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Stream Con NYC

Wsup guys! I am throwing up a quick post because I am going to StreamCon tomorrow. If you’re going to be there, or even if you’re in New York from out of town and just want some tips, holla at me on Twitter @hoopshighheels. Or you’re reading this because I met you there–welcome! Check out my YouTube channel, too. 😉 xo

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Sale alert: 10 of the best Columbus Day deals

Hi guys! Shopaholics know that October might be one of the best months of the year–not only is the weather great, but the sale are here. For those who are interested, I’m getting this post up while the sales from this weekend are still going, though it seems like things are going fast. Leave a comment if you’re interested in a list of curated sales codes!

Silence + Noise Top, $21 (down from $49)

  1. Urban Outfitters: Additional 30% to 40% off sales items (discount depends on whether you’re registered on their site; reduction calculated at checkout)
  2. Kate Spade: Additional 20% off sales items (requires code)
  3. Urban Decay: 20% off order (requires code)
  4. Pottery Barn: 20% entire order with friends & family discount (requires code)
  5. Lady Footlocker: 20% off entire order (requires code)
  6. Bloomingdales outlet: Extra 30% off outerwear, boots and sweaters, in store only; additional 50% off of clearance
  7. Macy’s 50% off select denim and free shipping over $75
  8. West Elm: extra 20% off clearance (requires code)
  9. ASOS: up to 50% off
  10. Forever 21: deals starting $5.90 for Columbus day (free shipping orders over $21)
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To look or not to look

So the other day someone asked why it’s considered inappropriate for a man to look at another woman in front of his woman. He said he knows that it IS inappropriate, but WHY is it inappropriate if—according to him—everyone knows everyone is always looking anyway?

Well. First of all, I wouldn’t call it inappropriate. I don’t think any grown man or woman is really so crazy as to think their significant other is supposed to think all the rest of the 7 billion people on this earth are ugly, just because they’re in a relationship. That’s just not how it works.

The world is full of crazy sexy cool people who your man/woman would probably be trying to get with if they hadn’t run into you first, so let’s just get that straight. That said, they are with you, not everyone else. So if you’re one of those people who goes to the extreme of expecting your significant other to never notice another person’s attractiveness, just know that you’re basically asking that person to lie to you. What’s so great about that?

On the other extreme are women who don’t care at all if their man is ogling other women. Honestly, though, I’m of the belief that those women are either fronting, cheating, or bi. But I digress.

Personally, I fall in the middle of the spectrum—if it were a scale of one to ten, one meaning I don’t care at all and ten meaning a mere glance in another woman’s direction will send me into a fit of rage, I’m probably a 5.5 to 6. I CAN get jealous, but not enough to make it a thing.

I have no problems with my man coming to me and telling me a celebrity, or a girl on the street, or a girl at the gym, was fine. I’m the first person to point out a hot chick, and I will never hate another woman for looking better than me. And I’m a firm believer that, if I feel truly threatened that my man might cheat on me, or leave me for someone else, I shouldn’t stick around to find out if he does. Cuz we got bigger issues than a glance at another ass.

But there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed. It’s not a deal-breaker or anything, but there’s a huge difference between noticing an attractive person on the street, and actually making a scene and staring at her, turning his head and doing all that other extra stuff that men do, usually when their women aren’t around if they know what’s good for them.

The question still stands, though–why not? It’s not like if you were with your boys, you wouldn’t be doing it. So why pretend you’re not what everyone knows you are?

It’s because it’s not about pretending, or being fake, it’s about respect—-the same respect you can and probably do demand your woman show you. Because when the roles are reversed, women are expected to go to great lengths to express their loyalty to a man, and for good reason: a woman who flirts with a man other than her own probably can’t be trusted. On a most primal level, she is sending a green light to that man that if he wants to, he can try to kick it. Regardless of whether or not she could, would or should sleep with that other man at that point, she’s already been disloyal by inviting some random dude to disrespect HER man—the man who is on her team, the man she should be protecting fiercely, the way she’d want to be protected. At least, that’s how I see relationships.

