Charlie Thomas of the Drifters, best known for R&B hits like 'There Goes My Baby', 'Sweets For My Sweet', and 'Under the Boardwalk' with the Drifters, has died January 31 at the age of 85 from liver cancer, the New York Times reports. 'Save The Last Dance For Me' reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts, while 'There Goes My Baby,' and 'Up on the Roof' have become beloved R&B classics throughout the years. Thomas was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and dedicated more than 60 years to keeping the group’s music alive for future generations.

The four major recorded music companies – Universal Music, Sony Music, Warner Music, and indie collective Merlin – have cumulatively lost 12% of market share on Spotify over the past five years, MBW reports. In 2017 they accounted for 87% tracks played on Spotify, and last year 75% of plays of music tracks on the platform were distributed by the ‘big three’ majors or a Merlin member. The rest of the 25% was distributed by companies that were unaffiliated with the majors or Merlin. In related news, TikTok has launched its independent distribution platform SoundOn in Australia - it lets artists upload their music directly to TikTok and RESSO and can also distribute artists’ music to platforms like Spotify, Apple Music and Instagram. SoundOn was already Live in the UK, US, Brazil, and Indonesia, after launching in March last year, the MBW reports.

uper-producer and songwriter Jack Antonoff talked to the press after his Grammy win last night, addressing soaring concert ticket prices and the sustainability of pandemic-era touring for musicians. "The whole thing is incredibly tough. There's no reason why — if I can go online and buy a car and have it delivered to my house, why can't I buy a fucking ticket at the price that the artist wants it to be?... Let artists opt out of dynamic pricing. Stop taxing merch, and let artists sell tickets at a price that they actually believe. Don't turn a live show into a free market. That's really dirty. Charge what you think is fair". He also went into the motives behind the decision to become a musician: "We're a very easy group of people — historically, and not much has changed — to take advantage of because we didn't start doing it because of money."

The 2023 Grammys celebrated the 50th anniversary of hip hop with a truly star-studded, multi-generational medley of performances, including the Roots, Run DMC, LL Cool J, Jazzy Jeff, Salt N Pepa, Rakim, Public Enemy, Ice-T, Queen Latifah, Method Man, Big Boi, Missy Elliott, The LOX, De La Soul, Busta Rhymes, Grandmaster Flash, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Nelly, Scarface, Lil Baby, GloRilla, Too $hort, Lil Uzi Vert, and others.

Anonymous South Korean musician Parannoul released his third album 'After the Magic' featuring the stand-out track 'Arrival'. The symphonic guitar song is emblematic of the general dream-pop meets shoegaze sonics of the whole album. It's place where indie music wholeheartedly embraces pop music.

An interesting experiment by the Music Journalism Insider - they gave ChatGPT a task to make an interview with itself about music journalism. Turns out, the AI is quite self-aware: "AI tools can extract data from various sources, analyze it and generate articles or reports that can be used to supplement human journalism. However, this doesn’t mean that AI will replace human journalists completely. AI is good at producing basic information and data-driven reports, but lacks the emotional intelligence and creativity that humans bring to journalism."

Beyoncé became the most decorated musician in Grammy history - with her win for the Best Dance/Electronic Music Album for 'Renaissance', she has now won 32 Grammys over the span of her career, CNBC reports. Viola Davis has become the 18th person to achieve the EGOT - winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award - by winning best audiobook for her autobiography 'Finding Me'. In other major awards, Harry Styles won Album of the year for 'Harry's House', Lizzo won Record of the year for 'About Damn Time', and Bonnie Raitt took home the Song of the year trophy for 'Just Like That'. Samara Joy was crowned Best new artist, Robert Glasper won Best R&B album for 'Black Radio III', Kendrick Lamar in both Best rap song and Best rap album categories with 'The Heart Part 5', and 'Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers', respectively. Ozzy Osbourne's 'Patient Number Nine', was named best rock album, while his song 'Degradation Rules' won best metal performance. British indie duo Wet Leg also received two awards - including best alternative album for 'Wet Leg' and best alternative song for their breakout single, 'Chaise Longue'. Meanwhile composer and violinist Stephanie Economou received the first ever Grammy for best video game soundtrack, recognising her work on 'Assassin's Creed: Dawn Of Ragnarok'. First Lady Jill Biden honored an “anthem” of the protests in Iran Sunday night, 'Baraye' by AcademicShervin Hajipour as she presented a new Grammy Award recognizing songs that address social change. See Grammys in pictures. Check out all the nominees and winners.

