This Week In Music – 15th November 2018

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


Came across this singer/songwriter last week and I really love his sound. Austin Basham, a Texas-born troubadour who divides his time between Linton, UK and Oslo, Norway has not broken into the mainstream yet, most likely because his music does not click with the current zeitgeist. But his “best-kept-secret” status will not last long. He already has racked 1.2m listeners on Spotify and music, which packs a punch, is perfect for film. It is just a matter of time before Hollywood comes knocking. In the meantime enjoy this wonderful song “All is Well” and share it with your friends.


It’s that time of the year again and John Lewis has decided to use star power to kickstart its flagging fortunes. The £7m campaign, which aired yesterday and has already been viewed 648k times on You Tube, has mega-star Sir Elton John singing one of his most beloved hits, Your Song, to a reverse visual medley of his life. The ad ends with Sir Elton today, sitting at the same piano we saw at the beginning. The circle is complete and the point has been made: the gift of a piano from his Mom was not just a toy, it changed his life (and ours, if you are an Elton John fan). The ad ends with tagline, “Some gifts are more than just a gift.”

John Lewis says its blockbuster Christmas ads are an important investment and thus far have been among the “most effective marketing campaigns in the industry”. Others criticise the advertising outlay when the firm should be doing more to shore up its business. The John Lewis Partnership has been hit by the fight for survival on the high street after heavy discounting by struggling rivals helped trigger a 99% fall in first-half profits at the retailer. This ad should help the retailer with a boost over Christmas, but it may not solve the store’s long-term, underlying problems.


Sales of music’s most beloved format are in free fall in the United States this year. According to figures published by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), the value of total stateside album sales in the first half of 2018 (across download, CD and vinyl) plummeted by 25.8% when compared with the first half of 2017.

If that percentage decline holds for the full year, and there’s every indication it will, annual U.S. album sales in 2018 will end up at half the size of what they were as recently as 2015. To put it more plainly, U.S. consumers will spend around half a billion dollars less on albums this year than they did in 2017.


BMG has signed a new worldwide deal for Keith Richards’ solo recordings. 

The catalogue – comprising his 1978 debut solo single and four albums from 1988-2010 – will be united with the The Rolling Stones guitarist’s publishing. Richards and Sir Mick Jagger signed a publishing deal with BMG in 2013.

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of Richards’ debut solo release, a 1978 recording of the Christmas classic Run Rudolph Run, BMG will release a limited edition 12” on red vinyl, remixed and remastered by longtime collaborator Steve Jordan. The November 23 North American Record Store Day exclusive includes a cover of Jimmy Cliff’s The Harder They Come, a version of Pressure Drop featuring Toots & The Maytals and a “Santa Keith” holiday card featuring a greeting from the guitarist. Keith Richards said: “Looking forward to working with Hartwig Masuch and everyone at BMG.”


Streamer finally integrates platform into Apple watch.

The new integration with Apple Watch requires the latest version of Spotify and can also be used with Spotify Connect-enabled speakers. More updates are also promised to be coming soon, including offline listening.

“We know the importance of having music on the go, which is why we’re excited to bring a new Spotify app to our highly mobile users on Apple Watch,” said Spotify in a recent online announcement.

This week streaming is taking to wearable tech, it seems that TIDAL is also doing the same.

Expect the Spotify update to arrive this week.


Dolby offering ‘cinematic sound’

Dolby, which has been a pioneer in audio and video formats for decades, has introduced its first pair of headphones, Dolby Dimension.

According to Dolby, its new headphones allows users to control how much they hear of their surroundings – ranging from ‘transparency’ to ‘active noise cancellation’. Dolby wants you to use the headphones to control what you hear rather than fiddle with source volumes and modes controllable via the on-earcup controls or Dolby Dimension app (iOS and Android). The latter of which also facilitates paired device management and head tracking adjustment.

The Dolby Dimensions are available from December 1st in the US, priced $599, however there’s no word on when they’ll hit UK shores yet. 

Ed note: could be a really nice Xmas present for Dad…

Written by Anthony Vanger

Additional reporting by Adam “Badger” Woolf

Artwork by Gustav Balderdash

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