Fortnite’s battle of the bands

December 12th, 2023

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Barbenheimer is back, baby. Just when you thought it was a once-in-a-lifetime cultural phenomenon, the Golden Globes are bringing it back. Expect more of the infamous meme given Barbie’s nine nominations and Oppenheimer’s eight. Our only hope is that our boy Ryan Gosling and the hit song “I’m Just Ken” end up winning in their respective categories. Then we get to sing this.

In other news… The EU’s A.I. Act goes into draft mode, Fortnite’s Rock Band headlines the metaverse, and Whalar’s creator campuses educate the next generation of influencers.

Top Trends

YouTube → The Underdoggs

Google → Golden Globes

Reddit → The Black List

Spotify → “Way Back When”

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The EU’s AI law comes online

The Future. The European Union’s A.I. Act, which focuses on the riskiest aspects of AI, is finally drafted and agreed on after nearly three years — although there’s still the fine print to work out and a final vote for official passage. But with most of the policies being inactionable until 2025 and global enforcement still a question mark, there may be a possibility that the legislation could become outdated or toothless without aggressive implementation.

Guardrail generation
The A.I. Act is the first comprehensive regulatory legislation in the industry with unique protections.

  • AI-generated images and deepfakes will have to be labeled as such, putting the responsibility on companies — not customers.

  • The biggest AI companies will have to provide detailed summaries of their training data and provide risk reports.

  • Bulk facial-image scraping is now a no-no, as is emotion-recognition systems when employed in the workplace or educational settings.

  • Social-scoring systems that measure a person’s loyalty are off the table.

  • Facial recognition tech in law enforcement will be limited, with exemptions for identifying victims in cases of terrorism, human trafficking, and kidnapping.

Firms in violation of the rules could be fined up to 7% of their global sales.

While the EU is applauding the comprehensive agreement among its 27 member countries as a foundational document for global legislation, it’s also facing pressure from NGOs, governments, and companies on either side of the regulation debate, meaning consensus is still… well… up for debate.

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Fortnite’s Rock Band revival could transform metaverse concerts

The Future. Two years after Epic Games acquired game developer Harmonix, music video game Rock Band is regrouping in Fortnite as a new mode called Fortnite Festival. It won’t just bring back the classic game to a new generation of fans with a global social-playing aspect, but it may also help build the underlying technology for musicians to play real instruments during in-game concerts.

Plug-in play
Rock Band is getting back together with the launch of Fortnite Festival.

  • Fortnite Festival lets users play the game in two ways — the classic notes-on-a-treadmill main stage format and a “jam” format that allows up to four players to mix and match instrument parts from different songs.

  • The jam format is a unique invention of Fortnite, letting players adjust tempos and scales to create original remixes or opt into Battle Royale mode to start bands with other users.

  • Like the regular game, Fortnite Festival will operate in “seasons” headlined by talent — the first season’s headlining act is The Weeknd.

  • There’s also a marketplace called “Festival Pass,” where users can unlock songs, skins, and other accessories.

The game has cross-console compatibility, meaning players using an Xbox controller can play with someone using mobile — the trademark instrument controllers are coming soon, says Epic.

To which we respond, “Epic.”

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Hands down, the laziest ways Americans are making $$$

Feeling lazy but still want to earn some extra cash?

Our friendly experts at FinanceBuzz found some unusual (but legit) ways people can earn cash and stack their bank accounts — without leaving the house or getting a second job.

Learn more here and start earning legit cash today.


Say hello to The Lighthouse, a new creator campus

The Future. Whalar, a creator and talent management company, is launching The Lighthouse — a physical campus for creators to learn, make, and collaborate with their peers. If the project proves successful, it could pave the way for an entirely new and revolutionary form of education and collaboration for creators.

TikTok University
The creator economy is getting its own Ivy League. 

  • The Lighthouse will open in spring/summer 2024 in two locations: Venice, CA, and Brooklyn, NY, with a third location in London slated for 2025.

  • All campuses will be outfitted with lecture halls meant for classes covering a range of topics, including maximizing ecommerce strategy, using AI, and navigating taxes and legal as a creator.

  • The locations will also have private offices, along with A/V production spaces to edit and create content.

Creator college
All of this comes on the heels of a creator economy projected to hit $480 billion in just four more years. Whalar hopes to address a key growing pain in this industry, as creators face a steep learning curve once they get in the game.

The Lighthouse hopes to present a more formalized approach for developing the craft and business acumen of being a creator. Just like college, students will need to apply for the four-year program, and it will cost around $5,750 a year.

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There’s a new way to attract new customers

And it’s NOT through social media.

It’s with Nift, a marketplace that helps folks discover and test new products and services — from music, jewelry, and wine delivery, to neighborhood restaurants and bars.

So, how does it work? Here’s the scoop: Nift boasts an audience of over 37 million people. And it’s all thanks to partnerships with top-notch companies like Meetup, Mindbody, and OfferUp, who use Nift gifts to show appreciation for their members for all sorts of reasons.

Nift’s smart machine learning matches members with the perfect gifts, bringing new customers to 12,000 participating brands. (And that could be you!)


We ask the hard-hitting questions.

What's your favorite movie of 2023?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

41.1% of you voted for video games in yesterday’s poll: What’s your favorite “kidult” toy?

Pokémon, GTA: Vice City, and Metal Gear Solid.”

“I’m sorry, but I can’t be the only 47-year-old addicted to Fortnite!”

“Passes the time when traveling.”


The best curated daily stories from around the web

Media, Music, & Entertainment

  • Netflix’s next live sports stream, the “Netflix Slam,” will pit Rafael Nadal against Carlos Alcaraz. Read More → theverge

  • The New York Times has curated a year-end list of the albums that defined 2023, from SZA to Olivia Rodrigo. Read More → nyt

  • Wheelhouse Entertainment wants to write a new Hollywood playbook to turn stars into brands. Read More → wsj

Fashion & E-Commerce

  • Generative AI is reshaping fashion as we know it, with 73% of fashion executives saying that it’ll be a priority for their businesses in 2024. Read More → bof

  • Kid Cudi received an honorary Master’s degree, recognizing his achievements in fashion, from Florida-based design school Istituto Marangoni Miami. Read More → complex

  • Pinduoduo, the parent company of Temu, has beat Alibaba as China’s most valuable ecommerce company. Read More → techcrunch

Tech, Web3, & AI

  • Mistral AI, a Paris-based OpenAI rival, closed its much-anticipated Series A funding round at $415 million. Read More → techcrunch

  • Apple might soon pay artists more for adopting their music with spatial audio. Read More → theverge

  • Google’s new AI note-taking app, NotebookLM, is now available to everyone in the US. Read More → engadget

Creator Economy

  • Threads, Meta’s Twitter/X rival, is doing an EU launch this upcoming week. Read More → theverge

  • Snapchat has overtaken Instagram in teen usage, according to new polls, though it still trails behind TikTok and YouTube. Read More → forbes

  • A new Pew Research report says that more than 15% of teens are on TikTok or YouTube almost constantly. Read More → cnbc

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Today’s email was written by David Vendrell and Melody Song.
Edited by Boye Akolade.
Copy edited and published by Kait Cunniff.

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