A weekly update on all things music, advertising and technology coming straight to you from Anthony Vanger at MassiveMusic. #TWIM
ARTIST OF THE WEEK: JOEP BEVING
Classical artist finds overnight fame after a life of music.
Joep Beving’s story is a fairy tale. A middle-aged musician, slogging away as an advertising manager for a company that provides music for commercials, decides to record an album of instrumental piano music and “just for fun”, sticks it up on Spotify. Next thing you know, almost overnight, he morphs into one of the most listened-to living pianists in the world with more than 150 million streams on Spotify. If that wasn’t enough, he quits his day job, signs with prestigious classical label Deutsche Grammophon and performs to sold-out crowds across the globe. The Dutch composer, who lives in Amsterdam, never imagined that his music would draw such a vast audience worldwide. But such was the popularity of his first album, Solipsism, that it changed his life forever.
Beving’s music is contemplative, atmospheric and sparse, with piano as the sole mode of communication. No strings, brass, voices or electronica, like some of Beving’s contemporaries, such as Nils Frahm. The Dutchman has expressed his admiration for Phillip Glass, and there are similarities, but I think the big difference is the gentle and almost meditative nature of his music in contrast to Glass’ more kinetic style. The process of listening to just piano, with Beving’s left hand working simple, steady downbeat chords and the right stroking soft, almost apologetic, melodies is strangely therapeutic and perhaps what draws people to his music. Beving trades in simplicity and power. You have to sit quietly when you watch him play to get the full experience. And one last thing to make the fairy tale aspect of this story even more poignant: Beving is a giant, standing at 6’8″ and with his unkempt mane and long bushy beard, would not look too out of place on the set of Lord of the Rings!
(Ed note: full disclosure. I work at Joep Beving’s previous company, MassiveMusic.)
AD OF WEEK: MONOPRIX HUMANITY’S FIRST QUEUE
I love this ad because it has the courage to take its time, tease out the laughs and deliver a nice punchline. Plus it isn’t every day that a French ad climbs to the pinnacle of our Ad of The Week.
The TV spot is from French retailer Monoprix – similar to M&S here in the UK – to promote its new app called “Monoprix et Moi” that allows shoppers to scan their items as they pick them off the shelf and therefore avoid the long checkout queues. (Haven’t we had that in the UK for a long time already?). Ad agency Rosapark created a cinematic two-minute video filled with sight gags and guttural chatter that follows one determined Neanderthal as he methodically (and hilariously) picks off the Cro-Magnons ahead of him in the chow line. Directed by Antoine Bardou-Jacquet, responsible for the mesmerizing Honda classic “Cog,” one of the most famous car ads of all time. Prod company Partizan.
RICHARD ASHCROFT HAS REGAINED SONGWRITING CREDIT FOR THE VERVE’S “BITTER SWEET SYMPHONY”
Jagger offers olive branch in longstanding dispute
Imagine writing a global hit and finding out that all the royalties would funnel down to someone else. That’s what happened to Richard Ashcroft, lead singer and songwriter of The Verve and his most renowned song, “Bitter Sweet Symphony,” which has been the subject of a heated legal battle since its release in 1997 due to the band sampling an orchestral cover of The Rolling Stones’ 1965 hit “The Last Time.” While the cover didn’t associate with the original band, and even though The Verve successfully cleared the rights to sample the version, the band was unable to score the publishing rights to the now-famous track.
Upon the 1997 hit’s release, Stones manager Allen Klein subsequently sued The Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft due to the usage, successfully transferring songwriting credits to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. This effectually gave the Glimmer Twins 100% of the royalties, leaving Ashcroft in the dust following a painful legal battle.
However, just this past week, Ashcroft and his team shared a press release that both Jagger and Richards have agreed to pass over their songwriting and publishing rights for the iconic track to Ashcroft. Sometimes good things do come to those who wait.
WARNER BROS. RECORDS IS NO LONGER
Iconic label changes name and launches new logo
Warner Bros. Records was founded in March 1958 as an arm of Warner Bros. Pictures, whose “shield” logo was adopted by the label and has been used by the company ever since.
In 2004, when Warner Music Group was sold by Time Warner, splitting from the Warner Bros. movie company, it was agreed that Warner Bros. Records could continue to use the Warner Bros. name and logo for 15 years – a deal term which has now expired. Warner Records now takes its place in a WMG frontline label family which also includes Atlantic Records, Parlophone and Elektra Music Group.
Warner Music Group said today that Warner Records’ new circular icon – ‘suggesting a record, a sun, and a globe’ – is a ‘nod to the label’s past, present, and future.’ The new Warner Records brand identity and logo were developed in partnership with Emily Oberman and her team at Pentagram, the world’s largest independently owned design studio.
SOUNDCLOUD SURGES FORWARD WITH ITS MONETIZATION AND DISTRIBUTION PROGRAM.
SoundCloud purchases Repost Network
The independent music streaming service has entered into a definitive agreement to completely acquire Repost Network, a rights management and distribution company.
Speaking about the purchase, Michael Weissman, SoundCloud’s Chief Operating Officer, explained the acquisition is meant to complement its direct monetisation Premier distribution program. Three months ago, SoundCloud unveiled Premier in open beta. The platform allows artists to automatically upload their works to all major music streaming services. These include Amazon Music, Apple Music, Instagram, Spotify, Tencent, and YouTube Music, among other services. Musicians with a Pro or a Pro Unlimited account have free access to Premier, enabling them to automatically receive payouts from these services.
With the new acquisition, the indie streaming company will provide “high-performing, emerging” creators a “seamless upstream” to Repost Network’s tools and services. These include streaming distribution, analytics dashboards, and content protection, among others.
FROM GAMEBOY CARTRIDGE TO HAND-HELD SYNTH, THE NANOLOOP IS HERE
The Nanoloop is now in production after a successful Kickstarter campaign
Nanoloop began life as a music-making cartridge for the Game Boy in the late 90s and has recently evolved into a fully-fledged, hand-held music-making device.The Nanoloop 3 went four times over its original funding target on Kickstarter and is now in production. It was designed by Hamburg musician Oliver Wittchow, who programmed the original Nanoloop music sequencing software for Game Boys with a friend while studying for an art degree in the late ’90s.
The new Nanoloop device employs the familiar game pad-style interface, LED screen and four x four matrix sequencer. The sound engine combines FM and analogue synthesis, firmly taking the concept out of the gaming world and further into the realm of serious music makers. The four-channel synth has a dual square wave oscillator, four voice polyophonic FM, monophonic FM, noise and clicks and an analogue filter. The sequencer has per stop control for all parameters, ping pong and random mode, and the device has CV gate inputs and outputs, and is powered by batteries or micro USB.
Written by Anthony Vanger
Additional reporting by Adam “Badger” Woolf
Artwork by Gustav Balderdash