Lauren Levy, writing for Vulture:
But despite the artist’s problematic pasts (and, for some, present), the labels have come running. That’s because these musicians have acquired relevance and cultural cachet, but even more so because of their financial potential. They bathe in an ocean of endless streams, the most valuable currency in today’s music industry.
Kaitlyn Tiffany, writing for Vox:
Looking at the past several years of the charts, this polarization looks like more than garden-variety cultural sexism — it looks like something new that our algorithm-based platforms have wrought. The biggest question facing Spotify in the coming year should be whether it can do something about it.
Bobby Olivier, writing for NJ:
It’s being swept under the stage, gig after gig, weekend after weekend, in the bars, clubs and basements that weave together New Jersey’s local music scene.
Female musicians say they have been stalked, groped and relentlessly demeaned in an arts community with no controls in place to report such abusers. They feel collective frustration and invalidation. They are sick of being diminished and ignored.
I thoroughly enjoyed this post:
On Netflix, the artwork is personalised based on your viewing history. An Uma Thurman fan will see the classic Pulp Fiction poster showing Uma, but a John Travolta fan will be shown a different image.
Fortune Cookie Advertising is exactly what you’d expect, and it works because “when [customers] see the ad on the back, they are likely to feel they received it for a reason”.
A Chinese podcast called “How to Make Your Voice More Attractive” has 218,000 paying subscribers. Overall, the market in Chinese self-help subscription podcasts was worth $7.3 billion in 2017, compared with just $314 million for all advertising-funded podcasts in the US.
There’s a common misunderstanding among business owners that songwriters are only compensated by the purchase of their CDs, so that a business owner can freely play copyrighted music for customers. Not so, and Apple’s new trademark filing for ‘Apple Music for Business’ indicates that Apple will be entering this new business avenue for Apple music in the future as the company seeks to expand their services businesses.
Katie Notopoulos, writing for BuzzFeed:
A lot what Tumblr is banning is just gratuitous porn GIFs, and the internet is not lacking options when it comes to free pornography. But Tumblr is also a thriving place for the kind of sexual expression that you won’t find on Pornhub. “Tumblr sex sites created spaces for ALL KINDS of people who don’t have access to sexual community elsewhere,” wrote Steven Thrasher. It has always been a safe haven for young people exploring and expressing their sexuality. There is tasteful erotica, supportive places for people to post their own bodies — including those that don’t look like typical porn bodies — and to consume and engage with the wide swath of human sexual experience that can’t be replicated by logging on to xHamster and being greeted with a blast of extremely aggressive heterosexual facials.
Spotify have announced the top streamed artists, albums, and tracks from 2018.
Music lovers continued with some existing favorites, such as 2015 and 2016’s most-streamed artist, Drake, who took home the crown once again this year. With 8.2 billion streams in 2018 alone, the Canadian rapper is now our most-streamed artist of all time. His album “Scorpion” and song “God’s Plan” took the top slots in their categories—with “God’s Plan” bringing in more than 1 billion streams.
The top rising genre? Emo Rap.
Tumblr will ban all “adult content” from their platform beginning on December 17th:
Banned content includes photos, videos, and GIFs of human genitalia, female-presenting nipples, and any media involving sex acts, including illustrations. The exceptions include nude classical statues and political protests that feature nudity. The new guidelines exclude text, so erotica remains permitted. Illustrations and art that feature nudity are still okay — so long as sex acts aren’t depicted — and so are breastfeeding and after-birth photos.
Instagram has introduced a new “close friends” feature:
To use the new feature, open up the Stories camera and take a photo or video. After you finish your shot, you’ll notice a new green circle with a white star in it. Tap it, and you’ll be brought to the close friends list where you can add people to your inner circle. Instagram will suggest friends to you based on the people you interact with most, or you can use a search box to finish your list. In testing, people typically added around two dozen people, says Robby Stein, product lead at Instagram.
Sacha Goldberger has made a series of superhero portraits as if they were 16th-century Flemish paintings.
Make art and stand by it. Don’t make art that’s not political then expect us to listen to you. I see artists and their main projection isn’t related to their music. If it was in the music I wouldn’t have a problem, but it seems opportunistic when it’s not. It’s easy to learn the rhetoric of the left. Of course racism’s bad, of course women must be heard. Let’s make something inspiring that isn’t just part of this stream of fucking talking, right? Do I sound like an arse?
Katie Notopoulos, writing for BuzzFeed News:
Amazon is cutting edge in so many ways — it magically drummed up a yearlong publicity cycle for an office opening in the two most obvious cities (New York and DC); it honed an expert precision tool for destroying brick-and-mortar retail businesses; it created a great place to work if you don’t mind peeing in bottles; it built a labor force of retirees living in RVs; it’s even a pioneer for shitting in people’s driveways. So many innovations.
