Articles on this Page
- 11/14/14--11:23: _Amateur footballer'...
- 11/14/14--12:46: _Advertising agencie...
- 11/14/14--15:11: _Alyssa Milano raise...
- 11/15/14--07:00: _'Gigahoes' is the s...
- 11/15/14--07:24: _Johnny Depp's curse...
- 11/15/14--11:34: _AwesomenessTV's pop...
- 11/16/14--11:28: _Here's what happens...
- 11/16/14--14:57: _This first-person a...
- 11/17/14--08:16: _Looking back on a '...
- 11/17/14--09:22: _Even Steve Carell c...
- 11/17/14--09:48: _The best way to rel...
- 11/17/14--10:05: _Solange and her son...
- 11/17/14--10:24: _Bizarre Chinese mus...
- 11/17/14--11:19: _Latest 'Teens React...
- 11/17/14--12:08: _Hannah Hart and Gra...
- 11/17/14--12:30: _A familiar face awa...
- 11/17/14--12:57: _Can an app make liv...
- 11/17/14--13:13: _Are podcasts next f...
- 11/17/14--13:21: _You'll hate how cat...
- 11/17/14--14:50: _Vessel offers top Y...
- 11/14/14--12:46: Advertising agencies are getting creative on YouTube
- 11/14/14--15:11: Alyssa Milano raises questions with Kim Kardashian tweet
- 11/15/14--07:00: 'Gigahoes' is the sexbot webseries you didn't know you needed
- 11/15/14--11:34: AwesomenessTV's pop-up shop features YouTube-inspired products
- 11/16/14--14:57: This first-person action movie was filmed almost entirely with GoPro
- 11/17/14--08:16: Looking back on a 'Bob's Burgers' star's forgotten Christmas classic
- 11/17/14--09:22: Even Steve Carell can't get 'Shake It Off' out of his head
- 11/17/14--09:48: The best way to release an album is to drop it overnight
- 11/17/14--10:05: Solange and her son took the wedding dance to the next level
- 11/17/14--11:19: Latest 'Teens React' video takes a serious focus: Malala Yousafzai
- 11/17/14--12:08: Hannah Hart and Grace Helbig make this 'Epic Rap Battle' extra epic
- 11/17/14--12:57: Can an app make live theater more intimate?
- 11/17/14--13:13: Are podcasts next for Spotify?
- 11/17/14--13:21: You'll hate how catchy Kristen Bell's new Christmas tune is
The FIFA goal of the year competition includes plenty of jawdroppers from the last 12 months in international football, like Zlatan Ibrahimovich's over-the-shoulder miracle and Hisato Sato's thriling spin-and-volley.
But one video on the list is garnering underdog status, and plenty of controversy: YouTube footage of Irish amateur league footballer Stephanie Roche making a goal for her team, Peamount United, last year.
Roche's goal certainly isn't as dramatic as the goal FIFA fans voted for in 2013. That goal, also by Ibrahimovich, took place in a pro stadium in front of thousands of fans. Roche's goal, on the other hand, went instantly viral, racking up 2.5 million views since last October—but it happened in a low-key game for Peamount United against their rivals the Wexford Youths.
If these aren't teams you're familiar with, it's because they're part of the Women's National League of Ireland, which has only existed for three years. The league has just seven teams, and one team had to drop out due to a lack of players. In 2011, the first year of the league's existence, Roche was the league's top scorer. The Dublin native, who is also a striker for Ireland's national team, scored 24 goals made throughout the year.
And it's easy to see why. Roche has amazing "tekkers," which is soccer slang for superb technique and absolute control of the ball. There's no other way to explain how she started this shot facing the opposite direction yet somehow managed to drive it straight into the net after only three touches—for a 20-yard goal.
While other year-end polls may be garnering controversy for driving hate speech towards women, the FIFA vote has turned into an unexpected boost for the visibiltiy of female athletes:
Wouldn't it be great if Peamount Utd's Steph Roche beat the likes of Costa, van Persie, Ibrahimovic & Rodriguez? http://t.co/IpDGuyDlZs VOTE— Niall O'Keeffe (@NiallOK) November 14, 2014
Currently, Roche plays in France for the ASPTT Albi women's football team. In a statement, she said she was "absolutely delighted" by the news.
