A weekly update on all things music, advertising, and technology coming straight to you from Anthony Vanger at MassiveMusic. #TWIM
ARTIST OF THE WEEK: DERMOTT KENNEDY
The title of Dermott Kennedy’s latest “What Have I Done? could refer to Lewis Capaldi’s effect on the music industry. Suddenly gruff, gravel-voiced men who can belt out heartfelt anthems are in high demand. The young Irishman, 27, is not an up-and-coming artist by any stretch, with more than 300 million streams. Up until now, he has been best known for his earlier single “Outnumbered”, but this track demonstrates that he is not a one-trick pony and, along with the release of his first album, Without Fear, will cement his position amongst pop’s most promising young guns.
His voice is a cousin of Capaldi’s, especially when he pumps up the intensity and edges his vocal cords into a pained rasp. But there may be more complexity to his instrument. If you close your eyes and let his voice wash over you, you can feel the vulnerability beneath his astonishing power.
AD OF THE WEEK: ARGOS “THE BOOK OF DREAMS”
New Christmas campaign from British catalog retailer rocks.
I am a drummer, so it was pretty easy to vote for this ad. Bias aside, this campaign for Argos from agency The&Partnership and production company Stink Films is a lot of fun. Highlights for me are the close up of the kick drum when the Dad finds his groove on the tiny drum set and we hear the iconic chords to Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”, an inspired choice of music.
Just when you think the ad has run out of things to say, the Dad’s daughter appears and we are treated to an amazing duo drum solo, with magical expanding drumsets. Expect a surge in drummers hitting the UK music scene 15 years from now. Interview: “What inspired you to take up the drums? Answer: “An Argos ad during Christmas 2019.”
WATCH: TIMELINE OF MOST POPULAR MUSIC ARTISTS FROM 1969 TO 2019
Ranked by yearly certified record sales.
This video graphic is absolutely fascinating and proof that data is beautiful. Aside from showing the yearly decline in music sales – something we already know – one of the main takeaways is how dominant artists were during the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Elvis, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and even Billy Joel, were impossible to dislodge from the top of the heap. Then all of a sudden comes along MJ and he occupies the top for almost 20 years, a remarkable achievement. The second thing is how around 2000, hip-hop starts dominating the charts and does so for almost 15 years until pop makes a comeback with the likes of Rihanna, Bruno Mars, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and of course, Drake.
IN DECLINE – ‘NOW THATS WHAT I CALL MUSIC’
Now That’s What I Call Music has reported declining revenues for the year to March 31, 2019.
Turnover decreased 34.8% year-on-year to £19.3 million. That’s pretty much in line with the 36.8% decline in the overall compilation market for the year to date. Profits are stable at £3m for the year, shared between Sony Music and Universal Music.
Now’s brand identity appears to have helped the series maintain its No.1 chart position in a challenging market.
The latest results cover the period when the 100th edition of Now was the subject of a media blitz. Released in summer 2018, Now 100 has sales to date of 491,304, according to the Official Charts Company. That’s ahead of Now 99 (399,125) but some way short of Now 98 (722,621).
Now 103, the latest album, has sales to date of 183,371, compared to 381,619 for Now 101 and 247,324 for Now 102.
Streams don’t register for the compilations on the OCC sales chart. But Now That’s What I Call Music has embraced streaming with a £3.99 mobile streaming subscription. Will this new model save the longstanding popular music compilation series? Time will tell…
APPLE SERVICES REVENUE HIT RECORD $12.5BN IN Q4 2019
It was revealed in Apple’s earnings call today that it now has 450 million paid subscriptions across all of its services, compared to 330m “just a year ago”.
Apple forecasts that it will hit 500m paid subscriptions in 2020.
Elsewhere in the company’s Q4 2019 results, Apple reports that sales from iPhones fell from $7.3bn in Q4 2018 to $6.9bn in Q4 2019. Sales from Wearables, Home and Accessories grew from $4.2bn in Q4 2018 to $6.5bn in Q4 2019.
Breaking down the company’s figures geographically (see below) reveals that sales in the Americas saw an increase, from $27.5bn in Q4 2018 to $29.3bn in Q4 2019.
NEW SPOTIFY KIDS APP LAUNCHES IN BETA IN IRELAND
Spotify is launching a new standalone app exclusive to Premium Family subscribers called Spotify Kids.
The new app, intended for children, ages 3 and older, launched in beta in Ireland last week and will be rolled out soon to all markets globally that have Premium Family.
Spotify Kids allows young listeners to listen to audio with their own account. It filters out explicit content, in addition to showing playlists made just for kids.
DUBREQ’S TOUCH-POWERED STYLOPHONE GEN R-8 SYNTHESIZER
Limited to just 500 units!
Dubreq’s latest Stylophone synthesizer is now available for purchase. This upgrade to the pocket-sized classic boasts new features and controls, an all-analog circuit and a hefty metal chassis. Most importantly, it has gritty tones and filters similar to the sounds of full-fledged monosynths.
The Gen R-8 isn’t just a big version of the tiny Stylophone Portable Synthesizer from the ’60s and ’70s. Users have expanded tone-shaping options, like two oscillators, an LFO, a filter, an ADSR envelope and more, so they can create monophonic melodies and arpeggios. And the one-knob-per-function layout means there are no cryptic menus to scroll through when tweaking sounds. If you do want to try the Gen R-8, you might want to grab one sooner rather than later. This first run is limited to 500 units.
Written by Anthony Vanger
Additional reporting by Adam “Badger” Woolf
Artwork by Gustav Balderdash