Netflix CEO says his stance on Dave Chappelle’s special hasn’t changed but says he ‘screwed up’ in message to staff, ahead of a planned walk-out

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Ted Sarandos, Netflix co-CEO & Chief Content Officer

  • Netflix’s co-CEO previously said content does not cause real-world harm.
  • Ted Sarandos told outlets on Tuesday that he “screwed up” with those comments.
  • However, Sarandos said Netflix won’t remove Dave Chappelle’s special.

Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos said he “screwed up” with his response to employees’ criticism that Dave Chappelle’s “Closer” special was transphobic, several outlets reported.

“I screwed up the internal communication – and I don’t mean just mechanically. I feel I should’ve made sure to recognize that a group of our employees was hurting very badly from the decision made,” Sarandos told Deadline on Tuesday.

Sarandos was referencing a company-wide email he sent defending the special. In the email, he said content “doesn’t directly translate to real-world harm.”

In his special, Chappelle says “gender is a fact” and aligned himself with TERFs, or trans-exclusionary radical feminists, Insider previously reported.

“I should have led with a lot more humanity,” Sarandos told Variety on Tuesday.

He added: “Of course storytelling has real impact in the real world. I reiterate that because it’s why I work here, it’s why we do what we do. That impact can be hugely positive, and it can be quite negative.”

However, Sarandos told Variety he doesn’t think Chappelle’s comments amount to hate speech and does not plan to remove the special from the streaming platform’s docket.

“It’s impossible to please everybody, but we are trying to please a world that is made of people of different tastes, sensibilities, and beliefs, and it becomes very difficult to do that for everybody,” he told Deadline.

He told Variety that he wanted to be “really clear” that he supports “artistic freedom and the creators that work at Netflix.”

The statement came a day before a scheduled walkout organized by trans Netflix employees.

Netflix had previously suspended three employees who publicly protested the special – including one trans employee whose Twitter thread about the special went viral– but they were later reinstated. The company also fired the leader of a trans resource group organizing Wednesday’s walkout for leaking financial data “outside the company.”

The company accused the former employee of sending information to Bloomberg detailing the cost of producing Chappelle’s special, which revealed that the special’s budget was higher than average.

Neither Netflix nor Sarandos responded to Insider’s request for comment.

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Netflix’s top 10 original TV show hits of all time, including ‘Squid Game’ and ‘Bridgerton’

squid game
“Squid Game.”

  • Netflix said that “Squid Game” was its biggest original series ever with 142 million households watching in the first four weeks.
  • It topped “Bridgerton,” which was watched by 82 million households.
  • Insider ranked Netflix’s biggest originals based on how many member households watched each in the first 28 days.
  • Netflix counts a view if an account watches at least two minutes of a show or movie.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
10. “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” season one – 64 million

tiger king joe exotic
“Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness” was released on Netflix on March 20, 2020.

Description: “A zoo owner spirals out of control amid a cast of eccentric characters in this true murder-for-hire story from the underworld of big cat breeding.”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 86%

What critics said: “A compelling series in fits and starts that doesn’t amount to much more than a trip through an extremely strange world filled with extremely strange people.” — Newsday

9. “La Casa de Papel (Money Heist)” season four – 65 million

money heist

Description: “Eight thieves take hostages and lock themselves in the Royal Mint of Spain as a criminal mastermind manipulates the police to carry out his plan.”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 80%

What critics said: “All the joy in the heist format is wondering how the robbers will escape. With Money Heist, I’m starting to dread the new ways the producers will find to keep me locked in.” — Independent

8. (tie) “Maid” – 67 million

maid netflix

Description: “After fleeing an abusive relationship, a young mother finds a job cleaning houses as she fights to provide for her child and build them a better future.”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 97%

What critics said: “The Netflix miniseries illustrates the endless Catch-22 poor people in America face.” — The Ringer

8. (tie) “Stranger Things” season three – 67 million

stranger things season 3 netflix
“Stranger Things.”

Description: “When a young boy vanishes, a small town uncovers a mystery involving secret experiments, terrifying supernatural forces and one strange little girl.”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 89%

What critics said: “It’s a real and joyful return to form for the show that has been taken fiercely to the hearts of people who weren’t there the first time round and, perhaps even more fiercely, by those who were.” — Guardian

8. (tie) “Sex/Life” season one – 67 million

sex/life netflix

Description: “A woman’s daring sexual past collides with her married-with-kids present when the bad-boy ex she can’t stop fantasizing about crashes back into her life.”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 23%

What critics said: “Sex/Life drowns itself in the shallow end, so to speak, by failing to even generate much heat. There are plenty of R-rated scenes-so many, actually, that they get repetitive.” — Time Magazine

5. “La Casa de Papel (Money Heist)” season five- 69 million

money heist
“Money Heist.”

