The art world goes all in on virtual


April 22, 2020

April 22, 2020
The Hustle
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More money is on the way for small businesses. Yesterday, Congress reached a deal with the White House that will add another $310B to the Paycheck Protection Program, and another $60B to the Small Business Administration’s fund for disaster loans. The Senate passed the measure yesterday, and the House is expected to OK it tomorrow.

What remains to be seen: whether the little guys will actually see any of that money. Reminder: If your business was denied a PPP loan, tell us about it here.

🎂 Today’s birthday-week giveaway: Cover up the evidence of that god-awful quarantine haircut with a fresh Hustle hat. Just share our email to get one — details below.

A Stroke of Genius?

The art world is curating a survival plan

Pony up $2,500, and the MoMA will sell you a prized possession: A 1st edition of the photography book William Eggleston’s Guide. To raise money, MoMA staffers are rummaging through the archives and selling ~120 rare books.

Lockdown has not painted a pretty picture for the museum world.

The Met and the Smithsonian are predicting many millions of dollars in losses. The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles laid off all of its part-time staff and furloughed many of its full-timers.

In France, some experts say that ⅓ of all galleries might close permanently before 2020 is up.

J. Paul Getty, meet Tom Nook

The surest evidence that the art world is entering a new reality is a tweet from London’s prestigious Royal Academy of Arts: “Who can draw us a thirsty ferret?”

The tweet was part of the museum’s daily drawing challenge, dubbed #RAdailydoodle. But it also feels emblematic of a moment: These stodgy institutions are going all-in on internet culture.

  • On TikTok, Moscow’s Garage Museum is producing mock horror films.
  • The Yorkshire Museum is hosting weekly “curator battles” for museum staff with no customers. The most recent challenge — What is the creepiest object in your collection? — turned up zombie blowfish and dioramas featuring humans fashioned from crab claws.
  • The Getty Center is hopping on the Animal Crossing bandwagon with an add-on that lets people import paintings into the game.
  • Maybe you’ve seen the meme where people remix famous art with themselves and their pets — including the instant classic, “Dog With(out) a Pearl Earring.”

There’s even a Covid Art Museum — an Instagram account blowing up with paintings of toilet paper or photos of social distancing.

Museums want this moment to be merely their Blue Period

All of this effort isn’t for nothing. Some art houses, like London’s Courtauld Gallery, have seen traffic spikes to their websites as big as 723%.

Engaged audiences are great, but in terms of cold hard cash, the best they can bring are donations. There is, unfortunately, no Animal Crossing add-on for the ticket sales and big-money contributions that keep art museums humming.

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Navigating an upside-down world: Trends to watch post-COVID-19

In a matter of weeks, more than 20m people have lost their jobs. Oil prices have crashed. Restaurants, airlines, and events businesses have cratered. To put it bluntly, sh** has hit the fan.

The coverage is noisy, and difficult to digest. That’s why we’re bringing in our Trends team to brief us on which trends are worth watching and to make sense of the complicated world we find ourselves in.

During this exclusive interview, you’ll learn:

  • Which industries have been hit the hardest — and what second- and third-order effects you can expect to see next
  • Which industries, keywords, and products are surging and/or getting investment
  • How consumer behaviors are changing, and what businesses will benefit
  • 20+ resources for staying ahead of the curve

Join us tomorrow, Thursday 4/23, at 3pm ET (12pm PT).

Not a Trends subscriber? No sweat. As part of our ongoing COVID-19 coverage, we’re opening this lecture up for free to all Hustle readers. See you there!

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Fashion Matters

Retail is hurting, but resale looks haute these days

Times are tough for retail. Sales across all categories plunged a record-setting 8.7% last month. Clothing and accessories took the hardest hit, falling 50.5%.

So it might come as a surprise that luxury resale platforms — think The RealReal and Rebag — are looking especially chic these days.

Investors are betting on pre-owned Prada

As Business of Fashion reports, the secondhand specialists at the Vestiaire Collective recently raised a fresh $63m in funding. The company’s CEO didn’t dish on its exact valuation, but did divulge that the figure is 50% higher than it was in June 2019.

And with clothes horses homebound and bored, people are cleaning out their closets and surfing the web for their next splurge — yielding big business.

  • Vestiaire Collective reported its biggest ever sales day ever last week.
  • Daily listings are 33% higher than they were before the pandemic.
  • And European sales are up 20%, too.

Pre-pandemic, luxury resale platforms were expected to collectively rake in $36B by next year. Now, that number could be higher.

The boom could toss the luxury sector a (very stylish) life jacket 

Although independent boutiques are temporarily closed — and some retail stalwarts like Neiman Marcus are expected to file for bankruptcy — there’s an opportunity to move inventory by partnering with resale platforms.

