A weekly update on all things music, advertising, and technology coming straight to you from Anthony Vanger at MassiveMusic. #TWIM
ARTIST OF THE WEEK: MASEGO
Sometimes music is alchemy. Micah Davis, 26,known professionally as Masego, is a Jamaican-born American singer, sax player and all-around musician who fuses trap, house and jazz. His latest release Big Girls, from his debut album Lady Lady is “an ode to all the women in his life.” Masego’s previous efforts leaned further towards the trappy end of his sound, but this cut is more commercial and positive.
I love how the track sets off with the upright bass (how about those mix’n’match nails!) and you’re thinking this is going to open up into a ride cymbal-led traditional jazz number, but it makes a sharp left (or right?) turn into something else. I am not going to give the game away before you watch the video, but be forewarned: Masego is an alchemist of the highest order.
AD OF THE WEEK: EMPOWER AGENCY CINCINNATI
This week’s ad is quirky. As Doug Zanger from Adweek reports, agency Empower in Cincinnati created a video that serves both as a recruiting tool and a diss track (albeit a good-natured one) about New York. The film, which has a Lonely Planet vibe, clocks in just over 2 minutes and covers the typical things that markets outside of New York tout like affordable housing, easier commutes, leaving the office at 5 o’clock and the ability to raise a family in a more low-key environment.
But the kicker in this upbeat song and video is its position in the hook: It’s the city that sleeps, playing off New York’s long-standing nickname, The City That Never Sleeps. Cute.
HAPPY 18TH BIRTHDAY, IPOD
In October 2001, Apple released the original iPod, changing the way we listened to and bought music.
“With iPod, listening to music will never be the same again,” Jobs said.
Developed early 2001 and brought to market in just eight months, the circumstances surrounding its launch were hardly auspicious. For a start, it debuted days after 9/11. The press launch promised “the unveiling of a breakthrough device”, the only other information on the invitations from Apple’s Silicon Valley HQ was some small print along the bottom: “Hint: It’s Not a Mac.”
The original iPod held 1,000 songs, could be recharged within an hour and cost $399.
Now that streaming giants like Spotify and Deezer have stormed onto the scene, the iPods seem almost quaint. But it is important to remember what a game changer it was. It meant that all those illegal (and sometimes illegal) mp3’s could be stored in a portable device. That made downloading them more valuable because you weren’t just tied down to your computer if you wanted to listen them. Was it as groundbreaking as the Walkman? In many ways it was – although perhaps not sonically – because unlike the walkman it turned the music industry on its head. But on the other hand, the iPod could be viewed as the beginning of a business model out of the ashes of free downloads. If the iPod could store, then maybe people would buy. The Apple Store has closed now, but it did put some money back into musicians pockets. Now we have subscription models, which is peanuts compared to what people used to shell out for songs, but at least it’s something. Happy Birthday iPod.
PRIMAVERA SOUND FESTIVAL SWITCHES TO MOBILE-ONLY TICKETING TO THWART SCALPING
Barcelona music festival Primavera Sound has completely ditched paper ticketing. The move comes as a way to combat bots and scalping.
The BBC reports that Primavera Sound is the first major music festival to move to mobile-only ticketing. The festival has partnered with the digital ticketing platform Dice to handle future Primavera events. Dice will also handle Primavera tours and the club night Nitsa at Sala Apolo in Barcelona.
Dice hopes to be able to stop ticket scalping by locking a ticket purchase directly to your phone. Those tickets cannot be resold on other sites, but they can be transferred between devices. That means users can still buy tickets to gift to a friend as long as the friend signs up for a Dice account. Dice also allows for ticket refunds, with returned tickets going to users who signed up for the waiting list.
FENDER PARTNERS WITH APPLE MUSIC ON SUBSCRIPTION APP FENDER SONGS
Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) has launched a subscription app called Fender Songs, which will allow users to practice, play along and perform to millions of songs on guitar, ukulele or piano.
The company has partnered with Apple Music to allow users to stream and play along to songs and has inked deals with major publishers including Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Warner Chappell Music, Kobalt and BMG.
Fender has also struck deals with master rights holders such as Warner Music Group to ensure the chords in the app are accurate to the actual music as performed by the artists.
Fender will regularly continue to add tracks to the service as additional licenses are procured from indies and other rights holders.
The app costs $4.99 per month or $41.99 for a 12-month subscription.
PHONOCUT WILL LET YOU MAKE YOUR OWN VINYL RECORDS
This ‘home vinyl recorder’ is designed to “reinvent record production”, and requires the user to complete just three simple steps. Place the blank vinyl on the platter, connect an audio input and press the Start button. And that’s it.
Launched on Kickstarter this week. The device’s diamond stylus cuts the waveforms from an external source into a blank 7- or 10-inch vinyl disc so you can create records of compilations or your own music.
The Phonocut sounds relatively simple to use. Place the company’s blank 10-inch disc (about $10 each) on the platter, connect and play a stereo audio source (such as a computer or phone) and hit the start button. The machine will perform real-time EQ and mastering processing while carving grooves in the vinyl. The end product can have up to around fifteen minutes of music per side and can be played on any turntable. For comparison, this is longer than a 7-inch record, which contains five to seven minutes of music per side, but shorter than a 12-inch LP, which holds 22 minutes per side.
Available on Kickstarter this week, with pre-orders starting at €999.
Written by Anthony Vanger
Additional reporting by Adam “Badger” Woolf
Artwork by Gustav Balderdash