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Why we ignore obvious problems — and how to act on them | Michele Wucker

Why do we often neglect big problems, like the financial crisis and climate change, until it’s too late? Policy strategist Michele Wucker urges us to replace the myth of the “black swan” — that rare, unforeseeable, unavoidable catastrophe — with the reality of the “gray rhino,” the preventable danger that we choose to ignore. She…

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Why do we often neglect big problems, like the financial crisis and climate change, until it’s too late? Policy strategist Michele Wucker urges us to replace the myth of the “black swan” — that rare, unforeseeable, unavoidable catastrophe — with the reality of the “gray rhino,” the preventable danger that we choose to ignore. She shows why predictable crises catch us by surprise — and lays out some signs that there may be a charging rhino in your life right now.

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89 Comments

89 Comments

  1. The Best Channel

    May 23, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    TED videos is prefect ??

  2. AURELIO KILLIAN

    May 23, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    Number 10

  3. O'SSÉIN - Master Your Mind With Me

    May 23, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    Because we are not being in tune with our own selves.
    We are walking zombies, fumbling in a limbo of constant stress and anxiety.
    Detaching and practicing awareness is the only way.

    • Payhole Everdouche

      May 23, 2019 at 3:51 pm

      Are you a Master of the Ridiculously Absurd or a Guru of the Absurdly Ridiculous…???

  4. giuliete1

    May 23, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    This lady got a bunch of things wrong in the very first 2 min of video
    Alan Greenspan’s real job was NEVER to look out for the economy. And the financial meltdown of 2008 was orchestrated to be exactly what it was: a huge ripoff from banks. People do solve problems… the ones they consider to be problems… it’s a matter of perspectives

    • Proverbial Potato

      May 23, 2019 at 3:57 pm

      Also people make economic predictions all the time. Just because you take a cynical position doesn’t mean that everyone else is ignoring a so-called “obvious grey rhino”. That’s not to say that one shouldn’t consider worst case scenarios, but at the same time one must not create problems by fixating on problems that could happen, or those that are truly out of anyone’s control.

    • Aaron Long

      May 23, 2019 at 4:25 pm

      @giuliete Eh, the nominal job of the Federal Reserve is to regulate the supply of fiat money. That job is guided by two factors: The interest rate, which is supposed to hit a 2% target, and the unemployment rate. But the Fed (it’s a committee, Greenspan never acted alone) has a limited set of levers they can use to influence the way markets behave. As for ripping of banks… no. The Fed is staffed and run by bankers for the benefit of banks, and many, many banks went bust in 2008. So what happened? Greenspan and his cohorts chose to believe their de-regulatory rhetoric in lieu of the facts. To admit that there was a problem, that there was massive lending fraud and irresponsible speculation would have been tantamount to admitting that their de-regulation drive for the past 30 years had been a mistake.

      The root problem isn’t the Fed. The Fed has been around since 1913, and for many, many years after that, the American economy was functional and effective. The root problem is that since the 1970’s, moneyed special interests have gotten very effective at subverting democracy, sabotaging regulation, and enriching themselves at the expense of regular people. The way we know this is true is that we somehow have both political parties in this country clamoring against corruption from Wall Street, and yet somehow they’re still unable or unwilling to regulate Wall Street. Even the modest, pro-forma regulations passed by Dodd-Frank are once again under attack, as the same entities who profited immensely from the 2008 crash lobby to re-create the conditions which allowed it to take place to begin with.

  5. Peggy Harris

    May 23, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    So…we should get out of the stock market?

    • Payhole Everdouche

      May 23, 2019 at 3:45 pm

      Clearly, you’re an effing Genius…!!!

    • Matthew Menich

      May 23, 2019 at 5:07 pm

      Yes stop gambling.

  6. Siyathokoza Zulu

    May 23, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    this talk just broke and built me back up all in 10 minutes

    • Payhole Everdouche

      May 23, 2019 at 3:52 pm

      Another fragile snowflake remade…!!!

  7. Mindprovement

    May 23, 2019 at 3:39 pm

    We are always trying to make simple things complicated.

  8. Spencer Adams

    May 23, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    Drexel sam

  9. Payhole Everdouche

    May 23, 2019 at 3:42 pm

    I have a huge problem with this presenter, and it’s obvious to me. That horrid outfit, has got to go.

  10. El Pelado

    May 23, 2019 at 3:44 pm

    En serio?????? Subtitulos en Birmano, pero no en español?

  11. Flower Productions

    May 23, 2019 at 3:48 pm

    Am I the only one who thought this woman was the granny on the train from Captain Marvel, from the thumbnail?

    • Payhole Everdouche

      May 23, 2019 at 3:53 pm

      Yes…!!! It’s her awful outfit and them bedroom eyes…!!!??

  12. domsau2

    May 23, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    To summarize: inform yourself about the problems that can happen.

  13. Active Worker

    May 23, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    The responsability is mainly on our leaders who have tough decision to take.
    On our local non-political side, we can vote, debate, ideate and create startups.

  14. Fandyus

    May 23, 2019 at 3:55 pm

    I never experienced these times but i sure do miss the times when TED was about innovation and technology.

    No offense to the guest.

  15. Spencer Arnot

    May 23, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    We ignore obvious problems because there are hidden financial motives for some “representatives” to ignore obvious solutions. Take the current carbon crisis for example. Why not nuclear? The tech has significantly advanced in the last 50 years. It could solve a big problem but it’s being blocked. This is just one of many examples.

