Show me the money

February 28th, 2024

Together with

Party like there’s no tomorrow. Just kidding, 2024 is a leap year. That’s right, fam. We get one extra day this month. What makes leap years so special other than the belated birthday celebrations of February 29th babies? They usually coincide with the US presidential election and the Summer Olympic Games. In 2024, Americans will get to see a rare total eclipse of the sun, too… fun! What would happen if we ditched leap years now? Apparently, in a few hundred years, January would flow into summertime in the Northern Hemisphere. And that would be weird.

In other news… Gauntlet helps aspiring screenwriters get their material read, Karat Financial reveals how much influencers get paid, and NFT sales are on the up and up.


Top Trends

YouTube → The Watchers

Google → Shogun 

TikTok → “Swing Lynn”

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ENTERTAINMENT

Human made, human reviewed

Hollywood screenwriters gatekeep AI

The Future. As more studios and production companies start to rely on AI to assess scripts, a new platform called Gauntlet wants to ensure that aspiring screenwriters can have their scripts read by actual people. If Gauntlet helps get some scripts sold from unknown screenwriters, it could push studios to open up a more accessible path for writers to be discovered.

Human readers only
ScriptHop’s Gauntlet, founded by former UTA story department head Scott Foster and tech entrepreneur Brian Austin, hopes to fight back against the rise of script analysis algorithms.

  • For a $380 fee, scripts pass through a three-stage process where they’re assessed by at least seven readers, whose identities the writers will be aware of.

  • Readers are a mix of professional story analysts, development execs, literary reps, and pro writers like Jim Herzfeld (Meet the Parents) and Dana Stevens (The Woman King).

  • At any point during the process, a reader can recommend the script to companies they work for.

  • Scripts that pass the full three stages will receive a signed “Seal of Consensus” certification and be promoted in “The Gauntlet Weekend Read” database.

Gauntlet, which was designed with the input of two dozen top screenwriters, isn’t the first platform to offer similar services, with The Black List being the most famous among them. But ScriptHop hopes that focusing on transparency and gathering a range of opinions on scripts will help create a consensus of which projects shouldn’t be ignored.

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CREATOR ECONOMY

Phone pay // Illustration by Kait Cunniff with Midjourney

Karat posts pay transparency for influencers

The Future. By culling millions of data points, creator credit-card company Karat Financial has rolled out a free tool that allows creators to compare their earnings against other similar creators (anonymized, of course) and industry averages — the first tool of its kind. Dubbed “Karat Insights,” the feature may become key for creators of all shapes and sizes to negotiate brand deals and apply for business loans.

Creator audit
Karat is about to influence how influencers get paid.

  • Karat Insights breaks down their income by platform (TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, etc.) and brackets (ads, brand partnerships, subscriptions, etc.).

  • Since creators have to link their financial information to Karat to access the tool, Karat credit-card signups will likely skyrocket… giving the feature even more data to work with.

What can someone with a million followers on different platforms expect to make per year? The median ad revenue on YouTube is $90,025. The median total income on Twitch is $542,208. And the median income on TikTok from the Creator Fund is… $473.

The more you know.

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Picasso’s $139 million sale reveals unexpected investment opportunity

Just last month, an iconic Picasso painting shattered expectations when it sold for a whopping $139 million at auction. Impressive, considering it was purchased for around $1 million in the late 1960’s. 

But there’s a surprising group of investors also celebrating this sale: 61,000 everyday users of one investment platform. 

Why? Because that platform, called Masterworks, enables anyone to invest in blue-chip paintings by artists like Picasso and Banksy for just a fraction of the cost. When Masterworks sells a painting, investors can get a return. 

This way, not only the billionaires of the world can benefit from the art market.

Past performance is not indicative of future returns; investing involves risk. See disclosures at masterworks.com/cd.

WEB3

Courtesy of Pudgy Penguins

NFT projects plot a life beyond profile pics

The Future. NFT sales nearly doubled between December and January and seem to be maintaining steady trading. Does that mean NFTs are officially back from near worthlessness? It’s hard to tell, but former profile-picture projects are trying to offer more than a cartoon image to capitalize on the wave… which may usher in a new era of NFT collecting that isn’t corrupted by runaway hype.

Utility era
NFTs are trying to rise from the ashes of scandals, lawsuits, and public skepticism.

  • Pudgy Penguins developed a toy line, which sold 750,000 units for a total $10 million in revenue — each toy also has a QR code that takes customers to a branded game.

  • Yuga Labs, the creator of Bored Ape Yacht Club, is doubling down on its Otherside gaming project, which was supposed to come out last year.

  • Sotheby’s reported that its NFT auctions spiked in interest last year after the lows of 2022, showing that the art world still has an interest in them as investment vehicles.

None of these expanding projects are new concepts — the blockchain tech has already been innovating workflows in film, music, and fashion. But the vibe shift signals there’s still hope that NFTs will be more than a pandemic-era fad.

So, now we want to hear from you…

YOUR DAILY POLL

We ask the hard-hitting questions.

Do you own any NFTs?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

84.8% of you voted No in yesterday’s poll: Are you a “stan?”

“WTF is a stan.”

“I can barely afford nosebleed seats for my favorite acts and haven’t attended an in-person concert since pre-Covid, as tickets just keep getting more expensive already.”

“Concerts are simply too expensive now. PERIOD. I blame the Eagles for cresting the $100 mark.”

“Where are us average fans going to be seated? In the parking lot?”

“Better things in life to spend money on.”

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Highlights

The best curated daily stories from around the web

Media, Music, & Entertainment

  • Warner Bros. Discovery is abandoning a potential merger with Paramount Global after its stock sank to its lowest price in a year. Read More → cnbc

  • Netflix is getting its Broadway debut with Patriots, a play from The Crown creator Peter Morgan. Read More → thr

  • Limited Run Games has become the hub for physical copies of digital-only game releases by partnering with developers. Read More → theverge

Fashion & E-Commerce

  • Klarna is exploring a US public offering that would value the Swedish fintech firm at $20 billion. Read More → bloomberg

  • Wendy’s is planning to test a surge-pricing model that would charge diners more during lunch and dinner rushes. Read More → fastcompany

  • Mercedes-Benz is opening a 67-story, mixed-use tower in Miami as part of its expansion into branded real estate. Read More → hypebeast

Tech, Web3, & AI

  • Meta announced that it would show off its first true AR glasses, Orion, at its developer conference this fall. Read More → insider

  • London-based publisher Financial Times has launched a venture arm to start investing in tech and media companies. Read More → axios

  • The University of Waterloo is removing vending machines after a student discovered that they likely use facial-recognition tech. Read More → insider

Creator Economy

  • The battle between TikTok and Universal Music Group just reached a new level: songs published by the label are now being removed from the platform. Read More → variety

  • KLIQ, a creator-focused business development tool, has completed a $1.8 million pre-seed round led by Serena Williams’ Serena Ventures. Read More → tubefilter

  • BookTok isn’t just organizing online but also now meeting in person. Read More → wsj

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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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