Welcome back to the "Spotlight." Rest assured that I have leveraged perhaps one of the greatest inventions in human history–central air-conditioning–to make it through last week’s heat wave in New York. So I feel the pain of my colleagues out in the Pacific Northwest, where the air typically requires no conditioning. Seattle clouds and rain probably sound pretty good right about now. At any rate, for those looking to hole-up inside, I have a shameless, unabashedly nepotistic plug for all nine of you readers out there: my cousin Nina Bloomgarden stars in the Peacock series, “The Resort” debuting tonight. If that’s not enough, my other cousin (Nina’s sister) Gabriela is due to be a featured performer in Walker: Independence. All of which is to say, Bloomgardens’ entertainment industry garden is well, blooming. So to paraphrase Chief Brody from Jaws, “you’re gonna need a bigger Spotlight.”
- No sooner does Kobalt Music Publishing pull its catalog of 700,000 songs from Facebook and Instagram’s services, but Meta Platforms announces that it is finally adopting an ad revenue sharing model for musicians whose songs are used in user generated content (UGC)–the first of its kind among social media platforms. Assuming this is a negotiating tactic by Kobalt, this is the B2B equivalent of unfriending a person in hopes that they will start paying attention to them. Now would be a great time to queue up “Bye, Bye, Bye” by ‘NSYNC if not for the fact that the rights to that song are administered by Kobalt.
- It’s not often that a law firm inks an endorsement deal with a professional athlete. [Redacted]’s decision to sever ties with a professional golfer joining the Saudi-backed organization LIV Golf highlights precisely why it’s so rare. Even rarer? A law firm endorsing another law firm.
- U.S. sprinter Fred Kerley joins forces with a startup sports underwear company CXP. Fingers and toes crossed that CXP unveils a tagline “the underwear that makes you go.”
Welcome back to the "Spotlight," where you can come in for the week’s thought provoking Sports & Entertainment stories and stay for the air conditioning. Yes, there’s a heat wave in progress here in New York (joining the countless other places in peril on this planet), that I would say feels like a sauna, but that would be an insult to saunas. Happily, as perhaps a vestige of the normal past, my New York Yankees have been bringing the heat (in a non-civilization threatening way) and in so doing, driving viewership to heights not seen in over a decade. Elsewhere in the world of Major League Baseball, player agent Casey Close and his agency Excel Sports Management have dialed up the temperature on radio host Doug Gottlieb, alleging Gottlieb defamed them in reporting via tweet that Close withheld information from (now) Los Angeles Dodgers star Freddie Freeman in his contract negotiations with his former team, the Atlanta Braves. Certainly, for the Yankees’ competition’s, Gottlieb’s and the world’s sake, a cooling off would be welcome. But none of which seem all that likely at this point in time. The intense, yet witty heat of a "Spotlight" probably won’t help either, but here goes…
- Celebrities’ latest bread and butter investment play seems to be homed-in on the restaurant industry, which begs the question: what do they do with their rotten tomatoes?
- Texas Tech University’s NIL collective announced it will provide $25K to each of 100 football players. That’s just about the best participation trophy I could dream of.
- Rapper Cardi B is being called to testify in a trial related to sexually suggestive cover art for one of her mixtapes, for which she allegedly photoshopped the plaintiff’s distinctive tattoo onto someone else’s body. The testimony is sure to generate ink of its own.
- Coinbase seems to be banking on a "Groundhog Day"-like reset for its NFT Marketplace, with the help of beloved actor and comedian (and not someone you would think of when it comes to NFTs) Bill Murray, with new “drops.” If all else fails, Coinbase will have someone to handle their ghosts and gophers.
Welcome back to the "Spotlight," where no receipt is required for your return. By contrast, Elon Musk will need to show a little more than a receipt to get out of his $44 billion deal to acquire Twitter. That sure puts in perspective, well pretty much all cases of buyer’s remorse that I have experienced in my day. In Hollywood, there’s certainly no buyer’s remorse to be had for Apple+, whose European football comedy series “Ted Lasso” tallied twenty Emmy Award nominations, matching last year’s total. Time (and an arbitrator in the NFL’s disciplinary hearings) will soon tell, though, how much regret the other football’s Cleveland Browns may have in giving Quarterback Deshaun Watson a fully-guaranteed $230 million contract this offseason notwithstanding scores of sexual assault accusations. My hope and promise is that you will never rue a visit to the "Spotlight," including this one below.
- The stadium naming rights for the Pittsburgh Steelers are no longer held by condiment mavens Heinz, as those rights now belong to Acrisure insurance company. Though that news might leave French fry-loving fans with a bad taste, the Steelers can quickly make amends by offering spilled beer insurance—no deductible.
- The company behind Bang energy drinks was found to have infringed Universal Music Group’s copyrights by including snippets of songs in TikTok advertisements for the brand. For its part, Bang maintains that it thought that TikTok’s non-commercial blanket licenses from Universal Music Group allowed for commercial use of the songs. Maybe it’s just me, but that’s a pretty important detail one might think you would be able to spot while hopped-up on enough caffeine to give your jitters the jitters.
- Keeping up with the times U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and The U.S. Copyright Office announced that they are undertaking studies to better understand the interplay of NFT’s and intellectual property rights. Meanwhile, an untold number of people are undertaking studies to better understand, “What’s an NFT”?
Welcome back to the "Spotlight," and as a University of Wisconsin alum, allow me to be among the first to welcome the USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins to the preposterously named Big Ten conference (it hasn’t had 10 member universities since the first Gulf War) in what appears to be part of a massive realignment in college athletics, wrought in part by the weakening of the NCAA. From the USC and UCLA perspective, the move makes a lot of (dollars and) sense. These schools will not only have greater exposure through the Central and Eastern time zones, allowing them to cast a wider net for recruiting, but they will also stand to be the beneficiaries of a Big Ten media rights pot that could approach $1 billion. From my perspective, I love the idea of having visiting football players accustomed to the cushy climate of Southern California visiting my Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium in subzero temperatures (On, Wisconsin!). What could it mean more broadly for college athletics? it appears more and more as if the “powerhouse” schools in college athletics are coming together in two or three self-sufficient mega conferences, pushing the floundering NCAA further out of the spotlight. More on that as the situation unfolds, but until then, take a gander on what’s in the "Spotlight."
- Songwriters notch a big win against music streaming services as the Copyright Royalty Board’s decision to increase streaming royalties from 10.5 percent and 15.1 percent was upheld. Seems fair, given that multi-streaming services make disproportionate profits from the use of the songwriters’ works. But don’t worry about the multi-billion dollar streaming services, they will be fine (and presumably pass the additional costs onto consumers). “Inflation,” am I right?!?!
- With the planet under constant strain (in the environmental sense and so many other ways), celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga and Nicole Kidman are increasingly looking to launch sustainably focused, plant-based brands. And as it turns out, the phrase “vegan beauty” does not refer to the application of lipstick and mascara to a block of tofu.
- Snoop Dogg, who has been an early adopter of NFTs, cryptocurrency and all things the metaverse can be for the entertainment industry, views the recent crypto plunge as a healthy development that “weeded out the bad apples.” Seems credible since if there’s one thing Snoop knows about, it’s getting weeded out.
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