"Obviously, it was a big surprise but it is a great boost, not only for myself, but for women’s football and particularly the Women’s National League. It’s a great feeling to see myself on the list."
Of course, since this is the Internet, it's easy to find disgruntled soccer fans complaining that Roche is only there because of her gender, and that the amateur leagues don't deserve to be in consideration for top awards alongside the pro leagues.
But it's hard to argue too bitterly against a goal that clean. Most people just seem to be happy that Roche has been nominated.
With all the hits women have taken from the Internet lately, it's nice to be reminded that women can kick back—and score.
Photo via Pixabay (CC0 1.0)
For anyone who watches a large amount of YouTube videos, ad content is usually the pill you have to swallow before you get to the good stuff. But sometimes ads themselves can do well on YouTube, and one trick advertisers have fallen back on is creative interactive experiences that make ads something to play with instead of just something to tolerate.
ASOS recently released a brand ad that allows users to toggle between different colors as a band performs using an annotated color bar across the top and bottom of the video. This same Choose Your Own Adventure-style tactic of using annotations to hop around a single upload has been used for other narrative purposes, including a recent haunted house video shot at YouTube Space L.A. But that video has celebrities and a plot, where ASOS just has colors and music to keep you interested in jumping around.
The ASOS ad works because flipping through different colors is similar to shopping for new clothes and styles. The concept remains the same between colors, but the styles and actions change. If you let the entire 4:35 video run it shows all the colors, but you can remix them into your own 56-second experience.
There are also more high-end iterations of the same concept, keeping the idea that you can flip-flop between visual experiences that continues a narrative. Music videos have often experimented in this space, with the biggest splash coming from Bob Dylan’s interactive channel-changing experience in 2013. Brands are no strangers to hyper-customizing their interactive ads as well. Honda currently has an interactive ad on YouTube that allows you to hold down a single key to see two simultaneous stories of one man driving Hondas, called Other Side.
Sure, these interactive ads are still selling you something, but it’s much more fun to get to play with a video that’s selling you something than just watch it passively, and as YouTube and video technology advance, we’ll likely see more of these playful ads hitting the video landscape.
Kim Kardashian’snude pictures in the winter issue of Paper magazine have seized pop culture this week to the point where celebrities can’t comment about them without moving the needle. And while most of it is static celebrity rubbernecking, Alyssa Milano managed to raise concerns via Twitter about which posted photos become mammoth pop cultural events versus the ones that are trolled into oblivion.
Wait! I don't get it. No disrespect to Kim but... people are offended by my breastfeeding selfies & are fine with her (amazing) booty cover?— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) November 12, 2014
Three weeks ago, Milano posted a selfie of herself breastfeeding her baby. She dealt with a fair amount of backlash. Milano continues to post breastfeeding pictures despite hateful comments.
Screengrab via Alyssa Milano/Instagram
Milano did manage to weigh in on the ass itself.
I mean...it really is an unbelievable ass.— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) November 12, 2014
Photo via Mallingering/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Warning: The videos in this article contain explicit content that may be NSFW.
So you’ve all been reading about how we’re all going to be having sex with robots, right? You’ve possibly even tried to imagine what it might be like, only to have your private musings constantly thwarted by the horrifying images of Roxxxy, with her “beautiful skin,” dead fish eyes, and Skank Mode.
Well ponder no longer, friends. Let Gigahoes—a webseries set in a sex-bot escort agency—create the mood for you.
As can be seen, it’s a tad too amateurish to recommend on production alone, and its humor is inconsistent and relies too heavily on jokes about “cavities.” But at the very least, it manages to surmount the shuddering creepiness of actual robot sex’s uncanny valley by the use of cheap, soon-to-be-outdated, human actors.
Screengrab via Giga Hoes/YouTube
Last night, Johnny Depp attended the Hollywood Film Awards to present an award to renowned talent manager Shep Gordon, who’s the subject of new documentary Supermensch. But his lead-in speech also deserves some sort of award.
Depp slurred, cursed, and questioned the existence of the microphone in front of him. Was he drunk or was this ac-ting? Clearly, Depp needs his own one-man show, with several breaks for the changing of scarves.
Before leading into the Gordon clip, Depp summed up his existence on the stage: “I mean, it’s one of those nights.”
We’ve all been there?
