Elon Musk blasts streaming services for “crazy low payouts”

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Music creatives have long gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to music streaming royalties. Once the honey pot is divvied up between streaming platforms and music labels, artists and songwriters walk away with only a small piece of the pie.

Mercurial tech baron and founder of Tesla, Elon Musk, is the latest powerful voice to recently speak out on the issue of unequal distribution. The issue is no new struggle in contemporary capitalism, either. The fact of the matter is: when big business is involved, individuals lose out.

But it seems Musk now has a direct stake in the issue considering he’s now dating Canadian singer/songwriter, Grimes. The couple made their first public appearance as a couple at the Met Gala last week in New York City.

The conversation arose over Twitter when Musk was asked about his favorite Grimes song; for which, by the way, he has two:

One conscientious fan tweeted the tech baron wondering which streaming platform fans could engage with in order to most directly benefit Grimes financially.

Musk responded with an infographic showing Spotify, Pandora, and YouTube as the bottom three platforms in terms of gross payout per stream. XboxRhapsody and Tidal are among the top when it comes to artist payouts, with Apple MusicAmazon, Deezer, and Google falling somewhere in the middle.

While the issue of online streaming payouts continues to be a new frontier for the music industry — especially as it converges with tech giants and new platforms who want a piece of the pie — Musk should be commended for bringing the issue into public conversation. At the very least, it is a genuine show of online activism when powerful tech elites raise their voices for unheard, underpaid artistic creatives who often get no say in the matter.

Kanye West announces imminent return with two new summer albums, with Pusha T, Kid Cudi, and Teyana Taylor in tow

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We’re all in for a damn G.O.O.D. summer.

Kanye West‘s recent return to Twitter hasn’t been all for naught. His sporadic bursts of activity on the platform always turn out to be entertaining, though this time around seemed like it was leading up to some sort of action from the G.O.O.D Music camp. Now, we finally have confirmation. The hip-hop giant announced in a flurry of tweets that he’s preparing to bless us with not one but two albums in June. West also shared that one will be a solo LP and the other will be a joint project alongside Kid Cudi called Kids See Ghost. The last time Ye dropped off an album in June, he gave us Yeezus in the summer of 2013. If history repeats itself, maybe we just officially rename the month to Yeezy Season moving forward?

The good news just keeps coming though. The Chicago emcee also announced new LPs from Pusha T and Teyana Taylor as well, with Pusha’s follow up to 2015’s King Push: Darkest Before Dawn landing on May 25 and Taylor’s album slated for one month later. Megastar rappers Drake and J. Cole both recently used social media as the vehicles for their next album announcements, with Cole opting a surprise drop this week and Drake gearing up for a chart battle against West in June. Hip-hop’s top heavyweights all seem to be mobilizing right now — June is really shaping up to be one for the books.

[LISTEN] Oshi releases new track citing he will delete it within a day

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Oshi has released a new track, “h a p p i n e s s,” ahead of playing at the famed Coachella this weekend. On his Twitter page, he notes that he will probably delete the track within a day because it is a ‘throw away song.’

The track’s elaborate combination of instrumentals, synthesized vocal accents, and pulsing beat is anything but throw away, so listen while you can! The song is available for free download via Oshi’s Soundcloud page

What are Lady Gaga and Boys Noize up to?

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God bless Twitter. It’s a lawless breeding ground for the Internet’s worst moments, but among many other uses, it has become a powerful vehicle for speedy, viral marketing grabs and not-so-subtle distribution channel for our favorite artists. Whatever Lady Gaga and Boys Noize are up to with the recent exchange of some very juicy tweets — we’re already salivating for more. In just three tantalizing sentences between them, the day’s reigning techno don and pop megastar respectively may have confirmed the collaboration we’re likely not yet worthy of.

“And it spit out beautiful weirdness afterwards.” 

