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  • #92 - The million dollar question 🌞

#92 - The million dollar question 🌞

Clancy review, The Eagles Sphere residency, Coldplay teases new music in Greece, Musical AI promises secure music IP distribution, Tunecore pays artists billions, Tommy Richman.

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Happy Sunlighter Sunday! We’re kicking things off with an exciting opportunity: as we continue to grow, we’re looking for someone to join our team 👀 If you’re interested or know someone who would be, send an email to [email protected] by June 30th.

This week, Simon Cowell broke Directioner hearts everywhere, Creed Bratton from The Office dropped new music (what?) John Mayer fangirled over Zach Bryan (same), and Doja Cat was shocked when no one at Parklife Festival sang back the words to everyone millennial’s favorite Hilary Duff classic, “Come Clean” (also, same).

Rating Rationale: Donya here 👋🏼 If you’re like me and you love listening for lyrics or searching for a good storytelling album, get ready. Twenty One Pilots just summarized a decade of fan theories, novelty, and yore through their latest album, Clancy. Much of that “yore” centers on lead singer Tyler Joseph’s mental health struggles–particularly with insecurity and anxiety–and this album is perhaps his most vulnerable of all. From front to back, in perfect grime, punk-rock, and alternative-pop fashion, you hear intricate and very much intentional cohesion, not just between tracks, but also within the songs themselves. Johnson’s vocals and rapping persona are showcased in fine form, and Josh Dun’s drumming skills are impossible to not bob your head to. There are simply no skips on this album, but our top five tracks are “Overcompensate,” “Midwest Indigo,” “Routines In The Night,” “Vignette,” and “Navigating.”

Indie & Alternative

Several indie artists announce new releases, Mk.gee shares North American tour dates, original Sixpence None the Richer members reunite

On new releases, Toro y Moi and Pale Waves announced new albums this week, both dropping leading singles, “Tuesday” and “Perfume,” respectively. Meanwhile, Soccer Mommy released her first single “Lost” in nearly two years, while British singer-songwriter, Nilüfer Yanya, will drop her fourth studio album, My Method Actor, on September 13th.

Mk.gee, pronounced, “Mc-Gee” (believe it or not), is headed on a North American tour this fall in support of his most recent album, Two Star & The Dream Police. Speaking of the dream, soon the fireflies will dance as Sixpence None the Richer strike up the band to reunite for their 25th anniversary, celebrating on the road by also heading on a North American tour this fall.

Lastly, we want to take a moment to spotlight Cinderblock, a video streaming app focused on emerging and independent artists. They’re growing their newsletter, Tuning In, which focuses on the intersection of music and videos.

Rock & Metal

The Eagles are up next for Las Vegas Sphere residency

Take it easy? We can’t, because The Eagles are next up to take on a residency at the famous Las Vegas Sphere. The shows will span over four weekends from September through October.

Pop

Coldplay teases new music in Greece

In their first-ever tour stop in Greece, Coldplay debuted two new songs, ”feelslikeimfallinginlove” and “All My Love,” the first of which is set to be released on June 21. Both songs are reportedly from their upcoming tenth studio album, Moon Music, expected to be the second volume of their 2022 Music of the Spheres (the first volume included emojis as song titles, so we hope the second continues that trend). Personally, we dig it 🌞

Normani shares DOPAMINE, Rihanna resets expectations for R9, Common and Pete Rock will release a collaborative album

On Friday, Normani released her highly anticipated debut album, DOPAMINE, with notable features from Gunna, James Blake, Cardi B, and Starrah.

Rihanna, who was speculated to drop new music right after her Super Bowl 2023 Halftime Show, continues to tease her ninth studio album, this time telling fans she’s starting all over (ugh). Meanwhile, Common and Pete Rock will release The Auditorium, Vol. 1, with Common stating that the creative process felt like he was “home.” Listen to their first two singles, “Dreamin’” and “Wise Up,” to get an idea of what to expect.