Screengrab via CBS/YouTube
AwesomenessTV is betting a generation that devours short-form video content will also love a pop-up shopping experience helmed by their favorite digital celebrities.
Many YouTubers have online merchandise stores or brand tie-ins at major retailers now, but there’s never been a YouTuber-only retail location like Scene@Awesomeness. The pop-up shop—located in Los Angeles on Fairfax Ave., near several small boutiques—opens its doors to fans on Saturday, but allowed friends of AwesomenessTV a sneak peek at the wares during an opening party on Thursday.
The shop features a DJ booth and small lounge area where the multichannel network says they’ll host creator events and meet-and-greets throughout the season. Several different creators have sections throughout the store, each with flat screens showing YouTube videos. Jim Fielding, AwesomenessTV’s global head of consumer products and retail, said the vision for the shop came to him after this summer’s VidCon.
“When I went to VidCon and saw how incredible it was when the creators got to be with their fans, I was overwhelmed by that,” Fielding explained. “It reminded me of my older days at Disney with Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers. I thought with a couple more months we could get enough product done that we could create a space that has product, but also lets creators interact with their fans.”
The majority of the YouTuber-created products in the store are shirts with designs or catchy phrases, which Fielding said was partially a consequence of how quickly they went from concept to physical store, but also, shirts are a great way for creators to express their brand. There's a diversity of ideas across the shirts, and each line reflects the individual creator's style. Fashion and lifestyle vlogger Teala Dunn’s shirts are cheeky, while filmmaker Sawyer Hartman’s line includes his own photography. Fielding says in the future there will be a broader line of products.
“We’d love to get more shoes done, a lot of the creators want to get shoes,” he explained. “Sawyer wants to do hats. We’re going to do home, bedding and wallpaper, and decor. We even want to do dolls!”
The YouTuber-created goods are supplemented by curated accessories and trinkets throughout the store, making it easy to leave with a completed look. Additional YouTubers will add their creations to the store after Saturday's launch, although the store will only remain open until Dec. 31. Fielding says AwesomenssTV is hopeful that they can expand the project after this inaugural experiment. Even before the launch, fans showed up to show their support and hopefully get a glimpse of their favorite stars.
“I love the energy of our creator community and I love the energy of our fans,” Fielding said. “We have girls out there since 3 o’clock to meet Teala and Sawyer.”
The Awesomeness gang not only snuck out to meet their fans, but sent them cookies and milk from the party. That’s some above average customer service in the retail industry.
Photos courtesy of AwesomenessTV
In another attempt to make Saturday Night Live relevant, the public relations team for the latest Hunger Games installment, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, reunited the cast last night to sing alongside host Woody Harrelson.
Harrelson, who first hosted the sketch comedy show in 1989, was joined on stage by fellow stars Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, and Jennifer Lawrence during his opening monologue. Harrelson strummed a guitar as the foursome sang a tune partially inspired by Taylor Swift’s latest album, 1989.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 is due in theaters on Nov. 21. Let’s hope Harrelson’s acting is far better than his singing.
H/T Digg | Screengrab via YouTube
Biting Elbows isn't exactly a household name, but if you’re into a certain kind of video game, you've probably seen the band's video for “Bad Motherfucker.” It’s a live-action version of a first-person shooter, and is something like a cross between Call of Duty, a GoPro parkour video, and a Jason Statham movie.
Director and Biting Elbows frontman Ilya Naishuller is now making a feature-length movie in the same style, starring Elysium and District 9 actor Sharlto Copley. This film is titled Hardcore, and according to Naishuller’s Indiegogo page, it will be the first action movie to be shot from a first-person point of view. In other words, the audience will experience all the stunts and action sequences from the perspective of the main character. The poorly received Doom movie tried this for a few minutes without much success, but Naishuller’s music videos suggest Hardcore might actually work as a full-length film.
Hardcore may only appeal to fans of violent action movies like Crank, but that’s still a pretty big audience. The story is simple: A newly awakened cyborg has to save his wife (the scientist who created him) from an evil guy with telekinetic powers. It’s the filming technique that will really sell it, and Naishuller’s sample video will help you judge for yourself whether it’s worthwhile.
The film was shot almost entirely using GoPro cameras, worn by a stuntman playing the lead cyborg character, Henry. Everything has been shot and edited already, with this Indiegogo campaign funding the post-production costs for things like CGI and color correction. If they reach $250,000 by early December (and it looks like they probably will), Hardcore is due to hit theaters in 2015.
