The winner of the $2B Powerball jackpot — the largest lottery prize in US history — bought a $25.5m Hollywood Hills mansion replete with an infinity pool and wine cellar. Embarrassingly, the mansion has just one movie theater.
In today’s email:
Spotify: Its biggest updates in a decade.
Video: Private jets vs. the environment.
Floppy disks: Still a thing, apparently.
Around the Web: Obscure words, running the experiment, a quirky game, and more cool internet finds.
🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear Jacob and Juliet discuss the new Spotify, Sam Altman’s longevity investment, a surprising candy twist, and more.
The big idea
Spotify hits play on some big changes
The company also released all-new stats about its business.
We probably heard the words “only on Spotify” ~266x yesterday during the company’s Stream On event — and we were happy to, because we did it for you.
So what went down?
Mostly, the biggest changes in roughly a decade to the app’s design: Now, instead of a bunch of album covers, the home screen will look more like an endless, vertically scrolling mishmash of autoplaying content from Spotify, TikTok, YouTube, and Audible.
Spotify’s product chief said the new feed is intended to help users save time, but, as The Verge’s Alex Heath also pointed out, that “seems antithetical to an endless feed.”
Beyond music, Spotify wants to make it easier and more engaging for people to discover and consume the podcast, video, and audiobook content it’s invested in over the years.
The company also said…
… it now has 500m+ users; is aiming for 1B by 2030; is nearing $40B in payouts to the music industry; and now accounts for 20%+ of global recorded music revenue, up from under 15% in 2017.
2022 compared to 2017:
57k artists on Spotify generated $10k+, up from 23.4k.
10.1k artists generated $100k+, up from 4.3k.
1k+ artists generated $1m+, up from 460.
The 50,000th highest-earning artist on Spotify made $12.58k, up from $2.84k.
Also neat: In 2022, 281k+ songs were streamed 1m+ times each on Spotify.
But it wasn’t all feel-good hits
On Twitter, many users said they just want the app to keep things simple.
The Future of Music Coalition criticized Spotify for bringing the Jonas Brothers on stage to announce new features when smaller artists are the ones who need help monetizing.
Others have questioned the early success of Spotify’s move into audiobooks, which has been hurt by the company’s predicament with Apple.
Want more: Check out our deep dive into the economics of Spotify.
The Dole Whip — a soft-serve and pineapple combo beloved by Disneyland and Disney World guests — is coming to a grocery store near you. It’s one of 11 new Dole products, including probiotic sodas.
Add 10 years to the average human life span — that’s the goal of Retro Biosciences, which MIT Technology Reviewconfirmed secured $180m in funding from OpenAI CEO Sam Altman.
Humane, a startup co-founded by a husband-and-wife duo, raised $100m, partly from Altman, bringing its total to $230m. It’s unclear what Humane does, but patents hint at an interactive, wearable projector device.
Inching forward: GM is reportedly building just a dozen Hummer EVs daily, in a slower-than-hoped rollout of the vehicle, which has an 80k-person waitlist.
American Airlines CEO Robert Isom announced that it will match Delta’s 40% pay bump for pilots. A pilot shortage has led to delays and cancellations across the industry.
SunnyD is getting into… cocktails? It’s rolling out a canned vodka seltzer at select Walmart locations this month.
Huh: WWE met with Colorado and Michigan gambling regulators about legalizing betting on matches. Yes, they are scripted, but WWE said wrestlers won’t know who wins until just hours beforehand.
Market moves: Stripe is reportedly raising $6B at a $50B valuation, and Uber is considering spinning off its Uber Freight logistics division.
Blue Origin is facing two lawsuits accusing the space company of age discrimination: one from a hiring manager who claims he was told to find younger candidates, another from a 64-year-old job applicant.
Ticketmasterbungled Eurovision sales, just months after the Taylor Swift debacle. Fans reported numerous website issues when trying to buy tickets to the now-sold-out competition.
FROM THE BLOG
If you could choose between a bottle of shampoo with your name on it and one with generic branding, which would you grab? We have a guess, and so do the businesses using personalization as a branding tactic that plays to your psychology.
Our latest video: How bad are private jets for the environment? Also, TBT to the time Kylie Jenner’s $72m Bombardier BD 700 took a 17-minute flight, making up ~25% of an average plebe’s annual carbon footprint.
Floppies were even used in the US nuclear weapons program up until 2019. And, they can be a medium for some pretty cool art.
While the world goes digital…
… one man holds his ground. Tom Persky runs floppydisk.com from a California warehouse filled with hundreds of thousands of disks.
He sells ~1k floppy disks per day (3.5-inch disks are most popular)
Almost 25 years ago, disks sold for as little as seven cents; now, Persky sells 3.5-inch disks for $1 each
The site also recycles disks, completes data transfers, and resells used or broken disks
Welp, we said the word “floppy” too much and now it sounds weird. Here’s why it’s called that, BTW.
AROUND THE WEB
🛣️ On this day: In 1985, the first Adopt-a-Highway sign appeared on Texas’s Highway 69 featuring the Tyler Civitan Club. Engineer James Evans came up with the idea a year earlier after noticing litter on the road.
🧠 Useful: Check out this website to learn obscure words and “Scrabble” tips.
🧪 How to: “Run the experiment” to stop overthinking.
🧟 Cure boredom: “Gridland” seems like a simple matching game set in a zombie apocalypse, but it gets complicated quickly.