Happy Sunlighter Sunday! From iconic performances to a surprise appearance from the legendary Céline Dion, last Sunday proved that the Grammys were for the girls. We’ve come a long way since 2018 when Alessia Cara was the only female artist to win a Grammy in any of the main categories. Lastly, we’re excited for Miley on a well-deserved win for ROTY 💐
Rating Rationale: Last week, the 2023 BRITs Rising Stars, The Last Dinner Party, dropped their highly-anticipated (and triumphant) debut album, Prelude to Ecstasy. “The Feminine Urge” to cut an introductory track that serves as a fantastical orchestral suite by bending the listeners’ ears as to what may come next. Through unique production by James Ford (Florence + The Machine, Arctic Monkeys), the whole album feels like a bewitching journey, particularly through the interludes (“Gjuha” to “Sinner” is our favorite). If there’s one track we feel perfectly encapsulates their sound, it’s “My Lady Of Mercy,” combining lighthearted harmonies with a masterful bridge that leads into a cinematic rock and roll chorus. A true must-listen album this year.
Country music mourns Toby Keith, Kacey Musgraves announces Deeper Well, Morgan Wallen signs publishing deal with Warner Chappell
This week, country music superstar Toby Keith passed away at the age of 62 after a multi-year battle with stomach cancer. Known for his hits like "Red Solo Cup" and "How Do You Like Me Now?!," Keith's death has prompted an outpouring of tributes from fellow country music stars.
In other country music news, Kacey Musgraves shared that her fifth studio album, Deeper Well, is coming on March 15th, and it sounds like country Kacey is back.
Lastly, Morgan Wallen signed a global publishing deal with Warner Chappell Music. The deal marks a significant step for Wallen's career as he continues to make chart-topping hits. Speaking of which, we’re still surprised that his One Thing At A Time album (the longest-running #1 country album of all time) didn’t receive recognition at either the CMAs or Grammys this past year…
Megan Thee Stallion owns her masters, Schoolboy Q teases upcoming tracks
Megan Thee Stallion has signed a multi-million dollar, exclusive worldwide publishing deal with Warner Music Group. This means that while the label will continue to manage her distribution under her independent label, Hot Girl Productions, Megan will retain full ownership of her past and future master recordings. Cheers to more of that artistic freedom 🥂
Meanwhile, Schoolboy Q gave fans 24-hour access to two songs from his upcoming album, Blue Lips, set to drop on March 1. The tracks are titled, “Blueslides,” and “Back In Love.”
Some UK Festivals struggle while others release lineups
Several music festivals in the UK have faced cancellations and postponements in 2023 and 2024 due to a combination of financial challenges, COVID-19 concerns, and adverse weather conditions, impacting the live music scene.
However, that hasn’t stopped other festivals from forging ahead with exciting lineups for 2024, including London’s Wireless Festival, which features headliners Nicki Minaj, Doja Cat, and J Hus, and Field Day Festival, which has confirmed Justice, PinkPantheress, Shygirl, and more for its 2024 edition.
Additionally, Boiler Room is embarking on a 2024 world tour featuring performances by Giggs and Chase & Status and Madrid’s Mad Cool Festival boasts prominent acts such as Dua Lipa, The Killers, and Pearl Jam.
Taylor Swift shares TTPD tracklist, Sia teases Reasonable Woman, Mariah Carey announces Vegas residency
After announcing what will be her eleventh studio album at the Grammys (although we don’t love the way it was revealed or the Céline Dion snub) Taylor Swift has shared the full tracklist for The Tortured Poets Department, including special features from Post Malone and Florence + The Machine. The album is set to be released on April 19.
In her first studio album since 2016, Sia’s Reasonable Woman will be here on May 3. While the lead single dropped this week and features Kylie Minogue, you can expect upcoming features from Labrinth and…Paris Hilton?
