Everybody’s a TikTok Shop

January 31st, 2024

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The entertainment industry is in a tizzy over Paramount Global. The latest news is that media mogul Byron Allen has made an offer to buy Paramount for all the marbles — quite possibly the best deal yet. This isn’t his first time dealing with the company, either. Just last year, he made an unsuccessful offer to buy BET. Things are getting interesting…

In other news… TikTok is really pushing this shopping thing, Neuralink is official, and nostalgia is healing.

Top Trends

X → Argylle

Google → Chita Rivera

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Every TikTok account

TikTok turns every video into a shopping experience

The Future. TikTok is testing a new feature where every video on the app would become shoppable. This could transform TikTok’s stature as a mostly entertainment platform and turn anyone who has great style into an overnight influencer if the platform’s algorithm keeps linking to best-selling products.

Repeat business
TikTok is a mall now.

  • The new feature automatically identifies objects in videos and prompts viewers to “find similar items on TikTok Shop,” providing a page of product links.

  • Users won’t receive any commissions from sales, which is meant to discourage everyone from becoming a salesperson (a criticism of TikTok Shop so far).

  • Tests have had mixed results, with some recommendations not matching the original items in a meaningful way (and knockoff items are still a big issue).

Retailers will likely love the feature, considering that TikTok’s holiday push for Shop last year spurred five million new customers on the platform. The new feature could drive even more sales.

And while the feature is a major expansion of TikTok Shop’s overall footprint, the company is also doubling down on catering to creators. It’s opening several studios, including one in LA, where influencers can build sets and livestream to TikTok Shop, QVC-style. It’s a model that’s gone gangbusters in China.

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Plug-in person // Illustration by Kait Cunniff with Midjourney

The Future. Eight months after receiving FDA approval to start human trials, Neuralink has officially undergone its first human procedure. If the test goes well and ultimately has more functionality than the brain chips of rival firms, Neuralink may eventually partner with Elon Musk’s xAI to program the first head operating system.

Musk mind
Neuralink is online and in someone’s head.

  • Musk posted on X that the first unidentified human (although it’s someone who has “lost the use of their limbs”) received the brain-computer interface device, which is being called “Telepathy.”

  • The patient is allegedly “recovering well,” and the device shows good “neuron spike detection” — which seems to mean that all is starting to function as it should.

  • Aside from those updates, there was no other data or photo provided, so outside researchers and regulators can’t verify the status of the patient and the device.

Word of the procedure has already traveled fast. X is blowing up with memes of, well, heads blowing up, which we’re guessing isn’t making Musk very happy.

But, to be fair, Neuralink isn’t the only player in the head space game that has human patients — Synchron, Precision Neuroscience, and Blackrock Neurotech have already successfully undergone human trials. Come to think of it, that may upset Musk more than mocking posts on X.

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Peaking into the past

Nostalgia is healing

The Future. Nostalgia has seeped into everything from pop culture to politics. While critics rightly point to the dark side of nostalgia, a trove of new research has found that nostalgia also has the power to progress society and foster wellbeing. As word spreads, don’t be surprised if more organizations put extra emphasis on traditions as a way to build community.

Feeling the good ole times
Nostalgia may be the key to a better future, writes Clay Routledge, the director of the Human Flourishing Lab at the Archbridge Institute.

  • Helps people cope with negative feelings by reminding them that things haven’t always been bad.

  • Fights loneliness by inspiring people to attain their social goals and find connectedness again (the lonelier someone is, the more nostalgic they may be).

  • Gives more meaning to goals and jobs, lowering the likelihood of quitting.

  • Creates more “openness” to new experiences, ideas, and modes of thinking.

Pew found that 58% of Americans thought life was better 50 years ago than it is today, which should set off alarm bells for how negatively people view modern life. Instead of being debilitating, a dose of societal nostalgia could be behind a blueprint for a better future.

So, now we want to hear from you…


We ask the hard-hitting questions.

Are you into nostalgia?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

73.7% of you voted No in yesterday’s poll: Would you go to Saudi Arabia?

“I’d be curious to visit some sites, but as a woman, I have reservations about supporting a country that restricts women’s rights with my tourism dollars.”

“I’d like to go one day. But not before doing a bunch of research on proper protocol, especially for women. God forbid my thighs cause an international scene.”

“It’s a thinly disguised police state that will do anything to look respectable to the rest of the world.”

“The US State Department just changed Saudi Arabia’s rating to a Level 3: Reconsider Travel rating. As a foreigner, you can get arrested for your social media history if it’s remotely political. You can also get arrested for having things like alcohol or pork, etc. Not to mention its abysmal women’s rights record. Thank you, next!”

“With all the glitz, it’s still a place with a dictator who has no problem having dissidents jailed or murdered, where women are still second-class citizens, and many, if not most, foreign workers are treated no better than slaves.”

“Sure, as long as I can drink without getting attacked by the morality police.”

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The best curated daily stories from around the web

Media, Music, & Entertainment

  • Universal Music Group says its music will be pulled from TikTok starting tomorrow after the expiration of their licensing agreement, noting the platform only generates 1% of its total revenue. Read More → variety

  • NBCUniversal is plotting a major expansion of its Florida theme park, building worlds dedicated to Nintendo, Harry Potter, How to Train Your Dragon, and the Dark Universe (yes, this Dark Universe). Read More → thr

  • Google is considering an expansion of its YouTube TV service after the runaway success of NFL Sunday Ticket. Read More → deadline

Fashion & E-Commerce

  • TAG Heuer is getting back into high-performance eyewear — a market it exited in 2016. Read More → hypebeast

  • Robert Downey, Jr. wants to brew your morning cup of joe with his new brand, Happy Coffee, which is launching online and at Target and Sprouts. Read More → thr

  • Supreme and the Muppets are collabing on a new line of tees — a match made in streetwear heaven. Read More → highsnobiety

Tech, Web3, & AI

  • OpenAI, Meta, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft are all trying to develop their own AI chips to chip away at their reliance on Nvidia. Read More → nyt

  • GM is getting back into hybrids after demand for EVs has stalled. Read More → bloomberg

  • Brands can now register their names with AT&T so that their numbers don’t come up as spam. Read More → theverge

Creator Economy

  • TikTok is boosting horizontal videos now — an arrow shot at YouTube’s dominance in long-form, user-generated content. Read More → insider

  • Threads is climbing the app charts while X plummets. Read More → techcrunch

  • The viral Stanley Cup craze has turned a dark corner as people share that their bottles are testing positive for lead. Read More → forbes

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Today’s email was written by David Vendrell.
Edited by Boye Akolade. Copy edited by Kait Cunniff.
Published by Darline Salazar.

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