Home » Page 536

Streamers have a Gen-Z problem

“The Summer I Turned Pretty.”Peter taylor/Prime Video

  • Entertainment companies face a Gen-Z problem as they bet their futures on streaming.
  • Young people prefer social video over TV sh… [+2865 chars]

The 2024 Vergecast streaming draft

The 2024 Vergecast streaming draft
The 2024 Vergecast streaming draft
/ What are the good streaming services? Why does Alex Cranz think Netflix is going to go away? What is Mubi, anyway? All the b… [+2616 chars]

Categorieslatest

Why it’s impossible to buy a house

Buying a house just doesn’t feel possible right now. Home prices have doubled in the last decade, with much of that growth happening in just the last four years. By one measure, housing affordability has fallen to its lowest level since the 1980s. And high interest rates have exacerbated the problem, ballooning monthly mortgage payments. But it’s not easier on the other side of the equation. Would-be sellers — grappling with those same high interest rates — are locked into homes that may be too small for their growing families. Parents with newly empty nests would rather stay put than pay the same amount or more for a smaller home. The result: The pandemic-era housing boom is over. Home sales in 2023 were the lowest they’ve been in nearly 30 years. “The housing market is pretty frozen in place,” the Wall Street Journal’s housing reporter Nicole Friedman told Today, Explained co-host Noel King. “There’s really kind of a standoff right now between buyers and sellers.” So how did the housing market go from frenzy to frozen in just a few years’ time? And what might turn the heat back on? What follows is the transcript of a conversation between King and Friedman, edited for length and clarity. —Amanda Lewellyn, producer Nicole, we have a very young audience, and I want you to tell us about something that I never knew about — or I never realized at all — until I got a mortgage when I was 40, which is: Interest rates actually mean something. So if I don’t know about mortgages, I might think 3 percent, 7 percent. That’s not a big deal. What does an interest rate, a higher interest rate, actually mean for a person getting a 3 percent and a person getting a 7 percent? So that type of change in interest rate is a huge difference in terms of the monthly payment. At a 3 percent interest rate versus a 7 percent rate, that can be a difference of hundreds of dollars — even maybe $1,000 difference — in what you’re paying every single month. And so that’s really, for many people, the difference between being able to buy a home or not, or being able to buy a home of a certain size or in a certain neighborhood versus not being able to afford it. Right. Because also, it’s not like you get a raise because interest rates have gone up. It’s not like any other part of your budget, or your life, gets better to account for interest rates going up. Absolutely. And that’s why we talk a lot about affordability, right? Homebuying affordability or housebuying power. The way that economists think about homebuying affordability usually is a combination of the price of the house, the mortgage rate, and income. So it’s really, what is that monthly payment going to be? And then, how much of your income does it take to pay that monthly payment? The benchmark for “affordable” is that you really shouldn’t be spending more than 30 percent of your income on your housing payment. One index that tracks housing affordability from the National Association of Realtors shows that in October, homebuying affordability fell to the lowest level since the ’80s. So even though there are times in the past when mortgage rates have been much higher than they are today, it’s really the combination of rates and prices and incomes that means that affordability is still worse. Okay, so there’s a third piece of this that is also super interesting, which is: If interest rates are high and fewer people are buying, it seems like that should mean the people selling have got to lower the prices of the houses. You have fewer buyers. “Okay, we have to compromise. We’re just going to make less money on this house.” And yet, I haven’t seen many stories saying home prices in America are super low since interest rates went up and the competition waned. What is that about? We think about just classic economics. There are two things in setting a price: There’s demand and there’s supply. The thing about higher mortgage rates and the fact that they rose as quickly as they did in 2022 — it really lowered demand. A lot of buyers stepped out of the market, but the increase in mortgage rates also lowered supply; a lot of home sellers are also buyers. There are people who are going to sell a home so that they can buy a home. And these people said, “Wait a minute. [In] my current home, I have a great mortgage rate. I have a 3 percent rate. I have a low payment. If I go back out onto the