Torquil Campbell

"COVID-19 is only the most recent, and acute, setback for independent acts, some of whom have argued that streaming revenue alone doesn’t provide enough money to pay the bills. That reality, coupled with the loss of earnings from touring, has led... artists to turn to the centuries-old model of individual song commissions – and some are seeing substantial returns" - Billboard reports about artists writing songs directly for their fans. Seemingly, it's working out just fine - Torquil Campbell, co-lead singer/songwriter of the Montreal-based indie band Stars has this year received over 70 commissions for $1,000 each.

Arcade Fire have announced their new album 'WE', which deals in topics of isolation and human connection - the band’s sixth full-length is due out on May 6th. Arcade Fire set out to record an album in February 2020, but when the pandemic began, Win Butler and Régine Chassagne decided to write more songs - “It was the longest we’ve ever spent writing, uninterrupted, probably ever,” Butler said in a statement. The project was produced by Radiohead’s producer Nigel Godrich. They’ve shared the first single, 'The Lightning I, II' - listen to it below.

Spotify has struck a major four-year sponsorship agreement with Barcelona worth $310 million. MBW calculated that in order for an artist to generate $310 million in recorded music royalties on the Spotify platform – at $0.00348 per-stream average rate – they would need to rack up a gigantic 89.08 billion plays on the service. No artist in the history of Spotify has ever, across their entire catalog, attracted that many plays. The most cumulative streams ever recorded by a single artist on Spotify is Drake with 62.84 billion.

Classical music magazine tries to give a distinction between the musician and the country: "On the surface, there is nothing wrong with a Russian government-sanctioned celebration of a celebrated Russian composer. But nothing is superficial in Putin’s Russia. To uncritically hail Rachmaninov as an icon of Russian national culture erases the composer’s own complicated relationship with the land he left behind. It is desperately ironic that Rachmaninov’s experience–being held personally accountable for the actions of a government he despised–is being repeated with Russian artists who have no connection to their government, in the rush to condemn Putin’s horrific invasion of Ukraine".

Detroit proto-punk outfit MC5 has announced that a new album of original MC5 songs will be released in October via Ear Music, a full 51 years after the release of the band’s last album. The album is also set to feature contributions from Kesha, Tom Morello, Alejandro Escovedo, Jill Sobule, and Rise Against’s Tim McIlrath.

"Incorporating everything from Mayan flutes to medieval choirs to ancient Mediterranean pots, contemporary producers are looking to the past to help unlock the present"- Pitchfork writes introducing their piece about a new wave of electronic music. "Shuttling between avant-garde contexts and popular celebrations", this new wave is "a link to the past that refused to be stuck there".

'Heat Waves' by Glass Animals was released as a single on June 29, 2020, and in March 2022, this week, 'Heat Waves' hit #1 on Billboard's Hot 100 after a 59-week climb, by far the longest climb to #1 in Billboard history, Billboard reports. The funny thing is, it's an old song now - SOUNDSCAN will register it as a "catalog" transaction since it's older than 18 months.

Music theorist Adam Neely analyses the latest copyright infringement lawsuit which claims that Dua Lipa plagiarized reggae band Artikal Sound System's song 'Life Your Life' for her hit 'Plagiarized'. Neely goes a step back into history only to find Outkast's 'Rosa Parks'.

Van Magazine talked to four teenage musicians from the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine and their orchestral manager, Alexandra Zaytseva, about the situation on the ground and the small consolations of music in a state of high alert. Uliana (16) from Kyiv who plays viola, shared some sad thoughts: "I played my viola for five minutes yesterday. Just so that my instrument knows it’s OK. My viola was very out of tune; instruments feel. My viola is at home, under my bed. It’s very important to me. It might get damaged, because rockets have been hitting the higher floors of buildings".Give Kyin a chance

Universal Music Group saw its overall annual revenues across publishing, records, and merch hit €8.50 billion ($10.03 billion) last year, surpassing the USD $10 billion mark for the first time in history, Music Business Worldwide reports. That figure was up 17.0% year-over-year in constant currency. Also, Universal’s total revenues on a Euro basis in 2021 (€8.50bn) were more than double the size of UMG’s annua

Pitchfork looks beyond the news about video-games company taking over beloved music streaming service. "Epic’s history suggests a pattern of reinvention, with several major realignments of priorities based on the gaming industry’s prevailing winds. Bandcamp’s growth has been relatively slow and steady, and runs counter to mainstream business models by putting the needs of artists first".

