?

The big idea
spinning record

Music startups have raised $350m+ to help artists go viral

In the annals of internet-enabled stardom, Justin Bieber’s journey from a 12-yearold YouTube musician to global icon ranks up there.

The “next” Justin Bieber will most likely be found on TikTok, the viral short video platform.

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The app — which is dominated by 10-to-30-second videos — has even influenced musicians to make shorter songs in an attempt to break through.

A number of music-related startups…

… have raised $350m+ to help independent, aspiring artists blow up on TikTok (and competing services like YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels), per The Information.

These include:

  • Rapchat: An online recording studio for rappers
  • Splice: Music production tools and a library of royalty-free beats
  • Music Breakr: A marketplace connecting artists with social media influencers (that can help a song go viral)
  • UnitedMasters: A platform that helps artists distribute songs to streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music

Going viral on TikTok is no joke

A number of songs have topped streaming charts after breaking out on TikTok:

  • Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road”
  • Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License”
  • 24kGoldn’s “Mood”

And who can forget the viral cranberry-drinking skateboarder who sent a Fleetwood Mac album back onto the Billboard charts for the 1st time in 4 decades.

Music industry is almost back to its peak

Sales of recorded music — with streaming accounting for 83% of the pie — hit $12B in 2020, +9.2% YoY.

This is the 5th straight year of growth, putting the industry near its record revenue of $14.6B in 1999.

Whether or not this industry momentum actually produces the next Bieber, it’s safe to say “Despacito” will always be the best summer song ever.

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SNIPPETS

Circle isn’t running in circles. The crypto payments infrastructure company announced plans to go public at a $4.5B valuation via (no surprise here) a SPAC merger. #fintech-cryptocurrency

Some animals could become sentient. Legally, that is, if a new bill in the UK moves forward proposing lawmakers consider the feelings of animals with spines in policy decisions. #emerging-tech

Instacart hires a social media guru. The food delivery behemoth hired board member Fidji Simo, who for the last decade led this app called Facebook, as its CEO. #big-tech

Beyond Meat’s focused beyond meat. The company released new breaded chicken tenders — miraculously constructed with the fava bean — that’ll first be sold at 400 restaurants across the US. #ecommerce-retail

Our financial memer-in-residence, Dr. Parik Patel, had some things to say about $0.16 July 4 savings, the Gulf of Mexico going up in flames, and Mark Zuckersurf’s patriotic video. This one’s a must-read, folks. #hustle-picks

Germany’s largest automakers learn their lesson. European authorities fined Volkswagen $595m and BMW $442m for illegally hampering emissions tech in their cars. Daimler got off scot-free because it snitched. #clean-energy

Richard Branson

Source: Virgin Galactic

Richard Branson is space traveling and his businesses are making a COVID comeback

If the weather holds, Richard Branson will head to the edge of space Sunday aboard his Virgin Galactic spacecraft.

If all goes well, Branson will win a space race with Jeff Bezos, who’s going 9 days later aboard his New Shepard spaceship (which some say looks like… well, see for yourself).

The launch follows a rough year for Branson’s businesses

Branson’s companies didn’t exactly mesh well with COVID. For instance:

  • Virgin Atlantic Airways raised $1.5B to avoid bankruptcy
  • Virgin Australia Holdings, another airline group, was taken under the wing of Bain Capital
  • Virgin Voyages, a cruise line that got its 1st ship delivered right before the pandemic, said, “sorry, bad timing?”
  • Virgin Active, which operates gyms, lost 25%+ of its members

But they’re on track to make a comeback

Virgin Atlantic is going full throttle in London, Virgin Voyages is setting sail in August, and Virgin Hotels is welcoming back guests.

Some fun facts about Branson: He survived a hot air balloon crash, his boat capsized while trying to cross the Atlantic in record speed, and he’s driven a tank into Times Square.

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Ed Tech
annual streaming prices

There’s a grain of truth in every joke… (Source: Reddit)

Can livestreaming classes finally shake up online ed?

One of the most viral memes at the outset of the pandemic was the image above that compared the annual prices of streaming services.

Without the on-campus component, Harvard’s lofty education is reduced more or less to pre-recorded lecture videos.

While obviously a joke, the meme is a pointed jab at how little online education has progressed.

One way of improving online ed…

… is by making the experience live and interactive. Gura — a livestreaming platform for premium learning experiences — just launched with exactly this value proposition.

Per Influencive, Gura turns a 2-3 month process to create a pre-recorded curriculum into a turnkey experience for any creator looking to sell their expertise.

The platform has the tools to host live sessions, sell virtual tickets, and connect with students.

Live isn’t the only value prop, either

Maven is also a live education platform, but with a specific emphasis: cohort-based learning. The startup raised $20m in May, per TechCrunch.

According to co-founder Wes Kao, cohorts pair educational content with “community and accountability” that comes from peers. (Maven’s other co-founder and CEO, Gagan Biyani, helped teach The Hustle’s first Ideation Bootcamp).

If live online ed cracks the code and makes the Harvard streaming meme obsolete… we’ll always have this joke to fall back on:

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TRENDS

What could make summer better? How about winning a laptop

Friday has arrived – our fourth and final day of the Trends Summer Kickoff.

That means it’s officially the last day to get in on the massive discounts we’ve been offering all week and be entered for a chance to win one of many incredible prizes we put together for you.

We’re cutting it close, but you still have time to grab a discounted year of Trends.

That’s a year of access to:

  • Thousands of business ideas you can build in a weekend.
  • A network of world-class founders and operators from around the globe.
  • Exclusive community events
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If you’ve been wanting to start or grow a business in 2021, this is your chance for a huge head start.

This promotion ends at midnight tonight, so do not miss out.

Sign up now for a discounted year of Trends and a chance to win one of our amazing prizes.

We’ll see you on the inside.

Get Access →
Stat of the day
music with chorus

It’s not in your head, songs actually are getting shorter. The rise of streaming — which pays per play — incentivizes smaller audio bites. Between 2013 and 2018, the average pop song went from 3:50 to 3:30 in length.

The average song length is almost certainly lower now, as artists optimize for popularity on TikTok. To wit: Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” (which blew up on the short video app) is only 1:53 long.

It’s not just the length that’s changing:

  • songs are shortening intros…
  • … and getting to the chorus much faster

The Economist previously noted a marked increase in the percentage of hit songs with a chorus in the first 15 seconds. Guess that’s one way to “hook” listeners.

Shower Thoughts

  1. “If tomatoes are a fruit then pizza sauce is jam.”
  2. “‘Tropical’ sounds awesome unless followed by ‘storm.’”
  3. “There’s a random day of your life in which you’ve breathed the most/least.”
  4. “We could have saved so much paper if we had made default margins narrow.”
  5. “In a couple hundred years, more will start mistakenly assuming that Einstein or Lincoln had internet.”
  6. “A treehouse is putting a dead tree on another tree.”
via Reddit
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