The July 4 weekend usually focuses on patriotic and classical music set to fireworks. But there were a few other developments that set off pop music explosions this week, including more back and forth in the ongoing feud between Taylor Swift and manager Scooter Braun, and Carole King’s strange explanation of why she was appearing at a Washington, DC rally.
The week’s top stories:
ROLLING STONE CREATES DAILY CHARTS – The venerable music magazine is introducing a daily chart system to track music’s movement across the various ecosystems. The charts are backed by independent analytics company Alpha Data, formerly BuzzAngle Music, which collects and processes data from dozens of major suppliers. All five charts auto-populate in almost real-time on a daily basis, with finalized overviews available at the end of each week. Categories include The Top 100 Songs, Top 200 Albums, Artists 500 (the most in-demand artists of the week by audio streams) Trending 25 (a rank of new songs that are seeing the greatest gains in popularity each week, measured by percentage growth in audio streams) the Breakthrough 25 (highlights rising artists who are appearing on the charts for the first time). Deadline owner Penske Media Corp. owns Rolling Stone.
WARNER MUSIC BUYS FORZA – Slovakian entertainment company Forza Music has been acquired by Warner Music Group. Forza owns the catalog of OPUS, Slovakia’s former state-run record company, which produced the vast majority of the country’s music releases from the 1960s to the 1990s. It is the second-largest record company in Slovakia. Warner says it will revive OPUS and focus on pop, rock and children’s repertoire while exploiting its catalog that features artists Collegium Musicum, Karol Duchoň, Marika Gombitová and Team. The label will be headed by Julius Kincek, a well-known Slovakian record producer.
SPOTIFY ANGERS INDIE ARTISTS – Individual musicians can no longer upload their songs directly to the streaming service, angering the independent artist community. The new rules requires a third party to be involved in the upload. Spotify explained the move in a statement on its blog. “Over the past year, we’ve vastly improved our work with distribution partners to ensure metadata quality, protect artists from infringement, provide their users with instant access to Spotify for Artists, and more. The best way for us to serve artists and labels is to focus our resources on developing tools in areas where Spotify can uniquely benefit them.” The direct upload function began last September, allowing independent artists to use the site without other distribution.
JOSS STONE BOOTED FROM IRAN – British singer Joss Stone was deported from Iran, which feared she would perform an unauthorized concert in the country. The Islamic Republic bans female musicians performing in public. Stone claimed on Instagram that she was detained and then deported. She was on the final leg of a tour that would see her perform in every country in the world.
RAPPER DECRIES SEGREGATED PRICING – A biracial Detroit rapper has withdrawn from playing a local music festival over its plan to charge white attendees twice as much as black concert-goers. AfroFuture Fest tickets are $20 for white people and $10 for black people. Organizers claimed the price differential is designed to ensure “the most marginalized communities (people of color) are provided with an equitable chance at enjoying events in their own community” because “affording joy and pleasure is unfortunately still a privilege in our society for POC.” The August 3 event is being put on by Allied Media Projects’ Afrofuture Youth, a Detroit-based initiative to help middle and high schoolers “build a new, more equitable world.” Rapper Tiny Jag announced on Twitter she would no longer play the festival, citing her own biracial status and the impact on her family members. “It’s non-progressive and it’s not solution-focused in my eyes,” she tweeted. “It seems almost like it has spite, and unfortunately with spite comes hate, and that’s just not obviously going to be a good direction for us to go if we’re looking for positive change.”