Hackers Change Spotify Emails, Make Pitbull Playlists

Best change your Spotify login info. A report came out this week that hackers had gotten their hands on Spotify user’s login information and changed their emails and tampered with their playlists.

Spotify has denied being hacked, but I think that the people have spoken…

And saving the best for last…

So, Spotify users… Better change those passwords unless you want a Pitbull Playlist.

Hackers Change Spotify Emails, Make Pitbull Playlists

Tic Toc, Tic Toc… Kesha’s Legal Battle Drags On

Kesha’s legal battle with producer Dr. Luke is still dragging on to her dismay.

According to Lawyer Herald, Kesha was offered a settlement, but she denied.

Kesha posted a selfie photo and wrote a worrying message on Instagram saying, she received an offer that would resolved her case, Billboard reported. “So. I got offered my freedom IF I were to lie.” The pop singer went on and wrote, “I would have to APOLOGIZE publicly and say that I never got raped. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS behind closed doors. I will not take back the TRUTH. I would rather let the truth ruin my career than lie for a monster ever again.”
Read more here.

The battle between Kesha and Dr. Luke has been dragging on for months, but Kesha refuses to give up.

Among the battle, Dr. Luke’s labe, Kemosabe Records, has been ‘downsizing’. It’s obvious that this ongoing legal battle is taking a toll on Dr. Luke’s wallet. According to Pitchfork, though Dr. Luke’s label is not shutting down all together, they are making cuts in critical departments.

“Kemosabe Records and Sony elected to downsize certain departments,” the statement reads. “Some of those functions will be handled by Sony as part of their joint venture relationship. Kemosabe continues to be fully operational and is excited about its current releases and the upcoming year.”

-Kemosabe’s statement to Pitchfork

Though the label claims the cuts have nothing to do with the legal battle, one can’t help but wonder.

Tic Toc, Tic Toc… Kesha’s Legal Battle Drags On

SoundCloud Go Launches, Faces Problems

SoundCloud has jumped on the streaming bandwagon this week. Their streaming service, SoundCloud Go, launched this week, and it’s already getting a lot of backlash.

The monthly price of SoundCloud Go is on par with other subscription costs. For $9.99 a month, users get access to SoundCloud’s extensive library with offline syncing.

So, what’s the problem? Well, according to The Verge, there’s a catch.

Musicians have been uploading millions and millions of songs to SoundCloud since its launch in 2007. Those songs have always been available for free — and they’ll remain that way even after Go’s launch — but now, you’ll be able to play SoundCloud tracks right alongside the big hits you’re addicted to. SoundCloud thinks this extensive library is something a lot people are willing to pay for.

SoundCloud’s subscription streaming service is here (and it needs work), via The Verge

SoundCloud thinks this will give them a leg up in the streaming business, but others aren’t so sure. Compared to other subscription-based services, SoundCloud has fewer paid tracks available.

But, according to SoundCloud’s CTO and Co-Founder Eric Wahlforss, SoundCloud isn’t trying to compete with Spotity, TIDAL or Apple Music.

Wahlforss isn’t worried about competing with Spotify, at least for now. He’s more focused on the 170 million people who already use SoundCloud every month, and the 12 million so-called “creators”—the musicians and DJs and remixers and cover artists that people listen to every month. Wahlforss loves the idea that those creators can live next to the Beyonces and Biebers of the world. “Not only do we get all of this content from the major labels,” he says, “but on top of that, everything that’s been going on on the platform—the DJing activity, the remixing and mash-uping, cover music, and all that—all of that stuff can live now on the platform side by side with premium content.”

SoundCloud Go: An Audacious Answer to Spotify That’s Dying to Stand Out, via Wired

Users aren’t forced to upgrade, as SoundCloud tweeted above, but people are still pretty upset. Not only is there not a lot of artists on SoundCloud that Spotify or Apple Music have, the app is also tricky to use.

The service did only launch this past Tuesday, so maybe things will improve over time.

