In: Twitter. It is amazing that Twitter -- and Facebook -- have become the de facto (at least for now) social networking sites. And it is even more astonishing how 140 characters on Twitter is quietly influencing everything from opening weekends in Hollywood to the newly unfettered matter in which politicians now interact with their constituents in this democracy. From The Wall Street Journal (via Paidcontent):
"Twitter, the messaging web site that has become an Internet sensation, is nearing a deal to close as much as $100 million of new funding from as many as seven investors, according to people familiar with the deal.
"The investor group includes mutual fund giant T. Rowe Price and private-equity firm Insight Venture Partners, which are new investors to Twitter. The $100 million investment is about twice as much as Twitter was reportedly expected to haul in this latest round of fund-raising.
"Other investors in this round include venture-capital firms Spark Capital and Institutional Venture Partners, which have previously invested in Twitter.
"The investors are valuing Twitter, which has yet to generate revenue or finalize its plans for making money, at about $1 billion. A person familiar with the deal said investors are applying a similar value to Twitter as that applied to Facebook, which at one point was valued at $15 Billion. By some estimates, Twitter is expected to have 25 million users by the end of 2009. Facebook has 300 million users.
Twitter could not immediately be reached for comment."
Considering the high turnover of "It" social networking sites --as evidenced by the digital ghettoization of MySpace and Friendster -- the stability of Twitter's position is stunning. Actually, if Twitter can somehow figure out advertising --a tricky proposition, to be sure -- $1 billion may be a low estimate.
Out: Scott Storch. There was always something a little off about Scott Storch. He may have run with the cool people, but he wasn't one of the cool kids. He tried a little too hard to get into their orbit. If it were his natural habitat, it would have been effortless. If he were really friends with Lindsay Lohan, he wouldn't feel the need to spend a million dollars on jewelry.
Even as the music industry was dying, he was getting into spending matches with Paris Hilton. Paris Hilton, by contrast, hustles her little fanny off, actually getting paid for attending parties (A talent, we cannot fail to note, that we would so like to have). But where was Scott Storch's stash coming from? Apparently, nowhere. Then there was a coke bender which consumed the GDP of a small island nation. Details has a very sad story about Storch's present sorry state:
"But now his eyes look tired and sad and very bloodshot. In the course of a three-year Tony Montana–esque cocaine bender, Storch hoovered his way through $30 million before filing for bankruptcy and entering rehab early this year. Now 35, he's back in the studio 10 hours a day, trying to recapture his mojo. But where he used to work with Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and Justin Timberlake, he's now crafting beats for Gucci Mane, an up-and-coming Atlanta hip-hop artist best known for beating a murder rap in 2006. As Gucci tries to match rhymes to the music, Storch, wearing faded jeans, white sneakers, and a pink T-shirt—a Jacob the Jeweler diamond watch his lone vestige of bling—pulls a Ziploc bag of weed from his pocket and begins rolling a joint on a nearby speaker.
"'Yo, is that that California shit?' Gucci asks. 'That shit fucked me up last night." Storch nods and gives a forced smile. A few minutes later, when Gucci turns his attention to a song called '911,' Storch decides he needs another spliff. The instrumental tracks pulsing from the speakers are vintage Storch—staccato rhythms, sinister keyboard flourishes—but maybe too much so: The overall effect is a little dated, a little tired. Storch announces he's hungry, then struggles to explain his pizza order to a studio employee: 'No, that's two cheese slices with ricotta, not two ricotta slices.'
"He fishes out his money clip, which holds nearly a grand in cash, and makes a show of peeling off a pair of $20 bills to cover orders for himself and the crew in the studio suite. It's a conspicuous display, but no one seems to notice, and soon Storch grabs a two-foot bong and lights a bowl. The hit makes him cough so hard he has to step out into the sultry Miami night to get some air."
If you read one glossy magazine article, this might be the one you have to read.