Japanese digital pop-punk artist Haru Nemuri shared some interesting thoughts with Tune Glue. Here's one: "I really feel that music is vibration whenever I play shows than when I listen to music at home. It’s an experience where you feel the vibration through your body. It also changes how I take in rhythm, so even from my own responses, I think, oh, so it feels like this best for this kind of beat. The audience, people in Japan would ride the beat this way, but during my Europe tour, I learned people in Europe ride the beat another way. My approach to beats have really changed from looking at how people respond using their bodies".

Fortnite creator Epc Games buys Bandcamp

'Fortnite' company Epic Games buys Bandcamp

Epic Games, maker of hit video game 'Fortnite'' has acquired online music store Bandcamp, Stereogum reports. Previously, Epic acquired Harmonix, creator of Rock Band, pointing out at the time that they plan to "reimagine how music is experienced, created and distributed”. Ethan Diamond, CEO and co-founder of Bandcamp, said today that “Bandcamp’s mission is to help spread the healing power of music by building a community where artists thrive through the direct support of their fans".

Iconic artist and songwriter Neil Diamond has sold his song catalog as well as the rights to all recordings to Universal Music Group, MBW worldwide. The agreement encompasses hits such as 'Sweet Caroline', 'Red Red Wine', 'Solitary Man', 'Cracklin’ Rosie', 'Song Sung Blue', 'Love on the Rocks' and 'America', and the catalog also includes 110 unreleased tracks, an unreleased album and archival long form videos. Diamond has sold more than 130 million albums over the past half century.

Blue and yellow all over

Selection of Ukrainian music

Maria Sonevytsky explores on Twitter, the "rich and complex" history of Ukrainian music. She goes across the country and back for decades. An interesting selection which includes punk rock, reggae, folk music, klezmer and much more.

Mick Jagger and the Roots’ Questlove and Black Thought are to executively produce an upcoming four-part documentary about James Brown’s life and career, the Root reports. 'James Brown: Say It Loud' is a massive four-hour docuseries that celebrates the Godfather of Funk’s legacy. The series will feature both never-before-seen archival footage and interviews with friends, family, collaborators and more.

'Pierced Arrows' from Hurray for the Riff Raff's new album is just plain and simple a great pop rock song; rapper Denzel Curry meets drum’n’bass on ‘Zatoichi’; Yves Tumor shares an electro-rock song ‘Secrecy Is Incredibly Important To The Both of Them’, featuring a not-to-miss video; Florence + the Machine shares the first single from her fifth studio album, a ready-to-explode 'King' with yet another great video; Toro y Moi sail smooth and psychedelic on 'The Loop'.

The powerful force behind Screaming Trees who was also known for his work in Queens of the Stone Age and The Gutter Twins, the unique Mark Lanegan has died at the age of 57, the New York Times reports. Lanegan was a pioneer of the grunge scene, fronting Screaming Trees from 1985 until their breakup […]

It’s really good to be playing concerts again and seeing concerts again. Concerts are the new drug, seeing them around town. You don’t even need to get high anymore, it’s like, ‘wow, this feels almost unnatural and simultaneously so euphoric’. I saw Bob Dylan into Ween into Steve Gunn, I’ve seen a lot lately. I go out to all of them" - Kurt Vile told The New Cue about the "high" he gets from going to concerts. His new album (watch my moves) is out in April.

Kanye West claims that he had generated over $2 million in sales from his Stem Player device. He would be releasing his new album, 'Donda 2', exclusively via his Stem Player. A handheld circular device allows users to split the star’s music (or their own music) into stems, i.e. isolating drums, vocals, bass, samples etc. It also enables users to manipulate these stems / samples, and create loops from them – meaning that West's fans can use his recordings as the basis to create fresh tracks. Costing $200, it can be purchased through KanyeWest.com.

