Some very interesting thoughts by Feist in The New Cue interview, about her upcoming new album 'Multitudes'.

About lyrics: "No matter what I intended, people will interpret it through their own life experience and through their own lens. Even for myself, I can sing a song that I wrote 20 years ago and sometimes I get this sort of funhouse mirror thing where I’m like, ‘Whoa, that’s not what I thought it was!’ When the songs are open enough containers, even I can read them as an entirely different thing."

About being an entertainer: "People like that feeling, of having these declarations made from a brightly-lit podium. Through human history there’s been storytelling by the fire, the pyramid with the priest on top, or whatever version of a lot of people looking at one person it is. It’s weird that it’s now entertainment, but I’ve never comfortably fitted in that spotlight, or felt that I could shapeshift into that."

About becoming a parent: "In terms of motivation for these songs, a dimension in me opened so deeply that actually I didn’t care about songs anymore. I cared about how to survive. I don’t mean how to survive my daughter, but as a friend said to me, there’s an incineration in becoming a mother. You’re incinerated but the person that rises from among the ashes is a more interesting person to be for the rest of your life. It’s sort of a trade-off, you’re willing to lose everything to gain something more."

Seymour Stein, the legendary New York music executive who signed Madonna, Talking Heads, Lou Reed, The Ramones and co-founded Sire Records, has died at the age of 80, Billboard reports. Stein set up Sire in 1966 and became a key figure in the punk, new wave and pop scenes, also introducing UK acts like The Smiths, Fleetwood Mac, Depeche Mode, Seal, The Cure and Madness to the US. Stein got into the music industry at the age of just 13 in the 1950s working in the industry paper Billboard, only to become one of the most successful talent spotters in the business - his other signings included Ice-T, The Pretenders, KD Lang and Richard Hell & the Voidoids.

"Every song on 'The Record' might not knock you on your ass, but the cumulative effect is really something" - Stereogum points out in their Premature Evaluation of Boygenius' debut album. They probably don't like being called a "supergroup", and certainly, Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus "sound less like three individual solo artists working together, more like one cohesive whole." Pitchfork gave it 8.2 grade, tagged it Best new music saying how each author "amplifies the other’s songwriting, enriches the detail, and heightens the emotion."

Avantgarde electronic producer Katie Gately released her new album 'Fawn / Brute' today, including the stand-out track 'Tame'. It builds on the fantastic and dark foundations of her sound, adding the cynical touch of the saxophone. It's big-sounding, and theatrical, yet easy to absorb.

Thailand has recently legalized marijuana, so Michelle Lhooq, the drug & parties expert had to go visit, with her parents! Small weeds shops have opened all over the place in recent months, but they just might soon get endangered. Hugely popular US weed brand Cookies opened its first dispensary in Bangkok in January, and there are fears the market will soon be dominated by foreign companies that will put small mom-and-pops out of business. Lhooq points out that the current legal uncertainty around Thai cannabis has prevented international interests from entering the scene, however, companies like Cookies are paving the way for a franchise model where US brands team up with local partners to sell name-brand weed.

"We are waving goodbye to the first 100 years of the music business (from music halls, to radio, MTV and download stores) and racing into what will drive the next 100" - Conrad Withey of the indie-artist service Instrumental, writes in his op-ed for the MBW. He also shares 9 ideas a "modern, data-driven record label founder may want to embrace to free them from the shackles of the past:

No more expensive music videos

No more risky deal

Lower music production costs

No more stressful playlist meetings or New Music Friday-obsession

No more wasted, speculative marketing spend

No expensive office space

No more A&R scouts on your payroll

Don’t worry about reviews

You don’t need to offer an artist tour support – and they certainly don’t need to sign a 360 deal"

Derveni papyrus

Music writer Ted Gioia shares an extract from his new book where he's looking for the beginnings of music research: "Musicology originated as the study of magical incantations... From the beginnings of human history magic was embedded in songs. The most powerful magic is always sung or chanted... That was even true for the oldest hunter-gatherer tribes. We know that because the magical images on the cave walls are always located in spots with the best acoustics... The oldest book in Europe, Derveni papyrus... is actually a musicology text... Conductor’s baton was initially a magic wand... And we’ve encountered similar magical underpinnings to music in hundreds of other places, from shamans in Siberia to the lore of Celtic bards".

