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The Future of Apple Music

Zane Lowe talked with Wired about the future of Apple Music:

There’s also the matter of how livestreams fit into the picture. After events with Shawn Mendes, French rap group PNL and Tyler the Creator, who did a live performance of his album IGOR, streamed on Apple Music the night before it came out, Lowe says “live music is definitely on the horizon” for the service. It’s all part of the team’s bid to “eventise” – his word – album launches. In the case of Tyler the Creator, “fans can tune in, then after watching it maybe you go to the album.”

When it comes to someone like Billie Eilish, who now has her own Beats 1 show, the Apple Music team realised that their pre-adds, which allow users to register their interest in an album before it’s out, had made people more invested in her March 2019 album When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

New Interview With The Menzingers

Greg Barnett of The Menzingers talked with Atwood Magazine about the band’s upcoming album:

Absolutely. I don’t think in this kind of climate, you can not go full in with it. I think we’d be doing a disservice to the song and how we all feel if we didn’t fully go in and make a statement. That was one of the most difficult parts of writing that songs. I wrote like 20 verses-I can’t even count. We wrote them over and over again, because it’s hard to say everything you want to say in three and a half minutes. It’s really tricky. I wanted to stay on theme of who I am as a person. I didn’t want it to come off as pretentious. I wanted it to feel how I typically write songs. It was a challenge to hone in the lyrics to a way that I felt comfortable with and happy with and said as much as I wanted to say. At the end, I was really happy.

Green Day Team Up With NHL

Green Day have teamed up with the NHL:

The league is announcing a two-year partnership with Green Day that includes an opening song for NBC Sports’ “Wednesday Night Hockey.” The song, “Ready, Fire, Aim” isn’t custom-made for the NHL and will be on Green Day’s next album, though it’s likely a matter of time until Green Day or another band follows what Hank Williams Jr. and later Carrie Underwood did for the NFL.

Concord Music Buys Victory Records

Ed Christman, writing for Billboard:

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but Billboard estimates that the Victory company had $4.5 million-$5 million a year in revenue and further estimates that Concord paid somewhere in the range of $27 million-$34 million for the Victory company. […]

The Victory catalog will go under Concord’s Craft Recordings catalog team and “to the extent that we put out new albums from existing artists, Fearless is the most likely home” to market such albums, Salm says.

Meanwhile, Victory’s 30-person staff will remain employed by Brummel, who sources say has a “limited” non-compete clause that will allow him to pursue opportunities in the music business going forward, if he so chooses. The staff will work on Brummel’s other businesses which includes a third-party merch business, plus some real estate and other investments. Also, they will be involved in assisting with on-boarding Victory’s catalog and royalty payments onto Concord’s platform over the next few months.

Jim Adkins Talks New Jimmy Eat World Album

Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World talked with Rocksound about the band’s upcoming album:

For me, what I felt was something interesting to explore was how every moment of your existence you have a choice between continuing what you’re doing, and doing something different. There is always resistance in doing something new. If you feel anxiety or depression or general dissatisfaction in whatever your personal condition is like, it’s really strange that there’s still resistance to deviating from that. To explore that, you really have to come to a present choice – that’s the difference between existing and truly living. Like I say in the song, ‘You can survive but not exactly live’. It’s like anything would be better than what I’m doing right now, but I’m too afraid to change it. It’s not a natural response for us to change

What Does Blink-182 Want to Say?

Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 talks with Vogue about the band’s new album:

For their new material, the group asked themselves one question: What do we have to say about the world today? “The world is in a really strange place right now,” lead singer Hoppus tells Vogue. “This record is about being a human being in 2019: the joy, fear, and anxiety of it.” He’s not wrong. From a U.S. president who’s more corrupt than ever to technology making us all feel disconnected and sad (“people are growing distant from one another,” Hoppus says), the daily headlines can be, well, a tad overwhelming; on Nine, Blink-182 use music to cope with it all.

