ATARASHII GAKKO! Releases the new song “Pineapple Kryptonite” produced by Money Mark. ATARASHII GAKKO!, a four-girl progressive Japanese pop-group, blends punk energy with elements of pop, rock, jazz, and hip-hop presenting it via avant-garde, self-choreographed dance, and today they’ve released their newest song. “Pineapple Kryptonite” 88rising. The track is the first single from ATARASHII GAKKO!’s forthcoming EP, which was created with legendary producer, Money Mark (known for his collaboration with the Beastie Boys among many others) and will be out later this year. The track is a high octane banger, perfect for soundtracking a car chase or running from an alien invasion, as seen in the song’s brilliant music video.
Directed by the legendary, Phillip G. Atwell, responsible for game-changing videos by Eminem, Eve feat. Gwen Stefani, Tupac, and more, the music video for “Pineapple Kryptonite” is rich in texture, featuring the dynamic choreography for which the girls are known. The video takes place in the California desert during an epic intergalactic confrontation as ATARASHII GAKKO! battles dog-abducting, evil pineapple-fearing aliens. Paying homage to the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage,” ATARASHII GAKKO! tried out their acting skills by playing the distressed American family in the video. They also did all their own stunts!
Translated to “New School” in Japanese, ATARASHII GAKKO! are clad in school uniforms and self-proclaimed representatives of Seishun (Japanese youth). A resistance of tiny proportions, the group strives to live and create with individuality by finding freedom within society’s acceptable margins by pushing boundaries a little bit at a time. It’s music that shows restraint on its face but is bursting with passion. Members Mizyu (the Sleeping Kitten), Suzuka(The Wildcard), Kanon(The Graceful One), and (the nice and funky one) are all trained in Kumitaisou – an acrobatic formation that trains in strength, balance, concentration, teamwork, and coordination. 360 Magazine is impressed to see how this pop group brings together the whole world.
Exactly a year ago, Narendra Modi’s government with little public or parliamentary debate, passed three farmer bills. According to them, these bills are a gift to the farmers, but in reality, the bills are a gift for the rich agribusinesses in India. The majority of the population in Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan are farmers, they make their entire income based on their produce. Some call the farmers ‘India’s Food Soldiers’ and many people have shown support to the farmers.
The first bill that was released was The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce(Promotion and Facilitation) Act. This act allows the farmers to produce and have free trade outside the physical premises of the specific markets under the APMC Act (Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee law). Under this act, the specific markets that the government has listed are agribusiness typhoons. These businesses are only going to set the price at a low rate so it’s cheaper for them. This act is in their favor because the farmers will not be able to go somewhere else to sell so they have to agree to the price the agribusiness sets. This puts the farmers in a low position to control their own products.
The second bill that was passed was the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act that made the decision to remove some items such as cereals and pulses from the list of essential commodities. This act was passed to attract foreign direct investment to the sector. This bill is limiting the number of items farmers can produce and sell. Certain states can only produce certain items based on the weather and the field the farmers have. This puts the farmers at a disadvantage when producing and won’t make as much money as they would normally.
The third bill was regarding the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act. This bill states to have a nationwide price limitation on all produces. This act doesn’t give farmers any empowerment over their produces which is putting them at a disadvantage. Combining all of these acts together, puts all farmers at a disadvantage, to not have a free trade market for them, price points that are lower than normal, and limited items to sell. The agribusinesses have connections in the government which is why the agribusinesses have more control over the price and are the only buyers that the farmers can sell to.
In August 2020, many farmers from the States of Punjab and Haryana gather to protest in the capital, Delhi. The farmers had seen that one bill was passed and they needed to stop for more to be released as in Haryana, these laws were issued as of August. September was when the government passed the Farmers Produce Trade and Commission Act, which put more fire into the farmers to get justice by removing these bills. Many farmers across the country were angry and had to show it somehow as the news was not covering the farmers’ protest in the capital because the news channels were owned by the agribusinesses or the government. So some farmers set their own fields on fire, marched to government offices, or protested at the capital.
At first, the crowd of farmers was much smaller, so the government brushed it aside. It wasn’t until on November 23, 2020, when protesters march from around India toward Delhi. Once they reached the edge of the city on November 26, the protesters met a large group of police officers who used tear gas, water cannons, and physical force to keep them from entering the city. Over the entire year, over 1000 deaths have happened whether that be by the cold weather or by protestors hanging themselves. A majority of the population were elder men that have been farming for all of their life and don’t know another way to provide an income for their families. In Punjab, farmers have always had a hard time making an income as they don’t have much money to afford the necessities to run the field correctly. They take big loans to buy a tractor, but later can pay it off and then hang themselves.
There have been big protests, but 360 Magazine feels the number of people from different religions, states, ages, and genders who came out to support the frontlines of the capital is unbelievable. The men were already fighting for their rights, but the women have been standing like hard rock with them. The women at the border are providing food and protesting as well. It’s amazing to see all come together to roll back new agricultural laws. Multiple women and kids have been injured during the violent behavior of the police but they still come back or stay to support.