  16. LO V3

    May 23, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    It’s the little lies we tell ourselves to live the lives we think we want. “This isn’t the time to talk about it” “What can I do about it” “It’ll all work out for the best” sayings like this keep ourselves from seeing and admitting the problem as well as beginning the change within yourself that is ultimately needed.

  17. Julia Cherenkova

    May 23, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    I know one huge problem ignored by the majority of people, it’s CLIMATE CHANGE!!!11

    • Spencer Arnot

      May 23, 2019 at 4:38 pm

      @Julia Cherenkova Obvious problems often get ignored because there’s a hidden financial motive to obscure, denigrate or simple ignore the obvious solution. Nuclear is one such solution to the climate crisis. No carbon emissions, constant base load power, inexpensive and plentiful fuel source. And yet I bet you’ve heard nothing but horror stories about it, right? Curious don’t you think?

    • Ell Jay

      May 23, 2019 at 4:47 pm

      Unless you ignore problems with breeder reactors, then I don’t think fuel for fission nuclear is plentiful enough for the entire world to use it for that long. It’s only fusion where there’s some hope for a panacea.

  18. Gabriel Zhang

    May 23, 2019 at 4:24 pm

    As a Chinese, I’d like to list all the things that could happen when dealing with matters and give each one on the list a possible solution. And that help me hold many alternatives in my life and optimize the best one out of them.

  19. Aaron Long

    May 23, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    “We” don’t tend to ignore obvious problems. “We” have a political system which forfeits our ability to address big systemic problems to representatives, and those representatives have contrived to ignore obvious problems and/or thwart proposed solutions because it is politically convenient to do so.

    • Spencer Arnot

      May 23, 2019 at 4:40 pm

      @Aaron Long Just follow the money!

  20. mhtinla

    May 23, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    According to the media: ABC, NBC, NYT, TED…, the “obvious” problem in front of us is the orange man, not the black swan or the gray rhino.

    • Matthew Menich

      May 23, 2019 at 5:06 pm

      Yea what the fug is she really talking about?

  21. Elrayah 23

    May 23, 2019 at 4:44 pm

    Answer:

    We dont want to deal with them. There you go. Video over.

  22. World's Netizen

    May 23, 2019 at 4:46 pm

    election crisis? yeah, but it is a very big and time-consuming project which might need one or two generations to fix. Needless to say, it needs a dedicated long-time group to work on it and keep an eye for its’ oversight.

    • SURAJ GAJHANS

      May 23, 2019 at 4:58 pm

      India??..
      We are doomed as a nation today!

  23. David G

    May 23, 2019 at 4:51 pm

    LOL a liberal women trying to teach the mindless sheep.

  24. Cok van Gaalen

    May 23, 2019 at 5:09 pm

    speakproject.net lucid dreamer youtube Dan Lutz youtube thepeoplesclub.org cre8change gocamelot.com thishow thomas williams spreaker

    • Cok van Gaalen

      May 23, 2019 at 5:13 pm

      Zeitgeist moving forward

  25. Xubin Yang

    May 23, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    You should stay in China for a while, and live in the living area of ordinary people, not the special hotel or guest house that the Communist Party has arranged for you.

    • Combat Bananas

      May 23, 2019 at 6:21 pm

      Yea no thanks. I don’t want them recording me jerkin off. I hear its like -150 points for that on your social credit score.

    • signalamplifier

      May 24, 2019 at 1:27 pm

      Ya triggered?

    • Combat Bananas

      May 24, 2019 at 1:59 pm

      +signalamplifier -34 points on your social credit score, disagreeing with positive Chinese statements. No groceries for you this week.

    • signalamplifier

      May 24, 2019 at 2:31 pm

      +Combat Bananas the talk does not praise nor chineese neither us governments. You might enjoy using your brain instead of parroting standard phrases about muh freedom.

  26. olli tuovinen

    May 23, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    Allahu akbar.

  27. Mabel Pereira

    May 23, 2019 at 5:38 pm

    Well spoken, inspiring!

  28. Combat Bananas

    May 23, 2019 at 6:14 pm

    Strange audience eh?

  29. Will B

    May 23, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    i heard hearsay that hearsay is up. sell sell sell! 🙂

    • Cheryl Sibson

      May 24, 2019 at 5:33 am

      hersay not hearsay HER SAY I think she makes the point, that we can’t take it with us when we die.

  30. Scott Sanders

    May 23, 2019 at 7:40 pm

    The whole economic blitz in 2008 was pre-engineered by the Federal Reserve to suit their agenda, that’s why most people didn’t see it coming and those that did had a handle on the machinations of a nefarious organization like the Fed and had some kind of a heads up. The Great Depression of 1929 was also pre-engineered.

    • nosirrbro

      May 24, 2019 at 12:18 am

      No… no… no…

      I’m really going to need a source on that if you actually believe that and want to argue in favor of it.

    • Scott Sanders

      May 24, 2019 at 6:48 pm

      There’s tons ob books out there on this, you just have to search for them yourself. Try Katherine Austin Fitts, Cliff High, Anand Giridharadus, Parag Khamma, Wayne Jett for instance

    • nosirrbro

      May 24, 2019 at 7:39 pm

      +Scott Sanders You know full well someone on the internet isn’t going to read the entire portfolio of several authors’ books just in order to resolve a comment dispute, if these books had any truth to them whatsoever there would have been without a doubt shorter form articles on the subject using them as a source.

  31. Anders Løbger

    May 23, 2019 at 7:41 pm

    Why the poor sound quality? Struggling to understand I gave up after a few minutes.

