Trapital's Dan Runcie looks for reasons for the Astroworld Fest tragedy which left eight people dead, and many injured:

  • "More police officers and security guards were needed in the crowd and at the front of the stage
  • Crowds could have been grouped into areas to better manage spacing
  • Astroworld had two stages. One where eight artists performed in succession, and the other where Travis Scott performed at the end. Travis’ super fans posted up at his stage up to eight hours before his 8:45pm start time
  • The last set before Travis ended 45 minutes before Travis started, which created a huge rush of people
  • Astroworld failed to 'spread the field' by having multiple headliners at the same time"

Runcie also has a few predictions: "In the future, we’ll likely see better-positioned security, medical staff, and police officers, and more care put into logistics and spacing. That will translate to higher costs, higher insurance premiums for future events, and higher ticket prices for consumers".

Banksy's hip-hop rat

"Almost since it first emerged on the streets of the Bronx, audiences have expected hip-hop to express a revolutionary purpose. But perhaps this music shouldn’t have to take a political stand" - music critic Kelefa Sanneh argues in his latest Guardian podcast about the expectations from hip-hop. "Rapping often makes people self-conscious" - Sanneh points out. Reads the text version here.

Adele's '30' was turned into manufacturers more than six months ago in order to combat the recent worldwide vinyl shortage — caused by unprecedented, pandemic-related demand, supply-chain disruptions and an increase in manufacturing prices — that has left many artists waiting months after an album's digital release for vinyl records - Variety reports on the curious case. Adele's choke-hold on the music industry meant she was able to book up already-overbooked vinyl plants in order to rush-order pressings so that they would arrive alongside '30''s digital release. Sony also made the decision to "push catalogue titles off its overseas pressing plants to ensure there won't be any shortage of Adele LPs going into the holidays". Over 500,000 copies of '30' were pressed and will now be hitting stores on November 19, while pressings from smaller artists and imprints — who often rely on vinyl sales in order to survive — are now delayed even further (some until 2022) in order to accommodate the blockbuster release.

"The creator economy is growing much more quickly than the music streaming economy right now, by multiple measures" - music/tech analyst Cherie Hu argues in her latest post. She continues: "For instance, while the number of audio creators on Spotify roughly doubled from 2018 to 2021, the overall number of creators using Stripe grew by 8x over the same time period. In terms of revenue, certain subsectors of the creator economy are growing as much as 8x faster as music streaming. According to Stripe, community platforms like Luma have seen a 150% increase in revenue year-over-year in 2021 — far outpacing the 25% year-over-year revenue growth that Spotify reported this quarter, and the 17% year-over-year growth that the IFPI last reported for the entire global music streaming market in 2020".

Ali Saffudin

"A new wave of Kashmiri musicians are giving voice to their reality, with artists like Ali Saffudin, Alif and Ramooz bringing rock into the fray. The hip-hop scene especially has seen tremendous growth in the last couple of years with the advent of rappers like Qafilah, Ahmer, SXR and the duo SOS (Straight Outta Srinagar), who sing about living in the shadow of violence" - the Independent looks into the new wave of protest music from the unstable region.

Andy Barker, the longtime member of Manchester electronic music group 808 State, has died at the age of 53, NME reports. The band confirmed the news on social media, saying he died “after a short period of illness”. 808 State achieved commercial success when their song 'Pacific State' was played on BBC Radio One. 808 State continued their music career by releasing five more studio LPs, collaborating with numerous artists like Guy Garvey, Bernard Sumner, James Dean Bradfield, and Björk. Adding to that, the group is also renowned for hits including 'In Yer Face', and 'The Only Rhyme That Bites'.

Ed Sheeran scores his fourth No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart as his latest studio album '=' bows atop the with 118,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. Album sales of '=' comprise 68,000, making it the top-selling album of the week, SEA units comprise 46,500 - equaling 61.69 million on-demand streams of the album’s songs, and TEA units comprise 3,500, Billboard reports.

