The Cardi B Effect

The Cardi B effect: A branding power rooted in specific authenticity, created and permeated by rapper Cardi B. 


Spotify's public listing on Tuesday was a major success. With more market cap than Universal Music, Live Nation, or Apple Music, Spotify is now the most valuable music company in the world. And they got there with more substance than style. First, the company secured long-term deals with all the major labels, ending an adversarial relationship and giving labels a stake in Spotify's success. Then, Spotify eschewed the splashy, volatile IPO model that's been standard operating procedure for tech companies, in favor of a direct listing. This is not "move fast and break things," it’s “trust the process.” That’s right, Spotify is the Sam Hinkie to the music industry's 76ers. 


Even though much hoopla is made over Spotify's big playlist curators and their sway on hitmaking, the platform is still inherently democratic compared to say, FM radio. And no other genre has benefited more from this democratization than hip-hop. With the help of on-demand streaming, hip-hop dethroned rock, pop, and the gatekeeper scaffolding propping up those genres, and now sits firmly in the commanding cultural heights. It's not just music. The other gatekeeper-busting powerhouse, Netflix, is going all in on hip-hop content in response to demand. And right on cue, the mainstream comes along for the ride.


Yesterday a 5.3 earthquake struck 40 miles off the coast of Los Angeles, giving our office in Venice a pretty thorough shaking. It’s been a while since an earthquake hit LA, and this was the first time a new early warning system called QuakeAlert was successfully deployed. Early warning as in before the earthquake hit. The app sent out notifications 38 seconds before the tremors started, which may not seem like much, but given how difficult earthquake prediction is, it’s a triumph of modern science. And 38 seconds is enough time to drop and find cover. This technology has a chance to really save lives if it’s fully rolled out before the inevitable Big One hits the west coast.



Cardi B
Drip (ft Migos)
Fresh Air 
Madeleine Albright


Leon Bridges
Bet Ain't Worth the Hand
Carl Krull



Rob flying on a Bird, full-on Abbot Kinney.
(In front of "GeeJay" for a power lunch See: Flaked).


See ya next week...