A weekly update on all things music, advertising, and technology coming straight to you from Anthony Vanger at MassiveMusic. #TWIM
ARTIST OF THE WEEK: THE WAR ON DRUGS
How do you know when an indie band crosses over to the mainstream? In many ways, it is a chicken and egg situation where it’s either the organic popularity of the band, or it’s some kind of musical metamorphosis that pushes the band beyond its original borders. In the case of The War on Drugs (aka TWOD), it is clearly the latter. The song “I Don’t Live Here Anymore”, their 5th album, may be the one reason why the band is experiencing a surge in recognition some 13 years after it was formed in Philadelphia. Both intimate and anthemic, the track lures the listener in with Adam Granduciel’s gravel-infused vocals only to smack you out of the park with a rooftop chorus that is nothing short of cathartic. The band, which won a Grammy in 2018 for best Rock Album, has been described as a mix of indie, heartland rock, and Americana. This new release pushes the music beyond these labels into another realm and introduces the band to a whole new group of fans.
AD OF THE WEEK: BOUYGUES TELECOM FRANCE
Absolutely LOVE this ad. From the message, to the way it is shot, to the soundtrack “Fallin’” by Alicia Keys, this ad by French ad agency BETC is almost perfect. This French telecom ad starts with a meet-cute, love-at-first-sight encounter and goes on to track major moments in the life of a young couple and their growing family, all threaded together with a single fumbled smartphone. We’ve all been there before, but rarely has dropping your phone looked so good. And the message is solid: why buy a new phone when you can repair it? Studies show that one in three people don’t even consider repair an option. French phone operator Bouygues has launched this campaign to promote its “sustainable smartphone solutions” program built around trade-ins, recycling, refurbishing, and repair.
ONLY 0.4% OF MUSICIANS COULD POTENTIALLY MAKE A LIVING FROM STREAMING, STUDY REVEALS
New research estimates that only artists who achieve around a million UK streams per month over a long period are likely to be in a position to earn a living from music. Fewer than 0.4% of artists with music on streaming services achieve a million streams in a typical month and many of these streams are based on older tracks, reducing the figure further.
The study says that changes in how musicians have made money digitally has “been rapid” due to the influence of streaming services. Of musicians whose income is entirely based on music, 43% reported earnings of £20,000 or less, and 64% reported £30,000 or less.
Cherie Hu, founder and publisher of Water and Music, writes that 65 to 75% of streams for the top 0.4% of artists come from their back catalogue, rather than new releases.
LOUIS THEROUX’S NEW DOCUMENTARY IS FOCUSING ON US RAP AND HIP HOP
A new documentary by Louis Theroux will explore the “new world” of rap and hip hop in the US, with a focus on Florida and other southern states.
The film created by his own independent studio Mindhouse Productions, will be part of a three-part series called Louis Theroux: Forbidden America, that will look at how the internet and social media have affected some of the most contentious aspects of American entertainment.
Louis will immerse himself in the burgeoning rap and hip hop scene in the southern United States, particularly in Florida. Rappers, like many other artists, have long drawn inspiration from their life in order to develop and sell their music. The 24-hour connectedness of social media, on the other hand, raises the stakes.
The episode will be available on BBC 2 and BBC IPlayer. Date TBA
BEATS TAPS A-COLD-WALL* FOR SPECIAL STUDIO3 WIRELESS HEADPHONES
Continuing with its ever-expanding list of collaborations, Beats has now tapped popular streetwear brand A-COLD-WALL* for a limited-edition Studio3 Wireless colorway.
Drawing from the fashion house’s design aesthetic, the new pair of headphones is dressed in a slate gray tone finished with white speckled patterning to create a visual feeling of cement, which extends over the headband as well as the ear cushions. The underside of the band is then colored in a clean clay shade to provide a complimentary dash of contrast while pristine white ACW* and dark gray Beats logos adorn either side of the accessory.
Performance-wise, you can expect the usual specifications of the Studio3 Wireless, pairing exceptional connectivity with iOS devices through its Apple W1 chip with premium noise-canceling audio quality. A battery life of 22 hours will provide ample playtime, complete with Fast Fuel technology that allows the headphones to run for three hours after just a 10-minute charge. On low-power mode with active noise canceling off, it can even run up to 40 hours.
For those interested, the A-COLD-WALL* x Beats Studio3 Wireless headphones will soon be available over on Apple’s website
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Written by Anthony Vanger
Additional research, reporting, and artwork by Adam “Badger” Woolf
Additional research and review by Rose Farman-Farma