Rolling Stone looks for the warning signs that showed what might happen, and what in the end did happen at the Nov. 5 Astroworld Festival in Houston’s NRG Park where eight people died. Travis Scott has a history of enticing fans to dangerous behavior - in 2017 he encouraged a fan to jump from a second-floor balcony at Terminal 5, in the summer of 2015 Chicago police arrested him after he urged fans to climb over barricades to go onstage at Lollapalooza. There were warning signs at the venue as well - at 2 p.m. on Nov. 5 fans stampeded by the dozens through a V.I.P. security entrance at Astroworld, knocking over metal detectors, which suggests they weren’t prepared for the kind of crowd they were going to get. NRG Park itself had just experienced what could have been a cue to beef up security: Outside the very same venue on the night of Oct. 24, less than two weeks before Astroworld, young fans of Playboi Carti also reportedly knocked over metal detectors and moved metal barriers outside the venue before the concert — which organizers canceled due to the chaos. Travis Scott and other organizers of the Astroworld music festival in Houston are already facing at least one lawsuit over Friday’s deadly crowd surge, filed by an injured concertgoer who called the incident a “predictable and preventable tragedy”, Billboard reports.

Terence “Astro” Wilson, longtime member and “toaster” in the British reggae band UB40, has died at the age of 64, Brookly Vegan reports. Wilson joined UB40 shortly after the band’s formation in late-1978; with the group, Astro served as their “toaster”, delivering spoken word or rap-style vocals over the band’s brand of reggae music. UB40 had the biggest hits with 'Red Red Wine', '(I Can't Help) Falling in Love With You', and 'Kingston Town'.

Latin American countries are the top consumers of music worldwide, by a wide margin, according to data culled from the IFPI's recently released "Engaging With Music" report, Billboard reports. In Mexico, people consume most music per capita - 25.7 hours per week, compared to an average of 18.4 hours per week across the globe. At No. 2 is Brazil, where fans listen to 25.4 hours of music per week. Finally, Argentina -- the third Latin American country included in the study -- is at No. 6, consuming 22.6 hours of music per week. It's not a new thing - these stats have remained relatively stable since IFPI began doing this particular research several years ago. The report surveyed music consumption habits of 43,000 people in 21 countries.

"Lesbian separatists and gay male misogynists might grumble, but most of us relish ABBA’s unmatched gender parity and equality. Being strong women and sensitive men who love and respect one another is central to the group’s alchemy as well as its enduring LGBTQ appeal" - LA Times argues in its article about how two Swedish hetero couples became gay icons.

At least eight people were killed and hundreds more injured Friday night following a crowd surge during Travis Scott’s set at the rapper’s Astroworld festival in Houston, CNN reports. More than 300 people were treated for injuries following the incident, with 23 people taken to area hospitals, 11 in critical condition, including a 10-year-old boy. The incident occurred around 9 p.m. during Scott’s set, with the crowd compressing toward the stage, causing “total chaos,” KHOU reported. Scott’s set at the sold-out festival was streamed live on Apple Music. Scott briefly paused his performance as ambulances streamed into the venue, with the concert being ultimately stopped by organizers and authorities. The Saturday lineup of the two-day festival was also canceled.

World’s largest concert promoter, Live Nation returned to profit last quarter after about two years of losses, citing the return of summer shows following Covid-19 lockdowns, Bloomberg reports. Adjusted operating income amounted to $305.7 million in the third quarter, rebounding from a $319.2 million loss a year earlier. Revenue soared to $2.7 billion.

Actor and musician Fred Armisen showed off his musical impersonations of alternative music from bands from the beginning of the 1970s to the 2000s on Jimmy Fallon. Funny stuff...

PinkPantheress / Horsegirl / Bruiser Wolf

Stereogum picks out 40 musicians "that make us most excited about the future", which includes Bruiser Wolf, Olivia Rodrigo, Enumclaw, For Your Health, Indigo de Souza, Horsegirl, Mustafa, PinkPantheress among others. The criteria is that "all of them are doing something worth hearing right now, and deserve to have your ears on them going forward". Check out the full list.

Tommy Lee

Flavor Flav, Riff Raff, Ne-Yo, Vic Mensa, Mötley Crüe's Tommy Lee, Sean Kingston, Randy Jackson and many more are among 184 musicians that can currently be found on Cameo, a website offering personalized videos. Musicians, actors, models, reality stars and YouTubers greet their fans by their name, and maybe even throw in a couple of personal touches, like their birth date or favorite food. The clips are usually gifted for special occasions, like a birthday, engagement, job promotion for a price ranging anywhere from $5 to $999. Billboard reports on it.