Description: “Eight thieves take hostages and lock themselves in the Royal Mint of Spain as a criminal mastermind manipulates the police to carry out his plan.”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 80%

What critics said: “I dig smart heist stories. But I don’t care much for ones about fictional wars and I’m worried about what Money Heist might become in future episodes. It looks like the show might have changed genres in its final season.” — Ask 

4. (tie) “The Witcher” season one – 76 million

the witcher

Description: “Geralt of Rivia, a mutated monster-hunter for hire, journeys toward his destiny in a turbulent world where people often prove more wicked than beasts.”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 67%

What critics said: “And although The Witcher is more fantasy balderdash, it’s also somewhat addictive fantasy balderdash. Bring on the blood-spilling, the orgies, the haunted forests and wizards: It seems we can’t get enough.” — Detroit News

4. (tie) “Lupin” season one – 76 million

Lupin TV show Netflix Emmanuel Guimier
Omar Sy stars in “Lupin.”

Description: “Inspired by the adventures of Arsène Lupin, gentleman thief Assane Diop sets out to avenge his father for an injustice inflicted by a wealthy family.”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 98%

What critics said: “The series also doesn’t waste a single minute, packing each and every moment full of suspense. Put all of that together, and it’s an early front-runner to steal a spot as one of the best shows of the year.” — Slate

2. “Bridgerton” season one – 82 million

BRIDGERTON

Description: “The eight close-knit siblings of the Bridgerton family look for love and happiness in London high society. Inspired by Julia Quinn’s bestselling novels.”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 89%

What critics said: “There are eight episodes of Bridgerton, and they all have endings that are like chapters in a good book: They leave you in a spot where you just want to read one more chapter before you turn off the light for the night.” — NPR

1. “Squid Game” season one – 142 million

Squid Game

Description: “Hundreds of cash-strapped players accept a strange invitation to compete in children’s games. Inside, a tempting prize awaits — with deadly high stakes.”

Rotten Tomatoes critic score: 92%

What critics said: “A twisty, fast-paced, action-packed show whose episodes end in killer cliffhangers — in other words, the ultimate binge bait.” — Time Magazine

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How to watch the NBA – the 2021-22 season starts October 19 with the defending champion Bucks taking on the Nets

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Giannis Antetokounmpo dunk
Giannis Antetokounmpo goes to the basket as Chris Paul looks on in game 2 of the NBA Finals.

  • The 2021-22 NBA season begins October 19 with a doubleheader on TNT.
  • NBA regular season games are broadcast by ESPN, TNT, ABC, NBA TV, and local affiliate stations.
  • NBA League Pass also offers streaming access to hundreds of games for an annual or monthly fee.

Table of Contents: Masthead StickyTV (small)League Pass (small)

The 2021-22 NBA regular season tips off on October 19 with a doubleheader on TNT. The first game features the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks against the Brooklyn Nets, while the second match features the Golden State Warriors against the Los Angeles Lakers. The games start at 7:30 p.m. ET and 10 p.m. ET, respectively.

You can stream the opening games with the TNT app if you’re a cable subscriber, otherwise you’ll need a live TV streaming service like Sling TV, YouTube TV, or Hulu + Live TV to watch.

Throughout the regular season, nationally televised NBA games are spread across TNT, ESPN, ABC, and NBA TV. Meanwhile, some teams have local affiliates that broadcast their regular season games.

To help you get access to every game you want to watch, we broke down everything you need to know about streaming the NBA season without a cable subscription.

Key dates for the 2021-22 NBA season

The 2021-22 NBA regular season begins on October 19 and runs through April 10, 2022. Here’s a rundown of key dates for the season and post-season.

  • October 19 – NBA regular season begins
  • February 18 to 20 – NBA All-Star Weekend in Cleveland, Ohio
  • April 12 to 15 – Play-in tournament for playoff seeding
  • April 16 – NBA playoffs officially began
  • June 2 – NBA Finals began
  • July 19 – NBA Finals Game Seven, if necessary
  • June 23 – NBA Draft

How to watch the 2021-22 NBA season

NBA regular season games are broadcast nationally on ESPN, ABC, TNT, and NBA TV. TNT usually broadcasts games on Tuesday and Thursday nights, while ESPN games are typically scheduled for Wednesday and Friday. ABC will show NBA games on select Saturdays and Sundays starting in December.

NBA TV carries games from local NBA affiliates on a nightly basis and is available as a cable network or a standalone streaming subscription. You can subscribe to NBA TV for the season for $60, or pay $7 a month.

If you already have a pay-TV provider with access to ESPN, ABC, or TNT, you can stream each station’s NBA content via their respective apps. That said, ESPN games are not included with an ESPN+ subscription.

If you don’t have a cable or satellite subscription, you can sign up for a live TV streaming service with access to TNT, ABC, ESPN, and NBA TV. Services with plans that support NBA games from all four channels include Sling TV and YouTube TV.

