🎶you can call me on my cell phone

late night when I’m in Clubhouse

You are cordially invited to this week’s brew of High Tea, your dispatch of 🔥internet culture served piping hot. This week: the nature of celebrity during quarantine, TikTok brings the house(party) down and podcasts enter another dimension. 

Drink up 🐸☕

WE’RE BACK AND THEY MAD. Did you miss us?

what we’ve been sipping on:

Whether you’re scuuuum gang or not, this week belonged to 6ix9ine and 6ix9ine only. First came ‘GOOBA’, breaking the record for a 24-hour debut on YouTube, with 43 million views (exceeding Eminem’s record by a healthy 5M 👀). The animoji-heavy aesthetic was a hit for Zs, who comprise a substantial portion of his fanbase, featuring 3D visuals from Alex Solis, adding fuel to the fire of his self-serving trolling. 🐀

Stop playin wit me .... who made this?
May 11, 2020

But the hype didn’t stop there: arriving on the same day was another milestone for the troubled rapper - this time breaking the Instagram Live record with 2M views, 750K of which came in the first 15 seconds 🤯. 15 minutes of fame? 6ix9ine said: this the remix. Former IG record holder, Torey Lanez and his Quarantine Radio (ft. Drake, no less) didn’t stand a chance with their 310k views. 

6ix9ine’s pre-quarantine (and err...jail) anthem ‘STOOPID’ was an instant hit with Zs on TikTok, with 1.4M videos set to the song’s ubiquitous “Bozo, bitch are you dumb-d-dumb-dumb-dumb-d-dumb-dumb-dumb? (stupid)”. Four of the top ten videos to the track feature Charli D’Amelio (yes, there’s a dance to that), with her 56M followers and counting, cementing the earworm into the TikTok zeitgeist. 🐸☕prediction: GOOBA is set to follow in its footsteps - and fast. 

In The House, fame is anyone’s game:

During lockdown, Houseparty has fed the appetite of “company starved” millennials and Zs. Yawn, we been knowing this already. What’s worth writing home about is their ‘In the House’ spectacle - a 3-day festival hosted in-app this weekend, with a vast swathe of millennial and Gen Z celebrity names. Sandwiched between the likes of Alicia Keys, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Zooey Deschanel, you can also find the cherry picked Zoomers of the zeitgeist. Enter: Addison Rae and Gabi Butler.  

We have to hand it to the folks at Epic Games, this is noteworthy.

It’s no accident that these breakout stars, firmly embedded in the teenage lexicon but lesser known to mainstream celebrity culture, are on the bill alongside fame staples for the Gen Z diet: Doja Cat and DaBaby. Houseparty’s hook comes with the anticipated migration of loyal fan bases built elsewhere (we’re 👀 at Addison’s very calm 40.8M TikTok followers and the success of viral hits like Say So, TOES and VIBEZ), that show willing for digital escapism while stuck indoors. We’ll take the bait, Houseparty. We’ll take it!  

The buck doesn’t stop there. Houseparty also partnered with several high profile TikTokers (ex-Hype House Dixie D’Amelio and Sway House members, Josh Richards and Taylor Holder) for sponcon vids under #InTheHouseparty (1.7B views). Houseparty didn’t miss a beat by soundtracking the obviously-sponsored vids to a Curtis Roach (TikTok and quarantine royalty, fyi) ‘bored in the house’ remix. Co-watching of live events represents a new frontier for the app and rumors in the twittersphere are already reporting that Addison’s feature drew in the largest crowd to date. See, that’s the thing: everyone wants to learn how to dance like Addison Rae but not everyone wants to do a workout with Alicia Keys 🤷‍♀️. Sorry bout it. 

Spotify, but make it better.

Spotify even wants in on the 📹 action, testing video podcasts to 50% of the app’s listeners, which feels like an important development for Spotify’s poddy clout - following acquisitions of The Ringer and Gimlet Media in recent years. Spotify’s decision to launch with Zane and Heath: Unfiltered, hosted by two prominent members of the Vlog Squad (6.2M combined subscribers) is not an accident. Their podcast channel, on which they began uploading 8 months ago, has gathered 29M views for filmed episodes of their podcast. This proves yet again how Zs are the most powerful and pivotal audience you can engage online to test effectiveness and affinity. We say: Zs lurking on YouTube will be tempted to flirt with this Spotify experiment, lured in by the option to keep video playing - even if listeners lock their phones.  🐸☕

