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The Honest Broker explores the intersections of music, books, arts, culture, and technology, offering critical insights into industry challenges, information authenticity, cultural conflicts, and the impact of social media and streaming services. It advocates for artist empowerment, critiques modern information crises, and evaluates cultural and philosophical progress.

Music Industry Information Crisis Cultural Analysis Media and Journalism Philosophy and Ethics Social Media Technology Impact Creative Process

The hottest Substack posts of The Honest Broker

And their main takeaways
121016 implied HN points • 18 Feb 24
  1. The entertainment industry is facing challenges like Disney in crisis, Paramount laying off employees, and a decline in TV shows, showing a shift towards a post-entertainment culture.
  2. The culture is transitioning towards a focus on distraction and addiction, with tech platforms using stimuli to create addictive cycles, impacting people's brains and happiness levels.
  3. As our culture evolves into a dopamine-driven society, it becomes essential to be mindful of our consumption habits, unplug from technology at times, and appreciate the real world around us.
44184 implied HN points • 04 Mar 24
  1. Minimize reliance on scrolling and swiping interfaces to avoid falling into addictive traps engineered by tech companies.
  2. Rediscover real-world applications like learning skills and connecting with the community, which provide personal empowerment and genuine experiences.
  3. Immerse yourself in longer, immersive experiences like listening to music or engaging in rituals to break free from the shallow stimuli of modern technology.
30254 implied HN points • 25 Feb 24
  1. Smartphones are not suitable for genuine ritual as they embody restlessness, which is opposite to the stability needed for rituals.
  2. True rituals are deeply rooted in physical time and space, unlike online experiences that can feel hollow and lack genuine connection.
  3. Memes mimic elements of ritual like repetition and shared meaning but lack the depth and transcendence that true rituals provide.
17819 implied HN points • 17 Mar 24
  1. The author struggled to find the right passage to read at his son's wedding and ultimately turned to a Kierkegaard text he had read at his own wedding many years ago.
  2. The author found sentimental value in the passage, realizing its deeper meaning as he read it in 2024, bringing a new perspective to his understanding of marriage.
  3. By revisiting a piece of paper he saved from years ago, the author was able to share a touching and meaningful passage with the wedding guests, connecting past and present moments.
18551 implied HN points • 13 Mar 24
  1. Honesty in writing can be a powerful tool to break down obstacles and strengthen your writing and thinking.
  2. There are many reasons why writers are dishonest, such as to please editors, gain favors, or increase popularity.
  3. Embracing an 'honest writing style' can lead to a shift in your writing, making it more conversational and impactful.
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21443 implied HN points • 21 Feb 24
  1. Impersonation scams are evolving, with AI being used to create fake authors and books to mislead readers.
  2. Demand for transparency in AI usage can help prevent scams and maintain integrity in content creation.
  3. Experts are vulnerable to having their hard-earned knowledge and work exploited by AI, highlighting the need for regulations to protect against such misuse.
23072 implied HN points • 02 Feb 24
  1. The rule of the 6 spheres focuses on balancing six key aspects of life like vocation, community, family, mind, body, and spirit.
  2. Balancing these spheres is crucial for a fulfilling life, and neglecting any one of them can lead to feelings of imbalance and quiet desperation.
  3. Constructing a personal worldview based on your own values and virtues is important for guiding your daily life and decision-making.
14196 implied HN points • 27 Feb 24
  1. Reddit relies heavily on unpaid labor with 60,000 daily active moderators compared to around 2,000 employees.
  2. After 18 years, Reddit still isn't profitable, accumulating a $717 million deficit, but it shows potential for profitability with increasing revenues and reduced losses.
  3. Reddit's CEO earned $193 million last year, prompting questions about excessive compensation, and Reddit is heavily reliant on advertising for revenue, putting it in a risky position concerning Google competition.
24402 implied HN points • 18 Jan 24
  1. Music journalism faces a crisis with major layoffs and company mergers.
  2. The decline in music journalism mirrors broader issues in the music industry, like layoffs in music companies and streaming platforms.
  3. The root cause of the crisis includes industry focus on old music, passive listening, and AI-generated tracks, leading to a lack of support for new artists.
7879 implied HN points • 15 Mar 24
  1. TikTok's success can be attributed to a strategic focus on teens as the main users of the platform, creating a significant legal and social impact.
  2. Zhang Yiming, founder of TikTok, capitalized on the algorithm's power over user control to pave the way for the platform's global success.
  3. TikTok's uniqueness lies in its outsider status in China, where a similar app exists, showcasing its worldwide appeal and massive user base.
8710 implied HN points • 11 Mar 24
  1. Miles Davis hired John Coltrane out of necessity, as his band needed a saxophonist for an upcoming tour.
  2. John Coltrane's musical talent and knowledge of Miles Davis's repertoire impressed during tryouts, leading to his eventual hiring.
  3. Their initial interactions were characterized by Miles Davis's aloofness and Coltrane's uncertainty, but despite difficulties, Coltrane eventually joined Davis's band.
22939 implied HN points • 12 Jan 24
  1. Technology is getting worse, not better, in software, hardware, and web platforms.
  2. The origin of search engines like Yahoo shows a shift from community-oriented, user-empowering ideals to profit-driven models.
  3. Current search engines lack user privacy, sell private information, and prioritize profits over user experience.
9441 implied HN points • 02 Mar 24
  1. Famous films that were planned but never made include adaptations like Orson Welles of 'Heart of Darkness', Martin Scorsese's George Gershwin biopic, and Spike Lee's 'Porgy and Bess'
