The Kid LAROI has become the first Australian rapper to reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with his 'F*ck Love' album, over a year after it was originally released, Billboard reports. 'F**k Love' surges from No. 26 to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart for its first week atop the list, following multiple reissues that added additional tracks to the project. The set earned 85,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in the week ending July 29. At 17 years old, he’s also the youngest artist to top the chart this decade.

A pandemic of YouTubeing
July 31, 2021

YouTube is generating $3 million an hour from ads

In the three months to the end of June 2021 (Q2), YouTube generated a whopping $7.002 billion from advertising alone – equivalent to approximately $77 million a day, or $3.2 million every hour, Music Business Worldwide reports. The rise is astonishing - YouTube’s Q2 2021 ad revenue was up by 83.7% on the equivalent figure from 2020. In the six months to the end of June this year, the platform generated $13.007 billion in ad revenues, almost double what YouTube generated in the equivalent six months of 2020 ($7.850 billion). These numbers don’t include subscription revenue on YouTube generated by those customers paying for YouTube Music and YouTube Premium each month. Looking back, the numbers impress even more - YouTube rode out 2020 having generated some $19.77 billion from ads in the year – actually up 30.5% on the equivalent annual figure from 2019.

Spotify's Premium Subscriber base grew to 165 million in the second quarter of 2021, which was up 20% year-on-year. The company’s total global monthly active users grew 22% year-on-year to 365 million in Q2 2021. Spotify’s Premium subscriber growth translated into revenue of €2.056 billion in Q2. That's big numbers, there are some small numbers, on which everything depends really - the firm’s average monthly revenue per subscriber landed at €4.29 in Q2. Music Business Worldwide takes a closer look at the numbers.

Apart from their societal influence, K-pop septet is a major money-maker in their country. According to the Korea Culture And Tourism Institute, BTS is bringing an estimated 5 billion dollars to the South Korean economy each year. The group is fueling interests in all things Korean - tourism, language, films, television, fashion, and food. NPR discusses BTS' influence in the latest podcast.

Pempo Khan and Group / Anahad

Seventy percent of India’s musicians practice folk, but they earn only 2% of the industry’s revenues. Indian nonprofit Anahad Foundation stepped in to help them, bringing the music of unsung folk artists to the urban mainstream. Anahad provides them with free residencies with established bands, and also helps artists create a digital portfolio on their website, complete with new music videos, and teaches them entrepreneurial skills. Today, the site lists groups that include more than 1,000 artists. Christian Science Monitor reports on the issue.

"The practise of ticket touting is once again an issue for the dance music industry — this summer, tickets are on sale for more than 10 times their original price on reselling sites like Viagogo" - DJ Mag points out, and investigates how can promoters, venues and artists create meaningful change on this issue.

Drums really can be used to convey speech - an award-winning new study published in the journal Frontiers in Communication shows. It proved Dùndún drumming, an oral tradition among the Yorùbá peoples of Western Africa which involves a special type of drum that, when used properly, can mimic the unique patterns and sounds of Yorùbá speech. So close is the resemblance that the instrument is sometimes referred to as the “talking drum”, Cosmos Magazine reports.

Canada established a government-funded, Christian church-administered boarding school system in the late 1800s, with the goal of forcibly removing Indigenous children from their “savage” parents and impose English and Christianity. Some 150,000 Indigenous children attended these schools before the last one closed in 1997. The mortality rate for those children was estimated to be up to five times higher than their white counterparts, due to factors including suicide, neglect and disease - nearly 38,000 sexual and physical abuse claims from former residential school students were reported, along with 3,200 documented deaths. Guardian presents Canadian rappers coming from the indigenous communities who are using their music as a tool of recovery for themselves and their communities.

The United States Government sold the sole copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s 'Once Upon a Time in Shaolin', previously owned by the pharma executive Martin Shkreli, NPR reports. He was sentenced to seven years in prison for securities fraud in 2018, and was ordered to forfeit the album along with several other assets in order to fulfill a $7.36 million forfeiture judgment. The forfeiture judgment has been fulfilled with the sale of the Wu-Tang Clan album, sold to an undisclosed buyer. Shkreli's lawyer believes anonymous buyer paid at least $2.2 million.

Joey Jordison was a founding member of Slipknot in 1995, played the drums on the band's five first albums, staying until his departure in December 2013. He later revealed that he suffered from transverse myelitis, a neurological disease that limited his the ability to play the drums. Not only was he one of metal’s premier drummers, he was a key songwriter in the group, responsible for co-writing some of Slipknot’s best-known songs, Blabbermouth reports.

Billy Reeves was best known as a singer-songwriter who had worked with Sophie Ellis-Bextor in a band called theaudience. After he quit, he made an album worth of music when in a traffic accident he suffered severe brain injury and subsequently amnesia - "there’s a whole three-year chunk of my cultural memory missing – I don’t remember any of the music or TV shows from 1999 to 2001". He also forgot all about his recent music - "I was hearing songs that I had written but had no recollection of. I didn’t know what the lyrics were about, what I was thinking, who they were written for", as Reever wrote in a beautiful piece for the Guardian. He decided however to put it out, calling the record 'The Helicopter Of The Holy Ghost' - "I’m not religious, but it’s like the songs were written by a ghost because I don’t remember anything about writing them".

