Happy Sunlighter Sunday! From ASCAP fighting Generative AI to Grammy nominations being revealed, buckle in for a big week of news from the music industry.
Rating Rationale: After hosting a surprise album release party at Silo for A Great Chaos in Brooklyn last month, Ken Carson has continued to ride his recent wave of popularity to new heights. Rooted in production prowess, A Great Chaos is exactly what underground hip-hop fans have come to expect: a polarizing album filled with broodingly dark motives and strong synth influence from Playboi Carti. As our artist of the week, we think A Great Chaos is just the start of the Opium era.
Jared Leto climbs Empire State to announce tour, Dua enlists Tame Impala for her upcoming album, SZA secures the most Grammy nominations
Last Thursday, Jared Leto climbed 80 floors of the Empire State Building to publicize Thirty Seconds to Mars’ upcoming Seasons Tour, which will kick off in 2024. Tickets go on sale for the North American leg on November 17.
Tame Impala fans, rejoice. Dua Lipa worked alongside Kevin Parker to record her upcoming album and lead single, “Houdini,” which dropped on Friday. The music video garnered 10 million views on YouTube in less than 24 hours.
The Recording Academy revealed the roster of Grammy nominations for the 2024 ceremony. SZA is the most nominated artist of the year with a whopping 9 nominations. See here for the full list, and stay tuned for our Grammy predictions.
Kendrick Lamar spearheads Move Afrika, Beyoncé unveils RENAISSANCE trailer, Missy Elliott makes history
Kendrick Lamar’s creative services company, pgLang, has partnered with Global Citizen to create “Move Afrika.” The project is a five-year initiative to develop Africa’s touring circuit and provide entrepreneurship opportunities for local talent, with the goal of expanding to a new country each year. This year, Kendrick headlines “Move Afrika: Rwanda” with a performance on December 6.
Beyoncé unveils the trailer for her highly anticipated RENAISSANCE: A Film trailer, set for cinematic release on December 1.
Missy Elliott further established her role as a true trailblazer for women in hip-hop last week after she became the first female rapper ever to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Lainey Wilson reigns in CMA Entertainer of the Year, Morgan Wallen snubbed, Tracy Chapman breaks songwriting records
Lainey Wilson brought home 5 Country Music Awards last week, including Best Country Album, Best Country Duo/Group Performance with Jelly Roll, and the coveted Entertainer of the Year. This is a grand feat after having only been nominated for any CMA award for the first time in 2023. She was one of Sunlighter’s early featured artists of the week and is currently one of the biggest rising artists in the new generation of women in country music.
Despite dominating the charts this year with One Thing At A Time, spending 16 non-consecutive weeks at #1 on the Billboard 200 (second only to Adele, whose 21 album spent 24 non-consecutive weeks at #1), Morgan Wallen didn’t receive any CMA Awards and was completely shut out from Grammy nominations.
Last week’s CMA Awards also marked a historic milestone in country music, with Tracy Chapman becoming the first-ever Black songwriter to win Song of the Year for her penning of “Fast Car.”
Primer: Originally part of renowned Atlanta production group 808 Mafia through his associations with hip-hop producers Lil 88 and TM88, Ken Carson brought his SoundCloud rap roots to Playboi Carti’s label, Opium, in 2019. His time at Opium quickly evolved into highly-anticipated collaborations with labelmate Destroy Lonely, garnering the duo’s moniker, Opium Twins. We think he’s bound for more success as the hip-hop industry continues to look for its next wave of generational trailblazing artists.
Genre: Experimental hip-hop (think Playboi Carti’s stylistic imprint)
Influences: Soulja Boy, Lil Wayne, Future
Current Label: Jointly signed by Opium (Playboi Carti’s record label and creative agency) and Interscope
Audience: ~7 million monthly listeners on Spotify
What’s Next: Ken will be joining fellow labelmates Destroy Lonely and Homixide Gang on Playboi Carti’s Antagonist Tour, which kicks off in Europe next Sunday. This past week, 070 Shake dropped a timely collaboration with Ken Carson.
