ARTIST OF THE WEEK: DUCK SAUCE “MESMERIZE”
This week’s artist, Duck Sauce, has put out a DYI stock footage video of their latest release “Mesmerize” that causes the jaw to drop and then crash unhindered, to the floor. The track exhibits enviable timing and courage. I can’t imagine it being made before lockdown. The song is solid, but it is the combo of the song/video that catapults the whole into 10+ territory. As one reviewer noted, “One’s first thought upon viewing the […] work is to question the mental state of those behind it.” But there is a nod and a wink to every scene, where nothing is taken too seriously and celebrity, in the form of @Bruce Willis, @Morgan Freeman, @Vin Diesel, and @Daniel Craig, is cleverly parodied. Is the track a commentary on social networks? Or on dance culture, or culture as a whole? Not sure, but the sequence where “duck sauce” is typed into Google Search leading to rapid-fire result pages of @Barbara Streisand, cognition, AI, and finally Simulation Hypothesis is a neat demonstration of search engine black holes. Speaking of black holes, a word of caution: at around 3 mins 26 secs things shift to the scatological. If you keep watching, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
AD OF THE WEEK: AMAZON “THE SHOW MUST GO ON”
Mini-movie captures the determination of performers during lockdown.
All over the world, people are putting their dreams on hold. Sometimes permanently. This video for online mega-retailer Amazon captures the bitter disappointment artists and performers feel at having their shows canceled. The ad stars French ballerina @Taïs Vinolo and was directed by Melina Matsouka, who has shot music videos for @Beyoncé’s Formation and @Rihanna’s We Found Love, as well as the 2019 film Queen & Slim. The music by composer Peter Mauder plays a crucial role and I admire the way it serves two masters – both as a score to the film and as the main theme for the protagonist’s final performance. Great work from creative agency, @Lucky Generals.
NO-DEAL BREXIT COULD SPELL DISASTER FOR THE UK’S MUSICIANS
Another hidden slab of bad news from the folks who brought us Brexit.
170,000 jobs could be lost in the live music industry, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the venue closures it has caused. Unfortunately, the industry is facing yet another crisis: the specter of a no-deal Brexit, which Boris Johnson has told the UK to start preparing for.
A number of high-profile industry figures have recently spoken out about the dangers that this scenario poses to live music. Jeremy Pritchard, bassist of the indie band Everything Everything and member of Featured Artists Coalition (a trade body representing the rights of UK musicians), told the NME: “The glass ceiling is getting higher and higher all the time, the more the prospect of a no-deal Brexit looms.”
A no-deal Brexit would likely mean British artists touring in Europe facing far more bureaucracy than they do now, having to sort out visas, work permits, health insurance, and taxes. The level of paper-work involved would be staggering – even touring with your own vehicle would require a “green card” that could take months to procure. For many smaller acts, all of this would make playing live outside of the UK prohibitively expensive.
While musicians having to work a day job perhaps isn’t the end of the world, many critics have argued that the increasing difficulty of making money in the industry – combined with a lack of state support of the arts – has led to cultural stagnation and the growing dominance of musicians from wealthy, privately-educated backgrounds. If no-deal Brexit goes ahead, it’s difficult to see how these trends could be reversed.
LIVE NATION EXPECTS “SHOWS AT SCALE” TO TAKE PLACE NEXT SUMMER
Live Nation has expressed optimism for the future of the entertainment industry, saying it “expect[s] shows at scale next summer”.
The company’s CEO Micheal Rapino made the prediction during its G3 2020 earnings call, citing progress on COVID-19 testing and vaccines among its reasons for hopefulness.
On the call to investors and analysts, Rapino said: “We are working on a roadmap to get back to live safely. We are encouraged by progress on testing technology treatments and vaccines which will help us build our plans.”
Although he predicted “shows at scale next summer”, he added that the “exact timeline of this return will vary by region, and so we continue to focus on remaining flexible” and that “the path to live will not be a straight line”.
Live Nation reported a 95.1% drop in revenue from $3.77 billion in 2019’s third-quarter (June to September) compared to the same period in 2020, where the same company generated $184 million. 2020’s Q3 figures accounted for an operating loss of $504 million, compared to a profit of $260 million in 2019.
BOUDICA IS HOSTING A FREE MUSIC CONFERENCE TO INSPIRE WOMEN AND NON-BINARY PEOPLE TO GET INTO MUSIC
STREAMING VIA MIXCLOUD
Boudica, a London-based label and party series, is putting on a free-to-attend music conference this Sunday to inspire women and non-binary people to get involved in music.
The event will be held at The Freemasons Hall and will hold panels on subjects like mental health and wellbeing in music, the importance of social media and PR in the digital age, how different musical communities have adapted to lockdown, and the gender disparity in music.
The day will also feature DJ sets from object blue, Boudica team member Samantha Togni, Tasha and Proteus.
Grab a free ticket to the streamed talks here, and check out the full list of panel participants below.
BEYONCÉ INKS MULTI-YEAR PARTNERSHIP WITH LUXURY FITNESS BRAND PELOTON
Luxury exercise bike maker and fitness brand Peloton and Grammy Award-winning artist Beyoncé have signed a multi-year partnership.
Peloton states that Beyoncé is the most requested artist by its global community of more than 3.6 million members.
Beyoncé’s collaboration with the company will commemorate Homecoming season, an annual fall celebration for students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
Beyoncé and Peloton worked closely to create a series of themed workout experiences to help extend Homecoming to Peloton members via classes across multiple fitness categories, including indoor cycling, running, strength, bootcamp, yoga and meditation.
NOISE MACHINE IS A TINY MIDI CONTROLLER FOR CREATING MUSIC ON THE GO
You don’t have to look far to find a capable MIDI controller in 2020, but most aren’t as small as the Noise Machine. The diminutive device measures in at 2.1 x 2.3 x 0.4 inches, making it compact enough to fit inside of a jean pocket. Whether that’s enough to make it the smallest MIDI controller in the world, we’re not sure, but what’s clear is it does not lack for features.
If you like what you see, you can pre-order the Noise Machine through Kickstarter, where it starts at $70. Provided it reaches its modest $27,000 CAD (approximately $20,725) crowdfunding goal, you can expect it to begin shipping sometime in June 2021.
Check the promo video below
Written by Anthony Vanger
Additional reporting by Adam “Badger” Woolf
Artwork by Gustav Balderdash