  32. Bob Frog

    May 23, 2019 at 8:10 pm

    Is this moron seriously praising China? Mass Murder Champs of the 20th C?

  33. John Kesich

    May 23, 2019 at 9:06 pm

    Do honest bankers give mortgages to people with no income, no jobs, no assets? Do honest brokers think slicing and dicing such toxic assets turns them into AAA investments? Do honest regulators and financial commentators not understand the scam unfolding before their eyes? Do honest politicians bail out the bankers and leave their victims to twist in the wind? Even going so far as to let the banks illegally foreclose on thousands or millions of them?

  34. BoBo Mill Tv

    May 23, 2019 at 10:29 pm

    We do not ignore obvious problems, we do not understand them, mostly…

    • Cryptonymicus

      May 24, 2019 at 5:36 am

      AND we don’t want to pay for the repair.

    • BoBo Mill Tv

      May 24, 2019 at 9:47 pm

      +Cryptonymicus -true!

  35. ACANKU!

    May 23, 2019 at 11:14 pm

    I think the real problem is, that ignoring a problem and jump over it is a prooven strategy first used by psychopaths to be “successful” in reaching their goals and later imitated by sociopaths, which are today the most politicians and rich powerful people. They have learned nothing than ignoring problems. Thats why they are where they are now. Ignoring two problems solves the first problem (in many cases, not all, but they think in all cases) The thing why this happens is, the people always look UPWARDS. They dont want to help someone who is downwards. So if you want something important and you dont get it, just ignore and get something they want. Now they want you and you have solved a problem by just ignoring it and moving forward. This doesnt work out on climate change. You cant push forward. In this case you have to go slow and maybe a little back but as I said, powerful people have learned something different and they are not able to move back. Just look at what shady things they did all the time. This shady things to crush and ignore problems, neglet them and discredit them is their MAIN JOB. Ignoring and moving forward.

    • Stefan Nikola

      May 24, 2019 at 2:38 am

      Wow! I’ve been saying that for years! I hear you. I hear you. I’d like to add that since Jesus, Moses, Mohammad, Buddha, and Lao Tzu never taught any lessons about responsibility that there’s no responsibility ethic in the world. Psychopaths and sociopaths are irresponsible for their thoughts, feelings, words, and actions, yet they succeed. I don’t like the world as it is, and I have no power to change it for the better. I’m eager to leave!

  36. End Of Innocence

    May 23, 2019 at 11:20 pm

    The speaker is very invested in establishment narratives and does not understand how the world really works, and is this mostly wrong.

  37. DeathAngel

    May 23, 2019 at 11:33 pm

    my grandma just died, I’m the one your talking about who has to clean up the 30 years of horded newspapers and a bunch of other junk.

  38. Matheus Serra

    May 23, 2019 at 11:35 pm

    After the invite of Brazilian researcher Joana D’Arc Félix who lied about her doctorate degree for TedEx the program lost my respect and confidence …

  39. Being Human

    May 24, 2019 at 3:02 am

    Ifyoudontseeitjustlook

  40. Vikram Srinivasan

    May 24, 2019 at 3:23 am

    Which fool will live in China? ?

    • seneca

      May 28, 2019 at 12:16 pm

      Vikram Srinivasan living in China can be amazing. The best 6 years of my life were there.

  41. Karina Royuki

    May 24, 2019 at 3:44 am

    灰犀牛不查真不知道是什么意思

  42. Talloolah Moon

    May 24, 2019 at 3:52 am

    Very funny arrogant aunty

  43. Washington Strong arm

    May 24, 2019 at 4:13 am

    Global warming , climate change, vortex, climate moo, climate poo, I wonder what will be the next name for the hoax…?

  44. B Welkinator

    May 24, 2019 at 4:32 am

    In-equality is NOT a problem. That there are stratum of relative economic prosperity is a fact – but NOT a problem.

  45. Cryptonymicus

    May 24, 2019 at 5:35 am

    It’s easier to deal with the dust in the corner than the roof caving in on our heads. And the fact is a great many of us aren’t capable of dealing with the roof caving in.

  46. 韩淑君

    May 24, 2019 at 6:22 am

    I see several Asian audiences who look more like Chinese in view of their impassive expressions. For most of Chinese who have access to YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, they know a giant grey rhino is dashing toward us and hundreds and thousands of black swans are fluttering overhead right now. But more people are sanguine about China’s prospect and are completely unconscious of obvious disasters. In fact no one would like to ignore problems. People would like to face them and act on them if they know what is happening.

  47. Giovanni P.

    May 24, 2019 at 7:37 am

    Alan Greenspan wrote a paper/thesis prior to the events that occurred in 2006. His thesis extrapolated that a crisis like this would occur under the right conditions…

  48. Good Joke

    May 25, 2019 at 12:03 am

    I still didn get the answer, how to act on them?

  49. Sherry Li

    May 25, 2019 at 12:09 am

    Climate change.

  50. Sarah Collins

    May 25, 2019 at 1:34 am

    Black swans are very common if you live in the right place. You just have to be prepared to go there.

    (Australia has only black swans)

  51. desame suo

    May 25, 2019 at 7:12 am

    Some scientists and politicians might think that people ignore climate change. Actually they also ignore that we can’t stop using cheap energy . We all have limited money, so we can’t help using cheapest energy. If all human being stop using fossil fuel, our civilization will collapse.

  52. ELLE Frank Hittlerová švejnar

    May 25, 2019 at 9:18 am

    ©

  53. Kleber Alanis

    May 25, 2019 at 10:10 am

    With that laughter and double thumbs up, she just basically called suckers the people whom she sold her NY apartment to.

