Monthly Archives: April 2017

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An Animation of The Velvet Underground’s “Sunday Morning” … for Your Sunday Morning

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50 years ago, The Velvet Underground released their first album The Velvet Underground & Nico. And while the album never topped the charts, its influence you can’t deny. In a 1982 interview with Musician Magazine, Brian Eno famously said:

I was talking to Lou Reed the other day and he said that the first Velvet Underground record sold 30,000 copies in the first five years. The sales have picked up in the past few years, but I mean, that record was such an important record for so many people. I think everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band! So I console myself thinking that some things generate their rewards in a second-hand way.

“Sunday Morning” was the last song VU recorded for that album–a last ditch attempt to write a hit. According to Lou Reed, Andy Warhol, the band’s patron, suggested the theme for the song: “Andy said, ‘Why don’t you just make it a song about paranoia?’ I thought that was great so I came up with ‘Watch out, the world’s behind you, there’s always someone watching you,’ which I feel is the ultimate paranoid statement in that the world cares enough to watch you.” Writes Joe Harvard, in his short book on the album, the song “calls to mind a sleepy, quiet Sunday so perfectly that you can listen to the song repeatedly before registering what it’s really about: paranoia and displacement.”

Above, you watch a new animation created to commemorate the 50th anniversary of The Velvet Underground & Nico. Created by James Eads and Chris McDaniel, it’ll hopefully get your Sunday underway.

via Dangerous Minds

Related Content:

A Symphony of Sound (1966): Velvet Underground Improvises, Warhol Films It, Until the Cops Turn Up

The Velvet Underground & Andy Warhol Stage Proto-Punk Performance Art: Discover the Exploding Plastic Inevitable (1966)

Hear Lost Acetate Versions of Songs from The Velvet Underground & Nico (1966)


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Facebook, HTC and Intel Among Biggest Investors in VR

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Several industry reports have indicated that the virtual reality (VR) sector is undergoing tremendous growth, with some indications that revenues from VR and augmented reality will approach $24 billion (USD) by the end of 2017. A report from analytics company Quid has revealed who the biggest investors in VR technology and industry are.

As indicated by the F8 developer conference last week, Facebook are heavily involved with the future of VR and AR. In terms of corporate acquisition, Facebook top the table; the social media giant already own Oculus, and are rapidly acquiring other companies in the VR and AR areas, acquisitions that are estimated to be worth $2.16 billion. Facebook are also working on AR technology, the new Facebook Spaces social VR application.

The report by Quid also notes that the amount of jobs relating to the VR sector that are posted on LinkedIn has tripled over the past year, and while LinkedIn hardly represents every open position available in the Vr industry, they di give an indication of the scale involved. Facebook again have the most number of VR-related positions available, with 86 positions available, mostly under the Oculus brand. Cybercoders, Intel and Nokia come in much lower, with Cybercoders having 24 positions open, and Intel and Nokia having 20 each. The majority of available jobs are based in the US, followed by the UK, then Germany and India.

For venture capital, Rothenberg Ventures has been the most involved, with 32 seperate investments made in to the VR industry. The highest level of corporate investment came from HTC Vive X, who made 28 investments, with Intel not far behind.

VRFocus will continue to bring you news of developments in the VR industry. Source:

How America’s Luxury-Obsessed Festival Industry Made the Fyre Festival Debacle Possible

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Worshippers of Coachella’s golden calf.

Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

The Fyre Festival may go down as the biggest disaster for a large-scale concert since Altamont—or at least since the widespread rioting and sexual assaults of Woodstock ’99. When attendees arrived on the Bahamas’ Great Exuma island this past Thursday, they found not an opulent getaway but something closer to a disaster site. Instead of the luxurious weekend promoted by supermodels and set to feature Blink-182, Pusha T, and others, they found sparse food and water, accommodations that were basically waterlogged relief tents, and a distinct Hunger Games vibe. For the privilege of all of this, some groups of attendees paid anywhere from a grand to $125,000. Before a single note was played, the event was canceled.

It’s easy to dismiss the people tweeting and snapping their Fyre Festival misery as wealthy idiots who got their just desserts (or, specifically, their cheese and dry bread). If you took a little bit of joy in their plight, you’re certainly not alone. But these particular rich kids of Instagram aren’t actually to blame, nor really are rapper Ja Rule and the other organizers of the Fyre Festival nightmare (one of whom is also the founder of a “social club” for moneyed millennials that’s been unenthusiastically described as being like OpenTable, but for $250 a year). Festival culture has been careening toward a debacle like this for a while now—and along the way it’s done wrong by music lovers and musicians alike.

The culture and economics of the American music-festival circuit have created an environment in which the exorbitantly priced Fyre Festival is an acceptable concept. It’s taken a decade of steadily rising ticket costs and the advent of lavish VIP packages at most every major American festival to get to this point, where people are now willing to shell out thousands of dollars on an unproven, first-time festival—never mind its plainly illogical mix of luxury perks, complex logistics, and its owners’ now-admitted utter lack of experience in putting on a major music festival.

By my count, high-end tickets to at least a dozen major U.S. music festivals cost close to $1,000 or more—a marked increase from even just two years ago. The price to attend music festivals has gradually climbed out of the grasp of your average music fan for years, to the extent that now the cheapest possible weekend at Coachella costs more than $600, and that’s if you already live in the desert and bring your own dry bread and cheese from home. The VIP version of that same Coachella experience costs almost $8,500, including flights and hotel. It’s a lot of money. Bonnaroo, now owned by the concert behemoth Live Nation, sells its VIP tickets for $1,648.50 and you have to buy two at a time. And that’s just the midrange VIP price! You want that real VIP experience, with the up-close seating and the Le Bon cabana? That costs $7,000 for two people. And you still have to get there.

