Tapeheads, rise up

December 20th, 2023

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Hey. Fun, little tidbit: every Friday AM, our editorial team has a weekly meeting, where we ask each team member what they’re watching, reading, or listening to. It’s always really cool to see what’s vibin’ out there in the world. So, we’re curious to hear from you. Tell us… what are you watching these days? It can be a TV show, movie, YouTube vid? There’s no wrong answer.

In other news… Blockbuster is back! Well, kind of. Job seekers are using AI to get hired, and ecommerce is boomin’, baby.

Top Trends

YouTube → Love Lies Bleeding

Google → Keith Urban

Reddit → Celine Dion

Spotify → “Grace”

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Courtesy of WHAMMY! Analog Video

Video stores are undergoing a revival

The Future. A growing nostalgia for physical media and a demand for curated in-person experiences have fueled a successful return of the video store — especially among those who feel finding a movie to watch on streaming platforms to be overwhelming and impersonal. As their footprint expands, we may see the return of “Blockbuster” for a new generation.

Be kind, rewind
“Tapeheads” — people dedicated to the art and technology of the old-school VHS — are winding up for a video store comeback.

  • The movie mecca LA has a handful (Vidiots, Be Kind Video, and WHAMMY! Analog Video), but so does Seattle (Scarecrow Video), Portland (Movie Madness), and Baltimore (Beyond Video).

  • They’ve been doing great business, catering to audiences who want to recapture the magic of perusing physical clamshell cases at Blockbuster and chat with knowledgeable employees.

  • That communal feeling is the bread and butter of the revival, with many of the stores also transforming into event spaces, single-screen cinemas, and movie-themed bars.

A byproduct of the VHS boom is that these stores have also become grassroots film archives — turning them into one of the few places on Earth where audiences can find underappreciated movies that’ve been forgotten in the streaming age. Vidiots, which returned as a nonprofit, has been financing the digitization of its collection of 11,000 rare tapes for posterity.

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Mass apply // Illustration by Kait Cunniff with Midjourney

Job seekers leverage AI for resume blasts

The Future. Job seekers are turning to AI to optimize the process of landing their next role, especially as mass layoffs, persistent recession fears, and employer use of AI make the search feel more daunting than ever. But with companies now overwhelmed by AI-generated resumes and cover letters, getting an interview may take even longer… which could put an emphasis on more analog methods of capturing a recruiter’s attention.

Mass application
AI is taking a great deal of the hassle out of applying for jobs.

  • Several AI browser plug-ins make autofill fields for personal information a one-click solution.

  • Many are using ChatGPT to generate resumes and cover letters that are geared for specific jobs, including all the proper keywords.

  • Software like LazyApply and SimplifyJobs let job seekers apply for positions en masse (in case you were wondering why some postings have 1,000 applicants in a day).

  • Tools like Pyjama Jobs and Talentprise help people find jobs they wouldn’t typically consider but match their skillsets.

According to LinkedIn, American and British workers are applying to 15% more jobs than they did a year ago — the efficiency in applying now means more time to apply to more jobs. It’s so easy, in fact, that people are getting more exploratory in what kinds of jobs they apply to — testing the waters to see if employers will bite.

With companies already regularly using AI to screen applicants, it seems workers are finally leveling the playing field.

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Courtesy of Temu

TikTok, Shein, and Temu battle for cheap wins

The Future. Shein, Temu, and the new TikTok Shop are bringing a homely but tried-and-true ecommerce aesthetic from China to Western shores. While brands may scoff at the noisy design of these fashion marketplaces, it’s important to note that the Chinese everything apps have already won over some of the biggest names in fashion. If enough business is being done on these new platforms, every brand may have no choice but to join the chaos.

Sales force
The platforms (especially Shein and Temu) have loud, busy designs that are a mix of discount billboards, photos of varying quality, messy text, and lots and lots of products.

  • Chinese customers are used to the aesthetic because most of their shopping is done on everything apps that aggregate products across various brands and because these platforms don’t look as terrible on mobile (where most shopping is done).

  • The platforms are not built to be pretty to look at, but to sell as many products as possible, especially ones that can be designed quickly and sold cheaply — the keys to their success.

  • These forces put less emphasis on the typical brand website, which is more about communicating a brand vibe than actually selling products.

Surprisingly, younger shoppers may be down for this vibe shift anyway — Business of Fashion notes that the early-internet insanity of the Y2K era is coming back in vogue, and the hashtag “nonaesthetic” has been used 125 million times on TikTok.

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We ask the hard-hitting questions.

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The best curated daily stories from around the web

Media, Music, & Entertainment

In partnership with Marketing Scroll

  • PlayStation is working on a technology that would adapt a game’s difficulty to a player’s unique ability. Read More → hypebeast

  • Soho House is experiencing so much demand in major markets like LA, NYC, and London that it’s pausing the acceptance of new members at these locations. Read More → thr

  • The math is in: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” generated $6.16 million in royalties and publishing revenue in 2021… and will likely post similar numbers this year. Read More → billboard

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Fashion & E-Commerce

  • Walmart is doubling down on its buy now, pay later partnership with Affirm this holiday season. Read More → bloomberg

  • French fashion label Polène (especially the brand’s bags) is taking over TikTok, thanks to the quiet luxury movement. Read More → highsnobiety

  • The National Retail Federation admits that it may have overexaggerated the impact of organized shoplifting. Read More → latimes

Tech, Web3, & AI

  • Google announced that it would expand billing options on the Play Store and pay $700 million to settle an antitrust lawsuit brought by the attorneys general of 36 states and Washington, D.C. Read More → axios

  • Digital mapping specialist TomTom and Microsoft are partnering on a conversational AI assistant for cars. Read More → reuters

  • NASA is launching a floating telescope above Antarctica called GUSTO that’ll 3D-map part of the Milky Way. Read More → theverge

Creator Economy

  • New Year’s Eve specials are hitting social media as Tyler “Ninja” Blevins is set to host one that’ll stream across his channels on Twitch, YouTube, and TikTok. Read More → tubefilter

  • Threads users can now delete their account without deleting their Instagram account as well. Read More → nyt

  • Universal Music Group has launched a music-focused experience inside Roblox dubbed “Beat Galaxy” — a rival to Fortnite’s “Fortnite Festival.” Read More → theverge

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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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