  54. DeeJay Aech

    May 25, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    The public school system.

  55. mmisbach

    May 25, 2019 at 6:56 pm

    Grey Rhinos: The less control we have over a problem the more likely to not see it. Self imposed blind spot. If you feel like someone’s got your back, you’ll take more risks. We are scared to remove our blind spots, but if we do it enables us to handle them. #TEDTalk

  56. Positive Leonine

    May 25, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Interesting speech.

  57. Jacob Opstad

    May 25, 2019 at 10:01 pm

    I had just barely become an adult but I could tell something was going to happen when I saw all those people trying to invest in real estate.

  58. Thirukumaran Sabapathi

    May 26, 2019 at 5:54 am

    Grass is always greener on the other side {for most}

  59. Максим Голубинцев

    May 26, 2019 at 10:51 am

    We’re like children, who are closing theirs eyes and thinking that nobody sees them, we think that if we don’t speak about problem it won’t happen with us

  60. judyslome1

    May 27, 2019 at 10:47 am

    I published a way to eliminate all postpartum hemorrhage at vaginal birth in 2010. It has been ignored . Grey rhino. see:
    Minimizing bleeding and tearing at vaginal births: one practitioners experience. Women and Birth. 2018 Apr;31(2):e144.

  61. barry weber

    May 27, 2019 at 5:17 pm

    Great talk.

  62. renate løland

    May 27, 2019 at 8:04 pm

    As a norwegian this sounds very veep to me

  63. Sultan Al-thobaiti

    May 28, 2019 at 6:42 am

    Nice

  64. Ramona Sz

    May 28, 2019 at 6:46 am

    Can we take a step back and use the same speech in order to understand why, oh why we do completely nothing (nowhere near enough) about climate change?

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Music

How music streaming transformed songwriting | Björn Ulvaeus

Visit to get our entire library of TED Talks, transcripts, translations, personalized talk recommendations and more. Money, money, money … in the music business, there seems to be little left for the songwriters that fuel it. ABBA co-founder Björn Ulvaeus calls for the industry to support its most valuable asset, breaking down how the streaming…

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Visit to get our entire library of TED Talks, transcripts, translations, personalized talk recommendations and more.

Money, money, money … in the music business, there seems to be little left for the songwriters that fuel it. ABBA co-founder Björn Ulvaeus calls for the industry to support its most valuable asset, breaking down how the streaming revolution impacts creator royalties, careers and craft — and outlines what can be done to truly thank artists for the music.

The TED Talks channel features the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and more. You’re welcome to link to or embed these videos, forward them to others and share these ideas with people you know.

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Transcriber:

I’d like to start with a quote,

but it’s very embarrassing because
I don’t know where it comes from.

But it’s very well put,
and it goes like this:

“Copyright is designed not only
to provide fairness for authors,

but also to enhance
the quality of life within a society

by promoting the progress
of science, art and culture.”

In other words,

the concept of making it economically
feasible for creators to create

is now globally recognized
as a social imperative.

I have very few memories
writing lyrics to songs.

But there is a particular one
from long ago that I do remember.

I was lying on my stomach on a bed
in a small guest room

with a writing pad in front of me.

In the master bedroom next door,

my then wife, Agnetha,
was sleeping undisturbed.

The music was playing in my head,

so no need for speakers,
not even headphones.

A melody that still lacks words
is virgin territory

upon which a lyricist must tread lightly.

Some of the time,
the final words on the page

are the result of hard work, deep thought

and the intuition that a songwriter
must learn to trust.

But sometimes,
extraordinary things happen;

closed curtains are suddenly drawn,
and the melody speaks to you

and starts to conjure up images
and even sequences of events.

All you have to do is write it down,
write down what you witnessed.

A song can come to its creator
in bits and pieces.

But when it once in a while appears
out of thin air in its entirety,

it seems to suggest it had already
lingered there, God knows how long,

perhaps impatiently waiting
to be plucked down

by someone with a keen and sensitive ear,

as if it needed the right vessel
to flow through

from the realm of ideas
all the way down to earth.

I was deliriously happy
when I had finished.

At that moment, I was grateful
for music itself,

for the sheer existence of this elusive,
undefinable phenomenon

that seems to ignore our brains
and go straight to our hearts.

I wanted to sing it out loud,
but it was two o’clock in the morning,

and even in my euphoria,

I had the good sense not to wake the woman
who was to sing my words the next day.

If Benny Andersson and I
had written that song today,

you might not have gotten to hear it.

It could have been
just another lost dream,

[one of] about 80,000 new songs
uploaded to streaming services

every single day.

The competition today is fierce,

much fiercer than it was back in 1977.

And even if our song had been clicked
very often by Spotify subscribers,

chances are slim that the royalties
would have paid anyone’s rent.

So what I want to talk to you about today

is how I see the changes
in the song economy

using my perspective of what
it was like to be a songwriter

when the music industry was simpler
and perhaps more predictable.

These days, everything
is tracked by our data.

And data from streaming tells us

that listeners much more often
click their favorite song

than their favorite artist

on a streaming service.

Sometimes they’re not even sure
who it is they’re listening to,

if it’s a playlist, for example.

So if we’re paying more attention
to the song, though,

what about the songwriter?

Songwriters have been
forced into the back seat,

and I would even say,
bungled into the trunk.

My concern is that songwriters are at risk
of becoming invisible victims

of the change that is taking place.

The music business is now a song economy.

Yet the creators of the songs that fuel it
get the smallest slice of the pie.