The iOS 13 Bible

Federico Viticci’s incredibly detailed review of iOS 13 was released today:

Amidst a deluge of new features and design updates, iOS 13, more than its predecessors, makes clear that Apple doesn’t consider iOS just an operating system anymore: it’s the platform upon which the company can build other experiences. In a way, the modern iOS is to Apple devices what Mac OS X was to the original iPhone: a stable technological foundation, ready to be taken in new directions.

No one is writing more in-depth and helpful reviews of iOS and iPadOS these days. And I don’t say that just because there’s some really good bookmarks and screen shots in the Safari section.

Amazon Music Launching Lossless Streaming Tier

Amazon Music is rolling out a new lossless streaming tier.

Amazon is launching a new tier of its music service today, dubbed Amazon Music HD. It offers lossless versions of audio files for streaming or downloading at a price that aggressively undercuts Tidal, the main competition for this kind of audio. Amazon will charge $14.99 a month for the HD tier, or $12.99 if you’re an Amazon Prime customer. Tidal’s Hi-Fi plan costs $19.99 monthly. The new plan was rumored a few months ago.

Sum 41 to Play ‘Chuck’ in Full on Upcoming Tour

Deryck Whibley of Sum 41 talked with Alt. Press about playing Chuck live on their upcoming tour:

It’ll be our longest, for sure. I think they’ll be two-hour sets. Not sure if it’s going to be 2:05 exactly, but definitely two hours. The good thing about those two is that they’re relatively shorter records, so it makes sense to play them at one show.

The thing is, we never played every single one of those songs before. Some of those songs we’re going to be playing, we’ve never played ever. There’s maybe a good four or five songs we’ve never gotten around to playing when the album came out. So yes, you are learning stuff. But there’s also the brand-new record: We’ve never played a lot of those songs off Order In Decline; they were built in the studio, but live is a whole different thing. What I’m trying to say is, there’s a lot of rehearsing going on.

Billie Joe Armstrong Talks New Green Day Album

Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day talked with Kerrang a little about the band’s upcoming album:

Trump gives me diarrhoea (laughs), you know? I don’t want to write a song about it!

It’s just more about trying to empathise with people’s situations. It’s just a crazy time. When I was a kid, my parents had six kids. My dad was a trucker and my mother was a waitress, and they bought a home in California in the ’70s with five kids living in the house. That is an impossible thing to do right now in California – if not in other places. And that’s what scares me a little bit more – what’s going to happen to people in the future.

Taylor Swift: The Rolling Stone Interview

Brian Hiatt, writing for Rolling Stone:

She wants to talk about the music, of course, but she is also ready to explain the past three years of her life, in depth, for the first time. The conversation is often not a light one. She’s built up more armor in the past few years, but still has the opposite of a poker face — you can see every micro-emotion wash over her as she ponders a question, her nose wrinkling in semi-ironic offense at the term “old-school pop stars,” her preposterously blue eyes glistening as she turns to darker subjects. In her worst moments, she says, “You feel like you’re being completely pulled into a riptide. So what are you going to do? Splash a lot? Or hold your breath and hope you somehow resurface? And that’s what I did. And it took three years. Sitting here doing an interview — the fact that we’ve done an interview before is the only reason I’m not in a full body sweat.”

YouTube Music Cracks Down on Rampant Chart Manipulation

Sarah Perez, writing for TechCrunch:

YouTube will no longer allow paid views and advertising to influence its YouTube Music Charts, the company announced this morning. Instead, it will calculate its rankings based only on view counts coming from organic plays. In addition, it’s changing its methodology for reporting on 24-hour record debuts to also only count views from organic sources, including direct links to the video, search results, Watch Next and Trending — but not video advertising.