market, I’m paying a higher price for that home because prices have risen in the last couple of years and I’m paying a higher mortgage rate. I cannot afford to sell my home and buy a different one. I’m just going to stay put.” That means that the supply of homes for sale is much, much lower than normal. Any buyer who’s out on the market right now is probably noticing that there’s not a lot of inventory to choose from. That means that even though demand is down, supply is down, too. So prices really haven’t declined in most of the country. Nicole, crazy question. Are there enough houses? Everybody basically agrees there are not enough homes, because after the financial crisis, a lot of homebuilders went out of business. The ones who were left in business were really, really financially scarred by the crisis. They were left with a lot of homes they couldn’t sell and a lot of land they couldn’t sell. So builders became a lot more cautious, and the number of homes being built fell to a much lower level. It’s taken more than a decade for homebuilding activity to really catch back up. The baby boomer generation gets a lot of crap for buying the seven-bedroom house with the big backyard for seven raspberries and 40 years later, still sitting on the house. Are the boomers — God bless them, every one — are they really part of the problem, or should we leave the boomers alone? Well, every boomer would tell you that they bought it for seven raspberries, but at a 15 percent mortgage rate. I don’t think that boomers are the problem here. It is a change from past generations that the baby boomer generation is aging in place more than past generations, and they are often working longer. They’re staying healthier longer. And so they are able to stay in their homes for longer, and that’s their choice. That’s fine. But it does mean that the typical cycle of how long somebody normally stays in their home before they sell it has gotten longer. People are staying in their home for longer, and that does contribute to less turnover on this ladder of how people move through the housing market. Normally, you buy a starter home and then you move up to a bigger home and maybe eventually you downsize to a smaller home. That ladder gets a little jammed up if people don’t move as frequently. But I would also say, what’s really jamming up the gears right now are those move-up buyers. That’s going to be Generation X. These are people that are in starter homes that they bought within the last five, 10 years, and they’re looking for that next move up. There may be a young family who bought a home before they had kids — or when they had just one kid, and now they have a second child and they need another bedroom — and they want a bigger home. But those people are saying, “I can’t give up this 3 percent mortgage rate,” even though, in this “natural” cycle, they should be selling their starter home to a first-time buyer and moving into a bigger home that’s being vacated by a downsizing baby boomer. But those people are so stuck in place that they just can’t afford to make that move. Arguably, they’re really the ones right now kind of jamming up the gears. Americans are made to feel like we should buy houses. We hear all about the benefits. We hear much less about the drawbacks. What does it mean that it is starting to feel less and less accessible? This thing that once upon a time and for a long time was considered to be part of the American Dream, and now there’s an entire generation — millennials, and Gen Z hot on our heels — who feel like it just might never happen? Yeah, I think it does feel frustrating to people. People do want to own homes, by and large. There was a theory once upon a time that millennials didn’t want to own homes. I think that’s been proven wrong. We were just broke! We were just broke when they were saying that about us. Exactly. And it’s now very clear that millennials are like prior generations. They do want to own homes. Partly it is a financial investment: Homeownership is a key way to build wealth and has been, in this country, an important way to build wealth. But it’s also a very emotional thing. A lot of people want stability. They want a sense of ownership. They want to be able to paint their walls and redecorate their house, and they don’t want to worry about the rent going up, or about their landlord deciding to sell the building and them not being able to stay. Right now, that gap between what it costs to rent and what it costs to own in a lot of places is pretty out of whack. It’s just much more expensive to buy right now than it typically is. And I think that people are realizing that and trying to come to terms with what it means. But it’s also a bigger question as a society, how much we want to prioritize homeownership and homebuying affordability. Be sure to follow Today, Explained on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Categorieslatest