Yes, of course it did, but what could this mean? Perhaps BNR‘s head honcho is writing a new track on Gaga’s next project? Is the Perfect Illusionvocalist lending her iconic vocals to a dark, industrial masterpiece? They each sound like a long shot, but the writing is on the Twitter wall for us to relentlessly pick apart. Who knows what came from Lady Gaga’s rather careless episode in Boys Noize’s studio? Whatever they’re up to, Lady Gaga and Boys Noize sound like a strange match made in electro heaven, and we’re already hooked.

Twitter writes off its $70 million investment in SoundCloud from 2016

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Twitter

As SoundCloud struggles to keep a sinking ship above water, Twitter has written off the considerable chunk of change the social media giant invested in the music streaming platform less than two years ago — a cool $70 million to be exact. That figure, however, could have been a much heavier blow, as many will remember that Twitter was just about 140 characters away from purchasing SoundCloud outright back in 2014 for just over $1 billion. When the dust from the failed purchase settled, Twitter injected SoundCloud with a much-needed round of funding in the summer of 2016, in hopes of leveraging massive pop stars like Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna‘s thriving social followings as direct-to-user music distribution networks. Less than two years later and Twitter is facing the music — they’ll likely never recoup those funds, or if they do, it’ll take much longer than they’re willing to wait.

Moving on because the funds are, “not expected to be recoverable within a reasonable period of time,” the sizable write-off shouldn’t really be more than a speedbump for Twitter this year. By the end of 2017, reports revealed that the platform had raked in nearly $2.4 billion in revenue, and another $4.4 billion short-term investments.

Meanwhile, SoundCloud continues a seemingly never-ending cycle of survival measures, pivoting away from their $10 monthly subscription model to a more affordable $5 subscription as well as a renewed emphasis on a plan provided to music producers and other prosumers. Spotify and Apple Music may be putting up healthy numbers in 2018, but Twitter’s write-off proves that the digital music marketplace is still very much an uncertain and shifting landscape.

Where in the world is GRiZ going?

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griz-press-photo

After a tweeting a series of cryptic messages, Grant Kwiecinski has been stirring up quite the rumor mill amongst fans, media friends, and his devoted GRiZ family. Is GRiZ retiring? Where is he going? Is it an overseas world tour? How am I to go on living?

Such is the goal of any carefully executed guerrilla marketing strategy: keep the people questioning.

Many wondered whether the series of tweets were pointing to an impending announcement that the All Good Records label head would be soon parting ways with his imprint. After all, rumors that he no longer retained full control over his label bandied about the community of faithful since last November — when the label’s socials went completely dark.

And when the dust settled after 24 hours, Kwiecinski kept the feeding frenzy going by tweeting another cryptic message — this time a photo with the caption, “it’s about time we talked.” The photo displayed several documents with blurred text, alluding to the documents as important to said overdue conversation.

At this point, Kwiecinski’s tweet feels a lot like some hypothetical parental talk whereby Grant the Man has been keeping something hidden from us and needs to come clean. One thing has become clear, though: Grant is teasing us. 

If the series of tweets weren’t enough, Kwiecinski is taking things one step further each and every day. Recently, GRiZ also wiped his entire Instagram account clean, except for one post displaying nothing more than a blank sheet of paper and no caption.

Nowadays, it is common practice for artists to wipe their social media accounts before some big announcement, so it’s safe to assume that GRiZ has something new coming soon. Something new and something big considering this is a guy whose career can be defined by its prolificness — he’s released a new studio album or mixtape every year since 2015 and held his annual GRiZmas gatherings for years, to say nothing of his headlining appearances at Lightning in Bottle, Electric Forest, and Backwoods. Here is an artist who finds joy in tirelessly working to bring his fanbase new and fresh material.

A post shared by GRiZ (@griz) on

As one fan’s Instagram comment alludes to, Grant Kwiecinski could very well be turning a “new page” in the GRiZ saga. That much has become clear, but what new and big direction could the funk master be taking?

On Feb. 2, GRiZ took to Twitter again to release a professionally produced promotional video in which he reveals another piece of the puzzle. The short video rendering shows Kwiecinski sitting on a stool in an empty room. He then proceeds to perform a spoken word piece, one he delivers with emotion and conviction.

