30 by 30. Happy Monday, Future Party people. How was everyone’s weekend? Hopefully, it was as good as the United Nations. After almost two decades in the making, UN members agreed late Saturday to sign the historic High Seas Treaty. The landmark agreement aims to place 30% of international waters into protected areas by 2030, to safeguard and recuperate marine biodiversity.
It looks like Earth Day came early this year.
In other news… Blockbusters return to the Oscars, musicians bank on AR, and brands tap influencers to creative direct.
- YouTube → Succession
- Twitter → Chris Rock
- Google → Jake Gyllenhaal
- Reddit → Creed III
- TikTok → “The Rain” - K. Michelle
- Spotify → “Over” - CHVRCHES
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The Oscars get back to blockbusters
The Future. A handful of the biggest hit movies of the year (and an indie sensation) are vying for several Academy Awards, including Best Picture. That is likely a huge sigh of relief for The Academy of Motion Picture Art and Sciences (AMPAS), which has been desperate to get mainstream movies back in the awards conversation. The 2023 awards could demonstrate either a renewed interest in awards shows among Americans due to popular movie nominations or the decline in cultural significance of such shows.
That summer feeling
Some of this year’s Best Picture nominees have the unique distinction of actually making some serious money.
- Top Gun: Maverick roared into the theaters last Memorial Day weekend and racked up $1.49 billion at the box office, prompting many “movies are back, baby!” think pieces.
- Elvis showed that The King is still the king with a box office haul of $287 million and a star-making turn for Austin Butler.
- Everything Everywhere All at Once came out back in March but built momentum to score $100 million worldwide (now A24’s highest-grossing film).
- Avatar: The Way of Water demonstrated yet again that James Cameron’s only competition is himself, scoring $2.27 billion — making it the third-highest-grossing movie ever.
While the past couple of decades of Best Picture nominees has been pretty blockbuster-lite, 2019’s batch did include Black Panther, Bohemian Rhapsody, and A Star Is Born... and then the pandemic hit.
Why does it matter if Best Picture nominees also had big box-office grosses? Well, popular films may have a direct correlation to how many people actually watch the Oscars.
- Viewership has been almost consistently declining for several years, with only 15.36 million Americans watching the show last year.
- For context, 43.7 million watched the awards in 2014.
The Academy knows that spells trouble for the organization, which relies heavily on ad revenue from the show (airing this Sunday on ABC) for most of its revenue. Heck, it even tried to introduce an “Outstanding Achievement in Popular Film” award in 2018 before it was lambasted out of existence.
Hopefully, this year’s awards will turn things around.
Artists turn to AR to get music out
The Future. AR filters on Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram are becoming the latest way to launch a new song into culture… so musicians and labels are making them a part of their larger social media marketing rollout. With 250 million Snapchat users engaging with AR every day and TikToks with AR lenses racking up 600 billion views, every song will soon need to be a feast for both the ears and the eyes.
See the sound
Musicians are banking that warping people’s reality can get a beat stuck in their heads.
- Insider reports that artists and labels are creating AR lenses as part of the marketing rollout for new songs.
- That’s because the track can become a “default option” for effect — when the filter is used or shared, so is the song.
- The effects are also easy to use, access, and understand than a dance or a meme.
But here’s the big question: are these AR lenses making a difference?
- A generative AI filter called "AI Manga" appeared in 132 million videos on TikTok, with the associate song, "たぶん" by Yoasobi, being used in 12 million videos.
- Canadian country singer Drew Gregory created a "What Farm Truck Are You" image generator for his song “Stuck.” It has been used in 42,000 TikToks, with his song in 16,000 of them.
Immersion on immersion
Musicians and labels hope to scale those AR lenses to full-on live-music experiences.
- Snap partnered with Live Nation last year to build out AR experiences for festivals such as Lollapalooza and EDC.
- Meta linked up with Coachella last year to build unique AR experiences for Instagram.
And both companies are either pushing users to add songs to their custom AR lenses or working directly with artists to create AR lenses around their songs. Soon, they will be almost inseparable.
TOGETHER WITH VANTAGEPOINT
Are epic trades random?
What's green all over and marching upward? Your trades in March. Listen up, FutureParty People… Trading is not a game.
But making market decisions without artificial intelligence is like "spinning the wheel" of hope.
- How do you come to a confident decision on every trade?
- Are you panic selling at first sight of a pullback?
Here's the thing: with literally thousands of market trends to consider, deciphering what information matters in the market can feel close to impossible.