People are strange, music isn't
July 26, 2021

The best experimental albums from the last three months

Ceephax Acid Crew

Looking for some quality experimental music? Tone Glow writers chose 32 albums from the year’s second quarter that they enjoyed. Their selection includes various albums: there's vocal jazz and Mongolian long song on Enji's 'Urgal'; Vanessa Rosetto's 'Legends of American Theatre' recorded from artist's New York window showing "a theatre deprived of curtain calls where people-watching persists"; Naoko Sakata's 'Dancing Spirits' characterized by "wilderness"; Neupink's 'Seaweed Jesus' which just might pass as hard-core hyper-pop; and plenty more unusual music.

Pop Smoke has two albums to his name, both of which were released posthumously, and both of which have reached the No. 1 on Billboard 200 albums chart, according to Billboard. 'Faith' debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart this week starting with 88,000 equivalent album units earned. 'Faith' features more than 20 guest stars, including Chris Brown, Future, Dua Lipa and Kanye West. Pop Smoke previously topped the Billboard 200 with his debut album 'Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon' last July. Pop Smoke was killed on Feb. 19, 2020, at age 20, after being shot during a home-invasion robbery in Los Angeles.

Well, that's a music store
July 25, 2021

Splice - a place to buy sample packs

Splice is a cloud-based music creation platform that sells downloadable collections of vocal hooks, drum sounds, instrumental riffs and other sounds creators can use to build songs, Billboard reports. Splice subscriptions start at $9.99 a month and let users access over 2 million riffs, beats and sounds, all royalty-free, so creators who use them, own their work. It's growing big - in 2019 the platform had 250,000 subscribers. Two years later, that number had more than doubled, and during the pandemic daily downloads increased almost 50% amid “a pretty extreme explosion in new users”. In February, Splice raised $55 million in series D funding led by Goldman Sachs, on a valuation of close to $500 million, and the company is approaching $100 million in annual recurring revenue.

Sony Music Entertainment has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against fitness apparel brand Gymshark, valued at approximately $1.3bn, Music Business Worldwide reports. Sony claims that Gymshark “has achieved its success by infringing sound recordings and musical compositions belonging to a number of different content owners on a massive scale”. According to the filing, Gymshark has “largely eschewed traditional advertising” and has instead promoted its products in videos posted to the likes of Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook. This may be an important case, because it highlights the place where platform-wide licensing deals for use of music in user-generated content meet the world of sync licensing. Regular users can use music in their videos, but rules change when it comes to brands and influencers paid by those brands, which is a commercial activity.

Kanye West announced his latest album 'Donda' for this weekend, although it wasn't released at the end. He did however throw an album listening party at the Atlanta football stadium, which impressed Music REDEF's Matty Karas: "It *looked* amazing. It wasn't a live performance so there was no stage. And there was no one sitting on the field which was covered in some kind of white material, over which Kanye roamed, in a red puffer jacket and WATCHMEN-like mask, while the album played. He would stand or sit in place for long stretches and then resume roaming, not saying a word, often raising one or both arms as if to give himself an amen. A lone, silent prophet wandering on what you might imagine was a cloud, surrounded by fans but also at a distance from them. It was less-as-more taken to its logical conclusion, and as arresting a music visual as I've seen in a long time".

Alewya

After that awesome detour into jazzy club music with Moses Boyd, Alewya goes into the dark clubbing mode with ‘Spirit_X’; avant/hip-hop artist Moor Mother goes psychedelic on ‘Shekere’ featuring Lojii; ‘Superstate’ is a new graphic novel with 15 new songs from Graham Coxon, ‘Yoga Town’ is the first taste from it; Jamaican dancehall artist Skillibeng goes aggressive and dark on ‘Pull Up’, a collaboration with UK rapper Dutchavelli; Japanese post-metallers Mono rip it up on (khm!) ‘Riptide’; Homeboy Sandman shares an intense and jazzy ‘Lice Team, Baby’, featuring Aesop Rock.

Live Nation announced a run of new $20 “all in” ticket prices for nearly 1,000 outdoor amphitheater shows in the US taking place this year, Music Business Worldwide reports. Artists who will be playing shows under the $20 ticket offer include the Jonas Brothers, Kings Of Leon, Zac Brown Band, Trippie Redd, Maroon 5, Alanis Morissette, Lil Baby, KISS, and Korn. The $20 tickets will be available to the general public starting next Wednesday, July 28th at 12pm ET/9am PT on LiveNation.com for a limited time only.

