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wedgwood READING List

January 2018

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MUSIC INDUSTRY

The Grammys Diversity Triumph

“With nominations dominated by Jay-Z, Childish Gambino, and Kendrick Lamar, the Grammys seem to have had a long overdue reckoning when it comes to diversity.”

Is Secretive Virtual Reality Startup Magic Leap Dreaming Up the Future of Music?

“One of the most closely watched practitioners of mixed reality is a secretive startup called Magic Leap. The company has raised almost $2 billion in funding from Valley heavyweights, including Google… For a little more than four years, the unearthly Iceland art-rock band Sigur Rós have been working with Magic Leap on a new audiovisual project that tests the limits of mixed reality—and offers a tantalizing glimpse of how we may soon interact with music as a medium.”

Inside Latin Pop's 2017 Takeover

“On Spotify, global listening to Latin music grew 110 percent in 2017 (compare that to 74 percent growth in hip-hop), and 10 different Spanish-language singles made it onto the platform's Global Top 50 chart, setting a new record. On YouTube, six of the top 10 most-viewed music videos globally were made by Latin artists – as opposed to just one in 2016 – as were 45 of the Top 100. The U.S. mainstream has long been resistant to songs in other languages, but casual listeners who don't speak a word of Spanish now signal recognition when they hear Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's "Despacito" or J Balvin and Willy William's "Mi Gente."

Bill Hearn Passes Away

Capitol Christian Music Group (CCMG) chairman and CEO William Ray "Bill" Hearn died on Sunday, December 10 at the age of 58 in Nashville, Tennessee, following a long fight with cancer. In addition to his work in Christian music, Hearn was a major part of Universal Music Group’s leadership and was instrumental in the careers of many mainstream artists including Switchfoot and NF.

Wedgwood board member and artist Charlie Peacock said, “I loved and respected Bill very much. He was always straight up with me and great to work with. I owe him a debt of gratitude for so many things - hopefully I expressed it enough while he was with us. Bill's passing leaves a huge hole in the leadership of music ministry and entertainment around the world. He is already greatly missed, professionally and at our fellowship, The Village Chapel. My family and I send our sincerest condolences and are praying peace and comfort for the Hearn family and friends.”


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FILM & TV

 

Theater Chains Are Terrified of MoviePass Because Of Subscribers Like Me

“For me, MoviePass has become a simultaneously dangerous and exhilarating experience. I feel like I have access to a dark secret: perhaps movies aren’t really worth what we’re told they’re worth. What if, instead of paying $12, you could always just pay $2 or $3, bundled into a monthly fee? I cherish the theater experience as an institution. But given the freedom to pay less for it, I can’t help but take the opportunity. It’s like the Napster era, when the sheer ease of music piracy made it tremendously tempting, except that I can enjoy MoviePass with a clean conscience.”

How Rian Johnson Made Heroism Inclusive in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'

“In ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi,’ one of the more inclusive ‘Star Wars’ films in the franchise’s 40-year history, the writer-director delivers to many underserved fans their own similar, and long overdue, moments of heroic inspiration.

For some it’s the steadfast, unwavering spirit of a Resistance mechanic named Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) and the selflessness of her sister, a rebel gunner named Paige (Veronica Ngo) — the first female Asian characters to get significant screen time and heroine turns in the ‘Star Wars’ films.”

A Trying and Triumphant Year in TV and Beyond For Women

“Hulu’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and ‘Harlots,’ FX’s ‘Feud’ and Netflix’s ‘Godless’ all spoke to subjugated women outsmarting — if not blowing a hole through — the patriarchy. It’s no coincidence that shows like these caused national conversations as powerful, accused sexual predators like Harvey Weinstein and O’Reilly fell.

The collective ADD we felt last year with the election coverage and onslaught of new shows that You Just Have to See! was somewhat remedied by a renewed sense of purpose in 2017’s lineup.”

The Wingfeather Saga Short Film

Tom Owens (head of story How to Train Your Dragon 2), Keith Lango (Valve Corp), Nicholas Kole (Disney, Hasbro) and J. Chris Wall (VeggieTales) have joined forces with Andrew Peterson to create Shining Isle Productions and bring the best-selling novels The Wingfeather Saga to life on screen. After presenting at Wedgwood Circle in 2015 and a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign (top 15 animated projects of all time), they have created a 15 minute short film that debuts December 26th on Amazon Prime. With an innovative painted style CGI with 2D environments, they’ve created a distinctive visual look and extended that to their motion style which emulates stop-motion using limited breakdowns. They are developing the story for distribution as a multi-season series which will explore the entire four-book novels.


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MEDIA

Rupert Murdoch Sold 21st Century Fox Because Even His Media Giant Was Too Small To Compete

“When Murdoch does sell, he typically offloads only minor assets or proven failures. After more than a decade of sustained effort, he retreated from his Chinese ventures. He made some bad investments during the internet boom, such as MySpace, and eventually, belatedly, admitted failure and sold out. The only important, profitable property he sold off was in 2006, when he sold his stake in DIRECTV to John Malone. The purpose then was to get Malone off Murdoch’s share registry, and ensure his dynastic ambitions for his children.

Now, in one move, Murdoch has sold to Disney two-thirds of the assets he has built up over so many decades. Why did he do it? And what does it imply for the future of his media empire, and for the media more generally?”

Facebook Will Use Facial Recognition To Tell You When People Upload Your Picture

“If someone uploads a photo of your face to Facebook, the company usually knows that it’s you thanks to facial recognition technology.

Now Facebook won’t just know it’s you — it’ll tell you about the photo, too.”

ESPN President Resigns, Citing Substance Addiction

“Skipper was one of the most powerful people in both the media and sports worlds and managed ESPN's hugely profitable portfolio at a time of tremendous stress on the cable business.”

The FCC Just Killed Net Neutrality. Let the Lawsuits Begin. 

“The change frees broadband providers to begin charging websites for smooth passage over their networks. Critics said that threatens to pose barriers for smaller companies and startups, which can't afford fees that established web companies may pay to broadband providers, or won't have the heft to brush aside demands for payment. Broadband providers said they have no plans for anti-competitive ‘fast lanes,’ since consumers demand unfettered web access.”

Bob Dylan: A Spiritual Life: Scott M. Marshall

Tracking an American original--from his Jewish roots to his controversial embrace of Jesus, Bob Dylan: A Spiritual Life delivers the story of a man in dogged pursuit of redemption. Based on years of research and original interviews, “Bob Dylan: A Spiritual Life” examines the myths and misunderstandings to reveal Dylan to be both traditional and radical in the way he expresses his spiritual quest.