November 3, 2023

Today's Topics

Hello! Well, it took the jury just over 4 hours — including a break for dinner — to find FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried guilty on 7 counts of fraud and conspiracy, a decision that could see SBF go down for up to 110 years. Today we're exploring:

  • Uptix: Live Nation just posted its best quarter on record.
  • Homeschooling: Learning from home has taken off.
  • E.l.f: The makeup market's new beauty queen.
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Center stage

Following a record-shattering series of live shows this year — with unprecedented demand driven by the concerted efforts of artists like Taylor Swift and Beyoncé — events promoter Live Nation Entertainment has capitalized as the ticket-shifting tour-de-force.

The company, which also owns Ticketmaster, just delivered its biggest quarter ever, seeing revenue boom 32% to a roaring $8.2 billion in Q3, notching a profit of nearly $484 million. These results are in tune with the astronomical ticket sales that Live Nation has posted so far this year: a record 140 million, already eclipsing 2022's total.

Golden ticket

Typically the strongest quarter for concert sales, this summer has been a belter for live music, as tours from fan favorites like Harry Styles, Coldplay, and Pink grossed up to $300 million each.

However, Live Nation President Joe Berchtold was quick to discount individual star power as the root cause of the company's considerable growth: “No artist is going to account for more than 1% of the tickets, so no one or two will ever hurt us year over year.

Even so, the company has come under fire for long wait times and resale price inflation during the frenzied US ticket sale for Swift’s Eras Tour. But rising costs are unlikely to slow consumer appetite for gig-going: the average ticket price for the top 100 US tours was ~$120 in 2023, around a $58 jump from just 2 years before. And, moving into 2024, concert attendance is only expected to accelerate — Live Nation has already booked two-thirds of its commitments for next year, with half slated to take place in large venues.


Home schooling has surged to become the fastest-growing educational practice in the US, as parents across America increasingly opt to pull their kids out of the public education system, according to a new report from the Washington Post.

According to the Post’s analysis of states with available data, home schooling peaked in the 2020-21 academic year in recent times, when LFH (learning from home) became more of a mandate than a modern preference. And it’s stayed strong since then, with 51% more students taught at home in the last school year than in 2017-18.

(Public) School’s out

While the uptick of the less mainstream approach — adopted “mostly by religious parents” in past years — has been more intense in some parts of the country than others (9 of the top 10 home schooling districts are in Florida), the downturn for US public schools has been more consistent.

Indeed, over the last 5 academic years, public school enrolment has dropped some 4%, as gains in the home schooling and private educational sectors continue to take chunks from the public school share. Although the exact reasons for the decline aren’t clear, many are pointing to the waning trust in the system: just 26% of Americans reportedly have “a great deal/quite a lot” of trust in state schools — the joint-lowest figure in the last 50 years.

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Cosmetic change

Beauty behemoth Estée Lauder’s sales have been more break-up than make-up in recent reports: on Wednesday, the 77-year-old legacy brand posted quarterly revenues that were down 10%, or $410 million, from last year’s figure.

The luxury label, with its vast portfolio brimming with brands like MAC Cosmetics and La Mer, saw its share price sink 19% to a 6-year low on the back of the weak earnings — Lauder’s biggest one-day loss on record.  

By contrast, affordable beauty brand E.l.f. Cosmetics has seen its sales increase 76% year-over-year — its 17th consecutive quarter of growth since Q1 2020 — a clear highlight in a comparatively stunning report that prompted a 9% jump in share price for the more budget-friendly retailer.

Winning formula

The industry shift towards inexpensive items is in line with the leveling off of other luxury giants, like LVMH and Hermès. Indeed, while Estée has long been lauded for its premium skincare offerings, it seems that newcomer E.l.f. has more effectively tapped into the fountain of youth in its marketing techniques, causing sales to surge.

True to the company’s eponymous acronym, E.l.f. launched an ‘#eyeslipsface’ TikTok campaign in 2019 — employing "micro-influencers" in a promotion that has since racked up 4 million posts, garnering 10 billion views. That’s paid off for the “100% vegan & cruelty-free” brand, founded less than 20 years ago — having recently been named Gen Z’s most-favored makeup brand by a long way, E.l.f. might be the fresh face of the makeup industry for a little while longer.

More Data

• Lex Machina: Collins Dictionary's2023 word of the year should come as no surprise — it’s AI, the much-reported abbreviation for the next great technological revolution.

Apple’s share price fell 1.5% after the iPhone giant’s revenue slumped for the 4th consecutive quarter, the company’s longest period of decline since 2001.

• Pop fiction: Britney Spears'smemoir 'The Woman in Me' — which publisher Simon & Schuster snapped up for a rumored $15 million — has sold 1.1 million copies in its first week.


• Try to turn the tables in the competitive restaurant reservation game.

40 winks: Breaking down America's sleeping habits.

Off the charts: Which FTX-issued token were we charting about back in November last year, before the downfall of the exchange that Sam Bankman-Fried once freely reigned over? [Answer below].

Answer here.

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