Edinburgh threesome Youing Fathers have released their fourth album 'Heavy Heavy' - "a project that still manages to be equal parts anthemic and infectious... a passionate, soulful and often mesmerising work that will stick around long past the first listen" - NME points out. The Quietus is in awe of how "they’ve managed to create something more massive, more explosive and more earnest than ever before". Stereogum picks it out for their latest Album of the Week - "this is eminently welcoming, empathetic music that rewards engagement on levels both deep and superficial". In a Guardian interview, the band defines their sound - “We don’t think our music is weird. It’s just the context it exists within makes it seem weird. We love choruses, hooks. This is the pop music that we want to listen to.”

Kendrick Lamar's landmark 2015 album 'To Pimp a Butterfly' had overtaken the top spot on the popular community review site Rate Your Music, surpassing Radiohead’s 'OK Computer' as the highest-ranked album of all time. 'To Pimp a Butterfly' now has a 4.34 rating, the highest on the platform; 'OK Computer' is at 4.26. Rate Your Music uses a complex algorithm to calculate an album’s score, which considers factors including total number of reviews, each user’s activity level on the site, and more. Radiohead, however, have a total of three albums in the Top 10, Pink Floyd have two.

Irish contemporary folk band Lankum has shared their new song 'Go Dig My Grave'. The 9-minute single takes a turn into drone-folk territory, bringing swaths of ambient, funeral sonics. 'Go Dig My Grave' announces the band's fourth album 'False Lankum', coming out on Rough Trade Records the 24th of March 2023.

"Any effort to demystify the Grammys voting process tends to raise more questions than it does answers. The Grammys’ definition of excellence in Dance/Electronic music is as it applies to voting members of the Academy, who are not necessarily experts in dance music. Their choices more often than not reflect tracks and albums that have sold well and/or gone viral on TikTok" - Mixmag tries to find out who actually decides the nominations and the winners in the Dance/Electronic field at the Grammys, and what determines a track or album’s eligibility.

Lizzo has managed to patent the "100% that bitch" phrase, which she used on her breakout single 'Truth Hurts' when she proclaimed “I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100% that bitch”. In 2019, the musician expressed interest in trademarking the phrase for later use on clothing and merchandise. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which denied Lizzo’s application last year, had its ruling overturned by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. Now, she can sell the phrase as her original, the CMU reports.

TikTok has removed major record company music from its service for a number of its users in Australia, who no longer have the choice to use it in their videos, Bloomberg reports. MBW is guessing that TikTok is aiming to use the results of the experiment in their next round of record company licensing negotiations. The estimate is TikTok is hoping that the removal of major label music won’t have a profound effect on the engagement of users on the service. This then opens up a conversation about the true monetary value of music licensing from major record labels.

Tickets resellers have started posting listings for tickets for Beyoncé's Renaissance tour for as much as $3,000 a ticket, although they don't actually have them, Rolling Stone reports. Some of the best seats for Beyoncé’s So-Fi Stadium show in Los Angeles in September are selling for $3,064 per ticket on VividSeats. The cheapest were listed at $570. This isn't the first such case - tickets for Fall Out Boy’s 'So Much For (Tour) Dust' Tour were listed on resale sites the day before the official start of sale for hundreds of dollars a ticket.

Tone Glow talked to Detroit techno trio HiTech about their debut album, and also, among other issues, about reaching for freedom through dance:

"King Milo: I be tired of seein’ people be locked up. You gotta understand, and I know you understand this for sure, bro—when people, these days, are at a show, they’re a little more tightly-knit since before COVID. And after COVID, you have to get these people to chill the fuck out. Release these inhibitions out, and kind of let it go, and have fun. You’ll have people out to shows, and if it’s not one of those A-tier joints, they tend to be a little more reserved until they see a million people be unleashed. I want people to feel like it can be ten, twenty, thirty, a thousand people there and you can unlock, just jazz out. I don’t want no locked in, confinement of the mind and expression.

47Chops: We want people to have fun, not worry about all that other shit. And, dancing is not only spiritual, but it’s good for you, it’s healthy.

Milf Melly: Burnin’ hella calories (laughter).

47Chops: Relieves stress".

“I give people confidence. They give me money.”

Ted Gioia: ChatGPT - the slickest con artist of all time

Music writer Ted Gioia doesn't like ChatGPT, he doesn't like it one bit: "ChatGPT is hotter than Wordle and Taylor Swift combined... People love it. People have confidence in it. They want to use it for everything—legal work, medical advice, term papers, or even writing Substack columns... But that’s exactly what the confidence artist always does. Which is:

  • You give people what they ask for.
  • You don’t worry whether it’s true or not—because ethical scruples aren’t part of your job description.
  • If you get caught in a lie, you serve up another lie.
  • You always act sure of yourself—because your confidence is what seals the deal".