Anticipation builds for Kings of Leon and Vampire Weekend, Liam Gallagher and John Squire joint tour sells out in 30 seconds
Kings of Leon have teased the imminent release of new music, hinting at an upcoming project with the intriguing message, "Get ready for the Mustang." Vampire Weekend has also hinted at their upcoming fifth album, teasing the title "OGWAU" via updated social media profiles and a video snippet featuring music along with old home movies. We’re big fans of Father of the Bride, so we’re excited to see what’s next.
Within a mere 30 seconds, Liam Gallagher and John Squire sold out their joint tour featuring dates across Glasgow, Manchester, Dublin, and London. The tour kicks off in March, a few weeks after their upcoming collaboration project is released.
Primer: From North Carolina to Broadway, Reneé’s early devotion to musical theatre has resulted in an incredible artistic Rapp sheet (pun intended): Regina George in the Broadway musical Mean Girls, Leighton in The Sex Lives of College Girls, and most recently, her work as a music artist, releasing Everything to Everyone and subsequently, her debut album, Snow Angel. She’s even had her own Sweetgreen bowl, a true indicator of reaching stardom. While we typically don’t cover artists this popular, we think that Reneé can reach Billie Eilish or Olivia Rodrigo levels of ubiquity based on her multi-artistry talent and brutally honest lyricism.
Influences: Frank Ocean, Kacey Musgraves, Carpenters, Jazmine Sullivan, Beyoncé
Current Label: Interscope Records
Audience: ~9,225,000 monthly listeners on Spotify
What’s Next: As Reneé wraps up the European leg of her SNOW HARD FEELINGS TOUR, which began in the United States last fall, she’ll be taking a quick break before embarking on the festival circuit that will currently span from Coachella in April to Reading Festival in August.
😬 A Loss for Spotify: According to Spotify's Q4 2023 earnings report, despite significant subscriber growth and increased revenue, the company reported an operating loss of $80.6 million for the quarter as it continues to focus on operational efficiency.
🎛️ EDM Tooling: Ableton and Teenage Engineering veterans have launched a new music tech company called OXI Instruments, aiming to provide innovative tools and solutions for electronic music production with an emphasis on user-friendly interfaces and creative capabilities.
🤖 AI Music Marketing: BMG has partnered with the Technical University of Munich to develop AI-driven music marketing campaigns, leveraging the technology to enhance promotional strategies and engagement within the music industry. SymphonyOS has joined forces with CD Baby to provide AI-powered marketing tools to 2 million artists, empowering them with innovative resources for enhanced promotion and marketing in the music industry.
🌐 Web3 Updates: Sound.xyz launched a “pre-save” feature, a “win-win” for fans and artists.
🤯 It’s A Thriller: Sony Music Group has acquired $600 million of pop icon Michael Jackson’s music catalog, which is valued at $1.2 billion.
♻️ Concerts Going Green: Coldplay and Warner Music have partnered with MIT and Live Nation to address the environmental impact of concerts, aiming to develop sustainable solutions and reduce the carbon footprint associated with live music events.
❌ WMG Layoffs: Following their peers, Warner Music Group is planning to lay off around 10% of its staff as part of a restructuring effort.
💰 Securing the Bag: Luminate acquires Quansic, an artist data identification service, enhancing their ability to provide accurate artist data for music industry professionals. ABBA's Björn Ulvaeus and Quincy Jones join a funding round for Salt, a royalty platform aiming to revolutionize fair compensation for artists and rights holders. Audiostack secures funding for its music production technology platform, which utilizes AI-powered tools to streamline the music production process. Mogul, a music discovery platform founded by the former Head of SoundCloud for Artists, secures $1.9 million in seed funding to further develop its services.
J. Lo, Jason Derulo, and more with new albums this week
📅 For upcoming albums, tours, and festivals access our comprehensive music calendar here.
⏩ Here are album releases to look out for this week:
Jennifer Lopez, This is Me… Now
Chromeo, Adult Contemporary
LE SSERRAFIM, Easy
Jason Derulo, Nu King
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