As we head into the Thanksgiving break, it’s time for some special treats from the recording industry, including new music from Paul McCartney, who was in some band whose name escapes me, and a juicy and provocative list of fresh Grammy nominations spotlighting bright new artists.
Big corporations are also hard at work, hoping to bundle, stream, and deliver new ways of bringing music and its data information to you and your business. The days when songs were only available on record and terrestrial radio have given way to total immersion in the groove. Now all we can hope is that Taylor Swift doesn’t burn it all down on Sunday.
This week in music:
TAYLOR STRIKES BACK AT THE MACHINE: All eyes will turn to the stage at the American Music Awards on Sunday, as Taylor Swift is honored with the Artist of the Decade Award. But instead of the usual thank-yous, Swift is said to be planning to use the opportunity to strike down upon her foes with great vengeance – we’re looking at you, Scooter Braun, Scott Borchetta and Big Machine Label Group. Swift is expected to be joined by supporters on stage, including Selena Gomez, as she issues a call for artists to own their masters and control their destinies. Given that death threats have allegedly been given to the families of Borchetta and Braun, and the Big Machine Nashville offices were forced to close by similar threats, Swift needs to choose her words with care, lest she trigger even worse consequences.
APPLE MUSIC FOR DA MAN: Apple Music is branching out into music for businesses. The streaming service has been testing a version of business music for Levi Strauss & Co and Harrods stores, according to the Wall Street Journal. Apple Inc. has joined with PlayNetwork Inc., which specializes in providing music for commercial use by creating custom playlists, licensing, and operating the service, called Apple Music for Business. PlayNetwork already provides tunes to Starbucks and Estee Lauder Co. Competitors Sirius XM Holdings and Soundtrack Your Brand offer music-streaming service options for businesses in the U.S. costing around $25 to $35 a month per location.
THE BUNDLE OF JOY: Apple is also looking to bundle its subscription services, including Apple Music, Apple News+ and Apple TV+, into one subscription, according to reports. It could bow as early as 2020, a new report from Bloomberg claims. Reports said Apple also approached music labels to sound them out on similar Apple Music bundles, though talks are reportedly at an “early stage.”
TIKTOK MAY GET INTO STREAMING: China’s TikTok, already a social media power, is looking at launching a new streaming music service. Its ByteDance is in talks with several record companies for a new platform that could rival Spotify, Tencent Music, and Apple Music, according to the Financial Times, which first reported the news. The first experiments with it will happen overseas, with a US rollout possibly this year.
TRACKING YOUR STUFF: Universal Music Group has developed an analytics app for its artists and their managers to monitor streaming activity to social performance. The Universal Music Artists (UMA) app is used for data insights from Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, and YouTube. The app can be downloaded from Apple’s AppStore and the Google Play Store. Artists and managers will receive login credentials upon request from their label representative.
JAXSTA IS GANGSTA ON DATA: Jaxsta Limited has launched its Jaxsta Pro beta version, an extension of its free-to-use online official music credits database, Jaxsta.com. It is tailored to music industry professionals and offers a one-stop hub to research, discover, and connect people as the definitive source of official music credit information (content-owner supplied, not crowd-sourced) for artists, musicians, songwriters, producers, engineers and other members of the music community.
PAUL MCCARTNEY REFUSES TO DIE: No, they didn’t bury Paul, as the backwards recording and countless rumors indicate. Paul McCartney has returned with two new songs, Home Tonight and In a Hurry. The songs were recorded during sessions for McCartney’s recent album, Egypt Station, and will be released as a double A-side 7-inch picture disc single for Record Store Day’s Black Friday sale on Nov. 29.
GRAMMYS RING OUT THE OLD: The nominations are in for the Jan. 26, 2020 Grammy Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles, televised via CBS. Lizzo, Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X, Ariana Grande, H.E.R. and FINNEAS are the top-nominated artists this year, and the first three are all first-timers. As a first-time nominee, Lizzo leads the pack with eight total nominations—her fellow top-three artists, who both earned six nods, are also first-timers, and all Best New Artist nominees. Eilish and Lizzo are the first two artists to have been nominated in all four General Field categories (Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year and Best New Artist).