Tunisian producer and composer Ghoula is about to release his new album 'Demi-écrémé'—which translates roughly to "semi-skimmed", and which features songs built around the sounds he captured during his travels around Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Lebanon. On that voyage he found a lot of vinyl, so he played around with chords, tunes, and instruments to make his second album. "It’s like being in conversation with another person through sound. I found myself thinking, ‘These sounds are derivatives of the original source.’ So I’ll call it 'Semi-skimmed'” - he says to Bandcamp Daily.

"The punch-drunk beat... comes from Leon Vynehall, The Invisible’s Dave Okumu is on guitar, and the mixdown by Lexxx is perfectly weighted, evoking small-town claustrophobia without crowding Wesley out" - Gabriel Szatan recommends 'Hiatus' by the London rapper. Then there's vocals: "His elastic, ruminative flow about teenage years spent hopping buses between Walsall and Birmingham to escape the stultifying sense of 'feeling navy' is captivating enough, yet it doesn’t remotely telegraph the track’s surprise denouement, where Wesley lets ring a falsetto so far up his register, you might be hoodwinked into thinking it’s a choir".

Great musicians nominated for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2023: Iron Maiden, George Michael, Soundgarden, Missy Elliott, Rage Against the Machine, A Tribe Called Quest, Kate Bush, Sheryl Crow, the White Stripes, Cyndi Lauper, Warren Zevon, Willie Nelson, and the Spinners. Joy Division and New Order are nominated together for first-time Rock Hall consideration.

Raye was signed to Polydor Records as a teenager, she wrote songs for Beyoncé and Little Mix, sang on top 10 hits by David Guetta and Jax Jones, but her label refused to release her debut album. After she extricated herself from Polydor and struck out as an independent artist, she had the biggest-selling single in the UK within 18 months - 'Escapism', a hard-hitting account of abusing drink, drugs and meaningless sex to get over a break-up. Her long-awaited debut album, '21st Century Blues', is out this Friday, with hard-hitting stories of sexual abuse, self-doubt, misogyny...

DOMi and JD Beck

"This movement has been bubbling on YouTube and TikTok for years, but is now more prevalent than ever. Its exponents are musicians, many but not all of them quite young, who have jazz educations and aren’t afraid to show them off, but sense something faintly ridiculous in their own virtuosity. They love pop and bebop equally; they roll their eyes at the mere mention of the lick; they regard Thundercat as an elder statesman and the meme-fluent jazz YouTuber Adam Neely as a wisecracking uncle. They have managed to once again make jazz, or something like it, seem cool to their fellow kids" - Pitchfork introduces the new weird jazz movement/genre. Some of the weird jazzers are DOMi and JD Beck, Spilly Cave, MonoNeon, and Louis Cole.

Guardian shares an important piece about a rap group P38-La Gang, that touches on the essential issue of freedom of speech. The Bologna-based band who go by the stage names Astore, Jimmy Pentothal, Dimitri and Yung Stalin, are between 25 and 33. They describe the idea behind the group as “very simple: creating a far-left and communist form of trap,” a counter-narrative to the “individualistic, gangsta-mafia and misogynistic” themes of Italian trap. On 25 November, the band members were identified by police and had their homes searched. They are currently under investigation by the Turin prosecutor’s office, accused of instigation to commit a crime, with an aggravating circumstance for terrorism. Their concerts are routinely cancelled, with venue managers fearing police reprisals. The band denies they're terrorists: "While the Italian music scene is overrun by very explicit references to rape, the trafficking of large-scale narcotics and mafia crimes in lyrics sung by the most listened-to artists, we are the ones being investigated because we refer to the Years of Lead.” (Social turmoil during the 1970s and 1980s when Red Brigades, the far-left terrorist group, shocked Italy with kidnappings, kneecappings and more than 80 political assassinations).

Ozzy Osbourne has announced on social media that he is retiring from touring due to declining health. The 74-year-old Black Sabbath singer was due to embark on a tour of the UK and Europe later this year, but has “come to the realisation that I’m not physically capable … as I know I couldn’t deal with the travel required.” Osbourne is looking into “ideas for where I will be able to perform without having to travel from city to city and country to country”.

