The Power Of YouTube: Don't Stop Believin'!

Journey's new singerTrue confession: I’m a karaoke junkie. My birthday is actually an annual sing down at a Chinese restaurant nestled in a strip mall near my house. My husband brought me back a little karaoke machine when he traveled to the Philippines, which lasts about 30 minutes before conking out. And while I know that love of karaoke is certainly not limited to younger people (hello “Duets”?), games like Rockband, Simon’s blistering karaoke insults on “Idol” and the endless tribute videos on YouTube have fueled a new generation of crooners.

When I saw this story about how Journey [yes, the same Journey that ended “The Sopranos” and made the series premiere of “Glee” so irresistible] found its new lead singer [on YouTube, natch!], I couldn’t look away. In a way it was like that Marky Mark movie about the cover band singer landing the gig with the real band - except that it also felt sort of reflective of what’s happening in global youth culture right now. That a young wringer for Steve Perry (or at least his voice) could post a video on YouTube and be “discovered” by the band’s original members feels like a modern narrative that is becoming more common (think: Esmée Denters).

We can probably credit karaoke for keeping bands like Journey relevant to youth across the Pacific Ocean. As for “classic rock” remaining relevant here - between the Woodstock resurgence our advisory board member Caro wrote about yesterday, VH1’s I love the 60s/70s/80s and classic tunes continuing to show up in pop culture [“500 Days of Summer” made me want to buy Hall & Oats’ greatest hits on iTunes immediately], well, let’s just say I wouldn’t be shocked to hear a similar version of this story with another incomplete band from our collective past looking to capitalize on a pop culture resurgence—at least in the short term.…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“As a graphic designer, without the arts being available to me in school I would have been lost as a child and where to take my career path. The fact that schools are cutting art programs is heartbreaking.”—Female, 24, NJ

Applebee’s is putting down the sriracha and giving up on trying to appeal to Millennials. The brand has decided their newer menu items—like a “triple pork bonanza” sandwich—and attempt at a “modern bar and grill” reinvention has “alienate[d]” Boomers and Gen Xers. They’re shutting down more than 130 restaurants and bringing back initiatives from before their attempted “pendulum swing towards millennials,” all-you-can-eat specials and 2-for-$20 deals. Other brands are creating new spin off chains to appeal to fast-casual lovingMillennials, that “[lack] the associated baggage of the old.” (Inc, NPR)

Adults-only ball pits, bouncy houses, and giant slides are sweeping the U.K. Millennials seeking a break from adulthood are flocking to places like Wacky World’s “massive bouncy-castle obstacle course,” which started out as a children’s event. The founder received so many requests that now every event has an 18-and-over slot, and has expanded to 19 cities. This “trend for arrested development activities” is caused by nostalgia, but the influx of marketing and branding leveraging the emotion could be popularizing these playgrounds for adults. (The Guardian)

Facebook is responding to the trend of asking for birthday charitable donations by integrating it right into the platform. Users in the U.S. can now trade in all the “HBD”s they get on Facebook for donations to the cause of their choice: well-wishers will be notified of the birthday along with the selected non-profit, and get the chance to donate. Facebook will ask users which charity they wish to dedicate their day to two weeks in advance, allowing them to choose from 750,000 organizations. (TNW)

Appear Here is the Airbnb of pop-up shops, giving brands their perfect temporary store for the new era of retail. The company finds short term retail space, and has worked with big-name brands like Nike and Net-a-Porter to open “experimental activations” or “test new products.” As brick-and-mortar continues to suffer and long-term stores close, Appear Here says physical retail is still needed, but to “tell a story.” The pop-up industry was valued at $50 billion in 2015, and provides a more low-risk, flexible option to avoid the retail wasteland. (Glossy)

Millennials & Gen Z are turning a profit online and on mobile by re-selling their retail. Thredup, Poshmark, and Depop are just a few of the most popular brands cashing in on the resale economy’s $18 billion market, and some shoppers say they are making $300 a week on the platforms. Some are also using social to sell, often in conjunction with apps or sites, including Snapchat, Facebook Groups, and Instagram. College students on a budget are reportedly especially drawn to resale, thanks to convenience, value, and access to luxury at a lower price. (FN)

“Adult means being entirely independent. I pay my own bills, make all decisions in my life, and feel very in control.”—Male, 20, NY

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