What is Spotify?

“According to its most recent publicly-available measure, Spotify has 45 million active users that can receive ads, and another 30 million subscribers.” So reports Advertising Age today.

What is the purpose?

“With Spotify and Krux working together, we have access to first-party data allowing us to better target specific people and user groups such as those looking for auto insurance and commuters,” said Cyndie Beckwith, VP-marketing at Esurance. “For this initiative, we wanted to add on some similar targeting approaches that we’ve been leveraging across desktops to streaming audio, and in particular mobile streaming audio.”

Listening to playlists is an increasingly common experience on Spotify, and the company is investing in analyzing such listening data and enhancing it with third-party demographic information — some of which Krux provides, such as education status and household income. The company tracks when specific users listen to playlists, for example when someone starts a “running” playlist around the same time most mornings, it can be used to determine that that person is actually running during those times.

Spotify has grown to use such data as a proxy for determining user activities and moods, said Brian Benedik, global head of sales at Spotify. An adult activating a playlist of kids’ music is likely a parent, for example.

Data harvesting and real-time marketing are the purpose. Spotify is overclass spyware.

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Adieu, National Basketball Association

race-bottom If you like both basketball and human freedom, enjoy next season of the NBA. The one after that should be the end of your willingness to pay it any attention, as 2017-2018 will mark the arrival of advertisements on game-day jerseys.

Here’s the lovely explanation, per ESPN:

“It’s manifest destiny,” [NBA Commissioner Adam] Silver told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols last month. “So let’s begin by saying this isn’t going to affect the competition. What we’re talking about is a patch on the jersey. And one of the reasons we want to do it is that it creates an additional investment in those companies in the league … the amplification we get from those sponsors, those marketing partners of the league, who want to attach to our teams and our players. But once they put their name on the jerseys, they’ll then use their media to promote the NBA extensively. That’s probably the greatest reason for us to do it.”

A Golden Hicksie to you, Mr. Silver. Enjoy it.

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Behavior Changers

In today’s Advertising Age, another admission of the true nature of corporate marketing:

“Skincare is an interesting category for us because it’s one a decent number of men aren’t even using today,” said Dollar Shave CMO Adam Weber. “It allows us to do what we’ve done in some other categories, like butt wipes, by thinking about what men are doing and how we can change behavior.”

Men’s skincare has been a big but largely unfulfilled dream for many marketers in the U.S., where it’s a $263 million category growing about 3% annually, according to Euromonitor. Globally, the category is $3.5 billion and growing more than twice as fast.

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An Especially Disappointing Golden Hicksie

Stephen Hawking undoubtedly knows better:

If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution. So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality.

So, what in the universe is he doing here?:

Not only is this an ad for the machine that is, barring sharp and unlikely new forms of popular education and intervention, virtually certain to finish completing “the second option,” but it is for an “SUV” version of said machine.

So, alas, Professor Hawking, to go along with your Lucasian Chair, etc., you hereby receive the un-coveted Golden Hicksie.

Meanwhile, the ad itself is a rather pristine exhibition of the profound adolescence of the contemporary overclass mind:

“Have you ever noticed how some people in life seem to get away with everything?”

and

“We live our lives from an elevated perspective. We keep our head [is this a British sic, or a grammatical match with the time-honored royal we?*] in the clouds.”

Wow.

*Either way, it’s funny.

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Needle in the Haystack

Conservative media host Hugh Hewitt said a mouthful in the 1/28/2016 edition of The New York Times Magazine:

NYT: Most Americans think we should raise taxes on the rich, but the Republican candidates don’t, except Trump, who has said he would consider it.

HH: I asked him about a wealth tax, and he said no. But I find that concentration of wealth in Silicon Valley deeply disturbing. Those billionaires are very smart, but they moved to Silicon Valley at the right time. Someone was going to invent Facebook. I’m glad Mark Zuckerberg did it, but it wasn’t an act of genius; it’s an act of timing. Should he have tens of billions of dollars?

NYT: That’s a pretty radical position for a conservative.

HH: I don’t think it’s very good for the society to have billionaires. It creates envy. And envy destroys republics.

NYT: So you’d say to the Silicon Valley elite, ‘‘You didn’t build that.’’

HH: No. They did build it. I would say, You should keep an enormous amount of money for your entrepreneurial ability and your success. But there is a limit in America to how much any one person is going to have. You don’t need 10 billion dollars. Nobody does. The country does.

It is overclass arrogance and decrepitude, not mass envy, that destroys republics, and why those who “build” what was already going to get built, usually after much public-sector expense and groundwork, get to keep even millions is also very highly debatable. Likewise, there has only been one time “in America” when serious limits on personal greed existed — that was WWII.

But still, point taken. It’s a shame the left doesn’t speak this plainly and pointedly.

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