So if you’re one of the post-election DSA card holders chuckling at the deserved plight of the wealthy trapped on Great Exuma, you haven’t flipped over the price tag on a regular, non-exotic-island festival recently. While these costs are disappointing for music fans, they’re no longer surprising. Live Nation and entertainment company AEG own almost every major festival in America. When two companies control a multibillion-dollar industry and set prices against one another, it’s logical to expect ticket costs to go up until those companies hit the ceiling where literally no one will pay what they’re asking. This year, 125,000 people attended Coachella, leading to long waits for water and mild claustrophobia. Festival owner AEG hasn’t found its maximum price yet.

So long as enough people pay whatever Live Nation and AEG charge to attend top-tier festivals like Coachella, Firefly, and others, the festivals themselves slip out of the reach of most music fans. And since most artists not named Beyoncé, Adele, or Kendrick struggle to make money selling records, the paydays and exposure associated with the festival economy have made festival invites hard for bands and their managers to turn down. That’s true even with anti-competitive radius clauses that prevent bands from performing in nearby venues around the tour. Why would Major Lazer play just, like, a regular show, when instead it could get paid a kajillion dollars to perform a short set at a living Puff Daddy video in front of a several thousand well-off weekend warriors?

None of this is to say that the concept of a massive music festival can’t be a useful consumer product. Some folks make music festivals their annual vacations, their big weekend away from their jobs and children. If you’re a 30- or 40-something with money to spend and nostalgia pangs to see Radiohead and whatever acts the kids are digging these days, that’s fine.

But every time someone says “yes” to the price of a festival VIP package, they pay no subsidy for the rest of us—they simply drive costs up for everyone the following year, and price out music fans without extensive disposable income. For some bands, the gambit probably pays off. After all, who doesn’t want to do less work for more money and reap the kind of exposure festivals can provide? But the tradeoff can be steep. Not every band is comfortable with the questionable politics of the festival duopolists. And for fans, the ever-rising cost of festivals (and many big-ticket concerts) perform the same filtering act as an unpaid internship: Only people of a certain means can be involved at all.

There are lots of exceptions in the festival world—punk-plus-more festivals Riot Fest and the Fest stand out as good values for the cost, as does Portland’s Pickathon. Indeed, if you can afford it, the festival experience delivers more value for your concert-going dollar than seeing the bands in separate arenas, theaters, and bars whenever they happen to come through your city next. But perpetually testing the upper limits of pricing can lead to a precarious and exclusive economy, one in which fan value and experience tilts against the monopoly-driven economics of the modern music industry. If the festival economy is a bubble, which it well may be, Fyre Festival could mark the tipping point where even VIP festival attendees scratch their heads at the rising cost of admission and ask: For what? Source:

The low angle of the sun highlights the contours of Ithaca Chasma, a massive canyon on Saturn’s moon Tethys:…

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#SproutChat Calendar: Upcoming Topics for May 2017

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We have a wide variety of topics to discuss in May at #SproutChat. Whether we’re talking about social team collaboration, employee advocacy programs or “social media savagery,” you can expect to learn and network with industry professionals.

See a topic that catches your attention? The “add to calendar” will add a meeting notice with all of the Twitter chat details to your schedule.

Wednesday, May 3: Collaborating With Multiple Social Team Members

Collaboration can be a great thing, but how do you maintain consistency when multiple team members work on a social account? During this #SproutChat we’ll focus on social team collaboration and discuss best practices for ensuring that wires don’t get crossed and brand voice remains consistent.

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Wednesday, May 10: Employee Advocacy With Sprout All Star, Jen Kirk

While it may seem like a no-brainer, sometimes businesses need a reminder that employees can be their number one brand champion. Happy and engaged employees can be a brand’s most prized advocate, but how do you encourage this behavior? We’ll chat about this and more with Sprout All Star, Jen Kirk of Jenius Consulting.

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Wednesday, May 17: Darryl Villacorta Discusses Social Media Savagery

In a social-first era, more and more brands are coming out of their shell and becoming a little more brazen in their activity. But just what is social media savagery and is it an effective strategy? Sprout’s Social Media Manager, Darryl Villacorta, discusses during this week’s #SproutChat.

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Wednesday, May 24: Engaging & Growing an Audience With Hashtags

Hashtags are a powerful way to engage your audience and tap into relevant conversations. That’s why brands are utilizing hashtags. But how do you know if you’re using the most relevant ones?  This can be particularly challenging Instagram. We’ll discuss all things hashtag from analytics to the difference between branded and community hashtags.

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Wednesday, May 31: Geolocation on Facebook With Sprout All Star, Jeff Higgins

For consumers, word of mouth recommendations can be more powerful than brand awareness. During this #SproutChat with Sprout All Star, Jeff Higgins, we’ll talk about Facebook’s move towards hyper-local reviews and recommendations.

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This post #SproutChat Calendar: Upcoming Topics for May 2017 originally appeared on Sprout Social.


FactChecking Sessions on Drugs

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On NBC10 in Philadelphia, SciCheck reporter Vanessa Schipani discusses two questionable claims that Attorney General Jeff Sessions made about marijuana and opioids.

During an address to law enforcement at the Justice Department on March 15, Sessions said marijuana is “only slightly less awful” than heroin, an illicit opioid. But experts, who have ranked drugs by their harm to society and users, disagree.

Sessions also said he is “astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana.” But research suggests medical marijuana legalization may help curb opioid overdoses, which have surged in recent years.

For the full SciCheck analysis, see our story, “Sessions’ Dubious Drug Claims.”

This video is part of’s partnership with NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations, a division of NBCUniversal, to produce fact-checking segments for local NBC stations.

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