Our previous record had come out not that long ago, and it really wasn’t on any of our minds to sit down and write another record so quickly. I just think seeing the xenophobia with the way that Trump was talking about asylum seekers in Central America and Mexico, obviously with the separation of the children from their parents [and] keeping children in prisons and cages and the religious discrimination with the Muslim ban caused it all to snowball to the point where the songs were starting to be written. We just felt like when we look back on history, we wanted people to know during this time where we stood and that we didn’t just stay silent. And we also wanted an opportunity to write our own future, you know? Our record is not just a criticism of Donald Trump, although it’s definitely that, but we also try to offer a lot of optimism with the record. When we organize against these things that are obviously crimes against humanity and crimes against our planet, we can write to share them, and we can point things in a positive direction. So when you look at our songs like “Unbreakable” or “20/20 Vision,” you know that “20/20 Vision” is a song about where we could go. And it’s a very different direction than the current administration.
Anne Steele, writing for the Wall Street Journal:
U.S. music streams on services like Spotify Technology AB, Apple Music and YouTube rose 30% last year to top one trillion for the first time, according to Nielsen Music’s annual report, fueled by big releases from artists like Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish and Post Malone.
Streaming services have upended how people listen to and pay for music, and now account for 82% of music consumption in the U.S., according to Nielsen. Sales of physical albums, meanwhile, dropped off 19% in 2019 and now make up just 9% of overall music consumption.
Amy X. Wang, writing for Rolling Stone:
In the five years since a court ruled that “Blurred Lines” infringed on Marvin Gaye’s 1977 “Got to Give It Up,” demanding that Thicke and Williams fork over $5 million to the Gaye estate for straying too close to the older song’s “vibe,” the once-sleepy realm of music copyright law has turned into a minefield. Chart-topping musicians have been slapped with infringement lawsuits like never before, and stars like Ed Sheeran and Katy Perry are being asked to pay millions in cases that have many experts scratching their heads. Across genres, artists are putting out new music with the same question in the backs of their minds: Will this song get me sued?
Lucas Keller — the founder of music management company Milk and Honey, which represents writers and producers who’ve worked with everyone from Alessia Cara and Carrie Underwood to 5 Seconds of Summer and Muse — recently began encouraging all his songwriter clients to purchase errors-and-omissions insurance, which protects creative professionals from legal challenges to their intellectual property.
Cool system we got here.
Searchlight Pictures has closed a deal with Ford v Ferrari helmer James Mangold to direct Timothée Chalamet as the young Bob Dylan, during the period when he was poised to become folk music’s most seminal figure. When Dylan instead embraced rock ‘n’ roll and traded his acoustic guitar for an amp and an electric guitar, it created a huge outcry. And it cemented the status of rock music. Jeff Rosen, his longtime manager, is working on Dylan’s behalf actively with Searchlight and Mangold on the film, which the studio said is untitled but has been referred to around town as Going Electric.
Ben Sisario sat down with Jimmy Iovine to talk about the state of the music industry and technology and there’s quite a few interesting nuggets in there:
If I were still at Interscope, here are the things I’d be worried about. I’d be worried that I don’t have a direct relationship with my consumer. The artists and the streaming platforms do.
I’d be worried that an artist like Drake or Billie Eilish streams more than the entire decade of the 1980s, according to the information I’ve seen from labels and streaming services. I’d also be worried that the streaming services aren’t making enough money, because that can jackknife.
If I were still running Interscope, I would be signing artists and encouraging them. Right now there are a lot of people running around saying, “What’s making noise on TikTok?”
That’s fine. But I’m more encouraged by the people who are saying, “Whoa, this artist has something to say. I’m going to support them, because I believe that in the end they’re going to win, and that will make all of us win.”
Aric Toler, writing at Bellingcat:
The first and most important piece of advice on this topic cannot be stressed enough: Google reverse image search isn’t very good.