Sling TV

Sling TV includes ESPN and TNT as part of its Orange plan for $35 a month. Sling doesn’t offer ABC, but NBA games airing on that network are occasionally simulcast on ESPN3, which is included with Sling. You can also add NBA TV to your plan through the Sports Extra package for an additional $11 a month.

New Sling subscribers can get their first month of service for a discounted rate of just $10, which helps make Sling one of the cheapest options for streaming the NBA.

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YouTube TV

YouTubeTV offers ABC, ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV for $65 a month, providing full access to all of the major broadcast and cable networks that show NBA games. For a limited time, new subscribers can get their first three months for a discounted rate of $55 a month.

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Hulu + Live TV

Hulu + Live TV features access to channels like ESPN, TNT, and ABC for $65 a month. However, NBA TV is not offered which could be an issue for viewers who want to watch as many games as possible during the regular season.

On the plus side, Hulu + Live TV does include access to Hulu’s entire on-demand library of shows and movies. If you sign up before October 29, you can get your first three months for a discounted rate of $55 a month.

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Fubo TV

Fubo TV includes ABC and ESPN under its Starter plan for $65 a month, but you need the Sports Plus add-on for an extra $11 a month to get NBA TV. On the downside, TNT is not currently available through any of Fubo TV’s plans, which presents a major issue for fans who want to watch nationally televised games on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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NBA League Pass lets you stream out of market games

TNT, ESPN, ABC, and NBA TV are the national broadcast partners of the NBA, but they only show select games throughout the season. If you’re interested in following a team that’s not in your area, you can subscribe to NBA League Pass to stream out of market regular season games for a single team or the entire league.

League Pass offers subscriptions for one team starting at $18 a month or $120 for a full season. If you want access to every team on League Pass, you’ll have to pay $250 for the season or $40 a month. The price of League Pass will decrease as the year goes on, but of course you’ll be missing out on games early in the season.

Blackout restrictions apply, and League Pass does not include live access to nationally televised games or your local teams.

League Pass (small)

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Netflix’s Korean series ‘My Name’ is surging in popularity following the success of ‘Squid Game’

my name netflix
“My Name.”

  • The South Korean crime series “My Name” was the seventh most popular title on Netflix on Tuesday.
  • “Squid Game,” Netflix’s biggest show ever, was No. 2 more than a month after its debut.
  • The two shows highlight how far ahead of rivals Netflix is in its international strategy.

Netflix recently found monster success with the Korean-language series “Squid Game,” its biggest series of all time. Now, another South Korean show is surging in popularity on the platform.

“My Name,” a South Korean crime thriller that debuted on Friday, was the seventh most popular title on Netflix in the US on Tuesday, according to the company’s own daily lists of its biggest movies and TV shows that it ranks based on the number of accounts that watched at least two minutes during the previous 24 hours.

“Squid Game” was No. 2 on Tuesday, topped only by “You,” the third season of which also premiered on Friday. “Squid Game” debuted on September 17.

Netflix describes “My Name” like this: “Following her father’s murder, a revenge-driven woman puts her trust in a powerful crime boss – and enters the police force under his direction.”

The series doesn’t even have a Rotten Tomatoes critic score as of Tuesday, but it’s clearly already catching on with viewers.

The two shows highlight how far ahead of its rivals Netflix is in its international TV strategy, particularly when it comes to South Korean content, which it committed $500 million to this year.

Netflix estimates that “Squid Game” alone will generate nearly $900 million in “impact value,” an internal metric that determines the importance of a given series, according to Bloomberg’s Lucas Shaw. It cost just $21.4 million to produce, Bloomberg reported based on internal documents it obtained.

In a recent LinkedIn post, Netflix marketing exec Alvin Foo credited the “K-wave,” or a surge in popularity of South Korean content, as one reason for “Squid Game’s” success, also citing the Oscar-winning film “Parasite” and the music group BTS.

Netflix’s global TV chief, Bela Bajaria, told Fortune recently that viewing of Korean-language dramas was up 200% since 2019.

Read the original article on Business Insider

‘Squid Game’ is unlikely to be adapted for the Chinese market because it’s too dark, says an industry executive

Squid Game
Netflix’s “Squid Game” has become a massive, international hit.

  • A Chinese adaptation of “Squid Game” is unlikely as the show is too dark, said iQiyi’s chief content officer.
  • Content production must follow ideology and social trends like “the enthusiasm and unity” of the Chinese people.
  • Netflix’s “Squid Game” is a hit in China, where the streaming service and the show are not even available.

Netflix’s “Squid Game” is unlikely to be adapted for the Chinese market because it’s too dark, according to an industry executive.

The South Korean dystopian series about people competing for prize money in brutal survival games is a hit in China even though it’s not even officially available in the country.

But the show’s “relatively dark subject matter reflecting particularly dark side of human nature would definitely not be produced in China,” Wang Xiaohui, chief content officer at iQiyi, told local media outlet TMTPost. iQiyi is a Chinese video streaming platform backed by tech giant Baidu.

