How 1 record company managed to get rid of a million unsold CDs.

Let's say you were a musician.

You work hard for a year writing and producing (and singing, of course) a new album, and, when you finally release it, buyers rush to the store with their money in hand.

Over 50,000 copies sell on the day of the release, which is doubly impressive because you launched your album only in the U.K. (where, hypothetically, you're from).


Nearly another 100,000 copies sell over the course of the debut week, and the album tops the national charts. Ultimately, the album goes "platinum" many times over, and you sell well over 2 million copies in Europe alone and probably around 5 million worldwide.

That sounds great, right? Right. But for record label EMI, it was, well, not.

The musician whose story is told above isn't a hypothetical person. He's Robbie Williams, one of the U.K.'s most well-known singers.

Robbie Williams performing in New York City in 2003. Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images.

North Americans who can recall 1999 likely remember his only major success in this hemisphere, "Millennium," but if not, listen and watch here. The song topped the U.K. charts and is the only Robbie Williams song to make the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States.

In October 2002, Williams signed a four-album contract with EMI Records which, according to the BBC, earned him an U.K.-record £80 million (or about $125 million), still a record for music contracts in the nation.

The first two albums Williams delivered were unqualified successes; the first, "Escapology," sold over 2 million copies in the U.K. and more than a million more in Germany alone; the second, "Intensive Care," sold an estimated 6.2 million copies worldwide.

But the third album, "Rudebox," didn't do as well.

"Rudebox" came out in 2006, and although it topped out at 5 million, that took nearly a decade — and besides, EMI was expecting to sell about a million more.

And they had already produced that extra million CDs.

For two years, millions of copies of Williams' third album sat idle, unsold and undistributed to retailers.

The CDs were seemingly destined for the landfill, but in 2008, EMI found a buyer — maybe — for the extra inventory: an unnamed Chinese company which wanted every single leftover copy.

But the buyers in China weren't CD stores or, for that matter, interested in Williams' music at all.

The buyers weren't retailers or wholesalers or anything of the sort — they were road builders. Specifically, as reported by Contact Music, EMI crushed the CDs and shipped them to China so that the pulverized discs could be "used in street lighting and road surfacing projects." Apparently, crushed CDs make for good road safety.

Whether EMI made any money on the deal went unreported — its possible that they simply wanted the CDs out of their warehouses and found a company willing to haul them away.

Either way, in some areas of China, the streets aren't quite paved with gold, but they very well might be paved with an album that went platinum.

Dan Lewis runs the popular daily newsletter Now I Know ("Learn Something New Every Day, By Email"). To subscribe to his daily email, click here.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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