A weekly update on all things music, advertising and technology coming straight to you from Anthony Vanger at MassiveMusic. #TWIM
ARTIST OF THE WEEK: BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
The Boss pens a hit at the ripe old age of 69
The Boss has pulled out a stunning track that seeps its way into your consciousness with each click of the Spotify play button, not to mention a hypnotic video with sing-a-long karaoke lyrics. The song’s arrangement transports you back to such classics as Harry Nilsson’s “Everybody’s Talkin'” and Glen Campbell’s “Gentle on My Mind” like it had every right to become an instant radio classic. The driving country train beat on the snare, the single chord piano progression, the arching string sections weaving in an out of the track and the unmistakable country slide guitar create a lushness and beauty rarely heard on a Bruce Springsteen recording. But it is the lyrics that really hooked me, especially as they are so easy to read on the video.
Springsteen has admitted in his biography and in interviews that he has struggled with serious depression throughout his life. All of sudden the lyrics and the song pack a serious punch when viewed through this prism. “Hello Sunshine, Won’t you Stay”. It is not, “I need you to stay” or “I wish you could stay”. That would be too risky a demand on such a fickle and rare state of mind. Instead, Springsteen invites the sunshine to stay. That single word turns the song from good to great. Bruce has done it again at the ripe old age of 69. And I am not alone in loving this song. Chris Martin from Coldplay recently put the song up as one of his current favs on Instagram. He really is the Boss.
AD OF THE WEEK: BRIDGES ON BRIDGES
Hollywood great appears in surreal Amstel beer ad.
I chose this ad because it is the most surreal bit of advertising I have seen this year – and that says a lot if you watch as many ads I do. How this bit a creative emerged from someone’s brain and more remarkably, get to be approved by not just the account team at the ad agency Adam & Eve/DDB, but also the client and finally the star of the ad himself – Jeff Bridges – is anybody’s guess. Well, actually, the last part of the equation is easier to understand: spondoolies. But somehow it works, so cheers to everybody involved. Or rather, “Prrrrrrr-ooo-ssht”.
CHILDISH GAMBINO DROPS A FEW SURPRISES FOR FANS DURING HIS PERFORMANCE AT COACHELLA.
Using Apple’s AirDrop technology, the hip-hop artist/actor treated fans at the General Store with a photo. Fans who accepted the photos were rewarded with a coupon to receive a free pair of Adidas sneakers from the Vintage Market. Only a handful of fans had 60 minutes to redeem the coupons.
Gambino also dropped another surprise for fans. He released his highly-anticipated film project with Rihanna. Fans can watch Guava Island on Amazon Prime Video.
WOODSTOCK 50 COFOUNDER INSISTS THE EVENT ISN’T CANCELLED
“It’s Gonna Be a Blast!”
Woodstock founder Michael Lang has written an open letter emphatically stating that Woodstock 50 is still on — despite a cancellation notice sent by investors.
Earlier this week a letter was sent to the media by a lead organiser and investor behind Woodstock 50, Dentsu Aegis Network. No specific reasons for the cancellation were cited in that letter, though rumours suggest the festival has been battling numerous logistical issues.
Another issue was that the organisers themselves are fighting over whether Woodstock 50 is cancelled.
In the open letter, Lang refers to Dentsu Aegis Network as his “shortsighted partners.” He says Woodstock 50 is still on and says Dentsu basically pulled the rug out from under him.
“Yesterday, our financial partner, Dentsu-Aegis, made the decision to pull out and informed us that they were canceling the festival at the same time they let the press release go public. We have yet to understand why they would try to prevent the festival from happening by seemingly undermining us in this way. It is one thing to decide for oneself that it is best to move on, but it is entirely another thing to try and close the door on us. Woodstock never belonged to Dentsu, so they don’t have a right to cancel it.”
SPOTIFY NOW HAS 100M PAYING SUBSCRIBERS, UP 32% YEAR-ON-YEAR
Spotify ended Q1 (the three months to end of March) with 100m premium subscribers, the company has confirmed in a new financial update. That was up 32% (+25m) year-on-year and up 4% (+4m) quarter-on-quarter.
The average Spotify subscriber across the world (ARPU) in the quarter paid €4.71, which was roughly flat year-on-year (down 2% excluding the impact from foreign exchange rates).
Spotify’s total monthly active users in Q1 grew 26% YoY to 217m. The firm confirmed that it now has more than 2m users in India.
Spotify’s total revenue in Q1 stood at €1.51bn, up 33% year-on-year. Premium/subscription revenue made up 92% of this figure at €1.39bn, up 34% YoY.
Ad-Supported revenue of €126m grew 24% YoY, but was significantly down on the €175m generated in Q4 2018.
Spotify’s operating losses totalled €47m in Q1. The firm said its better than expected loss in the quarter was a result of higher Gross Profit and lower than expected marketing spend.
The company ended Q1 with €1.7 billion in cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash, and short term investments.
TWITTER IS PREPARING 10 STREAMING CONCERTS FROM 10 ‘WORLD CLASS’ ARTISTS
Twitter has unveiled a slew of new video and music content partnerships, including a streaming concert pact with Live Nation.
At the Digital Content NewFronts conference held in New York City yesterday, the popular short-form social media platform confirmed its new and renewed partnerships will expand across entertainment, news, sports, and gaming. With the new deals, Twitter aims to build stronger connections with targeted audiences on its platform.
The social media platform will expand its current lineup of live and on-demand programming. This includes exclusive deals with Live Nation, Viacom, ESPN, and Univision, among others.
TECH OF THE WEEK: MOLESKIN PAPER TABLET
For all those lyricists out there, Moleskin has brought a neat gadget: a paper pad that instantly translates your words on paper into digital format. I like this idea because I love writing lyrics on paper and am always worried that I will lose the paper or not have it on hand when I want to add or change the lyrics I scribbled down earlier. Also, when you write, the words come out for different songs sometimes on the same page. This new piece of tech will allow me to rearrange the words at a later date and have them stored under the right song. The only problem is that it does not come cheap. Look for more affordable copycats to come out next year or splash out now.
Price and availability. The Pen+ Ellipse doesn’t come cheap – it’s $179 (approximately £130) just for the pen itself, and you’ll need one of Moleskine’s $30 (approximately £20) “Paper Tablet” notebooks as they’re the only ones which feature the Ncode smart paper required. You can order both direct from Moleskine itself
Written by Anthony Vanger
Additional reporting by Adam “Badger” Woolf
Artwork by Gustav Balderdash