Photo via bitingelbows/YouTube
John Roberts is the voice of Bob’s Burgers matriarch Linda Belcher, but long before the wild success of the animated show, he was an early YouTube star. And it’s time to revisit one of his masterpieces.
In 2006, Roberts wrote and starred in a clip called “The Christmas Tree.” It illustrates the life cycle of a Christmas tree, as told by Roberts’s brassy mom character, which is apparently an homage to his own Brooklyn-born mother.
Roberts called back to the clip in a Bob’s Burgers episode, too.
He starred in several more clips, in which his character gives amazing mom-ologues. It’s interesting to see how he evolved into Linda.
Screengrab via Adult Swim
Steve Carell is the latest victim of Swift-fever. The Office alum was asked to sing whatever song was in his head during a recent appearance on ABC News to promote his new film "Foxcatcher."
"I just want to know the music that's in your head. I just want a snippet of what's going on in there," host Peter Travers prompts.
Without hesitating Carell breaks into Taylor Swift's don't-sweat-the-haters single "Shake It Off." It's not even close to key but Carell has clearly played 1989 more than once because he owns those lyrics. He even goes for the high notes when it comes to the "Shake It Off" chorus and the whistle "ooh's" in between.
Considering Carell is promoting a movie where he plays a sadistic wrestling coach, T-Swift isn't really the soundtrack you'd expect. It just goes to show what a global phenomenon Swift has become—and how ridiculously catchy that song is. However, Travers wasn't ready for Carell's rendition either.
"That's the last thing I ever expected," Travers says through his chuckle, "Is that constantly playing in your house or what?"
"I love it," Carell responds with absolutely no shame (not that he should have any). "I actually love Taylor Swift. I think she's great."
Travers goes on to suggest that Swift and Carell should team up for a movie. Admittedly, that would be pretty amazing -- but Carell should probably leave the singing up to Swifty no matter what they do.
Check Carell in the Foxcatcher trailer below, which is a stark contrast to his T-Swift karaoke moment.
Foxcatcher is now in theaters.
Screengrab via ABC News/YouTube
BY EMMA GARLAND
On Dec. 12, 2013, Beyoncé rocked up out of nowhere and dropped a massive album without so much as a hint that something was on the way. It changed the game.
The record was never meant to happen the way it did, but during extensive touring throughout 2013, the nature of the project changed and it’s visual aspect became increasingly important. Beyoncé began to favor an unexpected release and eventually dropped the entire album all at once as a series of individual videos. Naturally, it was met with total hysteria, because Beyoncé. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, sold 828,773 copies worldwide in three days, becoming the fastest-selling album in iTunes Store's history.
Fast forward a bit, and this year has seen a whole wave of artists from U2 to Wiley unleashing their albums out of nowhere. And it’s not like we’re talking casual or smaller releases here; this isn’t Michael Cera uploading an album to Bandcamp that sounds like he’s learning to play every instrument at once—these are fully-fledged records with big money backing and the same lengthy creative processes as Taylor Swift's1989 (which was plugged months in advance).
So, what does this tell us about the industry? In a climate where branding and social media are considered essential tools to success, can artists really afford to just bypass them entirely?
Evidently, the standard business model of prolonged promotional campaign followed by a single and then another single and then a full release and then more singles, is getting tired. When we have access to any artist from any era at our fingertips, it is becoming increasingly hard for an artist to stand out. So, from an artist’s perspective, dropping an entire album unexpectedly is an attempt at going viral instantly, and regaining control of the way their material is marketed.
Similarly, we live in a consumer age defined by its increasingly fleeting attention span. We get hyped on something instantly, make sure everyone is aware of how hyped we are about the thing, and then forget about it entirely in a few days when there’s a new thing to get hyped on. When so much information gets lost—overtaken and pushed down the Twitter feed—perhaps the "slow reveal” no longer leads to a bigger pay off. Artists have to find new, innovative ways to engage with people.
Read the full article on Noisey.
Solange Knowles married longtime boyfriend Alan Ferguson yesterday in New Orleans, and her wedding photos were flawless, of course.
