Happy Sunlighter Sunday! Today, we’re finally revealing our Morning Brew-style newsletter structure. While we understand that some of our readers want exposure to all genres, we wanted to find a middle-ground for those who prefer information more relatable to their taste in music. Let us know your thoughts on whether you prefer the new structure by responding to our poll at the end of the newsletter. We’ll make sure to continue optimizing our newsletter while making it as comprehensive as possible each week 🤝
Rating Rationale: LANY is one of our early (and we mean pre-newsletter days early) favorite bands. In 2017, they set the bar sky high with their debut self-titled album, bringing us career-defining songs like Super Far, ILYSB, and Hericane). Last week, LANY released their fifth studio album, which got a little heat from fans on the name change (originally titled, i really, really hope so) and updated album cover–which, if we’re being honest, looks like an old-school tech company logo. Although this is the band’s first album on Virgin Records and without fellow founding member, Les Priest, it remains authentic and true to the distinctly pure vocals from Paul Klein and atmospheric production fans know and love. Our favorite tracks are “XXL,” “Out Of My League,” “Sugar & Cinnamon,” and “(Saturday Night) 3:22 A.M.)”
Drake ends Grammys boycott, submits Her Loss with 21 Savage for consideration
After years of boycotting the Grammy Awards, Drake has submitted Her Loss for Album of the Year and Best Rap Album. “Rich Flex” was also submitted for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance. The eligibility window for the upcoming ceremony is any body of work released between October 1, 2022 and September 15, 2023.
Beyoncé surprises Taylor Swift at the premiere of The Eras Tour film
On Wednesday, Beyoncé surprised Taylor Swift at the premiere of her The Eras Tour movie in Los Angeles. We love to see the two biggest women icons in music supporting one another.
This marked a big weekend for Swift: AMC expects the pop phenomena to bring in $100 million during The Eras Tour film opening weekend, making it the seventh-best opening for a film in 2023. The only artists who have been remotely close to seeing these numbers in North America are Michael Jackson, whose posthumous release of This Is It brought in $72 million, and Justin Bieber, whose Never Say Never concert film grossed $29.5 million.
From her mega-movie premiere weekend to her surprise appearance at Saturday Night Live alongside Travis Kelce, let’s not forget her version of 1989 is coming in less than two weeks.
How TOKiMONSTA overcame Music Aphasia
For those who consistently follow the EDM space, you’re probably familiar with (or at the very least aware of) the artist TOKiMONSTA. But did you know that back in 2015, TOKiMONSTA needed two brain surgeries to treat a rare cerebrovascular disorder, resulting in acute aphasia (impacting communication and speech understanding) and her inability to recognize music for a period of time? Check out her story.
At Austin City Limits, Mumford & Sons debuted a new song called “Maybe” with a little help from Noah Kahan.
🗣️ AudioShake, a music-focused artificial intelligence (AI) company that deconstructs recordings into separate, high-quality sound “stems,” added “LyricSync” to its product features this week. This feature is a new lyric transcription and timestamping service (available in 40 languages) that will allow artists to capitalize on emerging marketing opportunities for each individual song.
💵 HIFI, a financial rights organization built to empower artists and their teams, announced it would be acquired by Block in order to further support its mission. Block (formerly Square) is also the parent company of TIDAL and Cash App.
💰 Securing the Bag: Music-AI startup, Hook, whose mission is to innovate the way music is expressed on social media, collected $3 million in a seed round led by Waverley Capital. Fave, superfan platform and home to the Swifties, Hooligans, and ARMY, have earned $2 million in an ongoing seed round with plans to use the capital towards deepening their AI-powered fan intelligence tools. Audoo, a British music tech company dedicated to revolutionizing performance royalty reporting through accurate data, raised $5 million in a recent round including Sir Elton John.
🌐 Web3 Updates: Zora gives users the benefit of earning Ethereum every time they refer an NFT. Bonfire gives web3 artists the opportunity to spotlight their NFTs in an interactive marketplace and expands on its offering with updates on secondary sales, Bonfire Wallet, and credit card checkout.