Rolling Stone covers the story of R&B and disco star Johnnie Taylor whose family claims Sony hasn’t been transparent with royalty payments for his music. Music royalty manager Tim Langridge gives a simple albeit shocking explanation: "Nobody knows royalties; even people [who work in] royalties don’t understand it”. The system, he says, is “so convoluted and crazy so artists don’t understand it. Of course heirs don’t understand it, and most people in the music business don’t even understand it”.

Music Business Worldwide is pretty much impressed by the latest YouTube revenue numbers: the world’s largest video platform generated $7.205 billion in revenues from advertising in Q3 this year, up 43%, or by over $2 billion, year-on-year versus the same quarter of 2020. In the first nine months of this year, YouTube generated $20.21 billion from advertising, more than it generated from ads in the entirety of both 2020 ($19.77bn) and 2019 ($15.15bn). To put that in perspective - in 2019, the global record industry generated $20.2 billion in global wholesale revenues. In 2020, it generated $21.6 billion.

Jazz guitarist Pat Martino, revered for the fluid precision and blistering speed of his playing died on Monday at the age of 77. In 1980, after undergoing neurosurgery that saved his life, he was forced to relearn the instrument. Regardless of the setting, Martino played the guitar with an intensity of focus and impeccable clarity at even the most dizzying pace, NPR insists.

Lola Young

Vevo has unveiled its 2022 DSCVR Artists To Watch list, featuring 21 exciting new artists in the US, UK, Europe and beyond. The Vevo list which has in the past spotlighted the likes of Billie Eilish, Lewis Capaldi and Sam Smith early in their careers. MBW presents this year's cohort:

  • Andy Rivera
  • ArrDee
  • Brray
  • Chiiild
  • Clinton Kane
  • Enny
  • EST Gee
  • Grip
  • JAWNY
  • Jessica Winter
  • Lola Young
  • Mimi Webb
  • Nija
  • Pip Millett
  • Poupie
  • Ronisia
  • Sen Senra
  • Seori
  • Serious Klein
  • Wet Leg
  • Willie Jones

Elbow's new record 'Flying Dream 1' features ten ruminative, lushly-orchestrated ballads with intimate and melancholic sound. Band's frontman Guy Garvey walked to The New Cue about it: "I think that’s probably the case with a lot of bands that do both, that do drama as well as subtle. I think subtler music is easier to work on and doesn’t require energy. In some ways, it’s like having a warm bath". Garvey also describes the process of writing that album: "When everyone in my house was asleep at the end of every day, the relief was, as you can imagine, just fucking tangible every single day. I’d go to the back door, spark up a fag, pour myself a large one and listen to what the lads had sent. It was a proper lifeline".

"Many instruments have defined many musical movements over the years, but there's one that's played a pivotal role in almost every one: The human voice" - 12tone introduces his latest video. "The way a singer uses their voice is one of the clearest ways of shaping a musical identity. Despite its clear significance, though, or perhaps because of it, the voice is notoriously hard to analyze" - the music theorist tries anyway.

Tori Amos ran down the songs and albums that formed the contours of her life, at Pitchfork. Plenty of different music - Aphex Twin ("coming from a brain that thinks differently than the rest of us"), Radiohead ("It was this explosion that changed the terrain sonically"), Mary Hopkin ("the most beautiful, whimsical thing"), Adele ("like a meteor had crashed in through the atmosphere"), Tracy Chapman ("It woke me up and took me back to my 5-year-old self, who was creating from a pure place of intention of music being magic, as a place where we could walk into and feel many different things").

Radiohead have shared 'Follow Me Around', one of the more anticipated tracks featured on their new archival collection, 'KID A MNESIA'. The 'OK Computer'-era song has popped up in various forms since its initial composition in 1997, but today marks the first time a proper studio version has been released. Radiohead have also premiered a video for the song starring actor Guy Pearce.

A few interesting questions answered by the music theorist Adam Neely in his latest video post:

Is Adele’s Easy on me microtonal?

Who is the better bass player, Homer Simpson or Adam Neely?

How to prioritize creativity over theory?

What’s a spread triad?

"Paul McCartney is not an easy man to impress, but a little over four hours into the 2021 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony — which saw surprise appearances from Dave Chappelle, Eminem, and Jennifer Lopez, along with incredible performances by Taylor Swift, LL Cool J, Carole King, Jennifer Hudson, Christina Aguilera and the Go-Go’s — he genuinely seemed a little awestruck when he stepped onto the stage to induct the Foo Fighters" - Rolling Stone starts its piece about last night's Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Read it in full - here.