How did that happen?

I am not, for one moment, about to suggest
that we should turn back the clock,

which you may have suspected
from an old pop star.

But what’s happened in the last decade

has the potential to be
incredibly positive for songwriters.

Now, instead, I’m going to describe
the unintended consequences

of the streaming revolution,

how they are reshaping
the lives of songwriters.

And then, I will present some proposals

for how the impact of these unintended
consequences can be addressed.

It has never been a better time
to be writing and making music.

Anyone today has the potential
to find a global audience,

and if they so choose,

they can even try to do that on their own,
without a record label or music publisher.

A whole music software
industry is emerging,

serving the needs of a new generation
of artists and songwriters.

Streaming has enabled
this new music paradigm.

Once the pandemic stopped
live music in 2020,

many artists realized that they couldn’t
pay their bills on streaming alone.

Some have moved back in
with their parents,

and others are driving Ubers
to make ends meet.

Previously, streaming had more or less
been promotion for their tours,

and live appearances, by far providing
most of their revenue.

It’s funny, but it was exactly
the opposite for Abba in the 70s.

We hardly toured at all,
and when we did, we lost money.

But, I mean, the touring was supposed
to be promotion for the album

so that didn’t matter.

And I can’t recall that we ever complained
about the size of our royalties,

which the artists, during
the pandemic, have done bitterly,

when streaming and royalties suddenly
were the only source of income.

“If this is the impact
on artists,” I thought,

“welcome to the world of songwriters.”

Most professional songwriters don’t tour,

they don’t sell T-shirts
or other merchandise …

They rely on the song itself.

But even that seems to be changing,

because the song has evolved
in response to streaming,

and it’s increasingly common
for record labels

to get large teams of songwriters
to work together,

creating almost genetically modified hits.

Songs are written and structured in ways

that are optimized for the algorithms
that streaming services use

to decide what music you and I listen to.

Some research has been done
to suggest that these days,

a Billboard Top 10 hit has,
on average, five songwriters —

not one or two, but five —
and sometimes even 10.

And on top of this, they’re having
to write more songs and more quickly,

simply to keep up
with the insatiable demand

for new music that streaming creates.

After ABBA had won the Eurovision Song
Contest in 1974 with “Waterloo,”

royalties suddenly came pouring in,

and Benny and I could afford
to write songs full time,

nine-to-five.

That made such a huge difference.

We could afford to throw away
95 percent of what we wrote

and just keep the very, very best.

We learned how to recognize garbage,

and that’s essential
if you want to get good at your craft.

Royalties simply gave us time
and creative freedom.

Needless to say, you will have neither

if you’re in a hurry and someone
is breathing down your neck all the time.

The industrial approach to songwriting
is making it harder

for many songwriters to build
sustainable careers.

Those that are successful
are very successful,

but those in the layers below,

who used to be able to make
a living from songwriting,

are really suffering.

They are becoming parts of a system
that they serve more than it serves them.

And here are three key pain points.

Firstly, streaming services typically
pay out about four times more

for the recording
than they do the composition,

which means a streaming income
is even smaller for songwriters

than it is for artists.

It’s a legacy from the past,

when recordings and the packaging
of physical products were very expensive,

so a larger share
for the recording was justified.

But that has changed.

But the change has not yet been reflected
in the division of royalties.

Secondly,

even the way that streaming services
pay royalties is problematic.

A listener’s monthly 9.99 subscription
goes into a central pot,

which then gets divided by the total
number of streams that month.

That decides the value
of one stream, or listen.

This means that you if you have
streamed Arne Jansen’s jazz trio,

if you have done that 50 times
in the past month,

and the neighbor’s teenage daughter
has streamed Justin Bieber 5,000 times,

only a small fraction of your 9.99
will go to Arne Jansen.

Nothing wrong with Justin Bieber,

but how does that reward
your favorite artist?

And thirdly, bad metadata
is a big problem,

metadata being the relevant information
about a song and its recording.

Very often, recordings are injected
into a streaming service

without accurate data.

The name of the writer
is missing, for instance.

That means that the streaming service
doesn’t know where to send the royalties,

and the money is put
in a so-called “black box.”

Just sits there.

Recently,

20 streaming services
distributed 424 million dollars

to a US nonprofit organization,

which is supposed to try and find
the rightful recipients of all that money.

It will take years —
if they ever find them.

The combination of all
these issues and others

are creating a perfect storm
for songwriters.

Over the last decade, I’ve watched
this situation get progressively worse.

And during the past five years,

I’ve been engaged in projects
that aim to do something about it.

So how can I help?

Well, first of all,

I have you all here today listening to me,

and that’s, of course, what I want
to do — to raise awareness.

But I want to do more than just
raise awareness of the issues.

I also want to help the industry
identify solutions.

And here are a few suggestions,

out of many.

One: fan-centric royalties.

In order to ensure
that all songwriters get paid fairly,

I suggest that streaming services
allocate their royalty payments

based on the behavior
of individual listeners.

The individual description should be
divided by the number of songs

the individual listener
has played during a month.

That gives each song a value.

If the subscription is 9.99,

and the listener has played
10 Arne Jansen, again,

songs that month,

each song has the value
of .99, almost a dollar,

and that’s the amount
that will be paid to Arne Jansen.

Under the current system,

you can be sure that Arne would get

the value of .00-something dollars.

So this fan-centric approach to royalties
will bring much-needed fairness

and can build on the important starts
made by Deezer and SoundCloud.