As many people from Punjab and Haryana reside in England, the United States, and Canada, the protestors sitting in the cold, were getting worldwide support. Even though these supporters are not in India to help physically, they showed their support by organizing protests in their cities, doing marches to bring more awareness, sharing on social media about what’s going on, and donating or sending money to their families back home to go provide food for the protestors as it was freezing at the start of the protest. Many other industry workers in India went on strike as well to show they are with the farmers.
Punjab is known for its music and their music really reaches a higher population. It was the only way to show to the world this is the reality of the protest which the news channels were not recording nor reporting to the world. So many Punjabi singers came together to make a ‘Kisaan Anthem’(Kisaan means farmers in Punjabi) that tells and shows every detail of the protest with live footage. Multiple Punjabi singers personally came and served the protestors, sat with the protesters, and tried their hardest to talk to official officers to get these laws rolled away.
As we are speaking about the Farmers’ Protest, it is still going on and it’s been exactly a year since it started. The government has been pressured to speak about the bills in the parliament and hopefully will take the bills back. No Farmers No Food.
One of the most anticipated debut R&B albums of the past year,Emanuel’s full-length projectALT THERAPYhas been unveiled to the world today via Motown Records & Universal Music Canada.
Before the world experienced moments of great upheaval and change this past year, an unknown new artist in Canada, a son of Ethiopian immigrants, had unknowingly written music that was prophetic to the times. His debut single, the emotionally stirring“Need You”, was released as the global pandemic struck, resonating with people around the world who were forced into isolation. Months later, when the brutal killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Trayvon Martin sparked a worldwide reckoning of systemic racism and racial inequality,Emanuel offered“Black Woman”to the world – his moving ode of reconciliation that honors the majesty of Black women. Last month, as vaccines were distributed and possibility began to take the shape of reality,Emanuelshared his prayer for the future with the release of“Worldwide”. Now, during the week of Juneteenth and one year after the release of his debut EPSession 1: Disillusion,Emanuelcelebrates freedom, growth and love withALT THERAPY, his full-length contribution to the“renaissance of beautiful black art in the world.”
ALT THERAPYis a journey. A narrative of discovering a deep self-awareness and celebrating personal growth,Emanuel’sdebut album is the testament of a young man in the process of becoming a great man.
“This album represents a spiritual self-discovery for me,”saysEmanuel.“It’s about the nuances of the human experience. I hope ALT THERAPY inspires others to gain understanding about themselves and the world, and that it’s attached to beautiful memories in their lives the way certain music is attached my mine. That would be an honour.”
Also released today is the visually striking official video for“Worldwide”,a song born out ofEmanuel’sdeep yearning to take his music, its message and energy, to people around the world while experiencing and absorbing the wisdom of many cultures. Directed byKit Weymanand Executively Produced byDirector X, the video is a visual depiction ofEmanuel’s “Worldwide”manifestation mantra.
Emanuel’stalent is indisputable. Discovered by Canadian hip-hop icon Kardinal Offishall, launched by global superstarIdris Elba, signed by legendary R&B record labelMotown Records, honored with aJUNO Award nominationfor his debut EP, and championed by fans, critics and industry partners alike,Emanuelis one of the most destined new voices in R&B.
The United Nations Foundation announced today that top global brands H&M and Banana Republic are once again partnering with UN Free & Equal for Pride Month this June to raise awareness and funds in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) equality worldwide. H&M will donate $100,000 to the global campaign this year, while Banana Republic will donate $60,000 this Pride Month.
“Pride connects directly to our core values and encapsulates our social vision to enable everyone at H&M and beyond to live the life they want, express who they are and to be the best of themselves”, says Pascal Brun, Global Sustainability Manager, H&M.
Both H&M and Banana Republic have long supported UN Free & Equal, a global campaign of the United Nations Human Rights Office that strives to advance equal rights and fair treatment for LGBTI people around the world. With this year’s contributions, H&M has now donated a total of $850,000, while Banana Republic has donated $240,000 to date through partnerships with UN Free & Equal.
“Inclusion has always been part of Banana Republic’s DNA and we are proud to partner with UN Free & Equal again this year to support their mission for LGBTI equality and human rights,” said Ana Andjelic, CBO of Banana Republic. “The past year has shown it is more important than ever to fight for equality and celebrate opportunity for all.”
Pride celebrations this year are taking place against the backdrop of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – a global crisis that has further exposed and exacerbated inequities and underscored the urgency of protecting the rights of LGBTI people.
“Every person – no matter who they are, where they live, or whom they love – deserves to live freely and authentically with full equality,” said Elizabeth Cousens, President & CEO of the UN Foundation. “The UN Foundation is proud to support UN Free & Equal in the fight for global LGBTI equality, and is grateful to both H&M and Banana Republic for their continued partnership.”
Now in its eighth year, the UN Free & Equal campaign aims to win respect, recognition, and acceptance for the human rights of LGBTI people around the world. The campaign reaches parents, students, teachers, journalists, and policymakers, especially in countries where LGBTI communities face hostility and hardship and aims to cultivate new allies in the fight for equality. It has campaigned in more than 30 countries so far, with 12 full-scale national campaigns currently active.