TikTok Star Cody Fry to Play His Songs with the St. Louis Symphony

A TikTok sensation who went viral with his recording of “I Hear a Symphony” will now be playing with one — the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. The GRAMMY-nominated singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist Cody Fry is actually making his debut in symphony orchestras across the U.S., including our own in a performance scheduled for June. The Nashville-based talent owes much of his success to his viral TikTok videos, which he began posting in 2021. Fry’s song “I Hear a Symphony” was a hit on the social media platform, with over 200 million views, ultimately landing him a record deal with UMG-owned Decca Records. The song eventually hit No. 1 on the Billboard Classical Tracker chart in the U.S. and Canada. His GRAMMY-nominated performance, which earned him Best Arrangement, Instrumental and Vocals, came later in 2022 with his cover of the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby.” The Belmont University graduate has written music for ad campaigns, video games, apps, fashion events, short films, Netflix, Google and McDonald’s. He also made an appearance on American Idol in 2015, according to Rolling Stone. Fry will be collaborating with the SLSO on Friday, June 7 at Stifel Theatre (1400 Market Street, Downtown) by playing his most popular covers and some original songs. Tickets (starting at $45) go on sale March 28 and may be purchased on SLSO’s website or by calling the Box Office at 314-534-1700.

Categorieslatest

Hazmat Is Taking St. Louis’ Male-Dominated Music Scene by Storm

Wait, what was their band called again?” — Hazmat The members of the all-female St. Louis-based band Hazmat are angry. They’re mad at men. They’re calling out misogynistic bookers and fans, too. “Guys are shitty, period, to us,” explains Mal Tockman, better known as Bowie, the band’s drummer. “Especially in the music scene. When we first started they weren’t coming to our shows, and if they did they were eating Chick-fil-A in the back, like, leaving their trash and cornering us.” “I’m really mad all the time,” says Sara Ahmadian, or Envy, the band’s vocalist. Hazmat’s ’90s grunge aesthetic isn’t just reflected in its members’ clothes. It’s also evident in their riot grrrl energy and ferocious lyrics. M-A-N-S-P-L-A-I-N I’m stating my opinion baby, I don’t mean to offend, M-A-N-S-P-L-A-I-N. “We put out either heartbreak, super confident or really mad, anti-men songs,” adds Bowie. “We were definitely man-haters in the beginning, that was our big thing … we strayed away from that in our album, but our EP was fully revolving around that.” Hazmat’s EP High School Offender came out in 2022, featuring six songs. The following year, the group followed up with its first full-length album, Pins and Needles, with eight. The band has created some in-your-face head bangers, with song titles that immediately set the stage for the lyrics that follow: “Mansplain,” “Not Ur Mommy,” “Bad Decisions,” “Reckless Abandon,” “Envy,” “Riot,” “Spider Boy,” “Gluttony,” “20 Missed Calls,” “Diluted,” “Blood” and “Choke.” They have good reason to be mad — not just at those Chik-fil-A-eating fans, but also at the venues that weren’t quite ready to book a band of high school girls. “I feel like in a way it’s definitely gotten better, but only because we’ve begun to prove ourselves a little bit,” explains Envy. “In the beginning it was definitely not fun. It was so hard for us to be taken seriously by venues.” Hazmat first came together in January 2021, when COVID-19 was still raging and many schools were still virtual. During this time, Envy was a junior at Parkway South High School and Bowie was at Marquette High School. Envy, now 20, says she started getting more and more into music during COVID, first as a way to fight her boredom. She says she quickly realized she could and should start a band. “I was just singing covers for fun and then I was like writing to YouTube beats, but I thought about it and I was like, ‘The band scene is pretty big here,'” she says. That’s when she found Bowie, who had been studying music for eight years and attended School of Rock for one. Envy looked on the School of Rock’s Instagram and messaged girls who she thought “looked cool.” “She stalked me,” says Bowie, now 20, jokingly. “I was gonna just say no and then be done. I played drums but I was on a two-year break at that point, but I was like, ‘I guess I play well enough.'” “So that’s how I found the original lineup,” explains Envy. Three more members followed, also recruited via the School of Rock, although eventually Izzy Rutledge, Lily Belknap and Olivia Haley took time off from the band to focus on school and to travel. They came up with their collective name, Hazmat, using a word generator. Since first forming, the band has played at least 20 shows — starting off in their own basements. “We started playing in the basement so we’d throw our own basement shows, and then we started playing in the local basement venues,” says Envy. “Our first out-of-basement show was at Tropical