YouTube has just announced its milestone of reaching two billion music users on the platform, MusicAlly reports. In mid-2018 YouTube had one billion users, by the end of 2019 the number rose to 1,2 billion, and in the year of the lockdown it climbed sharply to today's two billion. Speaking in terms of money, Google is now the second largest global payer of music royalties, with $5.2 billion across free and paid as well as masters and publishing (Spotify takes the top spot). In 2019, YouTube generated $15.2 billion in ad revenue with $4 billion of that music related.

Where's Springsteen's 'Born in the USA'?!?

Barack Obama shares his presidential playlist

Beyonce, Eminem, Stevie Wonder, U2, and others have found a place on the former American president Barack Obama's playlist. The playlist features "some memorable songs from my administration", like Jay-Z's 'My First Song', Bob Dylan's 'The Times They Are a-Changin'', Sade's 'Cherish a Day'...

Galaxie 500

Stereogum explores the power of Spotify, similar to TikTok's, describing the lives of two relatively obscure indie-rock songs from the 1980s and 1990s. Pavement's 'Harness Your Hopes' was three-decade-old b-side before it became number one on Pavement’s Spotify page, ending up with over 28 million plays to date. Another one in Galaxie 500's 'Strange' which was a song from a long-overlooked album track, and ended up as the most popular Galaxie 500 song on Spotify. How did this happen? Mostly, thanks to Spotify's Autoplay feature which cues up music that “resembles” what the listener has been listening to previously.

The European music sector supports two million jobs and contributes €81.9 billion gross value added annually to the GDPs of the 27 European Union member countries and the U.K., a new Oxford Economics study has found. It also found that the music sector exported €9.7 billion worth of goods and services to countries outside the EU and the U.K., Variety reports. Music sector generated €31 billion in tax receipts in the EU and U.K. in 2018, which is 19.4% of the entire EU budget in the same year.

Take me down to the Ro Blox road

33 millions views of Lil Nas X's Roblox show

Lil Nas X performed four virtual shows in two days in the video game Roblox, attracting 33 million views, The Verge reports. The identical shows starred a motion-captured incarnation of Lil Nas X, styled to fit in with a world that shifted to match each of the four songs he performed. It's big numbers for Lil Nas X, but a huge one for Robloxgetting into the same league with Fortnite - it hosted a performance from Travis Scott early this year that drew 45.8 million viewers across five shows.

Cloud Nothings

Bandcamp Live will allow artists to set up ticketed live-stream performances, with the online shows integrated within the Bandcamp ecosystem, with a virtual “merch table”, and real-time chat. 80-85% of ticket sales will go directly to the artist, and the company has announced it will waive its fees on tickets until March 31, 2021, meaning 100% of ticket sales will go to artists until then, Bandcamp announced. Bandcamp live-streams have already begun with a gig by David Allred, and artists like Cloud Nothings, Liv.e, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Madison McFerrin, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Hatchie, and Pedro the Lion have already confirmed future shows on Bandcamp Live.

Dolly Parton donated $1 million to biotechnology company Moderna based out of Cambridge, Massachusetts to help them fund research for Covid-19 vaccine, which they recently announced as finished, Guardian reports. Parton heard about the project last spring through her friend Dr. Naji Abumrad from Vanderbilt University who treated her after a car accident. Vanderbilt’s research subsequently played a key role in developing Moderna’s vaccine.

Blood From The Soul is an industrial-metal/hardcore-punk supergroup featuring Napalm Death, Converge, Megadeth, Nasum members, and 'DSM-50' is their first album in 27 years. "The whole story behind this album seems almost too good to be true on paper", Brooklyn Vegan argues, adding "but once you click play you'll see that it's very true, and indeed very good". Listen to the full album on Bandcamp.

A lovely story in Brooklyn Vegan about New York bassist Philippe Arman from metal and rock bands SOMNURI and The Advertisers, who became a subject of a viral video. He was waiting for the subway in Brooklyn, and while he was sitting on a bench, 24-year-old Bronx artist Devon Rodriguez made a portrait of him. Rodriguez then posted a video of his sketches in progress on his Instagram which ended up getting over five million views after being featured on Instagram REELS. Philippe reached out to Devon and asked to purchase the original drawing. The pair met on Bleecker St. in Manhattan where Devon gifted him the artwork (watch that video here).

