This Week in Business (11/29): Saying goodbye to San Ramon Golden Skate, comedians in hot legal water with Spotify, and more!


Shreyas Sambara

Saying goodbye to San Ramon Golden Skate, comedians in hot legal water with Spotify, and more!

Iconic San Ramon Golden Skate closes-sparks uncertainty for local entertainment businesses

In devastating news, the iconic Golden Skate roller rink in San Ramon is closing after 26 years of business. 

Hassan Sharifi, founder and owner, wrote, “Unfortunately, the enormous financial damages that we suffered due to COVID have made the continued operation of the Golden Skate infeasible, and so it is with a great deal of sadness that I must announce that The Golden Skate will cease its operations.”

Golden State is one of many entertainment businesses that have gone under as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While businesses such as restaurants have been able to recover since mid-2021, entertainment enterprises such as Golden Skate and Chuck-E-Cheese have struggled to accommodate pandemic-era measures. You can have restaurants deliver food to your house, but, unfortunately, you can’t really bring an arcade home. 

The financial struggles of local entertainment businesses are reflected in Chuck-E-Cheese’s year-over-year earnings since 2020, which have decreased 53%. 

Even as we leave behind the worst of the pandemic, it is definitely going to be an uphill battle for many entertainment businesses—if they make it out alive at all. Especially with the new Omicron variant, the future of the local entertainment industry remains uncertain.

Spotify quarrels with comedians over royalties

The meteoric rise of streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime has propelled the comedy business to unprecedented heights. However, not everything is up and to the right for these up-and-coming digital entertainers.

Spotify reached a legal deadlock this past week with Spoken Giants, a global rights administration company that helps comedians collect royalties for their jokes. For many comedians, their licensing agreements are constructed such that their labels receive the royalties directly. This gives labels the power to distribute royalties to the comedians at their discretion, which can leave comedians vulnerable to having their paychecks squeezed. Spotify has temporarily removed clips from several comedians such as Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish as the negotiations continue.

The mechanics of distributing royalties to artists has also come into the public limelight with Taylor Swift’s release of the album “Red (Taylor’s Version),” which she released independently from a record label so as to retain profits that would otherwise have gone towards label licensing fees.

Overarchingly, artists are seeking a greater portion of the profits that their work generates, a trend that is drawing artists and streaming companies into tense legal conflict—welcome to big business.

Cyber Monday vs Black Friday

It’s 4:00 a.m. on a cold November Friday, and you, like many others, are camping on the cement outside Best Buy to snag the new Playstation console at mind-bogglingly low prices.

This used to be the reality of Black Friday, but, ever since the online shopping boom, services such as Amazon Prime are making it more convenient to shop online, making Cyber Monday the preferred alternative to Black Friday for consumers at large.

According to Adobe Analytics, for the first time in history, this year’s  Black Friday spending dropped from a year earlier, down to $8.9 billion this year from $9 billion in 2020. According to Adobe, Cyber Monday sales were around $11.3 billion dollars.

As COVID remains a concern for the foreseeable future and e-commerce continues to boom, we must ask the question: will Black Friday make the cut next year?