Global tools for local use
May 27, 2023

The rize of “glocalization”

Graph: Will Page

In the latest Trapital podcast, Dan Runcie talks to Will Page, the author, and economist, about "glocalization", the phenomenon which means creating products for global markets that bring local cultures together. Runcie and Page argue that "glocalization makes it harder for mega superstars to emerge, especially from established markets... The major record labels must sign and develop talent in each region to maintain market share. With increased costs (without the promise of increased revenue), glocalization will shift everything from KPIs, value props to new artists, and future expansion plans".

"The message you're getting from the guys in the band is that they don't want to be engaged. They don't want to be married. They never want to be married, or if they are married, they might not want to be faithful" - jazz pianist Rachel Z says in an interview about love and sex on the road - "There's lots of rock stars that literally live that lifestyle, and sleep with two supermodels every night or three or four, and whatever party they're having is great. Many musicians have blown up our lives with these behaviors." She also goes into the position of women in jazz in particular: "The truth is, things have changed a tiny bit for younger women artists. But what I’ve felt lately is, now that we have many younger beautiful women artists, we can replace the older women, rather than building and promoting a female jazz lineage". Rachel Z also believes that women in jazz will thrive "if we uphold recognition and respect for the lineage of accomplished women musicians, along with owning our personal power".

Chartmetric researched data about Spotify genres trying to learn more about the relative power of major and indie catalogs on the streaming platform, as well as about recommendations across the most prominent music niches and communities. What they have found out is that majors hold a vast share of the music market thanks to the evergreen catalogs and the "passive" market share that comes with it. "However, if we move away from these 'golden' genres, independent players will often carry more power than the majors. And when it comes to emerging genre spaces, such as underground hip hop and viral rap, things can get uniquely independent—one might even say self-released".

A great interview in Billboard with former The Rapture frontman, who now lives in New York, and works as a life coach, and enjoys it very much. “As a singer and songwriter you get very narcissistic, and you get up on stage, and everyone validates that through applause and large amounts of money and meeting other celebrities and fancy meals around the world. So, being a coach is actually very healing, because it is the polar opposite of that.” What are his credentials for the job? "I have a long, successful marriage. I’m a good parent. I have gotten over massive childhood dysfunction, sexual abuse, multiple suicides in my family, drug addiction in my family, my own addictions, on and on. That’s my business car."

People engaged in making music are at a higher risk for mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, according to researchers at Frankfurt’s Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics. Results of the study suggest there is an overlap between inherited genetic variants associated with a tendency to make music, and those that increase the risk for mental illness. Van Magazine talked to Laura Wesseldijk, one of the authors of the study, herself a musician too.

"It started off as a little exercise during lockdown keeping me busy and bringing all these musicians on board and as it grew into an album... With every contribution someone would send me, it was always surprising because it always changed the song completely and did something that I wouldn’t have predicted. It still feels like this magical thing" - comedian and musician James Acaster says to The New Cue about his project Temps, which is about to release its debut 'Party Gator Purgatory'. There are about 40 musicians collaborating on the album - including Open Mike Eagle, Joana Gomila, NNAMDI, Shamir, Quelle Chris - with Acaster acting as a producer/director. It's a versatile album - "I think now, anyone who engages in current music appreciates that genre is a thing of the past and the best music is just completely boundless", with one connecting thread - "mostly what I was doing with this was to tailor it to my exact music tastes and having everything that I liked in music in just one thing".

Deserter's song
April 14, 2023

Dan Runcie: The business behind Coachella

"Unlike other trends and even other festivals, Coachella developed a brand that can sell itself. This festival could sell out tickets before announcing a lineup if it wanted to. Fans want the vibes. The influencers, fashion, and activations will be there regardless of who performs on stage. In the early 2010s, the festival became a who’s who for celebrity attendance. Attending was a flex, like sitting courtside at a Lakers game" - Trapital's Dan Runcie looks into Coachella in his latest podcast. He is joined by Tati Cirisano from MIDiA Research. They also talk about untapped opportunities for Coachella, how the rise of concert ticket prices impacts it, and how festival lineups are becoming homogenous.

