A weekly update on all things music, advertising, and technology coming straight to you from Anthony Vanger at MassiveMusic. #TWIM
ARTIST OF THE WEEK: SAM FENDER
I wrote about Sam Fender last year when he was just starting to make a name for himself and now he has hit number one in the UK with his debut album Hypersonic Missiles. How did he do it? Label executives have heralded Fender as the second coming of Bruce Springsteen. Early days perhaps for such lofty comparisons, but there are similarities between the young man raised on a council estate in North Shields, England and the Bard of New Jersey. Both men tell stories with vivid, raw lyrics that do not shy away from serious social issues. Considering Fender is only 25, that is pretty impressive. The songs also have a kind of “Bruce-meets-I-got-my-first-six-string-Bryan-Adams” feel. They definitely rock, although the structure of the songs is pop, with choruses ringing out thick and fast over pulsating drums and ringing guitars, but the overall sound is quite retro considering rock music is on the wane. But the key element for me – as it so often is – is Fender’s brooding voice. You feel, like Springsteen and Adams, that no matter how heavy the band, his voice will only rise to the occasion and carry the lyrics, above the noise and into our hearts.
AD OF THE WEEK: SANDY HOOK BACK TO SCHOOL ESSENTIALS
Most advertising bores you. Sometimes it amuses you. Rarely does it shock you. This latest PSA (public service announcement) from agency BBDO NY and client Sandy Hook Promise, the Newtown, Connecticut-based nonprofit whose mission is to prevent gun violence in schools, is the advertising equivalent to a bullet in the gut. Due to rising gun violence in schools – a staggering 22 school shootings in the US so far this year – the charity is taking a new tack in its attempt to stem the massacre of young girls and boys. There is not much more to say about this ad that the ad does not already deliver. Watch it now.
AMAZON LAUNCHES $15-PER-MONTH HI-DEF MUSIC STREAMING SERVICE, AMAZON MUSIC HD
Amazon has just launched Amazon Music HD in the US, UK, Germany and Japan. It offers 50 million lossless HD songs, with a bit depth of 16 bits and a sample rate of 44.1kHz (described by Amazon as “CD quality”).
In addition, Amazon Music HD subscribers can stream “millions more” songs in ‘Ultra HD’ (described by Amazon as “better than CD quality”), with a bit depth of 24 bits and a sample rate up to 192 kHz.
It will cost existing Amazon Prime members $12.99 (US) / £12.99 (UK) a month and non-Prime members $14.99 / $14.99 a month.
Existing Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers can upgrade for an additional $5 / £5 a month.
VEVO CELEBRATES 10-YEAR ANNIVERSARY
Reports 300% growth in daily views over past 5 years
According to Vevo, its current daily viewing patterns average over 800 million, with weekend days approaching 1 billion global views.
The video platform connects artists with audiences through its distribution partners, which include YouTube, Amazon, Apple Roku, Sky, Virgin Media and Vewd.
Since its 2009 inception, Vevo has hosted over 400,000 official music videos, exclusive original series and ‘one-of-a-kind’ performance content.
Vevo’s flagship artist development programs such as LIFT and DSCVR have featured artists including Billie Eilish, Khalid, Alessia Cara, Halsey, Lewis Capaldi, and CNCO.
In the coming weeks, the company will announce its most-watched videos of the past 10 years, in addition to celebrating this key anniversary with an event in New York City in October.
NOTORIOUS B.I.G. DOCUMENTARY ON THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF ‘READY TO DIE’
Amazon Music is hoping to duplicate the success that it had with its Beastie Boys mini-documentary Still Ill by releasing a mini-documentary about famed rapper Notorious B.I.G.
The film is called The Birth of Biggie: 25 Years of Ready To Die and it celebrates the 25th anniversary of the rapper’s heralded debut album Ready To Die.
As Notorious B.I.G. died more than 20 years ago, the film did not have the same type of access that the Beastie Boys documentary enjoyed. But it does have a similarly tight focus. The mini-doc zeroes in on the period of the rapper’s life at the very beginning of his career as he shot to stardom.
Participating in the film are Notorious B.I.G.’s biographer Cheo Hodari Coker as well as the producers of Ready To Die, DJ Mister Cee and Easy Mo Bee. Former Bad Boy/Arista Records promotion senior vice president Rob Stone also participated in the film, which further includes rare audio interviews with the late rapper.
NINJA TUNE AND ERICA SYNTHS ARE RELEASING A NEW FX UNIT
Versatility is key in Ninja’s first hardware product and FX unit
London-based independent record label Ninja Tune has collaborated with Erica Synths, a Latvian synth manufacturer, to present Zen Delay, the first hardware-effects unit produced in collaboration with an electronic music label.
The BPM-synced stereo delay line was created by Matt Black of Coldcut and Dr Walker of Liquid Sky artist collective, “combining extreme feedback ranges for dub and experimental lo-fi effects” according to Erica Synths.
Dr Walker explains the flexibility of the system: “For years I have dreamed of a state-of-the-art stereo valve dub delay for my MPC that perfectly masters all sound aesthetics from ‘badass’ to ‘psychedelic hypnotically trashed.’”
The first 300 units of Zen Delay are available for pre-order now at a special rate of €455 + VAT for early birds.
Written by Anthony Vanger
Additional reporting by Adam “Badger” Woolf
Artwork by Gustav Balderdash