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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Facebook executives ‘knew for years’ about misleading ad metric | Financial TimesThe lawsuit claims that Facebook represents the potential reach metric as a measure of how many people a given marketer could reach with an advertisement. However, it actually indicates the total number of accounts that the marketer could reach — a figure that could include fake and duplicated accounts, according to the allegations. – Facebook’s misleading ad metric isn’t news in its own right. What’s interesting is that the FT article goes on to claim that potential audience size in some states were bigger than publicly available data and seemed nonsensical in comparison to say census data

UK lays out plans for legal e-scooters, medical drones and more transportation innovation in test cities | TechCrunch – if electric scooters is going to be anything like what I saw in Paris, it’ll be carnage

Xenophobia amid the coronavirus pandemic is hurting Chinese immigrant neighborhoods – Voxanti-Asian xenophobia and racism have become a bigger issue around the world as a result of Covid-19. As Nylah Burton reported for Vox, in major cities like Los Angeles, Seattle, and Toronto, East Asians have been targeted — from racist comments made by TSA agents to verbal street harassment. Meanwhile, Chinese restaurants across the globe say they are struggling for business because of widespread misconceptions about the “cleanliness” of their food – exceptionally dark reading

Time Out rebrands to Time In as coronavirus ‘social distancing’ takes effect | The Drum – circumstance encouraged Time Out to rebrand, but the strong equity they have in their brand allowed them do so successfully, like Pizza Hut’s Pasta Hut or the Google Doodle

Madison Avenue Insights | Creative agencies: winning the battle but losing the warCreative agencies have mastered the requirements of integrated campaigns, from TV to online video, websites, Facebook, Instagram, ad banners and e-mail marketing. It’s a pity, then, that this victory is being undermined by agency price-cutting strategies that leave agencies understaffed and underpaid. Senior agency executives need to create winning business practices – they’re losing the business war. – great read by Michael Farmer. I suspect the piece that’s missing is the devastation wrought by procurement

Russian influence operations using netizens in Ghana to target African Americans – GrapfikaThe operation used authentic activists and users, fronted by an ostensible human rights NGO, to covertly propagate an influence campaign. It is not the first time such an attempt has been made, but the tactic is of concern. The unwitting individuals co-opted into the operation bear the risk of reputational or legal jeopardy; indeed, CNN reported that the Ghanaian operation was raided by law enforcement as a result of their online activities. For the human rights community, the risk is that genuine NGOs may be misidentified as being involved in influence operations by accident or malice, and there is also the danger of tarnishing the reputation of important work and organizations across the field – its a fascinating read – a mix of information ops, subterfuge and offshoring. The west African link is interesting

The Public Interest and Personal Privacy in a Time of Crisis (Part II) – Google Docs – part two of an essay by a Chinese academic- l linked to part one in this post

Between Privacy and Convenience: Facial Recognition Technology in the Eyes of Citizens in China, Germany, the UK and the US by Genia Kostka, Léa Steinacker, Miriam Meckel :: SSRN 

Lao Dongyan, “Artificial Intelligence” – Reading the China Dream – piece on biometric recognition

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Playlists and mixtapes

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Working as a remote team got me thinking about playlists and mixtapes. One of my colleagues started off a themed playlist on Spotify. The playlist creativity was based around a narrative. The narrative is driven by song title.

cassette tape
Thegreenj / CC BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)

Spotify made it easy to collaborate on putting more in there.

Its a form of surface data, easy to see. Easy for machines to grasp.
It is easy to analyse. Hence Spotify’s ad campaigns and pitch to advertisers based on data.

Initially, I thought it was this data treasure trove that made me feel uneasy about music streaming services. Where other people felt Spotify’s ads were clever, I felt they were intrusive, even voyeuristic. It felt voyeuristic reading some of them.

Music curation is a very personal thing. But in the end I realised it wasn’t the data that bothered me. Now I realise its the nature of curation and consumption on the platforms.

Music is something that exists in everyone’s lives. For some people it was background wallpaper. It occasionally took on ‘sound track’ starring roles at important life moments. For instance, the track the bride and groom choose to dance to at their wedding. Or a one-hit wonder attached to holiday nightlife memories.

For some people it moves beyond being a trigger. It stirs a passion. Myself and some friends have collections of records. Owning a thing has a power of its own. Digital services don’t really understand this drive.

iTunes organisation

iTunes in its day revolutionised digital music. It made music accessible in way that consumers wanted. But it wasn’t a perfect experience.

For instance, someone like myself won’t necessarily follow an artist. Electronic music often sees artists change names as often as changing an overcoat.

The producer or remixer becomes important. Tom Moulton back in the days of disco, Danny Krivit’s famous edits or London’s Nicolas Laugier (The Reflex). All of them have distinctive sounds that bring tracks to life.

A record label becomes synonymous with a particular sound. Blue Note Records’ jazz, Strictly Rhythm’s New York tinged house music or the early rock of Sun Records. This is a mix of a curators ear, in house studios, producers and engineers.

Yet in iTunes you could never search by remixer, or record label in the way that you could search for an artist or group name.
Even the way iTunes treated DJ names indicated a lack of understanding. Someone like myself would treat DJ, the way rock fans would treat ‘The’ in a band name. So DJ Aladdin would come before The Beatles. But DJ Krush would come after.
In iTunes, it ignores ‘The’ so The Beatles sit just behind The Beastie Boys. Both of them come before DJ Aladdin who is grouped with with all the other DJ names.