“LGBTI people remain among those who are most often left behind due to exclusion, discrimination and violence, and this has been further exacerbated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Young LGBTI people in particular face disproportionate levels of family rejection, bullying online and offline, homelessness and restrictions on access to information,” said Michael van Gelderen, LGBTI lead at UN Human Rights.
In support of LGBTI youth, UN Free & Equal recently launched a campaign with the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth calling on allies to support young LGBTI people in creating a fearless future where all young people are safe, loved and empowered to thrive – regardless of who they are or whom they love. The campaign, which is made possible by the generous support of corporate and Government donors, kicked off on May 17, the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia and will run through International Youth Day on August 12.
To learn more about the UN Free & Equal campaign, visit here.
H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB (publ) was founded in Sweden in 1947 and is quoted on Nasdaq Stockholm. H&M’s business idea is to offer fashion and quality at the best price in a sustainable way. In addition to H&M, the group includes the brands COS, Monki, Weekday, & Other Stories, H&M HOME and ARKET as well as Afound. The H&M group has 53 online markets and approximately 4,950 stores in 74 markets including franchise markets. In 2020, net sales were SEK 187 billion. The number of employees amounts to approximately 153,000. For further information, visit here.
About Banana Republic
Banana Republic is a global apparel and accessories brand committed to building a better tomorrow for people and the planet. Designed with purpose for those who share a passion for life with no boundaries, Banana Republic is redefining luxury by using the finest materials with the latest fabric innovations to create timeless, modern, and versatile clothing, eyewear, jewelry, shoes, handbags, and fragrances. Founded in 1978 in San Francisco, Banana Republic connects with customers online and in company-operated and franchise retail locations globally. For more information, please visit here.
About United Nations Foundation
The UN Foundation is an independent charitable organization created to be a strategic partner for the United Nations to address humanity’s greatest challenges, build initiatives across sectors to solve problems at scale, and drive global progress. Learn more here.
About UN Free & Equal
The UN Free & Equal campaign is an unprecedented global public information campaign aimed at promoting equal rights and fair treatment of LGBTI people. It was launched by the United Nations Human Rights Office in July 2013 and has since reached hundreds of millions of people globally through traditional and social media as well as generated a stream of widely shared materials – including powerful videos, impactful graphics and plain-language fact sheets. For more information please visit here.
JUNO-NOMINATED R&B ARTIST EMANUEL SHARES NEW SINGLE “WORLDWIDE” ALONGSIDE VISUALIZER TODAY, Debut Album ALT THERAPY To Be Released June 16
Listen to “Worldwide” here and watch the lyric video here!
Today Canadian R&B phenom Emanuel has released his new single “Worldwide” via Motown Records and Universal Music Canada. Described by Emanuel as a manifestation mantra, “Worldwide” captures a time when dreams were still dreams – before his music was streamed millions of times around the globe and his talent was admired by fans and critics alike. Listen to “Worldwide” here and watch the lyric video here.
Created in his producer/collaborator Bedroom’s basement, Emanuel recalls that the lyrics “floated up to the surface” as “Worldwide” spontaneously took shape: “During that time, we were really dreaming out loud in the way that we would talk about our futures and in the way that we were trying to summon this grand reality. This song was really born from the deep want to take the music to the world.” Years later, “Worldwide” has morphed from a manifestation mantra into a song of celebration and a prayer for the future.
“This past year has been a great learning experience for what it means to really manifest something and be appreciative of the things you’ve been able to uncover and draw from within yourself and make reality,” says Emanuel. “But even though we’ve manifested certain aspects of the song – and that’s a beautiful thing – it still wants to be seen out in its fullness. ‘Worldwide’ is a song of affirmation and it’s become a prayer to be able to continue until all of those goals are met in their completion.”
The dream to connect with people in the cities and countries he sings about is still very real for Emanuel since the pandemic has prevented him from bringing his music to stages around the world. “It’s wild to me how prophetic music can be. I’m still imagining going to those places, smelling the air, performing in front of crowds, and being able to truly live out what the song is talking about: to be able to take the message, the energy we bring, the light we’ve been blessed with; to be able to share that while also being open to receiving wisdom and exporting that back so we can enrich the places we’re in. That beautiful exchange, that’s the heart of it.”
Mixed by Gary Noble (Amy Winehouse, Nas, Public Enemy), “Worldwide” is the final glimpse into Alt Therapy, Emanuel’s inaugural full-length project, before the album makes its eagerly anticipated debut on June 16.
