This Week In Music – 30th August 2018

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


Whilst at university, I chose to redecorate my apartment during the hot summer break. The memory I have of doing the work, aside from sweating away in the 90 degree heat, was listening to one CD over and over: Aretha Franklin’s Greatest Hits. The CD came through a mail-order company called Columbia House where you received 12 CDs for a penny and then you had to buy a certain amount of CDs every year. So Aretha Franklin’s came to me by complete chance. I had never been a massive fan of her music. But once I received the batch in the mail, she dominated my paint-splattered boombox. It was her voice that captivated me – its raw power and technique. I can compare her to Serena Williams, the tennis player. Not just because they are both African-American females who reached the peak of their powers, but rather because they share those characteristics of power and grace.

I listened to the CD so much that summer that when September rolled along, with its welcome release of cool air, I could not listen to it anymore. And hearing her music played on the radio and TV over the last few days since her death I am reminded of its greatness, but am not compelled to listen to it again.

Like the artist herself, it belongs to another, very distant era.


Labels target E-sports as a way to launch artists

In 2017, more than 300 million people watched ESL events around the world. In an effort to tap in to this massive consumer base, Universal Music Group Central Europe has agreed a multi-year partnership with e-sports company ESL that includes the launch of a joint label. As part of the deal, artists that sign to the label will be promoted through ESL’s global tournaments and channels.

Promotion will also include the exclusive integration of new music into global live broadcasts and ESL social media channels, as well as performances during live tournaments, which will take place during half-time shows and prior to grand finals globally.


Recently published results demonstrate the financial power of streaming

It seems not so long time ago pundits were writing off the music industry. How things have changed. On a global basis, the three major labels turned over $3.24bn from streaming platforms in the first half of 2018 – which works out to around $18m per day!

This number was up 36.4% on the $2.38bn posted during the same period of 2017. And it looks like 2018 is proving to be a bigger year of growth than its predecessor: streaming contributed $865m more to major label coffers in H1 2018 than it did in the same period of the prior year. The majors are close to doubling their half-year streaming revenues since H1 2016. Warner is the closest to achieving this remarkable feat, with its mid-year figure growing 99% in a 24-month period.


With major ad campaign, ‘A voice is all you need’

Featuring artists Ariana Grande, Kendrick Lamar, SZA, Queen, and Kane Brown, the campaign is geared toward educating and drafting in new subscribers to the music delivery service in a bid to become a prominent player in the streaming business. Kicking off in the US first, the campaign is expected to expand over to EU territories soon.

Amazon’s ambition knows no limits. It has such a strong cash-flow from its core online shopping business that it can power its way into multiple areas of e-commerce. It has shown that it can compete with Apple and Netflix in streaming visual entertainment so it was only a matter of time before it sniffed around the edges of a music industry that is growing exponentially.

Look to see Amazon not just streaming, but also signing and developing new artists in the near future.


After 20 years, the company is saying goodbye to its luxurious modules.

After 20 years of voltage-controlled analogue processing fun, Moog has called time on its Moogerfooger range below. A few more units will be built at the Moog factory while parts and materials remain, but to all intents and purposes the modules are now out of production.

This represents a trend where analogue is migrating to digital. There still is gear that stubbornly remains in the analogue format – mics, pre amps, amps and certain vintage synths – but the majority of analogue gear is becoming obsolete.

Ed. Note: I bought all three of those babies. I used them on Operatica Vol. 1, specifically to mess around with the sound of my Kurzweil synth. I took a cable from the synth, plugged it in to Pro Tools and recorded some delicious sweeps into an otherwise bland pad line. Sad to see them go, but welcome to the digital age!

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