Michelle Lhooq talks to writer and scholar McKenzie Wark in her latest memo about raving culture, ravers, and what it means to different people. "If I go to the rave at four or five in the morning, it's a lot of people who do service work, and are used to being nice to people all day. There’s also sex workers, who similarly are having to use their body, their subjectivity, and their emotions in service of the job. They go to a space to get out of that. Then there are people like me—'intellectual workers'... When I’m in rave spaces, language is going on in my head, but I'm not paying attention to it. It's just there but I'm not in it". She also talks about being connected - "I don't think it's a bad thing for people to learn to be intimate with each other on the dance floor, in close proximity, to be vulnerable to each other. Sometimes, it makes very weak networks. But even those are not bad things to have. There's people around that you're gonna see in other contexts and you just know a little about each other. Yeah, it's not the revolution. It's not utopia. But it's not nothing".

Rock icon Nick Cave talked with 'UnHerd' host Freddie Sayers to discuss his book, 'Faith, Hope and Carnage,' saying that he sees human beings in a completely different way than he did early in his career, and said he is now a "more complete person." Sayers noted that the punk rocker turned "church-going person" might seem unrecognizable, but Cave said he simply gets a delight by "f-----g with people" and "living outside the expectation" of others. Today, for Cave, an avid church-goer, it means "you go to church and be a conservative". Cave also talks a lot about cancel culture and censorship.

"I liked the idea of writing music that was not amplified, that didn't require any electricity. It was just me and the scoring paper" - Thomas Bangalter, formerly of Daft Punk, says in a BBC interview about his latest work, scoring music for a ballet. The project takes him back to his childhood - his mother and his aunt were both dancers, and his uncle a dance instructor, so when France's contemporary choreographer, Angelin Preljocaj, asked him to score a new ballet, he couldn't say no - "my mother passed about 20 years ago and going back to that world is linked to a certain time of my life. So it adds some nostalgia, but at the same time, it was a very new adventure." He also shares his thoughts on AI in the interview, as well as ending Daft Punk - "It was an exploration, I would say, starting with the machines and going away from them. I love technology as a tool [but] I'm somehow terrified of the nature of the relationship between the machines and ourselves. We tried to use these machines to express something extremely moving that a machine cannot feel, but a human can. We were always on the side of humanity and not on the side of technology. As much as I love this character, the last thing I would want to be, in the world we live in, in 2023, is a robot."

Some very interesting thoughts by Feist in The New Cue interview, about her upcoming new album 'Multitudes'.

About lyrics: "No matter what I intended, people will interpret it through their own life experience and through their own lens. Even for myself, I can sing a song that I wrote 20 years ago and sometimes I get this sort of funhouse mirror thing where I’m like, ‘Whoa, that’s not what I thought it was!’ When the songs are open enough containers, even I can read them as an entirely different thing."

About being an entertainer: "People like that feeling, of having these declarations made from a brightly-lit podium. Through human history there’s been storytelling by the fire, the pyramid with the priest on top, or whatever version of a lot of people looking at one person it is. It’s weird that it’s now entertainment, but I’ve never comfortably fitted in that spotlight, or felt that I could shapeshift into that."

About becoming a parent: "In terms of motivation for these songs, a dimension in me opened so deeply that actually I didn’t care about songs anymore. I cared about how to survive. I don’t mean how to survive my daughter, but as a friend said to me, there’s an incineration in becoming a mother. You’re incinerated but the person that rises from among the ashes is a more interesting person to be for the rest of your life. It’s sort of a trade-off, you’re willing to lose everything to gain something more."

"I always had an affinity for the lower end of things and I liked the physically intimidating and challenging nature of the instrument. It was mano-a-mano, the physical representation of the object versus your body. It was more symmetrical in terms of the instrument’s stature and weight. I liked the freedom of exploration acoustically it gives you with the deeper, longer and wider tube. It gives you much more of a breadth and depth of frequency to play with" - Colin Stetson says in The Quietus interviewThe long road about his instrument of choice - the bass saxophone. He is about to release his new single, ‘When We Were That What Wept For The Sea’, celebrating the life of his father.

In the latest Trapital podcast, Dan Runcie talks to MIDiA Research’s Tati Cirisano about short form video and the three-sided battleground being fought between TikTok, YouTube Shorts, and Instagram Reels. Questions asked were which company added the most value - to artists and creators, to the music industry, and to its parent company. The conclusions: TikTok is the most valuable to artists and creators given its massive reach and cultural cache. YouTube Shorts is the one that’s most valuable to music since strong agreements are in place, and YouTube is proud of the billions it pays to the industry. Reels is the most valuable for its parent company.