The only problem I have with this is the lack of reciprocation. Men talk mad shit about how women are so jealous and shouldn’t get mad if they’re just being red-blooded males and looking at a nice ass. They’re not being disloyal, they’re just being honest—a nice ass is a nice ass. It all sounds perfectly logical until they catch their women drooling or making eyes at some other dude. Then all of a sudden the woman is disloyal. Where I come from, this is expected of a good woman. Cuz you know, chicks gotta be ride or die, or they ain’t shit.

Loyalty isn’t just about whether or not you’d have sex with another person, it’s whether you sell out your significant other’s honor. Any gesture that undermines the position of your significant other in your life—any gesture that belittles that person’s role, your bond, your commitment to that person, is an invitation for someone else to disrespect your significant other. That is betrayal, whether your significant other is there to witness it or not. And let’s be real for a sec—it doesn’t matter HOW hot someone is, you can notice but you don’t have to do all the extra shit, the slow head turn, the ogling, the excitement, like you never seen a bad chick in your life.

That said, different people have different levels tolerances for their significant other expressing appreciation for another person’s body. Some chicks are totally fine with it. Some are not. fine. at. all. If you’ve been dating someone for a while, you know where she is on the spectrum. If you’re with me, do you. I mean it. But don’t be mad if I don’t like it, and act accordingly. Sorry if that sounds like a threat, it’s really not—I just like to be 100% confident that I’m being as loyal to someone as they are to me.

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Wu-Tang Clan on the Wrong Side of Debate Over Music Biz

On the surface, this gimmick by the Wu-Tang Clan seems so crazy it’s cool. I mean, exclusivity, numerology, symbolism, a mystery box made of wood and silver, a bidding war that reached $5 million … it has all the right ingredients.

But as much as I love Wu-Tang, I’m sad to say the thinking behind this is actually really backwards.

From the Guardian today:

The point, says RZA, is to make a statement about the value of artists in an age where everything is available for free, and therefore disposable. “Artists are very rare people,” says RZA. “Things have value when they are rare.”


The album was created in an attempt to break free of modern-day streaming companies like Spotify and YouTube, which encourage freely-shared music.

“This has never been done before,’ said RZA after playing the record. “Music is just handed out now, the industry is in crisis. People feel like they deserve to have it for free. This is art. You can take a picture of the Mona Lisa but that’s not art. The same with this: you can never reproduce it – this is the final thing.”

The music industry is in crisis, this is true. The fact that advances in technology helped bring this crisis about is true. But the assumption that these changes are BAD, and that the music industry in its traditional form was GOOD, is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Though there are many competing ideas for what the future of music distribution will be, the war over the music business can basically be broken down into two camps: people who want to preserve the way things were, and people who believe a long-term revolution of music revenue models is inevitable. If you can’t tell yet, I’m obviously part of the latter, along with most technology companies from Spotify to Google and to a certain extent, Apple.

I do not necessarily think any of these technology companies has come up with the definitive answer, but I believe that evolution takes imagination, and they are the ones who are thinking big, thinking long term, and investing in that evolution.

The music industry traditionalists will tell you that technology companies and bad music consumers are killing creativity, stealing music and devaluing it.  This understandable in a sense because, from their point of view, they used to be able to put a direct dollar value to every track they released commercially. It was based on the number of times someone purchased the rights to listen to, play, or repurpose that track. It was a hard, easily definable number. And those sales translated to billions of dollars in profit. Profits are obviously smaller for indie labels, but their revenue models were the same: sell the music.

In order to slow down the erosion of those profits, then, these labels are fighting TOOTH AND NAIL to hold on to status quo. They rage against ad-supported streaming services. They spit numbers out, rapid fire, trying to convince the world that companies like Spotify are basically robbing them by paying them pennies on the dollar for what they would make selling music the old school way. Perhaps fueled by propaganda from their labels, artists are infuriated by this–they see it as an insult to their art, a literal devaluation of their creations. And if it were technically possible, they would prevent every last person on earth from accessing pirated music, kill all streaming services and go back to selling CDs, or perhaps stick to the iTunes model.