But perhaps the simplest
and most effective way

to improve streaming royalties

would be for streaming services
to increase how much they charge.

Streaming pricing has been stuck at
ridiculous 9.99 for more than a decade.

Meanwhile, Netflix seems
to increase its pricing every week.

Research shows that
subscribers will pay more;

9.99 could quite easily become 11.99,

perhaps even 12.99.

And thirdly: the tedious but absolutely
necessary registration.

Wherever the 80,000 new songs per day
make their entry into the music industry,

there should be user-friendly
registration portals

to make sure that relevant information
about the work is captured early.

This would diminish the problem
with black boxes and conflicts.

In my view, it is an obligation
for collecting societies,

who collect creators’ royalties at source,

to modernize and to adapt
their technology to the digital age.

I know it’s easy for me
to stand here in front of you

and reel off a list of suggestions
for the industry —

much easier than making
these changes happen.

But change does need to happen,

and soon.

Crucially, this change needs
to be brought about

by the music industry as a whole,

each part working together.

The song and the songwriter
fuel everything,

from the recording
through to live performances,

even a T-shirt would not sell
if the band hadn’t good songs.

I have created memories
to some of those songs,

from the Everly Brothers

and then the Beatles,

Elton John and many more,

songs that sometimes would surprise me
with a stab of ending,

quickly washed away by their sheer beauty

and the inspiration that they gave me.

I know what they mean

and what they meant to me.

I’ve often wondered:
What would we be without music?

Less human, I’m convinced of that.

If we couldn’t hear music,
then what else would we be deaf to?

But we never seem to think about that,

even though music is all around us
all of the time.

This is the moment for the entire
music industry to invest in supporting

what is, without a doubt,
its most valuable asset.

Far too many songwriters out there
are suffering in this creaking system.

Solutions like those that I have outlined
could help rebalance the song economy

so that more songwriters
and their listeners

will be able to lean back
and say, in all honesty,

exactly what I said in the song that I
was talking about in the beginning:

“Thank you for the music.”

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Education

How to support yourself (and others) through grief | Nina Westbrook

Visit to get our entire library of TED Talks, transcripts, translations, personalized talk recommendations and more. In big and small ways, we all experience loss: whether it’s the passing of a loved one, the close of a career or even the end of a dream. Explaining how to process many types of sorrow, marriage and…

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Visit to get our entire library of TED Talks, transcripts, translations, personalized talk recommendations and more.

In big and small ways, we all experience loss: whether it’s the passing of a loved one, the close of a career or even the end of a dream. Explaining how to process many types of sorrow, marriage and family therapist Nina Westbrook highlights the importance of grief as a natural emotion and a powerful lens to help you imagine new futures — and shares ways to support yourself and others through difficult times. (This conversation, hosted by TED curator Cloe Shasha Brooks, is part of TED’s “How to Deal with Difficult Feelings” series.)

The TED Talks channel features the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and more. You’re welcome to link to or embed these videos, forward them to others and share these ideas with people you know.

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Follow TED on Twitter:
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TED’s videos may be used for non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons License, Attribution–Non Commercial–No Derivatives (or the CC BY – NC – ND 4.0 International) and in accordance with our TED Talks Usage Policy (). For more information on using TED for commercial purposes (e.g. employee learning, in a film or online course), please submit a Media Request at

Transcriber:

Cloe Shasha Brooks: Hello, TED Community,

you are watching a TED interview series

called How to Deal
with Difficult Feelings.

I’m your host, Cloe Shasha Brooks,
and a curator at TED.

This past year has been full
of both personal and collective grief.

And this grief has taken many forms.

And to dive deeper into the world
of understanding and managing grief,

I’ll be speaking first
with Nina Westbrook,

a marriage and family therapist
who has supported clients through loss.

Hi, Nina.

Nina Westbrook: Hi, Cloe,
good to see you.

Thank you so much for having me.

CSB: Thanks for joining us.

Nina, you have talked about how grief
can be about the loss of people

and tangible things.

But that it can also be
about the loss of dreams,

something that many people
have experienced over the past year.

Can you give me some examples
of grieving for lost dreams

and talk about what it means
to experience this kind of grief?

NW: Absolutely.

I believe that grief can take
so many different forms,

and I think oftentimes
when we think about grief,

we associate it with the emotional process

that takes place when we’re coping
with the death of a loved one.

I don’t know.

It’s just not as common to associate grief

or correlate grief
with the loss of a dream.

So when you think about dreams
and when they begin

and how deeply they’re rooted
into our daily lives and our routines

and how much our dreams

determine our decision-making process

and the choices that we make
throughout the course of our lives,

they hold a pretty significant
amount of space

in our minds and in our hearts.

Imagine a child who,

you know, from a young age,
we begin to dream

and they begin to dream
about becoming an astronaut one day

and walking on the moon
or becoming a professional athlete.

And then as we grow older,

we begin to focus in
on what our needs are

and what our wants are,

and our dreams begin to look more
like acquiring our dream careers

or job positions or opening businesses,

having children or finding love.

And the reality is that these dreams
do not always work out

and manifest themselves in a way
that we have imagined, right?

And that can be so devastating
for so many people.

The loss of careers and jobs

or our divorces,
the loss of relationships,

or infertility can all be
extremely devastating things

and those types of devastating events

propel you into the emotional process

that takes place during grief.

CSB: Let’s bring a question up
from the audience.

What are comforting things to do
or say when someone is grieving?

So I guess someone else in this case.

NW: That’s a really amazing question.

A lot of the time, simply being present

and offering support and encouragement

is really going to be important

when you’re trying to support
someone else through their grief.

