After a compelling weekend of playoff football in the NFL, in which all four of the matchups came down to the final play of each game (serving to drive even more eyeballs to the NFL in what has been a fruitful season for the NFL), it’s only fitting that I write this piece against my weekly submission deadline. Well, if Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes can engineer a bananas game-tying drive in thirteen seconds, surely I am up for the task here. Apples to oranges comparison? Yes! But as someone who wasn’t allowed to play contact sports growing up (and with my diminutive frame, I might not be writing today had I been) I’m turning lemons into lemonade (and also plum-surprised at the amount of fruit-related idioms I’m using). Without further ado or meandering thoughts, let’s check out this week’s peachy Spotlight.
- Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Neil Young’s song catalog was removed from Spotify after a public ultimatum over Spotify’s providing a platform for COVID-19 misinformation in its wildly popular podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience.” A cynic might point to the fact that Spotify has a $100 million contract with Mr. Rogan. A realist would agree.
- Picasso NFTs of ceramic works are about to make their debut, with a starting price of a misplaced arm and a leg.
- Rock legend Bob Dylan and R&B singer John Legend (no relation) strike gold selling their respective music copyrights to companies banking on long term royalties.
- Speaking of banks and royalty, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan find themselves being used - without authorization - for crypto investments.
Welcome to a special quarantine edition of the "Spotlight." When I set out to get more “exposure” for the "Spotlight" this year, this was not exactly what I had in mind. But hey – we play the cards that we are dealt. At least I can take solace in the fact that I did as well in the Australian Open Tennis Tournament as did 20-time major champion Novak Djokovic, who was eventually deported from Australia this past week for failing to comply with Australian COVID-19 vaccination requirements for international travelers. Credit to Djokovic, however, for lasting longer on Australian soil than the Dallas Cowboys on their home turf in the playoffs. Kidding aside, I am, like many of us (presumably Djokovic as well) growing weary of the pandemic as we enter its third year. With that in mind, as a sort of temporary escape from the physical world, I bring you this week’s metaverse-centric Spotlight.
- In its deal to acquire gaming giant Activision Blizzard, Microsoft placed a $68.7 billion bet that gamers are more likely to move into the metaverse than out of their parents’ basements.
- Keeping up with the times, the NFL is offering Superbowl digital collectible ticket stubs in the form of NFTs, making it both highly implausible and physically impossible that I will be able to get my hands on tickets to this year’s contest.
- Luxury fashion house Hermés goes for the purse of ‘MetaBirkins’ NFT creator Mason Rothschild, in a contentious lawsuit over the alleged infringement by Rothschild’s digital creations with respect to the intellectual property in Hermés’ physical Birkin handbags. The outcome of the case is likely to provide important answers regarding the extent to which digital manifestations of physical goods are infringing uses or protected expressions.
Welcome back to another week of the “Sports & Entertainment Spotlight.” Sadly, for the third week running (first legendary NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden, then beloved Golden Girl, Betty White), the S&E world is coming to grips with the passing of another indelible figure of their respective crafts — this time comedian, “America’s Dad” for the ‘80s and ‘90s (and by all accounts a great person), Bob Saget. It always strikes me as interesting that one can feel such a sense of loss in the death of someone whom they have never actually met. In a way, however, each reached out and forged their own relationships with their audience, seeded memories and became a part of the audience’s life story, though it was never a part of theirs. To paraphrase John Madden himself in his eulogy of his late friend and broadcasting partner Pat Summerall, you can determine a person’s life accomplishments in a field by whether you can still tell the history of that field without reference to that person. By that measure, Madden, White and Saget all had outsized accomplishments in spades. For that, we owe them all a debt of gratitude. For my part, I owe you a debt of knowledge that I intend to pay back with interest in this week’s Spotlight.
- The New York Giants and New York Jets football teams were sued by a fan challenging their right to be called “New York” teams even though they play home games in East Rutherford, NJ. The plaintiff argues that if they are called “New York” they should have to play in New York. Though if recent history is a guide, I’m not so sure us New Yorkers would want that.
- Sticking with the Empire State, the New York Times is acquiring sports media website The Athletic for $500 million, putting the valuation of the Spotlight at somewhere between zero and $500 million.
- Highlighting the pitfalls of endorsements of cryptocurrencies, particularly on social media, Kim Kardashian and Floyd “Money” Mayweather are among a few high-profile celebrities facing a lawsuit for pushing a “pump-and-dump” scam. Call me crazy, but I think having the nickname “Money” qualifies you to make sound investment advice.
- John Legend gives the “Green Light” for his songwriting catalog to “Get Lifted” in yet another private equity investment in music copyrights.
Welcome back to the “Sports & Entertainment Spotlight,” where all are permitted entry – even Novak Djokovic. First and foremost, allow me to be among the last to wish you a Happy New Year 2022! Seriously folks, like birthdays, you can’t go wishing people a happy New Year more than one week after the fact — it’s just bad form. At any rate, less than one week into the year and there are already stories a-plenty. Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wide Receiver Antonio Brown had his contract terminated for taking off both his uniform and from MetLife Stadium in the middle of a game. Several fans suffered non-life threatening injuries falling from the stands after a railing collapsed at the Washington Football Team’s (WFT) FedEx Field, leading the appropriately-named Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Jalen Hurts calling for the National Football League (NFL) to act to prevent such a near-tragic event — that almost injured Hurts himself — from happening again. The Grammy Awards have been postponed due to the ubiquitous Omicron variant (luckily still not quite as infectious as Adele’s singing voice). And the aforementioned Men’s Tennis star Novak Djokovic gets denied from entering the Australian border to compete in the Australian Open for failing to substantiate an exemption from COVID-19 vaccination (like tennis scoring itself, Djokovic and Australia’s mutual love is zero).
But wait, there’s more…
- Less than a year after Saturday Night Live parodied his song, “Without Me” to catchily explain non-fungible tokens (NFTs), rapper Eminem makes a substantial splash in the NFT marketplace, including a nearly $500K purchase on a Bored Ape NFT.
- Just in time for “Dry January,” Katy Perry unveils a line of non-alcoholic aperitifs. Wonder whether at least one of the flavors will be “cherry chapstick.”
- In music news, although streaming is bolstering the industry, rapper T-Pain points out that a measly stream is hardly enough to “Buy U a Drank.”
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