"I just think this whole idea of changing words and books because they make one uncomfortable or taking the rape scenes out of the 'Metamorphoses' — this is, to me, it’s not just dangerous. You start there, and where do you finish?" - Patti Smith talks about historical context of works of art in The Active Voice podcast. She also shares a few thoughts on cancel culture: "I’m always optimistic. I just refuse to be pessimistic. Pessimism breeds nothing. A pessimistic person does not create anything. A pessimistic person does not envision anything. It’s not that I feel pessimistic. I just feel that people are moving too quickly via social media, not examining everything in a cubistic way, not examining all the facets of things, not trying to understand how certain things fit in the context of the history that happened or when they happened."

The New Cue talked to Jason Williamson about some of the albums that he’d been listening to when he wrote and recorded 'UK Grim', the new album by his band Sleaford Mods. An interesting choice:

A Flock Of Seagulls - "loose pastel melody type shit"

Alex Cameron - "it's just brilliant song-writing. He is really a big old troubadour in his own way"

Lone Lady - "got some really good sparseness"

Soft Cell - "lots and lots and lots of songs about alleviating gentleman in small porn theatres"

"Now that gaming is bigger than ever, it feels like it’s only a matter of time until a video game can turn a decades-old hit into a viral cultural moment" - Dan Runcie points out introducing his latest podcast about the future of music and gaming. His guest Vickie Nauman, specialist in music and technology, believes that there's a big opportunity, and that it's going to be different: "What I love about gaming is that you hear music differently when you’re gaming. There’s so much potential we haven’t tapped into. Sync license is the best way to do things in gaming. You want something specific".

"From a distance, it might look like AI is tomorrow’s songwriter, but that’s not where it’s going. AI can still be about suggestions, acting as a partner in the creative process. It’s not about replacing musicians – it’s enabling them with more quality and more speed and less drag… turning a voice memo into a basic demo, things creators want to be able to do" - Kakul Srivastava, CEO of prominent sample marketplace Splice, says in the MBW interview. "I’m here to make software that is transformational to music creation. I know building tools that unlock creativity is really hard, because I’ve done it. But – it’s never been a better time to do this – we are in a renaissance for creativity with new capabilities coming to life every day. The things creators will be able to do tomorrow, they cannot do today".

"That [love] takes time and commitment, and you have to dare to show yourself being vulnerable. It’s a huge risk, because you can be rejected” - Karin Dreijer of Fever Ray says to Dazed about their forthcoming album 'Radical Romantics'. In between her last and this album, Dreijer was diagnosed with ADHD - “I learned that, with ADHD, you probably are more sensitive to stress. It’s common to be driven by doing fun stuff, and it can be hard to know your limits.” Dreijer got into therapy which was “so, so scary; it can be really horrible,” but “sometimes, you have to expose yourself to the things you’re afraid of.”

“Everyone should sing, even if you can’t sing. I think everyone can, they just think about it too much and they just haven’t found where they can sing. I’m just pouring out what I’m feeling. I just wanna sing my heart out” - UK rapper Slowthai says in the Independent interview about his new album 'Ugly' ("U Gotta Love Yourself"). Slowthai turns to singing, with the production also leaning to the indie-rock side (producer Dan Carey previously worked with black midi, Squid, Chubby and the Gang, and Fontaines DC). The recent £1 pub gigs tour was also a novelty - “any way I can give the opportunity to people who come from a similar place as myself and are struggling, why would I not? For me it’s about playing music and sharing them moments with people".

Ed Newton-Rex, the founder of the pioneering music-making AI platform, Jukedeck, which he later sold to TikTok, makes an interesting point in the MBW interview about the main benefit of AI for the music industry. Newton-Rex, himself a musician, believes it can increase the value for rights holders - "When you have AI, the music that you write, or that you own, can become so much more valuable, because it’s no longer just one static thing. It can be modified. So maybe a track you’ve written or that you’ve gotten in your library is lengthened to fit a different TV ad, maybe the instrumentation is changed to get the right mood in a video, maybe you change the entire style to fit something totally new. What starts out as one piece of music that [was] set in stone can become this living thing that can be adapted, endlessly. That’s very exciting."

Actress Jamie Lee Curtis shared her seemingly unusual bedtime habits with 'TODAY Show' hosts - the Hollywood star revealed she's tucked in at 7PM and wakes up around 4.30 AM. Curtis is also “challenging musicians to do concerts during the day,” since the usual schedules are way to late for her. “Why are there no matinees? For instance, I love Coldplay. I would love to go see Coldplay. The problem is, I’m not gonna go see Coldplay if they start their show at nine o’clock and there’s an opening act. I want to hear Coldplay at 1PM. I think if we filled a stadium with people who want to see matinee of Colplay, I think we would start a trend.” Billboard reports...

