#52 - Year one 🥳

Your Weekly Music Round-Up: Lucky album review, Oliver Anthony, Justin and Scooter split, Amazon Music price hike, Suki Waterhouse.

Happy Sunlighter Sunday! This week is our 52nd edition, a humbling one-year milestone for us. While we’ve evolved a lot along the way, there are two aspects we haven’t compromised on:

  1. We want to educate more people about the music industry, and in doing so, we strive to be the “Morning Brew” for music.

  2. We want to promote artist discovery and become the public’s dependable source for A&R.

As we look to year two, we want to continue making your Sundays as informative, entertaining, and (hopefully) stress-free as possible. With that said, we've got a lot of exciting updates ahead. Moving forward, we also want to ask you to help us help you. Please fill out the poll below and drop us a comment to let us know what we can do better or what else you’re interested in seeing each week 🤓

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Here's what we have queued up this week:

  1. 🌶️ Review of Lucky by Megan Moroney.

  2. 💿 This Week in Music: Oliver Anthony, Justin and Scooter split, Amazon Music price hike.

  3. 📈 Weekly Charts: Post Malone’s collection of RIAA diamond hits.

  4. 🎙️ Suki Waterhouse is our artist of the week.

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Rating Rationale: Lucky is the debut album from up-and-coming artist, Megan Moroney, who is in the midst of finding her voice in the world of country music. Megan has been building her career in Nashville since 2020, and while this album is a start, she still has a while to go. If you’re a fan of country music, you’ve probably heard her song “Tennessee Orange,” more than a few times on country radio, and while the sentiment of the song is sweet, it’s included in the front half of the album, which for us, falls flat. The second half soars with songs like “Why Johnny” and “God Plays a Gibson.” We’re big supporters of the rising female country stars, and we hope she can rise to the extremely high bar that artists like Lainey Wilson and Tenille Arts have set.

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Top News

🪕 Who’s Oliver Anthony?: Arising from near obscurity, Oliver Anthony, a largely unknown country singer from Virginia, has gotten the attention of both conservative politicians and mainstream media alike through his song, “Rich Men North of Richmond.” He’s expected to chart number one next week and has a surprising amount of momentum that even Gucci Mane wants to sign him to his music label, 1017.

💔 Music Industry Breakup: Right now it’s a “rumor,” but it appears Justin Bieber and longtime manager, Scooter Braun, are going their separate ways. This would be a sure blow to HYBE America as Justin reportedly brought ~$1 billion worth of value. For our finance friends, that’s a tough impairment charge to swallow.

🫧 The Pop Middle Class: Some may find this take incendiary while others deem it realistic. Some of the best pop music comes from the “middle class” of pop and The New York Times recently published a critical piece highlighting just that. Some claim that pop is shrinking. We respectfully disagree. We believe genres are coalescing to form a new version of “pop,” and Sunlighter is quite a fan of the pop “middle class.”

🇮🇳 Spotify’s Most Followed: The list is probably predictable based on most mainstream music tastes. However, there’s one artist we bet you probably don’t know as well as the others, and he just climbed to number three.

📺 You Gotta Watch This: As part of the festivities for UNTOLD, Dubai’s first mega music festival, Armin van Burren performs atop the Burj Khalifa (🤯), breaking two world records: 1. Performing on the tallest building on the planet and 1. Performing with the largest LED screen for a show. Strap in for 41 minutes of trance.

Industry & Tech

📈 Amazon Music Price Hike: Following in the footsteps of Spotify, Amazon has raised its monthly fee for its premium music service (Music Unlimited).

📻 SeriousXM: SoundExchange, a non-profit music royalties rights organization, is suing SiriusXM for withholding more than $150 million in unpaid royalties to artists.

👦🏻 Yo, Yoto: Kid-friendly audio platform, Yoto, has partnered with Universal Music Group to license music for the benefit of child development. Beats going to piano lessons.

🎠 Musical Carousels: Meta Platforms has released a new feature that allows users to add music to their photo carousels on Instagram. About time…?

🎧 Listen Live: Digital record store, Bandcamp, now allows artists to schedule live listening parties with their music communities.

🌐 Web3 Updates: Gala Music is partnering with OnesToWatch (Live Nation) to allow fans to vote for their favorite upcoming artists to perform onstage at Oceans Calling or Music Midtown. Grimes also reminds us that NFTs are the future for independent music ownership and commensurate compensation.

