This Week In Music: 10th December 2020

A weekly update on all things music, advertising, and technology coming straight to you from Anthony Vanger at MassiveMusic. #TWIM


Rousing song features in Aaron Sorkin’s latest Netflix release The Trial Of The Chicago 7.

There is a powerful simplicity in this stripped-down performance of Celeste’s Hear My Voice. Filmed at London’s Union Chapel, the special live performance sees the rising soul artist backed by a pianist and string section as she sings in the otherwise empty church. There is no backing choir, but the young singer makes up for it with the emotion she pours into the words and her crystal delivery. Echoes of Amy Winehouse can be heard as well, especially in the ringing lament of her voice, but Celeste is very much her own artist, with a modern sound. I love how the elements of the video – the chiaroscuro lighting, slow-mo camera moves, and Celeste’s retro look – lull the viewer into an almost trance-like state. This song is the perfect way to bookend a challenging but ultimately hopeful year.

@celeste #celeste #thetrialofthechicago7 #aaronsorkin


Apple’s latest offering is an update on the over-ear headphones. When Apple bought Beats for $3 billion back in 2014, everyone thought it was, to quote SEAL, a little bit crazy. But it turns out that Tim Cook may have been right and now these headphones generate over $1billion a year in sales. I love how this ad leans away from commerciality and just lets the visuals and the product do the talking. There is a forensic quality to the way the camera whooshes in and out of the headphones, highlighting particular areas of the design. Makes me want to go out and buy a pair, except, wait a minute, didn’t I just do that a few months ago when I bought the Apple Airpods Pro.


Acquiring Catalog Worth Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars

Universal Music Group has acquired the publishing rights to Bob Dylan’s songwriting catalog in one of the biggest acquisitions in UMG’s history.

The buyout, conducted via Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG), sees Universal acquire both the publisher and writer shares of Dylan’s catalog.

In recent years, the catalog – which was owned by Dylan ahead of UMG’s acquisition – has been administered by Universal rival Sony/ATV outside the US, and by Dylan’s own operation inside the United States. (Update: Sony/ATV will continue to administer the songs outside the US for the duration of its deal term with Dylan.)

The catalog acquired by UMPG encompasses more than 600 copyrights spanning 60 years, from 1962’s cultural milestone Blowin’ In The Wind all the way to this year’s epic Murder Most Foul.


82% of musicians earned less than £200 from streaming in 2019, according to a new poll by the UK’s independent body for music creators, The Ivors Academy and the Musicians’ Union. 

The survey also showed that even artists with “millions” of streams on services such as Spotify and Apple Music were low earners, and that half of all artists have experienced a decline in income from recorded music over the past 10 years. 43% of survey respondents reported that they were forced to get a job outside of music due to insufficient income from streaming. 

Graham Davies, CEO of The Ivors Academy, said: “Too much streaming money is going to the major labels, this is an outdated model and needs reform.”

Naomi Pohl, Deputy General Secretary of the Musicians’ Union, said: “We have to make the economics of streaming fairer; improved deals for artists, a bigger share of revenue for songwriters and an income stream for the first time for non-featured musicians.”

The UK government is undertaking a new enquiry to investigate the economics of music streaming, following urgent calls from music managers across the UK to change the financial imbalances caused by the streaming business model.

The survey findings come ahead of the second meeting of the government enquiry taking place today, where MPs will hear from Ivor Novello Award-winning songwriter and artist Nile Rodgers.


Competitive breakdancers will be able to win medals at the 2024 Paris games

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) have added breakdancing to their medal events programme – officially declaring it a competitive Olympic sport for the 2024 Paris games.

Confirmed by the IOC on 7th December 2020, the dance form will be referred to as ‘breaking’: a name originating from its 1960s and ’70s roots in New York City, referring to the isolated drum breaks looped by hip-hop DJs.

The decision was made to attract a younger audience to the Olympics and, as president of the committee Thomas Bach put it, as an attempt to make the competition more “more gender balanced, more youthful and more urban”.

Breakdancing will join other newly added sports such as skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing.

Competitive breakdancing, which is considered highly acrobatic, was trialled at the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where contestants faced each other in one-on-one dance-offs. 

In 2024, the breaking dance-offs will take place at Place de la Concorde in Paris.


Priced at $549 USD.

Apple has continued the evolution of its ever-popular AirPods and AirPods Pro with the announcement of the all-new AirPods Max. The new wireless headphones combine a number of classic AirPods functionalities with a new over-ear design.

Key features of the AirPods Max include a custom acoustic design, Adaptive EQ, Active Noise Cancellation, Transparency mode and spatial audio. The headphones themselves are joined using a knit mesh canopy that spans the headband, distributing weight equally and reducing pressure on the wearer.

Another stand-out is the AirPods Max battery life, with 20 hours of audio, talk time or movie playback. The Smart Case that comes with the headphones also puts them into an ultralow power state, allowing battery life to be preserved. The AirPods Max are due to release in five different color options, including “Space Gray,” “Silver,” “Sky Blue,” “Green” and “Pink.”

Get them here

Written by Anthony Vanger

Additional reporting by Adam “Badger” Woolf

Artwork by Gustav Balderdash

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