A weekly update on all things music, advertising, and technology coming straight to you from Anthony Vanger at MassiveMusic. #TWIM
ARTIST OF THE WEEK: MAC MILLER
Posthumous album ‘Circles’ by the late Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller, produced and completed by Jon Brion.
This is an album where the expression “speaking from the grave” carries more weight than usual. Mac Miller, a Pittsburgh native and hip hop artist, died two years ago aged 26 from a drug overdose. It was initially thought to be a suicide, but three men have since been charged with supplying him with cocaine and oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl. Murder trials notwithstanding, Miller’s final, posthumous album Circles is a fitting end to what was once a promising career. Because much of the album was brought to life by producer Jon Brion after Miller’s death, the arrangements have a work-in-progress feel. But I like that. Its rawness carries power, especially in Miller’s confessional vocal delivery. There are elements of Beck splashed here and there, especially in terms of the mixed-genre approach to songwriting. But Miller also recalls another musical hero: Chet Baker. Soft voice, smooth vibes, and sadly, too many drugs.
AD OF THE WEEK: DORITOS SUPER BOWL AD
Doritos scores big with goofy Super Bowl LIV Ad
I am a massive Sam Elliot fan, but I must admit that when this cowboy standoff became a cowboy dance-off, it really tickled my funny bone. There were a lot of good ads in this year’s Super Bowl LIV – Google, Jeep, Amazon Alexa – but this one was the best of the crop. Great casting, original creative and a winner for Doritos. Oh, by the way, the Kansas Chiefs won 31-20 in a hotly contested battle on January 31, 2020 at the Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida.
SUPERBOWL LIV HALFTIME SHOW: SHAKIRA AND JENNIFER LOPEZ
Shakira and J-Lo’s high-octane performance proves women do it best in a show that went big on Latin pride.
Bloody hell Shakira can move. And her talents do not stop there. She can play the electric guitar. She can play the drums! And her voice remains one of the most recognisable in pop music. I thought she was absolutely fantastic and had forgotten what a wonderfully natural talent she is, oozing sunshine as if it were a daily chore. Her dancing is infectious. J. Lo, her co-star, J. Lo was in fine form, especially during her dance sequence 14 mins into the show, but ultimately Shakira operated at another level. But when the two ladies came together at the end of the show, it seemed that the stadium was literally not big enough to hold their combined wattage of super-stardom! Enjoy.
ELON MUSK DROPS NEW EDM RECORD “DON’T DOUBT UR VIBE”
Elon Musk just dropped a new EDM record titled, “Don’t Doubt ur Vibe.”
Remember this isn’t the first music track that Elon has dropped. He put out “RIP Harambe” last year. But now he’s in the studio with Tom Norris, aka getyoursnackon, who has worked with Skrillex.
“Don’t Doubt ur Vibe” is actually a pretty beautifully composed progressive house track once you get over the initial shock factor. Of course, it’s not the best song you’ll ever hear, but the melodies are on great, the sort of atmospheric vibe full of reverb is definitely a nice touch, and Elon’s own vocals inject a degree of personality to the whole affair.
Check it out below:
BRIAN WILSON URGES FANS TO BOYCOTT BEACH BOYS GIG
Brian Wilson is urging fans to boycott a gig by his former band The Beach Boys, over trophy hunting fears.
A version of the California band, fronted by Mike Love, is to play the Safari Club International Convention in Reno, Nevada on Wednesday.
Wilson tweeted that he and former guitarist Al Jardine had nothing to do with the event. He then urged fans to sign a petition calling for the Beach Boys to “withdraw from the SCI Convention”.
The 77-year-old still performs classic Beach Boys songs, which he wrote, under his own name, alongside Jardine. However, another founding member, Love, owns the touring rights to the name of the influential 60s band.
PANDORA IS LOSING SUBSCRIBERS — 88,000 LEFT THE SERVICE LAST QUARTER
Pandora seems to be shedding subscribers left and right.
Q4 2019 saw a drop of 88,000 subscribers with only 4,000 new paid promotional subs in the same period. That number is up slightly from last year when Pandora lost 85,000 subscribers. B Riley analyst Zack Silver says he believes there are currently 6.45 million Pandora subscribers.
SiriusXM confirms ad revenue at Pandora is up, despite the loss in subscribers. Pandora raked in $348 million in Q4 2019, up from $314 million in 2018. These are the highest figures seen in Pandora’s advertising revenues yet.
Despite the growth in advertising, the drop in users must be starting to hurt. Spotify now has over 113 million paying subscribers across the globe, while Apple Music continues growing. Even Amazon Music and YouTube Music seem to be growing, while Pandora continues to shed paying subscribers.
MOOG ANNOUNCE RETURN OF THEIR LEGENDARY VOCODER
The 16-channel hardware unit was first released in 1978
Moog Music have announced the return of their hardware vocoder. The 16-channel unit was first introduced in 1978 and can be heard on heaps of classic records, most famously on Giorgio Moroder’s ‘E=mc2’. The new unit is a faithful re-creation, featuring 16 frequency bands from 50Hz up to 5,080Hz as well as a sample and hold function for locking particular tones, external patching for hooking up to other bits of kit and hiss, buzz and balance controls.
To coincide with the release, Moog filmed a new promo video with Moses Sumney performing a new track using the new vocoder, which you can watch below. No word on price yet, but as it’s Moog expect to pay a premium.
Written by Anthony Vanger
Additional reporting by Adam “Badger” Woolf
Artwork by Gustav Balderdash