This Week In Music: 2nd February 2023

A weekly update on all things music, advertising, and technology coming straight to you from Anthony Vanger at MassiveMusic. #TWIM

ARTIST OF THE WEEK: KIMBRA “SAVE ME”

What happens when a song you recorded casually at a friend’s house becomes an international sensation, wins a Grammy and hits number one in multiple countries? That’s exactly what happened to Kimbra, now 32, a singer and songwriter from New Zealand. The friend was Goyte and the song was “Somebody that I used to Know”. That kind of fame can be a burden, and in some ways, 9 years later, Kimbra is still trying to find her feet. Nothing she has produced or done has matched that period back in 2013. Her latest fourth album, Reckoning, gives up trying to catch another pop genie in the bottle and instead focuses on the personal. This is not an indie-non-commercial record, but you definitely feel she is not trying to make another monster hit. I love the way she uses all the senses to convey her message. Her clothes (or lack thereof in the video replay!), the production and the lyrics, everything is precisely where she wants it to be. Despite the beauty and the stillness, there is tension and even anger in her delivery. When she sings – “So go on and save me, I am sinking into my feelings…” – you wonder if she is talking to someone, herself or the wonderful music she has made.

kimbramusic.com

#kimbra #goyte #somebodythatiusedtoknow #warnermusic #newzealand #grammys #popmusic #pop #indiemusic #alternativemusi

AD OF THE WEEK: VIRGIN ATLANTIC “I AM WHAT I AM”

Nice and simple concept where the airline tries to separate itself from the “stodgy” competition by championing the rich individuality of its crew and customers. Research shows that travellers find most airlines’ crew to be impersonal in their service. In contrast, Virgin Atlantic’s can be their true selves on board and on the ground. They don’t follow a script and are seen to offer a more personal touch.  The film focuses on a group of charismatic characters, at an airport and on board a state-of-the-art A350 plane. Customers and crew alike joyfully do their own thing, set to the song “I am what I am”, a track made famous by Gloria Gaynor, composed by Jerry Herman for the musical La Cage aux Folles, but reinterpreted here by breakthrough Jazz/Soul artist Lady Blackbird. Good work from Lucky Generals UK.

CELEBRATING 10 YEARS. INDEPENDENT MUSIC WEEK MAKES ITS RETURN THIS MONTH

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Independent Venue Week (IVW) is the UK’s annual 7-day celebration of independent music & arts venues and the people that own, run and work in them.

During the week, independent venues come together with artists, promoters, agents, record labels and media to create a unique series of special live events across the U.K. to highlight on the work these venues do year-round. By doing so, local communities come together and celebrate these special places with thousands of artists playing hundreds of shows in villages, towns and cities all around the UK. Working with valued long term partners including Arts Council England and See Tickets as well as BBC 6 Music as official broadcast partner, IVW is also championed by a different Ambassador every year, which have included Colin Greenwood (Radiohead), Arlo Parks, Anna Calvi, Adrian Utley (Portishead), Nadine Shah, Wolf Alice, Wet Leg and many more. 

IVW allows artists, audiences and the wider music business to recognise the vital role these hundreds of independent-owned venues play in the industry and local community across England, Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland. From giving artists their first experience of performing live, fans somewhere to discover and watch their favourite artists locally, they also provide those wanting a career off-stage the chance to learn their craft in a safe and secure environment. 

visit https://independentvenueweek.com/uk for more info.

Read an interesting article on the BBC website on why its important to support you local independent venue

SPOTIFY PAYING SUBSCRIBERS REACHES A STAGGERING 205M

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Spotify‘s Q4 2022 results are in.

The music streaming company added another 10 million net Premium subscribers to its user base in Q4 2022 (the three months to end of December), taking its total global paying subs audience to 205 million.

Those 205 million subscribers marked Premium Subscriber growth of 14% YoY, and 3 million above the company’s guidance. This growth was aided, according to Spotify, by promotional intake and household plans.

Spotify’s total number of Monthly Active Users, which combine paying users and ad-supported users, grew 20% YoY to 489 million at the end of Q4 2022.

That total MAU figure was 10 million above SPOT’s guidance, and the company notes that those 33 million net MAU additions represented its largest-ever Q4 MAU growth.

Across the full year, Spotify added 83 million MAUs.

The company’s forecasts its total MAU figure at the end of Q1 2023 (the three month ended March 31) to be over 500 million.

KICKSTARTER LAUNCHED FOR COMPACT MIDI CONTROLLER, MATRIX

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203 Electronics have launched a Kickstarter campaign for a new ultra-compact MIDI controller called the Matrix, which describes itself as “one of the thinnest and most portable MIDI devices available.”

The slimline, easy-to-use grid controller measures just 13.2mm and is designed with accessibility in mind for “a straightforward box experience for all types of players without any required knowledge.”

Powered by 64 RGB-backlit pads, the sleek device also features a “hidden” control button at the centre and dual hidden touch strips along the side and is connected via USB-C, Bluetooth, WiFi, and 2,4GHz. It has an open-source operating system for “individual application building” and the company has also introduced its own web app, Amethyst Player.

There are two Matrix models — the Pro (which has an additional 32 RGB underglow LEDs) and the standard Matrix model. You can pledge $89 for the regular Matrix controller (retail price $119) or $149 (retail price $179) for the pro. Check out the Kickstarter here.

Written by Anthony Vanger

Additional research and reporting by Adam “Badger” Woolf

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