Would you sue for a Birkin?

March 27th, 2024

Presented by National Debt Relief

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The Birkin bag // Illustration by Kait Cunniff with Muse AI

Welcome to Wednesday, FutureParty people. If you’re feeling both fancy and nostalgic, then you may want to visit São Paulo, Brazil, where the first official SpongeBob SquarePants-themed “fine dining” restaurant in the world is opening. Bob Esponja – Burguer & Restaurante will have four food areas, two spaces for kids to play in, and a merch shop. It’s already a Michelin-star winner in our minds.

In other news… Birkin gets sued, influencers put pen to paper, and K-pop extends its US residency.

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March 21, 2024

Today we get into how YouTubers are leaving the platform, how young people (and your hosts) love Facebook Marketplace, and the new startup that's selling shares of popular songs.


🎤 HYBE, the K-pop powerhouse behind BTS, struck a 10-year distribution deal with Universal Music Group, which also includes UMG’s collaboration with HYBE’s fan platform, Weverse. Read More → deadline

🎮 Advertising in video games is expected to level up 40% to $8.5 billion this year (and to $11.5 billion by 2027), according to a new study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau. Read More → variety

🚚 The Texas Department of Transportation and tech company Cavnue are creating an “autonomous freight corridor” on a stretch of highway outside of Austin — a place to test and collect data on driverless, long-haul trucking. Read More → bloomberg

📰 Meta is sunsetting CrowdTangle, a tool used by journalists to track misinformation on social media, just as the election cycle is heating up. Read More → wired

🚗 EV startup Fisker continues to crash after a financing deal with Nissan fell apart, causing Fisker’s stock to plummet and the company to get delisted from the NYSE. Read More → insider

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A Birkin lawsuit unpacks fashion’s scarcity model

The Future. A new class-action lawsuit claims it’s so hard for people to score a Hermès Birkin bag that it should be illegal. While the lawsuit isn’t likely to succeed, thanks to a lack of set standards for choosing a would-be Birkin buyer, the case could put a spotlight not just on other fashion brands but also other pay-for-access models, like some private memberships and NFTs.

Demanding supply
Two Hermès ultra-fans are very upset about not getting the golden ticket to purchase a Birkin bag.

  • The plaintiffs allege that the luxury brand is breaking US antitrust laws by requiring would-be Birkin buyers to have made several other purchases to get the chance to buy the rare bag.

  • That’s a concept called “tying,” which is “when the sale of one product is made on the condition of purchasing another product” and also must be from a company that has “enough market power to restrain the free trade of a good,” per Business of Fashion.

Is there any merit to the suit? For starters, the production of Birkin bags is tightly controlled because there’s far more demand than supply, which helps maintain the bag’s appeal. The difficulty of scoring one is so well-reported that TikTok and Reddit are even filled with ways of hacking “the Hermès game” to win over employees.

But it’s the arbitrary leeway that salespeople are given to offer the bags — sometimes to loyal customers, sometimes to those on a waitlist, sometimes on a first-come, first-served basis — that will probably complicate the case. It’s all too random to be proven as company-wide gatekeeping.

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  • Watch: The Verge tests a number of AI shopping tools to determine which ones are actually helpful and which ones just cause a headache.

  • Listen: The Waveform podcast lists some of the best productivity apps available… in case you’re looking for a distraction.

  • Read: Bloomberg breaks down how Jerry Seinfeld has become an unlikely billionaire (hint: Seinfeld made people very, very rich).


Long-form content creation

Influencers turn to the written word to build community

The Future. Maintaining consistent engagement on social media is increasingly feeling like it’s out of creators’ control… so they’re launching newsletters and blogs as a way to own their audiences. As many of today’s popular creators start to age out of the content that made them go viral, newsletters and blogs may become one of their biggest sources of fan engagement and revenue.

Dear followers…
Creators are putting work into short-form video and, now, long-form reading.

  • Influencers are starting newsletters and blogs as a channel to speak directly with their fan bases in a way that they can control.

  • That’s because of tectonic shifts in social media, including changing algorithms and a potential TikTok ban.

  • The written content also helps expand creators’ relationships with their fans, allowing more space to go deeper on certain topics or provide more personal insights.

  • And since they can be optimized for SEO, newsletters and blogs also open a lane to find new fans.

Brands are attracted to sponsoring creator-written content because subscribers are typically “evangelists,” says Dialogue New York founder Julianne Fraser. They’re especially attuned to whatever the creator is platforming.

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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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