“I wanna tell you a story. I wanna tell you a story and I want it to be perfect and I want it be your favorite. It’s for me but it’s also for you. It’s about all of us. It’s about time we talked.”

While it is likely this performance is an avenue of growth as opposed to complete shift in his artistic output, it seems whatever GRiZ is keeping under wraps signals a period where the artist will remain incommunicado from his fans. The only thing that remains certain at this point is that GRiZ is a master of suspense, leaving fans and the electronic music community on the edge of their seats until his next big announcement.

Drum ‘n’ bass producer Mistabishi makes several racist comments on social media

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English drum ‘n’ bass producer Mistabishi has sparked controversy after recently voicing a series of racist comments on Facebook and Twitter. Mistabishi first targeted London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, after Khan expressed pleasure once Donald Trump’s visit to London was cancelled.

“Khan is from a migrant family,” the artist wrote, “He’s not English and London is not his capital city. He is a Muslim and his capital is Mecca.” Mistabishi meanwhile asserted his status as a “real Londoner,” remarking that his family “can be traced back over a thousand years.”

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Photo Credit: Mixmag

Mistabishi’s response to the Mayor elicited retaliation from a Facebook user who wrote “Britain doesn’t want you, either” on the producer’s page. Mistabishi fired back “Feel free to beat your child cousin bride and throw gay people off buildings because ‘it’s your culture,’ Muzzy.”

UK artist, Chimpo screenshotted and tweeted the Facebook thread containing the comments, captioning the photo “Wow Mistabishi! How u gonna hate immigrants and make d’n’b and techno? Racists aren’t welcome here mate.”

Mistabishi extended his deragatoy comments to Twitter, where he called a Twitter user a chimp, informing the tweeter that he didn’t “want a braindead semi-literate dj chimp” playing his music.

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Photo Credit: Mixmag

While Mistabishi has since deleted the defamatory Facebook remarks, a post that the producer published on a forum in August has surfaced.

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Photo Credit: Mixmag

The image of the summer forum post shows the artist state that black culture is “destructive to social integration.” Mistabishi uses several racial slurs to articulate his point therein.

 

H/T: Mixmag

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It looks like a Zhu and Tame Impala collaboration may be in the works

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As far as strange sonic pairings go, sometimes musical opposites really do attract — just ask Elton John and Eminem, Kanye West and Bon Iver, or Aerosmith and Run DMC, among many others. Now, possibly the next artistic convergence to to join the odd collaborations ranks could be Zhu and Tame Impala, as they’re rumored to have linked up for an upcoming project. This set of rumors reignited speculation that first began circulating on the internet in late 2017.

Zhu took to Twitter to fan the flames, leaving a perfectly nondescript message that will either leave fans scratching their heads, or salivating for a first listen. If this materializes, will Zhu’s enigmatic electro-noir style complement Tame Impala‘s buzzing psychedelic rock fare? Only time will tell, though all signs point to a hit waiting to happen. Fingers crossed.

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The Chainsmokers send fans into a frenzy with new logo, mysterious tweet

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New year, new marketing approach? Maybe so, says The Chainsmokers’ recent social media activity.

The electronic duo notably outfitted their Instagram and Twitter accounts with a revamped “TCS” logo, tweeting out a vague question in conjunction with the simplistic new graphic. “How many likes is my life worth?” the tweet reads.

While fans have since speculated that producers Alex Pall and Drew Taggart’s provocative tweet contains the thread of an album concept for a potential sophomore release, the context of the tweeted question remains unknown, but details will inevitably follow as January unfolds.

H/T: Billboard

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Virtual Riot offers a satirical outline of ‘EDM News in 2055’

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Monstercat alum Virtual Riot offers a potential shape for “EDM News in 2055” in a recent slew of tweets that show shades of the producer’s futuristic sense of humor.

Highlights of Virtual Riot’s vision of the electronic future include a “half-robotdinosaur-half-human surgery” for Excision, a Skism-secured Guinness World Record for a 20 CDJ-supported set, and the sale of EDC Las Vegas “virtual reality tickets,” for tech-transcendent “owls.”

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