A weekly update on all things music, advertising and technology coming straight to you from Anthony Vanger at MassiveMusic. #TWIM
ARTIST OF THE WEEK: WARM HUMAN
Synthpop artist making waves with distinctive sound
Warm human, aka Meredith Johnson, is an American singer-songwriter-producer. This is the first single “Down” from her LP Ghastly. The track is accompanied by a beautiful Carol Brandt directed video below. All the songs on her debut are worth listening to. Johnson has managed to create that elusive thing: a unique sound, instantly recognisable. And into this synth pop sound, she weaves all kinds of emotions – yearning, sadness, loneliness, humour – with strong lyrics, sparse arrangements and a killer voice.
Johnson has been very open about her battle with sobriety that took place some 10 years ago and many of her songs carry echoes of that battle. She states that she has transferred all of her addictive tendencies towards music. “None of this would have happened if I hadn’t been sober,” Johnston says, mentioning that she still uses a 12-step program. “I wouldn’t be playing music. I wouldn’t be obsessive. I play music addictively now. Every other addiction I’ve had has been substituted with music, and it’s great. It’s the healthiest relationship I’ve had.” Check her out. She is great.
AD OF THE WEEK: INTRODUCING GOOGLE NEST
Debut spot for the new Google Nest Hub Max.
Any good piece of advertising seeks primarily to connect with its audience and this spot, from agency 72andSunny and Google does that in spades. Best scenes: the one where the tiny kid is gorging himself on dog food; the ponytailed hipster Dad trying in vain to get the inflatable horse out of his living room; and the plastic frog in the toilet.
There has been criticism from viewers online complaining that the ad tells us nothing about the product, whose 10-inch display can act as a security camera, thermostat control, video phone, voice assistant and more. Fair enough. But the ad still brings a smile to one’s face and that maybe is enough to persuade a lot of customers to try out the product, even if they don’t have a clear idea about its specs. The song “Home,” from the alliterationally-named Philip Philips, colours in the blanks. Expect a lot of competition – and advertising – in this space.
ROLLING STONE LAUNCHES NEW INDUSTRY CHARTS
Taking on billboard’s 200 and hot 100 in the USA
Rolling Stone is launching new music industry charts in the United States to rival the long-established Billboard 200 and Hot 100.
The data for Billboard’s charts is provided by Nielsen Music under a long-standing and exclusive relationship between the two parties. Rolling Stone says that its charts are customised for specific content verticals, incorporating digital and physical sales, and on-demand streaming activity.
The new charts include the Rolling Stone Top 100 Songs, a daily chart that ranks the most consumed songs of the week by audience demand and the Rolling Stone Top 200 Albums, a weekly chart that ranks the most consumed albums of the week by audience demand, comprised of physical and digital album sales, song sales, on-demand audio + video streams.
DEEZER UNVEILS REBRAND, INCLUDING REDESIGNED LOGO AND APP
French-born music streaming platform Deezer is hoping to attract new users with an updated app, which according to the company “highlights the brand’s human and local identity”.
The music streaming platform currently has 14 million monthly active users and is available in over 180 countries. The Deezer app has undergone a minimalist redesign, with less text and dedicated visual treatments for playlists and channels. Deezer’s new player also matches its colour to the cover art of the current track and the Deezer logo has also been updated.
TUNECORE IS NOW COLLECTING NEARLY $1M A DAY FOR ITS INDEPENDENT ARTISTS
The self-releasing artist sector is becoming increasingly big news.
TuneCore has confirmed that its artists earned $308m in distribution income in 2018, up 28% year-on-year.
Fitting that into Midia’s $643m estimate suggests that TuneCore’s market share of the indie-artist landscape may be as high as 45%-plus. (Midia’s figure, to be clear, does not count ‘curated’ indie-artist service companies like AWAL and Empire, but rather only those digital firms that allow artists to ‘self-release’ via an aggregation interface.)
TuneCore, which was acquired by Believe Digital in 2015, has also announced that its artists earned $83 million in the first quarter of 2019 – a 21% increase on Q1 2018. That’s the equivalent of nearly $1m per day (across the 90 days in Q1).
100% of this distribution income belongs to TuneCore artists; the company doesn’t make its money on a percentage commission, but rather on flat fees charged to customers when they upload tracks. Interestingly, the figures here do not include publishing income or YouTube Monetisation revenues (both of which TuneCore also collects).
n addition, TuneCore has previously announced that, over the 12 months of 2016, its distribution income for artists hit $188m, up 32% year on year.
Knowing that the company’s equivalent annual figure grew 28% year-on-year in 2018, we can start to map a picture of what TuneCore has been earning for its acts in distribution income:
THERE IS NOW A “WU-TANG CLAN DISTRICT” IN NEW YORK
Created in their home neighbourhood in Staten Island
A New York street corner has been named after Wu-Tang Clan.
The legendary hip-hop group was honoured on Saturday when the naming was unveiled in their original home neighbourhood of Park Hill on Staten Island, a largely working class neighbourhood across the water from the Statue of Liberty. The corner, which intersects Vanderbilt Avenue and Targee Street in the area, has been officially named the “Wu-Tang Clan District”. Check Wu’s instagram below.
PIONEER DJ INTRODUCES NEW MULTITRACK SEQUENCER, SQUID
Part of the TORAIZ series, SQUID allows you to rearrange your phrases in real time, while letting you create whole new rhythms with a simple spring-loaded slider. According to Pioneer DJ, this is the first Groove Bend feature to be built into a production tool.
It is compatible with both PC and Mac, with SQUID Manager designed to make importing or exporting sequence patterns as easy as possible. Simply import it on the sequencer, arrange it how you like, and then return it to your DAW. Available now for £519 including VAT.
Written by Anthony Vanger
Additional reporting by Adam “Badger” Woolf
Artwork by Gustav Balderdash