SoundCloud Go Launches, Faces Problems

The Cassette Revival

When was the last time you had to rewind your music with a pen or pencil when you wanted to hear a song you really loved on repeat? It’s probably been awhile, hasn’t it? Well, get those pens ready and break out those Walkmans because cassettes are coming back in style!

Yesterday, we explored the world of vinyl and its hipster revival. Today, we’re diving deeper into the nostalgia by taking a look at cassette tapes.

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via Pinterest

Here’s a fun fact: The best seller on Record Store Day 2015 was a cassette. Metallica’s No Life Til Leather sold nearly 3,000 copies. In recent years, cassettes have even been given their own day to shine. Cassette Store Day launched in 2013, and while it isn’t as popular as its cousin Record Store Day, it’s obvious that there’s a very niche market that still can appreciate the cassette.

In 2014 National Audio Company, one of the largest and busiest cassette manufacturers in the US, produced more than 10 million tapes. In 2015 their duplicated cassette sales increased 31% over 2014. So far in 2016, according to a company spokesperson, they’re well ahead of 2015.

Forget Vinyl, Let’s Talk About The Cassette Comeback, via Forbes

Cassettes are appealing to both consumers and bands for a lot of reasons. Perhaps the top reason is price. Bands that are just starting out can get 50-100 units of cassettes made for $1-$2 per unit. That’s a huge deal when a band is living on Taco Bell and sleeping in their van on tours. In turn, making cheap cassettes mean selling cheap cassettes. Unlike vinyl, which can be anywhere from $15-$30 a record, a typical cassette at a show is around $5.

Websites like Bandcamp allow artists to self-release their music and therefore cut out the middleman. This is a huge deal in the DIY scene that pride themselves on doing it, well, yourself. Pressing vinyl for small artists is unrealistic, but selling their albums on cassette is a lot more doable and therefore generates more revenue for the artist.

There is also the appeal of owning physical media, like we explored yesterday. Being able to unwrap a cassette and pop it in your tape deck and flip it over to side B when side A has run out can be more satisfying than just picking the next album on your Spotify.

While there are a lot of positive memories associated with cassettes, some people prefer they just stay memories. I asked my followers on Twitter what they thought of the cassette revival and here’s their input:

Sure, the sound quality of cassettes is nothing special. It may be based in nostalgic and aesthetic purposes, but that isn’t stopping chart-topping artists from releasing cassettes either. Everyone from Justin Bieber to Kanye West are releasing cassettes these days.

Could this be the end of making a Spotify playlist for your significant other and instead standing outside their window with a boombox playing a cassette tape? Probably not, but who knows…

The Cassette Revival

Records Are A Sound Purchase

To no hipsters surprise, vinyl sales generated more revenue last year than advertising on streaming services such as Spotify and Soundcloud.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) recently released their 2015 report of Shipment and Revenue Statistics, which breaks down retail revenues of streaming services, physical sales, digital downloads and synth. While sales of physical media did increase, streaming services still came out on top with a 7% revenue jump from 2014 to 2015. The full report can be found here.

The RIAA’s figures revealed that vinyl sales made $416 million, while the combined total ad revenue from streaming sites Soundcloud, Spotify and YouTube accounted for only $385 million. The report also detailed that vinyl LP sales rose 32 percent last year and hit their highest total since 1988 at $416 million.

Vinyl Sales Made More Than Youtube, Spotify and Soundcloud Ads Combined: Report, via Billboard

While vinyl never really went away, they’ve been gaining more popularity within the last few years. Almost every show I’ve gone to in the past year, no matter how big or small, has had vinyls for sale at their merch tables. LPs aren’t just for the old-school kids anymore. Artists like Adele, Alabama Shakes, and even the Biebs himself release their albums on vinyl now.

Vinyl is resurgent because it gives a better sound and, with modern music so disposable, it is satisfying to own an actual artifact, says Mark Burgess, who founded Flashback Records, a London record store and small music label, in 1997. “It’s also the ritual of putting the needle on the record and actively listening to the music,” he says.

