This Week In Music: 4th February 2021

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


Austin duo’s song Colors explodes after Biden televised concert

Listening to lead singer Eric Burton in the first verse of the Black Pumas’s hit Colors, one wonders what rock he has been hiding under for so long. A singer/songwriter who busked his way through the West Coast before settling in central Texas, Burton has taken the long and winding road to success. The Black Pumas formed in 2017 with Burton on vocals and guitarist Adrian Quesada as producer. Not much happened until they released Colors in 2019. The song built slowly, like a dormant volcano, until it exploded during the televised Biden inauguration concert. Now the Pumas have 3 Grammy nominations, including song of the year for Colors. I love this track for its humanity and gimlet-eyed optimism. Their sound carries retro-soul elements, but the groove feels contemporary. Towering over the beat sits Burton’s clear voice, versatile and majestic. The band is tight, revealing its origins as a studio project, but with this instant classic, they have transcended the studio, their Texas origins, and created a truly global smash.



Lenny Kravitz stars in Stella Artois Super Bowl Commercial

Kravitz wants his Super Bowl advert to inspire love and nurturing, according to the musician. The star has teamed up with Stella Artois for the Heartbeat Billionaire commercial, which will air during this weekend’s (February 7) Super Bowl game in Tampa, Florida with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers facing off against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Kravitz explains, “This [pandemic] has been an opportunity, despite all the drama that’s going on, to really connect with our loved ones and our families, and it’s given us an opportunity to see what is important in life.”

Ed Note: Kravitz has always been able to reinvent himself in order to stay current and this reimagining of his first hit “It ain’t over til its over” for a SuperBowl ad will do wonders for his back catalog.


Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is to step down as chief executive of the e-commerce giant that he started in his garage nearly 30 years ago.

He will become executive chairman, a move he said would give him “time and energy” to focus on his other ventures.

Mr. Bezos, at one time the world’s richest man, will be replaced by Andy Jassy, who currently leads Amazon’s cloud computing business. The change will take place in the second half of 2021, the company said. “Being the CEO of Amazon is a deep responsibility, and it’s consuming. When you have a responsibility like that, it’s hard to put attention on anything else,” Mr Bezos said in a letter to Amazon staff on Tuesday.


Primavera Sound has held a non-socially distanced event with rapid testing for attendees on arrival that produced no COVID-19 infections. 

The Barcelona promoter and festival organizer held the small concert last month at the indoor Sala Apolo venue in the city. 

Local DJs played at the trial gig, titled PRIMACOV, and attendees completed rapid antigen tests before they entered the venue. They were only allowed to do so with a negative result. 

Primavera teamed up with Barcelona’s Hospital Germans Trias as well as the Fight AIDS and Infectious Diseases Foundations to create the trial, with 1000 people invited to come to the concert. 463 people attended the gig, with 496 placed into a ‘control group’ who did no enter the venue. All attendees then had a follow-up test eight days later. There were no positive results in the group who went inside the venue and two positive results in the ‘control group’ who did not attend.

The successful trial is a positive step forward for an international festival and club circuit that currently has no roadmap back to normality. 


The wider industry has criticised the move which has already seen some events cancelled

The UK’s Performance Rights Organisation PRS has introduced a new license cost for ticketed online events. The license, which is available for events grossing less than £500, would allow the organiser to obtain the necessary rights for their event. PRS said of the license: “Online live concerts are a form of video exploitation and require a license for the same rights as any other type of online music usage.” 

The license will cost £22.50 plus VAT for any event grossing less than £250 and double that for anything grossing between £250 and £500. For any event with over £500 revenue, organisers can contact PRS directly. PRS has made clear that the license also covers DJ sets. 

Streaming platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram may already have a license for blanket streaming – you’ll know all about this if you’ve been taken down by a copyright strike – but PRS say that Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram’s “license does not cover all the rights represented by us. So if your music is published, your rights may fall under multi-territory licensing deals arranged by your publisher instead. In all cases, it is important that you comply with the terms of use and copyright requirement of any platform you use.”


Sony Music Entertainment announced it has entered into a definitive agreement with Kobalt Music Group to acquire Kobalt’s recorded-music operations, including AWAL, and Kobalt Neighboring Rights. The acquisition, for $430 million according to the SEC filing, is subject to customary regulatory and closing conditions.

AWAL and Neighbouring Rights will become a new division within SME’s suite of independent artist and label services offerings and will be enhanced by the technology and network of SME’s independent music distribution company, The Orchard, according to the announcement. Lonny Olinick will remain AWAL’s CEO.

AWAL, which has released music by Billie Eilish’s brother and collaborator Finneas, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Little Simz, and others, will continue to sign, develop and market its own artists. AWAL services include global marketing, creative, synch and brand partnerships, radio promotion and distribution as well as access to its analytics.


The company’s most powerful tactile audio system yet

SUBPAC has launched the X1, the most powerful version of the company’s tactile audio system so far. 

SUBPAC’s unique wearable tech gives audio creators
“a deeper connection and understanding of their mix that is not possible with traditional speakers or headphones” which has made waves since its launch because of the way it transfers frequencies through high-fidelity vibrations to the body. 

The X1 is the latest iteration of SUBPAC that features
a software-driven, modular, wireless design that is aimed at creators as well as audio professionals and serious enthusiasts. If you’ve tried one, you’ll know it’s the closest you’ll come to experiencing The Club at home without having to install a wall
of speakers.

Pre-order the X1 here

Written by Anthony Vanger

Additional reporting by Adam “Badger” Woolf

Artwork by Gustav Balderdash

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