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.