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⚡️Grammy U opens doors to more future music makers

PLUS: How did Elvis pull of that comeback in '68?

Happy Tuesday, creatives!

Ain’t it just a fine day to go out and do something creative?

Today, we’re taking a look at Grammy U as it opens its doors to more future music makers.

Plus, Hans Zimmer is now in charge of a historic recording space.

Oh, and a business aimed at creating the “Figma of conversational AI.”

We’re reflecting on the reinvention of Elvis, the not-so-dead NFT market, and the eternal question: would Apple buy Disney?

—Clayton

MAKING MUSIC YOUR MISSION

Grammy U has introduced a second avenue to membership for individuals aged 18-29 who are actively forging a unique path towards a music career.

Previously, the qualification was exclusive to full-time students of any age. This required them to be currently enrolled in an accredited college, university, or trade school with at least nine credits, pursuing degrees ranging from associate to PhD.

Now, a fresh option exists: "professional/creative," tailored exclusively for individuals aged 18-29. This pathway accommodates both seasoned professionals and creative souls on their music career journey. It extends to part-time college students and those engaged in certificate courses or programs.

“For many years, Grammy U has invested in the development of emerging young music creators and professionals... With this expansion, Grammy U is ensuring that membership will be more inclusive and accessible for the next generation of music creators and professionals, no matter their career path,” said Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr.

UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT

Iconic Maida Vale Studios, known as a musical haven since the 1930s, has been handed over to a dynamic trio of creative powerhouses: Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer and acclaimed film producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner. The venerable British broadcaster, the BBC, made the announcement on Monday (Aug. 14), signaling a significant shift in the studio's trajectory.

Hosting luminaries like Adele, David Bowie, and The Beatles throughout its storied journey, Maida Vale Studios had been earmarked for closure by the BBC since 2018, with plans to move to a custom-built music facility. Now, this historic venue has taken on new life as the torchbearer of the next generation of composers, producers, editors, and engineers.

Zimmer, Bevan, Fellner, and Kofsky plan to establish an education center at Maida Vale Studios, devoted to fostering opportunities and careers for the local community. Lorna Clarke, BBC's director of music, emphasized the venue's indispensable role in British culture, expressing joy in securing a future where music can flourish.

TECH TIME

Here’s an elevator pitch: the “Figma” of conversational AI.

California-based startup Voiceflow has announced $15 million in funding injection in a fresh round led by OpenView Venture Capital. This boost will fuel the expansion of Voiceflow's capabilities, allowing people to construct conversational AI agents for diverse applications.

With a current user base of approximately 130,000 individuals across 450 enterprises, including numerous Fortune 500 companies, Voiceflow's total capital raised now stands at $35 million. Additionally, its valuation has surged by an impressive 50% to $105 million.

RETURN OF THE KING

In 1968, the unfiltered brilliance of rock 'n' roll legend Elvis Presley took center stage, and now, a compelling documentary unveils the making of this iconic moment. 

Directed by John Scheinfeld, "Reinventing Elvis: The '68 Comeback" is a trip back to Elvis’ musical transformation.

In the spotlight is Steve Binder, the mastermind behind the 1968 television special that rekindled the electricity of Elvis.

In a resounding tribute to the king of rock 'n' roll, Binder shines as he dismantles the confines set by Presley's manager, the elusive Col. Tom Parker.

PODCAST RELEASES

TAKING A BITE OUTTA DISNEY

The entertainment industry's landscape is shifting, and Bob Iger's recent moves hint at a potential game-changing decision. Speculation is growing that Apple might have its sights set on acquiring Disney, a notion that's been met with skepticism but still lingers in discussions.

The conversation gains traction as Iger puts a 'for-sale' notion around Disney's TV businesses. Amidst an industry metamorphosis, a streamlined Disney becomes an alluring target for acquisition. With Apple's substantial cash reserves of $62 billion and a staggering market cap of $2.8 trillion, it's clear that no other player matches its financial prowess.

NFTs ARE FOREVER

During the crypto boom's peak, NFTs emerged as major players in the entertainment arena. A-list celebrities like Justin Bieber and Reese Witherspoon embraced them, propelling profile pic (PFP) collections such as Bored Apes and World of Women into the spotlight, with endorsements from Paris Hilton and Madonna. Despite the NFT market's recent dip causing setbacks for prominent Web3 advocates, it seems that Hollywood's fascination with NFTs is far from over.

Since 2021, a significant talent agency has been actively recruiting Web3 and A.I. artists, undeterred by the crypto crash. William Morris Endeavor, boasting a legacy dating back to the 19th century, is renowned for its top-tier talent roster, featuring luminaries like Matt Damon, Denzel Washington, and Tilda Swinton, along with musicians ranging from Taylor Swift to 50 Cent. In the past two years, they've expanded their lineup to include around 50 digital creators like Olive Allen, Krista Kim, Claire Silver, Si Parmeggiani, and Andre O’Shea, in addition to platforms like SuperRare and Art Blocks, and the gallery Bright Moments.

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