With over 21 million global streams, the first-generation Canadian has had a breakout year establishing his artistry through meaningful, expressive music in a time he describes as a “renaissance of beautiful black art in the world.” Since releasing his debut single “Need You” one year ago, Emanuel has achieved international acclaim for his undeniable talent and introspective, emotionally charged music. Released at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, “Need You” quickly became an early quarantine anthem as people from over 20 countries submitted personal videos and photos for the collaborative music video curated by Golden Globe-winning actor, musician, producer and Executive Producer of Emanuel’s debut album Idris Elba OBE. Before even releasing his debut EP Session 1: Disillusion (shared with the world on Juneteenth), Emanuel was named Apple Music’s New Artist of the Week, one of Amazon Music’s Artists to Watch, a Soundcloud Featured Artist, and a Spotify “On The Radar” Artist. Following the release of the EP, Emanuel became the first ever artist to be chosen for Spotify’s On The Radar program in Canada and was also named the Beats Artist of the Week. In October of 2020, Emanuel released “Black Woman”, the first single from his sophomore EP, alongside a digital portrait series that honoured Black female leaders in Toronto’s artistic and advocacy communities. The portraits towered over Toronto’s Yonge & Dundas Square for the first week of release on a bespoke Spotify billboard, the first ever of its kind. Alongside the December release of his Session 2: TransformationEP, Emanuel announced that legendary Motown Records would be his U.S. label partner. After making several end of year lists (including Earmilk’s Best Songs of 2020, Complex’s 25 Canadian Artists to Watch Out For in 2021 and Rolling Stone India’s Top 100 Songs of 2020), Emanuel’s momentum has only continued into 2021. With the achievement of his first Juno Award nomination for Traditional R&B/Soul Recording of the Year and the upcoming release of his debut full length album Alt Therapy, Emanuel is positioned to have another massive year of artistic growth and accomplishment.
Returning to #1 around the world and breaking numerous records,Taylor Swift has made history yet again with Fearless (Taylor’s Version). Notably, she’s the first woman with three new No. 1 albums in less than a year. Moving over 1 million units worldwide, Fearless (Taylor’s Version) logged the “biggest first week debut of any album this year,” “the biggest first week debut for a country album since 2015” and “the biggest female country streaming week ever.”Fearless (Taylor’s Version) is the only No. 1 album of its kind: a re-recording of an artist’s (own or another’s) previously released album.
Generating 50 million-plus streams on release day, it also achieved “the biggest first day streaming debut for any album on Spotify this year” and marked her fourth consecutive album to exceed 50 million Spotify streams in 24 hours. Fearless (Taylor’s Version) also becomes the first country album by a female artist to reach #1 on Apple Music’s US Albums chart.
In addition to capturing #1 on the Billboard Top 200, #1 on the Billboard Top Album Sales chart and #1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart, it went #1 in the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland. It debuted Top 5 in Belgium, Norway and the Netherlands and in Germany it was the biggest debut by a country album in the history of Germany’s album chart. Fearless (Taylor’s Version) charted at #1 on the iTunes Top Overall Albums Chart in 61 countries.
Fearless (Taylor’s Version) stands out as Taylor’s 4th #1 album in less than two years with the “3 biggest debuts since July2020” with folklore, evermore, and Fearless (Taylor’s Version). It also emerges as “the biggest female country album debut since the inception of the Billboard Top 200 album-based conception charts in 2014.” Fearless (Taylor’s Version) is the eleven-time GRAMMY Award-winning, record-breaking superstar’s 9th #1 Album.
Taylor entered rarified air across the pond as Fearless (Taylor’s Version) became her 3rd album to chart #1 during its debut week in less than a year in the UK. The Beatles had previously accomplished this incredible feat the fastest in 364 days, but Taylor eclipsed the speed of The Fab Four as she reached this benchmark and accumulated three #1’s in just 259 days—a difference of 105 days.
Not only did it become her 7th #1 in the country, but Taylor became “the first and only solo artist ever to claim three UK #1 albums in less than 12 months during the 21st century” and“the first ever international artist and first ever female artist to land three #1 albums in the UK within one year in history.”
Physical sales of Fearless (Taylor’s Version) outsold the remaining combined total physical sales of the UK Top 15. The permanent downloads also bested the remaining combined total permanent downloads of the Top 70. She shattered her own record for the second time in the last year as “the first and only female artist to garner7 #1 studio albums in the UK this century.” Additionally, she has gathered “the 3rd Most #1 albums in the UK by a female artist.”
Down Under, Taylor is now “the first artist to release three #1 albums in a 12-month periodin Australia.” Taylor is the first artist to have three different albums top the ARIA Charts in a twelve-month period. She bests her own record of “the shortest span of #1 albums in Australia” with only 17 weeks between evermore and Fearless (Taylor’s Version). Her previous record was 20 weeks between folklore and evermore. With eight total #1 albums in Australia, she is second for “female artist with most #1 albums” only behind Madonna and just behind Eminem for “most consecutive #1 albums.” At radio, “Mr. Perfectly Fine (Taylor’s Version)” bows in the Top 10 on the Airplay Chart.