Melbourne punk band Private Function are releasing the world’s ever urine-filled vinyl, Kill Your Stereo reports. Their third album ‘370HSSV 0773H’ is out today on Still On Top Records, with 50 copies on vinyl will be “a liquid disc full of our piss”.  Each member of the band donated their urine. Afterwards, the process of pressing the vinyl involved finding a “bacterial solution to kill the piss, otherwise it expands and could break open the records". All 50 copies of the “gold” version of ‘370HSSV 0773H’ have been sold out, and are expected to reach purchasers in “a month or so”.

Norwegian label Smalltown Supersound has released a deeply eclectic selection of music over the last 20 years, including ambient, jazz, disco, noise, drone and dub. The names on SST go from "smalltown" to internationally renowned - Norwegian dark ambient master Deathprod, Todd Rundgren made a collaborative record with Norwegian producers Emil Nikolaisen and Lindstrøm, Sonic Youth, Neneh Cherry, Kelly Lee Owens... Their incoming compilation 'Remix Anthology Vol. 1​-​4 2002​-​2022' - deliberately sidesteps some of their most popular releases to focus on the breadth and depth of their output, Bandcamp Daily points out.

Keith Reid with the band, far right

Keith Reid, who wrote the lyrics for 'A Whiter Shade of Pale' and about 100 subsequent songs by the British prog rock band Procol Harum, died March 23 at a hospital in London, at the age of 76, Guardian reports. 'A Whiter Shade of Pale,' Procol Harum’s first song and its greatest popular success by far, was issued in May 1967, at the beginning of what would later be remembered as the 'Summer of Love'. The group’s albums were much admired for their mixture of classical and blues elements, including songs such as Homburg', and 'Conquistador'. Reid, as a lyricist, was in an unusual position in the band as a full-time non-performing member.

Great words by Chris Cohen in GQ about Apple Music Classical, the newly launched Apple service dedicated to, obviously, classical music. "I have been endlessly frustrated with how the big streaming platforms (Spotify, in my case) handle classical music. And after playing around with it for a day, I am ready to issue a snap judgment: Assuming you don’t already have a Lydia Tár-scale collection of rare Decca LPs, Apple Music Classical is the best way to immediately listen and learn... Tthe success of the app hinges on solving a boring, technical problem: metadata. Pop music relies on just a few variables to identify a piece of music: artist, album, song. In the classical world, more pieces of data matter, like the composer, the conductor, the performer, or the dates of composition, recording, and release... A usable classical streaming service needs to figure out how to display all of that information, and make it searchable". That's what Apple Music Classical has done.

Nadya Tolokonnikova of the artist-activist collective Pussy Riot has been added to the Russian Interior Ministry’s database, which claimed Tolokonnikova faced criminal charges. However, in a somewhat Kafkian manner, the Moscow authority didn't specify what those charges are. Tolokonnikova believes the charges relate to her art, the AP reports. Tolokonnikova reportedly lives in the U.S., but she is still a Russian citizen and did not seek refugee status.

Decential shares an interesting outtake from the latest Water & Music academy on global music rights: "To be fully licensed a startup would have to speak to about 150 entities and spend between $500,000 to $750,000 in legal fees. And being licensed then means you have to pass about 85 percent of your revenue straight to the rightsholders – one of the reasons Spotify has such slim margins. So unless you’re a massive platform with a savvy team, there’s not much you can do to disrupt entrenched power dynamics". “Music innovation only stays innovative until they start to touch rights and licensing, Is it any wonder that the last great innovation was Spotify?” - Dan Fowler, director of Open Source Projects at HIFI Labs and author of newsletter Liminal Spaces, said. The solution the academy has offered? Web3.

Iconic French electronic music producer Laurent Garnier has shared his new song 'Tales from the Real World', featuring vocals of late Suicide co-founder Alan Vega. It will be released on his new full-length, '33 Tours Et Puis S'en Vont', his “most dancefloor-focused yet.” The album is coming out May 25. Garnier announced he will be taking a step back from the heavy touring.