But they are thinking about it all wrong. First of all, they are totally ignoring reality. Their desire to kill all piracy and streaming services, and to return to a world where albums cost $20 and that’s that, is a pipe dream for two reasons: 1. As fast as they shut piraters and bootleggers down, more will pop up, and they will discover new ways to steal music. The effort is just a game of whack-a-mole; and more importantly, 2. The way in which people listen to and discover music is changing, thanks to technology, and changing for the better. The Internet has enabled niche and indie artists to emerge from obscurity and in some ways turned the music industry into much more of a meritocracy. A scientific survey would have to be done to prove this, but I’m willing to bet that many of the kinds of people who would have listened only to top 40s music and whatever was playing on the radio 20 years ago are now sophisticated music fans who have exposure to all kinds of interesting sounds. Thanks technology!

Basically, music tracks themselves have become commoditized, kind of like computers or smartphones. And what has happened to the profit margins on those products? They’ve gone down! Yes, there will always be a market out there for premium products, kind of like there will always be a group of people who will shell out good money to buy albums on vinyl. But 70% of the market, and probably more, is destined to be a low-margin business.

What does this mean to vendors–should they stop selling their products altogether? NO! It means that they need to come up with new revenue models, i.e. making money on software and services. Get a dirt-cheap smartphone into the hands of every last person on earth for only 5% profit, if that, sign them up for an app store, and voila–you have a new platform to make even more money off of those people, just in a different way.

The movie industry has gone through the same problems, too. Film studios were scared SHITLESS of home videos when that technology was introduced. They were freaked out that no one would go to the cinema anymore. If they had their way, they would have sanctioned the whole idea of home video and DVDs never have come into existence. But the world moved on, and they had no choice but to figure it out. If they’d embraced the whole idea earlier, and tried to innovate to find new ways of earning profits, we might have had cushy arm chairs and 3D film releases much earlier than we actually did.

So it’s tempting to accuse platforms like Spotify or Youtube of treating amazing songs or albums like they’re only worth a single-digit percentage of what they used to be worth, but it’s not true. What these companies are actually proposing is for record labels and artists to take a short-term hit so they can capitalize a long-term music revolution. For example: an artist may only make negligible revenue on a per-stream basis for each track today, but imagine 10 years from now if everyone in the world was hooked up to a streaming service? What would the business ecosystem be around that? Aside from much more valuable, targeted ad products to make money from, that could mean infinitely more exposure and opportunities to sell merchandise and other services.

The potential downside is that the Katy Perrys of the world might make less cash for their labels. Emphasis on “might” and “for their labels.” But for all the money that doesn’t make rich people richer, there will be much more money to go around to the little guys who make great music, too, and who can never get any exposure under the current system. It is a myth that no one pays for music. Everyone will always love music, and the vast majority of consumers will willing open their wallets if you give them a compelling reason to do so.

If you’re dubious, check out what TLC did, or some of the indie labels that have cropped up around the world and who are making single-digit millions, instead of tens of millions, on super-popular albums by distributing them on Youtube and shopping their artists around for tours and live shows. I know of several in Brazil that actually GIVE THEIR CDS AWAY at concerts as promotional gifts. They sell their tracks on iTunes, and do make some cash from that, but while their core product is music the vast majority of their revenue is from everything surrounding the  music, not mp3s themselves.

These guys are so good at promoting themselves on social media (that is the core of their business) that people basically have their music videos playing on repeat on Youtube, and they get paid for ever single of those millions and millions of plays. They know people will always love music, and will always support artists and buy merchandise in some form or another, but they have embraced the new reality that record labels may not make billions and billions of dollars, and can still be very profitable. They just have to keep putting out great music.

And isn’t that what we all want?


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