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wedgwood READING List

October 2017

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MUSIC INDUSTRY

For years we’ve heard how streaming music will transform the music business. That time has finally arrived. Like all disruptive technology, there are winners and losers. This month we take a look at how streaming music has all but negated radio’s influence, while at the same time changing the fortunes of many.

How Spotify Killed The Radio Star

The music business has been the perennial “canary in the coal mine” for the content and entertainment industries since Napster started eating its lunch in 1999. Bob Lefsetz’s newsletter, “The Lefsetz Letter” has been a thorn in the side of music executives for decades, pointing out their slow, stubborn adoption of new business models. He’s not always nice (Taylor Swift’s song “Mean” is about Lefsetz), but he always challenges conventional thought and gives a unique perspective to the business. In this article, Lefsetz points out how Spotify is destroying radio’s influence.

Streaming Music Revenues Will Jump 500% By 2030

After almost two decades of decline, the music business may have finally found its groove.


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FILM & TV INDUSTRY

Today, it's difficult to deny the influence of TV on the film industry. The ability to stream practically any movie ever made at any time (including many that are currently in theaters) has undoubtedly had a major impact on people attending the cinema. Add to that the fact that major actors and filmmakers are working directly for Netflix, Amazon, and HBO, and movie studios are facing unprecedented times in the US market. Luckily for them, the overseas market is booming.

Content Wars Heat Up

In the battle for streaming video supremacy, Apple has decided it wants a piece of the pie. Reportedly, the tech giant will spend $1 billion to produce new shows in 2018. Looks like the “Golden Age” of television could get even better.

Hollywood Is on Track to Have Its Worst Summer in 25 Years

“For Hollywood, the seasonal doldrums are coming at a particularly bad time. Tech giants such as Netflix, Apple, Amazon and Google are committing billions of dollars to muscle into the business of making movies and shows — and all of these companies want audiences to watch from the comfort of their living room sofas.”

Why Does Hollywood Keep Making the Same Kind of Movies, Even When They Flop? 

Ever wonder why we need another, Pirates of the Caribbean film? Do you ever ask yourself, “Who watches all of these Transformers movies?” In one chart, Alissa Wilkinson of Vox breaks down how the other side of the world is determining what Hollywood makes. Have you heard of the Wolf Warrior 2? Most Americans haven’t. While it only played in 53 U.S. theaters, it grossed almost $1 billion worldwide.


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ART & CULTURE

Art can be a powerful force, maybe the most powerful force in changing culture and empowering change. It can reshape how we see people, give a voice to the voiceless, and empower those who feel ignored. This month we look at how symbolism in film and comfort through music can transform how we feel about ourselves.

 

Black Panther, Wonder Woman and the Power of Representation

This summer we saw the release and record-breaking success of Wonder Woman and the unbelievable response to news of the upcoming Black Panther movie. (If you missed it, social media blew up with excitement and emotional responses to just the trailer for Black Panther.) In this personal article, Alan Jenkins writes about how the power of symbolism in art can help overcome social stereotypes.

 

Logic's MTV VMAs Performance Goes Viral, Saves Lives

Def Jam artist Logic’s passionate performance of his song of 1-800-273-8255 at the 2017 VMA awards was powerful and undeniably important. The song title is the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. In the hours following the show, the Lifeline received a 50% spike in call volume. Immediately the song shot to number one on Spotify where it remains to this day (20 days later). 

If you haven't checked out Logic’s album Everybody, we recommend you do. While some of the language can be vulgar, the album is a deeply personal portrait of a biracial young man overcoming a childhood of poverty, drug addiction, racism, and mental illness.