✖️ Lana Del Rey: how to kill an artistic persona in the social media age

And: Metaverse festivals; Cities should buy music rights; Tokens as a new digital primitive; Marshmello most popular DJ; one in three music jobs in UK gone; NFTs create generational divide

Sometimes you meet people and you are blown away by their talent and think: I just want to work with them. This happened to me with Beatriz Negreiros, who I first met while giving a guest lecture. I tried to convince her to do an internship with me but she chose to do this at Le Guess Who?, one of the coolest festivals around. Then I thought she might come and work with me at GÂRDEN, but she got a job elsewhere first. Now, she’s written a fantastic article for MUSIC x on Lana Del Rey, whose new album comes out tomorrow. More pertinently, the article goes into the parasocial relationships one forms with the artistic persona of an artist in the current digital age.

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TECH

❄️ Meet the new owners of the Wu-Tang Clan’s one-of-a-kind album (Ben Sisario)

“In a complex deal with multiple parties, one of whom remains unidentified, PleasrDAO acquired “Once Upon a Time” after its sale in July by the federal government, which had seized the album to satisfy the balance of a $7.4 million forfeiture money judgment against Mr. Shkreli that was part of his sentencing in 2018. (Mr. Shkreli is still serving out a seven-year prison sentence.)”

🌌 Pioneering festivals set to launch in metaverse (IQ)

“This metamorphosis will be visible in the main Evolution stage, presented by Bitcoin trading platform Kraken, which is sponsoring the event, along with drinks brand Heineken and crypto-exclusive fund Metapurse.”

🗃️ Re-organizing the world’s information: Why we need more boutique search engines (Sari Azout)

This isn’t specifically about music, but Sari Azout does bring Spotify in as an example. It’s really easy, though, to see the impact of this thinking on music curation versus the all-you-can-eat DSP model.

“Searchable, curated interfaces will help us move away from ephemeral, time-bound feeds, into contextual, high signal, trustworthy knowledge spaces. Because searchable interfaces are densely linked, an explorer can follow multiple trails through the content, rather than being dumped into a "most recent" feed.”

🐣 Tokens are a new digital primitive, analogous to the website (Chris Dixon)

“There is nothing intrinsic about fungible tokens that needs to be related to money and finance, and nothing intrinsic about NFTs that needs to be related to art and collectibles. Those are great initial applications, and will likely remain very important, but tokens are better thought of as a new digital primitive, analogous to the website — the atomic unit around which a new era of the internet is organized.”

🪕 How NFTs are creating a generational divide between platforms (Casey Newton)

I often tell music people to look at gaming to see what’s coming next. The strong divide between blockchain adoption and blockchain scepticism is strong in gaming and is another thing that music can learn from - and hopefully avoid.

“But even for platforms inclined to support blockchain integrations, there remain a number of hurdles to clear on the policy and user experience side. How and where does the buying and selling take place? Does the platform get a cut of the sale? And if NFTs do affect how the game is played, rather than simply how it looks, how does the developer ensure the game is balanced and accessible to a large number of players?”

X

🏙️ Wall Street is buying up music rights: Cities should too (Shain Shapiro)

“What if local pension funds, or other local community investment frameworks, established pots of money to invest in local writers and their works, by which a circular economy approach was implemented so if a song was successful, a portion of the rights would be returned back to the community. What if a song’s fortunes and that of local community investment pots were tied together?”

🥇 The data verdicts: Marshmello more popular than David Guetta (Viberate)

I think most readers here like data, and Viberate is a true data company. They looked at various data points and came up with an alternative measure that shows that in the past year Marshmello was the most popular DJ.

😱 New report reveals one in three UK music jobs were lost during the pandemic (Cerys Kenneally)

“According to the report, 69,000 jobs were lost across the UK music industry, and employment within the sector plummeted 35% between 2019 and 2020, dropping from 197,000 jobs to 128,000.”

Read the UK Music full report here.

🦽 Shanghai’s wheelchair dancers put a new spin on disability (Chen Si)

“Over the following years, Home of Hope branched out into a wider range of dance styles, including more challenging ones like jazz and hip-hop. But Pan ensures every routine can be performed by trained and untrained dancers alike: It’s important that everyone is included, she says.”

🤝 Music Sustainability Association to bring industry together (Sarah Pittman)

“The Music Sustainability Association aims to help the music industry tackle the challenges of the climate crisis including providing best practices for recycling at festivals and zero-waste resources. There are a lot of passionate artists and music executives making strides individually to make touring and live events as climate-friendly as possible. Still, without collaboration, the business won’t be able to meet the challenges threatening the industry and planet. Enter the Music Sustainability Association – an inclusive, member-driven association that aims to make the industry not only more sustainable but just and equitable by bringing music industry professionals together to amplify, implement and innovate systemic solutions.”

MUSIC

Sometimes artists bring together two genres without their music sounding like two genres. Taahliah does precisely this by bringing real bangers with a true pop hook. She released her first EP a while and it’s a very danceable record, with a couple of darker notes in the lyrics. Make sure to check out Spent especially.