"I went into it just thinking, ‘this might be the last record I ever make but if it is then I want to make something absolutely extraordinary and leave no stone unturned in terms of being creative’, not prepared to let anything whatsoever come in to the creative process and change my way of thinking whatsoever. I had to just come up here, close that hatch and forget I had a family and forget I had a mortgage and had to put food on the table and just be creative" - Steve Mason, former member of The Beta Band, says in The New Cue interview about his latest solo album 'Brothers & Sisters'. "The idea behind the record more than anything was to make something uplifting. I wanted to make something which was positive and uplifting and gave people a beautiful experience... People are very careful about where they spend the money these days and I quite like the idea of being an entertainer. People want to be entertained and they want to go home with their hearts full rather than their eyes full of tears."

Chance The Rapper organized a free festival and conference in Accra, Ghana for 52,000 in January, which went without any serious trouble. The inaugural Black Star Line Festival (named for Marcus Garvey’s black-owned global shipping line from 1919), included a 6-day conference with performances by Mensa, Erykah Badu, T-Pain, Jeremih, Sarkodie, Tobe Nwigwe, Asakaa Boys and M.anifest along with special guests Dave Chappelle, Sway and Talib Kweli. Chance The Rapper had two goals, as he's told Pollstar: "The goal... was to perform for my people, which I got to do in that moment. And two was to produce an event that was safe and intentionally Black that no one there could in their right mind ever forget they took part in."

On a spaceship
March 03, 2023

Dan Runcie: The rise of Burna Boy

Nigerian afrobeats megastar Burna Boy was Spotify's most-streamed African artist globally in 2022. He sold out Madison Square Garden in 2022, and has also performed at halftime at the NBA All-Star Game. The Burna Boy will also become the first African artist to headline a show at London Stadium, and is about to perform at Coachella. Trapital's Dan Runcie looks back at Burna Boy's decade-long career and his path to stardom.

Singer-songwriter Noah Kahan went viral with his song 'Stick Season' with one of his videos having over 10 million plays on TikTok, and the song over 100 million streams on Spotify. In the Song Exploder episode about his hit song, Kahan talks about that part of the year between autumn and winter, and about his influences life Counting Crows, and Paul Simon. He also shares his bracingly honest appraisal of the winding path he took — in his life, and in his music — to get to where he is now.

"Music, being a focal point of emotion and a basis of connection between people, is an entry point to these conversations and can be used to help direct people to awareness, education and care" - Nick Greto of the Sounds of Saving says in Dada Strain interview. SoS is a music mental health nonprofit organization with a mission to use a connection to music of all genres as a direct path to greater mental wellbeing and to hopefulness during crisis in order to decrease suicide.

A great conversation in MJI with Lambros Fatsis, senior lecturer in criminology at the University of Brighton, about police racism and the criminalization of Black music (sub)culture(s). Here's the highlight - "My main aim is to show how and why Black music as a form of intellectual production, public expression and creativity—are not only marginalised in the relevant academic literature, but also criminalised by law enforcement... Simply put, that which is policed as different, alien and inadmissible is that which threatens and endangers the established social order."

Last week, South London post-punk band Shame released their third album, 'Food For Worms'. The New Cue talked to frontman Charlie Steen about how different making of it was compared to their covid-album 'Drunk Tank Pink'. "When you’re writing for live, you’re not over-thinking it. You’re like, fuck transitions or whatever, it needs to go verse chorus verse chorus and we can deal with that stuff later. We did those shows and two months later we were in the studio making the album... I think you need to get to a stage for something to happen, you need to be at a crossroads for something to happen".

Appetite for cancellation
February 17, 2023

Slash: Guns N’ Roses would have been “canceled in this day"

"I haven’t really thought about all that [scandalous stuff] that much recently. But now that you mention it, most of everything that [Guns N’ Roses] did would’ve gotten us canceled in this day and age" - G'N'R's guitarist Slash says in a new interview with Yahoo! Entertainment. He added: “We would not have fared well in this environment, for sure… on so many different levels. But I mean, a lot of things from back then would not be what you consider acceptable at this moment in time. … I’m just glad that we didn’t have the internet bac

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