"I always had an affinity for the lower end of things and I liked the physically intimidating and challenging nature of the instrument. It was mano-a-mano, the physical representation of the object versus your body. It was more symmetrical in terms of the instrument’s stature and weight. I liked the freedom of exploration acoustically it gives you with the deeper, longer and wider tube. It gives you much more of a breadth and depth of frequency to play with" - Colin Stetson says in The Quietus interviewThe long road about his instrument of choice - the bass saxophone. He is about to release his new single, ‘When We Were That What Wept For The Sea’, celebrating the life of his father.

Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou, an Ethiopian nun who became known for her captivating piano compositions, has passed away in Jerusalem, where she’d lived in a monastery since 1984. She was 99 years old, Fana Broadcasting reports. As a young girl, she studied music in Switzerland and Egypt. Despite being unable to continue her formal music education, she composed, drawing from the church canon as well as popular Western genres such as the blues and ragtime to create her own singular style — a light, airy sound that was nevertheless capable of conveying intense emotion. She began releasing her first music officially in 1967, always donating the proceeds to charity.

Ugandan MPs have approved an anti-LGBTQ+ bill which recommends heavy sentences – including the death penalty – for acts of homosexuality in a country where it is already illegal, Guardian reports. The underground electronic music scene in the capital Kampala has flourished in the past decade, becoming a safe space for members of the east and central African LGBTQ+ community. The London paper talked to several Ugandans from the capital affected by the incoming law change.

Spotify's much-hyped AI “DJ” is now available in the US, serving up recommendations in six distinct ways, Medium reports. It's these:

1. Based on recent listening

2. From your past - not sure yet how they quantify the past

3. Recommended for you - based on recommendations coming from controversial technologies like “discovery mode”

4. Throwbacks - focused on catalog music

5. Editors’ picks - recommendations currently highlighted by Spotify’s artist and marketing teams

6. Trending music - a brand new mode that appears to cater to gen-z style records that are growing in popularity on Tiktok and Reels

Apple’s new app for classical music, Apple Music Classical, is now available for download for everyone, but you need an Apple Music subscription (it is not available in select countries at launch). There are more than 5 million tracks available on the app right now, as well over 50+ million data points with data attributes of 20,000+ composers, 115,000+ unique works, and 350,000+ movements. App’s specialized search engine helps you comb through the archive, Apple announced.

hundreds of tech, science, and academic leaders – have signed an open letter simply titled “Pause Giant AI Experiments”, calling on all AI labs around the world “to immediately pause for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4”. In their open letter signatories write: “AI systems with human-competitive intelligence can pose profound risks to society and humanity". Those who’ve signed the letter include Elon Musk (CEO of SpaceX, Twitter, and Tesla, also the co-founder of OpenAI, creators of GPT-4), the co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak, Evan Sharp, the co-founder of Pinterest, three team members at Alphabet/Google‘s experimental AI hub, DeepMind: Victoria Krakovna (DeepMind, Research Scientist, co-founder of Future of Life Institute); Zachary Kenton, (DeepMind, Senior Research Scientist); and Ramana Kumar, DeepMind, Research Scientist.

South Korean label Kakao Entertainment has launched a new four-member virtual K-Pop girl group called MAVE in January. The members Siu, Zena, Tyra, and Marty are presented as human-like avatars with natural-looking movements and facial expressions. They speak Korean, English, French and Bahasa, although they are not able to respond to prompts and only rely on scripts prepared by humans. MAVE's debut single 'Pandora' was released just two months ago and has also already generated over 20 million streams on Spotify alone, Reuters reports. The music video for the track has already racked up more than 20 million views on YouTube and they also have over 172,000 subscribers on the platform.

