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Tantric Commerce: Anticipation is Better than the Real Thing

September 3, 2021

Pop quiz: what was the first product ever sold on the internet? It was a used copy of Sting’s Ten Summoner’s Tales. From the very beginning, eCommerce has been inextricably linked to Sting, and If you’re a child of the 90s like me, you grew up listening to Sting singing about prostitutes... and talking openly about his tantric sex life with his then-wife, Trudie Styler.

I think that had a profound impact on all of us now that we’re older, and have more disposable income. Why? Hear me out: Commerce is now all about anticipation. It’s a looooong, slooooow, tease. Drops, delayed album releases, collabs; they’re all ways of edging us closer to the one-click purchase.

Tantric Commerce. A new phrase that’s never been uttered before.

The model applies to more than sneakers and NFTs. Banana Republic released BR Vintage this year with a build-up and a drop. YZY x GAP has done the same.

The build-up and release… it has become a way of cutting through the noise in all forms of media. While Sting is in his Fields of Gold...en years, today’s modern-day tantrist is Kanye West. His months-long buildup of the release of Donda culminated with a listening party in Chicago at Soldier Field last week Thursday. 

I was there. 

The storyline? The album wasn’t perfect yet, and Kanye is a tinkerer. In reality, the concert he put on in Chi-town was the result of months of preparation and planning. He reconstructed his childhood home, to scale—complete with a DishTV satellite—and set it on fire. These things require scores of permits, CAD modeling, fabrication, construction, and rehearsal. It’s all part of the plan.

The merch alone set the record for the highest-grossing tour stop of all time, beating out Taylor Swift’s 2018 Reputation stadium tour (source).

What a tease it was. Starting at 8 PM Central, Apple Music began streaming a splash screen. Twitch streamers rebroadcast it. Youtubers rebroadcast other Twitch streamers. The event started 2 hours late, pushing 11 PM. From the field, we’d catch glimpses. Between singing and vibing, fans were asking “OMG is that Marilyn Manson?”  And a surprise appearance by Kim K at the end before the field went to black. WHAT?! 

When the album released on Sunday morning, it clocked in at a whopping 1 hour 48 minutes run time. We’re not in a rush. We’re taking our time here. But post-release breeds post-coital regret. It was a... let-down. The anticipation is gone. Regret. Sadness.

Oh wait... we have Drake’s CLP to look forward to! And the new Mutant Ape drop! And the @dhof Loot boxes. Oh, and the Nike x Sacai x CLOT collab... and Succession Season 3. Shang-Chi is in theaters this weekend... and don’t forget NFL regular season starts on Sunday. And...

The anticipation is the best part, isn’t it?

College-level CAPTCHA. In an effort to weed out bots, Teflar made their CAPTCHA so difficult in a drop sale that Twitter was buzzing about it. Time was of the essence before their latest bag sold out, and the pressure was too much for some buyers who compared the “test” to the SAT or ACT. One buyer said it took him about 5 minutes to get it right.

Brands are becoming rollups?! Solo Stove is now DTC-focused “Solo Brands,” after acquiring Chubbies swim shorts, Oru folding kayaks, and ISLE paddleboards.

More Sights and Sounds. Kanye tops charts, but can’t top Peppa Pig’s rave reviews and how she flaunts them on Twitter. Walmart increases employee hourly pay by $1 for the holidays. Delta and Spotify partner up on curated playlists in flight. A LEGO employee brilliantly responded to a customer who was missing pieces from their $350 Star Wars set, by apologizing for what must have been “the work of Lord Vader.” And last but not least, a new board game based on The Queen’s Gambit is coming out… that is… wait for it… NOT CHESS.

IRL Tokens. Check out the Token Club by The Explorers Map—you can assemble all your tokens to showcase the national parks you have visited. Feel free to display it near your book of full-color state quarters!

McFury. Why can’t I ever get a McFlurry? That’s the question that has led to the FTC launching an investigation on what’s going on with McDonald’s ice cream machines. This came after a die-hard ice cream fan made a map of all the soft serve machines across the U.S. that always seem to be broken.

Good reads. If you’re in the mood for a peaceful read on this feel-good Friday, check out this beautiful interview with Tracksmith Creative Director, Rafael Oliveira, as he talks through a little bit of his process with creating, running, and making coffee.

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