And yet, somehow Amazon’s website, the place where it sells a gazillion things that make a gazillion dollars…sucks? The experience of shopping on the site itself fails in spectacularly stupid ways.
Anna Acosta, writing at Auxcord:
You cannot begin to be redeemed if you do not honestly feel the weight of what you’ve done to others. This is the missing piece of the puzzle. This is why so many react negatively to the delicately-crafted, publicist-approved apologies put out by the “me too’d” who bother even to acknowledge they might have something to apologize for. These statements make it clear that the person in question has no idea what they’re apologizing for. I believe they’re sorry – we all do. But sorry for what? It indeed isn’t for the pain they’ve caused. It’s for the pain they’re experiencing.
Clint Rainey, writing at Grubstreet:
For years, Pabst has outsourced its beer-making to MillerCoors, a relationship that has suddenly gone sour. The two companies are locked in a half-billion-dollar court battle that, some say, could spell the end of PBR, as well as many other beer brands that Pabst owns. Pabst currently pays MillerCoors nearly $80 million a year to brew its beer; MillerCoors says that, after 2020, it may no longer have the necessary resources available, and is threatening to let the contract expire unless Pabst agrees to a fee that’s closer to $200 million per year, an amount that Pabst contends would “bankrupt us three times over.”
Kevin Alexander, writing at Thrillist:
In my office, I have a coffee mug from Stanich’s in Portland, Oregon. Under the restaurant name, it says “Great hamburgers since 1949.” The mug was given to me by Steve Stanich on the day I told him that, after eating 330 burgers during a 30-city search, I was naming Stanich’s cheeseburger the best burger in America. That same day, we filmed a short video to announce my pick. On camera, Stanich cried as he talked about how proud his parents would be. After the shoot, he handed me the mug, visibly moved. “My parents are thanking you from the grave,” he said, shaking my hand vigorously. When I left, I felt light and happy. I’d done a good thing.
Five months later, in a story in The Oregonian, restaurant critic Michael Russell detailed how Stanich’s had been forced to shut down. In the article, Steve Stanich called my burger award a curse, “the worst thing that’s ever happened to us.” He told a story about the country music singer Tim McGraw showing up one day, and not being able to serve him because there was a five hour wait for a burger. On January 2, 2018, Stanich shut down the restaurant for what he called a “two week deep cleaning.” Ten months later, Stanich’s is still closed.
Bridgers: People will talk endlessly about five white dudes playing shoegaze and how different it is, and like, literally war each other about which one you’re allowed to like and the differences between the two bands, and then women literally play guitar and whisper sometimes and scream sometimes and they’re like, “Same!”
Baker: I hate those articles—this is a pet peeve of mine—like move over X, here’s the new Y. And it’s just like, X didn’t become obsolete because there’s a person doing a similar thing. You also don’t have to be like the new old-thing, you’re just the current you-thing.
Pranav Trewn, writing at Stereogum:
But what the Offspring popularized is a far more noxious strain of punk music, and especially punk ideals. The band did not revolt against systems perpetuating economic inequality or authoritarianism, but instead expressed a middle-class teenage resentment that comes from already getting everything you want at home but still being forced to go to school. “The Kids Aren’t Alright” and “Why Don’t You Get A Job?” depict the struggles of people with implied choices, who ultimately squander opportunities as they burn out. Because Holland keeps the details that led to those “choices” vague, it’s easy to read the characters in these songs as unsympathetic. You focus on the absence of ambition, not on the factors that eroded it in the first place.
Tim Ingham, writing at Rolling Stone, makes the argument that the LP as we know it, is in trouble:
Sure, hits on streaming services make a lot of people a lot of money. But as the death knell rings for the album — and the music industry returns to the pre-Beatles era of track-led consumption — are fans being encouraged to develop a less-committed relationship with new artists? […]
The music industry is facing a bit of an existential crisis, then: How can something (streaming) be considered the “equivalent” of something else (an album sale) when, by your own measure, the former now completely dominates the latter?
In 2018, “streaming-equivalent albums” seems like daft phrasing. It is e-mail-equivalent faxes. It is car-equivalent steeds. It is Netflix-equivalent Betamax.
Disney announced Thursday development on another live-action Star Wars TV series, this one centered around Diego Luna’s doomed Rogue One character Cassian Andor.
The company says the drama is in the works for Disney’s new streaming service and follows the adventures of the rebel spy during the formative years of the Rebellion. Naturally, the drama takes place before the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.