Review of “Where is the Love?” teaser trailer

kirstyisabelpullen

The teaser trailer for “where is the love” shows a group of Westminster musicians and students coming together to make a stand against terrorism, and get a message across to everyone about how it is affecting the world we live in today. The trailer does an excellent job of getting a passionate, meaningful message across; without sounding too aggressive – as the project is on a huge issue that these people clearly feel incredibly strongly about.

The video opens with a group of students introducing themselves to the spectator, instantly engaging us and making us want to hear what they have to say. The fact that so many people are used in the video really shows just how important this issue is to so many, and again intrigues us as to what they are going to be talking about as there are so many of them – we know it’s…

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Where Is The Love?

Going Places and Doing Stuff

Hello hello, an extra post for you lovelies this week!

18 months ago an old friend of mine began a project for her Uni project called “Where is The Love?”, forming a supergroup of Westminster musicians and students in aid of world terror, triggered by watching the events of the Paris attacks of November 13th 2015 unfold.

In the days following, #WestminsterAgainstTerrorism was created, bringing singers, musicians, PR, TV and social platforms together to stand united, and get the message that they are NOT afraid and will be going whatever they can to help. Throughout the entire process, she had the idea of covering Black Eyed Peas’ “Where Is The Love?”, with lyrics that fitting and relevant, what could be more appropriate?

With the launch of the music video set for later this week, an event called “The Exhibition”, a showcase of all the creative talent across the board, was hosted…

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Did Streaming Save the Music Industry?

I found another article from The Guardian UK, as the headline grasped my attention immediately: “how streaming saved the music: global industry revenues hit £12bn”. The opening text below then states “second year of growth after recording 40% decline over previous 15 years, with streaming hailed as revitalising sector.”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/apr/25/2016-marks-tipping-point-for-music-industry-with-revenues-of-15bn

Reading those two top sections alone, it got me thinking, did streaming actually save the music industry?

Before going in depth as to what the article entails, the first thing that sprung to mind was the decline in vinyl sales, and how vinyl has resurfaced during recent years and has brought major business back into the music industry. Vinyl has reclaimed its popularity and is no longer a dying breed (as opposed to cassette tapes – the OGs, God bless).

This then led me to thinking about the A&R sector within the music industry. During my University career, primarily towards the end of my second year (Feb-March 2016) until present day, I was informed that the A&R sector is becoming a dying breed. When I first came to University I came with the intention to end up working in A&R or Music Publishing, and even before I was told this information about A&R I always leaned more towards publishing regardless.

Anyhow, the reason behind A&R’s endangerment, is purely because music labels around the globe are so behind with the current world and they are still trying to grasp the full reality of online streaming and the use of social media. I was told recently by a supervisor and industry professional that this is the problem with record labels; they will watch a newly-signed talent like Stormzy and observe his rise and how he runs things, then by the time the record label grasp it and catch on they are in a manic search to find another Stormzy, so they shape this clone artist to exactly how they’ve seen (in terms of commercial success and what is new) yet by this point the craze has died down and the new music trend is already in the works – Stormzy junior has no relevance and all the investment into him or her has been a waste of time.

This brings me back to my original question above, so did streaming save the industry after all?

Online streaming has created an opportunity and service for artists and fans to interact with one another on a different wavelength, and to gain access to music has never been easier. Social media supports this massively. As great as online streaming services is and the milestones it has created for the creatives, it is a huge worry for record labels who are currently unable to keep up and wrap their heads around it.

Streaming services has encouraged music lovers to actually pay for music. Looking at Spotify, for example, whereas they are a free service they do offer subscriptions for £4.99 (student) or £8.99 a month in order to gain access to a huge music catalogue – which people seem to be happy to pay for. The problem with streaming is that people aren’t interested in physical copies like CD’s (whereas I still care about them), they are interested in fast, easily-accessible material they can have on demand.

The article I found (link above) states:

The once-ailing music industry has hit a “historical tipping point”, recording its second year of growth and revenues of $15.7bn (£12.2bn) in 2016, according to a report.

An in-depth look into the health of the music industry by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) has shown that in 2016 there was 5.9% growth, mainly attributed to the mass adoption of streaming across the world.

This proves how streaming has affected the music industry massively, and it’s all good for business. There are no damages to royalties, copyrights, ownerships – all rights & royalties rightfully belong to whomever the material belongs to, streaming just offers more value to an artists’ credibility.

I believe that streaming has contributed MASSIVELY to this music industry as is able to keep up with the fast-changing processes the industry goes through daily. I just hope the originals (record labels, A&R departments) are able to keep up with the times and revise their plans.

Crackdown on Ticket Sales: The Battle to Beat Resellers

There are major issues with buying tickets online, and I for one have major beef with ticket resale sites about this problem.

In the last year, I have been up in time for 9am ticket sales, ready to purchase tickets, and the second I click “buy now” on any ticket site, almost immediately it will refresh the page and say the event is “sold out”, if the site hadn’t crashed first due to high demand.

