Pitchfork shares a lovely introductory text about part 1 of 'Jeen-Yuhs', a new, 3-part Kanye West documentary, 21 years in the making: "Much of what Donda West says in 'Act 1 (Vision)' feels like ancestral wisdom, words from a loving parent that serve to humble and uplift her child. One passage in particular stands out, and Coodie even repeats it in his own narration of the film: 'You can stay on the ground and be in the air at the same time', she says, a paradox that West made true until the day Donda died".

Bob Dylan has sold the master rights to his entire recorded music catalog to Sony Music Entertainment, in a deal worth over $200 million, by Billboard estimate. In 2020, Dylan sold the publishing rights of his entire catalog to Universal Music Publishing in a deal that’s estimated to be worth over $300 million. Songs have two copyrights: recorded rights (which include master tracks) and publishing rights (which pertain to composition—i.e., music and lyrics). Rolling Stone puts it simply: “Recorded rights are tied more directly to streaming and sales royalties while publishing rights pertain more to performances and use in film and television”.

The Weeknd has now risen to have 85,667,564 monthly listeners on Spotify, becoming the artist with the most monthly listeners on the platform, Hip Hop DX reports. The title had previously been held by Justin Bieber for nearly a year. The feat comes after The Weeknd has released his new album ‘Dawn FM’ earlier this month. 'Dawn FM' has also set a new record for the Billboard Global 200 chart with 24 charting songs, making the most ever by a solo male artist.

Ahead of the February 2nd premiere of the 25th season, 'South Park' creators have released an orchestral performance of the 'SP' original 'Gay Fish'. This iconic tune from Season 13, Episode 5 was sung by a character named Kanye West, who, after a full episode of not understanding a joke about fishsticks, had just discovered, to his great relief, that not only was he an aquatic vertebrate, but he was a homosexual one at that.

Wilson (far right) with The Ventures

Don Wilson, co-founder and rhythm guitarist of surf rock legends The Ventures, has died of natural causes at age 88, Ultimate Classic Rock reports. The Ventures had massive hits with their rendition of Johnny Smith's 'Walk, Don't Run' and the 'Hawaii Five-O' theme. They've been cited as an influence by The Beatles' George Harrison, The Beach Boys' Carl Wilson, Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, Creedence Clearwater Revival's John Fogerty and others.

“Maybe this might sound a little bit corny to people, but it was a spiritual feeling to me... It felt great to me – that distance thing, reaching out to something beyond the people” - jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins tells the Guardian recalling his two years of playing on a New York bridge. Beginning in the summer of 1959, Rollins played the saxophone on the Williamsburg Bridge day and night, rain or shine, in solitary sessions of sometimes 15 hours or more, for two years. This month is the 60th anniversary of his return to the recording studio where he made - 'The Bridge'.

The New Yorker looks into the very successful career of NBA YoungBoy: "It is easier than ever to be a hit by all of the industry’s standard performance metrics and still go unnoticed by the general public—to have an enormous following that barely registers within the wider pop-culture ecosystem. This occurrence is, first and foremost, the by-product of a streaming infrastructure that uses a plays-per-song model to approximate record sales—a system that allows artists to bypass the old display stand, even if they risk anonymity. But it also illustrates a gap between what is promoted and what is popular".

US singer and actor Meat Loaf has died aged 74, with unconfirmed reports suggesting he had died of Covid-19, Rolling Stone reports. Meat Loaf’s 1977 debut album 'Bat Out of Hell' remains one of the biggest-selling albums in history, whereas his 1993 album 'Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell' produced the global hit single 'I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)'. He completed the 'Bat Out of Hell' trilogy with 'The Monster Is Loose' in 2006. The three albums have sold more than 65m copies worldwide. Meat Loaf appeared in more than 50 films and TV shows, among them 'Fight Club', 'Wayne’s World' and 'Spiceworld the Movie'.

“The pandemic pointed me to the necessity of there being some rhythmic backbone. I had to use some drums, because you can’t be floating right now” - Earl Sweatshirt says about his latest album 'Sick!' in a Pitchfork interview. Stereogum argues "'SICK!' is still sharper and more tangible than the foggy, atmospheric doubt-trips of Earl’s last few records. Earl’s voice is higher in the mix. There’s less blurry noise around the edges of the tracks. The drums kick more. The melodic loops resolve".

