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Welcome to Bon Iver, Wisconsin

Bon Iver is the center of a new feature at Pitchfork today:

For six weeks, everyone worked in different little studios, bringing ideas in and out to main rooms, auditioning riffs, futzing with samplers, pedals, gear, and synths until something genuinely surprising emerged. More than ever, Vernon was letting the band dictate the sound of the record: psychedelic and warm, dense and open. Even though there were plenty of false starts and dead ends, Vernon attests, “They’re all seeds—a mood that you can build around. I didn’t want to be worried about being the author of everything, it was more about trying to find something I can cruise on.”

Shura Tells the Transatlantic Love Story Behind Her New Album

Shura talked with MTV about her upcoming album:

So no one is more surprised than Shura now that her sophomore album happens to be about successful, all-encompassing love. But love changes things. Love radically alters perception and beautifies reality; it brings everything together in perfect, poetic harmony. Now Shura’s noticing patterns everywhere. “Wherever I go I’m followed by some kind of home improvement,” she says to MTV News.

Twenty seconds before our call, a drill starts in the London apartment next to hers. When she moved into her girlfriend’s New York home last November, the builders came in to do work on the house next door. “I think it’s because I just wrote a U-Haul lesbian album,” she says. Even in conversation, Shura can twist a great hook.

Taylor Swift on Sexism, Scrutiny, and Standing Up for Herself

Abby Aguirre, writing for Vogue:

I ask her, why get louder about LGBTQ rights now? “Rights are being stripped from basically everyone who isn’t a straight white cisgender male,” she says. “I didn’t realize until recently that I could advocate for a community that I’m not a part of. It’s hard to know how to do that without being so fearful of making a mistake that you just freeze. Because my mistakes are very loud. When I make a mistake, it echoes through the canyons of the world. It’s clickbait, and it’s a part of my life story, and it’s a part of my career arc.”

Vic Fuentes Named Co-Chairman/CEO of Living the Dream Foundation

Vic Fuentes of Pierce the Veil has been named Co-Chairman/CEO of the Living the Dream Foundation:

Living the Dream’s main focus is introducing sick children and young adults to their musical heroes and creating what the foundation calls Dream Days, which can include meet-and-greets with artists, VIP access to concerts and special events, or hospital visits. Hundreds of Dream Days have been realized since the foundation launched in 2007. In addition to Pierce the Veil, acts that have participated include Blink-182, Slipknot, Sheryl Crow and Willie Nelson.

Toni Morrison Passes Away

Margalit Fox, writing at The New York Times:

Toni Morrison, the 1993 Nobel laureate in literature, whose acclaimed, best-selling work explored black identity in America and in particular the experience of black women, died on Monday in the Bronx. She was 88.

Her death, at Montefiore Medical Center, was announced by her publisher, Alfred A. Knopf. A spokeswoman said the cause was complications of pneumonia. Ms. Morrison lived in Grand View-on-Hudson, N.Y.

I think about this quote from Song of Solomon all the time:

Perhaps that’s what all human relationships boil down to: Would you save my life? or would you take it?

R.I.P

Meg & Dia Return: Inside Their Post-‘Voice’ Struggle & New Surprise Album

Chris Payne, writing at Billboard:

Those pressure-packed Voice performances drained Dia’s onstage exuberance over most of the past decade. “For years after The Voice, I had a really hard time performing,” says Dia. “Perfectionism took over my life.” Even worse, her newfound solo career ravaged her relationship with her older sister, once her closest confidante in an unforgiving industry. “It was like having my identity and my best friend taken away at the same time,” says the elder Frampton, now willing to criticize the way she reacted to Dia’s ascent.

For years, the sisters didn’t speak. “I had tied up all my self-worth in being famous, having money, and being a rock star,” says Meg. “I felt really jealous, thinking my sister was gonna be rich and famous, and I’d have nothing left.”

A Wikipedia for Generation Z

Taylor Lorenz, writing for The Atlantic:

If you want to know who the biggest TikTok star is right now, who is in Emma Chamberlain’s squad, or where Baby Ariel grew up, only one website will give you the answers: Famous Birthdays.