As of this guide’s publication date, the undisputed leader of reverse image search is the Russian site Yandex. After Yandex, the runners-up are Microsoft’s Bing and Google. A fourth service that could also be used in investigations is TinEye, but this site specializes in intellectual property violations and looks for exact duplicates of images.
8tracks has had a long run and its day in the sun. We’re sad to announce, however, that the company and its streaming service will wind down with the end of the decade, on December 31st, 2019.
We have mixed feelings as we round out this decade and the life of 8tracks. We served many listeners and DJs well, at important times in their lives, for more than a decade, introducing adventurous listeners to new artists they may never have otherwise discovered, and for that we’re proud. On the other hand, we recognize we’ve disappointed many listeners and DJs, employees, investors and partners. We all wish we’d had the opportunity to continue to innovate in the music sector and serve our community and other stakeholders well, just as we had in our earlier years.
Look, without The Used, I don’t think we’d be talking. The Used were definitely the catalyst that started my career as a producer. Goldfinger had a pretty good run, but we never did become Green Day. Ultimately, the Used are the one band that I knew I could help as a songwriter and as someone who can both arrange music and record music, I knew I could help them. So it is awesome to have come around full circle. There were years that went by where I thought, “Why wouldn’t I have done a label when I first discovered the Used?” [all] those years ago instead of signing them to Warner [Records]. Everything happens for a reason: I don’t look back and think, “Goddamn it, what I should’ve done was…” I always look forward. What’s next?
The House of Representatives on Wednesday impeached President Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, making him the third president in history to be charged with committing high crimes and misdemeanors and face removal by the Senate.
While it’s improbable that he will be removed from office as long as the Senate is headed by a craven lunatic, this is still a historical moment.
Just shy of 25 years since its last original installment, the offbeat comic strip “The Far Side” has returned. In a manner of speaking, but please don’t call it a comeback.
“I’m not ‘back,’ at least in the sense I think you’re asking,” said Gary Larson, the cartoonist who created it, via email last week ahead of a website revival. “Returning to the world of deadlines isn’t exactly on my to-do list.”
Beginning Tuesday, the “Far Side” site will provide visitors with “The Daily Dose,” a random selection of past cartoons, along with a weekly set of strips arranged by theme. There will also be a look at doodles from the sketchbooks of Larson, who said: “I’m looking forward to slipping in some new things every so often.” (Previously, there was no content on the site.)
Finally, I also concede I’m a little exhausted. Trying to exert some control over my cartoons has always been an uphill slog, and I’ve sometimes wondered if my absence from the web may have inadvertently fueled someone’s belief my cartoons were up for grabs. They’re not. But it’s always been inherently awkward to chase down a Far Side–festooned website when the person behind it is often simply a fan. (Although not everyone is quite so uncomplicated in their motives; my cartoons have been taken and used to help sell everything from doughnuts to rodent control. At least I offer range.) So I’m hopeful this official website will help temper the impulses of the infringement-inclined. Please, whoever you are, taketh down my cartoons and let this website become your place to stop by for a smile, a laugh, or a good ol’ fashioned recoiling. And I won’t have to release the Krakencow.
Well, it’s unrecognizable, I’d say. It’s changed forms quite a drastic amount. For instance, there are no fast songs on this record. There are no double-time beats on this record. We haven’t made a punk record at all. I wasn’t inspired to do that. It didn’t seem relevant to be doing that at this exact point for us. So, when things are punk here, it’s in a more aggressive delivery, perhaps, rather than a double-time beat. I feel like we were using that as a crutch sometimes when we were writing. Listening back to the other records, I’m very proud of them, but I felt like every time we started trying to make something that was a little bit more challenging, we would deliver it, but then we would immediately feel like we’d need to do a standard punk song to make up for the fact that we had done something that was challenging our listeners. I just don’t want to do that anymore. I want to make a record that’s exactly in the image of these challenging ideas.
