This Week In Music: 27th July 2023

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

Anthony Dominick Benedetto, an American jazz and traditional pop singer known professionally as Tony Bennett, died last week. The singer had been living with Alzheimer’s disease since 2016. In the 50s and 60s he was a star, in the 70s he fell out of favour, nearly taking his own life with a cocaine overdose and then in the 80s, he turned it around, rising from the ashes, phoenix-like, to conquer the world like never before. At the time of his death at the age of 96, he had a net worth of $200m, sold over 60m records, won 20 Grammy Awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award, and two Primetime Emmy Awards. His later albums where he duetted with the likes of Lady Gaga, sold in the millions. Those are the facts and numbers, but what drove his popularity was an inimitable voice and his ability to convey the exact emotion behind a song. Hits like “Because of You”, “Rags to Riches,” and his signature song, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” left their mark on popular culture all around the world. He was a crooner, in the style of Sinatra and Dean Martin, but his raspy tone and precise delivery set him apart, so that you instantly knew it was him. Working as an entertainment correspondent for a news agency in the early 90s, I interviewed Tony Bennet in Atlantic City at the Trump Casino before his show during a bitterly cold winter in 1994. Tasked with finding out the reason for his growing popularity with the MTV generation, I asked him what the secret was to his renewed success. He was gracious and kind, making references to how much he owed his son and manager Danny Bennet, but had no clear reason for why he was suddenly “hip” again. Later that night, I saw him with his famous trio of piano, bass, and drums. The arrangements were sparse, yet full of energy and Bennet’s delivery was effortless. He worked his way through the classics of the Great American Songbook, ending each one with his arms out wide and his voice held in strong crescendo. The audience lapped it up and Bennet, ever the gentleman, beamed back at them and with a one-two-three snap of his fingers, settled into another classic tune. No fuss, no muss. I realised there and there why he was suddenly “hip” again. It was us who had stopped being hip to his music and all it took was a performance on MTV Unplugged to remind the world what we had been missing.



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Sinéad O’Connor has died aged 56.In a statement, her family said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Sinéad. Her family and friends are devastated and have requested privacy at this very difficult time.”The Irish musician, who legally changed her name to Shuhada’ Sadaqat in 2021 after converting to Islam in 2018 but continued to record, release and perform music under her birth name, was best known for 1990 single ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’, written by Prince, which became a worldwide hit, topping the charts in 13 countries spanning four continents. It was named the Number One world single in 1990 by the Billboard Music Awards.In 1991 she turned down a GRAMMY Award, explaining: “As artists, I believe our function is to express the feelings of the human race–to always speak the truth and never keep it hidden even though we are operating in a world which does not like the sound of the truth. I believe that our purpose is to inspire and, in some way, guide and heal the human race, of which we are all equal members.She had four children. Her son Shane died last year aged 17.Tributes have poured in from across the music world.US DELAYS SUBSTANTIAL VISA FEE INCREASE FOR FOREIGN ARTISTS

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The US is delaying plans to raise visa costs for touring musicians and DJs. In January, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said it intended to increase the cost of a P visa—used by performing artists on a short-term visit—from $460 to $1,615. The price of a longer-term O visa would also rise from $460 to $1,655. These plans have now been put on hold until at least March 2024, following a campaign by Democrats in the US Congress. According to Consequence of Sound, the USCIS is also reconsidering the size of any future price increase. When the plans were initially announced, a survey by the Musicians’ Union in the UK found that 70 percent of artists, managers and performers said the increased costs associated with these visa changes meant they would no longer be able to tour the US. Industry bodies in both Europe and the US said they would continue to lobby USCIS to permanently shelve fee increases for performing-artist visas.

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Reed have released a “Bauhaus style” turntable, named the Muse 3A.Made out of birch plywood, the “innovatively” designed Reed Muse 3A adheres to the “principles of the Bauhaus style”, with an angular shape, and comes in three colours: carnelian red, white, and black.Key features are its capacity for two tonearms, its Coreless DC motor, and the fact that the unit’s traction system can be toggled between a belt drive or friction drive. It also comes equipped with a digital control system indicator, which displays the rotating speed of the platter and other crucial operating system info.The Muse 3A will set you back a cool €15,000 (around £12,900). Find out more from the Reed site here.

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