Despite its name, the site contains more than just birthdays—it’s more like a constantly updated, highly detailed map of who matters to the teen internet, featuring a mix of biographical information, photos, videos, rankings, and detailed statistics on every social-media star you could think of. And to teenagers, it’s a bible. “They have everything you want to know about everyone who is important,” says Grace, a 14-year-old in St. Louis.

Charles Porch, the head of global creative partnerships at Instagram, says that Famous Birthdays is like the younger generation’s Tiger Beat. “You might know about Famous Birthdays if you’re a parent,” Porch says. “But you definitely know about it if you’re a kid, and you definitely know about it if you’re a creator. Is it adult mainstream yet? No, but that doesn’t matter.” The site has 20 million unique visitors a month—more than a million more than Entertainment Weekly, and four times as many as Teen Vogue.

Well, reading this article gave me my daily “holy shit I’m starting to feel my age” moment.

Blink-182’s Peter Pan Complex

Alan Siegel, writing at The Ringer:

The story of Enema of the State, however, isn’t solely one about Blink-182’s big break. It’s also, like much of the most memorable pop music from 1999, about the perfect marriage of artist and producer as well as the profound influence of MTV. And yes, the tale contains plenty of gratuitous nudity.

This is a fun piece.

“Old Town Road” Breaks Billboard Hot 100 Record

Entertainment Weekly:

Lil Nas X has proven all those remixes were worth it now that his single “Old Town Road” is the longest-running No. 1 song in the history of the Billboard Hot 100.

For 17 weeks, Lil Nas X’s fusion of country and trap has sat at the top of the Billboard Hot 100. That’s one week longer than previous record holders “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber and “One Sweet Day” by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men.

The Man With the Golden Airline Ticket

Caroline Rothstein:

On March 10, 2009, a case was filed in the U.S. Circuit Court for the Northern District of Illinois, where I grew up. Rothstein v. American Airlines, Inc. starred my father, Plaintiff Steven Rothstein, and the Defendant, then the world’s third-largest airline. With $23 billion in annual revenue, American Airlines had nothing to lose. For my father, it was a last-ditch effort to save his life.

Here’s how it all took off. In the early 1980s, American rolled out AAirpass, a prepaid membership program that let very frequent flyers purchase discounted tickets by locking in a certain number of annual miles they presumed they might fly in advance. My 30-something-year-old father, having been a frequent flyer for his entire life, purchased one. Then, a few years later, American introduced something straight out an avid traveler’s fantasy: an unlimited ticket.

Fascinating story.

My Frantic Life as a Cab-Dodging, Tip-Chasing Food App Deliveryman

Andy Newman, writing at The New York Times:

On my first DoorDash shift, a lunch run in Brooklyn, I learned about the company’s interesting tipping policy.

DoorDash offers a guaranteed minimum for each job. For my first order, the guarantee was $6.85 and the customer, a woman in Boerum Hill who answered the door in a colorful bathrobe, tipped $3 via the app. But I still received only $6.85.

Here’s how it works: If the woman in the bathrobe had tipped zero, DoorDash would have paid me the whole $6.85. Because she tipped $3, DoorDash kicked in only $3.85. She was saving DoorDash $3, not tipping me.

Live Nation Helped Metallica and Other Artists Place Tickets Directly On Resale Market

Billboard:

The recording, which would have been legal to make without one party’s consent under both New York and Texas state laws, offers an unprecedented view into how thousands of concert tickets for major tours have been sold first on the secondary market — where resellers can mark up prices — without being offered to the public at face value. It also shows the extent to which the rise of online ticket sites has put pressure on artists and promoters to capture more of the profits resellers are making — and how Live Nation is uniquely positioned to help solve the problem, as the owner of the world’s biggest ticketing platform that even its rivals use.