The amazingness didn’t stop there. At the reception, Knowles and her 10-year-old son, Daniel Julez, performed a choreographed dance to the song “No Flex Zone” by Rae Sremmurd. And not just a dance. They had a dance-off.
Just wait until the end, and try not to tear up.
If you thought "Gangnam Style" was an annoying musical trend, just wait until everyone you know is making chicken noises.
Chinese pop star Wang Rong Rollin released what might be 2014’s answer to Psy’s big hit with “Chick Chick.” The song only repeats a handful of distinct words, all in Mandarin, while Rollin otherwise makes farm animal sounds to fill the time.
Stylistically, the video is a mix of Lady Gaga costuming, Ylvis' nonsensical lyrics, animation, Psy dance moves, and shirtless men in animal masks if you watch long enough. The video has amassed over 5 million views without major Western attention, so we’re pretty confident in crowning Rollin the queen of the barnyard for 2014.
Screengrab via Mainland China CPOP MV 2/YouTube
The Fine Brothers’ YouTube videos usually aim for fun topics like grandparents reacting to viral videos and kids reacting to outdated technology. Sometimes, though, the content is more serious, like this video of American teenagers reacting to videos of Malala Yousafzai.
Yousafzai, a 17-year old Pakistani human rights advocate, was almost killed in 2012 when a Taliban gunman shot her three times for promoting the education of girls in her country. She recently won the Nobel Peace Prize for advocacy work. At first, Yousafzai’s story shocks these young people, but that shock soon gives way to inspiration. In the videos that they watch, Yousafzai describes herself as a normal teenager, but most of these American high school students are not so sure. How does she find the strength and courage to carry on?
"We need so many more people like her," said one girl. "To say the things she's saying, because it hits people like me! Her amount of courageousness carries over, to make me feel like I could be that courageous."
Other teenagers found themselves feeling more grateful for their education. They were suddenly aware that they were lucky to be safe at their schools.
After they discussed Yousafzai’s experiences, the conversation turned to the way Islam is portrayed in the American media, including the prejudice that Muslim Americans face in their daily lives.
After watching this video, you won’t just feel inspired by Yousafzai; you may also be impressed by the teenagers who took something away from her struggle. The YouTube generation is nowhere near as thoughtless and superficial as many adults seem to think.
Photo via TheFineBros/YouTube
Hart plays Bonnie to epicLLOYD’s Clyde, while Helbig goes Shakespearean as Juliet. The double lovers quarrel features some mean one-liners, including Bonnie rapping, “How can you beat my man at some mano a mano / you can’t protect your best friend from some John Leguizamo,” a great lyrical callback to Baz Luhrmann's film version of Romeo and Juliet.
We don’t want to spoil the outcome, but if you’re familiar with the endings of both stories, you can probably guess how it goes. Let’s just say it’s hard to call a winner on this one.
Screengrab via Epic Rap Battles/YouTube
It looks like Frieza will escape his eternal damnation from the Home for Infinite Losers—also known as Hell in Japan—in next year’s new Dragon Ball Z movie.
Titled Dragon Ball Z: Fukkatsu no F, which translates to Dragon Ball Z: F is for Resurrection, the movie will see Frieza teaming up with Beerus, the villain from the last Dragon Ball Z movie, Battle of Gods. It will be released in Japan on April 18, 2015.
In an interview with Shueisha's V Jump magazine, series creator Akira Toriyama confirmed that the F in the film’s name stands for “Frieza.”
The plot is standard DBZ fare. The remnants of Frieza’s army travel to Earth to find the Dragon Balls. Their hope is to bring all seven together and summon Shenron to request that Frieza be revived. Spoiler alert: Their wish is granted. When he returns, Frieza is hell bent on destroying Goku and his allies, most likely along with Earth.
These are two new characters who are the surviving members of Frieza’s army. Their names are Sorbet and Tagoma (which means egg in Japanese).
If it’s anything like Battle of Gods, we’re hoping that they bring it stateside as well.
When the curtain goes up on Blank!: The Musical at New World Stages tonight, host TJ Mannix will take the stage and give the audience unusual directions: “Please, do not put away your phones!” In fact, the house lights will stay up, and the audience will keep their screens aglow for a full 15 minutes while they title, script, and score a fully improvised musical. This activity is the very crux of the performance that follows. Without it, the show cannot go on.