The RealReal has seen its inventory spike 30% over the past 6 weeks.

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Game Over?

We’re in the midst of a great Nintendo Switch shortage

Sales of video-game hardware are surging, and the Nintendo Switch is grabbing the high score: An analyst said Tuesday that Switch sales in March were up more than 2x compared to last year.

Overall, spending on video-game hardware grew by 63% — to $461m.

Switches are flyin’ off the shelves because we’ve all lost our freakin’ minds for Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the smash-hit game that’s morphed into its own quarantine universe.

But Mario’s pipeline has a supply problem

As our weeks of isolation drag on, we’ve switched from stockpiling TP to stockpiling ways to entertain our bored selves. That made the Switch the hottest commodity in the Mushroom Kingdom.

Major retailers are out of stock, and if you try to buy one through an Amazon reseller, you may pay almost 2x the usual $299. Entrepreneurial types/jerks are using a bot to snap up Switches as soon as they go on sale.

The Switch is essential isolation hardware

And Nintendo is pumping up production to meet the demand. It now expects to produce ~10% more Switch units this year, up from ~20m last year.

The company doesn’t actually make the console itself, but parts suppliers have reported orders through June that are 50%+ higher than usual.

If the Great Switch Shortage continues and you don’t want to pay a price-gouging Bowser wannabe, you’ve got options: One guy built a DIY Switch himself from used parts.

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In case of corona overload…

Last week, you said you liked the mix-ins of non-corona news. So we went looking for more.

If you like today’s dose (or want even more stories from outside of Coronaworld), tell us by hitting the smileys at the bottom of the email.

That’s one expensive tainted burrito. Chipotle will pay a $25m fine to resolve charges related to food-poisoning outbreaks. It’s the biggest fine ever imposed in a food-safety case.

Microsoft’s going big on open data. Its president, Brad Smith, told Axios that “fully half of all of the data created, every day, on the internet, is flowing to only 100 companies.” The company is pledging to develop new collaborations based on shared data.

Tune in to Radio Free Sonos. Sonos is launching its first audio service (33 stations, with some channels supported by ads). Protocol’s take: The service allows Sonos to expand its core business, and gives users some value right out of the box. On another front in the streaming wars, Spotify is launching podcast playlists.

Wait, what? A 6-year-old Russian girl is one of YouTube’s biggest child megastars. According to Bloomberg, her content racks up ~100m views a day, and last year, her family earned $18m+ from YouTube.

It’s not that kind of face mask. A UK startup is developing a wearable device for cows that promises to cut down on their infamous methane emissions in a big way.

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Boo Birds

Meet the guy who’ll measure your Bronx cheers at the NFL’s quarantine draft

Roger Goodell can run, but he cannot hide.

One of the most reliably funny moments at the annual NFL draft happens like clockwork in the 1st round. The commissioner, Roger Goodell, steps to the podium to announce a new selection — and fans of the picking team shower him with appreciation boos.

Philadelphia Eagles fans are especially merciless (back in the late ’60s, they booed a raggedy imitation of Santa Claus). Last year, ESPN apparently tried a little audio trickery to tame the volume of the draft-day jeers.

This year’s draft kicks off on Thursday night — giving content-craving sports fans something to talk about between episodes of ESPN’s Michael Jordan docuseries “The Last Dance.” Teams will make their selections remotely to comply with social distancing orders.

If you thought Goodell is off the hook, you thought wrong

Because Caio Brighenti is the hero cooped-up football fans need right now.

Brighenti came up with a way to measure how teams’ fan bases react to each draft pick — in real time. He’ll be using comments from Reddit to measure sentiments for all 32 teams.

And he’s adding a 33rd: a “Goodell Boo-Meter,” which captures the sentiment of all NFL fans.

Pretty good for a guy who openly said he’s working on the project to avoid doing homework (he’s a senior at Colgate University — so who could blame him?). Last season, he entered the NFL’s Big Data Bowl as a one-man team and made it to the finals.

But what if Roger puts Caio on mute?

The boo birds will find a way to fly. Bud Light said this week that it’ll forward your #BootheCommish tweets to NFL HQ — it’s collecting money for charity in the process.

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Snippets

💰Shots fired in the ecommerce wars: Google is making it free for merchants to list products on its Shopping service.

🏢 Elsewhere on Planet Google: The search giant’s parent company, Alphabet, is pulling back on its real-estate footprint.

🚙 GM is shutting down its car-sharing service, Maven.

👨‍🍳 Now you can add Ikea’s Swedish meatballs to your corona cookbooks.

😂 This one’s for the teachers and parents out there: a fitting coronavirus tune (with a surprise ending).

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