Some labels' bosses are better than other labels' bosses

Morrissey dropped by BMG, they want "diversity"

Morrissey has been dropped by his label BMG, because, as Morrissey Central reports, the new executive "has announced new plans for 'diversity' within BMG's artist roster, and all projected BMG Morrissey releases/reissues have been scrapped". Morrissey commented that "this news is perfectly in keeping with the relentless galvanic horror of 2020. We would be critically insane to expect anything positive". Morrissey has been involved in several controversies lately involving his far-right remarks.

The luxurious nature of rap music could be a factor in the increase in support for Donald Trump among Black male voters - Barack Obama suggested in The Atlantic interview. "People are writing about the fact that Trump increased his support among Black men, and the occasional rapper who supported Trump” he said, adding - "I have to remind myself that if you listen to rap music, it’s all about the bling, the women, the money. A lot of rap videos are using the same measures of what it means to be successful as Donald Trump is. Everything is gold-plated. That insinuates itself and seeps into the culture”. Election polls saw an estimated 20% of Black men voted for Trump this year, two percentage points higher than the 18% who voted for him in 2016.

Investment fund Shamrock Holdings has purchased the rights to Taylor Swift's first six albums from Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings, marking the second time in 17 months that ownership over her early recordings has changed hands, Variety reports. The deal of record label Big Machine's resale is thought to be worth somewhere in the region of $300-$400 million. Shamrock Capital, which now owns Swift's first six albums, is a private equity firm originally set up by the Disney family. Swift isn't happy with this deal either, since Scooter Braun will maintain some control of her recordings. Swift signed a deal with Big Machine in 2004 granting them ownership of the master recordings to her first six albums in exchange for a cash advance to kick-start her career. Ownership of masters means the owner controls what can be done with the original recording of a song or album, from re-releases and box sets to making it available for use in an advert or on a streaming platform. Swift, as the writer or co-writer of her music, still owns the publishing rights, which means she has the power to veto some of the owner's attempts to exploit her recordings.

Almost all record labels producing classical music CDs today require artists to pay them, as companies are unlikely to earn enough profit on sales to cover their costs - Van magazine reports on the shift of responsibility. Big artists also don't get their CDs for free anymore. Costs range from about $6,000 to release with a small label, to up to $70,000 for a recording with a major label. Artists still want their music on a CD, for applications, networking, press, and to record their careers...

Some of the bands picked up by Stereogum for their best of new bands of the year list:

Dogleg - cathartic high-octane emo-punk

Anjimile - like Tracy Chapman attempting Sufjan Stevens songs and ending up with something startlingly unique

Porridge Radio - wistful melodies, raw self-reflections

Backxwash - a refreshingly new texture in the rap landscape

Sault - a tapestry of Black art and Black experience across time and borders

Bartees Strange - nobody sounds like him, and nobody could...

A funny story in the Guardian about UK's Relentless Records, a home to children's song, as well as some UK drill. In, 2018 Relentless' founder Shabs Jobanputr signed a deal to distribute 'Baby Shark', a children’s song that recently became the most viewed video ever on YouTube with 7.04bn views. The Baby Shark deal has proved a money-spinner for Relentless, and it has "given us a platform to do other things. It gives us more flexibility to take a few more risks with things like Headie One”, Jobanputra said.

The sound and experimental music BBC unit, Radiophonic Workshop is preparing to make history with a musical project that will make the internet a musical instrument. A performance of their composition 'Latency' is inspired by lockdown Zoom calls and the delay that appears, which they will extend into several seconds. Instead of trying to play at the same time, which they can't due to latency, the Radiophonic Workshop will play one after another, in sequence, rather than in parallel, as RW's Bob Earland says to Guardian - “The sound gets sent to someone, and they add to it, and it keeps going round". The performance is on 22 November on YouTube, the day before the anniversary of the first transmission of 'Doctor Who' theme song in 1963 which is also Delia Derbyshire Day, in honour of the Radiophonic Workshop’s leading light, who created the sound of the show’s famous theme tune.

The iconic music store chain Tower Records that closed its doors nearly 14 years ago, has returned as an online service last Friday. The new Tower Records has plenty of music on sale already, including vinyl, cassettes, and CDs. They also have a merchandise section, online events, and a digitized version of their original Tower Pulse! magazine. Tower Records was founded in Sacramento, California in 1960, and it quickly grew in popularity for its enormous catalog, in-the-know staff, and famous clientele. In 2006 they were forced to file for bankruptcy and liquidation due to dwindling sales.