📻 Sirius Competition: After seeing a decline in its Pandora users, SiriusXM aims to make another attempt at streaming with the upcoming rollout of its Sirius Streaming App. The optimized media player consolidates podcasts, music, and talk show offerings, with a launch date of December 14. The platform is set to be a true competitor for Spotify at $9.99/month.
Stones on Snap: Want to see Bitmojis move like Jagger? The Rolling Stones have partnered with Snapchat to provide fans a glimpse into their shows through augmented reality on the app.
❤️ Lauv U Like That: In honor of his biggest headlining show yet, Lauv becomes the first Western artist to use voice AI technology to release a song in a new language. The artist worked with voice AI startup, Hooky, and K-pop artist, Kevin Woo of U-KISS, to release a new version of “Love U Like That.”
🙅🏻♀️ Music Fraud: Pex, an AI-powered music identification company, is on a mission to combat music fraud and develop technology so that rightsholders are properly attributed and compensated. In a recent blog post, the company shared that more than 1 million tracks currently on DSPs are diverting revenue from rightsholders. Check out five examples here.
🥖 Let’s Get This: beatBread, a music funding platform, announced a new Songwriters Advance Division as part of their offering, allowing songwriters to earn publishing rights valued up to $3 million on their current and future catalog.
🌐 Web3 Updates: Sound.xyz announced Magic Upload, a new feature allowing for costless uploads without the need for a crypto wallet.
🤖 ASCAP Combats Generative AI: As the use of artificial intelligence in the music industry continues, ASCAP has submitted a proposal reiterating the steps AI should take to maintain compliant copyright regulations and calling the U.S. Copyright Office to protect music creator rights.
💵 Royalty, Royalty, Royalty: Kristin Graziani, President of Music Distribution at Stem, breaks down the new Spotify royalty model that will take effect in 2024 and why it’s a positive change for artists. Yes, even with the 1,000 stream threshold.
💰 Securing the Bag: Two months after the acquisition announcement, Concord officially acquired Round Hill Music Royalty Fund for a whopping $469 million. The acquisition brings in over 50 catalogs and 150,000 songs from high-profile artists.
Taylor Swift’s 13th #1 going on 33
📈 1989 (Taylor’s Version) becomes Taylor Swift’s 13th number-one album and has seen record-breaking sales through the first week, both outselling the original 1989 album and capturing the biggest opening sales week for any album in more than a decade. This marks Taylor’s best opening sales week, and she now claims six albums with more than a million sales in a single week. That’s more than any other artist since 1991 (which is when Billboard first had reliable sales data) 🤯
Frank Ocean teases new music on Instagram Stories
🚨 Surprise Drops: Frank Ocean revealed he’s working on new music on his Instagram Stories. Pop Base recorded the minute-long clip so you can listen to what would be his first potential music drop in six years here.
⏩ Here are album releases to look out for this week:
Bob Dylan – The Complete Budokan 1978, Bob Dylan
Rockstar, Dolly Parton
Welcome 2 ColleGrove, Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz
Fruitcake EP, Sabrina Carpenter
How Were We To Know, Emeli Sandé
Plain White T’s, Plain White T’s
based on a true story, Wrabel
When a Crooner Dies, Leslie Odom, Jr.
HiROQUEST: Double Helix, Steve Aoki
🚶 Show Announcements: TOMORROW X TOGETHER is set to become the first K-pop group to perform on Tiny Desk Korea this Monday. Clockenflap Music & Arts Festival, with Caroline Polachek and Novo Amor as headliners, kicks off in Hong Kong on December 1. LCD Soundsystem shares plans for a Bay Area New Year’s Eve.
The Merch Table
🧟♀️ Rock ‘N Roll in Color: Death metal band, Cannibal Corpse, recently released a coloring book… it’s probably not suitable for kids.
🐆 FENTY X PUMA: In September, Rihanna returned to the FENTY x PUMA collaboration as the creative director of a new multi-year partnership. First up is the reimagination of Puma’s Avanti sneaker.
🎸 An Autumn Variation: To commemorate his latest studio album, Ed Sheeran released a limited edition Autumn Variations guitar, only available for a limited time.
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