A weekly update on all things music, entertainment and technology, coming straight to you from Anthony Vanger at MassiveMusic. #TWIM
ARTIST OF THE WEEK: ALLY FROM A STAR IS BORN
This week’s artist of the week is not really an artist so much as a film and the imaginary “artist” that appears in the film. Yes, you guessed it: Lady Gaga, aka Ally. There have been two camps in terms of reviews for A Star Is Born, directed by Bradley Cooper and starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. Some people (the majority) absolutely flipped over the film and think that the two stars, the music and basically everything to do with the project is to die for. Then there are the sour-pusses who think the movie starts promisingly but slips into a kind of maudlin self-pity. Whichever camp you find yourself in, one thing is undeniable: the moment Gaga shuffles gingerly on stage and delivers her star making turn singing the hit song “Shallow” is spine tingling.
The song, co-written by Gaga, Mark Ronson, Dirty Pretty Things’ Anthony Rossomando and Mike Snow’s Andrew Wyatt, was co-produced by Benjamin Rice but then went through a major overhaul when the soundtrack producer Lukas Nelson (country legend Willie Nelson’s son) got his teeth stuck into it. The opening guitar lick, for example, was his, and it lends itself perfectly to Bradley Cooper’s voice. The whole song crackles with anticipation as we see Gaga’s character Ally, on her tiptoes in the wings, listening to her song, not believing for a moment that she will soon be singing in front of a packed stadium. The moment arrives, as we knew it would, and when it does, boy does she deliver. I saw people openly weeping in the cinema – not something you see every day. Gaga, already a star, becomes a new kind of star. A star of the silver screen. She deserves whatever is coming her way and this song marks a new chapter in her career. Chapeau.
AD OF THE WEEK: MAN OF FEW WORDS
TheWorld Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on 10th October every year and in the spirit of that global initiative, TWIM wants to highlight the work of ad agency Cummins&Partners out of Melbourne, Australia. “Be a Man of More Words” takes a well known expression and cleverly turns it on its head to highlight one of the main problems facing men who suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts: the inability to express themselves and ask for help.
To put this problem into context, the current UK male suicide rate is 15.5 deaths per 100,000. For females, the rate is 4.9 deaths per 100,000. Whilst these numbers have been edging down or remaining consistent, they still represent a preventable tragedy. This ad clearly shows how talking is often the first step to seeking help.
ANALYSIS: MUSIC SALES – PEAKS AND TROUGHS
For the first time since 2000, recording industry revenues are growing.
The graph below is an incredibly clear (and scary) representation of what happened to the record industry both when the new formats of cassettes and CD (and their respective hardware innovations, Walkman and CD players) came along and turbo charged revenues and conversely when Napster blew a hole in the bottom of the industry that has only recently been repaired with Spotify.
This staggering fall from grace – from $21.5B to $6.9B – in only 16 years has had a dramatic impact on the lives of musicians, producers and writers all over the world. Which is why the growth that started in 2015 represents such an important change in fortune. But even though the numbers are encouraging, there is a long way to go before revenues hit 21.5B, if they ever reach that amount ever again, and industry professionals will have to look to other sources of revenue to make a living from music.
THE TOP 10 HIGHEST EARNING DJS IN THE WORLD TODAY
DJs dominate earnings rankings as they co-write and co-produce some of today’s biggest hits.
Forbes recently released the details of the highest earning DJs of the year and there are some new movers in the rankings of the world’s richest superstar disc jockeys. See the list from lowest to highest below.
10. Martin Garrix ($13 million) // 9. Kaskade ($13.5 million) // 8. David Guetta ($15 million) // 7. Diplo ($20 million) // 6. Zedd ($22 million) // 5. Marshmello ($23 million) // 4. Steve Aoki ($28 million) // 3. Tiësto ($33 million) // 2. The Chainsmokers ($45.5 million)
1. Calvin Harris ($46 million)
Take a look at an interesting BBC report about the Dj & the Dance Music industry below (source BBC)
FACEBOOK LAUNCHES AMAZON ECHO RIVAL, PARTNERS WITH SPOTIFY, PANDORA AND iHEART
The Portal+, Facebook’s new smart speaker, has an AI-assisted camera and is selling for $349.
Facebook has just entered the smart speaker business and it’s already partnered with three music services: Pandora, Spotify and iHeartRadio. The social media giant’s new ‘video communication’ devices are called the Portal and Portal+, and feature widescreen displays, hands-free voice control and AI-powered cameras and sound. According to Facebook’s launch statement, it will be announcing additional partnerships soon. The $199 Portal and $399 Portal+ are only available for pre-order in the US and will begin shipping in November.
Written by Anthony Vanger
Additional reporting by Adam “Badger” Woolf
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