A weekly update on all things music, advertising and technology coming straight to you from Anthony Vanger at MassiveMusic. #TWIM
ARTIST OF THE WEEK: FOUR TET AKA KIERAN HEBDEN
If you do something long enough, you end up getting pretty good at it. This applies to Four Tet, aka Kieran Hebden, a DJ, who started plying his trade back in the early 2000’s. After a half-dozen albums, Hebden has finally arrived, perhaps not quite in the mainstream, but definitely in that space before stardom I call music purgatory. With a keenly anticipated album in the works, Hebden is playing his “strange, gentle UK garage pastorales and jazzy kora-core” to somewhere between 18,000 and 20,000 people over two nights at the Alexandra Palace. That’s quite a crowd for a guy making instrumental garage soundscapes.
If you go onto YouTube, hit Four Tet’s playlist and submerge yourself into the sound, you will start to appreciate the depth of the compositions. Like winter in Los Angeles, it only becomes real if you search for it. Four Tet’s music is a series of subtle shifts, soundscapes and rhythmical pulses over repeated patterns of electronic drums and simple melodies. One of my favourites,”You are Loved”, is a good example of the above. Four Tet vinyl and remixes come out on Hebden’s label, Text, and fans buy digitally off his Bandcamp page.
AD OF THE WEEK: HANNA – LAST CUPCAKE | AMAZON PRIME VIDEO
Binging TV shows is good for your self-esteem.
Something about this ad is strangely compelling. Shot as a series, each one tells how the act of binge-watching a show on Amazon can influence one’s behaviour the following day and turn the protagonist into a winner. Amazon is kind of saying: “Your working life is miserable, grey and dull, but at least you have binge-worthy entertainment at home to ease the pain and inspire you to break from the pack.” A nice idea. Anyone want to be Fleabag? Agency: Droga5. Prod company: Somesuch. Director: Steve Rogers. Music: Goldstein
MAJOR MUSIC ROYALTY COLLECTION SITE COLLAPSES
Bands caught up in the bankruptcy no longer feel the love.
According to Music Business Worldwide, the UK-based company has gone into administration. Some are calling the company’s demise the “Fyre Fest of crowdfunding”, a none to subtle reference to the ill-fated island music festival that resulted in a stiff prison sentence for the founder. The administration process will see Pledge’s assets sold to the highest bidder. Estimates suggest that Pledge currently owes artists who have used the platform over $1m – and hopes remain that at least some of these creditors will be paid via the proceeds of the administration fire sale.
PledgeMusic is an online direct-to-fan music platform, launched in August 2009, that was started to facilitate musicians reaching out to their fanbase to pre-sell, market, and distribute music projects including recordings, music videos, and concerts. Somehow the company lost all the money raised by crowdfunders and the bands they were supposed to represent. Pledge co-founder Benji Rogers officially left the company in 2016, but recently returned on a consultancy basis to try and find a rescue buyer.
Now that the company has fallen into administration, many in the industry – both execs and bands – are calling for a thorough investigation.
UK Music boss Michael Daughter wrote to the UK minister Kelly Tolhurst asking her to take legal action. “I am writing on behalf of UK Music to ask you to investigate the speculated collapse of PledgeMusic and concerns that it may enter administration and to refer the case to the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA),” he wrote.
On the artist side, Jesus Jones, an indie band and Pledge customer who has lost all its money, also released a statement: “It’s high time it was exposed for the crime it was. And I don’t want to downplay that word, either: it’s time that people were made to face the legal consequences of the fraud they perpetrated.”
CREATE MUSIC GROUP LAUNCHES FREE APP FOR SONGWRITERS TO GENERATE SPLIT AGREEMENTS
No more in-fighting for bands about songs
Create Music Group, an LA-based tech company, has launched a free mobile app that aims to eliminate songwriting disputes between writers, producers and artists.The SPLITS app makes it possible for songwriters to generate a split agreement – the document music publishers use to clarify individual contributions to a song. To create a SPLITS agreement a writer simply has to open the SPLITS app and create a new agreement, add collaborators and set their contribution percentage.
SPLITS will automatically send a notice to the writer’s collaborators along with a snippet of the song and if the collaborators agree they just click “agree.” If they don’t, they make adjustments. Once all parties agree, the Splits Agreement is sent to the writers’ publishers with an email to each collaborator. Clever stuff!
£1.5 MILLION FUND SUPPORTS INDIE PROMOTERS AND CLUBS IN THE UK
In an effort to provide support to the UK’s grassroots clubs and promoters, Arts Council England has allocated £1.5 million in funding for independent clubs, venues and promoters throughout the country.
Working closely with Music Venue Trust, the Supporting Grassroots Live Music fund plans to provide between £1000 and £40,000 to chosen applicants who have been working on a project for three years or longer.
“Grassroots music venues are essential both for our world-renowned music industry and communities across the country, and there needs to be a collective effort from both the public sector and music industry to support them,” stated Arts Council boss Darren Henley. “With this fund, we’re ensuring that grassroots venues and promoters have the support they need to create the best possible environment for artists and audiences”.
FESTIVAL IMPLEMENTS PHONE BAN ENFORCED BY LOCK-AWAY CASE
Devices will only be accessible once you leave the venue.
FLY Open Air Festival has announced it will ban phones from its Boiler Room stage this weekend.
Dancers will be given a Yondr phone case as they enter the venue which will lock their device away, only gaining access once they leave the area by tapping the mobile against specially designed base units.
The idea is to encourage people to live in the moment while at the annual Scottish two-day session, which in 2019 features the likes of Nina Kraviz, Sven Vath and KiNK live
PIONEER DJ’S NEW CONTROLLER STREAMS STRAIGHT FROM BEATPORT
AND ONLY COSTS £139
Pioneer DJ have announced the DDJ-200, a new controller for their WeDJ app, recently announced as the first app that will stream Beatport’s catalogue directly into the software. The controller features two channels, with two mini jog wheels, 16 performance pads in total, two faders and a crossfader. It also features a basic three-band EQ and a single FX knob, with assignable FX per channel.
Round back there’s a single USB port – the controller doesn’t feature any audio outputs, you’ll have to use the outputs of whatever device you’re using. The controller is designed for the Pioneer DJ app WeDJ for iPhone, which now streams Beatport and SoundCloud for those with appropriate accounts. It’s the first step into streaming for DJ apps, and this is the first controller specifically designed for a streaming app. Get it here.
Written by Anthony Vanger
Additional reporting by Adam “Badger” Woolf
Artwork by Gustav Balderdash