Blank! makes a lofty promise: Each night, audiences will see something wholly original, unplanned, that matches the completeness of a traditional Broadway musical. In order to meet this goal, the show employs live smartphone technology.
If this all sounds out of the ordinary to you, it is. While improv may be booming, and more and more venues and shows are encouraging audiences to use technology to share and promote their experience through social media, Blank! is the only show of its kind to create an immediate shared experience. All this is achieved through a highly localized LiveCube app. Audience members access a local Wi-Fi connection, then log on to the app through a simple Web address. Monitors flank the stage, displaying the results of audience input in real-time.
The show seems to bank its allure on the excitement and thrill of seeing a one-of-a-kind musical, one that has never been seen—and will never be seen again. But what’s most unexpected about this theatrical experience, however, is the intensely personal feel of the use of technology. Far from a gimmick, the opening of the show seamlessly connects audience and performers in a truly unique co-creative experience.
Performer Tessa Hersh, who received improv training at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, describes the process as highly interactive: “It’s really a dialogue.” While the audience taps away at their screens, offering suggestions and voting for their favorite ideas, the performers look on and react to each development. “We get to see what people are responding to and what they want to see more of.”
Michael Girts, the show’s creator and a Second City alum, is delighted to see the audience and performers connecting. “People are hooked on their cellphones, which can be a very isolating thing… And then theater is the ultimate example of people in a room experiencing something together. So there’s something very exciting to me about flipping the equation and using your phone, live, on the spot, to connect you with everyone there.”
The technology Girts and his team have employed is highly accessible but never flashy. The really magical moments, the flashes that dazzle the room, come from the connection between the audience and the stage. One of the highlights of the first 15 minutes is a game called Blank Rank, where audience members are assigned a performer and must tap the performers face to win a race. The winning performer must then be responsible for a piece of audience-scripted dialogue. The game is simple enough—and the prize, according to Hersh, “means nothing,” except “that you have more work to do in the show”—but it creates remarkable momentum. “We’re looking at the board; we’re looking at the audience. I look into people’s eyes, and they’re pointing to their phones to show me that they have me. It’s an extraordinarily exciting and interactive moment where we get to connect,” says Hersh.
So could this be a sign of future changes in how we experience live theater?
Girts says he doesn’t know yet. At its inception two and a half years ago, the idea was simply to create a fully improvised piece of musical theater. The app was thus a means to an end, a way to prove to a larger audience that what they were seeing was truly unscripted, as well as to “democratize” the process so that audience members less prone to blurt out suggestions could participate, too. But there were certainly concerns that technology could hinder the audience’s sense of connection. “I think it’s counterintuitive… but thank goodness… it’s actually making the process more intimate. That’s what’s excited me. To whatever extent we can continue to break down that wall… that’s what has my gears turning about what’s next. How can we make the audience even more involved and more invested?”
Blank! runs through Sunday, Dec. 14. For a complete list of showtimes and ticket availability, see the box office.
Photo via Blank! The Musical
On Friday, the news of Spotify and Uber’s eventual integration started making the rounds. It’s rumored that Uber will be adding Spotify to its mobile app, so passengers could play personalized playlists during rides. Now, it looks like Spotify might also be getting into podcasts.
According to TechCrunch, a new podcast feature was “uncovered in a developer build of the app.” A screenshot shows a new podcast label under the top lists and new releases sections. TechCrunch allegedly found this new feature via developer Ethan Lee, who was quoted as saying, “My take is that they are releasing it as a response to users’ requests and to become a full-blown iTunes competitor on more than the music front.”
It should also be noted that Spotify often experiments with features before larger rollouts. Even though the podcast feature exists, it doesn't necessarily mean it will debut to a larger audience. However, it would make sense for Spotify to flex its muscle there. The success of podcasts like Serial shows just how sought after—and lucrative—podcasts have become. The Uber-Spotify alliance could have implications here as well, in terms of how the service is integrated into vehicles, a popular setting for podcast-listening.
When asked for comment, a Spotify rep offered the same statement as they did TechCrunch:
“We've had spoken word content in our catalogue for quite a while now, highlighted in the "Word" section within Browse. In order to keep improving Spotify, we are always testing new things to our different platforms and to various user groups. We don't have any more information to share right now—but as soon as we do, we'll let you know.”