Sno” — the shaved ice stand in Ballwin. As the girls continued to prove themselves in the sexist music industry, they started to book more and more shows. (After three of their original members moved on, Envy and Bowie now rely on a freelance guitarist and bassist to play with them at different shows.) Even so, it took venues quite some time to get on board. “[Venues] still kind of don’t [take us seriously],” Bowie says. “But the Dark Room, because we’ve proven that we can sell tickets, was the turning point because we almost sold it out. Then all of a sudden venues were like, ‘Oh OK, maybe.'” “Our emails to venues were so long,” Envy adds. “We were literally like, ‘Please let us play’ and they did.” For Bowie, it’s not only the fact that bookers don’t take girls seriously, but particularly teenage girls. “When we’re like, ‘Hey, please,’ half the time they’re not even gonna email back,” she says. Though they are still fighting hard to prove themselves to venues, Hazmat has started to find fame on social media, with a following of 3,860 on Instagram and more than 90,000 on TikTok. Being featured in a Spin story on the St. Louis music scene helped — but fame inevitably leads to a backlash. “Outside of playing music people still love to put a target on your back,” Bowie says. “Like we could breathe wrong and we will get attacked for a week. People get over it and then it’ll happen again. You can’t catch a break.” When first starting out, Envy says she used to get upset over the thoughtless comments, but seeing how far they’ve come in three years has made it all worth it. M-A-N-S-P-L-A-I-N, teach me how to play a song, I’ll sit here and pretend. M-A-N-S-P-L-A-I-N, I can really fill a crowd while you play for your friends. Hazmat’s music boasts mostly alternative-pop beats with a little punk rock featuring raw, emotional lyrics and contagious, upbeat energy. “I feel like it’s kind of whatever I’m listening to at the moment,” says Envy. “But I’m more influenced by rock music and punk music.” Envy notes that they tend to remind people of Paramore, Blondie, the Runaways, Bikini Kill, Måneskin and Veruca Salt — all of whom inspired the band’s music. But the band takes its cues from multiple genres and musicians. “If I’m into indie pop, which I was when I first started music, and that’s where ‘Converse’ came from,” Envy says. “When I joined the band, they listened to a lot of rock, like riot grrrl and things like that, so I started listening to that. You can kind of hear it in ‘Riot,’ ‘Mansplain’ and ‘Not Ur Mommy.'” Hazmat has now made appearances at the Dark Room, Red Flag, Off Broadway, Ballpark Village and Delmar Hall. “Taking Back Sunday at Ballpark Village was one of the biggest shows,” Bowie says. “That was like I think the biggest crowd, the biggest stage. It was just so cool.” “It was just like a really different experience to what we’re used to, because obviously that’s a way professional venue, like everything was run very professionally,” Envy adds. “It was just cool, it made it all feel more real.” Let me give you a hand never forgive a lying man and push on all the buttons of his masculinity; go ahead and key his car just fuck shit up and raise the bar let him see what it’s like to just be an accessory… In addition to their work with Hazmat, Envy and Bowie are baristas at a local coffee shop, where fans tend to recognize them from the band. “I never know how to react because to me, it’s not real,” says Bowie. “I forget that people can access Spotify.” “I was working and this girl came up to the counter and was like, ‘Are you in Hazmat? I just love your music so much,'” Envy adds. “I don’t really think that, like, ‘Oh, it’s out there and people listen to it.’ So it’s very satisfying and fulfilling.” Hazmat was recently tapped to work with St. Louis City SC and the Grammy-nominated rapper Smino on their new music collaboration Homegrown, which will showcase five emerging St. Louis musicians throughout the year. Perks include access to Smino, performance opportunities, artist profiles and inclusion in a Friday night showcase for the kickoff to the music festival Music at the Intersection. “We get to work together and then play shows, like, before the games or at Music at the Intersection, things like that,” says Envy. They also hope to start touring in the near future. “We would really love to, like, not even necessarily our own tour, but just opening for someone, or we want to work on playing out-of-state shows,” Envy says. “Because we feel like we’ve gotten a good amount of success in St. Louis.” But they still have St. Louis goals, too. “I want to play different states, like, hop on tour with someone. Bigger venues will be crazy — but I want to play at the Pageant,” Bowie says hopefully. “That’s a very specific goal of ours!” Envy exclaims. “We want to play at the Pageant, so hopefully we get to.” Then grab some gasoline, a match or two should keep it clean, let’s burn the damn patriarchy! �n Follow Hazmat’s rise to fame on Instagram (@hazmatstl) or TikTok (@hazmatstl), and check out their latest hits on Spotify (@hazmat).