REVIEWS OF FEARLESS (TAYLOR’S VERSION)
“A Rating” – The A.V. Club, Saloni Gajjar
“5/5 Stars” – The Daily Telegraph, Neil McCormick
“Fearless was always an exceptionally fine album of country-pop songs, detailing the romantic fixations of a wholesome teenage American girl on the verge of adulthood, and guess what? It still is.” – The Daily Telegraph, Neil McCormick
“4/5 Stars” – Rolling Stone, Jonathan Bernstein
“Her thirtysomething voice is richer, deeper, and more sure of itself.” – Rolling Stone, Jonathan Bernstein
“There are the songs that feel more moving now than they did 13 years ago.” – Rolling Stone, Jonathan Bernstein
“4/5 Stars” – The Guardian, Alexis Petridis
“Fearless is the kind of album in which fans have a genuine emotional investment.” – The Guardian, Alexis Petridis
“She’s changed from a talented kid with a guitar to one of today’s biggest superstars.” – USA Today, Hannah Yasharoff
“The new album is really well done.” – Entertainment Weekly, Lauren Huff
“Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” Is Even More Beautiful Than The Original Album” – Buzzfeed, Ryan Schocket
“Taylor’s vocals are undeniably stronger, smoother, and more connected than ever.” – Buzzfeed, Ryan Schocket
“The vault songs are making everyone question why the album wasn’t 27 tracks long to begin with.” – Buzzfeed, Ellie Bate
“Taylor Swift’s Fearless Re-Recording Is a Thrilling Timewarp.” – SPIN, Bobby Olivier
“4/5 Stars” – i Newspaper, Sarah Carson
“There are lyrics throughout Taylor Swift’s breakthrough record Fearless that nearly 13 years later, feel prophetic.” – i Newspaper, Sarah Carson
“There’s something really special about listening to Taylor sing these songs knowing the huge distance between where she is now and who she was when she wrote them.” – TIME, Annabel Gutterman
“I love that this re-recorded album is essentially a love letter to being a teenage girl. The world still dismisses teenage girls as not serious enough, too dramatic, and overall too much. Adolescence is often looked back on with embarrassment and shame. But these songs make me want to give my former 14-year-old self a hug and tell her she was doing just fine.” – TIME, Samantha
“It’s really a triumph of self-knowledge and self-awareness, in the way that Swift is so hyper-conscious of the ways she’s matured that she has the ability to un-mature before our very ears.” – Variety, Chris Willman
“Has there been a greater pop single in the 20th century than “You Belong With Me”? Probably not.” – Variety, Chris Willman
“It would not be surprising if, as we speak, Big Machine was putting a combined team of scientists and lawyers on the case of the new album’s waveform readouts, to make sure it’s not just the original album, remixed. Honestly, it’s that close.” – Variety, Chris Willman
“4/5 Stars” – NME, Hannah Mylrea
“‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’ both celebrates and stays true to Swift’s ‘Fearless’-era.” – NME, Hannah Mylrea
“Swift never cringes away from her younger self. Instead, she revisits the songs with kindness and affection, celebrating the success of her teenage releases.” – NME, Hannah Mylrea
“Taylor Swift’s Fearless album proves her songs were written to last.” – TheIndependent, Roisin O’Connor
“We can’t help but be impressed…” – Evening Standard, David Smyth
“Taylor Swift has taken control.” – Forbes, Abigail Freeman
“ALBUM OF WEEK: The real treats are the extra tracks, previously unreleased outtakes from the Fearless sessions. Maren Morris duets on the gorgeous You All Over Me, Keith Urban crops up and Mr Perfectly Fine is the banger that should have shown 13 years ago why country alone could never contain Swift’s talent.” – The Sunday Times, Lisa Verrico
“I immediately went to the chorus of “Fifteen,” one of my 2000s pop high-water marks, to see if I’d get chills. Good news: I did. Felt that gut punch during “White Horse.” “You Belong With Me” had that crucial air of resignation.” – The New York Times, Jon Caramanica
“As she dives back into her past work, it’s another reminder of what she brought to the genre — and what it lost when she moved on.” – The Washington Post, Emily Yahr
“The redone tracks from the original release, which make up the album’s first portion, are almost uniformly better than their forebears: warmer, crisper, more clearly enunciated. They sound newer and, at the same time, more lived-in.” – The Washington Post, Allison Stewart
“Taylor Swift releases a ‘perfect replica’ of Fearless.” – BBC, Mark Savage
“Damn, this album holds up – not only to the hype of its initial release, but despite that, beyond that.” – Consequence of Sound, Katie Moulton
“8/10” – The Line of Best Fit, Ross Horton
“4/5 Stars” – The Times, Will Hodgkinson
“Swifties grab your tissues, the release of Taylor Swift’s Fearless (Taylor’s Version) is finally here in all its nostalgic and emotional glory.” – Wonderland, Staff Writer
“8/10” – Clash, Lucy Harbron
“Like a restored photograph brightening from black and white into colour, Fearless (Taylor’s Version) is the same, but better.” – Clash, Lucy Harbron
“It’s the latest evidence that Swift is not just fearless but also relentless.” – Stereogum, Chris DeVille
“8/10” – Gigwise, Kelsey Barnes
“Swift is creating a bridge between two worlds; one where she’s merging older, timeless songs with a mature voice and outlook.” – Gigwise, Kelsey Barnes
“4/5 Stars” – The Evening Standard, David Smyth
“A masterclass in classic Nashville songwriting, from the searing melodrama of Love Story to the breakdown of a relationship in Breathe.” – The Times, Will Hodgkinson
Bike4Tourism Invites Would-Be Travelers to Cycle the World, Virtually
Seeking a Global Community to Bike Together While Apart and Share Images of Each Other’s Routes
Missing international travel? Wishing you could host some out-of-town friends to show them your most beautiful locations? Then Bike4Tourism has an inspiring global event tailor-made for you this Memorial Day weekend, on Sunday, May 30th.
