|FRIDAY 25 OCTOBER 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Spotify is expanding its range of advertising products for music companies by allowing labels to pay to push full-screen recommendations plugging new albums into user's faces. Or, at least, their phones. The paid-for plugs will pop up for both free and premium users of the streaming service, although the latter can choose to turn them off... [READ MORE]|
Spotify testing paid-for album recommendations
Full-screen alerts about new albums already appear on Spotify, but to date these alerts have been entirely editorial, popping up in any one user's app based on their past listening. But with so many new albums to recommend - even when constrained by any one user's listening habits - Spotify is going to let labels buy their way into this service.
Announcing it is now piloting a new 'sponsored recommendations' scheme in a blog post yesterday, Spotify was keen to assure users "that these recommendations will continue to be powered by your music taste, so you will only hear from artists that you frequently listen to or follow". And also, for those premium users pretty certain that they are paying monthly fees to avoid any commercial messaging, they can turn the sponsored recommendations off.
Spotify obviously already has an advertising business as well as a subscriptions business, seeking to off-set the costs of offering a free streaming level through ads and brand partnerships. And music companies are already customers of that advertising business, although many labels get some free ad spots as part of their licensing arrangements with the digital firm.
But this new service arguably moves the streaming company into a new territory. The big high street retailers traditionally charged labels to get the most prominent positions in their stores, and it's long been expected that the digital platforms might at some point seek to commercialise the data and marketing tools that are currently available to artists and labels for free.
Spotify says that this new sponsored recommendations service is very much a pilot restricted to the US. Presumably the aim of that pilot will be to assess how Spotify users, and especially premium users, respond to commercialised recommendations. And how labels react to the idea that they might pay to get their new music recommended.
Various Artists launches music publishing division
Various already has a unit specialising in managing producers and songwriters, including Cenzo Townsend, Olly Burden, Joe Rubel, Glen Roberts and more. The new division will allow the company to work with songwriters - including performer songwriters - in other ways. Early signings include Jon McClure, Ed Cosens and Earl Saga.
Confirming all this, Various Artists CEO David Bianchi said: "Songwriting and production has always been at the heart of a lot of what we do as artist managers and putting in place a way that we can help nurture and develop both new and existing talent is a logical move for us. With Kobalt Music providing expertise, experience and infrastructure to this new venture, I'm confident we will make a great team".
Pandora adds songwriter and musician credits to millions of tracks
The digital firm says in a blog post: "Music's physical-to-digital evolution has given rise to an era of unprecedented music discovery, but it has sometimes made it difficult to find the kind of credits and information that used to live on LP sleeves and CD inserts. Who wrote that song? Who played the instruments? Who produced the beat and arranged the strings?"
"We believe in giving credit where it's due", it adds. "That's why we're excited to announce that Pandora now displays full song credits for millions of tracks in our massive music library, highlighting all of the people - both in front of the mic and behind-the-scenes - who played a role in the creation of your favourite tunes".
All the digital services have come under increased pressure in recent years to list the songwriters, producers and session musicians who are all credited, albeit usually in super small print, on the artwork that accompanies physical releases.
One of the challenges has been where the services get this data from. Many labels won't provide this information unless forced to. And, when it comes to songwriters, in an age when the services not the labels license the song rights, there's the question as to whether you can force the labels to provide songwriter info. And even if you can, do you trust them to get it right, them not being actively involved in publishing the songs?
Nevertheless, some services have started adding some or all of this information, perhaps aware that in most countries copyright law actually provides a moral right, especially for songwriters, to be credited, where practical, when their work is exploited. Spotify started adding songwriter credits last year, while to date Tidal has been most prolific in this domain.
The Pandora credits look pretty comprehensive and will therefore likely be welcomed by the music community. Though those lobbying for more credits have also argued that users should then be able to click on said credits to see more songs and recordings that each songwriter, producer and session musician worked on. Pandora doesn't have that yet.
Dua Lipa announces first single from second album
"I chose to put this song out first so I could close one chapter of my life and start another", she says. "Into a new era with a new sound! It's about moving on and not allowing anyone to get in the way of that. It also felt like a natural first song choice as I made it with the brilliant same crew I made 'New Rules' with".
Earlier this year, Dua Lipa said that her second album would be cheerier than her first, adding: "For the first record all I could do really was a lot of dance-crying. It was so much easier for me to write things that made me unhappy because they were things that stuck in my mind the longest. [My new music is] like a dancercise class - it's just fun".
So, get the fun started now. Well, next week.
Sløtface apologise for delayed second album
Sorry if you're waiting for an email from me, by the way. I'm now using this news story as a single formal response to every one of you. I hope it fully answers your query.
"A lot of those stories are very personal to me", says vocalist Haley Shea, being coy about hacking my email. "But they wouldn't be what they are without the way they've come together in the music".
