Quantum Music Theory

RIP Tom Wolfe, who, among everything else, basically invented the genre of music journalism.


One of the biggest consequences of streaming has been the unbundling of albums and construction of playlists, with the song acting as the core constituent unit. But songs themselves are complex objects, composed of rich, and reducible, parts - isolated stems, like a vocal track or single instrument, and sounds, like samples and loops. And much like particle physicists at the Large Hadron Collider, enterprising producers and tech companies are exploring new and exciting ways to put the quanta of music to work. For example, tools for social media users to chop up their favorite tracks and add it to posts. Or a subscription database where artists and producers can easily find assets and clear rights. Both of which would be a boon to creators and rights holders. 


YouTube, already the world's leading music streaming service in weekly active users, is launching its paid premium tier, YouTube Music, on Tuesday. This comes after nearly two years of work from Lyor Cohen, who was met with the task of negotiating deals with major labels who constantly complain about YouTube. Now the question is, can YouTube compete with the other paid services? Lucky for YouTube, they already have a rich, thriving social community that any other service would die for. They also have Google – i.e. the most sophisticated data company in the world. That means, presumably, better recommendations, better algorithms, better UX, native video, etc., in combination with the aforementioned largest set of weekly active users. Now, they just have to get them to pay.


Michael Pollan's latest book explores the latest clinical research in therapeutic use for psychedelics like psilocybin and LSD. Being the good journalist that he is, Michael actually subjected himself to multiple forms of psychedelic therapy before he wrote about them. His clear-headed, thorough writing on the subject is enough to convince Nancy Reagan herself to reconsider her opinion on the societal and therapeutic value of these mystical compounds. Though he's not recommending that we all start micro-dosing at work, his thoughtful reporting, and firsthand experience, are worth your time.



Jay Rock
Ezra Klein Show
Michael Pollan


Bohemian Rhapsody
Official Trailer (!)
John Pasche



Roger Gastman always has the best street art tips.


See ya next week...