A weekly update on all things music, advertising, and technology coming straight to you from Anthony Vanger at MassiveMusic. #TWIM
ARTIST OF THE WEEK: FOR THOSE I LOVE
Music is a mirror, shining a life back at us that cannot see because we live in a parallel universe. Top Scheme, the latest single from For Those I Love, is a song that deals with this reality: fractured families, poor housing, and the lack of opportunity that still impinges upon Irish life. For Those I Love, whose real name is David Balfe, is reminiscent of other wordsters like The Streets, Sleaford Mods, and earlier angry poets like Paul Weller and Thin Lizzy’s Phil Lynott. Balfe wields his breakneck vocabulary like a lightweight boxer uses his fists to overwhelm his opponent. “The weight of the hangover hungover this year and you drink to stop that trembling fear” is just one of the tongue-twisting lines that whack you in the solar plexus.The slow-mo black and white dignity of the video elevates the song into heroic territory where the visuals, music, and words collide into a battle-cry impossible to ignore.
AD OF THE WEEK: HELSINKI
The Climate Crisis Font – Imagining climate change as a font
On his first day as President, Biden rejoined the Paris Climate change accord. He was not the only one doing his bit for climate change. Helsingin Sanomat, an influential Norwegian newspaper, has just released a compelling ad that turns the climate change issue into a font. The Climate Crisis Font – an OpenType variable font that helps people see the urgency of climate change in a more tangible form. The font’s weight responds to NSIDC’s (National Snow and Ice Data Center) Arctic sea ice data from 1979 to 2019 and IPCC’s prediction all the way to 2050, showing how the ice is expected to shrink because of climate change based on current forecasts. In true Scandi style, the newspaper has made the font available freely to anyone that wants to use it. It is a neat trick and another weapon to combat people’s apathy and confusion over this emergency.
BIDEN-HARRIS TEAM RELEASES 46-SONG INAUGURATION PLAYLIST FEATURING BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN AND KENDRICK LAMAR
The Biden-Harris team has released a 46-song Inaugural playlist featuring everyone from Beyonce to Kendrick Lamar to Bruce Springsteen. Curated by The Raedio and D-Nice, the playlist, which dropped on Friday, is the “official playlist for the inauguration of the 46th president and vice-president of the United States”, according to @TheRaedio on Twitter. As Raedio president, Benoni Tagoe said, “Music unites and heals. Keeping with this inauguration’s theme “America United,” this playlist represents the diversity of our nation and our strength and resilience as we look forward to new leadership and a new era in America.”
MAJOR LABELS WARN ‘DISRUPTION’ TO STREAMING COULD ‘DIMINISH UK COMPETITIVENESS’
Representatives of Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music were grilled by MPs.
Music industry bosses have defended their right to a share of streaming revenue, saying any disruption to the current system could “diminish UK competitiveness”.
The heads of the UK’s “big three” major labels – Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music – told MPs their cut was a fair reward for the risks involved in developing artists, recording, marketing and distribution.
The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s inquiry into the economics of music streaming has so far heard from musicians including Elbow frontman Guy Garvey and singer-songwriter Nadine Shah, who both argued for artists to receive a larger share of revenue.
Speaking during a sometimes fractious session, Tony Harlow, chief executive of Warner Music UK, told MPs the economics of streaming were currently “working their way through”, and cautioned against disrupting the system.
At the suggestion the major labels were operating like an “oligopoly”, Jason Iley, chairman and chief executive of Sony Music UK and Ireland, said he saw more competition today than in the last 30 years. David Joseph, chairman and chief executive of Universal Music UK and Ireland, said the entire streaming system should not change because some artists, with smaller but more devoted fanbases, had suffered more due to the live shutdown.
The major streaming services are expected to appear before the Committee in a future session.
UK CASSETTE SALES DOUBLED IN 2020
Best-selling albums included Dua Lipa’s ‘Future Nostalgia
UK cassette tape sales doubled during 2020, the British Phonographic Industry has revealed.
While cassette sales have steadily increased in the UK over the past few years, 2020’s final sales figures amounted to double those reported at the end of 2019, with 156,542 cassettes sold in the UK over the 12-month period of 2020. Albums from Dua Lipa, Kylie Minogue and The Streets featured among the year’s 10 best-selling cassette albums in the UK.
BANDCAMP HAS LAUNCHED A VINYL PRESSING SERVICE
50 successful pilot campaigns shipped 13,000 vinyl records to fans in 65 countries
The service works by taking pre-orders on a vinyl campaign, which is then fulfilled if the target sales are met. Bandcamp then handles the pressing of the records, printing of packaging and shipping to fans, meaning no up-front investment is required.
The minimum run for a campaign is 250 records, with volume discounts applied at 500 and 1000 units. Four test pressings will also be supplied.
Full creative control, such as the record’s design, colour and package style, is decided by the artist, and the option to bring existing digital-only releases to vinyl or re-press sold out records is available in the service that is fully integrated into Bandcamp.
The estimated timeframe for a campaign launch to vinyl being delivered is three to four months.
Bandcamp is working with the climate protection initiative Atmosfair to offset the emissions generated by manufacturing vinyl and develop and finance renewable energy projects.
JBL UNVEILS 75TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION OF L100 SPEAKERS
Celebrating a sonic classic.
JBL is releasing a 75th-anniversary edition of its iconic L100 speakers this May.
The L100 Classic 75 is based on the 2018 L100 Classic speaker, and features the same titanium dome tweeter and Quadrex foam grille, but with an improved woofer suspension design and new teak wood veneer cabinets.
Each unit is accompanied with a pair of a set of JS-120 floor stands and will be shipped in a specially designed wooden crate adorned with limited edition artwork.
The L100 Classic 75 is limited to 750 editions and will retail for £4,046.
Written by Anthony Vanger
Additional reporting by Adam “Badger” Woolf
Artwork by Gustav Balderdash