An Iranian couple in their 20s have been given jail sentences totalling 10 years after posting a video of themselves dancing in the street in Tehran. Astiazh Haqiqi, 21, and her fiance Amir Mohammad Ahmadi, 22, were arrested after they posted the video to their Instagram accounts, which have a combined following of nearly two million. Haqiqi and Ahmadi are said to be convicted of "promoting corruption and prostitution, colluding against national security, and propaganda against the establishment". They were also handed a two-year ban on using social media and leaving the country. Dancing in public is illegal for women in Iran, as is men and women embracing, and women leaving their hair uncovered.

Elton John's Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour is the highest-grossing concert tour of all time - it has grossed $817.9 million across 278 shows so far, more than any other tour in Billboard Boxscore history (Ed Sheeran’s The Divide Tour made $776.4 million). Billboard has another fascinating statistic - dating back to reports for Elton John’s Ice on Fire Tour (1986), and including his share of co-headline runs with Eric Clapton, James Taylor, Tina Turner, and Billy Joel, John has grossed $1.863 billion and sold 19.9 million tickets over 1,573 reported shows. That’s the highest career gross and attendance for a solo artist in Billboard Boxscore history, having passed Bruce Springsteen and Madonna while on this tour.

Spotify’s number of premium subscribers increased to 205 million as of December 31st, the company announced in this week's earnings release, representing a 14 percent increase year-on-year. That helped increase its monthly active users to 489 million, a 20 percent rise. On the other hand, Spotify posted €3.17 billion in revenue, up 18% from the year-earlier period, and a net loss of €270 million, Variety reports. Spotify is widely considered to be the largest music streaming service in the world, and the first one to reach 200 million subscribers.

"The glacial post-punk that first launched the band to greatness remains, but this time it’s augmented by a host of different aspects. These fresh angles have pulled the band out of the increasingly overdone genre and have seen them start to carve out a space that they can truly call their own" - Far Out magazine reviews the second album by the Dublin quintet. Guardian argues in a five-star review that it "extends their post-punk palette brilliantly beyond the monochrome grief and pain of their 2019 debut. Piercing the gothic gloom are new textures that broaden and deepen their sound", whereas Louder Than War hears duality in its lyrics - "self-discovery full of uplifting highs clash with moments where self-doubt threatens to crucify an uncertain and wavering mind. Gigi is a metaphor for one of us or all of us."

BandLab is a music creation platform that offers a suite of tools for creators to “make music, share their music with fans, earn a living, and even top the charts”. It now boasts over 60 million registered creators on its service, which are now responsible for creating approximately 16-17 million songs on the platform each month, or around 500,000 songs per day. That’s around 200 million new songs a year, double the number of total tracks currently available on streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. MBW reports on the astonishing numbers.

Drayk.it is a funny little AI tool that allows users to create Drake songs inspired by customized or random subjects. The music generator created by Mayk.it allows users to select a topic of their choice, which its GPT-3 will create a song about in the style of the rap star’s own hits. Each generated song will be performed in the voice of Drake and will span one-minute in length.

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Charlie Thomas of the Drifters, best known for R&B hits like 'There Goes My Baby', 'Sweets For My Sweet', and 'Under the Boardwalk' with the Drifters, has died January 31 at the age of 85 from liver cancer, the New York Times reports. 'Save The Last Dance For Me' reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts, while 'There Goes My Baby,' and 'Up on the Roof' have become beloved R&B classics throughout the years. Thomas was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and dedicated more than 60 years to keeping the group’s music alive for future generations.

The four major recorded music companies – Universal Music, Sony Music, Warner Music, and indie collective Merlin – have cumulatively lost 12% of market share on Spotify over the past five years, MBW reports. In 2017 they accounted for 87% tracks played on Spotify, and last year 75% of plays of music tracks on the platform were distributed by the ‘big three’ majors or a Merlin member. The rest of the 25% was distributed by companies that were unaffiliated with the majors or Merlin. In related news, TikTok has launched its independent distribution platform SoundOn in Australia - it lets artists upload their music directly to TikTok and RESSO and can also distribute artists’ music to platforms like Spotify, Apple Music and Instagram. SoundOn was already Live in the UK, US, Brazil, and Indonesia, after launching in March last year, the MBW reports.

uper-producer and songwriter Jack Antonoff talked to the press after his Grammy win last night, addressing soaring concert ticket prices and the sustainability of pandemic-era touring for musicians. "The whole thing is incredibly tough. There's no reason why — if I can go online and buy a car and have it delivered to my house, why can't I buy a fucking ticket at the price that the artist wants it to be?... Let artists opt out of dynamic pricing. Stop taxing merch, and let artists sell tickets at a price that they actually believe. Don't turn a live show into a free market. That's really dirty. Charge what you think is fair". He also went into the motives behind the decision to become a musician: "We're a very easy group of people — historically, and not much has changed — to take advantage of because we didn't start doing it because of money."