The premise of a text message video has been taken to a whole new level with Straight No Chaser and Kristen Bell’s holiday anthem, “Text Me Merry Christmas.”
This format is nothing new: Katy Perry’s “Roar” video is a series of emoji-riddled text messages with her inspiring lyrics. More recently, lovesick crooner Robin Thicke penned an ode to his estranged wife Paula Patton, and that video featured actual texts she sent to him.
But Straight No Chaser and Bell’s song and video up the ante by combining this questionable trend with the spirit of Christmas. This sampling of lyrics describe the song’s overall theme: “A Facebook message isn’t quite as sweet/I need more from @you than just a tweet. A snap on a Snapchat doesn’t last/And voicemail, that’s from Christmas past.”
Bell has become one of America’s sweethearts after voicing Princess Anna in Disney’s Frozen. But it seems she could only ride those icy coattails for so long. This song is a true feat: both highly irritating and extremely catchy.
While “Text Me Merry Christmas” isn’t an instant classic sure to be featured on holiday albums future, it will be the perfect relic to show your children when describing what life was like in 2014.
Screengrab via Straight No Chaser/YouTube
BY SAM GUTELLE
As its speculated launch draws nearer, we continue learn more details about Vessel, the online video platform started by former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar. The latest report on the stealth startup comes from AdAge, which has outlined Vessel’s apparent strategy of 72-hour exclusive windows for content from prominent YouTube creators.
At the same time, multiple sources have told Tubefilter that Vessel is offering the most high-profile YouTube stars $2 to $4 million guarantees for 72-hour exclusive windows on videos they upload over a period of 18 to 36 months.
Vessel has approached the top 100 to 200 content creators on YouTube with a deal that would guarantee serious revenue in exchange for a three-day exclusive on all of a creators’ videos (except for any videos that are commissioned directly by Google. Vessel’s reportedly OK with those hitting YouTube first). The company’s big guarantees are initially made possible by it’s massive $75 million funding round and will ideally become sustainable by way of three reported revenue streams: At the center will be pre-roll ads, which could offer a $25 CPM that would outstrip YouTube’s average rate. Vessel is also likely to give its partners a bigger cut of that ad revenue. Unlike YouTube, which takes 45% of ad revenue generated on its site, sources tell us Vessel’s ad revenue split is 70%/30% in favor of the creator.
Vessel will also offer a premium service believed to be similar to Hulu Plus, and we’re told the site’s creative partners will receive a combined 60% of the revenue generated from that subscription service. Each creator will then receive a cut of that 60% commensurate with the size and consumption of his or her audience. Finally, creators who generated new users to pony up for a subscription to the premium service will receive a “bounty” said to be worth between $7 and $15 per subscriber.
On the technical side of things, Kilar and his team have apparently designed Vessel to look a lot like Hulu, which features a sleek aesthetic and allows users to choose the ads they wish to see before viewing their content (an online video advertising concept that Hulu popularized several years ago). The layout will be mobile-friendly, thus appeasing the increasing number of viewers who watch online video content on smartphones and tablets.
Of course, there are few potential drawbacks to Vessel’s plan and its big-money guarantees. It’s unclear how many YouTube viewers will be interested in sitting through Vessel’s ads or subscribing to its premium service instead of just waiting three days to watch the very same content on YouTube. Plus, Vessel needs the programming from a critical mass of top YouTube stars to substantiate the fee for the site’s premium offerings, and at least some of the 100 to 200 creators the company has targeted have already turned Vessel down.
At the same time, this seems like a strategy that could really work. It runs on the same principle as YouTube’s Google Preferred program: Advertisers will be willing to spend more money if they know their spots will be attached to high-quality content. And since all of Vessel’s content will come from top creators, it will eliminate the problem of massive supply that has plagued YouTube’s ad rates. Even if Vessel only attracts the top 10% of YouTube superfans, that will still bring millions of viewers (and dollars) to the new video platform.
Vessel’s intriguing approach will be put to the test whenever the platform officially debuts. While an exact launch date is unknown, AdAge suggests the public could get a look at Vessel sometime in December 2014.
We reached out to Vessel for comment on all of the above, but they didn’t respond before the time of this writing. We’ll update this story (or write a new one) if and when we hear back. Stay tuned.
Illustration by Max Fleishman