China wants content that puts “truth, goodness and beauty” in the top spot, said Wang, per TMTPost.

“We are different from other countries,” Wang told TMTPost. “We have our own mainstream values, which are very different from Western countries.”

“In terms of content production, we must follow ideology and social trends, including the enthusiasm and unity of the Chinese people,” he told TMTPost.

Playing to nationalism has done well in China. A state-backed propaganda epic depicting the defeat of US troops to Chinese soldiers during the Korean War is currently on track to become China’s highest-grossing film ever. The film, “The Battle at Lake Changjin,” has made $769 million since it was released on September 30.

The Chinese media and entertainment industry is one of the world’s top markets, with multinationals vying for a slice of the pie.

Last year, China’s box office surpassed America’s to become the world’s largest box office.

But the US is still the world’s top over-the-top (OTT) streaming market, raking in $22.8 billion last year, according to accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. China is a distant second, bringing in $9.5 billion in 2020.

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How to watch Major League Baseball – the top 4 teams battle for a spot in the 2021 World Series

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Boston Red Sox 2021 MLB Playoffs
Enrique Hernandez of the Boston Red Sox hits a single during the seventh inning of game four of the 2021 ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park.

  • The 2021 MLB Playoffs continue with the ALCS and NLCS to decide this year’s World Series matchup.
  • Remaining playoff games are broadcast nationally by Fox, Fox Sports, and TBS.
  • The 2021 World Series will air on Fox starting October 26.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

The 2021 MLB Playoffs are in full swing with the American League Championship Series (ALCS) and National League Championship Series (NLCS). The winners of the ALCS and NLCS will then go up against each other in the 2021 World Series on October 26.

In the American League, the Red Sox eliminated the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays on their way to the ALCS, while the Astros defeated the White Sox to earn a chance at the World Series. In the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Francisco Giants in a tight NLDS series, and the Atlanta Braves beat the Milwaukee Brewers to reach the NLCS.

Every remaining MLB playoff game will be broadcast nationally by Fox, Fox Sports 1, or TBS. To stream each game, you’ll need to subscribe to a cable provider or live TV streaming service like YouTube TV, SlingTV, or DirecTV Stream. The 2021 World Series will be broadcast entirely on Fox, but you’ll still need a subscription if you want to stream it instead of watch it on local TV.

MLB Championship Series schedule

Teams in the Championship Series will play a first-to-four wins format, meaning each series can last for up to seven games. The World Series also uses a first-to-four win format, allowing for a seven game series.

Teams Date and time National broadcast/stream
Houston Astros at Boston Red Sox (Game 3) October 18, 8:08 p.m. ET Fox Sports 1
Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers (Game 3) October 19, 5:08 p.m. ET TBS
Houston Astros at Boston Red Sox (Game 4) October 19, 8:08 p.m. ET Fox Sports 1
Houston Astros at Boston Red Sox (Game 5) October 20, 5:08 p.m. ET Fox Sports 1
Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers (Game 4) October 20, 8:08 p.m. ET TBS
Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers (Game 5 if needed) October 21, 8:08 p.m. ET TBS
Boston Red Sox at Houston Astros (Game 6 if needed) October 22, 8:08 p.m. ET Fox Sports 1
Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves (Game 6 if needed) October 23, 5:08 p.m. ET TBS
Boston Red Sox at Houston Astros (Game 7 if needed) October 23, 8:08 p.m. ET Fox, Fox Sports 1
Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves (Game 7 if needed) October 24, 7:38 p.m. ET TBS
World Series Game 1 October 26, TBD Fox

Where to watch MLB playoff streams

MLB playoff games are spread across channels like TBS, MLB Network, ESPN, FS1, and Fox. The World Series will be shown only on Fox. If you don’t have cable you can stream these stations with a subscription to a live TV streaming service.

To help narrow down your options, we compiled the best streaming services you can use to watch the MLB playoffs live.

DirecTV Stream

DirecTV Stream features Fox, MLB Network, TBS, FS1, and ESPN in most of its plans. The cheapest plan with all five channels is the DirecTV Stream Choice plan for $85 a month. The Choice plan also gives you access to several regional sports networks for local regular season games that aren’t broadcast nationally.

DirecTV Stream provides local coverage for 20 of MLB’s 30 teams, according to a spokesperson from the service. You can check to see if DirecTV Stream covers your regional sports network with this lookup tool.

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YouTube TV

One of the most comprehensive options for streaming MLB games is YouTube TV. The service costs $65 a month and includes Fox, FS1, ESPN, TBS,and MLB Network, as well as some regional sports networks depending on your area.

YouTube TV also includes an option to watch out-of-market games via the MLB TV add-on for an extra fee. This means you can watch a mix of local games, nationally televised games, and out-of-market games all in one place.

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Sling TV

Another option for MLB games is Sling TV. Sling Blue ($35/month) includes access to Fox (in select markets), FS1, and TBS. Sling Orange ($35/month), on the other hand, offers live access to ESPN and TBS. You can combine both Sling Blue and Sling Orange for $50 a month. You can also add MLB Network via Sling’s Sports Extra package for an additional $15 a month.

