Snap Releases AR Lens for Biden's Inauguration

Sam Blake

Sam primarily covers entertainment and media for dot.LA. Previously he was Marjorie Deane Fellow at The Economist, where he wrote for the business and finance sections of the print edition. He has also worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, U.S. Government Accountability Office, KCRW, and MLB Advanced Media (now Disney Streaming Services). He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson, an MPP from UCLA Luskin and a BA in History from University of Michigan. Email him at samblake@dot.LA and find him on Twitter @hisamblake

Snap Releases AR Lens for Biden's Inauguration

Anyone who wanted to attend Wednesday's Presidential Inauguration but couldn't is in luck. President-elect Joe Biden's team has released a series of Snap AR lenses to bring users to Washington, virtually.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee developed the lenses in partnership with Snap. Users can take a selfie "in front of" the U.S. Capitol, where they'll see themselves decked out in inauguration gear as celebratory confetti flutters from the virtual skies.


Turning the camera externally, users will also be able to see their faces in a virtual Capitol audience – comprised of selfies that users send in – while an exclusive audio greeting plays from President-elect Joseph Biden.

This inauguration is one of the most heavily guarded ever and because of COVID-19 mass crowds can't safely gather like they normally do.

"We are honored to partner with the Presidential Inaugural Committee by creating a thoughtful way for young Americans from across the country to be part of Inauguration by safely celebrating from their homes through the power of AR on Snapchat," Snap Public Policy Manager Sofia Gross said in an emailed statement. "Young Americans played a critical role this election cycle and we look forward to continuing to build creative ways to help young people engage in our civic processes."

Snap previously released a series of voting-based mini-apps in August. As part of that effort, the company said it helped over 1 million Snapchat users register to vote using the app.
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TikTok Parent ByteDance Eclipses $1B in Mobile Games Sales

Kristin Snyder

Kristin Snyder is an editorial intern for dot.la. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

TikTok Parent ByteDance Eclipses $1B in Mobile Games Sales
Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

TikTok parent company ByteDance’s big bet on mobile gaming is paying off.

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Netflix Turns To Asia To Boost Its Stalled Subscriber Growth

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Netflix Turns To Asia To Boost Its Stalled Subscriber Growth

Netflix will invest more in Asia in a bid to revive its sluggish subscriber growth, betting on the lone region where the company added customers during an otherwise disappointing first quarter.

Bloomberg reported Monday that the streaming giant will grow its investment in Asia despite plans to reign in spending overall across the company. That will include financing the production of local films and series for that market, Tony Zameczkowski, Netflix’s vice president of business development for Asia Pacific, told the news outlet.

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Kid Cudi Is Betting Artists—And Fans—Want Live Shows on Their Smartphones

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Kid Cudi Is Betting Artists—And Fans—Want Live Shows on Their Smartphones
Photo courtesy of Encore

Live performance app Encore, co-founded by rapper Kid Cudi, wants to put concerts in people’s pockets.

The Culver City-based company is among a bunch of virtual concert startups to emerge as the pandemic forced musicians to cancel or postpone in-person shows. But unlike competitors that are producing shows for virtual reality headsets or putting pay-per-view concerts on computers, Encore is betting fans will watch their favorite artists on smartphones. Think of it as a higher quality Instagram Live, with artists performing before augmented reality (AR) backgrounds and video chatting with fans.

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