A weekly update on all things music, advertising, and technology coming straight to you from Anthony Vanger at MassiveMusic. #TWIM
ARTIST OF THE WEEK: SUFJAN STEVENS AMERICA
How can you resist the allure of a political, 12-minute single, especially one that begins with the lyric “Is it love that you’re after?” and then follows it up with the cryptic, “Don’t do to me what you did to America.” The only way I can describe the experience of listening to this track is religious because like religion it cleanses and inspires, but it also requires effort to see any results. After a fairly routine start, the song shifts through a whole gamut of emotions – yearning, hope, rage – until finally, it settles into an ambient section lasting over 5 minutes. All to the image of a giant, billowing American flag. Is it peace we have found? Or something more sinister? I would imagine, like the upcoming election, it all depends on who comes out on top.
Sufjan Stevens is an American singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. He has released seven solo studio albums and multiple collaborative albums with other artists. Stevens has received Academy Award and Grammy Award nominations.
AD OF THE WEEK: APPLE WATCH SERIES 6 FEAT. HELENA BONHAM CARTER
In this slick and slightly ironic ad, Apple, the world’s most valuable company, offers up the fact that its new version of the Apple Watch can conduct a whole slew of medical check-ups such as check your blood oxygen level, track your sleep, take an ECG. The tag line “The future of health is on your wrist” pretty much sums up what the watch is doing these days beyond telling the time, but there is also something quite creepy about a product attached to your wrist that can gather so much personal data. Of course, in the ad that info is being primarily used by the owner of the watch, but it does not take much of a mental leap to imagine how that data could be misused by someone with less salutary goals.
The ad was directed by MJZ’s Craig Gillespie. Music “Rise Up” by The Freedom Affair https://apple.co/TheFreedomAffair
SPOTIFY LAUNCHES VIRTUAL CONCERT LISTINGS FEATURE IN PARTNERSHIP WITH WARNER’S SONGKICK
Last month MBW suggested that an obvious next move for Spotify would be virtual concerts, an area which has boomed in music during COVID quarantine.
Renowned reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong recently uncovered evidence that SPOT was indeed working on adding virtual concert-related functionality to its platform.
Today (September 15), Spotify has finally announced something in the space.
According to a blog post published today, Spotify states that it has leveraged its partnership with Songkick – the concert discovery app acquired by Warner Music Group in 2017 – to make a new virtual events listings feature live on its platform.
The listing feature will also pull in virtual concert information from Ticketmaster.
Starting today, all Spotify users will be able to find virtual event listings on artist profiles and in the Concerts hub.
MUSIC STREAMING REVENUES ON COURSE TO GROW BY OVER $1BN IN THE US IN 2020
There’s a trend emerging in the global record industry in 2020: streaming-fuelled growth in some of the world’s biggest music markets, in spite of the pandemic.
This is positive news, of course, especially in light of some of the dire full-year forecasts for certain markets when Covid-19 lockdowns began back in March.
Earlier this week we learned that Spain’s record industry saw a wholesale revenue increase of 4% in the first half of this year.
That positive announcement followed last month’s news that Germany’s recorded music industry was up 4.8% in the first six months of 2020 on a retail basis.
Last week we saw similar good news from the United States.
NEW ORDER AND ADIDAS LAUNCH COLLABORATIVE CLOTHING BRAND, NWRDRSPZL
New Order has teamed up with Adidas to launch a new clothing brand.
The Manchester icons and proto-rave pioneers worked together with designers from the German clothing company to realise nwrdrSPZL, a collaborative capsule range inspired by the band’s decades-long sound and aesthetic.
Included in the range include a tracksuit jacket which incorporates the band’s 39 Tour graphic, as well as a new New Order Adidas trainers, a football shirt, an outerwear jacket, and a New Order sleeve patch.
The collaboration came about when Gary Aspden, founder and creator of Adidas’s Spezial range, reached out to Bernard Sumner and co. Aspden said, “This product release is built on existing synergies and both Bernard Sumner and Warren Jackson made trips to the Adidas HQ in Herzogenaurach to oversee and agree on every detail with myself and the Adidas Spezial team.”
Check out the film below:
PIONEER DJ LAUNCH AFFORDABLE DJ HEADPHONE RANGE
Pioneer DJ has introduced an entry-level affordable DJ headphone called the HDJ-CUE1. Starting at £59 for the dark silver finish, rising to £89 for the matte black, white and red versions. You can also add an extra accessory pack which includes your choice of coloured cables and ear pads for £27 per pack.
The headphones are aimed at DJs with a 90-degree rotatable ear cup and a coiled cable for easy maneuverability. They’re also tuned to make the most of low frequencies, so while they might not be good for making music they’re perfect if you’re looking for some more kick in the bass range.
Written by Anthony Vanger
Additional reporting by Adam “Badger” Woolf
Artwork by Gustav Balderdash