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🚀 TikTok goes head to head with Spotify
Plus, a new LLM enters the herd!
🦙 LLaMA 2 is here. Meta debuted LLaMA 2, the second generation of its large language model, in partnership with Microsoft. If you’re not familiar with LLMs, think of LLaMA 2 as similar to GPT-4, the OpenAI model behind products like ChatGPT. However, LLaMA 2 is open source. This means developers can freely iterate on the model and publish modifications for others to use, creating an ecosystem of fine-tuned versions for particular use cases (check out r/LocalLLaMA for more on this).
If you’re interested in trying out LLaMA 2, the infra team at a16z built a chatbot demo.
📺 Netflix earnings update. Netflix reported Q2 earnings this week - and it was a bit of a mixed bag. The password crackdown resulted in a substantial increase in subscribers, with nearly 6M net new accounts (vs. -1M in Q2 ‘22). However, revenue climbed only 2.7% YoY, as revenue per user has fallen with expansion to lower-paying countries and new, cheaper plans. CEO Ted Sarandos also confirmed that Netflix’s first expansion into live sports will be a celebrity golf tournament in November.
📱 Remini takes off. Remember Lensa, the AI avatar app that went viral in December 2022? A successor has emerged - Remini, an AI-powered photo enhancer that has climbed up the charts with features like auto-generated professional headshots, and the “baby filter” (predicts your future child’s face). Remini is the product of Italian startup studio Bending Spoons, which recently acquired Evernote. Third-party data shows that Remini’s weekly downloads are just about reaching Lensa’s weekly downloads at peak - we’re curious to see how this trends!
🤖 Other AI updates. There was no shortage of AI news this week. A few more stories we followed:
ChatGPT launched custom instructions, a feature that essentially pre-prompts the bot with context on you and your preferences before it responds (you can finally eliminate the “as a large language model…”).
Fable Studio released a paper on “showrunner agents,” which can create interactive stories (like a personal TV show) from a prompt. The team unveiled several mini South Park episodes created with their AI tool.
what we’re following 👀
a16z’s Jon Lai on how AI will enable new games that can engage players…forever!
After recent controversies, Shein’s Gen Z favorability rating has dropped significantly.
If you’re building a consumer AI or infrastructure product and live in SF - we’re holding a mixer in early August! Sign up here and we’ll send you more info.
TikTok has massively disrupted the music industry. It’s shaped how artists construct songs (for maximum virality), who gets discovered, and which albums get streams.
Now, it looks like TikTok may be headed into battle with the world’s biggest streaming service - Spotify. This month, TikTok launched a test version of TikTok Music, live in Brazil, Indonesia, Australia, Mexico, and Singapore. Thanks to an eSIM, VPN, and several burner phone numbers/email accounts (😂), we were able to get an early look.
TikTok Music is a standalone app, but to get started, you can sign in via your TikTok account. After selecting a few of your favorite artists, you’re dropped into a feed of songs to scroll through vertically (similar to browsing TikTok itself). TikTok Music also transfers over songs that you’ve favorited on TikTok into a special playlist, and automatically links your TikTok friends to share and discuss music with.
You can like, comment on, or share each song, and read other comments - creating a social element that Spotify lacks. TikTok Music also features curated and personalized playlists, which lean heavily towards songs and artists trending on TikTok. There’s also a playlist of “remixes” - user-generated tracks that mash up different songs, which often go viral as TikTok audios but are typically unavailable on Spotify.
It’s still very early days for TikTok Music, but parent company ByteDance has executed this playbook before. In 2020, the company launched a Spotify challenger called Resso in India, which has scaled to an estimated 30M monthly active users (per SensorTower data). ByteDance also debuted streaming app Qishui Yinyue (“Soda Music”) in China, where Spotify doesn’t operate.
We’re waiting to see how a potential U.S. rollout goes before making any big predictions. 👀 But longer-term, where might TikTok Music be headed? There’s a few things we’d love to see:
Artist development. TikTok just launched “Elevate,” a program for next gen artists to receive creator resources and support from TikTok’s official handles. With a streaming service, TikTok could move further into artist discovery + promotion. So many artists have been “discovered” via TikTok - why shouldn’t the company eventually run its own record label to invest in the app’s rising stars?
Capcut-like sync. Similar to how some TikTok filters send you to ByteDance’s video editing app Capcut to use them, TikTok should send you directly to TikTok Music to listen to a full song! We suspect this may be coming sooner rather than later. The Brazilian version of TikTok now displays a banner on each audio linking to the TikTok “Music Charts” - a natural potential tie-in to the Music app.
Song and artist pre-saves. As artists move more of their music promotion to TikTok, we’ve started seeing more “teaser” videos of songs that aren’t released yet. Right now, we have to track these down on Spotify to pre-save - TikTok Music could let you do this in one click. Similarly, we’d love to get notifications about new songs from artists we’ve followed or liked content from on TikTok!
Tribe Capital - Analyst (Remote)
Stripe - Data Analyst (Remote)
Medra - Chief of Staff (SF)
Sendoso - Business Operations & Analytics (SF)
Thunkable - Chief of Staff (SF)
UTA - Venture Fund Associate (LA)
Tinder - Strategy Associate (LA)
Techstars - Investment Associate (NYC)
Rough Draft Ventures - Fellow (Various)
Garmentory - Marketing Intern (Seattle)
Velt - Brand and Content Marketing Intern (SF)
Instabase - Software Engineering Intern (Menlo Park, NYC)
Plug and Play Tech Center - Operations Intern (LA)
Apple - Finance Development Program Interns (Cupertino)
Tesla - Supply Chain Planning Intern (Austin)
EasyKnock - Corporate Development Intern (NYC)
puppy of the week 🐶
Meet Lincoln, a goldendoodle who lives in SoCal with his sister London.
We’re pretty sure we’ve featured him before, but we couldn’t resist a repeat this week - he’s bringing real Kenergy.
Follow him on Instagram @the_life_of_lincoln.
All views are our own. None of the above should be taken as investment advice. See this page for important information.