FigDigEst: 17 April 2015

by Jessica Ramesh

In this week’s round-up of digital ephemera we pitch vinyl against MP3s, check out some perk hacks, monitor election coverage and find our lost phone

Record breaking vinyl

The seventh annual Record Store Day takes place on Saturday 18 April. FigDigEst still likes to spin the black circle, and is pleased to note that this week also saw the introduction of a vinyl-only chart. Sales of vinyl are currently at a 20-year high, driven by a mix of nostalgia, curatorial zeal and the conviction that big fat grooves sound better with big fat grooves. (It isn’t a cheap choice either: the average price of a vinyl album is £18.73, compared to £8.29 for a CD.)

Evidence of just how important LPs are as artefacts comes from ICM Limited whose poll this week found that 34 per cent of vinyl buyers either don’t own or don’t use a turntable. Let’s be honest: you wouldn’t download an MP3 if you didn’t have something to play it on. In fact, we’re not even sure youcould.

But back to Record Store Day, which is a text book example of how a beleaguered retail sector has confronted digital head on by creating a collective, real-world experience. Our advice: if you do go to a record store this weekend and shell out £7 for a limited edition Fall single, don’t then go to the pub and leave your bag on a bench under a coat so that your mate sits on it. It’ll break. More info on Record Store Day events round the country here.

Mood music

Meanwhile, back in the digital realm, this week it was announced that as of 1 May 2015, Spotify will launch playlist targeting for brands. You can tell a lot about someone from the music they listen to. Spotify’s innovation will use first-party data to hone in on the mood of streamers when they hit the ‘play’ button on a playlist. This means that marketers will be able to build up a more human profile of their users and deliver relevant ads at moments when users are most likely to respond.

Jobs a good ‘un

Have you got a climbing wall in your office? An area for doing jigsaw puzzles? What about a fireman’s pole that takes the finance team on the sixth floor down to a bouncy castle in the basement where the office puppy lives? Bought By Many this week reviewed 500 start-up job ads and examined some of the perks employers are offering the UK’s brightest digital talent.

Top ‘perk hacks’ include familiar invectives such as cycle to work schemes, a ping-pong table in the office, being given your birthday off and team-building nights down the go-kart track. Not bad, though they don’t compare with some of the perks offered by US based start-ups which, according to CNBC, include massages, body analytics (we’re not sure what this actually means), subsidised rents and helicopter rides.

Less hopefully, Bought by Many also analysed some of the less glamorous incentives offered by UK start-ups in their job ads. These include ‘only 18 mins on the train from central London’ (Croydon, perhaps?) and ‘view of Old Street Roundabout.’ Who, after all, has not dreamt of looking up from a page of JavaScript to gaze out at the glorious vista of an east London traffic island?

Cast your votes

Twitter came alive following this week’s leaders’ debate, using the hashtag #BBCDebate. With party leaders now on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram, digital marketing has never been so significant in British politics. The prefix ‘How the internet reacted to…’ has been applied to so many election-based news articles that online conversation has become a defining factor. A very different world to that of the 1992 election, when a digital recreation of the House of Commons on the BBC’s coverage was as technical as it got. WIRED have put together a handy timeline tracking the development of digital’s role in elections from 1992 to 2015. But we just have to look at the search results to understand the educational role of digital in the current election. “What is austerity?” was the most Googled question during Thursday’s debate.

Google save us the search

Android users need never fear losing their phones again. Announced on Wednesday, users will be able to use Google to recover lost phones, simply by typing “find my phone” into the search bar. This will prompt a map to appear with the last known location of your phone marked on it and, to make it better, users can even call the phone from the page. No more frantic pillow throwing necessary.


Things we’ve seen and liked this week and decided that you will too:

ShortList: Here’s what Tinder would look like in the 80s

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Official Teaser #2

Guardian: ‘Traditional TV viewing for teens and tweens is dead. Not dying. Dead’

Telegraph: Why are most online commenters male?

Buzzfeed: Why You Need Facebook More Than It Needs Your Love
Compiled by Estelle Hakner and Jon Fortgang