The 2023 Grammys celebrated the 50th anniversary of hip hop with a truly star-studded, multi-generational medley of performances, including the Roots, Run DMC, LL Cool J, Jazzy Jeff, Salt N Pepa, Rakim, Public Enemy, Ice-T, Queen Latifah, Method Man, Big Boi, Missy Elliott, The LOX, De La Soul, Busta Rhymes, Grandmaster Flash, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Nelly, Scarface, Lil Baby, GloRilla, Too $hort, Lil Uzi Vert, and others.

Anonymous South Korean musician Parannoul released his third album 'After the Magic' featuring the stand-out track 'Arrival'. The symphonic guitar song is emblematic of the general dream-pop meets shoegaze sonics of the whole album. It's place where indie music wholeheartedly embraces pop music.

An interesting experiment by the Music Journalism Insider - they gave ChatGPT a task to make an interview with itself about music journalism. Turns out, the AI is quite self-aware: "AI tools can extract data from various sources, analyze it and generate articles or reports that can be used to supplement human journalism. However, this doesn’t mean that AI will replace human journalists completely. AI is good at producing basic information and data-driven reports, but lacks the emotional intelligence and creativity that humans bring to journalism."

Beyoncé became the most decorated musician in Grammy history - with her win for the Best Dance/Electronic Music Album for 'Renaissance', she has now won 32 Grammys over the span of her career, CNBC reports. Viola Davis has become the 18th person to achieve the EGOT - winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award - by winning best audiobook for her autobiography 'Finding Me'. In other major awards, Harry Styles won Album of the year for 'Harry's House', Lizzo won Record of the year for 'About Damn Time', and Bonnie Raitt took home the Song of the year trophy for 'Just Like That'. Samara Joy was crowned Best new artist, Robert Glasper won Best R&B album for 'Black Radio III', Kendrick Lamar in both Best rap song and Best rap album categories with 'The Heart Part 5', and 'Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers', respectively. Ozzy Osbourne's 'Patient Number Nine', was named best rock album, while his song 'Degradation Rules' won best metal performance. British indie duo Wet Leg also received two awards - including best alternative album for 'Wet Leg' and best alternative song for their breakout single, 'Chaise Longue'. Meanwhile composer and violinist Stephanie Economou received the first ever Grammy for best video game soundtrack, recognising her work on 'Assassin's Creed: Dawn Of Ragnarok'. First Lady Jill Biden honored an “anthem” of the protests in Iran Sunday night, 'Baraye' by AcademicShervin Hajipour as she presented a new Grammy Award recognizing songs that address social change. See Grammys in pictures. Check out all the nominees and winners.

Edinburgh threesome Youing Fathers have released their fourth album 'Heavy Heavy' - "a project that still manages to be equal parts anthemic and infectious... a passionate, soulful and often mesmerising work that will stick around long past the first listen" - NME points out. The Quietus is in awe of how "they’ve managed to create something more massive, more explosive and more earnest than ever before". Stereogum picks it out for their latest Album of the Week - "this is eminently welcoming, empathetic music that rewards engagement on levels both deep and superficial". In a Guardian interview, the band defines their sound - “We don’t think our music is weird. It’s just the context it exists within makes it seem weird. We love choruses, hooks. This is the pop music that we want to listen to.”

Kendrick Lamar's landmark 2015 album 'To Pimp a Butterfly' had overtaken the top spot on the popular community review site Rate Your Music, surpassing Radiohead’s 'OK Computer' as the highest-ranked album of all time. 'To Pimp a Butterfly' now has a 4.34 rating, the highest on the platform; 'OK Computer' is at 4.26. Rate Your Music uses a complex algorithm to calculate an album’s score, which considers factors including total number of reviews, each user’s activity level on the site, and more. Radiohead, however, have a total of three albums in the Top 10, Pink Floyd have two.

Irish contemporary folk band Lankum has shared their new song 'Go Dig My Grave'. The 9-minute single takes a turn into drone-folk territory, bringing swaths of ambient, funeral sonics. 'Go Dig My Grave' announces the band's fourth album 'False Lankum', coming out on Rough Trade Records the 24th of March 2023.

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