  2. The failed rock adaptation of 'Dune' envisioned in the 1970s had a star-studded cast like Mick Jagger and Salvador Dalí, but the ambitious project never materialized due to challenges and lack of funding
  3. Alejandro Jodorowsky's extravagant vision for 'Dune' involved notable figures like Salvador Dalí and Pink Floyd, but the project collapsed after spending extensively on script, storyboards, and negotiations
31517 implied HN points • 06 Dec 23
  1. The tension between macroculture and microculture is escalating and will turn into a war in 2024.
  2. Despite the dominance of legacy media, alternative platforms in the microculture are growing rapidly and have a significant impact on the media landscape.
  3. The traditional institutions are reluctant to embrace the microculture, leading to a war where the microculture creators are pitted against the very platforms they rely on.
7746 implied HN points • 07 Mar 24
  1. The best music nowadays often comes from small indie labels and self-produced albums, flourishing in unexpected places without massive marketing campaigns.
  2. Exploring different genres, styles, and countries can lead to discovering unique and captivating music experiences.
  3. Homemade albums, like those created in bedrooms or unconventional spaces, showcase raw talent and creativity that defy mainstream radio norms.
26862 implied HN points • 04 Nov 23
  1. The philosophy of Effective Altruism may prioritize long-term consequences over immediate actions, leading to risky ethical decisions.
  2. Analytic philosophy, specifically of the Anglo-American variety, can promote perspectives that prioritize maximizing pleasure, potentially leading to damaging outcomes.
  3. Beware of philosophical systems that justify harmful actions by focusing on a 'larger context' and be cautious of practitioners who calculate consequences before performing acts of kindness or generosity.
38632 implied HN points • 14 Sep 23
  1. The music ecosystem faces various challenges like declining artist incomes, corporatized platforms, and struggling live music venues.
  2. Big players like streaming platforms, record labels, and technocrats may not provide solutions for these challenges.
  3. Taylor Swift is encouraged to lead a new initiative to empower musicians, create fair music distribution, and revitalize the music industry.
7846 implied HN points • 09 Feb 24
  1. Spotify is facing challenges with fake artists, playlists, and financial losses, raising concerns about the music streaming service's business model.
  2. The shift from macroculture to microculture is evident in the media industry, with traditional legacy outlets experiencing layoffs while alternative platforms like Substack thrive.
  3. There is a trend towards investment firms buying song catalogs, the decline of live music reviews in mainstream media, and interest in the transformative power of sound highlighted through the work of Hans Jenny in 'Cymatics'.
8245 implied HN points • 05 Feb 24
  1. Dupree Bolton was a mysterious and talented jazz trumpeter who emerged suddenly on the West Coast jazz scene in the 1950s, made recordings marked by his unique style, but then disappeared abruptly.
  2. Despite his brief career, Dupree Bolton left a lasting impact with his remarkable trumpet playing on records like 'The Fox' and 'Katanga!' alongside saxophonist Curtis Amy.
  3. Researcher Ted Gioia tracked down Dupree Bolton years later in San Francisco, where the musician was playing on the streets, revealing a complex and troubled life story that included struggles with drugs and internal conflict.
23970 implied HN points • 22 Sep 23
  1. Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are becoming hostile towards writers, leading many to leave.
  2. Substack and similar platforms are providing alternative models that support writers and creators more effectively.
  3. The economics of social media platforms prioritize generating revenue from ads and scrolling, making it challenging for long-form content like articles to thrive.
3989 implied HN points • 23 Feb 24
  1. Nonesuch Records is a unique label that focuses on nurturing creative work and high-quality music rather than just commercial success.
  2. Ted Gioia shares his favorite Nonesuch albums, showcasing a range of artists and eclectic music genres.
  3. Artists like Emmylou Harris and Lake Street Dive found creative freedom and success after joining Nonesuch Records.
4255 implied HN points • 15 Feb 24
  1. Nonesuch label is known for maintaining high standards and integrity in releasing music, balancing commerce and artistry effectively.
  2. The list showcases a diverse range of Nonesuch albums, representing various genres and time periods, from Laurie Anderson's 'Big Science' to John Adams' 'City Noir.'
  3. The music by Nonesuch reflects a unique blend of traditional and avant-garde sounds, capturing the essence of different cultures and musical styles.
22840 implied HN points • 07 Aug 23
  1. Good note-taking can lead to unexpected wins, like winning a wine-tasting contest.
  2. There are three levels of note-taking: marking up the book, summarizing the book, and writing your own ideas.
  3. Note-taking is a valuable tool for personal growth and development, applicable to various careers and fields.
22673 implied HN points • 28 Jul 23
  1. Spotify's CEO sold $100 million in stock amidst the company's increasing losses, causing concern among investors.
  2. Streaming companies like Netflix and Disney are heavily investing in AI technology, potentially replacing human creativity with bots.
  3. Music streaming platforms like Spotify prioritize profit over user experience, creating a bland and generic listening environment.
21177 implied HN points • 26 Jun 23
  1. The author's initial resistance to Steely Dan changed as they discovered the band's depth and artistry.
  2. Steely Dan's music challenged pop banality and conventionality, offering a unique and edgy perspective.
  3. The fusion of jazz elements in Steely Dan's art pop style inspired the author to appreciate skilled studio musicians and rethink elitist attitudes in music.
20413 implied HN points • 02 Jun 23
  1. Disintermediation is bypassing gatekeepers and middlemen to go straight to the audience.
  2. Building a direct relationship with your audience as a creative can lead to more autonomy and satisfaction.
  3. Utilizing online platforms and social media can help in self-publishing and reaching a wider audience, transforming the creative industry.