MUSIC BUZZ: Empress Of // Ibeyi // Nothing More // Vinyl // More



MUSIC BUZZ: Empress Of // Ibeyi // Nothing More // Vinyl // More

Brooklyn singer/songwriter Empress Of finally moves ahead with her debut album, now expected to come out in late summer. She also released a single (do you still call it that?), which raises expectations.

French duo Ibeyi, who released my so far favorite album of the year, come back to North America, as expected. For New York City they will play Summerstage in Central Park on June 20th. It’s free but who knows if one can get in.

Elke and I probably won’t make it to a Morrissey show, but our friend Melanie is a fan and I always find it enlightening to experience what a music legend does on stage. Here is her report of the show on Match 27th.

One of Elke’s favorites bands, Nothing More, takes on the issue of mental disorders with their #iknowjenny campaign, named after singer Jonny Hawkins sister Jenny, who struggles with bipolar disorder.

Today is record store day, so it’s the right time for some good news about vinyl. Billboard reports that in the U.S. sales are up 53 % for the first quarter of this year. But:

Vinyl remains a niche part of the market, and no-one is saying the old-school format is the saviour of the industry, artists and for entertainment retailers.

I agree, vinyl requires too much effort and equipment to become ever mainstream. But this reflects the desire of music fans to take home something physical of the music they love. Just checking it in the Spotify app doesn’t cut it.

British folk band Mumford & Sons chimed in on the Tidal thing and they don’t like it:

“We wouldn’t have joined it anyway, even if they had asked. We don’t want to be tribal,” says frontman Marcus Mumford. “I think smaller bands should get paid more for it, too. Bigger bands have other ways of making money, so I don’t think you can complain. A band of our size shouldn’t be complaining. And when they say it’s artist-owned, it’s owned by those rich, wealthy artists.”

For sure Tidal has done one good thing already: everybody is coming out and discuss the streaming model.

Micah Singleton writes a more balanced view for The Verge on the new streaming service. But his conclusion sounds quite bleak:

Users who want to hear every artist on their preferred platform might face a fragmented market, with some exclusives owned by Apple, some by Spotify, and some by Tidal.

That sounds a lot of TV, where the show you want to see may be on one channel or the other and if you want to see them all, you have to maintain multiple, expensive subscriptions, which most of them being idle most of the time. And the extra money you pay doesn’t even go to the artists, but to the platforms.

Our two favorite new albums of the week were Secret Live by Moon King (Spotify, iTunes) and Salome by Marriages (Spotify, iTunes.