August 09, 2022
Tuesday is here, and so are we.
- Today's weather: 89° and humid.
❤️ Thanks to our 102 Axios Nashville members for supporting local journalism. Join them by becoming a member.
Today's newsletter is 872 words — a 3-minute read.
1 big thing: Housing sales drop
Home sales in the Nashville area continued their summertime slump last month.
- Closings dropped a whopping 19% in July compared to the same timeframe a year ago, per Greater Nashville Realtors.
- That follows smaller year-over-year slips earlier this year.
- Experts framed the ongoing slowdown as a healthy return to equilibrium after historic highs.
What they're saying: Laurel Graefe, regional executive for the Nashville branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, addressed the broader trend at an event last week, before the latest numbers were released.
- "It would make sense to me that we're seeing a little bit of a lull right now as things come back into balance," she said.
- "This feels like a bit of a normalization."
By the numbers: There were 3,459 closings last month, down from 4,314 last July, per Greater Nashville Realtors.
Between the lines: The housing inventory is creeping up as sales ease off and houses stay on the market for longer periods of time. But prices remain strong.
- The median price of a single-family home in July was $490,000 compared to $415,075 last year.
2. Remembering Olivia Newton-John
Olivia Newton-John, who died yesterday after a battle with cancer, was widely known for her power on the pop charts and on the big screen.
- But her delicate voice animated some iconic country hits in the 1970s, and the Nashville establishment recognized her star power years before "Grease."
Flashback: She won a Grammy for best female country vocal performance for her 1973 single "Let Me Be There." In 1974, she won female vocalist of the year at the Country Music Association awards and scored an entertainer of the year nomination.
- "I Honestly Love You" and "Have You Never Been Mellow" were among her biggest crossover hits, which appeared on the country charts and topped the Billboard Hot 100.
🎧 Listen: Newton-John's 1975 single "Please Mr. Please" is a classic ode to a country jukebox.
3. Axios sold: Why it matters
Axios has signed a deal to sell to its most recent lead investor, Cox Enterprises, the companies announced yesterday. The cash deal values the company at $525 million, as reported by Axios' Sara Fischer.
- Axios becomes one of a handful of digital news startups that have sold for more than $500 million in the past decade.
Why it matters: The deal is structured to ensure investments will continue to flow into local news at a time when most commercial investors have abandoned local markets.
- Axios was founded in 2016 by the same leaders who built Politico, with a focus on politics, tech and business. In 2020, it began a significant expansion into local news.
- Cox is one of the nation's largest family-controlled companies. After getting its start in local newspapers, it wants to ensure local news remains a part of its legacy. It still owns the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Dayton Daily News.
What they're saying: Axios CEO Jim VandeHei called the news "great for Axios, for our shareholders and American journalism. It allows us to think and operate generationally, with a like-minded partner — and build something great and durable that lives long after we are gone."
💭 Axios publisher Nick Johnston's thought bubble: This is a big deal for continued investment in local news. We'll expand to more cities and hire more reporters for existing newsletters.
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Read more if you want the details.
4. The Setlist
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5. Talking tech with a "Drag Race" all-star
Stars from "RuPaul's Drag Race" are bringing their fully fabulous Werq the World tour to the historic Ryman Auditorium tonight.
- Tickets are still available and start at $52.
Our Axios colleague and "Drag Race" superfan Selene San Felice checked in with the show's season 12 winner and "All Stars" season seven competitor Jaida Essence Hall about how she interacts with tech in between performances.
👇 First tap of the day: Twitter. "I want to see if I missed anything crazy! I follow a lot of fashion accounts to find inspiration for new looks. And I like cake accounts too, those cakes that look like real things."
🎧 Podcast of choice: "My podcast, 'Hall & Closet,' featuring myself and Heidi N Closet. Not the most reliable news, I'll say that right now."
- Also: "This is the craziest thing … brown noise. Nobody's talking about it, but it's a life-changer. It's this fuzzy noise that sounds like a plane almost, like gravelly. It's very weird and very soothing."
📚 Reading list: André Leon Talley's biography "The Chiffon Trenches."
📧 Inbox zero? "Oh my god, I'm the worst! My email is mostly junk but I have 17,000 email notifications right now and like 1,000 text message notifications."
🔀 Nate's song of the day is "Twist of Fate" by the iconic Olivia Newton-John. His album of the day is the collection of Olivia Newton-John cover songs by Juliana Hatfield.
💃 Adam is watching this "Drag Race" lip sync to "Twist of Fate."