What The Kids Are Listening To

Music always has belonged to the youth. Billie Eilish has a billion streams and sold out three nights at the Fonda. She turns 17 next month and the kids love her.

Pandora: Back From The Brink

Pandora was always more idealistic than the rest of the streaming platforms. It began as the Music Genome Project, an ambitious project to break down songs into discrete fundamental elements for analysis - much like the Human Genome Project was doing with DNA at the same time. They were first to market in the algorithmic recommendation game. Then, the eponymous box opened. They were forced to double their licensing rates, Spotify and Apple Music took center stage, and Pandora started losing money. So much money that this time last year they were written off for dead. Then, suddenly, they weren't. The company has shown strong growth under a new CEO this year, to the surprise of just about everyone. SiriusXM then announced it would buy Pandora for $3.5B, creating the biggest audio entertainment company in the world - and perhaps the biggest threat to terrestrial radio yet. Read the full story of Pandora’s rise, fall, and rise.

The Booming Business Of Music Design

This next story is about background music. WAIT! Don't skip over this just yet. A lot has changed since the days of Muzak and its dulcet tones. Today, music design consulting (or, if you prefer a buzzier term, "sensory marketing") is a booming business thanks in no small part to the way music influences behavior. Next time you visit a retailer - or for that matter any business: hotel, bar, office, etc. - stop for a minute and listen to the music. Much more work went into what's playing than you'd imagine. This first reason is obvious: aesthetics. A fine French restaurant is no place for, say, Metallica. But it gets more interesting. Studies show that customers' purchase preference for either French or German wine can shift depending on which countries' music is playing in the background. Countless small behavioral shifts like this can mean big bucks for brands, and big business for the music design industry.

Coders Of The World Unite

It's been clear for the past several years that major tech companies need some form of oversight on their growing influence. But who would, or could, exercise this oversight? Employees may be the answer. Last week more than 20,000 employees walked out of Google to protest the company's handling and protection of executives accused of sexual harassment. Organizers called for, among other things, an end to forced arbitration for sexual harassment claims. This week Google announced it was ending the practice. Decades of so-called pro-business regulatory reforms, dwindling union participation, and active anti-worker policy like forced arbitration, have left the political muscles of America's workers atrophied. It's refreshing to see Google employees exercise that power. It's also a proof of concept for workers across the industry also ready to enact change.




Charles Bradley
Can't Fight the Feeling
Popgun Labs
AI Songwriting Demo
Last Seen: The Largest Unsolved Art Heist Ever
We couldn't get enough of Justice on the Honda Stage at ACL. Some of the Marketing Factory staff headed out to Hard Day of Dead to enjoy Justice at their last performance of the year.


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This WeekMatt Pennington