A weekly update on all things music, advertising and technology coming straight to you from Anthony Vanger at MassiveMusic. #TWIM
ARTIST OF THE WEEK: KAREN O AND DANGER MOUSE
Karen O teams up with Danger Mouse for new release.
This track is getting a lot of press. Two uber-hip, inscrutable artists pairing up to craft music together is an intriguing prospect and the critics have responded in a positive way with five-star reviews from taste-makers NPR in the US to NME and The Guardian in the UK. There is the sense that this is something we should definitely plug our earphones (noiseless if possible) into. So what is the verdict from TWIM and is the music worth all the fuss?
The beat is cool. The vocals are cool. The arrangements are cool. As I listen the song, the temperature in the room dips below 18 degrees. The AC has defo been left on. I feel like I have stepped onto the dance floor of the Gringo (don’t ask) wearing an immaculately tailored white polyester suit with extra wide lapels, and begin to move my body like one of my great heroes, John Travolta in SNF. I am not sure this tune is a classic, but while we are bombarded with an incessant stream of dodgy news, perhaps this song is getting so much buzz because it delivers what we all so desperately in need of right now: a good buzz.
AD OF THE WEEK: SPAREBANK1 MAGIC LIGHT
This ad, for Norwegian client Sparebank, caught my eye because of its beauty. Shot by directors Kavar Singh & Niels Windfeldt for production company Motion Blur and agency Creuna Norway, it tells the somewhat implausible tale that Japanese people believe that conceiving children under the famous northern lights will ensure their brilliance in later life.
Anyone considering having children may be forgiven for cancelling their upcoming holiday to Ibiza and rerouting their destination to Tromso, Norway, based in the heart of the aurora zone in the Norwegian Arctic.
SPOTIFY, AMAZON, GOOGLE INSTIGATE LEGAL BATTLE TO APPEAL SONGWRITER PAY RISE
Spotify is defending its attempt to appeal a pay rise for songwriters.
Along with Amazon, Google and Pandora, the streaming platform filed an appeal against a recent ruling by the Copyright Royalty Board that would increase songwriter royalties from on-demand streaming from 10.5 percent to 15.1 percent—a 44 percent increase—in the US over a five-year period.
Spotify used a blog post to attempt to justify the move, which has been slammed by groups representing the interests of songwriters and publishers, especially the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA). While Spotify claims to support a pay rise for songwriters, it goes on to assert that consumers will be “hurt” by an inability to bundle “music and non-music offerings,” which it says are vital for “attracting first-time music subscribers so we can keep growing the revenue pie for everyone.”
YOUTUBE MUSIC INTRODUCES NEW ARTIST ON THE RISE CONTENT SERIES
YouTube Music is expanding its emerging artist program Artist on the Rise with a new content series. Produced in exclusive partnership with Genius, the video series captures ‘intimate interviews’ with artists and their reactions to old YouTube videos of themselves and their fans to ‘showcase the artists’ evolution and connection with fans on YouTube’.
Each episode will capture a behind the scenes look into the artist’s overall story. New episodes will be released to coincide with the launch of each Artist on the Rise featured artist, including 2019 Artist on the Rise selections Gunna, Dermot Kennedy, Half Alive and Mau y Ricky among others.
‘GREATEST DRUMMER EVER’ HAL BLAINE DIES AGED 90
One of the most prolific and influential drummers of his generation, has died at the age of 90.
Over the course of his career, he played on countless hits by Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, the Beach Boys and John Lennon, amongst others. But his most recognisable riff was the “boom-ba-boom-crack” bar that opened The Ronnettes’ Be My Baby. On hearing of his death, the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson called him “the greatest drummer ever”.
Although he was never a household name, anyone with a record collection almost undoubtedly owns one of Blaine’s songs. By his own count, he played on more than 6,000 tracks over the course of his career. Among those songs were Elvis Presley’s Return to Sender, The Byrds’ Mr Tambourine Man, the Beach Boys’ Good Vibrations, Simon & Garfunkel’s Mrs Robinson, The Mamas and the Papas’ California Dreamin’ and the theme song to Batman.
DAVID BOWIE’S RARE ‘STARMAN’ DEMO IS UP FOR AUCTION
Bowie’s demo is expected to sell for over £10,000
A demo containing the earliest recorded versions of David Bowie’s ‘Starman’ will go up for auction this week. The demo recording was originally produced in 1971 by Bowie. NME reports the demo was initially given to Bowie’s Spiders from Mars guitarist Mick Ronson, who later passed it on to Ronson’s friend, Kevin Hutchinson. The demo, which also contains versions of ‘Moonage Daydream’ and ‘Hang Onto Yourself’, was left in Hutchinson’s attic for years.
Hutchinson told the Press Association: “Now I’m 65 and I played it, I just couldn’t believe how good it is, but at the time, I thought: ‘It’s not bad’. At 16 you’re not totally impressed, nothing impresses you.”
MEET THE MINIRIG 3
The new portable speaker is designed to be twice as loud as its predecessor, the Minirig 2, and comes with a host of neat details including an aluminium finish.
Made in the UK, the Minirig features a custom-designed 70mm driver designed to pump out as much sound as possible despite its small form.
The new model allows you to wirelessly change the 5-band EQ via your phone and link up multiple speakers simultaneously, allows up to 100 hours of battery life and charge fully in just 5 hours. It even allows you to charge your phone so you can keep playing your favourite playlist when your battery gets low.
Written by Anthony Vanger
Additional reporting by Adam “Badger” Woolf
Artwork by Gustav Balderdash