Pop Culture in Current Days and What 2023 Added to It

As we’re nearing the end of the year, let’s do a recap –  2023 has seen some memorable moments in various pop culture areas, including games, movies, music, and even social media.

Crypto gaming – the new phenomenon

Breakthroughs in the gaming industry have always been massively influenced by the growth of technology, either to provide a more immersive experience for its players or to reach a wider audience. The integration of cryptocurrency in gaming caters more to the latter.

The use of cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, by businesses is simply to reach a bigger amount of customers and provide a safer and more private form of transaction. Unlike other forms of currency, cryptocurrency doesn’t need a third party in transactions, therefore ensuring the data safety and privacy of its users.

For these reasons, the gaming industry is starting to integrate this technology into its platforms, both to earn and to spend. A popular form of the latter is Bitcoin online casino games.

Online gambling platforms have always been popular, as shown by their average user growth which reaches more than 7% per year, but the integration of cryptocurrency in online casino games has taken it to the next level. Unlike regular online casino games, users are able to use their existing cryptocurrency funds, such as Bitcoin, to spend on these games and occasionally earn some more in return.

The return of blockbuster standalone film

Barbenheimer stole the headlines in the cinema industry this year. A portmanteau of two movie titles, Barbie and Oppenheimer, both of them were standalone films with contrasting storylines, aesthetics, and target markets. Both also happened to share a release date, becoming an online phenomenon in July.

As a result, by the end of its premiere at the cinema, both Barbie and Oppenheimer achieved more than $500 million combined and became the biggest-selling box office weekend this year.

This phenomenon is described as how organic social media trends could translate into success in real life. The hype was created not through marketing agencies, but by people around the world as a funny “what if” joke on social media, which directors Gerwig and Nolan ended up encouraging.

In the same year, news sites were questioning the future of standalone films, or films that are made as their own without prequels or sequels. However, seeing how standalone films have fared this year compared to franchises that are starting to see a decline, such as Marvel’s newest installment, it looks like the audience is looking forward to more creative plots from standalone movies.

Twitter’s reinvention and Instagram’s following

Social media users were met with a surprise this year when Elon Musk, having bought the platform exactly one year before, rebranded Twitter into X.

There were differing opinions on whether this rebranding was a good thing or a bad thing. While several users see it as the beginning of Twitter’s growth into a super-app, users who disagree cited that successful rebrands are usually done at the start of a business when consumers are not yet familiar with the old brand. Brand agencies have also estimated that by rebranding, Twitter will have lost around $4 billion to $20 billion in brand value.

This rebranding decision and other tweaks Musk made to the existing features of the social networking site have made some users try to look for similar yet better alternatives. However, not a lot of social media sites are similar to Twitter, which is mainly text-based, while newer social media such as Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok are image or video-based.

The need for an alternative leads to Meta jumping on the bandwagon and releasing Threads, a text-based social networking site with similar features to Twitter where users can create short text posts, attach pictures or videos to their posts, and reply, like, and repost other people’s posts. Unlike Twitter, Threads is limited exclusively to Instagram users and is linked to their Instagram accounts, which is also met with differing opinions from its users.

AI-powered revival of decades-old music

AI technology has grown to offer multiple uses in the music industry, not through replacement but by assisting artists in their music creation, including helping musicians go through writer’s block by generating a sample instrumental music from prompts like lyrics or emojis, and isolating parts of a recording and clearing it up.

Nearing the end of 2023, one of the biggest musicians in the world, The Beatles, announced that there will be a new release, after 49 years of disbanding and without 2 of their members.

The material for this new single was procured from multiple recording snippets that were created before the band broke up, cleaned up to improve the recording quality using AI through a process called source separation, and combined with a live recording of the bass track by Paul McCartney, drum track by Ringo Starr, and string arrangement by Giles Martin.

 The year 2023 is full of multiple noteworthy moments in pop culture, be it in gaming, music, movies, and social media. These moments are a mix of revival – the rise of what was once popular years or decades ago – and breakthroughs thanks to new technology.


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