This combo will get you Fox, FS1, ESPN, TBS, and MLB Network for $65 a month. Please note that Fox only airs in select markets, primarily in major US cities, via Sling TV.

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Hulu + Live TV

Hulu + Live features several channels with MLB games, including ESPN, Fox, FS1, and TBS. The service costs $65/month ($55/month for your first three months) and includes access to Hulu’s entire on-demand library. That said, Hulu + Live TV is missing MLB Network.

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Fubo TV

Fubo TV also offers a package that will get you most of the channels you need for national MLB games. The streaming service’s Starter plan ($65/month) has over 100 channels, including Fox, FS1, and ESPN. Fubo TV also offers access to MLB Network with its Sports Plus with NFL RedZone add-on for $11 a month. There’s also a few regional sports networks in select areas. On the downside, Fubo TV is missing TBS.

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Grammy-winning artist Miguel on collaborating with the tech company Endel to make a ‘generative’ AI music project that adapts to a listener’s movement

Miguel Endel music project thumbnail
  • Grammy-winning artist Miguel spoke to Insider about the making of a “generative” AI music project he released with the tech company Endel this week.
  • In the interview, Miguel discussed the project’s aim to promote wellness and gave his perspective on future implementations of AI in music.

Grammy-winning artist Miguel spoke to Insider last week about his work with the tech company Endel on a “generative” AI music project that dropped in Endel’s app on Monday.

Insider beta tested the project, called “Clarity Trip,” ahead of a phone interview with Miguel. Set to ambient instrumentation and spare, wordless vocals from Miguel, the dynamic project uses your phone’s accelerometer and step counter to adapt Miguel’s production to your movement.

In the interview, Miguel discussed the making of the project and its aim to promote movement and wellness. He also touched on how his meditation practices intersect with music, and gave his perspective on future implementations of AI in music, including in his own work.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

Miguel, this is a remarkable piece of generative music here.

Man.. when they were describing how it would work, I kinda had to go, “Okay, wait a second. Rewind. Okay, say that again. How’s this gonna work?”

[Laughs].

You know, just kinda trusting the guys and getting them what they needed, then letting the algorithm do what it’s programmed to do. It’s been such a dope experience. So yeah, man, I’m glad you’re enjoying it. And what’s awesome is that it’s different every time. So, hopefully it’s good enough to have you come back time and time again. And yeah, really happy with it.

What drew you to the project initially?

I mean, to be honest, just the “what the fuck” factor was enough. Just the idea of it, taking parts that I created, then having an algorithm tailor the listening experience to the listener’s movement. It sounded interesting and cutting edge, and also the team made me feel real comfortable. They seemed like they had a real sense of what they were going for, and they trusted me, and it felt it was going to be really collaborative. And it proved to be, absolutely collaborative. And the guys are excellent. So yeah, that was the drawing factor, the team and just the possibilities, and it being cutting edge.

With the concept behind it in mind, how do you approach creating the body of music that you put into it?

I mean, again, I have to give the team some credit, a lot of credit actually, ’cause they were so patient. I feel like at every turn I was like, “Okay, wait. So, how are we breaking this down?” Because I’m usually imagining a piece of music in.. I’m always starting with maybe a finished something, something finished in my mind is sort of the guiding light, and every choice is always sort of to get to that point of whatever that finished portion was in my mind. With this, it’s sort of more about understanding your choices and then letting the finished product be sort of a question mark, you know? So it was just more about trusting that each piece that you’re adding is reflective of your perspective, your choices, your personality, and so on and so forth.

And I think that’s the most exciting is that I didn’t have to be the visionary here at all. Not only was it collaborative in terms of piecing it all together, but every time any person listens to it, it’s a collaboration with the algorithm, with the program. So, it’s sort of a nice, I think, new way of imagining the possibilities of music, and how we’ll integrate human and technology in expression. I feel like it’s just a really dope.. if nothing else, a really amazing new step in a direction of the future in music and creativity.

I gotta tell you, it took a minute for me to get it right. I started on a walk through Downtown Brooklyn, getting stopped at a light with an ambient chord hanging, someone yelling some shit at me..

[Laughs].

I’d imagine you worked this out with scenic California landscapes in mind, a different type of environment.

[Laughs]. Yeah. You know, it was absolutely meant just to help add in that atmosphere, and then also like for those of us who aren’t in that atmosphere, to hopefully kind of take you to that same place and that same feeling. So yeah, hopefully it added to your experience and maybe transported you a little bit. I think that’s what great music does. I think that was the other interesting possibility, was that in some way, shape, or form, like allowing technology to emote, giving the machine the pieces to emote, and seeing what happens? I think just the sheer.. like just the idea of it is wild, to think that these are possibilities. But I think it’s also really fun. And as an experiment, just another step in new ways of creating, which I’m all about. I’m all for that.