I'm your hologram tonight
July 23, 2021

Whitney Houston hologram coming to residency in Las Vegas

The estate-approved Whitney Houston hologram concert will arrive this October for a lengthy residency at Harrah’s Las Vegas. Over five years in the works, 'An Evening With Whitney: The Whitney Houston Hologram Concert' made its debut in 2020 London, featuring holograms of Houston from all stages of her career alongside in-the-flesh backup singers, dancers, and musicians. Base Hologram Productions CEO Marty Tudor told Rolling Stone of their efforts to make a “tasteful” homage to the late singer: “It’s a complicated mix of disciplines if you will. I could’ve made Whitney fly around stage if I wanted to, but she didn’t. One of the things that’s really critical is we want to be authentic. To me, it’s creepy and eerie if you make the artist do something they never would’ve done. But if you are authentic and live within the rules of who they were, this is a celebration of her legacy”.

Brian Jones

New Spotify Original podcast 'Deathbed Confessions', covering some of the most notorious dying words throughout pop culture history, has debuted this week. The first episode covers the unsolved 1922 murder of silent film director William Desmond Taylor, who was found dead from a gunshot wound in his apartment in the Westlake neighborhood of Los Angeles. Future episodes will cover Frank Thorogood, the building contractor who claimed he murdered the Rolling Stones’ guitarist Brian Jones, who was thought to have drowned accidentally in a swimming pool; and the conspiracy surrounding CIA Agent E. Howard Hunt, who claimed, while sick, that he and several others had played a role in JFK’s assassination.

Current rock star Bruce Springsteen and former American president Barack Obama are publishing a book titled 'Renegades: Born in the USA' (is that title ironical?!?). Based on their podcast conversations, it comes in an oversized, illustrated format, with handwritten Springsteen lyrics, annotated Obama speeches, and other archival material, AP reports. It's out October 26.Aud

The list of sound
July 22, 2021

50 best producers of the 21st century

Max Martin

Billboard staff picked the 50 greatest producers of this century: the most innovative, impactful and important knob-twiddlers since 2000. The top 5 are:

5. Mike Will Made-It because he loves twisting the familiar into something far weirder and more rewarding

4. The-Dream & Tricky Stewart thanks to their zooming keys, gentle-but-insistent percussion, expansive soundscapes and the era's most lethal toplines.

3. Timbaland - fourth-dimension funk, with rattling drums, squelching bass, unrecognizable and disembodied vocal hooks

2. Pharrell Williams / The Neptunes - Liquid guitars, clanging percussion, and the most intoxicating synth tones you've ever heard

1. Max Martin -  the hooks we crave, the choruses we want to belt out, from the stars that have defined the mainstream over the past two decades

The Mercury Prize 2021 shortlist:

Arlo Parks – 'Collapsed in Sunbeams'
Berwyn – 'Demotape/Vega'
Black Country, New Road – 'For the First Time'
Celeste – 'Not Your Muse'
Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders and the London Symphony Orchestra – 'Promises'
Ghetts – 'Conflict of Interest'
Hannah Peel – 'Fir Wave'
Laura Mvula – 'Pink Noise'
Mogwai – 'As the Love Continues'
Nubya Garcia – 'Source'
Sault – 'Untitled (Rise)'
Wolf Alice – 'Blue Weekend'

Eric Clapton said he will not perform at any venues that require attendees to prove that they’ve been vaccinated against Covid-19, NPR reports. Clapton issued his statement in response to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that vaccine passes would be required to enter nightclubs and venues. Clapton previously shared a message about his “disastrous” health experience after receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.

Songfinch is a music tech startup where fans can order personalized songs for $199. Users select the style of their song and share stories to shape the lyrics. Songfinch then matches users with an artist who writes and records the song for the user. Customers get a personal use license in perpetuity, but they can't monetize the song. Songfinch users can't choose specific artists and prices are fixed at $199. The platform has just had a $2 million seed round - investors included The Weeknd, XO Records CEO Sal Slaiby, and Atlantic Records CEO Craig Kallman. Trapital's Dan Runcie compares it to audio Cameo, and predicts where it might go from here.

Twitter happy
July 21, 2021

Finneas makes a point

Expensive guitars don’t write better songs - Finneas wrote on his Twitter, making a good point (albeit an obvious one). Later he also tweeted "you ever see someone walking with headphones on and you can just tell they are feeling SO fresh because of whatever they’re listening to?", and "no music on a dead planet". In a less metaphysical moment, he remembered the late Linkin Park singer - "4 years. RIP Chester Bennington. Sad forever about this".

Japanese composer Cornelius, real name Keigo Oyamada, who was working on the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony, quit Monday after coming under fire for bullying classmates during his childhood, AP reports. Reports of his past abuse of classmates, including those with disabilities, surfaced online recently and sparked a backlash on social media plus demands for Oyamada’s resignation. Finally, he apologized and quit. A segment of the music Oyamada composed for Friday’s opening ceremony will not be used, and the musician will be also removed from his planned role in the Paralympics opening event.

Danceday
July 20, 2021

The clubs in the UK reopen!

At midnight on Sunday, at least a dozen venues in England celebrated "freedom day", the first night of clubbing since March 2020. The week started with a Monday morning full of clubbing, stuffed clubs, and scores of people queueing outside venues. At no point were clubbers asked to present proof that they had tested negative and vaccination passports were not required, Guardian reports.

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