I have been absolutely crushed when I were unable to obtain tickets for Ed Sheeran in May (this wasn’t so bad as I got tickets to watch Sheeran headline Teenage Cancer Trust at the Royal Albert Hall instead last month), Paramore for this coming June, Linkin Park, John Mayer, Gorillaz, Jamiroquai & Bruno Mars.

What I don’t understand regarding this issue is how the dreaded resellers grasp the tickets before anyone else? Ticketmaster, and various other ticket sites, have a policy where you have to prove you are not a ‘bot’ by clicking a tick-box, before it directs you to purchase tickets. Are bots truly more clever than us human beings after all?

What I also cannot get my head around is when I tried to purchase tickets for Paramore – who are coming to the UK in June this year – instantly all ticket sites informed me their show was sold out within a millisecond, in which I rolled my eyes as of course they were sold out that quickly. The tickets varied between £33-£58 originally, resellers sold them at a whopping starting price of £300-£350 MINIMUM for seats allocated at the back of the venue, or were generally rubbish and not worth the value.

Similar situation with Ed Sheeran’s tour in London that took place several days ago, in which tickets were priced normally (aka not too extortionate at this stage) then BAM tickets soared to £5,000. It absolutely infuriates me that this happens when us genuine fans are completely at a loss. Yet, some people DO manage to get through…I’m guessing it is luck of the draw in the ‘virtual waiting room’.

I saw this article on The Guardian titled “Viagogo ticket rip-off concerns prompt May to promise crackdown”, and I thought great, this is has definitely caught my attention as it is a problem I feel very strongly about. The opening sentence below says “Prime minister vows to fix ticket resale market after a surge in complaints against resellers over inflated prices and refunds.” This shows it cannot just be me who is incredibly frustrated regarding this.

I personally am really pleased that the prime minister and the government has taken this massively into consideration as it is an issue that needs to urgently be addressed as it isn’t fair on consumers and lovers of music. Unless you live on the rich side of life, what normal hard-working person can afford a £5,000 bog-standard seat or view? Who would pay that? How does this benefit anyone, as the artist is then missing fans and cannot fill empty seats and fans are missing out on beloved artists.

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/mar/01/viagogo-ticket-rip-off-parliament-theresa-may-promises-crackdown

Spotify & Universal Music to Allow Premium Subscribers Access to New Albums TWO Weeks Prior to Free Subscribers

I stumbled across this article from The Guardian UK, and the headline caught my attention straight away: “Spotify to host top stars’ albums for premium subscribers only”.

Straight away my eyebrows shot up and alarm bells started ringing.

I personally am very new to Spotify, only have been subscribed since March this year, and I am absolutely amazed that for £4.99 a month (I am currently a student therefore I get discount for a year) how much the streaming service offers. 98% of the time you can find absolutely anything on there, and it’s a great app as opposed to YouTube where you can’t close the app without the music stopping and signal failures on the underground tube. With Spotify, you are able to download and save tracks as a playlist to your mobile phone at no extra cost and you can listen to the songs absolutely anywhere – on the tube, even in the air as they will not interfere with the flight signals!

I had beef with Spotify, however, recently due to Prince tracks being put on the streaming service – something he had battled for during his career, and made a point of his music not being easily accessible – but I do understand this isn’t necessarily Spotify’s fault as much as it is Prince’s estate who have allowed this decision to happen since his passing last April.

Anyhow back to this article, so it is confirmed that both companies Spotify and Universal Music have decided that premium subscribers who use Spotify will gain access to new albums TWO whole weeks before any regular (free) Spotify user will. Why two weeks? Why torture people like that?

I didn’t think of Spotify as a money-making scheme, as they must be making bundles as it is using artist’s music on their streaming service let alone users who pay monthly £4.99-£8.99.

This new decision means that free users will not have access to the full catalogue that will be put in place, and paying users will pay £9.99 a month for this luxury of hearing the music before anyone else (aka the free users).

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/apr/04/spotify-universal-albums-premium-subscribers-only

I’m honestly torn between this decision. I think it’s great how Spotify’s success is expanding and they are growing continuously in the industry and gaining partnerships with the likes of Universal Music, however my issue isn’t with the fact that the monthly subscription is £9.99 a month (people should pay for music) my issue lies with those who lose out two weeks because they don’t pay for the subscription.

On the one hand, you could just pay the £10 fee a month, and gain access to all music. I don’t think it’s fair to penalise those who maybe cannot spare £10 a month or whatever their reasons for it are, I think we should all be in the same boat and gain access to it all fairly. On the flip side again, I do see the business side of it as it’s more money for Spotify and a boost for Universal and it’s great for them. Maybe users should just suck it up and pay £10 a month for the majority of music there is on this planet, as opposed to paying £10 per album, which I know people within my generation aren’t supportive of, as they are with using streaming/download services.

Ed Sheeran vs. TLC Case

Ed Sheeran has been in the headlines a lot this year. First there was his comeback to making music again, and since then his PR has taken off and taken over the media, causing a huge frenzy online, on the radio, on TV, on print – everywhere!