Miguel
Miguel.

For you personally.. let’s say.. if you’re on an ideal walk, what do you get out of it from like a mental health standpoint, or what do you hope to get out of like a hike, for example?

Man. I mean, I typically hike for clarity. That was actually not intentional, ’cause I know that the piece is called “Clarity Trip.” But yeah, that’s the goal, and that’s what I normally get from just any exercise, but specifically like hiking, getting out of my space, getting out of my workspace, and just sort of recalibrating. That’s what normally happens for me when I’m on a hike, or when I go on a walk or get out of the house and get some exercise, man.

Is that the best form of meditation for you? I can’t like.. I don’t know how people sit down and meditate..

[Laughs].

.. maybe I’ve got like undiagnosed ADHD or something. But do you prefer to like get moving?

You know, there’s a couple of things that are meditative for me. Music is meditative for me. I would say that, yeah, hiking for me is absolutely.. it brings me that very similar kind of mental peace, recalibration. But no, I love to meditate as well, and often I do it with music that helps get me kind of in a good space. So, that’s what I think the goal of each one of the states that we built out for the algorithm to use.. the idea was to create music that sort of made each one of those experiences, whether you’re in a static state, like if you were sitting down and meditating, having a piece of music that would help you in that state or help add to that experience. And as you progress in movement, we tried to build something that really helped add to that experience. And I think, with the help of the team, we were able to create something that’s gonna add value to people, and that’s pretty much all you can hope for when you make things. Is it gonna add value? Is it gonna help people? Is it going to do something for someone? So, yeah.

What type of music would you say is meditative for you? Are you the type of artist who would prefer instrumental music in that type of space?

Yeah. Absolutely, more instrumental music, for me, is meditative. Because as a songwriter, I pay attention to lyrics, so it’s hard to shut that off. So yeah, if I’m looking to meditate, it will absolutely be with music that is just instrumental. Often like not even melodic. Sometimes it’s just tones, with no arrangement. I think that’s.. I mean, scientifically it’s proven that certain tones help put you in different states of mental activity.

miguel
Miguel.

Do you go with like a Brian Eno-type vibe? What artists would you go to?

Man, I love.. I mean, jazz can be that way from me. I’m a big Miles head. And even though I know the melodies, it still for whatever reason can be meditative for me. I think because it’s not lyrical, and more expressionist, especially the stuff that I like to listen to from Miles. It’s not arranged, so it feels likes it’s less of a.. I don’t even know what the word would be right now.. You gotta excuse me, it’s Friday. I’m like, “Huh? What?”

[Laughs]. I’m in the same boat.

But yeah, I mean, in terms of stuff I listen to, honestly, for meditative music, it’s normally like downtempo jazz, or it’s literally like frequency tones. So not anything arranged. It’s just more tonal.

I was looking at this Brian Eno speech on generative music. This guy said that, after experimenting with generative music, he couldn’t listen to a normal record the same, it was “very difficult” for him. Has this mode of composition shifted your perception at all? Has the project changed the way you think about things musically at all?

Well, it absolutely opened up the possibilities, because understanding now that you can give.. you can actually program something to.. like AI can analyze the way a musician generally creates, and then create based off of that, and create pieces of music that would mimic those sorts of choices. I think the better and better we get at programming.. I mean, the possibility of programming, according to my past choices and then giving the machine a set of sounds or tones, or specific choices, and then letting it do things that are based on what it’s analyzed about my past choices. I think that’s an interesting way of integrating AI. I think there’s just so many different ways, and that’s just like.. that’s just one run. You can assign it to do specific tasks.

I think the possibilities are endless. I think it’s an interesting space in general. As technology becomes more and more integrated, it’s only going to become.. it’s just the way things are going, you know? Humans are gluttons for convenience, and technology obviously makes things a lot more convenient. So, as we progress, I feel like it’s just the natural way things are gonna go. So, finding ways that we work with technology, I think is just sort of a natural progression. And yeah, it’s just interesting to sort of start playing with and imagining new ways that we may use algorithm and AI and computer learning to help us create new, interesting things that we haven’t done before.

Do you see that factoring into your solo work at all? As such an organically talented musician, do you see that type of technology implementing into what you do, into the music itself?

Just collaborating with the Endel team, I think the hope is that we continue to collaborate and find new ways to implement the technology. So I would love to. I think right now.. not everybody has an Endel team and AI that can do what they program it to do. So, I think it’s early, but that’s sort of why I jumped at the chance because it’s these new ideas that will absolutely be normal in time. So, being able to be one of the first to jump in and learn about it and learn about the process, and be able to witness firsthand the possibilities was what made it a no brainer.

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‘Halloween Kills’ smashed box-office expectations despite also streaming on Peacock and it shows the strength of the horror genre

Michael Myers is back in "Halloween Kills."
Michael Myers is back in “Halloween Kills.”