Bike4Tourism aims to promote healthy living and sustainable tourism. The goal of the event is to have as many participants as possible, in every country, riding bikes and sharing photographs to the global community of the most beautiful places near their homes.
In sharing each other’s images, cyclists will virtually visit cities, countries and continents, without need for a passport — just a helmet and the will to discover or rediscover the places that surround us and show them to others.
Organizers are hoping for more than 115,000 participants around the world to break the current record. Proceeds will support environmental conservation charities and aid tourism businesses in financial need following Covid-19 travel restrictions.
It’s hoped that participants are left with even more desire to travel, sustainably, with a huge selection of photos of beautiful places from which to choose their next journey.
All are welcome to participate, and free tickets will be made available for children to encourage family bike rides. Early bird tickets are available from April 20th. For more information, visit Bike 4 Tourism, and Facebook.
Customer Service Tips Every Boutique Retailer Should Try
By: Joseph Heller, small businesses expert and CEO of Supplied!
Supplied makes it easier for small boutique owners around the world to access high-quality, affordable wholesale boutique items, whether to stock their physical store or IG shop.
Do you remember the last time you had a truly fantastic customer service experience?
Maybe a cashier complimented your earrings, or maybe the person at the drive-thru unexpectedly threw an extra taco in for free. Or maybe you were just really vibin’ with the enthusiasm you could hear at the other end of the customer support line. Whatever it was, chances are it made you more excited to return and support that company with your business in the future.
Now… think back to the last time you had an awful customer service experience.
Was someone being unnecessarily difficult while you were trying to return a sweater, you’d bought a week ago? Or did someone leave you on hold for hours and hours? Or maybe someone just would NOT honor your coupon, even though you received it in an email yesterday?
Whatever that bad experience was… I’d be willing to bet it made you a whole lot less likely to go back anytime soon.
As Vince Lombardi famously said, “It takes months to find a customer and seconds to lose one.” One poor customer service experience could cause you to lose all of a valuable customer’s future business.
If you haven’t been making great customer service a major priority in your boutique lately, now is the time to change that.
Read on to learn 25 powerful (but easy!) customer service tips every retailer should try implementing in their business.
(If you’ve hired someone else as the main customer service rep for your boutique business, send this article along to them as a reminder!)
Top 25 Customer Service Tips
Focus on the customer in front of you
As a boutique owner, you’ve constantly got about a zillion and one thing that need your time and attention. But when it’s a customer you’re dealing with, zero in on them and their needs. Nobody likes feeling unimportant – make sure you give them your undivided attention while they’re talking to you, whether it’s over the phone, in person, or in your site’s live chat.
Chances are, you’ve been in the exact same situation your customer’s in right now – whether they’re trying to figure out what size shoe to purchase or they’re trying to initiate a return for something that didn’t turn out the way they’d hoped. Do your best to see the situation from their perspective. You’ll be able to provide a better customer experience if you’re in touch with their needs and emotions.
Make an extra effort
Work tirelessly to solve your customer’s problems. If a customer wants a certain size that’s out of stock, double-check your inventory, let them know when they can expect that item to come back, offer them alternatives, or give them a discount code for their trouble. Your customers will appreciate you going the extra mile for them.
Customer service isn’t just about making your customer feel valued while you’re speaking to them – it’s also about providing a great all-around customer experience. Do a quick audit of your website and make sure it’s user-friendly. Is it easy to check out? Browse new arrivals? Search for specific items? Purchase using the payment method they prefer? If not, set aside some time to make some adjustments.
Identify their needs
There might be all sorts of things you could be doing to provide a better customer experience that you don’t even realize yet. Put together a short survey to send out to your customers about the checkout process and their past customer service experiences. It’ll show you what’s going well and what you could improve.
Use their name
Simple, but effective. Whenever a customer reaches out to you, take note of their name and use it. It’ll give your communications a more personal touch. (Don’t forget to introduce yourself by name, too!) Bonus points if you remember other personal details about them for next time.
Yes, even if you’re not talking to the customer in person! Make an effort to be friendly and positive, even if you’re just sitting at your desk at home – you can totally hear a smile through the phone, and it makes a difference.
If you could spend $5 to secure a customer who’s loyal to you for life… would you do it? Sometimes, that’s all it takes. When a customer reaches out to you, your priority is to make them happy – offering free shipping or accepting a late return can do just the trick. And that’s not just common sense – research shows that accepting someone’s generosity makes you feel indebted to them, which can translate to return business.
Don’t say “I don’t know”
Sure, you’re not gonna immediately have the answers to every single one of your customers’ questions… but it’s kinda your job to know. So, when you tell a customer “I don’t know,” what they hear is “I don’t care.” Not exactly the message you’d like to get across when you’re on the phone with a customer! Practice saying “Let me check on that for you” instead.
Acknowledging your customer’s birthdays is a surefire way to make them feel valued and appreciated. Ask your customers for your birthday as they sign up for your mailing list, then send them an email with a promo code for a free gift or a discount right before their special day.
