Did I ever tell you I sing in a band? A pretty good one, actually. We cover mostly hard rock and alternative music like this or this. It’s sort of an alter-ego thing (and definitely-not-a-midlife-crisis-so-shut-up thing).

Anyway, fifteen years ago, we named the band Moscow Mule, when the drink was unknown by all but the rarest of bartenders. For a decade, hardly anyone knew the origin of our name. And then…

Now you can find a Moscow Mule – or several bastardizations – everywhere, even Applebee’s. You can buy knock-off copper mugs at Marshalls. When people hear the name, they assume we hijacked a bandwagon. Cocktail snobs roll their eyes at us.

Why do I bring this up? Well, because it pisses me off. We might as well have called the band “Outside the Box” or “Big Data.”

But also, because it’s almost impossible to know if a nascent, obscure thing today will become the next-big-thing of tomorrow. Social media and tribalism have truncated the adoption curve – products or media can go from niche to cliche (you pronounced those words the same in your head, didn’t you?), almost overnight. You have to be agile or live with the consequences.

Expect that to be a recurring theme from us in the coming months. And let me know if you have any ideas for new band names.

Here’s what were seeing this week:

Fox News is jumping into the over-the-top streaming game faster than I would. You may have seen that Rupert Murdoch & Company announced the upcoming launch of a streaming-only service for what they call “Superfans.” We found it a little head-scratching because, according to our data, Fox News’ viewers are the least likely of all networks to stream TV programming at all. If anybody should be plotting an OTT move, it’s CNN, and even that might be premature.

The profile of early VR adopters is somewhat surprising. Count me among the Luddites who thought virtual reality would be the final chapter of our increasingly-introverted, glued-to-a-screen, never-leave-the-house economy. It still might. But when we studied the personality types of current VR owners, we actually found them to be much more extroverted than average. It will be interesting to see if that holds true as the technology proliferates.

Consumer confidence has fallen for the very first time this year. Our Economic Sentiment Index had its first blemish since the week before Christmas. The overall number is still well above its watermark from a year ago but declining confidence in the U.S. economy and the housing market were a clear drag over the past two weeks. This may simply prove to be a one-time correction after two solid months of rose-colored glasses. Stay tuned.

Like it or not, we probably will have significant changes in gun laws eventually. You know I don’t do divisive politics here, so just chill. But, while gun ownership in the U.S. has steadily declined (by the number of owners, not the number of guns sold), the drop has been particularly swift among Millennials. Today, just under 1/3rd of Millennials own a gun, a 10% drop from Baby Boomers. Unless that changes, the political tides will most certainly shift one day as a result – perhaps sooner than later.

The popularity of Miley Cyrus has taken quite a ride. How’s that for a non sequitur? Yeah, I don’t know why these data caught my eye either. But after a wrecking ball of declining favorability post-Hannah Montana, Miley started to show signs of a brand rebuild in 2017. We don’t see that kind of rebound in our celebrity numbers very often.

Even More Random Stats of the Week

From our most-responded-to questions of the week:

  • 59% of gym-goers believe the news should never be on at the gym (Amen);
  • 32% of pet owners let their dogs kiss them on the mouth (Gross);
  • 12% of married people invited an ex to their wedding (Nope);

So there you have it.

Hoping you’re well.