  • “Halloween Kills” topped the domestic box office over the weekend with $50 million.
  • It cost just $20 million to produce.
  • Horror movies have been resilient during the pandemic, from “A Quiet Place Part II” to “Candyman.”

“Halloween Kills,” the sequel to the 2018 “Halloween” franchise revival, exceeded expectations at the US box office over the weekend, showing once more that the horror genre is thriving during the pandemic.

The movie earned $50 million in its domestic debut while also streaming simultaneously on NBCUniversal’s Peacock service. It’s below the $76 million opening weekend of its predecessor, but an impressive total considering the pandemic, it’s availability on streaming, and its poor reviews. It has a 39% Rotten Tomatoes critic score while 2018’s “Halloween” received a more positive 79%.

2018’s “Halloween” ultimately grossed $159 million in the US and $255 million worldwide.

“That’s hard to match, but this is an outstanding start anyway, under any conditions,” Hollywood consultant David A. Gross said. “The horror genre is alive and well.”

“Halloween Kills” will face competition in its second weekend as Warner Bros.’ “Dune” hits theaters (and HBO Max) and piracy could be an issue. It was No. 3 on piracy news website Torrent Freak’s weekly list of most pirated movies on Monday, likely due to it being available to stream.

“When a movie is released simultaneously to a streaming service, a pristine copy of that movie is made available day one that it’s in cinemas,” John Fithian, CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners, told Insider during a recent interview.

But the movie is already a win for the distributor Universal and production company Blumhouse. It was made for a small sum of $20 million and it’s the best domestic opening of the pandemic for a horror movie, topping “A Quiet Place Part II’s” $47.5 million.

Horror has been a resilient genre during the pandemic, and Universal in particular has capitalized with not only “Halloween Kills” but “Candyman” and “Old,” as well. Paramount’s “A Quiet Place Part II” and Warner Bros.’ “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” also topped the box office this year.

“Filmmakers like Jordan Peele, the Blumhouse roster of talent, and others have helped the horror genre gain a new level of respect, box-office revenue potential, and enduring audience appeal,” Paul Dergarabedian, the Comscore senior media analyst, recently told Insider.

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Netflix isn’t available in China but that hasn’t stopped businesses there from cashing in on the ‘Squid Game’ frenzy with merch

squid game
  • Businesses in China are capitalizing on the “Squid Game” phenomenon.
  • The South Korean show is a hit in China even though the streaming service is not available in the country.
  • South Korea’s ambassador to China said he has asked authorities to take action against illegal distribution of the show.

Netflix’s “Squid Game” is a hit in China, with related products and merch flying off the shelves – despite the streaming service being unavailable in the country.

Chinese viewers have instead been watching the hit South Korean show – Netflix’s most popular show ever – through VPNs, unofficial streaming services, and file-sharing, keeping discussions on the show alive and trending on social media.

The show has become popular enough in China that Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform, recorded 1.9 billion mentions of it, according to the South China Morning Post.

In the big cities of Beijing and Shanghai, shops have jumped on the dalgona bandwagon. The sweet honeycomb-based candy features prominently in one of the show’s deadly challenges.

In the capital city of Beijing, a bakery started a “Squid Game”-themed confection-making challenge, Reuters reported.

The owner of DIY Bakery & More told Reuters that her customers are mainly young people – a key demographic of the show’s fan base.

Shop selling Squid Game themed dalgona sugar candy in Shanghai, China.
Customers flocking to a shop in Shanghai, China selling dalgona sugar candy featured in Netflix’s “Squid Game.”

In Shanghai, long queues formed at an eatery selling dalgonas, reported AFP.

Avid fans took photos with the shop’s “Squid Game”-themed signs, the outlet reported, and like in one of the challenges in the series, attempted to cut shapes from the candy without breaking them.

Chinese manufacturers are also trying to keep up with relentless orders for “Squid Game” merchandise ahead of Halloween.

At the world’s largest wholesale market in the city of Yiwu, manufacturers told China’s state-owned Global Times newspaper they’ve been swamped with orders for the masks worn by “Squid Game” monitors in the show. Demand for mask molds has also soared.

One wholesale toy shop, Huayu Toys, told the newspaper it has been selling more than 10,000 masks a day since the beginning of October, with exports accounting for about 80% of sales.

But ongoing electricity curbs are limiting production, the wholesalers said.

Shop in Yiwu, China selling Squid Game merchandise
Costumes and masks inspired by “Squid Game” at a wholesale market in Yiwu, China.

Despite “Squid Game’s” runaway success in China, South Korea’s ambassador to China is reportedly not amused by the show’s proliferation across non-official channels.

The South Korean envoy told a parliamentary audit recently that he had asked Chinese authorities to take action against the piracy, AFP reported.

“Our assessment is that ‘Squid Game,’ which is gaining global popularity, is being illegally distributed on around 60 sites in China,” Jang Ha-sung said, according to the outlet.

