A weekly update on all things music, advertising, and technology coming straight to you from Anthony Vanger at MassiveMusic. #TWIM
ARTIST OF THE WEEK: ST VINCENT
Somewhere between her first album in 2007 and now, this Berklee School of Music educated, electric guitar-wielding (she can actually play), platinum-blonde, avant-guard artist became a bonafide rock star. In the sense that what she said, did, and looked like became more important than her music. So how has she applied this newfound fame on her new, seventh album, Daddy’s Home? Inspired by her favourite records of the 70s, she borrows a great deal from that glittering decade sonically, and visually in her videos. Lyrically, it’s a whole other ballgame. It turns out the album’s title carries a deeper meaning for the rock star. In a recent interview, St. Vincent, real name Annie Clark, revealed how her new studio album was inspired by her father’s 2019 release from prison, and how his time behind bars for financial fraud impacted her. Not exactly light-hearted material. And perhaps that is the overarching theme of the album: a sound that celebrates hedonism combined with darker subject matters. It is a delicate balance, but St Vincent manages to walk the tightrope.
#stvincent @stvincent #daddyshome
AD OF THE WEEK: TOYOTA BIG GAME COMMERCIAL
Jessica Long’s story is one of an unsinkable spirit. From double amputee to Paralympic champion. 13-time Paralympic gold medalist Jessica Long and Toyota show that there is hope and strength in all of us. With the Olympics igniting on 23 July and the Paralympics on 24 August in Tokyo, this spot reminds us of the long journey many athletes face, especially those with disabilities. The connection between the story and Toyota is a tenuous one, but the car brand just about gets away with it through strong production values, good performances, and ultimately an incredible story.
APPLE MUSIC LAUNCHING SPATIAL AUDIO WITH DOLBY ATMOS AND LOSSLESS AUDIO IN JUNE
At No Extra Cost
This week Apple announced that Apple Music will be gaining support for Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos at no additional cost starting in June.
Apple Music subscribers will have access to thousands of songs in Spatial Audio from artists like J Balvin, Gustavo Dudamel, Ariana Grande, Maroon 5, Kacey Musgraves, The Weeknd, and many others. Apple says this feature will provide a “revolutionary, immersive audio experience that enables artists to mix music so the sound comes from all around and from above.”
Apple Music subscribers will also be able to listen to more than 75 million songs in Lossless Audio at no additional cost:
Apple Music will also make its catalog of more than 75 million songs available in Lossless Audio. Apple uses ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) to preserve every single bit of the original audio file. This means Apple Music subscribers will be able to hear the exact same thing that the artists created in the studio.
Apple says 20 million songs will be available in Lossless Audio at launch, with the full 75 million songs available by the end of the year.
THE FIRST 100 DAYS OF BREXIT HAVE BEEN A ‘DISASTER’ FOR THE MUSIC INDUSTRY
A new study has reported that 94% of music industry workers have been negatively affected by the post-Brexit deal.
In the 100 days following Britain’s departure from the EU, a survey has found that the government has done little in the way of aiding the music industry, leading to a ‘disastrous fallout.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed in March that he would help the industry on its journey to deal with post-Brexit repercussions, a sector worth over £5 billion to the economy. However, no progress has yet been made on the situation.
According to a study conducted by the Incorporated Society of Musicians, 94% of those working in the industry from musicians, tour operators, and manufacturers have been negatively affected by the post-Brexit deal.
The deal has restricted musicians from touring freely around Europe, where they were previously able to work abroad with no constraints. Now, there are 27 different EU migration systems and visa requirements in place which must be navigated before travel.
The culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, claimed last week that negotiations with EU member states on the restrictions to touring musicians have yet to be dealt with. Since then, he stated that artists will be able to tour ‘visa-free’ in 17 of the 27 EU countries, but this has been branded ‘misleading’ by industry affiliates.
MUSIC NFT REPORT: AROUND 150 ARTISTS EARNED $55.7 MILLION IN TWO MONTHS
Music tech writer Cherie Hu has published a document compiling research into the music NFT market.
Hu’s analysis was based on data derived from monitoring 20 NFT marketplaces between June 6th, 2020, and April 25th, 2021. Marketplaces such as Zora, SuperRare, Curio, and Rarible raised millions in venture capital funding in March and April of this year as investors rushed to capitalise on the boom in crypto collectibles.
Despite NFT music sales grossing $60.2 million since June 2020 and $55.7 million in the past two months, just 150 musicians and brands sold NFTs in the past year. The majority of musicians profiting from the market are already successful artists, such as Grimes, Steve Aoki, and The Weeknd. 80.7 percent or $48.6 million of the reported total was earned by electronic artists.
Hu writes that buyers of NFT works tend to come from “niche, ultra-wealthy crypto communities… people who are already familiar with the technicalities of how crypto works, and who are sitting on enough crypto to be comfortable investing $600+ in buying a digital artwork.” She also notes that “the most successful music NFT auctions to date have centered visuals, not audio, at their core” and that the specifics of copyright for labels and publishers remain undefined.
NFT artworks have also been criticized for their environmental impact. The Ethereum cryptocurrency’s annual energy consumption currently ranks alongside countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, Portugal, and Iraq.
SONY DROPS LIMITED EDITION NOISE-CANCELING WH-1000XM4 HEADPHONES IN “SILENT WHITE”
After updating its WH-1000XM4 Noise Canceling Headphones with an array of handy features, Sony has just released a limited edition “Silent White” colour way.
With a pearlescent coating, the WH-1000XM4 model is dressed in all-white with gold embellishments in the form of branding and on the microphone. The inspiration behind this colour way was to “reflect the concept of silence and serenity of noise-canceling headphones” with stain-resistant properties, according to Sony. Accessories such as the carrying case and cables seamlessly blend in with the serene white of the headphones.
“Silent White” is equipped with a built-in analog amplifier that’s been integrated into the HD Noise-Canceling QN1 Processor to provide exception playback on portable devices. Dual noise sensor technology and adaptive sound control are applied to sense where you are and what you’re doing, using that information to fine-tune the playback experience. Using DSEE Extreme digital sound quality upscaling technology with Edge-AI, Sony ensures natural sound quality, making it sound closer to the original source. It boasts a battery life of 30 hours and five hours of usage upon 10 minutes of charging. If you lose your Sony headphones, fear not, the location and time last used can both be seen on Google Fast Pair.
Priced at $399.99 USD, the Sony WH-1000XM4 “Silent White” will be launched in the near future on the company’s website with only 2,000 units made.
Written by Anthony Vanger
Additional reporting by Adam “Badger” Woolf
Artwork by Gustav Balderdash