We Call ‘Em Early: Here at Sunlighter, we pride ourselves on our ability to call artists’ success early. Earlier this week, Teezo Touchdown, Holly Humberstone, and Laufey all got nods from Rolling Stone, Variety, and Music Business Worldwide.
🖊️ Universal Publishing: Earlier this week, Fred again.. and Sabrina Carpenter both signed exclusive publishing deals with Universal Music Group.
🎸 SXSW 2024: The first round of artists slated to perform at the upcoming festival here.
🏁 Stormzy in Silverstone: One of our favorite rappers is set to take the stage at the Formula One Silverstone Grand Prix in July 2024.
🤘 Rock in Rio Lisbon 2024: Ed Sheeran is set to headline the 20th year of the Portugal festival next summer.
*NSYNC is back on the Billboard charts
📈 As Jung Kook & Jack Harlow’s “3D” has taken the global charts by storm, *NSYNC quietly re-debuts on the Billboard charts for the first time since 2002. Country continues to dominate the charts as Morgan Wallen’s One Thing At A Time returns to #1 and Thomas Rhett makes strong debuts with 20 Number Ones and “Mamaw’s House.”
How do we select our Artist of the Week?
Our Mission: As we’ve mentioned in the past, part of Sunlighter’s core mission is to become a reputable, public source for A&R. But what does that really mean? It means we want to be ahead of music trends by promoting artists we think will have the most potential and those that will benefit from both consumer and industry tailwinds. It also means that we plan to support record label A&R reps by showcasing select artists from their rosters.
Why? While we acknowledge there have been more equitable and disruptive models of ownership leveraged by many independent artists, we believe that A&R continues to be the current lifeblood of the music industry and a change in the traditional model of artist growth will likely happen more gradually (though TikTok and Web3 have accelerated this transition). Thus, we feel it’s important for us to play a role in advocating for the growth of artists.
How? We typically gauge a number of quantitative and qualitative factors before making a decision on our artist of the week. While these factors evolve over time, here are some of our core criteria:
🎧 Streaming Data: While we will look at aggregated streaming metrics (including airplay) and Luminate’s chart data, our primary overview metrics lie with Spotify monthly listeners, how well individual singles are streamed, and inclusion in highly followed playlists.
📱 Social Data: Social media channels, particularly TikTok and other short-form video platforms, help inform virality and cultural relevance.
🏭 Industry Tailwinds: Both record label promotional strength as well as evolving listener trends help form our opinion on what artists and genres to target. This also includes commercial co-signs as well as industry nominations for award ceremonies.
🚌 Tour Placement: Understanding both tour placement as well as placements within festivals and other unique music events helps to validate listener interest.
🌞 Sunlighter Preference: It wouldn’t be fully accurate without also including our own preferences, which are shaped by our day-to-day conversations with the people around us.
Mark your calendars for these upcoming releases:
October 17: Tickets for PinkPantheress Capable of Love Tour presale begins. General sale begins on October 20, and her debut album Heaven Knows will be released on November 10.
October 19: Charli XCX will drop “In The City” featuring Sam Smith.
October 20: The Kid LAROI will release “Too Much” with BTS’ Jung Kook and UK rapper Central Cee. Naomi Sharon, the first female artist to be signed with Drake’s OVO Sound, will release her debut album, Obsidian.
February 9: Madi Diaz will release her fifth studio album, featuring Kacey Musgraves on a track called “Don’t Do Me Good.”
TBD: Dua Lipa signals a new era is coming soon. Kali Uchis announces sophomore album, Orquídeas, will be sung entirely in Spanish.
The Merch Table
🔥 Fyre Merch: While plans for Fyre Fest II are still unclear, there are seven merch items up for grabs.
🍸 Bacardi x Boi-1da: Bacardi is partnering with Grammy award-winning producer, Boi-1da, to train an artificial intelligence model on his unreleased tracks. He’ll be working with five emerging artists to create The A.I. Powered Album, which will be released in November of this year.