Categorieslatest

Limerick accordion player honoured with highest accolade in Irish traditional music

A MASTER accordion player from Adare has received a prestigious Gradam Ceoil TG4 2024 award. Derek Hickey, from Adare, is one of seven incredibly talented men and women to be honoured during a special lunchtime concert at the University of Limerick’s Irish World Academy this week. Gradam Ceoil TG4, now in its 27th year, continues to recognise and celebrate the absolute best in performance and cultural impact in seven categories. The announcement of the annual awards is an important moment in the traditional music calendar not just to recognise the achievements of the seven awardees but also to celebrate the outstanding talent that our country has to offer. The awardees reflect the outstanding vibrancy, diversity and huge work being done “to ensure that our tradition continues to evolve with such flair and will be handed down in the best of health”. One man who is certainly doing that is Derek and the Hickey family. Both his grandfathers played fiddle and his own musical career began at the age of ten, when his uncle left an accordion in the family home. Derek progressed to dance tunes within weeks though he didn’t begin lessons – under the tutelage of Dónal de Barra – until he was 12. His professional career began three years later when he joined the Shannonside Céilí Band, founded by the Liddy family. The band toured extensively in England and throughout Europe. In 1991. Frankie Gavin asked Derek to join him for regular sessions in his then leased hotel in Kinvara, Co Galway. One year later, at just eighteen, Derek joined Arcady, Johnny ‘Ringo’ McDonagh’s band, along with Frances Black, Brendan Larrisey and Patsy Broderick. Other guest members of this band included Sharon Shannon, Cathal Hayden and Gerry O’Connor. In 1995 he joined De Dannan, recording two albums and touring until they disbanded in 2003. Derek is the button accordion tutor on the BA Irish Music and Dance at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick. In 2023 he performed at the National Concert Hall Dublin, as part of the third series of the Irish Traditional Music Archive’s ‘Drawing from the Well’ series. Widely acknowledged as one of Ireland’s most prominent and influential master accordion players, his eponymous 2022 album was deemed by fellow box player Dermot Byrne as “a recording of a pure genius”. Established in 1998, Gradam Ceoil TG4 recognises not just the artistry of awardees but also strives to amplify the success of the recipients and make their music, song and dance available to global audiences through broadcasts on TG4’s platforms. The selection process for Gradam Ceoil TG4 recipients is undertaken by an independent panel, some of whom are past awardees and all of whom play or work within the tradition. READ MORE: PICTURES: Limerick Musical Society to delight audiences with Oliver! TG4 commissioning editor, Proinsias Ní Ghráinne, said: “TG4 is delighted to be afforded this opportunity to recognise these stars that shine bright within our tradition. Gradam is a token of gratitude from us to the many performances who grace our traditional music programs week in, week out. “We are delighted that we can help bring their music to global audiences through the live broadcast of Gradam Ceoil 2024 on TG4’s broadcast platforms. Comhghairdeas leis na faighteoirí uilig.” This year’s Gradam Ceoil TG4 concert takes place at the University Concert Hall at 9.30pm on Sunday, May 5. Broadcast live on TG4 and across the globe on the TG4 player, recipients will be joined by an array of musical guests and award presenters for a night of vibrant music, fun and entertainment. Tickets are available through the UCH website.

Verified by MonsterInsights