The Edge.Email #30
Welcome to the weekly newsletter from The Edge Group. The goal of each edition is to help you think differently about B2B content. If you know anyone who might enjoy this email, please have them sign up here.
We always argue that commerce-oriented email marketing tools should be distinguished from newsletter and publisher-oriented ones. But our friends on the ecommerce side of things have long been singing the praises of Klaviyo, so it’s definitely worth noting they just raised a monstrous funding round.
This is certainly an interesting brand extension. The FT is having their journalists do a Moth-style reading event in London today. If anyone can find a video of Robert Shrimsley reading, please send it our way.
A deep dive from Nieman Lab on the smart speaker-meets-news landscape. They cover how limitations around discovery and skill setups (especially the Flash Briefings) present roadblocks for intuitive news consumption.
It’s a must-read on where we are and where we’re going in the space, but our favorite part was that it introduced us to the first ever radio broadcast, which took place on November 2, 1920 (the broadcast is below with a goodbackground here):
About a month ago, we came across this post from Josh Brown on how the he Player’s Tribune was helping get his kid interested in reading. While sites like The Ringer are written….by writers, the Player’s Tribune posts are written by players. It feels like a different kind of article.
The posts on The Player’s Tribune really feel like they’re written by players and then at most edited, but not ghostwritten. This makes them incredibly compelling.
A perfect representation of this was a post from the NBA Player Kyle Korver on racism and privilege. The “realness” factor is even exemplified in this tweet, which captures the feeling every writer has had with every blog post they’ve ever wanted to write.
5. OLD TOWN ROAD
Where does the influencer end and the musician begin?
Two editions ago we downloaded TikTok to help you understand what was going on. We’re glad we did because it gives us a bit more context on the Old Town Road phenomenon.
A few key points that make this story one to watch:
Trade War and Tech Startups
TikTok is owned by Bytedance, a $75 billion Chinese internet giant that’s the creator of Toutiao, a news aggregation app (that’s like a supercharged, algorithmic Facebook newsfeed, with only “news” content). They bought the trending app Musical.ly and transformed it into a Vine-like sensation. As tech startups increasingly find themselves in the crosshairs of the US — China Trade War, could it be an issue that the most viral app in the U.S. is owned by a Chinese company?
The Yee Haw Agenda
Old Town Road is a song by Lil Nas X. It skyrocketed in popularity thanks to a viral TikTok meme which encompasses two hashtags: #yeehaw (77.8 million plays) and #oldtownroad (37.8 million plays). The videos involve people starting out in non-cowboy gear and then switching into cowboy gear (a collection on Youtube and coverage on the meme from The Verge).
Lil Nas X has been a longtime growth hacker of sorts. He ran a viral Nicki Minaj fan account which grew its following thanks to the dark arts of “tweetdecking” and was eventually suspended. This NY Mag piece digs intothe specifics of how Montero Lamar Hill (his real name), as a teenager in Atlanta, managed to build a very large following though some questionable tactics.
The final plot twist this week. Nothing travels on social media like controversy, and Lil Nas X found it. Old Town Road hit #19 on the Billboard Hot Country list, but it was removed for not “embrac(ing) enough elements of today’s country music.” The backlash ensued, and out of nowhere, Billy Ray Cyrus came out in support on Instagram. And just a few days later….an Old Town Road remix featuring Billy Ray Cyrus was unleashed upon as all.
6. A NEWSLETTER
The City is a recently launched local news effort in New York City that’s working to bring a digital mindset to local news. It’s a bit more NY Times and a bit less Patch. We love how each edition of their public newsletter appears addressed directly to Mayor Bill DeBlasio.
It reminds us of how the founding editor of the Wall Street Journal would write a newsletter column publicly addressed Dear George .
7. AN IMAGE
There were already a few videos in this week’s newsletter, so we’ll end this week with some old-fashioned email humor: