Imogen Heap using Blockchain Technology for the Future of the Music Industry

Singer/songwriter Imogen Heap recently is taking a stance to the way in which she wants to sell her music, use her music, and expand her music. Imogen heap is best known for her unique sound and use of musical gloves in recent performances and more importantly an award-winning songwriter and performing who, so far, is the only female artist to have won a Grammy for engineering. After reading an article on The Guardian earlier today I found that Heap, like many artists, is fed up with not being compensated for her work and furthermore not having her work used and listened to as intended. Soon after releasing her album Sparks Heap looked into new ways of releasing her music and came across blockchaining. Blockchaining is broadly used amongst programmers and tech geeks and is used as a peer-to-peer payment system done through a uniquely created database cutting out the extra people involved in a company and instead linking individuals through verifying transactions. In a musical sense, Heap is looking to do this through sharing her music between other artists, film directors, commercial use, and the common music consumer. Through having her music on her own platform, which she calls Mycelia, she can connect one on one with other creators looking to use or branch off of her work. Another benefit to showcasing her work like this is that it also gives the artist more ownership of their work by having simple contracts that state what terms the music would be used to download for. This gives her a record of who is using it for what and a better way to have a latch of her own music. She looks to creating a community of music lovers combined with artists a like to share interest and learn from others work. Heap takes it a step further with making her lyrics, photographs, instruments used, and names of other musicians she’s played with accessible to the public.

More and more artists are taking steps like these to ensure they are getting what they want out of their work and ultimately bringing together a group of people who want to work and learn together. At first it has to start with bigger name artists that have a following and once it is recognized globally newer artists can tag along.

I personal feel that this also gives other in the industry and fans a better understanding of what that artist is like and see a more personable side to them. As is, that is what we are losing a bit more now a days with streaming. Before you would hear a song, look up the artist, listen to more of their songs, buy their album and fall in love with them. We need that back in order for artists work to be appreciated. Fortunately and unfortunately artists have more power than they think, just ask Taylor Swift. They just need to be the ones to make a stance, broadcast it to their fans, and make that difference in the industry we have been waiting for.

If you’d like to hear more about Imogen Heap’s input on the matter along with a team of others in the industry take a look at the video below.

Technology Changes Everything.

If there is one thing that has become quite obvious is that technology has the power to change everything. It has certainly transformed the music industry throughout the years! From the way we make music to the way we produce it. From the way we source music to the way we listen to it. It can be said that technology has affected the music industry in both positive and negative ways. The short clip above provides an excellent example of this.

If you were to type “technology and the music industry” into the multiple search engines that are available to us, you would soon discover that the majority of the articles out there focus on the negative effects technology has brought to the music industry. It is important to point out that technological advances have not only affected music but also publishing, television, radio, and the news. While it is true that perhaps technology has had a negative impact on the music industry (as well as other industries), there are many other changes that have been positive.

Today, I am choosing to focus on the positive as it is important to recognize favorable disruption. Let’s look at the short clip below.

Positive changes in the music industry (thanks to technological advances) include: consumers having access to music more than ever before, online music education availability, new musical instruments, access to digital tools (by both artists and consumers), artist collaboration increase, artistic control and independence, artist and fan communication/interaction via social media channels, crowd funding platforms, etc. All these changes continue to ultimately shape the music industry today.

Though there are many who feel nostalgic when thinking about the way the music industry used to be, it is important to appreciate the way the music industry is now. It will never be the way it used to be. In other words, it is important to see the good and bad (without specifically focusing on the bad). I am not saying the music industry is perfect. In fact, there are many things that could be improved. I am simply saying that technology should not to be seen as evil. It is important to embrace it and welcome the changes technological advances may continue to bring.

Arkon Fly

In August last year, the internet got a little funkier with the release of a killer song called “Through the Fire”. It came from a group called  Arkon Fly. Their name and location were the only two pieces of information available about them on the internet. Try not to move your head as you listen to this track and read the rest of this dope blog.

In October, they released another equally as catchy song called Back Seat and managed to get played on BBC Radio 1. Then in February this year they tweeted –

 

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Suddenly their music was no where to be found on the internet. That was until Arkon Fly announced they had just signed to the XL Recordings subsidiary ‘Locked on Records’ which focuses predominantly on UK Garage and Grime.

This type of artist development and choices to remove all songs from the internet really interests me. I’d love to be in the room when the group found out the awesome news about Locked On.

Look out for the single ‘Back Seat’ that they will hopefully release soon.

WARE have you been? Meet JESSIE WARE

Who is JESSIE WARE?Jessie-Ware-red-lipstick-effect

Another artist that I slept on was Jessie Ware! I didn’t discover Jessie’s music until this year. Here’s a quick rundown on this budding starlet:

The Deets

  • Origin: UK (London)
  • Label: PMR Records
  • Started her career as a background vocalist for Jack Peñate and SBTRKT
  • She collaborated with Sampha (long time collaborator of SBTRKT’s) on the song “Valentine”
  • Released her debut album “Devotion” August 2012
  • Debuted at #5 on the UK charts
  • Most successful single “Wildest Moments”

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Jessie has spent the last year touring at numerous festivals throughout the UK, Europe, and the States. She recently started working on her sophomore album during the 1st quarter of this year. I’m highly anticipating her next release! I can’t wait for some new music! In the meantime, listen to some of her tracks below.

Wildest Moments

Devotion (Title Track)–One of my faves!

Bonus Vid: Valentine

Dates of Upcoming Shows:

  • Wilderness Festival (August 7, 2014-Cornbury Park, Charlbury, UK)
  • Berlin Festival (September 5, 2014-Flughafen Tempelhof, Berlin, Germany

For more info on Jessie, check out her official website jessieware.com

NEW Music From Keyshia Cole: “Rick James” (HOT or NAH??)

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The old K.C. is back and in full effect! Keyshia Cole is known for belting out heartfelt lyrics, but over the years some of her fans insinuated after getting married that they didn’t like the “happy” Keyshia as much as the “old” Keyshia who sang about heartbreak, pain, and relationships.

As of late something has brought the old K.C. out of hiding on her new track “Rick James.” It’s a catchy track about her slapping up a female (in Rick James fashion) who her man cheated on her with. It also refers to Dave Chappelle’s “Rick James” skit (w/ lines such as “feet up on your couch”, “slap a bitch like Rick James”). “There’s a lot of speculation around the track since Keyshia unfortunately has experienced marital problems as of late.  Nonetheless, I’m glad to see that she’s back on the scene…

artworks-000073959311-d6t7sn-originalChorus:

Why does it matter now?
Who can do you better?
Feet up on your couch
Yeah bitch I’m Rick James
Yeah bitch I’m Rick James
Yeah bitch I’m Rick James
Slap a bitch like Rick James
I’m Rick James

 Peep the vid below featuring Juicy J:

What do you think? Banger or nah??

Elle Varner…”COLD CASE”

I’ve been rocking with R&B songstress Elle Varner since her first mixtape “Conversational Lush” and subsequently when she hit the scene with “Only Wanna Give It To You” from her debut album “Perfectly Imperfect,” which spawned her other mega hit “Refill.”

Elle

Elle is back on the scene with her new single “COLD CASE.” She sings about how beautiful love is at first until she has a feeling that her boyfriend is cheating on her..In the first verse she sings:

I got this case on my hands, that I can’t crack

But I been gathering all that I can

One of those things that I must understand, understand

Cuz you went and changed up on me, much too fast

Talk about lightening speed, lightening speed

But it ain’t no unsolvable mystery

I gotta get down to it
 

Check it out!!!

She describes the sound of her upcoming sophomore album entitled “LOVE” as “Trap Jazz”. If Trap Jazz sounds like this new banger that she cooked up, then obviously I’ve been missing out! The production by Pop & Oak on “COLD CASE” is insane! From the intro, to the change in the tempo, to the backbeat with the heavy bass, along with her hard hitting vocals..all make for a great combo! Her album has no release date yet, but I’ll be waiting for it!

This is most definitely a song for the ladies! I’m feeling Elle’s vibe this time around.  This song also has a sexier vibe and appears to explore a new sound for the songstress. What do you think..HOT or NOT??

 

**Artists to Watch in 2014**

Here’s my prediction for 2014…take a look at 5 different artists/bands that I believe will be successful in the next year.  Feel free to take a peep to see if you agree and to discover some new music to add to your ever-growing collection..Enjoy!

1.  Snarky Puppy
Snarky Puppy

  • The band features a collective of nearly 40 musicians, referred to as “The Fam” on their recordings and tours.
  •  Snarky Puppy was nominated for a Grammy Award in the “Best R&B Performance” category, with their cover of Lalah Hathaway’s song “Somethin”

Watch the video for “Somethin” below..

2.  Hiatus Kaiyote
hiatus_n

  • From Melbourne, Australia
  • Nice blend of soul music with Jazz vocals
  • Currently nominated for a grammy for their song “Nakamarra”–listen to it below

3.  Lianne La Havas

Lianne La Havas

I absolutely love this artist! Her first album was amazing and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for 2014.

  • Her debut album Is Your Love Big Enough? was awarded the title of iTunes Album of The Year 2012.
  • She was nominated for the BBC’s Sound of 2012 poll
  • Listen to “Elusive” below (one of my favorite records from her debut album)–the video was released this year

4.  Gary Clark Jr.
Gary Clark Jr.

  • Influences:  Blues, jazz, soul, country, hip hop
  •  Clark’s musical trademarks are his extremely fuzzy guitar sound and smooth vocal style.
  • Currently nominated for a Grammy for “Please Come Home”

Listen to his live performance of “Please Come Home”

5.  Lorde

Lorde

Lorde is only 17 years old and her debut album, Pure Heroine has received worldwide critical acclaim…

  • Lorde is nominated for a total of four Grammys, which include ‘Record of the Year’ and ‘Song of the Year’ for “Royals” and ‘Best Pop Vocal Album’ for Pure Heroine.
  • Her musical debut was an EP entitled, whicThe Love Clubh was released in November 2012
  • Her first single, “Royals”, debuted at number one on the New Zealand Top 40, and also reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2013, making her the first New Zealand solo artist to have a number one song in the United States.

Lorde’s video “Royals”

NEW Music: Sevyn Streeter “Call Me Crazy, But…” EP

Who is Sevyn Streeter?

Sevyn's Promo Pic

  • American Singer-Songwriter
  • Genres: R&B, Hip Hop, Pop, Dance
  • Label: CBE (Chris Brown’s record label) signed in March 2012
  • Influences: Aaliyah, Brandy, Toni Braxton, Mariah Carey, Yolanda Adams, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Earth, Wind & Fire
  • Sevyn has been in the “industry” for many years. I personally remember her being a member of the teenage girl group TG4 (Tom Girl 4) in the early 2000s (associated act of boy band B2K–I was a big fan..don’t judge me LOL). TG4 was a four member group that was one of the opening acts on the “Scream Tour” that was headlined by Bow Wow and B2K, but the group didn’t garner much success and disbanded.  In 2009, Sevyn was a member of another girl group “RichGirl” who eventually disbanded in 2011 due to poor commercial success.  RichGirl was even the opening act for Beyoncé’s I Am…Tour (North American leg). After the group disbanded, Sevyn continued to write songs for other artists (such as Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige, Ariana Grande, Kelly Rowland, Fantasia) also including Chris Brown (“Yeah-3x”, “Strip”, and “Fine China”–just to name a few) which eventually led to her signing with his CBE record label in March 2012.

Sevyn Promo

Sevyn released her debut single as a solo artist in October of 2012, “I Like It” (not included on her EP).  This record was her breakthrough single and led up to the release of the lead single for her EP “It Won’t Stop” (feat. Chris Brown) (co-produced by Diplo of Mad Decent Records–be sure to check out that post). The video has over 10 million views on YouTube.