Impressive numbers shared by MBW about the vast amount of songs being released on streaming services each day, and especially in the last three years. An average of 98,500 separate music files are distributed daily to streaming services (based on the numbers for the period of September 1 – October 18, 2022). However, just 4% or 3,940 tracks of those 98,500 average daily track uploads were distributed by the three majors, whereas the rest of 96% or 94,500 tracks were distributed by independent labels and, mainly, by self-releasing/DIY artists via platforms like DistroKid, TuneCore, CD Baby, and UnitedMasters. Another astonishing piece of data shared by Luminate - 91 million tracks of the 196 million audio and video music tracks on digital services today were released in 2020, 2021, or 2022, meaning in the pandemic or post-pandemic era.

"Smart but chaotic, funny but disturbing – 'Scaring the Hoes' is a confounding victory" - Alexis Petridis points out about the collaborative album by New York’s Jpegmafia and Detroit’s Danny Brown. "The end result is the dictionary definition of not for everybody... It’s music that you don’t listen to so much as allow yourself to be overwhelmed by. Once you do, it becomes curiously addictive." Pitchfork says the album is "a vehicle for the duo’s irreverent humor and energy that captures a pair of spitballing pranksters who nevertheless maintain perfect GPAs."

"Tickets today cost two to three times as much as inflation-adjusted tickets from a few decades ago" - Wren Graves argues in his excellent Consequence text about where the live music industry is heading. "This is hardly the first period of human history with great wealth inequality, but it’s one of the first times that the middle-class and 1% are competing over the same seats... There are only so many seats and many more people who wish to sit in them. In this environment, what does a fair ticket price even look like?".

A great point by Matty Karas in today's newsletter about music being illegal, and weapons legal: "In Tennessee, it will be illegal as of April 1 for male or female impersonators to perform in the presence of children or within 1,000 feet or schools, parks or places of worship. This would include, for example, any male Dolly Parton impersonator who 'appeals to a prurient interest,' as plenty of the Tennessee country queen’s songs do... It’s legal, on the other hand, for most people over the age of 21 to open-carry handguns without a permit almost anywhere in Tennessee".

"Private gigs is an underreported yet booming business that has had great breakdowns. The more I look at the trends though, the more I believe that these gigs say a lot about where music is heading" - Trapital's Dan Runcie points out in his latest memo. While he does approve of the idea, Runcie believes that "for musicians, there’s less correlation than ever between 'who pays me the most' and 'who loves me the most'".


100% renewable power, veggie food, upcycling workshop, outlawed single-use plastics, organic food, wooden stages, recycling stations, biodegradable crockery, electric fleets, low-impact solar-powered lighting, chemical-free compost loos, water-saving vacuum toilets, mobile solar-power stations, waste-separation points, and many more eco-friendly schemes are featured in sustainable festivals in the EU and the UK. Guardian selects 10 prominent ones, Pohoda, Isle of Wight, and Terraforma among others.

In the 14th century BC in the ancient Syrian city of Ugarit several tablets were inscribed with cuneiform signs in the hurrian language. Archaeologists unearthed these clay tablets in the 1950s, and they turned out to be the oldest known piece of music ever discovered, a 3,400-year-old cult hymn. Richard Fink points out that this piece of music also confirms a theory that “the 7-note diatonic scale, as well as harmony, existed 3,400 years ago.” Open History reminds about the discovery.

"Whatever the environment, dance is about joy. No one dances and feels rubbish after – unless, maybe, you’ve slipped over onto your arse. But go to any club night worth its merit and you’ll be confronted with people from all walks of life. And that is the dancefloor at its most powerful" - The Face presents Emma Warren's new book, 'Dance Your Way Home: A Journey Through the Dancefloor'. It "places direct emphasis on movement. It’s not all about clubs; it’s about dancing as a primal need." The author writer “there’s evidence that shows when people move in synchrony together, they rate each other more highly, after swinging their arms about together in the same way. That obviously has an effect on relationships between people who experience the world differently.”

"Today almost every aspect of music-making, from composition to curation, is getting handed off to machines. But 60 years ago, just teaching a computer to sing for 30 seconds was a technological marvel" - music writer Ted Gioia goes to the roots of AI-assembled music. It was  IBM's 7094 computer that was taught how to sing in 1961.