The music, huh? Yes. Music. Of which guitarist Tor-Arne Vikingstad says: "It sounds like rock but it's more defined, in a sense".
More rock than rock? I guess so. Maybe I'll send a reply to the email I received from their PR to ask for clarification. Though, let's be honest, I probably won't get around to sending it. How about you just work out what Vikingstad means by listening to new single 'SUCCESS'?
The band are going on tour in the UK next month too, which may also give you an idea. Here are the dates:
21 Nov: London, Electric Ballroom
Louis Tomlinson releases new single, announces tour dates
By then he'll also have released his debut solo album 'Walls', which drops at the end of January. So, that's Harry, Liam, Niall and Louis all back doing musical things. Where's Zayn? Where's the five-way solo 1D showdown? Come on Zayn, don't let us all down.
Tomlinson is, however, the last member of the group to get round to releasing a solo album, so maybe he's the one who's been letting the side down. Though he argues that he just took a while to work out where he fits in today's pop music world.
Says he: "There was definitely a process of understanding where I sit musically. I have my own tastes and, to a certain extent, they are fighting against the musical tide. When I grew up, pop meant Arctic Monkeys, Oasis, The Killers and Amy Winehouse. Times change, obviously. Currently pop is very urban and street, which is not what I relate to".
"Sure, I could make those sort of songs", he adds, "but they wouldn't feel like me. The puzzle was how to please both myself and the fans".
So, songs that please both Louis and his fans. Well, here's a song, let's see who it pleases. The new single is called 'We Made It'? and, he says, it was inspired by the occasional nights out he got to have with his old mates back in the early days of One Direction.
"Any time off I had, I'd go to Manchester for nights out with my mates", he says. "It made me realise I didn't live in the real world anymore and I missed it".
"I loved being normal, reckless and stupid", he goes on. "It was the best escape. We'd stay up all night, talking about our dreams and what we thought would happen to us. That age is such an exciting time. You've no idea what the future holds, but you have so much potential. Where is my life headed? Who knows?"
It's not all about his tedious mates and being increasingly distanced from reality though, the song also celebrates his enablers. "The chorus of 'We Made It' is also about me and the fans", he goes on. "Between us, it has taken a lot to get here. I've had to work really hard, had to learn about so much about myself. I feel as though only when I get out to tour, to sing these songs directly to the fans, will I have cemented the start of my solo career".
Well, isn't that just a perfect segue into the tour dates? Good work Liam. You're alright. Here's the UK section of the tour:
24 Mar: London, Roundhouse
Now, sit back and enjoy - or at the very least watch - the video for 'We Made It'.
Cross sector trade group UK Music has announced that Ammo Talwar will take over from Keith Harris in chairing its Equality & Diversity Taskforce.
Tyler, The Creator has started selling Igor Halloween costumes, which almost certainly won't arrive before you need them. Maybe that's an intentional trick. In the meantime, you can see what it would look like in his new video for 'I Think'.
Coldplay have released two songs from their new album 'Everyday Life'. They premiered them on Radio 1 last night. Here are 'Orphans' and 'Arabesque'. Both tracks are available on vinyl from Jack White's Third Man Records. We also now know that 500 fans received those notes about the album earlier this week, which is some sort of stat.
Kesha has released new single 'Raising Hell', featuring Big Freedia. Her new album, 'High Road', is out on 10 Jan.
The 1975 have released the latest single from their upcoming new album, 'Notes On A Conditional Form'. Here it is. It's called 'Frail State Of Mind'. The album's out in February.
Simply Red have released new single 'Complete Love'. It's taken from new album 'Blue Eyed Soul', which is out next week.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Kanye West waffles more nonsense ahead of new album (yet to) launch
"There were times where I was asking people not to have premarital sex while they were working on the album", the man himself told Zane Lowe on hits Beats 1 radio show.
"Now that I'm in service to Christ", he added, "my job is to spread the gospel, to let people know what Jesus has done for me. I've spread a lot of things".
And then: "There will be a time when I will be the president of the US and I will remember ... any founder that didn't have the capacity to understand culturally what we were doing".
I've taken these statements entirely out of context of course. But rest assured, add in the context, and they make even less sense.
Oh, and I say there's a new Kanye album out today. The delayed release date for 'Jesus Is King' was meant to be today, but as today began in those places where today begins first the record was not online. As I write, it's still not there.
West took to Twitter over night to explain that he was still fixing the final mixes on three tracks. "We're not going to sleep until this album is out!" he assured fans.
So, fingers crossed, providing each member of his team can refrain from participating in any premarital sex, and with good old Jesus Christ well and truly on our side, we should have a new Kanye West album very very soon. Or at least, sometime before he becomes president of the USA.