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.

The song count
February 06, 2023

Parannoul's 'Arrival' breaks through the dream

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.

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.

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.

The song count
February 03, 2023

Lankum share epic 'Go Dig My Grave'

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.

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.

The song count
February 02, 2023

Wesley Joseph shares a single 'Hiatus'

"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".

We want them all, and we want them now
February 02, 2023

Rage Against the Machine, Missy Elliott, Kate Bush nominated for Rock Hall of Fame

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.

The thrill is coming
February 01, 2023

Raye to finally release her debut album

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...

Weird is the new normal
February 01, 2023

The new weird jazz - making jazz cool again

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).

Sabbath, cancelled sabbath
February 01, 2023

Ozzy Osbourne to quit touring due to poor health

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”.

Breaking the dance
February 01, 2023

Iran dancing couple sentenced to 10 years in jail

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.

And stil standing...
February 01, 2023

Elton John has the highest-grossing tour of all time

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.

Getting hot in Sweden
February 01, 2023

The first! - Spotify has 200 million paid subscribers

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.

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.

Artificial Draketelligence
January 31, 2023

Fun: AI generator turns any subject into a Drake song is a funny little AI tool that allows users to create Drake songs inspired by customized or random subjects. The music generator created by 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.

Warner Music Group has announced Rhythm City - “a first-of-its-kind music-themed social roleplay experience” on kids gaming platform Roblox. The experience lets users choose from a variety of roles including music producer, DJ, dancer, and many more “to explore, dance, and bond with friends while enjoying the world’s hidden gems and competing in mini-music challenges”. It will be available on the Roblox platform on February 4, 2023, across Android, iOS, Mac, Windows PC, and Xbox One.

Singer and songwriter Jaafar Jackson is to portray his uncle Michael Jackson in the upcoming biopic 'Michael,' directed by Antoine Fuqua, Deadline reports. Lionsgate movie is expected to depict the complicated legacy of King of Pop, “including his most iconic performances that led him to become the greatest entertainer of all time.” The film is being made with the cooperation of the Michael Jackson estate. 'Michael' will be the first major film role for the 26-year-old Jaafar Jackson, the second-youngest son to songwriter, producer, and Jackson 5 member Jermaine Jackson, Michael Jackson's brother. John Logan, who wrote 'Gladiator,' 'Skyfall' and 'Spectre,' is penning the screenplay.

SZA’s SOS racks up a seventh consecutive week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart with 111,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending Jan. 26, Billboard reports. 'SOS' is also the first R&B/hip-hop album by a woman, or R&B album by any act, to spend its first seven weeks at No. 1 since Whitney Houston’s 'Whitney' in 1987. The last album by a woman with seven weeks at No. 1 was Taylor Swift’s 'Folklore', more than two years ago.

Barrett Strong, singer-songwriter, and a pivotal figure in the history of Motown, has died at the age of 81, the Associated Press reports. He sang the label's first major hit, 'Money (That's What I Want)', in 1959. Peaking at No 2 on the R&B singles chart and No 23 on the Hot 100, 'Money' came to define the early years of Motown, and was later recorded by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Strong went on to co-write classic songs like 'I Heard It Through the Grapevine', 'War' and 'Papa Was a Rollin' Stone'. Those hits were "revolutionary in sound and captured the spirit of the times", Motown founder Berry Gordy said in a written tribute to the musician.

A woman named as Jane Doe in court papers has accused Marilyn Manson — whose real name is Brian Warner — of sexually assaulting her when she was a minor, in a new lawsuit filed Monday in the Nassau County Supreme Court on Long Island, New York. The woman, alleges in the suit that when she was 16, she was invited onto Manson's tour bus after a 1995 show, where he "performed various acts of criminal sexual conduct upon Plaintiff", Rolling Stone reports.

Making waves in meta
January 30, 2023

K-pop group MAVE comes to metaverse

Virtual girl group MAVE debuted on metaverse with a video for their song 'Pandora’s Box', taken from an EP of thew same name. The four members of the K-pop group — MARTY, TYRA, ZENA, and SIU — were unveiled at the beginning of the year. The group has an eccentric fictional storyline that centers around the members coming from the future and crash landing on Earth, trying to find the freedom of emotions.

The song count
January 29, 2023

Slowthai shares frenetic new single 'Selfish'

UK rapper slowthai has shared his new single 'Selfish', and has announced his third studio album, UGLY (an acronym for “U Gotta Love Yourself”), set for release in March. The chaotic, propulsive 'Selfish' features strong drums and guitar. To promote the new track, Slowthai has live-streamed himself hanging out in a custom-built room fitted with floor-to-ceiling two-way mirrors. Watch the video of the track below.

Singer, songwriter, and guitar player for influential New York band Television, Tom Verlaine has died aged 73 after a "brief illness", the New York Times reports. Verlaine shaped the sound of rock and punk music in the 1970s and beyond, applying a poetic flair and serious musicianship to the rougher edges of the wider movement. After Television broke up in 1978, Verlaine embarked on an extensive solo career that saw him release ten albums across the ensuing decades, exploring a variety of musical themes that generally get tossed together under the label “post-punk. Television's first album 'Marquee Moon', released in 1977, is one of the most critically heralded punk/post-punk albums of all time.

Belgian Tomorrowland has been voted world’s No. 1 festival in the DJ Mag Top 100 Festivals poll 2022, with over 100,000 verified votes counted. "Since launching in 2005, Belgium's Tomorrowland festival has pushed the boundaries of production, imagination and curation", DJ Mag argues, adding "the flagship event expanded from two to three weekends in July 2022 for 'The Reflection of Love', welcoming 600,000 visitors from 200 countries, and hosted its Winter edition in L'Alpe d'Huez in France".

The top 10 festivals on DJ Mag's list are:

  1. Tomorrowland, Belgium
  2. Ultra Music Festival, USA
  3. EDC Las Vegas, USA
  4. Creamfields North, UK
  5. Exit, Serbia
  6. Glastonbury, UK
  7. Awakenings, Netherlands
  8. Coachella, USA
  9. Untold, Romania
  10. Sunburn, India

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