📷 Nikon Snaps Back: From Losses to Z-Series Profits

YouTube's indie scene or nah? Nikon's camera comeback! AI composing songs? Tune in!

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Welcome, creative friends!

YouTube: The New Indie TV or Just More Cat Videos? Grab your popcorn, this one's a think piece, not a meme review.

In today's rundown

VISUAL CREATORS
For your artistic side.

Nikon’s recent financial rollercoaster has been a wild ride, from a peak of $722M profit in 2012 to a $324M loss in 2021.

The company’s recent struggles were rooted in a few high-stakes gambles that didn’t pay off, like the ill-fated KeyMission action camera, which was axed after just two years. The KeyMission line sank the company deeper into the red, leaving many to wonder if Nikon could ever recover.

The Z series mirrorless cameras came to the rescue, with the flagship Z9 driving a remarkable $1B swing in the right direction. And Nikon did it by sticking to its strengths, creating gear that felt ‘quintessentially Nikon’.
A firmware strategy that makes updates feel like Christmas mornings may have helped turn the tide, too.

With a firmware strategy that keeps customers happy and a product lineup that’s looking sharper than ever, Nikon’s future is looking bright.

They’re not just surviving; they’re thriving, with profits of $380M in 2022.

PRODUCTION MASTERY
The commercial aspects of creativity.

AI music is hitting the airwaves, and it's actually…kinda good?

ElevenLabs, an AI startup run by ex-Google and ex-Palantir tech talent, just dropped a few tracks, which the company claims required only a single line of text as a prompt and no additional editing, and the results are surprisingly solid.

The technology arose from the company's prior work on deep learning-based speech and lip-syncing synthesis.

Song quality, while difficult to evaluate without a fuller context, appeared on par with professionally recorded, radio-friendly music.

It’s got that radio-friendly sound down to an algorithm, but will AI replace your favorite artists? The answer’s as mysterious as the AI training data.

CREATOR ECONOMY
Navigating the digital creative world.

YouTube is celebrating one year as the most-watched streaming platform in the U.S. With 150M U.S. viewers watching 1 billion hours of content on TV each month, the platform has more eyes than any other streaming service, according to Nielsen.

As a result, top creators from the platform, such as Rhett and Link, Hot Ones, Ms. Rachel, and Michelle Khare, are arguing for their content to be recognized alongside traditional programming when it comes to awards and industry accolades.

Rhett McLaughlin of Good Mythical Morning (which now releases 260 YouTube videos per year) argues that viewers see “no fundamental difference” between content from Netflix, Hulu, or YouTube.

For those creators, the line between TV and internet video has been blurred for years, as they’ve used YouTube to build audiences and brick-and-mortar businesses.

Top creators like Rhett McLaughlin, Link Neal, and MrBeast are launching full-scale production companies.

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🔥 Press Worthy

📽️ VISUAL CREATORS

Shutterstock is acquiring Envato, the go-to hub for creatives worldwide. No word on the price yet, but Envato's vast library makes it a valuable addition to Shutterstock's creative empire, which already includes Giphy and Bigstock.

Photographer Jingna Zhang triumphs in Luxembourg court, reclaiming copyright on painter Jeff Dieschburg used for award-winning work. Jeff's barred from exhibiting the art, faces $1,080/day fine. Zhang's now suing Google over its AI's alleged image theft.

📈 PRODUCTION MASTERY

No Time Limit on Copyright Damages: In a 6-3 decision, the US Supreme Court ruled that there is no time limit to claim damages from copyright infringement. This opens the floodgates for lawsuits on old infringements and raises concerns about copyright trolling.

Acclaimed Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof has been sentenced to eight years in prison, fined, and had his property confiscated. The charges stem from his latest film, which was pulled from Cannes after pressure from Iranian authorities.

🎭 CREATOR ECONOMY

OpenAI unveils GPT-4o, an all-in-one AI model that handles text, images, and sound simultaneously. It’s faster, cheaper, and better at understanding mixed media. But here’s the real news: you can access it for free.

TikTok's on a roll: labels AI stuff, joins CAI and C2PA. They joined Adobe's Content Authenticity Initiative to fight deepfakes. They'll also tag AI-created content. A triple whammy in the war on fake!

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