Discs, jockeying, via The Economist

Options for buying vinyls are anything but limited. Of course, there’s the beloved local record stores (yes, they still exist!). There is also every vinyl fan’s favorite day: Record Store Day, which takes place across the world. Record Store Day was first celebrated in 2008 as a way for independent record stores to spread the good word (and sound) of LPs. For people who prefer to be surprised by their next purchase, there is a monthly subscription service called Vinyl Me, Please, which sends members a LP that was pressed just for Vinyl Me, Please members, so you know you’re getting something special.

LPs do cost significantly more than a month of Spotify or Apple Music (the average vinyl costs anywhere between $20-$30 compared to $10/month of Spotify), but there’s no denying the sound and nostalgia that come along with buying vinyls is unparalleled.

So, which do you prefer: physical media or streaming services? Let me know below!

Records Are A Sound Purchase

Sony Unveils New Headphones at SXSW

Sony revealed its new wearable headphones at this year’s SXSW. The headphones, called Concept N, are no doubt the first of their kind. They are worn around the neck have have no wires. The headphones are instead built with multi-directional speaker that project the user’s music upwards towards their ears (though they do come with earbuds, too).

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Sony’s new ‘futuristic’ headphones (via Consequence of Sound)

While the headphones do look very futuristic and flashy, as can be seen on Consequence of Sound’s Facebook post, some people are less than impressed.

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Oh yeah, the headphones also have a built-in camera and voice control. Users will be able to tell the headphones to open the camera or ask where the nearest coffee shop is. It seems Sony is wanting to follow in the footsteps of Google Glass, but we all know how that turned out.

Interested in getting you hands on a pair? While Sony hasn’t announced an exact launch date or price yet, they’re hoping to start selling Concept N later this year.

Sony Unveils New Headphones at SXSW

Some SXSW Highlights

It’s that time of year again. This week, people from all across the country grabbed their flower headbands and shorty shorts and flocked to Austin, TX for the annual South By Southwest music and film festival.

SXSW is the first of many Spring/Summer music festivals (dubbed ‘Festival Season’) of the year. To nobody’s surprise, the music lineup of this year’s festival is nothing but the best. SXSW pulls in bands from all over the world, including the UK, Belgium, Mexico… The list goes on.

Here are the highlights of SXSW so far:

Obama skips out on Nancy Reagan’s funeral to attend festival
But, it’s not why you think. Sure, attending a music festival is way less depressing than going to a funeral, but President Obama was scheduled to give a keynote speech on the same day that Reagan was laid to rest. This year was the first time that a president and first lady have attended the music and film festival.

First Lady Michelle Obama also gives keynote
Don’t think Michelle Obama is there to party either. The First Lady gave a keynote today, which is all about female empowerment and is related to the Let Girls Learn initiative. The initiative “is a government-wide effort that will leverage the investments we have made and success we have achieved in global primary school, and expand them to help adolescent girls complete their education.”

Vince Staples criticizes Spotify while performing in SXSW’s Spotify House
Dissing streaming services is now the cool thing to do, and Spotify has caught flack yet again. This time, from rapper Vince Staples. During his set, Staples stopped and said:

“Shoutout to Spotify,” he said. “Thank you for giving me this check to make up for what you’ve done to me and all my musical friends.” Later, he told the crowd, “listen to your favorite album 1,000, 2,000 times so everybody can get an album sale.”

-Vince Staples via Pitchfork

Jessica Hopper to give talk on music industry
Editorial Director at MTV Jessica Hopper is scheduled to give a talk today on the music industry and how to make it a safe place for those of us who aren’t male. Possibly the best thing about SXSW is that not only is a platform for lesser known bands to get themselves out there, it’s also a way to start (or continue) dialog on topics that are important to discuss in the music industry, whether it be race, class, sex, etc.

 

SXSW continues on until the 20th, so you still have time to head down to Texas and get in on the action!

Some SXSW Highlights