An interesting interview with the biggest new UK rapper Central Cee in The Face. ​Two of his thoughts: about online comments - “Like, I wake up every day, I step out on the roads and I never have any sort of altercation. There’s no animosity in my real life. So if there is any sort of negativity online, I just look at it from a level-headed point of view, like: ​‘What are they thinking?’. Most of them are creeps"; and about opportunity - “we’re in a growing state, though, we’re in the early stages to say the least. We’re in a good position because there’s a lot to do, and there’s certain people like me that [are] pushing down doors for people to do different things. For everyone”.

John Paul Jones appears in a new Playing for Change music video, performing Led Zeppelin's 'When the Levee Breaks' alongside 17 musicians from around the world, Rock and Roll Garage reports. The video features appearances from guitarists Derek Trucks and Buffalo Nichols, drummer Stephen Perkins, harmonica player Ben Lee, singer Susan Tedeschi, singer Elle Marja Eira, slide guitarist Keith Secola, vocalist Mihirangi and others. Playing For Change is a multimedia music project, featuring musicians and singers from across the globe, with the mission to connect the world through music. The song has so far generated $34,088, all funds will benefit charity partners of Peace Through Music, including Conservation International, American Rivers, WWF, Reverb and the Playing For Change Foundation.

"Nightclubs and music venues have been closed since March 2020, disco lights are banned, and DJs are prohibited from playing on 'raised podiums' or mixing tracks in case, god forbid, this encourages dancing" - Rave New World's Michelle Lhooq looks across the ocean into Singapore night-scene. She points out "the moratorium on partying feels like a morality-tinged repudiation on the value of electronic music culture: classical music concerts have returned, pop bangers blast at indoor spin classes, church choirs sing maskless, yet the country is still waiting for a tiny cadre of four or five top officials to decide when clubs can reopen".

"One of the things that annoys me most is what I like to call the Wiggly Air Fallacy, or the idea that music can be meaningfully reduced to just its sonic components. It's not true, it's a bad way of conceptualizing music" - 12tone writes, introducing his latest video. His point, in short, is - "all that information we gathered in the context layer shapes the emotional landscape we perceive, and that, not the vibration of air molecules, is what allows music to affect us so deeply". G

"Music isn’t just about fun: it can be about creating remarkable soundworlds of baroque pop fantasias, and this band are outstanding at those" - the Observer looks into the new Black Country, New Road album 'Ants from Up There'. Ian Cohen hears an emo album because "they spend every second reminding us of why we let ourselves get swept up in these beautifully doomed fantasies to begin with". Music OMH says it "sounds as though Black Country, New Road are less concerned with making a statement, more willing to let their songs unravel slowly instead of uncoiling with jack-in-the-box furore".

Last week Snoop Dogg released his twentieth studio album, 'B.O.D.R. (Bacc On Death Row', while also releasing the album on the blockchain through a partnership with blockchain gaming platform Gala Games, via his 'Stash Box' NFTs, sold on Gala’s new Gala Music store. Snoop Dogg’s NFTs are limited to 25,000 and each ‘box’, includes 1 of 17 songs from 'Bacc On Death Row'. Each box costs $5,000. On Wednesday there were 16 thousand NFTs remaining, and if that means that the other 9,000 have been sold at the asking price – then the NFT sale has generated at least $45 million. If all 25,000 sell out, Snoop Dogg’s Stash Box NFT’s will have generated total revenues of $125 million, MBW points out.

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"Recent rulings may herald a turning of the tide. It is hoped that the US appeal in Dark Horse and the UK court’s findings in Smith v Dryden and Sheeran v Chokri signal the end of a damaging, regressive culture of speculative claims over commonplace and, critically, much-loved musical elements" - lawyers Simon Goodbody and Mark Krais that represented Ed Sheeran in his recent copyright infringement bat

"When you enter into that space, try to be mindful of what's happening and pay attention and don't talk" - Big Thief's Adriane Lenker says in her recent Instagram video about the need for silence at concerts - "There is a real magic that happens when there is... actual silence."

