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June 4, 2019
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THE BILLIE EILISH AND LIL NAS X ERA OF STARDOM
Before she sold 300K+ copies of her debut album in its first week, 17-year-old Billie Eilish already had one billion streams of her music on websites like SoundCloud and YouTube. The kicker? She did it all with zero radio play or traditional touring. In the same timeframe, 20-year-old Lil Nas X dropped his bop “Old Town Road,” which was streamed 143 million times in a single week and became a viral sensation both Billy Ray Cyrus and hyped-up elementary school kids could get behind. Less than a year ago, he was a college dropout living with his sister; now he’s a Teen Vogue cover star.
 
Both Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X have achieved something core to how Gen Z operates: Pop star-level success without going through the traditional channels set forth by The Powers That Be. If anything, young people are attracted to them because of the fact they’ve subverted the typical path of music success. And just as important, both Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X themselves don’t seem as invested in whether or not they’re on the Billboard charts or if their songs are on the radio; after all, those metrics didn’t get them where they are now.
 
We already know Gen Z sees the world differently than previous generations. But Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X showcase a huge component of what that means: If the old guard won’t accept you, redefine the markers of success entirely and find people who will. Then watch the old guard rush to catch up. When individuals or brands scoff at this ethos, they’re missing valuable opportunities with Gen Z—ones that others will snatch up in an instant.
ICYMI

  
Taylor Swift sent an open letter to her anti-LGBTQ+ senator.

  Visa makes a smart investment to empower women.

  Sephora is closed tomorrow to recommit to an environment of inclusion.

  146K plastic bricks helped Lego achieve its renewable energy goal three years early.

  The Scripps Spelling Bee ended in an eight-way tie.
 
NOTES FROM THE ROAD

We’re in Detroit this week speaking at Sustainable Brands. Are you here? Hit us up! High-five of the day goes to Jon Coleman, Director of City Solutions at Ford Smart Mobility, who challenged business to shift the approach to "do more good" rather than "do less bad": 

"The things that are most important define quantitative measure. Of course, you need goals and objectives, but the foundation is qualitative. If you try to fit into the current business model, you aren't aiming the bar high enough."
Today's Quick Hit
 Mac Pro or cheese grater?
DoSomething Strategic (formerly TMI Strategy) is the data-driven consultancy arm of DoSomething.org. We help brands and organizations engage young people for positive social change.

Want to learn more about how we help clients activate young people?
Reply to this email to meet Meredith, our Managing Director.
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