Be clear about your policies
Your customers aren’t mind-readers – if you don’t let them know, they have no idea about how long shipping should take, where you ship to, or under what circumstances you accept returns. Be sure your shipping and returns policies are clearly stated on your website to avoid confusion. It’ll answer some questions before they’re ever even asked!
Honor your promises
Your customers need to know that they can trust your boutique to deliver the value it promises. Stick to the shipping and return policies you have listed on your website (unless you choose to go above and beyond them, of course!) Honor coupons and discount codes for as long as you said you would. Post any giveaway winners publicly in your stories. Trust is key!
Acknowledge frequent customers…
Let your return customers know how much you appreciate them! Whether you throw a quick handwritten thank-you note into their next order or you offer a discount code that’s good for their next purchase, it’ll definitely make them want to keep coming back.
But make sure new customers feel the love, too!
It’s a big leap to order from a company you’ve never purchased anything from before – make sure new customers feel super welcome. Acknowledge new customers by offering free shipping on their first order, sending a promo code when they sign up for your mailing list, or even sending a quick thank-you email for taking a chance on your shop.
Running a business is tough, and sometimes extenuating circumstances make it even tougher. Be open with your customers about the hurdles you’re currently going through, especially if it will affect shipping times or restock dates.
We all make mistakes – especially when we’re doing huge, crazy difficult things like running a business. If you’ve made a mistake on a customer’s order, own your error, sincerely apologize, and do whatever it takes to make things right. It’s much more professional than shrugging off responsibility or blaming someone else. (Bonus points if you reach out and own up to it before the customer even notices!)
Make it easy to get in touch
Have you ever sent an email to a company’s customer service team… and then never heard anything back? Yeah, that’s the worst. Don’t be that company. Let your customers know the best way to reach you, whether it’s through Instagram DMs, email, or over the phone. If you want to go the extra mile, include a live chat feature on your website that’s available 24/7. (Also, word of advice: if you have a contact form on your website, make sure to check it every so often!)
Offer self-help customer service
If your customers can find their own answers to their questions, it makes their lives easier AND your life easier. Include a comprehensive FAQ page on your website that answers common questions about shipping, sales, returns, and more. For more complicated questions, you might want to write up an entire blog post to give your customers more information. Just be sure your customers still know that they can reach out to you with any questions they can’t find the answers to.
Plan for the holidays
Here’s a hot tip: over the holidays, things get BUSY. Even if you usually don’t have very many people blowing up your inbox about shipping questions, there’s a very good chance you will during the holidays. Make sure you’re prepared with multiple customer service reps helping respond to questions (if need be) and detailed holiday shipping info displayed on your website and social media pages.
Make it a goal to respond to all customer emails within 48 hours whenever possible. No matter how busy you are, customers want to feel like their concerns and questions are a top priority. As for Instagram DMs, Facebook messages, and comments, try and get in a habit of responding to those right when you see them. (Your customers will like that and so will the algorithm!)
Hire the right people
If you’ve only recently opened your boutique business, you might be the only person your customers ever interact with. But as you grow and add more people to your team, make sure they’re people who are kind, friendly, and pleasant to interact with. Nobody’s perfect, but a positive attitude can make all the difference.
Pretend you’re at the dinner table with your strict aunt – say lots of pleases and thank yous. Not only is it common courtesy, but it’s also good business. It’ll also help you still sound friendly and polite even when you’re communicating via messenger or text.
Set clear expectations
Sorry, but you’re not superwoman. When your customers approach you asking when they can buy an item you aren’t planning on restocking, or when they ask if you can make sure the package, they just ordered gets to them by tomorrow, sometimes you just can’t give them the answer they were hoping for. Be realistic in your responses and don’t make promises you can’t keep. Setting clear expectations is also helpful in responding to emails – sending an automated email letting a customer know when they can expect a response is also helpful, even if they were initially hoping for a reply right away.
There isn’t a robot at the other end of all of those incoming customer emails – it’s bright, bubbly, sparkly you! Don’t be afraid to infuse your communications with your genuine personality. Strike up a conversation with a customer on the phone, ask about their day, say “top of the morning to ya” instead of “hello” when you feel like it. It’ll help forge a relationship with your customers!
Have you ever asked a waiter what you should order, only for them to respond, “I love everything on the menu equally!” Yeah, that’s not helpful – don’t be like that guy. When your customers ask for your opinion, politely give it. You’re the real expert on the products you carry – use your insider knowledge to guide your customers to the right decision for them.
Grammy Award-Winning Performer to Develop Starring Vehicle Comedy as Part of Overall Deal
Meghan Trainor is coming to NBCUniversal Television and Streaming Entertainment with an NBC comedy series in development as the first project under a cross-platform overall deal between the global superstar and NBCU.
The new alliance is a first-of-its-kind for the company, encompassing potential projects across scripted and unscripted content throughout NBCUߣs larger Television and Streaming Entertainment portfolio, which includes NBC, Bravo, E!, Oxygen, SYFY, Universal Kids, USA, and Peacock. Within this ecosystem, Trainor will have the opportunity to leverage her talents across network, cable, streaming, and syndication programming.
