Home Think Tank

Crowds on Demand, he [founder Adam Swart] says, serves several clients a week, sometimes a day — most in L.A., San Francisco, and New York but an increasing number in smaller cities like Nashville, Charlotte, and Minneapolis. When people inquire about a potential event, Adam guides them through the possibilities and the approximate costs: $600 for fake paparazzi at a birthday dinner; $3,000 for a flash mob dancing, chanting, and handing out fliers as a PR stunt; $10,000 for a weeklong political demonstration; $25,000 to $50,000 for a prolonged campaign of protests. According to Adam, protests have become the company’s growth sector, and just as with advertising, repeat impressions are key. “When the targets of our actions see that we’re going to be back, day after day, they get really scared,” he says. “We’re in it for the long haul, and the problem’s not going to go away on its own.”

A crowd means something matters, that it has value. Bands know they get more buzz from selling out a smaller venue than from having a cavernous space half-full, even if the bigger venue means more people are able to attend. The crowd out on the street who couldn’t get in is an advertisement of the band’s rising fortunes. You know how it goes. You’re on a road trip. You find two Japanese restaurants side by side. One has a dozen customers, and the other is desolate. Which place has better food? No need to check Yelp — just follow the crowd. Accurate or not, its presence tells a story of its own.

Via

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs

Based on its track record in 2015, Shazam can help spot hits that are sonically at the edges of CHR’s typical sound. Shazam is particularly effective at helping spot EDM/Dance-oriented songs well over a month before they become big hits on traditional charts:

Blog 2 EDM and Dance image

Shazam can also spot hits beyond Dance, outside CHR’s sonic norm:

Blog 2 beyond Dance

 

Shazam can also help spot cross over hits from other formats, especially Alternative and Hot AC:

Blog 2 Crossover

So far in 2016, Shazam has been able to spot several early hits that fall into these categories of being outside of CHR’s typical pop-oriented sound:

Blog 2 2016

Via

Spotify’s automated Discover Weekly playlists are a hit — over 5 billion songs streamed since mid-2015 — so now the streamer has commissioned an online survey to find out just how important music can be to people as they lurch-and-whine into a new week.

The results of the study, conducted across five markets by Ipsos, found that music (44 percent) was just as likely as coffee (46 percent) to be a respondent’s key motivator on a typical Monday. Music also bested food (33 percent), exercise (28 percent) and sex (19 percent) as a way to cure that case of the Mondays. Overall, an average of 64 percent of respondents agreed that they had too little motivation on Mondays. (We calculate that 100 percent of Spotify’s motivation for this study was to tout the benefits of its Discover Weekly feature. As well, the company’s media department is earning their pay — Monday study released on a Monday!)

Via

Just three of the 100 biggest tracks on UK radio last year were independently released, according to new MBW analysis – trailing significantly behind France and Germany.

Music Business Worldwide has crunched data from trusted global airplay watcher Radiomonitor based on impacts – the number of individual ‘listens’ a song enjoyed across all radio stations in 2015.

In Germany, there were seven independently-released tracks in the Top 100, while in France that number stood at an impressive 18 songs – six times as many as in the UK.

The three independent tracks to make the 2015 UK Airplay Top 100 were led, no surprises, by Adele’s Hello on XL/Beggars at No.28.

The other two indie tracks were both from Ministry Of Sound: Sigala’s Easy Love (No.39) and KDA/Tinie Tempah/Katy B’s Turn The Music Louder (Rumble) at No.78.

UMG claimed 44% of the UK Top 100, with Sony on 27% and WMG on 26%.

Via

Watching an amazing guitarist deliver a mind-blowing solo might not immediately conjure images of devastated rainforests, endangered species and exploited workers. But guitars made with illegally harvested woods are exacting environmental, economic and human tolls that strike sour notes indeed.

As the summer tour and festival season ramps up, concertgoers may encounter requests to pledge support for a campaign to halt illegal logging of endangered woods and promote sustainable alternatives. Several high-profile artists have joined with REVERB and the Environmental Investigation Agency, the nonprofit organizations behind the No More Blood Wood campaign, to raise awareness about the relationship between wooden instruments and demand-driven logging practices now decimating ancient rainforests.

