A weekly update on all things music, entertainment and technology, coming straight to you from Anthony Vanger at MassiveMusic. #TWIM
ARTIST OF THE WEEK: WOLF ALICE
So the band finally got nominated for a Mercury Prize. Touted back in 2010 as one to watch, expectations were high and whilst they were well-known amongst hard-core music fans, the London-based quartet failed to crossover to the mainstream. Fast forward six years and Wolf Alice stand poised to collect one of music’s most coveted prizes. I was introduced to them back in 2015 by Ed Foster, formerly of Kobalt, now living the dream in Australia. I liked them back then, mainly because of the incongruity between the stunning femme fatale lead singer and her laddish hard hitting band mates. But there was something missing. Aside from not having really great songs, the band’s approach was a little generic. It sounded like they were trying too hard. Today, the band’s latest release is effortless, compelling and full of pop sensibility. Think of punk meets the Cocteau Twins. A courageous and hard-won metamorphosis. Enjoy the video from their latest single Don’t Delete The Kisses.
SPOT OF THE WEEK: EA SPORTS “Fifa 19 Champions Rise”
Ahead of the release of Fifa 19 on 28 September, a trailer by ad agency Adam & Eve/DDB features some of the biggest names in sport, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and France’s teenage World Cup star Kylian Mbappe.
The film is notable for containing little gameplay footage and instead mainly consisting of a high octane montage of live action shots of gamers and pros, representing the way the game allows players to become their heroes. It was created by Jeppe Vidstrup and Simone Wärme, and directed by Brthr through Riff Raff / Passion Pictures.
SPOTIFY: ARTISTS CAN NOW UPLOAD TRACKS DIRECT TO THE STREAMING PLATFORM FOR FREE.
Spotify has today launched a new feature which will enable independent artists to upload tracks to the service directly – without any requirement for a third-party aggregator or record label.
The feature currently remains in invite-only beta mode – with a few hundred US artists being ushered in – but Spotify says that, in the future it will “bring upload to even more artists, labels, and teams”. This cost-free approach is in stark contrast to existing third-party digital aggregators/distributors such as CD Baby, TuneCore, Distrokid and Ditto – all of which require either a one-off upload fee or a yearly subscription payment from artists.
Ed note: It is sometimes hard not to be cynical, but if Elk really means what he says, Spotify is democratising the music industry. There is still plenty of work to be done once a track is uploaded – and that will remain one of the main jobs of a record label – but at least the first blockade has been breeched.
APPLE TO FINALISE ACQUISITION OF SHAZAM
Apple is set to finalise its acquisition of Shazam, the mobile app that offers elusive track-IDs to more than 120million active monthly users.
The deal is thought to be worth some $400million dollars, and will go ahead despite an investigation by the EU which stalled the proposals after concerns were raised by several countries in the bloc, including Austria, France and Spain.
Fears centred on the potential dangers posed by Apple to competitors in the streaming market if the tech giant introduced new features to Shazam that could work alongside its Apple Music service, which claims 50million subscribers and counting. Once the acquisition has been made, Apple will have access to Shazam’s user base, and its standard-setting audio recognition patents.
WARNER MUSIC GROUP BUYS MERCH COMPANY EMP IN $180M DEAL
EMP – Europes biggest merchandise company.
The buyout is yet to be approved by the German regulatory authorities, but is expected to close in October.
Once the deal is finalised, EMP will become a standalone, direct-to-fan business unit within WEA, WMG’s global artist and label services division headed by President Tony Harlow. (WEA already runs its own in-house merch business, which Warner financially categorises under ‘Artist services and expanded-rights revenue’ – a division which grew revenues by 5% to $385m in 2017.
EMP today offers fans merchandise from acts such as Twenty One Pilots, Panic! At The Disco, Metallica, Motörhead, Guns n Roses, Nirvana, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, The Doors, and many others.
AMAZON IS RECORDING AND RELEASING EXCLUSIVE NEW MUSIC
But the labels get to keep the rights.
Amazon is making its own recordings – and nailing down the exclusive on them – through its new Produced By… series.
The retailer has this week released a number of new exclusive recordings by Grammy-winning artists including Al Green, John Prine and Margo Price, labelling them Amazon Originals. Like Spotify’s Spotify Singles, however, the recorded rights appear to be owned by the artist or their label. Produced By… pairs producers with top artists across genres to create exclusive, new recordings for Amazon Music listeners.
PADMATE OFFER UP A NEW AFFORDABLE HEADPHONE EXPERIENCE
For under £35!
Padmate have brought us a new wireless earphone experience called the PaMu Scroll. The wireless headphones comes in a unique charging case, hand-sized with magnetic lid and the earphones offer up to 3.5 hours play time.
The compatible case and also the earphones are water-resistant. Offering a deep bass with the ability to perform powerfully loud. This lightweight 5.0g sonic experience retails from only £30. Get it here
Ed Note – Thoughts? Send me comments!
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