YouTube music theorist Adam Neely ranks polyrhythms people have sent him. His Sungazer bandmate, drummer Shawn Crowder plays those strange polyrhythms and then they rank them together. Very nerdy stuff, but still plenty of fun.

Rob Sheffield writes a lovely ode to the CD (not sure he really proved the CDs are back, although in 2021, CD sales increased for the first time in 17 years): "It’s an inarguable fact that music sales reached their all-time peak when the CD was king. No audio device did a sharper job of separating fans from their 20-dollar bills. People loved to buy those digital discs, in numbers that look crazy now. We all spent the Nineties going to the 'record store' ('CD stores' never existed, even though most record stores had no vinyl), browsing the racks, taking something weird home, listening all the way through. You invested time and emotional energy, instead of giving up quick as you do with streams. The disc encouraged you to turn off your 'meh' reflex and let yourself hear whatever weird shit was going on".

Every time they break up

Every Time I Die break up

Acclaimed metalcore and hardcore band Every Time I Die has announced that their last show together took place on December 11th, Loudwire reports. The band breaks up after a 20-plus year career. Every Time I Die had just released their ninth album, 'Radical', in October.

Still haven't found a good song

Bono "embarrassed" by U2 songs

Bono doesn't like hates the band’s name, and is “embarrassed” by most of their songs, as he's told the Awards Chatter podcast (via CNN). When it comes to band's name “in our head it was like the spy plane, U-boat, it was futuristic — as it turned out to imply this kind of acquiescence, no I don’t like that name. I still don’t really like the name”. The music isn't much better either: “I’ve been in the car when one of our songs has come on the radio and I’ve been the color of, as we say in Dublin, scarlet. I’m just so embarrassed”.

Guitarist and former Smiths axeman Johnny Marr talked to The New Cue about how he managed to stay sane over the last couple of years: "I've been into meditation for years so I suspect that it's doing me some good. It’s become a habit and I'd miss it if I didn't do it. I imagine things would be a little bit more wobbly without it, or a little stranger. To be serious for a minute, that's kind of what creativity is for. And work, in whatever field it is. I’m extremely lucky because I’ve had a creative outlet since I was a kid, but you don't have to be an artist to lean into some of those things that make life more pleasurable".

A great thread by the Future of Music Coalition about Bandcamp Fridays, a day where the company waived its usual cut of the revenue to pass on more money to artists and rightsholders. In 15 Bandcamp Fridays since March 2020 fans paid artists/labels $61 million. The waived rev-share works out to an effective donation by Bandcamp of roughly $7 million.

An interesting point by Michelle Lhooq in her latest Rave New World post: "Clearly, we are entering the most absurd era of the pandemic, where ravers are actively trying to catch the virus, the scarcity of COVID testing is a joke, and the President himself is tweeting 'LMFAO IDK just Google it'. As the void closes in, the question lingers: is there any use resisting the nihilism of this moment? Or do you just cross the goddamn Rubicon, and jump into the gabber rave mosh pit?".

Very interesting facts in Rolling Stone's article about last year's highest-paid musicians. The world’s 10 highest-paid musicians of 2021 made in a combined $2.3 billion, which is more than double what they were making annually in the years before Covid-19. Only Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Taylor Swift made the top 10 without a massive catalog sale, the others like Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, and Red Hot Chili Peppers made a majority of their income by selling their catalogs.

Ronnie Spector, who rose to fame as the leader of 1960s girl group the Ronettes and emerged as one of pop music’s first female stars, has died at the age of 78. "With her towering beehive hairdo and powerfully melancholic, melodramatic voice, Spector is among the most distinctive figures in American pop" - Guardian points out.

Music theorist and bass player Adam Neely went on a tour with his jazz band and played - improvised sets. They didn't play any structured songs, it was band practice every night of the tour. People seemed to appreciate it. Neely recorded it, of course.

'No Time to Die' from the James Bond movie of the same name, written by Billie Eilish and her brother and collaborator Finneas, won the Golden Globe for best original song. Hans Zimmer’s 'Dune' won the Globe for best original score. Find the list of all the nominees and winners here.

Michael Lang, famed co-creator of the Woodstock music festival, died Saturday aged 77, Fox News reports. Lang was just 24 years old when Woodstock took place in August 1969 in New York's Catskill Mountains. Officially billed The Woodstock Music and Art Fair, An Aquarian Exposition, the festival staged on a dairy farm in White Lake became a seminal moment in music history.