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Berlin-based saxophonist Bendik Giske is releasing his third album in June, and has shared the teaser song 'Rush' from it. He uses physicality, vulnerability and endurance as his tools of expression, with a change of approach on his new release, produced by Beatrice Dillon. On the new self-titled album he puts greater focus on rhythm, yet the melody, judging by 'Rush', is still there.

Chartmetric researched data about Spotify genres trying to learn more about the relative power of major and indie catalogs on the streaming platform, as well as about recommendations across the most prominent music niches and communities. What they have found out is that majors hold a vast share of the music market thanks to the evergreen catalogs and the "passive" market share that comes with it. "However, if we move away from these 'golden' genres, independent players will often carry more power than the majors. And when it comes to emerging genre spaces, such as underground hip hop and viral rap, things can get uniquely independent—one might even say self-released".

A great interview in Billboard with former The Rapture frontman, who now lives in New York, and works as a life coach, and enjoys it very much. “As a singer and songwriter you get very narcissistic, and you get up on stage, and everyone validates that through applause and large amounts of money and meeting other celebrities and fancy meals around the world. So, being a coach is actually very healing, because it is the polar opposite of that.” What are his credentials for the job? "I have a long, successful marriage. I’m a good parent. I have gotten over massive childhood dysfunction, sexual abuse, multiple suicides in my family, drug addiction in my family, my own addictions, on and on. That’s my business car."

Andy Chatterley of MUSO, a London-headquartered technology firm providing anti-piracy services and market analytics for music companies, discusses the hot topic of the recent "fake Drake" song that appeared on streaming platforms, only to be soon taken down from them.

He's got a few questions about it:

  • "How can we be certain the ‘fake Drake’ track is AI and not a canny marketing tool?
  • If this is indeed AI, [and] if musicians and/or content creators are being used as source data for an AI model, should they be compensated?
  • How do you prove, as a creator, that your work has been used as source material for AI?
  • Who owns the AI in any given case?
  • How do you sue something that has no name, no social security number and no company number?
  • Do you sue the prompt engineer who inputs the command to make the track?"

An amazing story by Ted Gioia, who has discovered, with a little help from other music lovers, a song that has over 50 different titles, and over 50 different writers credits attributed to it on Spotify. There were other instances of the same phenomena on other streaming platforms, with other songs as well (mostly short and lousy). What's going on? "Spotify may be working to switch listeners from songs released by major labels to generative music, which could be licensed at low royalty rates or even purchased as a work-for-hire. Under this scenario, a streaming platform could lower its costs substantially, and improve profitability—but with the result of less money paid to flesh-and-blood musicians."

A great video by the touring musician Adam Neely who brings out the pain and stress of having to give away a precious instrument to airline workers and just hope it'll come safe and sound to the destination. Neely gives advice on how to try and protect it, and how to talk to flight attendants in order to have the instrument treated as hand luggage.

People engaged in making music are at a higher risk for mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety, according to researchers at Frankfurt’s Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics. Results of the study suggest there is an overlap between inherited genetic variants associated with a tendency to make music, and those that increase the risk for mental illness. Van Magazine talked to Laura Wesseldijk, one of the authors of the study, herself a musician too.

"For all its ostensible simplicity, techno is a genre with a complicated history that can mutate and shift depending on whom you’re talking to" - The New Yorker looks into the origins of techno music. The author finds the first threads both in Detroit and Frankfurt, however, it points out that many techno pioneers feel that Black and queer artists in Detroit have been overlooked at the recently opened Museum of Modern Electronic Music (MOMEM) in Frankfurt’s Hauptwache square,

Understanding a mockingbird

Soundfly: Why do birds (actually) sing?

Online music school Soundfly shares an interesting article about birds' singing and why they do it. Soundfly is looking for reasons for the beautiful bird habit, such as trying to draw attention, communicating, avoiding troubles, or just having pure fun.

The MusicREDEF newsletter author shares his thoughts on the latest developments regarding A.I., trying to keep up with the subject: "I can imagine 'a future where Drake licenses his voice, and gets royalties or the rights to songs from anyone who uses it.' But I'm not looking forward to that future, and I’m all for resisting it. I want a future where artists freely use AI (as much or as little as they choose), not a future where AI freely uses artists."

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