Maroon 5, Dave Matthews Band, Linkin Park, Sara Bareilles, Michael Franti, Jack Johnson, KT Tunstall, Jason Mraz, Guster, Bonnie Raitt and Bob Weir are among many performers using their voices and influence to encourage fans, legislators and instrument-makers to support the U.S. Lacey Act, which prohibits import of and trade in illegally sourced timber and wood products. They’ve also pledged to verify wood sources before purchasing new instruments. Artists from Mick Jagger, Willie Nelson, Sting and Lenny Kravitz to Lana Del Rey, Lilly Allen and Brandi Carlile have also signed the pledge.

Several musicians have not only signed, but participated in letter-writing campaigns to instrument manufacturers, an educational video (Getting in Tune: Musicians for Legal and Sustainable Wood) or other activities. DMB’s Stefan Lessard and Guster’s Adam Gardner, who cofounded REVERB with his environmentalist wife, Lauren Sullivan, have published newspaper op-ed pieces. Gardner also testified before Congress in protest of 2012 efforts to weaken the Lacey Act.

REVERB began educating concertgoers about the issue with 2013’s Last Summer on Earth tour featuring Barenaked Ladies, Ben Folds Five and Guster; since then, millions of fans have been invited to sign postcards asking their Congressional representatives to support continued enforcement against the illegal timber and wood products trade.

In late 2015, Gardner and Sullivan traveled with Maroon 5’s James Valentine and Jesse Carmichael and members of the Environmental Investigation Agency, a nonprofit advocacy group, to the Guatemalan rainforest to document the effects of illegal logging and success of sustainable alternatives.

Their 20-minute film, Instruments of Change: Lessons from the Rainforest, premiered May 17 at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, followed by a Facebook-livestreamed Q&A. The film also premiered in Guatemala City before of policy makers and civil society.

Of course, the message needs to reach even more ears in order to halt the devastating effects of illegal logging on delicate ecosystems, wildlife and biodiversity, as well as local populations who depend on forest resources. Irreversible species loss and human lives sacrificed to corrupt and unethical business practices are just some of the consequences of illegal timber harvests.

According to climate scientists, deforestation and illegal logging result in more greenhouse gas emissions than all the world’s air, road, rail and shipping traffic combined.

“This issue is very similar to blood diamonds,” says Gardner. “It’s about knowing that what you buy has deep impacts far afield from the store you bought it from.”

“It’s the demand for these woods that drives this whole industry,” says Valentine. “I don’t think consumers are aware of the problem, and change could happen if consumers start to ask where their wood is coming from for any wood product, not just instruments.”

The new “Valentine” signature guitar by Ernie Ball Music Man, featuring sustainably harvested wood, won Best in Show at the winter National Association of Music Merchants show, as well as Guitar World magazine’s Platinum Award. It became available for pre-order on June 1.

REVERB and EIA have worked together since 2012 to encourage musicians, fans, instrument manufacturers and lawmakers to support legal and sustainably sourced timber and call for action against those who trade in stolen timber.

During that post-screening Q&A at the Grammy Museum, Gardner was asked why the group felt the need to trek into the heart of the Central American rainforest.

“We thought, ‘How do we more deeply engage artists and the public in this?” he explained. “‘Well, let’s have fans see and learn along with these high profile artists’ eyes.'”

After visiting the Guatemalan rainforest and local communities, the musicians are even more eager to spread the word to their peers and the public in general to ask before they buy in order to create consumer demand for legal and sustainably harvested wood products.

Those who thought streaming would bring about a rapid modernisation of radio playlists, prepare to scratch your head.

According to data from trusted airplay tracking service RadioMonitor, just one song in the Top 20 biggest tracks on UK radio so far this year was originally released in 2016.

Lush Life was originally released in June last year, but was given a spruce-up with a Tinie Tempah remix in February; the version that has proven so popular on UK radio since. A similar embellishment improved the chances of Sia’s Cheap Thrills, which first appeared online in December. A remix of the track featuring Sean Paul – UK radio’s favoured version – was subsequently issued in February this year.