Now time for the $100M question: where does that leave Clubhouse? 

it was a big week for video, but an even bigger one for audio: 

Will we ever get over *that* $100M valuation? Probs not, but the show must go on. Since its April beta launch, Clubhouse has been ruling the social media roost with secret convos with Jared Leto about washing his vegetables with soap (eek), Kevin Hart giving us the gift of a spontaneous TED talk (emotional resilience👋), and Tiffany Haddish dishing out quarantine tips (praise be 🙏). It’s been a ride, and it ain’t stopping anytime soon. What has quarantine taught us about the nature of celebrity and our relationship to them? It’s getting a shake up. Listen up? Nah, listen in. 

ICYMI: for those of you unfamiliar with the app, Clubhouse is an audio-only social space, where users can participate in different “rooms” of conversation: from shooting the shit, to back of the bus antics and discussions on speciality topics, the app (though still in beta) is rife with curious minds ready to chomp at the bit. 

For now, as testing continues in its early days, it’s a close knit community - mostly populated by an SF stronghold who are eager to exchange notes with an audience of willing participants. But, this peep into the future of the audio-only platform gives us a lens into the kind of social network we can expect to see a whole lot more of - and one that we’re giving the High Tea stamp of approval to 🐸☕️.

It’s clear that the appetite for intimacy and connectivity, despite the lack of in-person cahoots, is larger than ever during lockdown. The commodification of scandal and the celebrity world that it orbits is one thing, but for the rest of us, the chance to access and escape to these worlds of aspiration and entertainment is thrilling. Each network shapes and, in turn, is shaped by its own definition of celebrity. But while blue ticks and brand deals have dominated our social media of late, Clubhouse is a welcome reprieve from all that jazz: authentic and inspiring in equal parts. 

How will it scale? This is the question of the hour. But we see huge potential for Clubhouse to bring niche communities together in real time, with rooms for different subcultures and specialities. Mark our words, you’ll want to secure your handle sharpish. 🏃‍♀️

💦 Waterc00ler: Fun first, work optional [launching Monday!] 

It’s been a minute since remote-work became the norm, and it’s safe to say we’ve all got a serious case of the zoom fatigue. Slack is working overdrive, bubble chats are popping up left, right and center and, let’s face it, we’re missing the office bantz. With companies willing to test new productivity tools for remote teams (Discord, hi how are ya?) and Clubhouse giving everyone serious FOMO, we think y’all need to add waterc00ler to your list. The brain child of Robin Raszka and Russ D’Sa, waterc00ler is the new way to revive the office vibez, while at home. Audio-first (ofc, what else), the app focuses on remote office fun first (yes, you heard) with voice changers and games incorporated into a company group chat context. Launching tomorrow, you can DM for early access

Sneak peek of the app ^

kettle’s on: ones to watch

🏠WFH, forever. Jack announced this week that Twitter employees can work from home permanently. Yes, permanently. What an incredible move by one of the biggest tech giants. What will this mean for Silicon Valley as we know it? Is a mass exodus on the cards? We’re not so sure. Although we’ve heard twitter whispers, it seems many are still committed to returning to the traditional office structure. Maybe there is such a thing as a free lunch...🐸☕️

✈️Future gives us some blue sky thinking. If you want to see a serious marketing campaign in action, look no further than this morning in LA. To promote his newly released album: High Off Life, Future commissioned a large skywriting project which was seen by thousands. David Dobrik shared his view on Insta, and we have to say, mega props to Future for reading the room and capitalizing on our undivided attention atm. Mask on.

📸Hold the front page. Emma Chamberlain is truly the people’s influencer. As one of the biggest YouTube stars to have successfully transitioned to TikTok (no mean feat), launched her own coffee brand, and graced the front row of Paris Fashion Week, Emma is a burgeoning businesswomen and a huge deal. This week, she featured on the front cover of Allure for their June/July 2020 edition and it’s safe to say we lost our heads. Her journey from reviewing dollar store purchases at 16 years old, to now doing brand deals with Epic Games [no less] and reaching the mainstream, is something we’ll be exploring in a later exposé...🐸☕️stay tuned!

🎉Group sharing on spotify. It feels like we’ve been waiting for this for a while, but finally, Spotify launches Group Sessions: a chance to listen along in real time with your quarantining pals and families. You’re welcome. 

Okay, you made it. We’ll see you again next Sunday for your weekly dose of the strong stuff.


Alice & Faye