Mad Magazine to Effectively Shutter After 67 Years

The Hollywood Reporter:

Mad Magazine, the irreverent and highly influential satirical magazine that gave the world Alfred E. Neuman, will effectively cease publication some time later this year after 67 years, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

Sources tell THR that after issue 9, Mad will no longer be sold on newsstands and will only be available through comic book shops as well as mailed to subscribers. After issue 10, there will no longer be new content save for the end-of-year specials. Beginning with issue 11, the magazine will only feature previously published content — classic and best-of nostalgic fare — from its massive vault of material from the past 67 years. DC, however, will continue to publish Mad books and special collections.

Pre-Saving Albums Can Allow Labels to Track Users on Spotify

Billboard:

Users who “pre-save” an upcoming release to their Spotify accounts may be sharing more personal data with the act’s label than they realize.

To pre-save music, which adds a release to a user’s library as soon as it comes out, Spotify users click through and approve permissions that give the label far more account access than the streaming giant normally grants them — enough to track what they listen to, change what artists they follow and potentially even control their music streaming remotely.

Jony Ive Leaving Apple

Jony Ive, the famous designer at Apple, is leaving the company after thirty years. I thought Gruber’s take on the whole thing was pretty good:

Third: This may be good news. Ive is, to state the obvious, preternaturally talented. But in the post-Jobs era, with all of Apple design, hardware and software, under his control, we’ve seen the software design decline and the hardware go wonky. I don’t know the inside story, but it certainly seems like a good bet that MacBook keyboard fiasco we’re still in the midst of is the direct result of Jony Ive’s obsession with device thinness and minimalism. Today’s MacBooks are worse computers but more beautiful devices than the ones they replaced. Is that directly attributable to Jony Ive? With these keyboards in particular, I believe the answer is yes.

Spotify Says They Overpaid Songwriters and Publishers in 2018

Tim Ingham, writing at Music Business Worldwide:

Because of this additional complexity, Spotify has now calculated that, retrospectively, according to the CRB decision, many music publishers actually owe it money for 2018, due to an overpayment based on the prior rates. And guess what? It wants that money back.

Spotify told the publishers the news this week and, as you can imagine, these companies – already up in arms over Spotify’s CRB appeal – are fuming about it.

One senior figure in the music publishing industry told MBW: “Spotify is clawing back millions of dollars from publishers in the US based on the new CRB rates that favor the DSPs, while appealing the [wider CRB decision]. This puts some music publishers in a negative position. It’s unbelievable.”

Billboard to Launch Weekly Top Songwriters and Top Producers Charts

Billboard has announced a new weekly chart that will rank songwriters and producers.

The charts are based on total points accrued by a songwriter or producer for each attributed song that appears on the respective charts. As done with Billboard’s yearly recaps, multiple writers or producers split points for each song equally. The dividing of points will lead to occasional ties for some rankings.

Listening to Fall Out Boy on the Brink of Collapse

John Bazley, writing at Catapult:

We didn’t yet know exactly how the following year would work its fingernails into our neighborhood and pick it apart, but there was a palpable feeling of impending doom lingering over the roofs in my hometown.

All easy to ignore, of course, when Fall Out Boy would release a new record. I was twelve, living within my CD collection and the narratives it projected upon the world in front of me. I didn’t know about subprime mortgages or Lehman Brothers then. I just counted the days until Infinity On High. There was no other world event that could possibly take precedent over the release of that album. My excitement for Infinity On High may have been an unsustainable motivator, but sustainability itself was a questionable construct in 2007.

This is very well written.

Spotify’s Mood Related Data Lets Advertisers Target by Listeners Emotional State

Liz Pelly, writing for The Baffler:

[A] more careful look into Spotify’s history shows that the decision to define audiences by their moods was part of a strategic push to grow Spotify’s advertising business in the years leading up to its IPO—and today, Spotify’s enormous access to mood-based data is a pillar of its value to brands and advertisers, allowing them to target ads on Spotify by moods and emotions. Further, since 2016, Spotify has shared this mood data directly with the world’s biggest marketing and advertising firms.

This creeps me out.