The only track on the Top 20 to be first unveiled to the public this year is Zayn’s PILLOWTALK, which was released on January 29.

That list is for 408 stations of all types across the UK, including local and national – as well as commercial plus public service broadcasters.

Screen-Shot-2016-06-22-at-09.29.49

Via

Forget about asking or tweeting about Frank Ocean’s new album, or rather, where is it? His new post on Tumblr is his reacting to the Orlando shooting, and this is why he’s one of the most vital artists around. Here’s what the singer wrote, in full:

I read in the paper that my brothers are being thrown from rooftops blindfolded with their hands tied behind their backs for violating sharia law. I heard the crowds stone these fallen men if they move after they hit the ground. I heard it’s in the name of God. I heard my pastor speak for God too, quoting scripture from his book. Words like abomination popped off my skin like hot grease as he went on to describe a lake of fire that God wanted me in. I heard on the news that the aftermath of a hate crime left piles of bodies on a dance floor this month. I heard the gunman feigned dead among all the people he killed. I heard the news say he was one of us. I was six years old when I heard my dad call our transgender waitress a faggot as he dragged me out a neighborhood diner saying we wouldn’t be served because she was dirty. That was the last afternoon I saw my father and the first time I heard that word, I think, although it wouldn’t shock me if it wasn’t. Many hate us and wish we didn’t exist. Many are annoyed by our wanting to be married like everyone else or use the correct restroom like everyone else. Many don’t see anything wrong with passing down the same old values that send thousands of kids into suicidal depression each year. So we say pride and we express love for who and what we are. Because who else will in earnest? I daydream on the idea that maybe all this barbarism and all these transgressions against ourselves is an equal and opposite reaction to something better happening in this world, some great swelling wave of openness and wakefulness out here. Reality by comparison looks grey, as in neither black nor white but also bleak. We are all God’s children, I heard. I left my siblings out of it and spoke with my maker directly and I think he sounds a lot like myself. If I being myself were more awesome at being detached from my own story in a way I being myself never could be. I wanna know what others hear, I’m scared to know but I wanna know what everyone hears when they talk to God. Do the insane hear the voice distorted? Do the indoctrinated hear another voice entirely?

Carried out by YouGov for e-commerce firm Zuora, the research reckons that 13.9 million people in the UK are now signed up to video-on-demand services. In music, it estimates that 5.9 million are signed up to Spotify in one way or another (which sounds a little low), and 2.9 million are currently hooked into Apple Music (which sounds a little high).

Via

People talk about the Lanois sound. What, to you, is your sound?

Daniel Lanois: Maybe in the ’80s it was more specific to a certain approach, when I was doing a lot of records with Eno. We did a lot of textural work and I was really just serving Brian and his vision with those records, but I really got hooked on my effects. Since then, things have evolved and I don’t use so much of that now. My recent record coming out in the fall called Goodbye to Language, I developed this system of taking samples of already existing components and extracting them from—putting them out of sync with the track and then doctoring them externally through other boxes, maybe changing them to slow them down, and if I hit on something special then I go back in and find a spot for that special sound back into the track. It won’t work for most of the songs. I just run it randomly.

Is there a moment where you say, “Listen, guys, why don’t you try this instead?”

Lanois: There have been cases where maybe we just haven’t gotten the magic yet, and everybody is hoping to get it, and the best way to make a suggestion is to play a suggestion rather than talk about a suggestion. I reference the U2 song named “Beautiful Day.” We’d done a hand-played version of it, which never quite found its magic. So Eno and myself designed a more electronic, electro angle on it, which was built on a box [sings]—quite Germanic. We quickly put a version of it together in the morning prior to the band’s arrival and when they came in, they said, “What’s that? That sounds interesting.” We said, “Well, that’s your song. It’s just a rendition of it.” What was nice for Larry [Mullen] on drums, it got him away from the responsibility of playing the straight beat, so it gave him some freedom to experiment with something more unusual on the top. Sometimes people just need a little more of encouragement to go in a different direction. I never tell people that they’re wrong, or that it should be done this way rather than that. We might promote another approach, but by example, never by criticism. Criticism doesn’t work that way.

Via