Diamond District In The Jag

Cardi B's 'I Like It' is a smash hit.
Read the inside story of how it came together.


The music festival business is in the midst of a market correction - setting up a few stages and booking the artists on the summer circuit is a tough, competitive business. Promoters are starting to get creative to survive. As a result, unique niche festivals are starting to flourish, and new business models are being tested. One such model is Pickathon, a small fest outside Portland, OR. Limited by a 3,500 attendance cap (for reference, Coachella sells 125,000 tickets per weekend). Instead of growing their onsite audience, they're focusing on a digital audience.  The festival’s stages and venue layout looks as if it were one big music video shoot, and a 500-person production team documents the entire weekend, creating a year's worth of content to monetize. It takes a lot of views to generate the $320 in revenue of a ticket sale, however, and the effort is just now starting to break even. It may not be a strategy for every festival, but it is at least creative, and the content is pretty good.


Corporate naming rights are ubiquitous in entertainment - just think about the last event you went to at an arena or amphitheater - so ubiquitous, in fact, that marketers have apparently run out of viable venues to name. KFC recently announced that it will award $11,000 to the first baby born on September 9th named Harland. Harland, of course, is the first name of the founder and company mascot Colonel Sanders, September 9th is his birthday, and the $11,000 is “in honor of KFC’s 11 herbs and spices.” Seems a little low for lifetime naming rights for a big fast food brand.


Taken at its face, an algorithmic playlist is, by definition, devoid of emotion or feeling. And yet, one of the unexpected joys of the digital music industry is watching the ways in which data scientists try to quantize the un-quantifiable. The latest is an attempt, using Spotify data, to identity the saddest number one hit ever. That is, the number one hit that indexes highest for "sadness." This sounds absurd, but when you plot number one hits on a graph according to their sadness ("valence index," the "technical" term)  it... makes sense. Do we really need to know the saddest number one hit ever? Probably not, but since we can, why not?



Longform Podcast
Jon Caramanica


Erykah Badu
NPR Tiny Desk Concert
Candy Chan



2018 Honda Civic Tour comes to a close this weekend. Shout out to Hailee Steinfeld for her support, along with Susie Rossick and Meliza Humphrey.


See ya next week...
This WeekMatt Pennington