“In addition to being a phenomenally talented performer, Meghan is a vibrant and hilarious ray of light who is the perfect fit for NBC’s brand”, said Susan Rovner, Chairman, Entertainment Content, NBCUniversal Television & Streaming. “We love the idea of introducing Meghan into the world of scripted comedy as well working with her to find all the creative and crazy ways she can engage with fans across our brands. With eight distinct platforms, we’re able to provide the ultimate playground for multi-hyphenate artists, and this is just one of the ways we’re leveraging our new structure to benefit both talent and audiences.
This collaboration with NBCUniversal is so beyond a dream come true,” Trainor said. “I’m obsessed with and inspired by Susan and can’t wait to work with her and her incredibly talented team to bring our ideas to life.”.
Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Meghan Trainor emerged with her 2014 breakout single All About That Bass; and disrupted contemporary music with nostalgic pop beats and powerhouse vocals that delivered a worldwide anthem for female empowerment. Trainor cemented her rising status as one of the most prominent artists in popular music by charting eight multi-platinum singles, selling millions of albums worldwide, selling out three headline tours, writing multi-platinum hits for top pop and country artists, and receiving countless industry awards and nominations. She is one of only five female artists to receive a diamond certification for her hit single All About That Bass, which shares the RIAA Gold & Platinum Awards top honor with only 15 other singles in history.
The Hot Wheels Legends Tour is Back with Global Hunt for Next Fan-Made Custom Hot Wheels Die-Cast Toy
Celebrating its fourth year, the 2021 Hot Wheels™ Legends Tour presented by Mobil 1 will expand the global search for the ultimate life-size custom car to be immortalized as a 1:64 Hot Wheels die-cast model.
Kicking off in April, the Hot Wheels Legends Tour is expected to receive 10,000+ entrants across 14 countries and 5 continents.
The Tour will culminate in November with a global grand finale event, crowning the next Hot Wheels Garage of Legends™ inductee.
The 2021 Hot Wheels Legends Tour presented by Mobil 1 is officially open for fan car submissions. Back for its fourth year, the 2021 Hot Wheels Legends Tour will continue the Hot Wheels tradition of offering global fans the unique opportunity to have their one-of-a-kind life-size car creations forever immortalized as the next Hot Wheels Garage of Legends 1:64 die-cast toy.
In true challenger spirit, this year’s Hot Wheels Legends Tour competition is geared up to be bigger than ever before. With stops spanning 14 countries and 5 continents, the 2021 showdown will feature both live and virtual events kicking off in April with Livestream stops in New Zealand (April 15), Australia (April 22), and the U.S. and Canada (April 29).
Dates for future stops will be announced soon, and fans may register or learn more about the Hot Wheels Legends Tour by visiting the website. Livestreams will be available to view on the Hot Wheels Facebook page, on Walmart.com, and through automotive media partners in specific countries. Live events will be returning to U.S.-based Walmart stores this summer.
“Finding time to build isn’t always easy, but with many spending more time at home in the garage over the past year, we expect to see so many more passion-project submissions for the 2021 Hot Wheels Legends Tour,” said Ted Wu, Global Head of Hot Wheels Design at Mattel. “Last year, we received thousands of entries, and with the added international stops, this year’s competition is expected to be more impressive with more vehicle variety than ever.”
In partnership with Mobil 1, Hot Wheels Legends Tour stops will have regional winners plus a Mobil 1 Fan Favorite, which will then be entered into the semi-final rounds representing the U.S. and global regions, yielding 10 finalists. The Tour will culminate at a grand finale event in November where there will be one custom car creation inducted into the Hot Wheels Garage of Legends and honored as the next Hot Wheels die-cast toy sold around the world.
In addition to being immortalized as a 1:64 die-cast toy, previous Legends Tour winners, including 2018 winning 2JetZ and the 2019 winning classic coupe titled “The Nash,” will soon be available for purchase and play through the Forza Horizon 4 video game through the Hot Wheels Legends Car Pack on Xbox, Windows 10, iOS and Android devices.
Since its launch in 2018 to celebrate Hot Wheels 50 Anniversary, the Hot Wheels Legends Tour has grown from an American-based series of local Walmart events across the United States to the world’s largest traveling car show, bringing in builders and automotive fans through both virtual and live events. In 2021 the Hot Wheels Legends Tour will be featuring stops in a dozen new countries, including Australia with Big W, New Zealand with The Warehouse, and more.
“The Mobil 1 brand is excited to again support the Hot Wheels Legends Tour,” said Ryan Allen, Senior Shopper Marketing Advisor, ExxonMobil. “We’re looking forward to continuing our partnership with Hot Wheels to showcase incredible cars, built by incredible people. We are eager to see the return of the Mobil 1 Fan Favorite and encourage fans to vote for their favorite car at each stop to get it to the final. We are always thrilled to see there are fans who love cars as much as we do!”
Conceived in 1968 by an innovator, a rocket scientist, and a car designer, Hot Wheels 1:64 scale die-cast cars were designed to look awesome and perform like no other toy. Five decades later, Hot Wheels is the number one selling toy in the world* with more than 16.5 cars sold every second. The brand has evolved from a simple, yet beloved, toy car with an orange track system into a global franchise powerhouse that offers fans of all ages multi-channel play experiences.
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