A weekly update on all things music, advertising, and technology coming straight to you from Anthony Vanger at MassiveMusic. #TWIM
ARTIST OF THE WEEK: FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE
Adam Schlesinger, co-founder of New Jersey power-pop group, Fountains of Wayne and Emmy- and Grammy-winning songwriter for film, television, and theater, died last week from complications related to COVID-19. He was 52. His band was perhaps most famous for writing “Stacey’s Mom”, an instant pop classic about teen sexuality and looked to become a one-hit-wonder. But throughout the years, it released album after album of finely crafted songs that in some cases equaled major US-songwriters. In the same way that Paul Simon captured the seedier parts of American life in tracks such as The Boxer and The Only Living Boy in New York, Adam Schlesinger and fellow songwriter Chris Collingwood, examined the more mundane rhythms of small-town America. A song that best illustrates this is “Hackensack”, named after a small town in New Jersey, where the protagonist laments a teenage crush and croons that she will always be welcome when she comes back home from LA. Of course, she never does.
AD OF THE WEEK: OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
A metaphor is “an idea or phrase that directly refers to one thing by focussing on another.” It has been a struggle to convey the importance of social distancing during the pandemic. The reasons are complex, but a key one might be the difficulty in seeing the implications of social distancing because there no visible cause and effect presents itself to the person who flouts the rules. The virus is invisible, I am not sick, so what could possibly go wrong? The Ohio Department of Health attacks clears up this confusion with a powerful visual metaphor using ping pong balls and mousetraps. There is a reason this ad went viral. No dialogue needed, the message is clear. Stay 2 meters apart. Flatten the curve.
MILLIONS WATCHED ANDREA BOCELLI DELIVER A TOUCHING EASTER CONCERT FROM AN EMPTY ITALIAN CATHEDRAL
Though the Italian cathedral from which opera legend Andrea Bocelli delivered an Easter Day performance was physically empty due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, millions of fans, from all around the globe, enjoyed the touching concert from the comfort of home.
Bocelli live streamed the aptly named “Music for Hope” show free of charge on his YouTube channel, to encourage both his fellow Italians and the billions of others who are fighting to overcome the COVID-19 crisis.
Additionally, the venue from which the 61-year-old showcased his talents was symbolic of Italy’s battle against the novel coronavirus; the Duomo di Milano is prominently located in Milan, which is the capital of Lombardy, the Italian region that’s been hit hardest by COVID-19.
GERMANY BANS MAJOR EVENTS UNTIL END OF AUGUST 2020
The German federal government has banned all major events in the country until August 31 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That’s according to German news outlet NTV, which cites the German Press Agency (dpa), with the ban applying to sporting events such as football matches, as well as conferences and music festivals.
The reported ban would affect major music festivals in Germany such as Rock am Ring & Rock im Park, and Wacken Open Air, which are scheduled to take place from June 5-7 and July 30 to August 1, respectively.
WATCH WU-TANG CLAN’S RZA AND GANG STARR’S DJ PREMIER GO HEAD-TO-HEAD IN AN ONLINE PRODUCTIONS BATTLE
Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA and Gang Starr’s DJ Premier went head-to-head in a virtual production battle over the weekend as part of Swizz Beatz and Timbaland‘s Verzuz series.
The Verzuz beat battle series was launched at the end of March and finds artists, producers and songwriters playing out their hits on Instagram Live and exchanging anecdotes with one another. At the end of each session, Swizz Beatz and Timbaland choose which of the two contestants is victorious. However, the sense of competition is completely secondary, and in this particular case, it was decided that “it’s a win for the culture”.
The two and a half hour stream, which gathered a total of 850,000 live views, sees the producers playing 20 cuts each, spanning classic Wu-Tang and Gang Starr productions, as well as beats for the likes of Jay Z, Nas, Notorious B.I.G and GZA.
Check out the whole stream above.
TIKTOK COMMITS $375M TO COVID-19 RELIEF EFFORTS
Announcing the support via a blog post today last week, President Alex Zhu writes that the company is donating $250m to support front line medical workers, educators, and local communities deeply affected by the global crisis.
In addition, TikTok has further committed $25m in ads to help trusted organisations deliver crucial public health information and $100m in ad credits as businesses look to rebuild.
NINJA TUNE AND ERICA SYNTHS COLLAB 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.
Versatile and easy to use with physical knobs for each function, it allows electronic musicians to produce custom dub delay effects on stage and in the studio. Buy Here
Written by Anthony Vanger
Additional reporting by Adam “Badger” Woolf
Artwork by Gustav Balderdash