A weekly update on all things music, advertising, and technology coming straight to you from Anthony Vanger at MassiveMusic. #TWIM
ARTIST OF THE WEEK: ANDERSON .PAAK
A drummer who can sing is like a tight-rope artist who can juggle. Phil Collins, Don Henley, Dave Grohl and one of my favourites, Karen Carpenter, all managed this impossible double-act. And now there is Andersson .Paak, 33, an American multi-instrumentalist from Oxnard, California, who can stroke the drums with real groove whilst crooning with the sweetest R&B voice you can imagine.
Watching him on BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge, I was immediately drawn to his infectious smile. But there is more to the American than meets the eye: the curious punctuation in .Paak’s surname symbolises his attention to detail and you can hear that in his music. Crisp, vibey and every note in place. Paak might be grinning, but he has got an invisible grip on his band. .
AD OF THE WEEK: I AM HUNGER IN AMERICA
AI’s impact is starting to be felt in advertising. Feeding America launched a PSA this week, “I am Hunger in America,” highlighting the fact that 1 in 8 Americans go hungry every day. Ad agency Leo Burnett used AI’s ability to scan through the faces of hungry Americans and then create a composite face of hunger based on photos of 1,000 Americans who can’t afford to stay fed. The result was (ironically) a “real” face of what hunger looks like in America that changed in appearance depending on the story being told.
According to ad industry publication Adweek, “artists and content creators have begun to experiment with the creative potential of this model of AI in the past couple years, and agencies like AKQA, R/GA and Goodby Silverstein & Partners have already woven it into campaigns in various ways”. The use of AI in this PSA is a powerful to carry the message that the people who go hungry look just like you and me.
LONDON RAPPER DAVE WINS 2019 MERCURY PRIZE FOR ALBUM OF THE YEAR
London rapper Dave was announced as the overall winner of the UK and Ireland’s 2019 Mercury Prize for Album of the Year.
Dave collected the winner’s trophy and then performed the track Psycho from the winning album Psychodrama to a standing ovation.
THE CLASH SUES WILSON OVER ITS ‘CLASH’ TENNIS RACKETS
Late last week, The Clash filed suit claiming theft of its trademark. The band has filed a complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court against Wilson Sporting Goods, alleging that the company was infringing on the band’s trademark by introducing a line of tennis rackets called “Clash.”
Turns out it’s a bit more complicated than that. The lawsuit contends that The Clash have long had a presence in the tennis industry. The band noted that it has licensed its music to a number of major tennis events, including Wimbledon. It has also licensed a Clash-branded line of tennis sneakers that were made by Converse.
Dorisimo Limited, which is the U.K.-based company that owns the Clash’s trademark, insists that Wilson’s new tennis rackets are employing the band’s trademark without permission. The overlap will confuse consumers into thinking that the rackets were endorsed by the band, according to the complaint.
Complicating matters is the fact that Wilson, which has been selling “Clash” tennis rackets since February of this year, currently owns the U.S. trademark for the word “clash” as it relates to tennis rackets, covers of tennis rackets, and sport bags.
VEGAN MUSICIANS AIM TO TOP UK MUSIC CHARTS THIS CHRISTMAS
A collaboration of vegan musicians and activists aim to top the UK music charts this Christmas, with their original song ‘Peace On Your Plate’.
Written by Gavin Chappell-Bates and Giles Bryant, the song, which will be released in December, ‘begins with an evocative image of a traditional family Christmas which is then juxtaposed with an image of the conditions that factory animals live in’ the writers explain.
All profits from the song will be donated to Viva! and Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary – which is run by world-record marathon runner Fiona Oakes.
NEW MUSIC PLATFORM AUDIUS PLANS TO CAPITALISE ON SOUNDCLOUD’S FAULTS
It runs on blockchain and promises no takedowns.
A new streaming service, Audius, wants to make up for SoundCloud’s shortcomings. The free hosting service and music streaming platform launched today, and it’s positioning itself as a blockchain-based SoundCloud alternative that lets artists upload songs at no cost. The founders claim it’s built with artists in mind and will be free from things like takedowns, which plagued SoundCloud.
Audius already has backing from some big names, like deadmau5, Rezz, 3LAU and The Stafford Brothers. But to start the library is small, just a few hundred artists. For now, Audius is free, and artists can’t make money. By early 2020, the company may run ads or offer a subscription. According to TechCrunch, the plan is that eventually 90 percent of the revenue will go to the artists.
ERICA SYNTHS PICO SYSTEM III IS THE FULL ANALOGUE MODULAR SYNTH THAT YOU CAN FIT IN YOUR BAG
Compact instrument offers limitless patching potential
The words ‘analogue modular synth’ are usually associated with massive wood-panelled instruments, but Erica Synths’ new Pico System III is rather different. Designed to offer a full modular experience, this is a compact, self-contained device that comes in desktop and Eurorack formats.
Erica Synths say it’s designed to take modular synthesis back to basics and to encourage patching creativity. There are 31 inputs, 20 outputs and seven switches, giving you almost limitless scope for experimentation.
If you want a guaranteed result, you can make use of the preset voice cards; five come included, while a further five are empty and be used to develop your own patches. More will be made available via the Erica Synths shop.
Written by Anthony Vanger
Additional reporting by Adam “Badger” Woolf
Artwork by Gustav Balderdash