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".

Rights and cashy days
January 24, 2022

Bob Dylan sells recorded music catalog

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”.

Four weekends a month
January 23, 2022

The Weeknd breaks record for most Spotify listeners

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.

Coral dropout
January 23, 2022

'South Park' drops orchestral 'Gay Fish'

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.

January 21, 2022

Meat Loaf dies aged 74

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'.

Every time they break up
January 18, 2022

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
January 18, 2022

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”.

Good friday agreement
January 16, 2022

Bandcamp donated artists and labels $7 million

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.

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.

Rock guitar heroine Nita Strauss made history this week when her song 'Dead Inside' hit No. 1 on the Mediabase Active Rock Chart. This is the first time in history for a female solo rock artist to have a #1 single on rock radio, Loudwire reports. Strauss says she is a descendant of Austrian composer Johann Strauss through her father.

'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.

The United States of Strummers
January 09, 2022

Since pandemic began 16 million Americans picked up guitar

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%.

TikTokeress
January 09, 2022

PinkPantheress is BBC's Sound Of 2022

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.

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)

Stairway to play
January 06, 2022

82% of the US music market taken by "old" music

"Catalog" records accounted for a stunning 82.1% of total recorded music consumption in the US in the second half of 2021, MBW reports. On the other hand, that means "current" records made up just 17.9% of US music consumption in the last six months of 2021. "Catalog" music counts as anything released over 18 months before a consumer made a purchase and/or pressed play. MGW later admitted they miscalculated, and that the actual percentage was  73.1%.

David Bowie's estate has sold his publishing catalog to Warner Chappell Music for upwards of $250 million, Variety reports. The deal includes songs such as 'Heroes', 'Changes', 'Space Oddity', Rebel Rebel', 'Ziggy Stardust' and hundreds more from the 26 studio albums released during his lifetime, as well as the posthumous studio album release, 'Toy', which comes out on Friday.

A California judge has dismissed a lawsuit by Spencer Elden, the baby from 'Nevermind' cover, alleging that Nirvana’s naked-baby artwork for the epic album constitutes child sexual exploitation, BBC News reports. Elden, who is now 30, claimed he suffered “lifelong damages,” including loss of wages, as a result of the album cover, and described the enterprise as a “sex trafficking venture”. The lawyers also noted that, until recently, Elden had seemed to enjoy the notoriety of being the "Nirvana baby": "He has re-enacted the photograph in exchange for a fee, many times; he has had the album title... tattooed across his chest; he has appeared on a talk show wearing a self-parodying, nude-colored onesie; he has autographed copies of the album cover for sale on eBay; and he has used the connection to try to pick up women".

The tone experiment
January 01, 2022

Tone Glow's favourite albums of 2021

Dean Blunt

Tone Glow assembled a list of their favourite albums of 2021 (not the best). An interesting list of experimental music:

Michael Pisaro-Liu - 'Revolution Shuffle'

Yvette Janine Jackson - 'Freedom'

Wild Up - 'Julius Eastman Vol. 1: Femenine'

DJ Sprinkles - 'Gayest Tits & Greyest Shits: 1998-2017 12-Inches & One-Offs'

Éliane Radigue - 'Occam Ocean 3'

Jana Rush - 'Painful Enlightenment'

Dean Blunt - 'Black Metal 2'

Chris Corsano & Bill Orcutt - 'Made Out of Sound'

Haptic - 'Weird Undying Annihilation'

Injury Reserve - 'By the Time I Get to Phoenix'

L’Rain - 'Fatigue'

Lucy Liyou - 'Practice'

Juçara Marçal - 'Delta Estácio Blues'

MIKE - 'Disco!'

Lucia Nimcová & Sholto Dobie - 'DILO'

William Parker – 'Migration of Silence into and Out of the Tone World (Volumes 1–10)'

RP Boo - 'Established!'

ThouxanBanFauni - 'Time of My Life'

Richard Youngs - 'CXXI'

RXK Nephew - 'Slitherman Activated'

The Russian government has officially labeled Pussy Riot members Nadya Tolokonnikova and Nika Nikulshina as “foreign agents”, BBC reports. The designation is a Russian government effort to stifle dissent and discredit anyone carrying the label. “Foreign agents” are required to append disclaimer statements to their social media posts, news reports, and other public-facing content. Tolokonnikova was arrested and spent two years in prison after a 2012 protest inside Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral. Nikulshina was detained with other members of Pussy Riot for rushing the field at the 2018 World Cup final in Moscow.

2.11 million vinyl records were sold in the week ending on December 23rd in the US, marking vinyl’s biggest week in sales since 1991, Billboard reports. It is also the first time vinyl sales have exceeded two million units in decades. Kid Cudi just broke the record for the biggest vinyl sales week for both a male artist and a rap album with 41,500 in sales of his album 'Man on the Moon III: The Chosen'. However, the best-selling vinyl album in the past week was Adele‘s '30', which moved 59,000 copies.

Remembered after reading
December 29, 2021

Rolling Stone recommends 22 music books released this year

"This year, many of the books we loved most used music as a lens through which to examine broader issues of politics, history, and identity — whether it was the story of capitalist circulation as heard by Joshua Clover in the Modern Lovers’ 'Roadrunner', Hanif Abdurraqib riffing on everything from 'Soul Train' to 1920s dance crazes in his panoramic 'A Little Devil in America'or Eric Harvey exploring depictions of African American life in Eighties pop culture" - Rolling Stone starts the introduction to their selection of the best 22 music books released this year.

Vinyl sales in the UK topped five million for the first time since 1991, BBC reports adding that almost a quarter of the albums bought this year (23%) were on vinyl. Abba's 'Voyage' was the biggest-seller, followed by Adele's '30', Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumours', Ed Sheeran's '=', and Amy Winehouse's 'Back to Black'. This year marks vinyl's 14th consecutive year of growth, with sales up by 8% on 2020. Sales of CDs continued to fall - just 14 million discs were bought, a 12% drop compared to the previous year - the lowest figure since 1988. Cassette sales increased for a ninth consecutive year - around 190,000 tapes were purchased in the past 12 months, up by around 20% year on year.

20 cents on the dollar
December 29, 2021

Dr. Dre to pay $100 million to his ex-wife

Dr. Dre has reached a settlement that will see him pay $100 million to his ex-wife Nicole Young, which includes more than half of Dre’s liquid assets, as well as a Rolls Royce, Range Rover, Spyder motorcycle, Escalade limousine, and all of her jewelry. Divorce papers filed with L.A. Superior Court on Nov. 18th show him to be worth $458.2 million, with $182.7 million cash, $6.3 million in stocks, and $269.2 million in property and assets, Consequence reports.

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