A weekly update on all things music, advertising, and technology coming straight to you from Anthony Vanger at MassiveMusic. #TWIM
ARTIST OF THE WEEK: BLAKE MILLS
This song is “sung” so close to the microphone that you can literally hear the mechanics of the breath required to produce a note. Blake Mills, 33, is an American songwriter, guitarist, producer, and composer based in California. The folk singer guitar player has been around for a while now, releasing his first album 10 years ago and then earning a solid living as a top-class session musician with artists such as Conor Oberst, Lana Del Rey, and Dangermouse. Now with the release of his fourth album, Mutable Set, Mills has turned his preternatural skills to songwriting. According to Pitchfork, Mills delivers “a finely tuned album that showcases his unassuming voice and impeccable songcraft”. In the first single from the album, Summer All Over, I cannot recall a song that was so suffocating in the way it is played, there is literally no air in the music. But bit by bit, Mills’ restrained delivery expands and lets the air in, morphing into something huge and at the end of the song, the listener is left clasping the echos of an unforgettable emotional experience. #blakemills @Blake Mills
AD OF THE WEEK: BLACK LIVES MATTER
Contrast has always been an effective way to make a complex and emotionally charged point. Creatives Jon Krippahne and Justin Joo have done exactly that with an ad posted on Instagram this week. It displays footage during the US civil rights movement in the 50s and 60s alongside footage from today’s demonstrations. The contrast makes for sobering viewing and does not take much to conclude that we have not evolved. The music is Black Man in a White World by Michael Kiwanuka. #MichaelKiwanuka @Michael Kiwanuka #blacklivesmatter
THE GRAMMYS HAS STOPPED USING THE TERM ‘URBAN’
The GRAMMY Awards has announced it is dropping the term ‘urban’ to describe music of Black origin.
In an announcement on its website outlining the rules and guidelines for the 63rd annual ceremony, the GRAMMYs revealed that the ‘Best Urban Contemporary Album’ category is being renamed to the ‘Best Progressive R&B Album’.
The decision was explained as: “This change includes a more accurate definition to describe the merit or characteristics of music compositions or performances themselves within the genre of R&B. “This category is intended to highlight albums that include the more progressive elements of R&B and may include samples and elements of hip-hop, rap, dance, and electronic music. It may also incorporate production elements found in pop, euro-pop, country, rock, folk, and alternative.”
BE THE OWNER OF YOUR OWN NIGHTCLUB IN THIS VIDEO GAME
A new game called Disco Simulator lets you design, build and run your own nightclub, including lighting, DJ booths, bar and chill area and the toilets. Once your club is up and running you can dictate who gets in based on traits like aggressiveness, drunk, dirty and stoned. You can also keep an eye on the bathrooms and kick anyone out if they’re caught sharing cubicles.
Once your club is a success, you can buy new buildings around and expand to become an all-encompassing super club, just like the old days. The game was announced in January and still has no availability date but we hope it’s downloadable soon for even a tiny taster of clubbing life, which is sorely missed. Watch the video below for a nostalgia trip, unless you’re an actual club owner and it might give you anxiety.
YOUTUBE LAUNCHES $100M FUND DEDICATED TO AMPLIFYING AND DEVELOPING THE VOICES OF BLACK CREATORS AND ARTISTS
YouTube is launching a multi-year, $100 million fund dedicated to amplifying and developing the voices of Black creators and artists.
The initiative was announced by YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki today (June 11) in a letter to the platform’s users, addressing initiatives to support the Black community, the impact of COVID-19, and how YouTube is working on behalf of creators.
The first project from the fund launches this coming Saturday (June 13), with YouTube hosting a live stream fundraising event produced by YouTube Originals (YTO), called Bear Witness, Take Action.
The event promises to bring together creators, artists, public figures and activists for roundtable discussions and musical performances, with donations benefiting the Equal Justice Initiative.
Written by Anthony Vanger
Additional reporting by Adam “Badger” Woolf
Artwork by Gustav Balderdash