Upcoming Music

🚢 FriendShip Matters: Friends are important, but have you ever been on a Norweigan Cruise line that doubles as an EDM music festival? FriendShip is back in 2024, departing from Miami to a private island in Belize. Who will be aboard the Norweigan Joy? Skrillex, Chris Lake, Bob Moses, and… Dita Von Teese.

👨‍👩‍👦 Steve, Paris, and Akon: Somehow, they’re all on the same upcoming album. Their commonality, music and crypto? We’re hoping to get more cake with Steve Aoki’s 10th album.

👀 On the heels of Endless Summer Vacation, Miley Cyrus will be dropping a new single next week. Maluma’s album, Don Juan, drops next Friday. Zach Bryan is also dropping his self-titled album next week. Chris Brown announced his 11th studio album, aptly titled, 11:11. Old Dominion dropped their single, “Memory Lane,” their EP, Memory Lane, and in October, it will be their album… you guessed it, Memory Lane. A Volcano is erupting in the Jungle. DJ Shadow will be going on an Action Adventure. d4vd will be dropping his five-track EP in September.

🚶‍♂️ Artists On Tour: Come On Over to Las Vegas and see Shania Twain’s upcoming residency, Luke Combs hits 25 more stadiums next year, Claude VonStroke is taking his Dirtybird Players on tour, There’s No Place Like Home, which is Kentucky, for Jack Harlow. Sid Sriram.

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📈 What’s Trending? There weren’t too many highly charted debuts this week. Post Malone’s The Diamond Collection is a true flex. Aside from that, K-pop groups iTZY and TOMORROW X TOGETHER hit the Billboard 200 with their respective albums for the first time. There were also a few re-entries, including Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space,” which climbed to #49 on the heels of her 1989 Taylor’s Version announcement.

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Primer: From her breakthrough performance as “Karen Sirko” on the Emmy-nominated Amazon Prime series, Daisy Jones & The Six, to Local Natives featuring her on their latest single, 2023 has been a big year for model, actress, and musician, Suki Waterhouse.

Cover Girl to Music Girl: Throughout the formative years of her teens and early twenties, Suki Waterhouse took pen to paper to illustrate her rich life experiences of modeling and acting by writing her own songs. After writing for ten years, she finally released her debut single, “Brutally,” in 2016. She knew that if she didn’t create the exact record she wanted to make now, she never would, so she enlisted producer Blue May (ayokay, Blu DeTiger, Vancouver Sleep Clinic) to help her independently release her album, generating over 20 million streams.

Don’t Overthink It, I’m the Fire: In 2021, Suki signed a record deal with Sub Pop, and she began re-releasing her original recordings. In 2022, she started with her debut album, I Can’t Let Go, and six months later, released a six-song EP, Milk Teeth.

In the midst of her re-recordings, Suki was filming for her role as “Karen Sirko” on Daisy Jones & The Six, describing her experience as both collaborative and creative, further inspiring her to continue making music. This becomes abundantly clear after you hear how the sounds on the show emanate the music she strives to create herself—a perfect mix of alternative, rock, and folk—which lends itself to easy listening all year round. Our favorites are, “Good Looking,” “Melrose Meltdown,” and “Moves.”

Genre: Alternative/Rock

Influences: Alanis Morissette, Oasis, Sharon Van Etten

Current Label: Sub Pop Records

What’s Next: The fan response to Suki’s music has been beyond her expectations, and she’s making the most of it. Having toured over 70 shows within the past year, Suki will be hitting the festival circuit this year, including a spot on Sunday for both weekends at Austin City Limits Music Festival (we’ll be there).

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Wrap Up 👏

We're closing the newsletter this week with Benihana heir, Steve Aoki.

Who’s Burning? 🌡️

Steve Aoki. But we’ll still listen to it.

The Merch Table 💳

  • 🔥 S’mores Anyone?: Foodstagrams have become increasingly popular over the past couple of years, which of course means Marshmello has his own collaboration with CRUX on a S’mores Maker set. Oh, and Marshmello released his own cookbook.

  • 🚢 Antarctica with Diplo: Yeah, this is exactly what it sounds like, but make it 7 days on a luxury cruise liner.

Sunlighter Playlists 🔀

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Check out our other articles and give us a follow on Twitter!

See ya next Sunday 😎

Chris and Donya

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