It has been fantastic to see Ed’s success, he had every single track from his latest album in the top UK charts. What an unbelievable achievement and milestone.

It has also been great to see Ed’s variety displayed within his new album, as well as his collaboration with UK grime artist Stormzy. I think this is an incredibly clever move to make, given Ed’s success previously and the uprising star that is Stormzy, putting the two together on the “Shape Of You” collaborative remix. The crossover in fans is another milestone, getting grime involved with pop and across other genres.

However, Ed has been a target by having many fans and critics accuse him of ‘stealing’ other musicians’ work and use it for his own without crediting them. This is morally wrong.

In an article from March this year, Sheeran credited TLC writers on his single “Shape Of You” as a result of being accused on social media that he blatantly ripped of “No Scrubs” and no credit was given at that time. The credit includes co-writers Kandi Burruss and Tiny Harris.

Many listeners pointed out the incredibly familiar melody from Sheeran’s lyric:

“Girl, you know I want your love your love was handmade for somebody like me”

to TLC’s lyric:

“I don’t want no scrubs/ A scrub is a guy that can’t / get no love from me.”

He has since cleared this up and there were no hard feelings involved in the end.

I personally couldn’t put the two together, until I was with some friends and two of them hummed/sang either lyric one after the other, where I noticed the similarity, but I only truly heard it when I watched a YouTube video uploaded by a user comparing the two in real-time.

I think it was the right thing to do from Sheeran, crediting the others as co-writers for Shape Of You, whether he done it to get people off his back or not, because it shows true musicianship and no bitterness.

It’s a case where this happens a lot in the music industry, and it doesn’t make it any easier in pop music as there are 4 basic chords that you can only do so much with until songs start sounding similar to each other or you notice the same melody patterns. I believe it was a genuine misunderstanding based on this, as I don’t believe that Sheeran is a malicious artist or person.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/3149651/ed-sheeran-shape-of-you-no-scrubs-writers-credit/

Kesha vs. Dr. Luke vs. Sony Case

As many of us are aware, the treacherous, on-going battle between Kesha and Dr. Luke has rocketed the industry since 2014, when Kesha sued Dr. Luke for sexually, emotionally, physically and verbally being abusive towards her. She had appealed to Sony in an attempt to be released from her contract with Dr. Luke, as she no longer wished to work with him on this basis and wanted the freedom to release her own music by herself without Dr. Luke, but was denied by a New York judge in February this year. In order to terminate the contract between herself and the producer, she would have to commit to the original contract, in which she would still have further albums to record under Dr. Luke’s supervision, until all albums are complete.

A recent article hit the headlines on the 26th April this year as it was announced that following this lawsuit, along with other court documents, that Dr. Luke is no longer CEO of Kemosabe Records, which he co-founded with Sony back in 2011. Sony have stated in their lawsuit that the producer has “no authority to act” on the label’s behalf, as he is owned by Sony.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/apr/26/dr-luke-no-longer-head-of-sonys-kemosabe-records-amid-battle-with-kesha

My opinion on the Kesha vs. Luke battle is simple: she is entitled to her freedom. Allow me to explain this further.

Looking at the legal side of the business, she agreed fully to commit to this contract, this much is in black and white. Albeit, it was signed and considered at a young age, perhaps there should have been more guidance around Kesha during this time – however we cannot turn back in time, therefore there is no point in thinking what if she had done things differently all those years ago.

If we look at ownership and copyright in the USA, in which there is a rule set in stone based on circumstances deemed as ‘morally right’, surely it is morally right to allow an artist to be freed from their contract in order to escape the life they are bound to?

However, if you look into Dr. Luke’s side, you see there is a strong lawsuit in place. Socially, you don’t want to dismiss a woman’s desperate plea when they come forward about any abuse, let alone sexual abuse, yet in the court there is no strong, sufficient evidence – it is more or less a given word from Kesha. If there is a possibility these are rumours about Dr. Luke being abusive towards her, just for the chance of getting out of the contract, then surely that is “moral rights” being toyed with?

If the abuse is false, then Kesha is wrong for damaging a man’s life and successful career, on the basis of wanting to be freed from a legally-bound contract. However, I believe something isn’t right with this case and we are all aware that many abusive cases often occur with the entertainment industry and is kept behind closed doors, sometimes until years later. I applaud her bravery in being able to come forward and for standing her ground, as I cannot imagine what it would be like to be an artist not being able to release music without the supervision of a man who abused you, and being denied this in front of court. Kesha, and all artists, are entitled to their freedom.

Look at what Prince fought for throughout his entire career – freedom. Prince may not have encountered any of the abuse Kesha has allegedly been through, but Prince fought for what was right and for his rights as an artist.

The legal side stands in place – it is not easy to terminate a contract overnight. In black and white you must commit to whatever contract that is set in place for you that you agree with. However, based on moral rights, Kesha should have long been freed by now.