KISS’ avatar encore

December 5th, 2023

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Creator camps are on our minds: camps that train little kids how to become, well, creators. But who’s training us big kids? This fun “how-to” from Nat Eliason is worth the read. It’s cool to see his breakdown and strategy, which might help you take the proverbial plunge if you’re hesitant to create your own content. Maybe you, too, can go from 0 to 7 million views on TikTok in a matter of weeks.

In other news… KISS is going on tour forever, tour merch > Balenciaga, and livestream shopping is finally in.

Top Trends

YouTube → Godzilla x Kong

X → Wonka

Google → Grand Theft Auto 6

Reddit → Nicolas Cage

TikTok → “Water”

Spotify → “Bubblegum Dog”

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Digital Rock City // Illustration by Kate Walker

KISS transforms into a digital-only band

The Future. At NYC’s Madison Square Garden, legendary rock band KISS debuted a surprise at the conclusion of their final performance: a digital version of their band that’ll continue playing concerts until the end of time. With other bands already touring as avatars, and more digitizing themselves for the AI age, a band’s brand as entertainment may keep the show going long after its members are gone.

Rock & Roll All Eternity
KISS wants to rock for eternity.

  • Retiring from live touring, the “new KISS era” will likely be endless concerts (in multiple cities simultaneously) featuring the band’s “fully digital” avatars.

  • The avatars were created by Industrial Light & Magic and Pophouse Entertainment — which teamed up on the very successful ABBA avatars — by capturing the band in motion capture.

  • The resulting digital KISS is what the Associated Press describes as “a kind of superhero version” — a larger-than-life version of the actual band.

With KISS’ The End of the Road World Tour already a massive success at a nearly $200 million gross in the past few years from its real band members, the hypothetical never-ending tour of the digital clones could be a best-seller for, well, forever.

One day, ABBA’s and KISS’ avatars could be competing for concert space.

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Tour drop // Illustration by Kate Walker

Music merch gets a luxury upgrade

The Future. Music merch has gotten a major streetwear update over the past few years. With the lines blurring between music and fashion (Pharrell is the ultimate example), artists may start to routinely crown themselves as designers and launch brands that’ll provide them with income between touring and their next albums.

Concert chic
Brands like Broken Planet, Balenciaga, and Martine Rose have been tapped to make official tour merch for musical acts — especially hip-hop artists.

  • The idea is that by making merch more expensive and dropping it in limited quantities, sales will skyrocket.

  • That’s become especially important as streaming revenue doesn’t actually make anyone rich, and artists rely on ticket sales and merch for the majority of their income.

  • And demand for quality merch is strong — during the pandemic, vintage band tees were a hot commodity.

To get a sense of just how successful limited-edition, high-quality concert merch can be, look no further than Travis Scott’s Circus Maximus Tour — shows in Denver and Dallas saw receipts hit over $1 million per night, which broke new records at their respective venues.

In other words, concerts have now become the ultimate fashion drop — cool, quality pieces tied to a cool, quality experience.

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The sleep of your dreams

Sleep is no joke. It’s the secret sauce to getting stuff done (and being a pleasant person).

If sleep is hard to get these days, don’t sweat it — ‘cause Beam Dream Powder has your back! This guilt-free, chocolate beverage sings you such a sweet lullaby that you’ll start catching Zzzs just thinking about your PJs.

Along with all-natural, zero-calorie cacao and cinnamon goodness, Beam Dream Powder has zero added sugar and healthy doses of magnesium, reishi, L-theanine, and nano CBD.

This dreamy powder has aided over 2 million nights of blissful sleep. And here’s the kicker: sign up as a Beam Dream Powder VIP, and you’ll get 20% off, a fancy mug/frother, free shipping, and a flexible delivery schedule.


Courtesy of TikTok

TikTok Shop ‘til you drop

The Future. TikTok Shop is starting to go viral through both traditional sales and live streaming. While it’s still a far cry from China’s $500 billion in social commerce sales last year, TikTok’s hold on 150 million users in the US could make it the first de facto Amazon competitor in the domestic ecommerce space… and cement a new style of influencer.

Short-form shopping cart
Having only launched in September, TikTok Shop already facilitates the sale of $7 million in products per day, and the company hopes to get that number up to $10 million by the end of the year.

  • The LA Times reports that TikTok Shop does this by bombarding people with user-generated reviews and recommendations for the same product — making them feel like they need to give in.

  • It also makes spending easy for both sellers and buyers, offering endless promotions and shipping waivers to spike sales.

  • To become a seller, a user only needs to be 18 or older and have at least 5,000 followers — a tiny barrier to entry by influencer standards.

  • And while making the typical 20 cents to $7 on commission per product seems tiny, it can add up fast when you go viral.

Just how fast, you ask? Creator/pre-school teacher Katelyn Beaupre started selling cream from the brand Ocean Healed My Eczema, marketing it in countless videos to her 95,000 followers. On a commission of $3 per bottle, she made a whopping $20,000 last month.

That’s a big win for her and for Ocean Healed My Eczema founder Jay Nagy, who reported that he’s already sold $1 million of the cream three months into launching the product on TikTok Shop.

It looks like people were really jonesing for a good eczema treatment.

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48.8% of you voted for Instagram in yesterday’s poll: What’s your social media preference?

“Plus Threads.”

“And I’m leaving IG for Substack.”

“Elon Musk is the pits. Mark Zuckerberg is the pits. Instagram, though owned by Facebook / Meta, has fewer toxic posters (though a HUGE spam / scam problem).”


The best curated daily stories from around the web

Media, Music, & Entertainment

  • Taylor Swift makes history again by becoming the first living artist in 60+ years to have five of the top ten albums on the Billboard 200 at once. Read More → billboard

  • CAA has launched an “agency-wide, cross-department” initiative to drive more opportunities to its Latino clients — a very smart move. Read More → deadline

  • Spotify has axed 17% of its global workforce (about 1,500 employees) in an effort to capture consistent profitability. Read More → thr

Fashion & E-Commerce

  • 1017 Alyx 9SM founder Matt Williams is stepping down as the creative director of Givenchy after three years of soft sales at the French fashion house. Read More → gq

  • McDonald’s is collabing with DJ Kerwin Frost on an adult Happy Meal, and yes, it has toys. Read More → highsnobiety

  • adidas and Fear of God are finally making that long-awaited collab a reality. Read More → bof

Tech, Web3, & AI

  • XPrize is offering a $101 million award to startups that can find a way to reverse aging. Read More → forbes

  • SpaceX is set to deliver satellites into orbit from its main Starlink competitor, Amazon’s Project Kuiper. Read More → theinformation

  • Speaking of space, if we hope to eventually communicate with astronauts on Mars, we’ll need something better than 5G — space lasers. Read More → theverge

Creator Economy

  • Mountain Dew is using facial-recognition tech to identify and pay people who are drinking the soda on Twitch livestreams. Read More → adage

  • Brat TV, the media company behind Gen Z-favorite Chicken Girls, has acquired ecommerce platform Jemi in an all-stock deal. Read More → tubefilter

  • YouTube is becoming the go-to place for banking information. Read More → insider

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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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