Spotify’s Sound Town

December 1st, 2023

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HeyFam. It’s December 1st, so that basically means it’s the end of the year and we’re now in the final stretch. This is just your friendly reminder to take a walk today, go to the gym, do some yoga, or spend some time meditating or praying whatever your thing is. Don’t lose yourself in the chaos. We’re almost there.

In today’s edition…

 🎵 We unwrap Spotify Wrapped
⭐️ Confirm celebrities have indeed sold their souls to AI
 🍵 And spill the tea on Cybertruck’s struggles

Top Trends

YouTube → Furiosa

Google → Godzilla Minus One

Reddit → Shane MacGowan

TikTok → “Ontario”

Spotify → “The Way”

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MUSIC

Courtesy of Spotify

Unwrapping Spotify Wrapped

The Future. Spotify Wrapped unrolled this week to spur a blitz of social media engagement to see what our friends, family, and, maybe, our enemies are streaming. With the rollout of Wrapped being a surprise every year, Spotify has potentially made the feature the most important end-of-the-year list… and the most vital annual marketing moment for the company.

Welcome to Sound Town
Spotify Wrapped dropped this week to give users, artists, and industry analysts a peek into listening trends around the world.

  • First, the music: Taylor Swift unseated three-year reigning champ Bad Bunny as the most-listened-to artist globally (Bad Bunny’s Un Verano Sin Ti was the most-streamed album), while Miley Cyrus’ “Flowers” was the most-streamed song.

  • This year also included podcasts, topped by heavyweight title The Joe Rogan Experience… but TSwift’s boyfriend, Travis Kelce, also charted, with New Heights crowned as the most-streamed sports podcast.

  • Additionally, it included video messages from 40,000 artists that were sent to users who had them listed as their most-listened-to artist.

  • There were also new features, such as “Me in 23,” a label for what kind of Spotify user you are (make lots of playlists, listen to an album straight through, etc.) and “Sound Town,” which matched a user with a town that shares overall similar listening habits.

Speaking of Sound Town, it was trending on socials that a seemingly disproportionate number of users got Burlington, Vermont — a location paired with artists like Fiona Apple and Father John Misty — despite the ability to be paired with 1,300 locations.

While Spotify got a kick out of the conspiracy theories, it shared that, of the platform’s 574 million users, 0.6% were paired with Burlington. That’s about 3.4 million people… still a lot considering it’s 75x times more than the town’s population.

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ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Robot on the red carpet // Illustration by Kait Cunniff with Midjourney

Celebrities remake themselves in AI

The Future. Celebrities increasingly worry about the size and scope of their digital footprint… and AI avatars and chatbots developed by some of the biggest companies in Silicon Valley give them the ability to be everywhere, all at the same time. While the opportunities present both great risk and reward, it may be up to the entertainment industry to ensure that technologies are developed to protect those who don’t want to be a part of it.

Endless exposure
The first betas of celebrity-driven chatbots have arrived.

  • Meta launched AI characters that are thinly veiled caricatures of their celebrity voices, including Kendall Jenner, Tom Brady, and MrBeast.

  • YouTube debuted the song-snippet generator “Dream Track,” which features the signed-off voices of T-Pain, Charlie Puth, and Charli XCX.

  • Soul Machines rolled out full-on celebrity avatars of people like Francis Ngannou, K-pop star Mark Tuan, and golfer Jack Nicklaus.

Silicon Valley believes that the next phase of the influencer economy will be AI-generated… but they’re still in that early-days, skeptical adoption phase. They hope that tapping celebrities will help ease the inevitable transition. And it looks like a number of celebrities clearly feel the same and are getting in on the ground floor to ensure massive paydays (Meta is paying millions).

But that doesn’t come without risk. Users were able to make Jenner’s Meta chatbot (named “Billie) recommend tequila brands that weren’t her own 818 Tequila label, and the avatar of influencer Caryn Marjorie was goaded into engaging in sexually explicit conversations… that’s not to mention the raft of scams and misinformation that are already happening with deepfakes of celebrities.

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Let’s hear it for data

Data is everything these days, but TBH, it can be super confusing. 🔍📊 That’s where Chartr comes in. They have this legit visual newsletter that breaks down all the data behind the hottest headlines. 📈🔥

Their newsletter is straight fire, packed with eye-poppin’ charts and on-the-money insights about business, tech, and entertainment. 💼💻🎥 Plus, you can read it in just five minutes. ⏰📖

TRANSPORTATION

Courtesy of Tesla

The Cybertruck puts Tesla in the hot seat

The Future. The Cybertruck is finally, exhaustingly here, with CEO Elon Musk stating that it’ll make “the future [...] look like the future” — one that’s inspired by the vehicles found in Blade Runner and Halo. While that bold vision may have produced something unique, its dystopian inspirations could turn off the average driver. Whether Musk’s fanbase is large enough to make the truck profitable or not is literally the multi-billion-dollar question.

