A weekly update on all things music, advertising, and technology coming straight to you from Anthony Vanger at MassiveMusic. #TWIM
ARTIST OF THE WEEK: NATHANIEL DAVID RATELIFF
Melancholy is a wonderful place to visit, especially during a lockdown. Nathaniel David Rateliff is an American singer and songwriter based in Denver, whose influences are described as “folk, Americana, and vintage rhythm & blues”. The opening bars to And It’s Still Alright, a concise and well-constructed mid-tempo ballad, flick on the sad switch and never let go until the quiet finish at just under four minutes. Rateliff has the perfect whiskey-pickled voice for this kind of material – we trust the barfly more than the preacher – but he can also play it quiet and grant the lyrics, and the story they tell, their own space. Rateliff’s career has been long in the making and perhaps it is that hard-fought struggle for recognition that gives him the gravitas the listener finds so seductive. We are comforted by his melancholy because at the end of each passage Rateliff calmly pulls us back from the edge and croons, “And it’s still alright.”
AD OF THE WEEK: PROGRESSIVE INSURANCE TECH ISSUES
Clever commercial from Progressive Insurance for those of us who are struggling with WFH.
Progressive and its longtime agency Arnold appear to have found a decent balance in addressing today’s new reality and some much-needed levity. Framed around—and appropriately titled—“Work From Home,” a series of three ads brings the brand’s core ad crew together in scenarios people are ruefully getting used to. The best of the bunch is the one focused on video call tech issues. That’s likely the most common theme people working from home experience. It’s also the scenario that feels tailor-made for the actors’ improv chops, especially the brand’s hero, Flo (it would have been fun to see the outtakes on this one). The campaign is one of the first to put well-known ad characters directly into the quarantine era, and it does so in a way that’s clever, reasonably funny, and yet still respectful of the national mood. It doesn’t make light of quarantine or social distancing so much as simply acknowledge the reality we’re all living and often working in.
EVENTS WILL RETURN TO SPAIN THIS MONTH. OPEN-AIR PARTIES OF 800 ALLOWED IN JUNE
The country’s three-phase reopening will start with small “cultural events” next week.
As part of the country’s gradual easing of restrictions, beginning May 11th, the outdoor terraces of restaurants and bars will be allowed to open at 50 percent capacity, The Local reports. Events will also be allowed to return, according to IQ magazine, with no more than 30 people for indoor events and 200 for open-air events. Both will require social-distancing guidelines, like spaced-out assigned seating, to be implemented.
The next phase will tentatively come on May 26th, though it is subject to change. When cinemas, theatres, art galleries and museums can reopen at partial capacity, while the threshold for events rises to 50 people indoors and 400 outdoor, still with assigned seating. Finally, planned for June 10th, the capacity for indoor events rises to 80, while outdoor functions can host up to 800 people in seats.
While the news sounds positive on the surface, some promoters have concerns about the viability of operating under such extreme restrictions.
BANDCAMP SOLD OVER $7.1 MILLION IN DIRECT-TO-ARTISTS SALE
It’s a new record for the music platform, which waived its fees last Friday.
Bandcamp sales topped $7 million during last Friday’s day of waived fees.
Last Friday, May 1st, Bandcamp waived all of its vendor fees for 24 hours, allowing all money spent on the site to go direct to artists and labels. (They first did this in late March.) The platform hit a new record when users bought $7.1 million in music, almost doubling March’s figure of $4.3 million. Around 800,000 releases were purchased, or 15 times the usual amount sold on a Friday.
Bandcamp will hold two more fee-free Fridays this year: June 5th and July 3rd.
‘FINAL’ LAUNCHES HIGH-END ‘EVANGELION’ WIRELESS EARBUDS
Japanese hi-fi brand final has just got in one the Evangelion action with the release of its new wireless earbuds. Taking a page out of Fender’s EVA-inspired guitar, the wireless earphones take on the colour schemes of EVA Unit 01, 02, and Mark 06.
The earbuds come with a special pod charging case that sees matching colours, a USD Type-C charging cable, and alternate-sized rubbers ends for the perfect fit. The earphones can be fully charged in two hours and offer four hours of continuous talk time, or six hours of music playback in final’s aptX mode / 9 hours on regular mode. When combined with the charging case, you are able to achieve up to 63 hours of total playback.
Those interested can visit NTV Shop where they retail for ¥18,000 JPY (approximately $168 USD)
Written by Anthony Vanger
Additional reporting by Adam “Badger” Woolf
Artwork by Gustav Balderdash