In the US alone, 16 million people have picked up guitar since the pandemic began, many of them for the first time, Fender's CEO Andy Mooney told CNBC, based on their comprehensive research. Sales of guitars, according to CNBC, have nearly doubled since 2020, total sales are up 30% in 2021, and sub-500$ guitar sales are up 40%.

20-year-old PinkPantheress, who only started releasing music a year ago, has won BBC Radio 1's Sound Of 2022. The singer, who goes by her TikTok username, remains shrouded in mystery - she comes from Bath and currently lives in London, where she's studying film. Her real name remains a secret and, until relatively recently, she didn't show her face on social media. Indie-pop duo Wet Leg came second in this year's list, with powerhouse vocalist Mimi Webb third.

All the copyrights to all the sound recordings made prior to 1923 in the US have expired on January 1, 2022, according to the Music Modernization Act, passed by US Congress in 2018. For the first year under the new rule, some 400,000 recordings stretching back to the 19th century have suddenly become available. Check out all pre-1923 recordings on Internet Archive here, and the Library of Congress’ Citizen DJ project here.

Rave New World's Michelle Lhooq goes into "hard reduction", a public health philosophy that is moving from the fringes to the center of the cultural zeitgeist. The clubber talked to Ripley Soprano, editor-in-chief of Dirty magazine: "When I think about harm reduction, I think of whore and junkie magic. It exists in some middle ground between science, community work, and public health medicine. Dirty is about broadening people’s perception of joy so they can make their own autonomous health decisions, like whether or not they want to use drugs, and just having stuff to live for. Which feels like a very downtown New Work ethos, not like what exists now".

1. STOP TRYING TO MAKE THINGS “GO VIRAL” 

2. ABSOLUTELY NO ONE WANTS YOUR TERRIBLE NFT

3. ARTISTS NEED TO STOP BEING OBSEQUIOUS AROUND DSPS

4. NO MORE THAN 5% OF YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA OUTPUT SHOULD BE SALES MESSAGES 

5. STOP PAYING LIP SERVICE TO “MENTAL HEALTH” 

6. EMPLOY MORE PEOPLE

7. RELEASING MUSIC IS NOT AN AUTOMATIC ENTITLEMENT TO MAKE MONEY

8. STOP CONFLATING A PASSIVE STREAMER WITH SOMEONE WHO WOULD, IN THE OLDEN DAYS, HAVE ACTUALLY BOUGHT YOUR MUSIC

9. PAY ARTISTS AND SONGWRITERS BETTER…

10. … BUT KNOW THAT AN INCREASE IN PAYMENTS IS STILL NOT GOING TO FIX DEEPER POPULARITY PROBLEMS

11. MOST OF YOU HAVE NO BUSINESS BEING IN THE METAVERSE

12. FINALLY HAVE THE GUTS TO INCREASE SUBSCRIPTION STREAMING PRICES 

13. STOP JACKING UP THE PRICE OF VINYL

14. WATCHING TIKTOK IS NOT THE SAME AS A&R

15. ACCEPT THAT NOT ALL MUSICIANS ARE MAKING GREAT ART AND THAT HUGE CLUMPS OF MUSIC RELEASED TODAY IS NOT GREAT ART

16. NO BOX SET SHOULD COST OVER £100

17. STOP SEEING RECORD LABELS AS SOLELY THE ENEMY

18. YOU FORFEIT THE RIGHT TO COMPLAIN ABOUT HOW LITTLE SONGWRITERS GET PAID IF YOU ARE COMPLICIT IN NORMALISING A WORLD WHERE 20 SONGWRITERS ARE BROUGHT IN TO CRAFT A HIT SINGLE

19. STOP MAKING VERBOSE EXCUSES FOR A LACK OF DIVERSITY ON YOUR CONFERENCE PANELS/FESTIVAL BILLS AND INSTEAD SPEND THAT TIME AND ENERGY DOING SOMETHING TO FIX IT

20. PAY FOR THINGS

21. GO TO CONCERTS WITH UNCYNICAL PEOPLE WHO DON’T “WORK IN MUSIC” AND CATCH THE SUPPORT ACT

22. KEEP DIGGING FOR THE THING THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE (AGAIN)

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Pitchfork shares a lovely introductory text about part 1 of 'Jeen-Yuhs', a new, 3-part Kanye West documentary, 21 years in the making: "Much of what Donda West says in 'Act 1 (Vision)' feels like ancestral wisdom, words from a loving parent that serve to humble and uplift her child. One passage in particular stands out, and Coodie even repeats it in his own narration of the film: 'You can stay on the ground and be in the air at the same time', she says, a paradox that West made true until the day Donda died".