I think communication is also important,

asking that person,

“What can I do,”

or “What do you need
from me in this moment

and how can I best support you,”

is kind of going to be the best way
to figure out how to support this person.

Sometimes they just want
someone to listen to.

Sometimes they need someone
to make them laugh or to help, you know,

keep them distracted for a moment

or sometimes they just need someone
to be around them.

It just really depends on the person,

since grief is so subjective
in the way that we go through it.

CSB: Totally.

And let’s go right
into some strategies, too.

So I’m sure you have strategies
for managing the grief of lost dreams.

How do people pick themselves
back up after that?

NW: You want to give yourself
permission to grieve, first off.

And it’s not a linear journey,

there is going to be lots of ups
and downs that take place.

Some days you’re going to be OK
and some days you might cry

and sometimes you might go
a month without crying.

And then one day everything comes
crashing down all at once.

It’s just a matter of giving yourself
permission to go through these feelings

and knowing and reassuring yourself
that this is OK and it’s normal.

And also keeping in mind

that it’s OK to feel joy
even in those moments of sadness

that you’re going to experience
when you’re grieving.

The other thing that I think
is really important

is just to be proactive
in the grieving process.

Don’t ignore your grief.

You can seek support.

You can’t be afraid to ask for support

or lean on others, people that you trust,

friends, family members, coworkers,
whomever it may be for support.

And then making a plan, making a new plan.

Mourning happens over time.

What it’s doing, what we’re doing,

and all of the emotions
that were going through

during that mourning process

is we’re literally detaching ourselves
emotionally from the dream

that we are mourning

or from the object that we’re mourning.

And what that’s doing
is opening yourself up

and making space for new dreams

and new experiences
and new opportunities in the future.

So goal setting and planning
is going to be key.

A lot of the time
we really focus on plan A.

So this is a great time to pivot

and focus on planning
for a new future and a new outcome.

CSB: Absolutely.

And just one final quick question for you,

which is that sometimes people
get mad at themselves

for not getting over their grief.

What would you say to those people?

NW: It’s really important to keep healing
at the forefront of your mind.

And I think that understanding
the grief process

and going through the ups and downs

and knowing that that’s all a part of it,

you have to be patient with yourself,

you have to give yourself grace

and understand that you’re
going to have good days,

you’re going to have bad days.

But when it all comes down to it,

if you’re keeping the idea
of healing in the forefront,

then you can focus your energy
and your time into that process

and going through it in a way
that is productive

to your emotional well-being
in the future.

CSB: Wonderful.

Well, thank you so much
for this conversation, Nina.

We have come to the end,

but really grateful to you for joining us.

Take care.

NW: Thank you so much
for having me. Take care.

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Nonprofits & Activism

How marijuana reform could repair, reclaim and restore communities | Khadijah Tribble

Visit to get our entire library of TED Talks, transcripts, translations, personalized talk recommendations and more. The war on drugs in the United States undid much of the progress of the Civil Rights Movement — and today, it continues to derail millions within marginalized communities with arrests, convictions and incarcerations for marijuana possession. As more…

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Visit to get our entire library of TED Talks, transcripts, translations, personalized talk recommendations and more.

The war on drugs in the United States undid much of the progress of the Civil Rights Movement — and today, it continues to derail millions within marginalized communities with arrests, convictions and incarcerations for marijuana possession. As more states move to legalize cannabis, social entrepreneur and activist Khadijah Tribble calls for equitable reform that centers on the casualties of the war and its insidious policies and paves a path toward restorative justice.

The TED Talks channel features the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and more. You’re welcome to link to or embed these videos, forward them to others and share these ideas with people you know.

Become a TED Member:
Follow TED on Twitter:
Like TED on Facebook:
Subscribe to our channel:

TED’s videos may be used for non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons License, Attribution–Non Commercial–No Derivatives (or the CC BY – NC – ND 4.0 International) and in accordance with our TED Talks Usage Policy (). For more information on using TED for commercial purposes (e.g. employee learning, in a film or online course), please submit a Media Request at

Transcriber:

“What did you want to be when you grow up”

is a question that I’m sure many of you
have heard in your childhood.

But if your upbringing was
anything like mine,

it is a question that you heard
over and over again.

And it wasn’t until I became an adult
that I began to understand

the significance of the asking
of the questions by our community leaders

and my grandparents.

But it was only recently
in the last two years

that I get some true understanding

of just how much significance
and weight there was

in the answer back then and even today.

You see, growing up Black and female
in the South more than 40 years ago,

there are some limitations
to the answer to that question.

Whether real or perceived,
there were limitations all the same.

And so what I want you
to understand at this moment,

as a young girl growing up,

with all that was happening
right after the civil rights movement,

all of the advancements of the struggle,

things that were meant to push and advance
the African-American community;

things like the Voting Rights Act,

The Fair Housing Act
and affirmative action,

and my generation was supposed
to be taking full advantage

of all of those opportunities.

So, when they ask the question,

“What do you want to be
when you grow up?,”

it meant something to them.

I remember hearing this question
one summer at vacation Bible school.

And if anybody is here from the South,

you understand that vacation Bible school

is not to be confused
with BTU training school

or Sunday-go-to-meeting school.

it is vacation Bible school.

I’m still trying to figure out
who thought it was a good idea

to put a vacation,
Bible and school all together …

(Laughter)

But the first week of every summer,
of every summer during my childhood,

it was spent in vacation Bible school.

And this one particular summer
there was a teacher.