The disadvantage is most traders usually only see about 15% of the factors affecting a stock. The bulk of what drives a particular market is hidden out of plain view. 👀
Save your seat to attend VantagePoint’s FREE Live AI Training, and bring a couple of your own ticker symbols as they’ll be forecasting in [real-time] stocks of your choice.
Influencers are now creative directors
The Future. Because influencers are no longer dependent upon brands to make a living, brands are now approaching them as true collaborators. If brands hope to monetize influencer audiences, they may need to offer creators more incentives to work with them. This could reverse long-standing power dynamics, from brands telling influencers what they want to asking them what they should do.
From transactional to collaborative
Brands are tapping influencers for “creative ideation and thoughtful strategic direction” to make content that’s “durable, lasting and impactful,” says Zach Blume, co-founder of the creative shop Portal A, in Digiday.
- Wild Turkey has been using celebrity creative directors, like Matthew McConaughey, to stand out in the whiskey marketplace for years.
- Online retailer PrettyLittleThing appointed former Love Island star Molly-Mae Hague as its UK and EU creative director in August 2021.
- Diet Coke hired model Kate Moss as its first creative director in over a decade for its 40th anniversary in July 2022.
- Louis Vuitton tapped Pharrell last month to replace the late Virgil Abloh as its men’s creative director.
1:1 emotional bond
If influencers know what resonates with consumers better than brands, they stand to gain a lot of money by leading the creative process.
How much more they’ll make for a more collaborative or longer-term relationship will ultimately come down to the influencer, the brand, and the nature of their relationship.
Still, in a fragmented advertising landscape getting harder to break through, influencers have become more appealing than ever.
Planning the future of technology
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Their team of investigative journalists scours over 100 patents every week for clues about what the world's most influential companies could be up to next — uncovering trends before anyone else. If Mark Zuckerberg & Tim Cook agreed on one thing, it would be this tech newsletter.
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The best curated daily stories from around the web
Ford raises the stakes on late car payments
The automaker’s latest patent application shows that Ford is interested in building a system to allow a car to lock out its driver and even repossess itself if its driver doesn’t keep up with payments. The process would begin with the vehicle disabling features like GPS, AC, and the radio — or emitting an “incessant and unpleasant sound” whenever the driver is in the car. If the owner still doesn’t take action, the car may self-drive to a spot “convenient for a truck to tow the vehicle” or a repo agency. If it costs more to repossess the car than it’s worth, it could even drive itself to a scrapyard. Terrifying.
Read More → insider
YouTube joins the AI culture wars
Even though Google has long been seen as a pioneer in AI research, some critics have argued that the company has been too slow to roll out its own generative AI products. Well, that’s about to change in the coming months. YouTube chief product officer Neal Mohan says that creators will soon be able to virtually swap outfits in videos and produce “fantastical film settings” through AI’s generative capabilities. Mohan says the company would take the time to develop its AI features “with thoughtful guardrails” and “protections to embrace this technology responsibly.” Exciting.
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Apple slaps an age restriction on BlueMail
The app review team has blocked an update of the email app BlueMail over concerns that it could generate inappropriate content for children, according to Ben Volach, co-founder of BlueMail developer Blix. BlueMail’s new AI feature uses ChatGPT to help automate email writing with the contents of prior emails and calendar events. Because the app could produce inappropriate content, Apple says that BlueMail should move up its age restriction to 17 and older or include content filtering.
Read More → wsj
Security robots are here
According to a new report by Forrester Research, employing a robot guard vs. a human can save a company $79,000 per year. In security work, “the hours are long, stress runs high, isolation is real, and the tasks are tedious,” the report argues. “Automation can help.” Food delivery startup DoorDash is already using robots across its corporate sites and is finding success with the new “hires.” Hey, if it’s safer for a robot to confront intruders, we’re in.
Read More → axios
Teachers use ChatGPT more than their students
A new survey asked 1,002 K-12 teachers and 1,000 students (ages 12-17) nationwide for their views on the chatbot. It found that half of the teachers use ChatGPT for school work, compared to a third of students. 39% of teachers reported using generative AI for lesson planning, 30% for brainstorming creative ideas for classes, and 27% for acquiring background info for lessons. It looks like ChatGPT has already had a positive impact on education.
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Today's email was brought to you by David Vendrell and Kait Cunniff.
Editing by Nick Comney. Publishing by Sara Kitnick.