The series is unlikely to be officially available in China, experts told the South China Morning Post, citing the show’s violence and its themes of socioeconomic inequality, which are likely to rile Chinese censors.

And even if the show were to ever find an official Chinese distributor, it would probably be stripped of many of its core components.

“A clean version of “Squid Game?” It would not be the same drama,” Hye-Kyung Lee, a researcher of K-dramas at King’s College London told SCMP. “I am not sure if this drama will ever pass Chinese censorship, as there are too many killings and there is a lot of extreme [content], which is essential for the storyline.”

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I travel the world for free as a wedding planner for the rich and famous. This is what my job is like.

Alison Laesser-Keck
Alison Laesser-Keck is an ultra-luxury wedding planner based in California.

  • Alison Laesser-Keck is the founder of Alison Bryan Destinations, a high-end wedding planning company.
  • She’s planned ultra-luxury weddings around the world for millionaires, billionaires, and celebrities.
  • This is what her job is like, as told to Insider’s Heather Schlitz.

Alison Laesser-Keck is the founder of Alison Bryan Destinations, a high-end wedding planning company. This is what her job is like, as told to Insider’s Heather Schlitz.

I was working in four- or five-star restaurants for years before I started my own wedding-planning company. My husband, Bryan Keck, said it sounded like a terrible idea, but I did it anyway.

I started by placing an ad on Craigslist and immediately booked a wedding at a huge estate with 100 people. I still don’t know how it happened. Bryan worked at a bar, and would tell the important people coming in: “My wife is an event planner.” It wasn’t long before I started getting very high-end Sweet 16 parties. It was word of mouth from the very beginning.

By year two, it was chaotic. I would sleep with my phone next to the bed and check it throughout the night. It was the next level of workaholism, but I felt so deeply about this passion.

Bryan joined the company, and it became our mutual shared passion; it’s the most important thing in our lives outside of family and friends. It requires dedication to the point that our dreams of owning an event company and traveling the world have become bigger than our dreams of having children.

We didn’t want to work in an office and do weddings in the local Four Seasons – that was our worst nightmare

wedding
A wedding in Ventana Big Sur planned by Laesser-Keck.

We’re a destination-wedding company, so we work all over the world. Our favorite part of the job is it’s not just a wedding. We’re creating once-in-a-lifetime, luxury-travel experiences where you can go somewhere cool and bring everyone you love.

It’s so rare to have everyone you love in one space. We work hard to do that moment justice.

After more than 10 years, we’re primarily working with millionaires and billionaires. Some clients are definitely household names, but most are in finance or the business world.

There are clients who will spend millions on their weddings because they really don’t have a budget. At our weddings, we’ve had celebrity entertainers like Miguel, Janelle Monáe, or Solange’s DJ perform. We’ve had a 26-page custom cocktail menu, boat tours through a slot canyon in Utah, and Michelin-starred chefs.

People always think luxury means more things. It doesn’t. For us, it’s about quality and really honing in on the details that make it special.

Clients are sheltered from all the stress and hustle

wedding venue
A wedding at Korakia in Palm Springs.

My husband and I have a very mobile existence. Venues and hotels around the world host us for free because they want us to experience the property. We haven’t had to pay for travel in years. Before the pandemic, we had 56 flights.

Wedding planning just requires such a high degree of detail and organization. If you imagine a big puzzle, you’ve got 30,000 pieces, and they have to click together just right while also being on budget, on time, beautiful, and easy.

There are many times at the heart of wedding season – April to November – when I work from 7 a.m to 11 p.m. When we have weddings constantly, I grab my phone and respond to emails from the moment I wake up. A lot of clients are from New York City, and at 6 a.m. Pacific Time, I already have a large amount of emails.

We’re managing everything for clients – we’re finding and booking venues, sourcing welcome bags, creating floral and lighting design, booking rentals, deciding who walks down aisle when, helping with seating, overseeing design of print material, and plenty of other things. We want our clients to go into guest mode when the wedding happens.

On the night of a wedding, we typically get home at 1 a.m. after about a week of making welcome bags and setting up the venue. On the day of, the team has breakfast together at 7 a.m. before we rush out to the venue.

On the day of a wedding, I run on adrenaline alone

wedding
A Utah wedding planned by Laesser-Keck.

On wedding days, I’m constantly running around with my finger pointed.

We always say we’re going to eat lunch, but we never do because there’s no time. By the time the event starts, we’ve already had an eight- or nine-hour day.

We manage everything, like making sure the band is fed and the design is coming together aesthetically. We hold down silly things, like making sure caterers don’t put butter on tables before we photograph them and making sure no one moves the chairs that we spent two hours straightening.

That stuff is the difference between a well-produced wedding or not. Clients aren’t spending six or seven figures on a wedding to not have linens tucked.

But at the end of the night, I’m on top of the world knowing that we gave our clients something so special. A lot of it is one to three years in the making, and it truly is something they’ll never experience again.

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