The 1975 Have Nowhere to Grow But Up

Larry Fitzmaurice, writing at Fader:

And she won’t be the last: Healy intends to log studio time with indie-centric artists like Phoebe Bridgers, as well as Dirty Hit-signed artists beabadoobee and The Japanese House, when the band returns to the studio later in the year to finish Notes. The ostensibly 22-song album is very much still in the early stages of creation, with four songs total in completion or close to it; besides “The 1975” and “People,” there’s the dusky, acoustic “The Birthday Party,” and “Frail State of Mind,” a 2step-driven slice of pop recalling UK producer Burial with Healy’s gorgeous, cloudy sigh weaving in and out of the beat.

RIAA Releases 2019 Mid-Year Report

The RIAA have released their mid-year report and vinyl sales are creeping up on CDs.

Net revenues from physical products bucked the recent trend in unit sales and grew 5% to $485 million in 1H 2019; however, this growth was the result of a reduction in physical product returns, and on a gross basis the revenues from physical product would have been down for the period. Vinyl albums grew 13% to $224 million, but still only accounted for 4% of total revenues in 1H 2019.

New Interview with Good Riddance

Russ Rankin of Good Riddance talked with PunkNews.org about their new album:

There was no pressure, really. We decided to start playing again and after a year or two after that–maybe a year and a half–we were having a blast. Speaking for myself, five years away from it was good and the band’s place in punk rock history, modest as it may be, was pretty well cemented so there was nothing to prove. And being able to survive and be a human being apart from that band for five years was good for me. And so for me, when we started playing again, especially traveling and playing festivals, I really got a chance to just enjoy the opportunity rather than being concerned with the nuts and bolts of the business side of it or lapsing into imagined competitions in my head with bands I considered friends.

Can Music Journalism Transcend Its Access Problem?

Jeremy Gordon, writing at CJR:

Twenty years ago, a magazine could slot a profile of a smaller band alongside an interview with a popular artist, and hope that it might be read as part of the whole. Now, every article is packaged individually on the internet and measured to the last click, making it very clear when something isn’t being read, incentivizing coverage of artists with proven followings. “It’s a giant shift,” Ken Weinstein says. “It was kind of better when people couldn’t really put an absolute finger on it because art is not that.”

Most music journalists aren’t so craven as to go entirely by the numbers, but they work at businesses. “I could invest ten hours and do a long feature on something that no one has ever heard of, but five people will read it,” Julianne Shepherd, editor-in-chief at Jezebel and former executive editor at The Fader, says. “And then is my boss going to be like, ‘Yo, what the fuck are you doing?’”

I found that this piece hit a little too close to home a few times. Especially when thinking about AbsolutePunk.net and the machine it got sucked up in. However, now that we’re independent, and largely based around a member supported model, I don’t have to care about what gets the most pageviews or clicks. It’s freeing.

Blink-182 Apparently to Feature on Posthumous XXXTentacion Album

According to Sounds Music Group CEO, Solomon Sobande, Blink-182, Lil Wayne, Lil Nas X, and many more will be featured on the posthumous release from XXXTentacion:

There’s a healthy amount. Tory Lanez and Mavado; there’s a country song featuring Lil Nas X. One of the most surprising is Blink-182 — one of Jah’s favorite bands.

I’m not sure if this is a Travis Barker feature, or if the entire band is on a track, but to say this is disappointing to see would be an understatement.

The Adults in the Room

Megan Greenwell, writing at Deadspin:

The unstated, fuller version seems to be that he believed he could simply turn up the traffic (and thus turn a profit), as if adjusting a faucet, not by investing in quality journalism but by tricking people into clicking on more pages. While pageviews are no longer seen as a key performance indicator at most digital publications—time spent on the site is increasingly thought to be a more valuable metric—Spanfeller has focused on pageviews above all else. In his first meeting with editorial leaders, he said he expected us to double pageviews. Several weeks later, without acknowledging a change, he mentioned that the expectation is in fact to quadruple them. Four months in, the vision for getting there seems less clear than ever.

I think this article will resonate with anyone that’s ever worked for a large media company at one point or another.