She wasn’t too much older than me
and my middle school friends.

She wanted to make sure
that we understood scripture

and was able to connect it
to this real world question

of what you will be when you grow up.

And so as my gaggle of girls
sat around lunch that day,

trying to figure out
what we were going to say,

thinking back now, it was
a really impressive group of girls

because they wanted to be things
like civil rights attorneys,

educators and doctors.

I didn’t want any of that.

I was going to do something different.

You see, I was going to be …

wait for it …

A thinker.

(Laughter)

Yes.

(Applause)

So when it came time for me
to take the stage

and share with the entire
vacation Bible school,

I introduced myself and I said,

“When I grow up,
I’m going to be a thinker.”

There was some laughter, some giggles,

but it was really the disapproving look
on the teacher’s face that made me recant.

And so I said really quickly,

“When I grow up,
I’m going to be a lawyer,”

and then I exit stage left.

But fast-forward to two years ago

and I get an opportunity
to spend time at an institution

known for creating
and cultivating great thinkers.

Little did I know at the time

that there’s a ritual
at the Kennedy School

where students get an opportunity
to stand on the famous forum stage

and they’re given 15 seconds to say

what they were going to do
at the Kennedy School.

And so, you know what I’m thinking, right?

It’s a full-circle moment.
I’m going to get it right.

So I take the mic, I introduce myself
and I say to my peers,

to deans and to faculty members

that I’m here to tell you

that marijuana matters.

Not a lot of giggles.

Actually, it was actually
a lot of applause.

But in my head, I’m thinking,

“Khadijah, did you just stand
on the premiere policy stage

and tell these folks
you’re going to talk about weed?”

(Laughter)

That’s exactly what I did,

and for the next 12 months,

I immersed myself in all things marijuana,

day in and day out, reading, talking,
sniffing, thinking about marijuana.

So much so, my lovely wife Robyn
banned the topic from the dinner table.

(Laughter)

But here’s what I came
to understand about marijuana.

And if you don’t remember anything else
from my talk, please remember this.

That for all of the gains
that we were trying to make

with the civil rights movement —

fair housing,

expanded opportunities in education,

employment opportunities,

building the wealth
of the African-American community,

the failed policies of the war on drugs
single-handedly undid all of that.

(Applause)

And here’s how we know that.

I want to give you guys five numbers.

Five.

Seven.

46.

23

and one.

And no, it’s not
the Mega Millions jackpot numbers.

See, for more than five decades,

this country has waged a war on drugs,

which has been tantamount to waging
a war on Black and brown communities.

Millions of people have been arrested,

convicted and incarcerated
for marijuana-related possessions.

In the last decade alone, 7 million.

And those 7 million people are facing

what’s known as
46,000 collateral consequences.

Now, some of you may be saying,
“If you do the crime, you do the time.”

And I only have five minutes left,
so I can’t argue that point today.

But I will say to you, at this moment,

when 33 states
and the District of Columbia

have some form of regulated

growing marijuana, selling marijuana,

consuming marijuana and distributing
marijuana on a mass scale,

is it still a crime?

I ask because I’ve met people
all across this country

who are living with those
collateral consequences.

People like Keyvette, a young woman,
very energetic about her future.

When she left high school,

she was ambitious
and she wanted to go off to college.

But before she could realize that

she was stopped
for a routine traffic violation,

I think it was a broken headlight.

And in the course of that stop
the police officers smelled marijuana.

And if you’re in the state of Virginia,

the smell of marijuana is probable
cause for search and seizure.

The car was searched,
there was marijuana that wasn’t used.

She was arrested, booked,

and to this day, she still has
a criminal record related to marijuana.

Because of that record,

she often finds it hard
to qualify for an apartment,

employment opportunities.

She also lost the opportunity
to use financial aid to go to school.

Some of you might not even know

there are about 26 licensures
for entry-level employment opportunities,

that if you have
a marijuana-related conviction,

you may not be able to get that license,

like a barber’s license
or a cosmetology license.

But the thing that I find so offensive
about ??? situation

is that she has two kids.

And there’s evidence to suggest
children born to individuals

who have a marijuana-related offense,

they’re more likely to live in poverty.

And I ask you guys, is that fair?

Is that equitable?

Or take the veteran who proudly
and honorably served for 26 years

in the United States Air Forces.

In that service, he actually
lost the use of his legs,

he’s paralyzed and he uses marijuana
for pain management.

He also uses it to deal
with his anxiety and depression

that you can imagine would come
with losing independence and mobility.

And he uses marijuana knowing full well

that he is at risk of losing
the very health benefits

that he earned as a disabled veteran.

You know, people ask me all the time,

“Khadijah, why marijuana?

Why are you so passionate
about marijuana?”

The reality of it is I feel
like this is just a continuation

of the work I’ve done my entire life.

I’ve worked alongside
marginalized communities,

in service of marginalized communities

in hopes that I would be able
to improve their life in some way.

But if I’m being honest and frank,
it’s also very personal to me,

marijuana is a personal issue for me.

You see, that veteran
happens to be my father,

Retired Master Sergeant Willie B. Tribble,

and I will fight for his right
and the thousands of other veterans

to get the life saving —

and we don’t know that yet by research,

but I suggest that it could
potentially be —

medicine that is quality
and safe for veterans.

And Keyvette?
Keyvette is my daughter in law.

And those two kids, King and Titan,

mean so much to me.

And just like my grandparents asked me,

“What do you want to be
when you grow up?,”

I want to be able
to hear from my grandsons:

anything they want to be.

Thank you for listening.

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