Very interesting read about Epic’s “Metaverse” strategy by Matthew Ball.
Constantly thinking about this…
The community, left-leaning and intellectual, was designed to be a middle-class utopia, with affordable Modernist houses and shared resources, such as a coöperative nursery school, and, at the center, a park for sports and picnics. The houses are small, by the current standards of the Zip Code; most of them are an elegant twelve hundred square feet or so—no flab. “This was primarily Jewish population, very progressive, left-wing, almost commie pinko,” Cory Buckner, an architect and historian, who wrote a book on Crestwood Hills, told me. “Anyone coming in had to be acceptable politically.” According to Buckner, people joked that the area’s disproportionate number of obstetricians and psychiatrists made Crestwood Hills a great place to have a baby or a nervous breakdown.
via The New Yorker
The album title was just something she came up with when she randomly harmonized the name of the American illustrator while recording “Venice Bitch,” though she recognizes that she and Rockwell — an idealist whose cozy depictions of Boy Scouts and Thanksgiving turkeys graced magazine covers for half the 20th century — have both explored big questions about the American dream in their work. And then there’s the artwork she has been using for the record’s singles: bizarrely casual iPhone photos that feel a bit tossed-off because, well, they are.
“Every time my managers write me, ‘Album art?,’ I’m just like, send!” she cackles, pantomiming taking a selfie. “And they just send the middle-finger emoji back to me.
Chinese brands cut out all of that stuff. Only the biggest and most ambitious of these companies even bother with a website; most of them have little more than a vendor page on AliExpress. Some of these companies buy their drivers — the actual speakers — from the same factories that provide Sennheiser and Beats with theirs. Tin Audio uses Knowles balanced armature drivers for its T3 model; those are the most important thing inside this product. Those same drivers, or at least very similar ones, can also be found in Ultimate Ears IEMs that cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. The factories that make the drivers don’t care who they sell to; they maintain a certain level of quality because their clients depend on that. And once you’ve sourced the parts, it’s not expensive at all to put them together. “If you have a van and a bottle of glue,” Klasco says, “you can be in the business.”
The next stage was disillusionment. For the WeWorkers I spoke with, the turning point was at the company’s Global Summit, which took place in the Los Angeles Convention Center and featured appearances by the figure skater Adam Rippon and the twenty-one-year-old actor Jaden Smith. During Neumann’s keynote speech, he brought up his plan to create a floating WeWork, called WeSail, and to launch a WeBank. The architectural designer told me, “That made me very, very nervous.” One event was an onstage interview, conducted by Rebekah Neumann, with the Red Hot Chili Peppers front man, Anthony Kiedis. The event was mandatory, and thousands of WeWork employees filled the Convention Center and listened to Kiedis discuss his lifelong battle with heroin and cocaine addictions. The interview started to go off the rails. “At some point, it becomes clear that Rebekah has decided that she’s going to turn it into a sort of Dr. Phil session,” the designer recalled. She began pressing Kiedis on his recovery process and urging a solution. “She was asking, ‘Have you found your soul mate yet? You’ll be happy when you find your soul mate.’ ” Kiedis didn’t seem very receptive to the idea. The audience squirmed. “That was when it hit me,” the development worker said. There was no secret team of shadow executives. “There wasn’t anyone else running the company. It was just Adam and his wife.”
Incredibly detailed article about Condé Nast woes
This approach requires fewer editors, too. One told me that he wasn’t sure how many people still worked there after many rounds of layoffs in recent years but that GQ hadn’t been able to field a softball team this summer. Others said they felt a sense of renewed purpose after the constant cutting. GQ’s focus, however, not only risked alienating a huge chunk of its readership, which is roughly 40 percent female, but also brought with it the dangers of myopia. In the December 2018 issue, Serena Williams was included as one of four honorees for its Man of the Year Award. Shortly before the print deadline, Welch took a copy of the cover to Virgil Abloh, the streetwear designer, and had him cross out MAN and write WOMAN. Abloh puts quotation marks around words for emphasis, a fact known to every kid standing on a street corner in Soho but almost no one else. The word WOMAN appeared in quotes next to a photo of Williams, causing an uproar online. Williams didn’t put the cover on her social media.
But it wasn’t clear what lessons other Condé magazines could take from The New Yorker’s success. The title had been exempt from Wintour’s involvement, along with the worst of the cutting and hubbing that had depleted the others’ abilities to put out the best possible product. (The New Yorker is the only magazine with its own floor in 1WTC, its editors were allowed to keep Microsoft Word while the rest of Condé switched to Google Docs, and it is exempt from the Content Integrity Unit’s Condé-wide style guide.)
Reeves: Totally! I was thinking about a comment someone much smarter than me made about how, even though we’re in a Golden Age of TV, with a trillion shows to watch, that means that the best cinematographers and key grips and all the other jobs you need to make these things great are now spread across all those shows, and it’s tough to pull the best of the best onto one individual show. We have more pretty good shows, and maybe less great ones. I’m spitballing here, but, the same could be true of magazines: Vanity Fair was a good magazine in part because they just paid all the best writers a ton of money to work for them instead of anyone else. If you’ve got 30 great writers and 3 of them turn in a great story every month, you can do something great. It’s harder when you’re trying to find those three stories from a smaller group of people. The difference of course being that, uh, no one is calling this the Golden Age of Magazines.
Ben: True, though The New Yorker, which seems to be the exception that proves the rule in the Condé universe, is still certainly playing its A game.
Though, as we know, only New York Magazine can truly be thought of as “great.”
Reeves: Hear hear! The New Yorker’s still doing great and important work that breaks through all the chatter … almost as often as New York does.
Clearmountain made an impact straight away with his remix of ‘Dance Away’: “They said they wanted an R&B type of thing, but I remember at the time the drums weren’t doing the right thing. The bass drum wasn’t consistent enough, so I actually brought in a New York drummer to just play bass drum, and we added some percussion. Then the song wasn’t structured right. It was verse, chorus, verse, middle eight. [Legendary Atlantic boss] Ahmet Ertegun came over and he said ‘Where’s the second chorus? You’ve got to have another chorus in there.’ I didn’t know Roxy Music, I’d never met any of them, and I was thinking ‘How can you mess with their song?’ But we put the second chorus in and they loved it.”
What about L.A. makes it such a great backdrop for evocative music?
LANA I think if I could sum it up in one word, it’s “sun.” It’s perfect every day.
ELTON It’s so lovely to be here [even] in January, and that is very conducive to making music, I think. When I got here, it all made sense. It looks like it sounds.
LANA That’s it!
via Rolling Stone