Playlists and mixtapes

iTunes introduced the concept of playlists with the iPod, but the marketing around it was creating lists for how they made you feel. Music to run by, a chillout list etc.

In design, this was closer to a mixtape than a typical Spotify playlist. Apple worked on making them social. At one stage artists could share playlists of tracks that influenced them. Apple tried to create editorial content around it. It was an interesting idea, but discovery in iTunes was problematic.

A mixtape is about careful curation. You take the listener on a journey, it is often meant to convey a feeling or an emotion. One of the few people that I’ve seen do this within Spotify has been Jed Hallam’s Love Will Save The Day selections. A non-verbal message.

A mixtape was often time bounded by its medium.

  • Cutting your own vinyl record which was done on 78rpm discs might give you 2 minutes. Enough for a short voice mail home, if the record survived the postal system.
  • Reel to reel tape might give you up to 90 minutes at reasonable quality on a 10 1/2 inch reel of tape.
  • Cassette tapes were typically 30 or 45 minutes per side.
  • CDs could provide up to 80 minutes, depending on the disc. But the original ‘Red Book’ standard capacity was 74 minutes

The playlist has no capacity considerations. No limitations that force choices or prioritisation.

Consuming playlists and mixtapes

A mixtape often brought a deeper experience to the listener. Whether it was an expression of love, passion or nerdiness. A playlist tends to operate much more at a surface level. This changes the dynamics of consumption. A playlist doesn’t require active listening. Its like drive-time radio. A backdrop to life.

A playlist is often found, again rather like tuning into a radio station. It is usually a more passive consumption experience. The audience has less invested in it.

Playlists and mixtapes business models

This difference in attitude helps explains how music changed in fundamentally in business model. When you’re more passive, you don’t need to own your music.

You don’t mind if tracks disappear due to licencing disputes. Music becomes a utility that you pay for each month. In this respect Spotify looks a lot like the post-war Rediffusion service.

It’s an operating expense rather than a capital outlay for young consumers. It facilitates algorithm as taste maker which leads to a reductive path. Apple Music has tried to keep away from this. They’ve got specialist curators in niche genres. Want to hear the best of bluegrass and outlaw country? Apple Music likely covers you better than Spotify.

If I am following your playlist, it opens up opportunities for payola. Artist brands become less important than a steady stream of releases in popular genres. Music plugging becomes an arbitrage play; streams versus promotional costs RoI. Traditional artist development no longer makes sense. Instead you end up with a model that looks closer to a fast-failure production line. More on media related topics here.

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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우에 대비해서

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Chinese attitudes to immigration. Some really interesting interviews done by Inkstone. Inkstone is part of South China Morning Post. Whilst the attitudes seem shocking, you do see them mirrored in other monocultural countries.

Marketing in times of upheaval | LinkedIn – cites Beeston’s Law and then fulfils it

The 1970 Osaka Expo: Looking back at the past to gauge where Japan sits in the present | The Japan Times – some of these pictures are fascinating

SMS In Emergency Situations: SF COVID19 Updates Via SMS | Forrester Research – mature platforms work well

Coronavirus Is A Headwind For Search Advertising, But The Outlook Remains Promising – not a terribly surprising analysis given Baidu’s recent financial performance in the Chinese New Year period

Innovation of the Day | Heineken – alcohol free beer aimed at drivers without running the risk of drunk driving

Augmented-Reality Startup Magic Leap Is Said to Weigh a Sale – Bloomberg – interesting that Johnson & Johnson are mulling an investment in Magic Leap

Introducing Fluent Devices – System1 Group – is it fashion or is it a lack of effectiveness?

cyberpunk « Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! – great series of posts on cyberpunk and its impact on culture

Innovation of the Day | Time – letting exhiibition attendees get some sense of the experience involved in the 1963 civil rights march on Washington DC and experience Martin Luther King Jr’s ‘I have a dream speech’. VR’s real power to engage audiences is emotional experiences rather than storytelling in the way that we usually understand it

Persona Spotlight: Generation X – GlobalWebIndexWhile younger audiences are actively trying to regulate their digital activity – nearly 3 in 10 millennials and Gen Zs track their screen time each month – only 1 in 5 Gen Xers have done the same. Another possible reason is that, compared to Gen X, younger age groups are now using social media more passively. When on these sites, 4 in 10 Gen Zs fill up their spare time or search for funny content, while Gen Xers still flock to their social accounts with a greater emphasis on socializing. – this bit feels like they’re throwing hypotheses against the wall, planners pick your favourite

In February Smartphone sales in China Crashed more than 50% – Patently Apple – not terribly surprising, Apple’s increase in iPad sales probably didn’t compensate for the drop

The Public Interest and Personal Privacy in a Time of Crisis (Part I) – Google Docs – translation of a Chinese blog

Is busy the new stupid? – hustle porn etc.

SoftBank Vision Fund’s Rajeev Misra: 18 months will prove I’m right | CNBC – it will be interesting to see how this plays out

Measure your distinctive brand assets | Ehrensberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science – well worth downloading and reading (PDF)