Bob Dylan has sold the master rights to his entire recorded music catalog to Sony Music Entertainment, in a deal worth over $200 million, by Billboard estimate. In 2020, Dylan sold the publishing rights of his entire catalog to Universal Music Publishing in a deal that’s estimated to be worth over $300 million. Songs have two copyrights: recorded rights (which include master tracks) and publishing rights (which pertain to composition—i.e., music and lyrics). Rolling Stone puts it simply: “Recorded rights are tied more directly to streaming and sales royalties while publishing rights pertain more to performances and use in film and television”.

The Weeknd has now risen to have 85,667,564 monthly listeners on Spotify, becoming the artist with the most monthly listeners on the platform, Hip Hop DX reports. The title had previously been held by Justin Bieber for nearly a year. The feat comes after The Weeknd has released his new album ‘Dawn FM’ earlier this month. 'Dawn FM' has also set a new record for the Billboard Global 200 chart with 24 charting songs, making the most ever by a solo male artist.

Ahead of the February 2nd premiere of the 25th season, 'South Park' creators have released an orchestral performance of the 'SP' original 'Gay Fish'. This iconic tune from Season 13, Episode 5 was sung by a character named Kanye West, who, after a full episode of not understanding a joke about fishsticks, had just discovered, to his great relief, that not only was he an aquatic vertebrate, but he was a homosexual one at that.

Wilson (far right) with The Ventures

Don Wilson, co-founder and rhythm guitarist of surf rock legends The Ventures, has died of natural causes at age 88, Ultimate Classic Rock reports. The Ventures had massive hits with their rendition of Johnny Smith's 'Walk, Don't Run' and the 'Hawaii Five-O' theme. They've been cited as an influence by The Beatles' George Harrison, The Beach Boys' Carl Wilson, Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, Creedence Clearwater Revival's John Fogerty and others.

“Maybe this might sound a little bit corny to people, but it was a spiritual feeling to me... It felt great to me – that distance thing, reaching out to something beyond the people” - jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins tells the Guardian recalling his two years of playing on a New York bridge. Beginning in the summer of 1959, Rollins played the saxophone on the Williamsburg Bridge day and night, rain or shine, in solitary sessions of sometimes 15 hours or more, for two years. This month is the 60th anniversary of his return to the recording studio where he made - 'The Bridge'.

The New Yorker looks into the very successful career of NBA YoungBoy: "It is easier than ever to be a hit by all of the industry’s standard performance metrics and still go unnoticed by the general public—to have an enormous following that barely registers within the wider pop-culture ecosystem. This occurrence is, first and foremost, the by-product of a streaming infrastructure that uses a plays-per-song model to approximate record sales—a system that allows artists to bypass the old display stand, even if they risk anonymity. But it also illustrates a gap between what is promoted and what is popular".

US singer and actor Meat Loaf has died aged 74, with unconfirmed reports suggesting he had died of Covid-19, Rolling Stone reports. Meat Loaf’s 1977 debut album 'Bat Out of Hell' remains one of the biggest-selling albums in history, whereas his 1993 album 'Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell' produced the global hit single 'I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)'. He completed the 'Bat Out of Hell' trilogy with 'The Monster Is Loose' in 2006. The three albums have sold more than 65m copies worldwide. Meat Loaf appeared in more than 50 films and TV shows, among them 'Fight Club', 'Wayne’s World' and 'Spiceworld the Movie'.

“The pandemic pointed me to the necessity of there being some rhythmic backbone. I had to use some drums, because you can’t be floating right now” - Earl Sweatshirt says about his latest album 'Sick!' in a Pitchfork interview. Stereogum argues "'SICK!' is still sharper and more tangible than the foggy, atmospheric doubt-trips of Earl’s last few records. Earl’s voice is higher in the mix. There’s less blurry noise around the edges of the tracks. The drums kick more. The melodic loops resolve".

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