Great Bill Maher on words-redefining: "The words 'victim' and 'survivor' have traveled a long way from their original usage. The baby from the Nirvana album says he's a victim. He's suing Nirvana for lifelong damages. I never thought I'd have to say this to a baby, but stop being such a fucking baby. You're not a victim. There's no reason you can't have a normal, happy life just because people look at you and think, 'baby penis'".

An interesting conversation with Patti Smith in the Guardian. She isn't really optimistic about the current times: “It’s a terrible epidemic in the 21st century, and it got magnified in the period that Trump was elected and it’s really gone viral. These are the most complex times, partly because of social media and misinformation. Everything becomes a political question. People wouldn’t even get vaccines or wear masks because it became a political stance … and then they get sick and really regret that they didn’t take the time or it didn’t open their mind to the situation. I don’t know what the answer is, except that we just have to fight for what is right”. Still, she loves being alive now: "I’ve lived so many lives, and they were all good. I can look back and see what I’ve gained, how I’ve evolved. Whether it was sorrowful times or turbulent times, they all formed me. So what’s my favourite period? Right now. I’m alive”.

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Sounding History is a podcast about the global history of music with a twist. Hosts, music historians Tom Irvine and Chris Smith explore sonic impacts of the extraction of resources from the Earth’s environment. Instead of narrating music history as a story about performers, composers, and works, they explore how extraction economy, and the historical processes that came with it, such as settler colonialism, enslavement, and environmental destruction made the world of sound we live in today. In the latest episode they discuss water canals and energy cables and the connection between the two. Their goal is a music history for a new era: the Anthropocene, the age of human-generated climate change.

"Cancel your Dec. 5 performance in Saudi Arabia. This is a unique opportunity to send a powerful message to the world that your name and talent will not be used to restore the reputation of a regime that kills its critics" - Hatize Cengiz, fiance of the late journalist and Washington Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi, wrote in an open letter to Justin Bieber. "Do not sing for the murderers of my beloved Jamal. Please speak out and condemn his killer, Mohammed bin Salman. Your voice will be heard by millions. If you refuse to be a pawn of MBS, your message will be loud and clear: I do not perform for dictators. I choose justice and freedom over money".

Adele had a simple request when it came to her new album, ’30’: listen to the songs in the order she presented them. The British superstar’s wish was heard by Spotify when the music streaming giant agreed to remove its default shuffle feature which plays songs in random order, NPR reports. It expanded beyond Adele - a quick review by Gizmodo of other artists’ albums (Ed Sheeran, BTS, Blackpink, Taylor Swift) on the platform also found that the shuffle option was gone and that albums were played in order by default. The shuffle option could however be activated in the platform player.

Inspired by the tragedy at the Astroworld, where nine fans died, Slate remembers huge 1960s festivals Woodstock and Altamont where fans also died due to poor organizing and places being overcrowded. The black highpoint of the 1970s arena rock came in 1969 at the The Who concert at Riverfront Coliseum where 11 fans died. When punk came, it brought its own DIY-ethos, much smaller venues, and the podium where "orchestrated chaos" of pogo-dancing seemed dangerous, whereas actually "watch-your-peers" rule made everyone much safer. A great point, Slate!

Party and drugs connoisseur Michelle Lhooq talked to Jon Hopkins - who produced his last album 'Music For Psychedelic Therapy' while on drugs in a cave in Ecuador - about how do you make music on ketamine, how do you translate music from plants, why DMT elves love synths, why we might be on the precipice of a new genre of music. He talks to Lhooq about his creative process - "In order to write this record, I would go into the psychedelic space every few weeks to experience it, usually through ketamine... There's a lot of weird stuff that happens when you enter into the zone—you switch from thinking you're the creator to realizing you’re a channel".

The 70-minute documentary 'Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson', directed by Jodi Gomes, paints a portrait both of Jackson’s remarkable career prior to that moment, as well as the cultural forces which made one “wardrobe malfunction” into a lighting bolt of controversy. "I think one of the running themes of the whole entire film is body image and the use of body image and the actual control of one’s agency and control of one’s image" - director Jodi Gomes says to Consequence. She sees a big irony in it too: "Showing how she’s been subjected to body imaging from a very young age, and then all of a sudden, flash forward 34 years later to when she’s on the Super Bowl stage, and that very thing is used against her".

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