ARTIST OF THE WEEK: WOLF ALICE “THE LAST MAN ON EARTH”
Ellie Rowsell, the lead singer of British rock band Wolf Alice, is a reluctant rock star. She stands, surrounded by her band, a choir and string section, dressed in an immaculate dress looking as stunning as any female rock star in recent memory. But she appears almost reticent, shy of her beauty and her power. The song begins quietly, a melancholy piano offering up chords and a rolling, gentle rhythm for Rowsell to begin, tentatively, almost choking the air out of some of the words. But Wolf Alice is a rock band, so we know that at some point the four members will deliver the goods and they do, sounding perhaps more massive and dynamic than they have ever done so before. The songwriting has also jumped several echelons for this Mercury Prize and Grammy-nominated band. This song might be their best and it is safe to say that Wolf Alice is the best rock band in the UK right now.
@wolfalice #wolfalice #ellierowsell #altrock #alternativerock #rock #mercuryprize #visionsofalife #blueweekend #chessclubrecords #rcarecords #indierock
AD OF THE WEEK: MASTERCARD SPOTLIGHT
Mastercard has always managed to produce ads a notch above the rest. An original concept, solid copy and classy execution create consistently high quality ads that continue to ride on the “priceless” tag line. This ad for the sight-impaired is no exception. I was struck by how much tension and empathy came through the action, for example when the blind protagonist thinks the sound she hears is an out-of-control shopping cart, but actually turns out to to be a kid she knows. What it must be like to be blind and have to constantly guess at what you hear coming at your from all angles? Mastercard cannot solve everything, but it does offer a solution for one pesky problem. Classy work from McCann New York.
SPOTIFY PAID $4 BILLION TO THREE MAJOR LABELS IN 2021
Spotify has updated its data-driven website, Loud & Clear, with financial stats from 2021.
Loud & Clear was launched in 2021 to “increase transparency by sharing new data on Spotify’s royalty payments and breaking down the global streaming economy,” according to the platform. Here are six key takeaways from last year:
Spotify paid out $7 billion, which is more than any other streaming platform. This is also “the largest sum paid by one retailer to the music industry in one year in history,” according to Spotify.
$4 billion went to the three major labels: Universal Music Group, Sony Music and Warner Music Group
For the first time, more than 1,000 artists generated more than $1 million of revenue from Spotify alone. However, as the latest MusicREDEF newsletter pointed out, this figure represents not how much the artists made but how much went to their ecosystems of label, publisher, distributor etc.
52,600 artists generated more than $10,000 of revenue, with 34 percent of these based outside of Australia, Canada, China, Italy, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, the UK and the US.
28 percent of artists who generated $10,000-plus uploaded their music themselves via platforms like DistroKid, TuneCore and CD Baby.
More than 238,000 songs were streamed over a million times in 2021
FOO FIGHTERS SCRAP TOUR AFTER DRUMMER TAYLOR HAWKINS’ DEATH
The Foo Fighters have cancelled the rest of their tour following the death of their drummer Taylor Hawkins.
The 50-year-old died at the weekend in the Colombian capital Bogota, where the US rock band had been scheduled to headline a music festival.
Their tour also included sold-out stadium shows in the UK this summer, as well as dates in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
They made the announcement with “great sadness” after their “staggering loss”.
In a statement on social media, they added: “We’re sorry for and share in the disappointment that we won’t be seeing one another as planned.
Hawkins joined the band in 1997 as they became one of the biggest bands in the world. They have won 12 Grammy Awards and are nominated for three more at this year’s ceremony, where they had been due to perform on Sunday.
His death lead to an outpouring of tributes from fellow musicians and shocked fans.
A toxicology report showed traces of 10 substances in his body, including opioids, marijuana and anti-depressants, Colombian authorities said.
But the cause of death remains unknown and investigators did not say if the mix of drugs was a factor.
DVS1 LAUNCHES SOFTWARE SO DJS CAN DONATE A PERCENTAGE OF GIG FEES TO PRODUCERS
By capturing set lists with 82 percent accuracy, Aslice aims to reduce the disparity between DJ and producer income.
DVS1, AKA Zak Khutoretsky, has launched desktop software designed to capture the music played by DJs so more producers get paid.
Out now, Aslice works via a donation-based system, so DJs pledge a percentage of their gig fee to the producers whose music they’re playing. Aslice suggests five percent, though whatever the amount, it won’t be disclosed.
Speaking to Resident Advisor, Khutoretsky said the project was in response to the deficit in royalties awarded to producers despite the exponential growth of the electronic music industry, which was valued at $7.3 billion in 2020.
Khutoretsky said the current system doesn’t work because music collection societies depend on DJs to provide handwritten playlists, while music-recognition software is installed in less than one percent of music venues worldwide.
Aslice identifies tracks using a machine-learning algorithm, matching them with producers registered on its system. When their registered ID is added to the track’s metadata, the software will also be able to identify unreleased tracks. Aslice is compatible with rekordbox, Traktor, Serato and as a standalone USB media to read playlists auto-generated on Pioneer DJ products.
DYSON LAUNCHES ZONE AIR PURIFYING BLUETOOTH HEADPHONES WITH VISOR
Dyson has announced its first wearable product that builds the firm’s air purification expertise into a set of Bluetooth noise cancelling headphones aimed at city dwellers wanting to avoid polluted air.
Quite unlike anything the company has made before, the Dyson Zone is sure to draw quizzical looks. It is a set of large, plush headphones with a plastic mask-type contraption that connects from ear-to-ear across the wearer’s mouth and looks like something out of a sci-fi movie.
It delivers purified air to the mouth and nose while simultaneously tackling noise pollution through its active noise cancelling technology.
Chief engineer Jake Dyson said: “Air pollution is a global problem – it affects us everywhere we go. In our homes, at school, at work and as we travel, whether on foot, on a bike or by public or private transport. The Dyson Zone purifies the air you breathe on the move. And unlike face masks, it delivers a plume of fresh air without touching your face.”
The battery lasts up to 4.5 hours at the Zone’s lowest purification rate or 90 minutes at maximum, intended to only be used for short periods. They last up to 40 hours when used just as headphones, fast charge via USB-C to 60% in 20 minutes and can be used when charging if required.
The Dyson Zone is due to go on sale in the Autumn for an as-yet unannounced premium price expected to be in the £500 to £1,000 range.