Buffalo rapper and Griselda member Benny the Butcher was shot in the leg at a Walmart in Houston, Texas on Saturday during an attempted robbery, TMZ reports. The New York rapper was visiting a local Walmart with a couple of friends, and while they were in their car in the lot, a car with 5 guys inside pulled up next to them and whipped out guns demanding their chains. One of the five fired a round into Benny's leg, which caused the crooks to flee. The Houston shooting happened the same day that Baton Rouge rapper Boosie Badazz was shot in the leg in Dallas, where Boosie was visiting to pay his respects to his Dallas-based collaborator Mo3, who was shot and killed in his hometown on Wednesday, TMZ reports.

UK music magazine Uncut has released its list of best albums of 2020, with a variety of albums on the expansive list, including Laura Marling, Tamikrest, Fiona Apple, Moses Boyd, Phoebe Bridgers, Jason Isbell, JARV IS..., Haim, etc. The top 20 spots: 20. Bruce Springsteen - 'Letter To You'
19. Brigid Mae Power - 'Head Above The Water'
18. Frazey Ford - 'U kin B the Sun'
17. SAULT - 'UNTITLED (Black Is)'
16. Stephen Malkmus - 'Traditional Techniques'
15. Fontaines D.C. - 'A Hero's Death'
14. Courtney Marie Andrews - 'Old Flowers'
13. Tame Impala - 'The Slow Rush'
12. Moses Boyd - 'Dark Matter'
11. Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit - 'Reunions'
10. Laura Marling - 'Song For Our Daughter'
9. Shirley Collins - 'Heart's Ease''
8. JARV... IS - 'Beyond the Pale'
7. Bill Callahan - 'Gold Record'
6. Waxahatchee - 'Saint Cloud'
5. Thundercat - 'It Is What It Is'
4. Drive-By Truckers - 'The New OK'
3. Phoebe Bridgers - 'Punisher'
2. Fleet Foxes - 'Shore'
1. Bob Dylan - 'Rough and Rowdy Ways'

Late rapper King Von’s latest album 'Welcome to O’Block' surges to the No. 5 spot in its second chart week at Billboard 200, following the rapper’s death on Nov. 6 in a shoot-out at his album release party in Atlanta. 26-year-old's debut album earned 44,000 equivalent album units in the week. Ariana Grande holds on to the No. 1 spot with her 'Positions' earning 82,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in the week ending Nov. 12 (down 53%).

Young Welsh folk guitar virtuoso Gwenifer Raymond "tries to invent a new style: Welsh primitive infused with folk horror", Guardian writes about their latest choice for Folk Album of the Month. With a PhD in astrophysics and a day job programming video games on one side, Raymond says her folk music is influenced by the countryside, but had to record her new album 'Strange Lights over Garth Mountain' locked down in her basement during the pandemic.

Mariah Carey's 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' returned to Spotify's Top 40 last Sunday - a full two weeks earlier than three years ago, and it also reappeared on the iTunes chart on 2 November, BBC reports. Behind her in the Spotify chart are six more Christmas songs, including The Pogues' 'Fairytale of New York' and Michael Bublé's 'It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas'. However, listeners in countries like Estonia and Iceland started shuffling their Christmas playlists in October, and in the Philippines as early as - September.

Israeli company Noveto Systems has invented a new product named SoundBeamer 1.0 that can beam music directly into the listener's head, without the use of earbuds or brain implants. It reportedly works by creating a personal sound bubble for the user with 3D audio of their choosing, be it from an album, movie, or video game, while filtering in the natural sounds already occurring around them, AP reports. The company promises surround-sound experiencing of proper audio.

I come from down in the valley, where, mister, when you're young, they bring you up to do like your daddy done...

Sons of Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, and Stone Temple Pilots formed a band Suspect208

Suspect208 boasts 20-year-old Noah Weiland on lead vocals (son of late Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland), 16-year-old Tye Trujillo on bass (son of Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo), and 18-year-old London Hudson on drums (son of Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash). The quartet is rounded out by guitarist Niko Tsangaris, Blabbermouth reports. The boys play hard rock.