Album Cover

Released: December 3, 2013
Track-listing:
1. Come On Over
2. It Won’t Stop (feat. Chris Brown)
3. Sex on the Ceiling
4. Call Me Crazy
5. B.A.N.S.
6. Shattered
7. nEXt

Watch Sevyn’s “It Won’t Stop” video feat. Chris Brown (It’s a nice slow jam, laidback song)

I think this is a solid project for Sevyn. 2014 should be a promising year for Sevyn. She has been working hard for many years and it appears that it’s finally HER time! My favorite tracks include the lead single “It Won’t Stop”, “Shattered” and “nEXt”.  “Shattered” explains how things can fall apart in a relationship and “nEXt” is wanting your EX to be your nEXt boyfriend/girlfriend.  Below is the teaser for her next single “Sex on the Ceiling.”

“Shattered” teaser

  • Follow Sevyn on Twitter @Sevyn for updates or check out her official website.
  • Purchase her album for $5.99 on iTunes! (It’s been in heavy rotation for the past few weeks on my end–hopefully you all will feel the same!)

Berklee Spotlight: Jilly May

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Born and raised in upstate New York,  Berklee College of Music undergraduate singer-songwriter Jilly May captivates audiences with a sound reminiscent of the musical love-child of Regina Spektor and Ingrid Michealson. With authentic lyricism and natural vocal inflections,  her music can do nothing but make your heart smile. Jilly May is a sure bet on anybody’s playlist.

Here is her latest music video, “Beauty of Life”:

 Currently studying abroad at the Berklee Valencia campus in Spain, Jilly hopes to hone in on her craft as she returns to Boston in the new year.

You can find Jillian’s music here:

http://www.jillymaymusic.com/Jilly_May_Music/Music.html

https://www.facebook.com/Jillymaymusic

Artist Match Up of the Week: The Ceremonies Vs. Betty Who

First Up…

Name: The Ceremonies

Sounds Like:  fun. , The Smiths 

Label: Capitol Records 

Websites:

 http://theceremonies.com/
https://www.facebook.com/theCEREMONIES

ceremonies

The Ceremonies is an American rock band from Los Angeles, California.  Their sound has been described as ‘80s New Wave nostalgia meets cutting-edge alternative rock. The three members, of the band consists of brothers Matthew Cook (age 21), Mark Cook (age 20), and Michael Cook (age 20).  Formed in 2010 they did not  release any music until late 2012. They are currently managed by Troy Carter and has been signed to a joint label between Atom factory and Capitol Records.

The Ceremonies have listed some of their influences being  Echo and The Bunnymen, The Smiths, and The Cure.   They recently released theur self-titled debut EP on October 8th, 2013 preceding the debut of their music video “Land Of Gathering”, which was featured on MTV´s Artists to Watch. Check out the video below. 

Check out some of their other tracks as well.

I think they do a good job describing their sound, its  a new age type of indie rock and you can really hear the influences bands like the Smiths have had on them.  I definitely can´t say I don´t like what I hear.   The have a good new sound and a real connection to social media, which we all know is a huge factors these days.  They know how to connect with their fans without just posting about their music. The use Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and youtube and follow a consistent image.  It refreshing to see young artists have a defined sound and look already established, there is a lot potential in this group of brothers.

Next Up…

Name: Betty Who

Label: RCA Records

Sounds Like: Katy Perry, Madonna, 

Website: 

http://bettywhomusic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/bettywhomusic

Betty-Who-2-590x395

This next artists has been featured in a lot of blogs and has already created a following after a video featuring her song went viral.  This Australian-born, New York-based pop singer released her upbeat debut EP, The Movement, last April. Since then, the 22-year-old born Jessica Newham has worked tirelessly to get her catchy melodies as good as anything topping the charts today. She has recently  joined a roster of RCA artists that includes heavyweights like Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears and Kelly Clarkson. Her second EP is due out in early 2014.

Check out the Viral Video that had her name burning up the blog world.

Take a listen to her debut EP, The Movement

Conclusion

I think in this case I would sign both these acts!  Each one has something that I think would make them successful in the industry today.  The Ceremonies have an interesting sounds a a defined look, I think their ready for big things.  Betty Who knows how to write a damn good pop song and I can see her competing with current pop artists like Katy Perry and Taylor Swift.

What do you all think?  Who would you sign? 

Sources: 14 Musical Acts To Watch in 2014 | TIME.com http://entertainment.time.com/2013/11/13/14-bands-and-artists-to-watch-in-2014/#ixzz2n0eEIm1f