Halsey: Lessons into Art

Halsey is featured on a new episode of Autobiographies.

From recording a commercial jingle in a basement in New Jersey to selling out Madison Square Garden. In a personal conversation with VICE, Halsey talks about her childhood, growing up bi-racial and the time she spent in NYC that lead to a break that changed everything.

Heavy Metal and Natural Language Processing

A data scientist decided to look through 22,000 metal albums to find out what words are the most “metal.” Turns out “burn” is the most metal word. And then “cries,” “veins,” “eternity,” and “breathe.”

In the face of this complexity, it is not surprising that understanding natural language, in the same way humans do, with computers is still a unsolved problem. That said, there are an increasing number of techniques that have been developed to provide some insight into natural language. They tend to start by making simplifying assumptions about the data, and then using these assumptions convert the raw text into a more quantitative structure, like vectors or graphs. Once in this form, statistical or machine learning approaches can be leveraged to solve a whole range of problems.

I haven’t had much experience playing with natural language, so I decided to try out a few techniques on a dataset I scrapped from the internet: a set of heavy metal lyrics (and associated genres).

Why Politicians Can Get Away With Using Songs That Aren’t Approved

Chris Riotta, writing at Mic:

In the case of the RNC, as Billboard reported, the GOP had reportedly acquired a blanket license from the Broadcast Music Inc., a performing rights organization that collects licensing fees for artists to later distribute as royalties. This allows the Republican party to play virtually any work within the organization’s catalog — Queen included. Once a song is part of the BMI, the permissions are handled by that organization, not the artist. And because the BMI must adhere to anti-trust legislation, as Vox reports, the organization cannot discriminate as to who can or can’t use the song, or respect an artist’s requests to do so.

Rx Bandits Announce Anniversary Tour

RX Bandits have announced a 10-year anniversary tour celebrating the release of …And the Battle Begun.

We’re very excited to announce that we’ll be bringing you the full performance of the album. In correlation with this tour, Sargent House is celebrating the 10 years of this album as well as the 10 years of Sargent House by issuing a repress of the album on vinyl.

Tumblr to Introduce Ads Across All Blogs

Tumblr will be rolling out ads across their platform, and yes, on your blog, in the near future:

In addition, users can opt out of having ads displayed on their blogs by turning off on-blog advertising in the Settings. Yes: that means that ads on blogs will be the default – effectively allowing Tumblr to monetize its network of over 306 million blogs from 65 million users, unless those users take an explicit action to disable ads. Users will also be able to disable ads on a per-blog basis if they choose.

Tumblr says that ads will appear in three places, including the main page of the Tumblr blog if the blogger is using the default Optica theme for their blog, as well as on the slide-out section on the web, and on Tumblr’s mobile apps and mobile web.

Behind Blink-182’s Return to the Top of the Charts

Steve Baltin, writing for Forbes, details the release strategy behind Blink-182’s California after talking with the band, managers, radio, and label. It’s a little insider baseball at times, but there’s a lot of new information here:

“Our strategy really was kind of to give everything a little something,” he says. “That’s why we turned down an offer to window the record, cause we wanted the music to be accessible to the younger kids who listen to it on You Tube and Spotify and different places. We created ticketing tiers for our concerts so the core fans can buy the best seats in the house, but the young fans that might just be discovering the band can afford a ticket to the show also. That was our core strategy throughout this whole thing.”

Sorry in advance for linking to Forbes and their user hostile website.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Donations Lead to Significant Gene Discovery

The ALSA has reported that the donations received from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has led to a significant gene discovery:

According to a paper published today in Nature Genetics, researchers part of Project MinE’s global gene sequencing effort, funded by The ALS Association through ALS Ice Bucket Challenge donations, have identified a new ALS gene, NEK1, which now ranks among the most common genes that contribute to the disease, providing scientists with another potential target for therapy development. This was the largest-ever study of familial (inherited) ALS, involved contributions from over 80 researchers in 11 countries, and was led by John Landers, Ph.D., of University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Mass. and Jan Veldink, Ph.D., of University Medical Center Utrecht, in The Netherlands.

Meet the Las Vegans Who Designed Blink-182’s Tour Graphics

Mike Prevatt, writing for Las Vegas Weekly, details the artists behind Blink-182’s tour graphics:

After working on tours with Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Madonna, he formed live production design company NeonBlack with colleague Dominic Smith. Knowing Blink-182 needed a production company for its upcoming summer tour, the year-old NeonBlack designed a production/stage concept (which is its biggest yet), pitched it to the band and was hired as the trek’s show designer.

5 Things Songwriters Need to Know About the Consent Decree

Brian Penick, writing for Soundstr, details the “consent decree” and how it impacts songwriters and publishers:

While the music industry can seem glamorous, it does have its “unsexy” parts just like any other business sector. For songwriters, one of the least discussed (yet most important topics) is music licensing. But major changes to the consent decree – the federal agreement that governs how ASCAP and BMI operate – is bringing this topic to the surface.

The truth is, these changes could be the biggest in the music industry in 75 years and greatly impact your career.