Video and audio data from YouTube, along with visual plays from several music streaming services, will soon be factored into the Billboard 200 albums chart, it was announced on Friday. In addition to YouTube, officially licensed video content plays from Apple, Spotify, Tidal and Vevo will be included in the album chart’s calculations.
The inclusion of video data into the Billboard 200 arrives five years after audio streams were added, marking the chart’s shift from a measure of pure sales to a consumption model. The addition of video will also impact Billboard’s genre album consumption charts, such as Country, R&B/Hip-Hop, Latin and others.
After launching our best of the decade feature yesterday, Craig Manning took to his blog to write about his top 200 favorite albums of the 2010s; because he’s a mad man. It’s a great walk back through the decade, and it made me realize I forgot to put Yellowcard’s Southern Air on my list because I’m an idiot.
You have summers all your life, but you only have summers when you’re young. If you grew up in a place where summer was the season you lived for, then you know what I’m talking about. Sticking out the grueling winters with the knowledge that hot, sunny days would surely come again. Counting down the weeks in the spring, waiting for that first day when the temperature went above 50 so you could roll down your windows, crank the volume, and pretend it was already July. Making every waking minute of every August day and night count, because you knew Labor Day was coming way too soon. More than maybe any other band, Yellowcard understood what made a summer a summer. Songs like “Ocean Avenue” and “Miles Apart” defined a certain brand of beachside pop-punk that sounded perfect on teenage mixtapes traded during summer flings. Southern Air was the pinnacle of that sound, and the end of it. Because you can only have summers when you’re young, and we all have to grow up eventually.
“You realize, like, lives are literally being destroyed. Whether it’s LGBTQ people seeing their suicide rates going up in that community — you’ve seen obviously what’s happening with undocumented people with kids being put in concentration camps, so, it goes on and on,” Sane says when voicing his frustration and dismay with how the United States is currently operating under Trump’s administration.
The thing I learned from repeated teenage listening to London Calling — something that held true through my 20s and remains true as I listen to it on my turntable as I write today — is that it is one of the exceedingly-rare examples of a perfect record. (I’ve already recounted my first experience with the perfect physicality of the record, which cannot be overstated; it is something that I obsess over in both creating and purchasing records to this day.) Even if you want to make the argument, as one almost always should with any double-record, that there is some filler somewhere — that filler comes maybe 13 to 15 tracks into the record. By today’s standards, putting that many tracks on a record without filler is a borderline impossible task.
Colin Stutz, writing at Billboard:
Moving forward, in order for an album sale to be counted as part of a merchandise/album bundle, all the items in the bundle must also be available for purchase concurrently and individually on the same website. In addition, the merchandise item sold on its own will have to be priced lower than the bundle which includes both the merchandise and the album. Further, merchandise bundles can only be sold in an artist’s official direct-to-consumer web store and not via third-party sites.
Kat Bein, writing at Billboard:
Rock, rap and electronic music will each get their own special episode. Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz and Patrick Stump will represent for rock with a taping on Dec. 9. Anderson .Paak will come through for rap to tape on Dec. 9 as well, while Diplo will have his electronic taping on Dec. 10.
These tapings are public and fans of each act are encouraged to fill the stands, so register to attend your favorite of the shows (or all three) at priceisright.com.
Benjamin Mayo, writing at 9to5Mac:
Apple Music is now partnering with businesses to play music at retail stores. In a partnership with PlayNetwork, businesses can sign up to Apple Music for Business plans and get licensed music to be played in their retail locations with Apple providing human-curated playlists and even custom recommendations matched to the individual store brand.
Sarah Perez, writing at TechCrunch:
With Apple Music Replay, subscribers will get a playlist of their top songs from 2019, plus playlists for every year you’ve subscribed to Apple Music, retroactively. These can be added to your Apple Music Library, so you can stream them at any time, even when offline. Like any playlist, your Apple Music Replay can also be shared with others, allowing you to compare top songs with friends, for example, or post to social media.
Here’s mine for 2019. Looks about right.