Kylie Minogue has become the first female artist to have a number one album in the UK in five separate decades, next to boys such as Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Paul Weller and David Gilmour. Her new album, 'Disco', topped the charts with 55,000 sales, making for the best opening week of any new release in 2020 so far, the UK Official Charts reports. It is her eighth number one, meaning she has overtaken Elton John, Cliff Richard and George Michael in the all-time chart leaderboard. Minogue's chart-topper was made in the middle of the lockdown, with the star forced to buy recording equipment and learn computer software so she could record her vocals at home.

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Craig Brown has won the Baillie Gifford prize, top British award for nonfiction, for his book 'One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time', a mix of history, diaries, autobiography, fan letters, interviews, lists and charts, Daily Mail reports. BG judges say it is “a joyous, irreverent, insightful celebration of the Beatles, a highly original take on familiar territory... a profound book about success and failure which won the unanimous support of our judges. Craig Brown has reinvented the art of biography”.


For the first time since its inception in 2012, the nominees for best rock performance at this year's Grammys are all-female or female-fronted: Fiona Apple, Big Thief, Phoebe Bridgers, Haim, Brittany Howard, and Grace Potter. Women also dominated the best country album category - it is the first time it has had five albums helmed in whole or in part by women: Little Big Town, Ingrid Andress, Brandy Clark, Miranda Lambert, and Ashley McBryde, Variety reports. And yet another precedent - South Korean megastars BTS became the first K-pop act to receive a Grammy nomination. The boy band’s latest hit single, 'Dynamite', is competing in the best pop duo/group performance category, CNN reports.

Subversive Capital Acquisition company has acquired two California-based cannabis brands and named Jay-Z as the resulting holding company’s chief visionary officer, Marijuana Business Daily reports. Subversive Capital is acquiring the direct-to-consumer cannabis platform and brand Caliva as well as Left Coast Ventures, a cannabis and hemp producer, with investment from Roc Nation artists Rihanna, Yo Gotti, and Meek Mill. The deal makes Jay-Z the biggest music player in the California cannabis industry, worth $3 billion a year.

"Strange things happen every day, but in my life, few things have been as beautifully strange as the inherited repercussions—father to daughter, cotton field to city streets—of seeing, hearing, and being forever changed by the godmother of soul, Sister Rosetta Tharpe" - Rosanne 'The Daughter' Cash wrote in Oxford American about the iconic blues pioneer.

Illegal raves are now flourishing in the UK, with hundreds of events taking place over the last few weekends, Dazed reports from illegal British podiums. These raves started in rural Britain during the summer, and moved to urban areas when it became cold, into warehouses of companies closed due to Covid-19. VICE wrote there were three types of raves: established unlicensed parties, set up by an experienced crew and with safety measures in place; established free parties at which the community self-polices, including returning to clean up afterwards; ‘moneygrab’ parties advertised online with the aim of making money. The police are slapping them with £10,000 fines, while the locals from Welsh village of Banwen went viral for their laidback attitude, which saw them make cups of tea for the ravers.

Beyoncé scored nine nominations for the Grammys, including song and record of the year bids with 'Black Parade', as well as best R&B song and best R&B performance, CBS reports. Beyoncé's 'Black Is King' film that highlighted Black art, music, history and fashion is up for best music film while 'Brown Skin Girl', a song dedicated to dark- and brown-skinned women, is nominated for best music video. Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa and Roddy Ricch earned six nominations each. Check out the complete nominees list - here.

China’s two biggest streaming platform operators, Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) and NetEase Cloud Music, are battling for the DIY artist market. According to Music Business Worldwide, Tencent Music had paid 590 million yuan (over $84m) to date to indie artists using its ‘Tencent Musician’ program, as well as offered services such as music publishing, marketing, copyright management and professional training. Tencent's biggest rival in China, NetEase Cloud Music was, in October 2020, home to music from over 200,000 Chinese independent musicians – representing 100% year-on-year growth in volume terms. In similar news, several streaming platforms under the umbrella of Tencent - QQ Music, Kugou, and Kuwo, as well as WeSing, a karaoke application - are offering micropayments from fans to artists, which make a big difference; top creators on WeSing pocket more than $7,000 per month in tips alone, Slate reports.

SoundCloud has achieved its first ever profitable quarter in Q3 this year, Music Business Worldwide reports. Also, SoundCloud posted €147.6 million in revenues in calendar 2019, up 37% year-over-year, which made for annual operating losses in 2019 narrowing significantly - down 28% to €23.8m from €32.9m in 2018. Some more good news - Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music currently have circa 70 million tracks on each of their platforms, SoundCloud now plays host to over 250 million tracks.

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