Crash course
The first ten Cybertrucks rolled off the lot in Austin, Texas, yesterday… putting the hyped truck and the company’s future on the road.

  • The Cybertruck has been hit with years of delays (it turns out making a car with stainless steel is really hard), with Musk even lamenting to investors that the production has “dug our own grave.”

  • But now the truck is here at a base model price of $61,000 ($21,000 more than originally promised). That may be a steep price for the over one million people who’ve reserved the truck since it was announced in 2019.

  • And Tesla needs the Cybertruck to be a hit — design and production has been expensive, and the company’s operating expenses are up 43%.

  • Complicating matters is Tesla won’t start mass-producing the Cybertruck until next year, and Musk has already stated that it’ll be a while before the truck is profitable… that is, as long as early adopters don’t have major issues that hurt its reputation.

That’s all risky business for a company (albeit, the most valuable automaker in the world) that hasn’t released a new passenger vehicle in over three years and has been cutting costs to ensure its lead in the transition race to EVs. Tesla may have gotten an early head start, but competitors are closing in… 

…especially as Musk’s antics with other companies turn potential customers against him.

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⭐ Free yourself ⭐

Having a virtual assistant lets you live the dream. And with Virtual Gurus, you can snag one in no time.

What can a virtual assistant do for you? Tons! They’ll save you time, cash, and stress. And who doesn’t want that?

Here’s how to snag your Virtual Guru (or two):

1️⃣ Figure out what you can delegate.

2️⃣ Choose the skills and support you’re looking for.

3️⃣ Chat with the Virtual Gurus crew about your goals.

4️⃣ Get matched up!

YOUR DAILY POLL

We ask the hard-hitting questions.

FOMO or JOMO?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

It was a tight race, but most of you voted Spotify in yesterday’s poll: Spotify or Apple Music?

“Both are greedy corporations, but I found Spotify before I even knew Apple Music existed, so I stuck with it. Before Spotify, I used Pandora.”

“No one does it like Apple does it (this answer is not gonna win tho).”

“Our family uses the Apple Music family plan, but I secretly wish we used Spotify. It’s got a better user interface, and I get jealous when everybody else posts their Spotify Wraps and I’m stuck with Apple Music’s limp version of an end-of-year wrap.”

Highlights

The best curated daily stories from around the web

Media, Music, & Entertainment

In partnership with Touristy

  • Jack Harlow, Halle Berry, and Emilia Clarke will be the first talent advisors for invite-only platform MITH — an all-in-one fan-engagement and social-shopping platform for celebrities and influencers set to launch next year. Read More → thr

  • Amazon has scored several NASCAR races for Prime — making it the second big sports league to join Amazon’s streaming roster. Read More → variety

  • ShowBiz Direct, a new theatrical distribution platform (launched by vets from Cinemark, AMC, Lionsgate, and Miramax) hopes to woo filmmakers whose projects don’t make sense for release from major studios but still want a path to the big screen. Read More → deadline

From our partners: News without the snooze. Over 100,000 people start their weeks off with Touristy. That’s because they deliver the most important biz news in under five minutes. And if that sounds like it’s too heavy a lift for you before your morning coffee, skip on down to Touristy’s Quick Bites section. They’ve broken down the news into memes that’ll keep you educated and entertained. Check it out here.

Fashion & E-Commerce

  • Timothée Chalamet is collabing with Nike on a limited-edition pair of Wonka-inspired Dunks that’ll be a part of a golden-ticket-like giveaway to five lucky sneakerheads. Read More → complex

  • Dadcore is back in fashion… which Insider theorizes is because the economy feels so terrible right now (although dadcore-fit-god Adam Sandler has no money problems we know of). Read More → insider

  • Chick-fil-A is totally revamping its drive-thru strategy with a four-lane prototype restaurant, an elevated kitchen, and conveyors that send food to chicken valets — an update that could serve 720 cars per hour. Read More → fastcompany

Tech, Web3, & AI

  • ChatGPT is celebrating its one-year anniversary of changing society as we know it — good, bad, and deeply weird. Read More → theverge

  • Meta announced that it’s shut down five China-based misinformation campaigns on its platforms that aimed to sow political divisions during the 2024 election. Read More → axios

  • AI startup Voicemod is giving people the ability to create an unlimited number of deepfake voices… which will absolutely create no problems whatsoever. Read More → theverge

Creator Economy

  • TikTok is taking a page from Spotify and rolling out dedicated “Artist Accounts” that allow fans to track songs, check for upcoming shows, and watch behind-the-scenes content. Read More → techcrunch

  • Substack is getting into video now, too, to compete with Patreon and YouTube. Read More → engadget

  • Theorist Media has inked a deal with FilmRise to expand its content offerings from YouTube to any number of streaming platforms. Read More → tubefilter

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

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