Plenty of tamed sexuality and running in the latest Interpol and ††† (Crosses) videos. New York post punk band shared 'Something Changed' from their upcoming seventh studio album with a video showing a naked pair on the run from Interpol's own Paul Banks. “Reality and reverie converge and our two lead characters find themselves in a kind of dream state – being pursued inexorably by an ominous figure (played by myself.) The lives of the three are intertwined in a nebula of fear, retribution, desire, and defiance. I’m sure you could look at a psychoanalysis, in the context of a pandemic, why an artist who typically writes morose shit might go in a different direction” - Banks explained the narrative behind the video. ††† (Crosses) also go to explore sexuality in their latest video 'Protection'.

Drake has generated more U.S. on-demand streams in 2021 than the total number of pre-1980 records combine, according to Billboard. The Luminate numbers show that tracks from the ’50s to 1979 made up only 0.6% of streams last year, whereas Drake, whose first album came out 15 years ago, was responsible for 0.8% of all streams in 2021. Across the 988.154 billion U.S. streams from 2021, the catalog business made up 69.8% of the album consumption units in 2021, a 4.1% increase from 2020. Of that number, 90% of these units were from records relea

Trapital's Dan Runcie looks into the recent poor performance of Coi Leray's latest album, compared to his social media presence: "On most social media networks, it’s impossible to segment your followers into different categories. Are your fans there because they love your music? Or because they like you as a person? Or do they find your posts entertaining? Do they follow because they find you attractive? Or do they love the Shade Room-worthy posts you share and don’t want to miss the tea? For some artists, it’s all of those combined, but most of the time it’s not".

"Turning the volume down on a brutal metal riff feels almost sacrilegious, like it's disrespectful to the music to hear it at anything but full volume. But why? Many genres can be enjoyed perfectly fine at a nice, comfortably quiet level, but metal resists that, and metalheads reject those efforts. So what's going on? Why does metal only work when it's loud as hell?" - music theorist 12tone asks in his latest video. Watch it below!

"'Aethiopes' is a dense text full of bursts of language that demand serious thought and analysis. You could transcribe all of woods’ lyrics on the album and sell them as a poetry book, and on paper, they’d cut deeper than most of the (admittedly very little) poetry that I’ve forced myself to read over the years. But this isn’t homework. This is a rap record, and it’s a great one" - Stereogum writes reviewing billy woods' new album. "With Preservation behind the boards on every track, 'Aethiopes' skids across eras, countries, and cultures... A clear mid-career apex that shoves woods’ always outlandish style into territories further afield than ever before" - Pitchfork wrote.

Alexander Malofeev

The Walrus looks into the wave of cancelling shows by Russian artists in tbh West: "If they have any impact at all, the cancellations may play into the Russian regime’s narrative about the 'hostile' acts of the 'collective West'—a characterization of NATO that serves as a philosophical counterpoint, socioeconomic scapegoat, and Russophobic supervillain in Putin’s rhetoric. To the extent that the Kremlin is aware that there’s a little less Tchaikovsky being played or that a Russian kid isn’t touring, the cancellations are serving as confirmation that the West is waging a cultural war against Russia. But the impact on artists is potentially significant, not least because artists are already usually in a state of financial precarity. Undermining them professionally, silencing their work, and pressuring them to speak out against the war at their own risk not only fails to do anything to support Ukraine, it’s also unfair to the artists, many of whose work tends to be antiwar".

These days it might be harder than ever for young bands, and not only because of astronomical gas prices and rising food costs. The pandemic has been devastating for the live-music industry, for artists and behind-the-scenes workers alike. Many bands were forced off the road for much of the past two years; now that they’re back, they could test positive and be forced to cancel a string of tour dates - Rolling Stone reports on the issue.

A new David Bowie documentary 'Moonage Daydream', directed by Brett Morgen (best known for the Kurt Cobain doc, Montage of Heck) and the first Bowie doc to have the approval of the late musician’s estate, is set to screen at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival. The film is described as both a concert documentary and an “experimental cinematic odyssey” that will track Bowie’s life and career, delving into his work as a musician, but also his multidisciplinary approach to his craft. Ethan Coen’s doc, 'Jerry L

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