Electronic

Charlotte de Witte announces new single from Roar EP & NYC merch pop-up, HONNE & TOKiMONSTA share plans for upcoming albums, Anna Prior from Metronomy releases debut solo EP

One of our favorite trailblazers in industrial techno/trance, Charlotte de Witte, will release the newest single from her Roar EP, “How You Move,” on June 20th, in perfect timing with her pop-up shop at Extra Butter in NYC next week.

After dropping a series of singles, the electronic duo HONNE plan to release their fifth studio album, hinting at finding inspiration from their earlier works during the creative process. In good company looking to drop a fifth studio album is TOKiMONSTA, who released her new track, “Switch It” from the upcoming album, Eternal Reverie.

Lastly, Anna Prior from Metronomy released her debut solo EP, Almost Love, largely co-written and co-produced with James Greenwood.

Primer: From seeming obscurity to overnight fame, Tommy Richman’s story is what every TikTok artist dreams of, a shot at proving that their artistry can be culturally impactful, and more importantly, have real staying power in the music industry. Given his ability to produce music across multiple genres and his music career tenure, we believe that to be the case for Tommy - he’s certainly not a one-hit-wonder nor the speculated notion of an “industry plant.” In fact, Tommy’s first release was in 2016 as a local artist from Woodbridge, Virginia (a suburb of D.C.) before eventually committing to pursuing music full-time in 2019 after gaining substantive attention from his track, “Pleasantville.” In 2022, Tommy met Darren Xu, who was then, the COO of Brent Faiyaz’s imprint, ISO Supremacy. This became a pivotal moment in his career, as Tommy became the first signed artist to ISO Supremacy. Last year, Tommy opened for Brent’s tour and was even featured on “Upset” from his recently released album, Larger Than Life.

What’s Next: Tommy (and his team) have a lot of strategic decisions to make following his wildly successful single, “MILLION DOLLAR BABY.” Here’s the good news - he doesn’t have to follow up that hit with another single as he’s likely, for the time being, left his best single for last (though “SELFISH” may be just as good). In total, he’s released four singles in 2024 along with several singles and an EP, THE RUSH from last year, enough to construct a compelling album. Thus, now that the stakes have been raised (and the music industry wants to support his current momentum), we expect a sophomore LP and corresponding tour announcement soon.

Spotify Hi-Fi included with price hike, Musical AI promises secure IP distribution, and Metallica & Don Toliver debut on Fortnite

🎧 Hi-Fi Spotify: It’s been a long time coming (three years since the official announcement), but it seems Spotify is officially planning to level up with its Hi-Fi audio option to subscribers for an additional $5/month. Will the audio quality truly compare to its competitors like Apple and TIDAL? 🤔 Moreover, Spotify continues to celebrate its data analytics-driven personalization through its “My Spotify” campaign, part of the company’s newfound Creative Lab.

🤖 AI + IP: With its updated platform, Musical AI (formerly Somms.ai) is promising to be the “secure IP distribution between rights holders and generative AI companies,” with its CEO committing to put the proper “mechanisms in place to control and monitor music usage.” 

👾 For a Fortnite: Both Metallica and Don Toliver are making their Fortnite debut, with the former making history as the only band to ever “take center stage” on the platform, while the latter spotlights his recent fourth studio album and teases an unreleased track…

🎤 Ladies & Gentlemen…The Weeknd: Through a collaboration with SSENSE and 032c, The Weeknd interviewed an AI version of his ten-year-old self, leveraging OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

🌐 Web3 Updates: Arpeggi Labs has expanded on its Kits AI program with a new program called Kits Earn, with the commitment to ensure artists are fairly compensated for the use of their voices.

Ariana Grande joins Scooter Braun’s WeVerse, TuneCore pays $4 billion to independent artists, French music is on the rise

🙃 We Can’t Be Friends (Yes, We Can): It seems Ariana Grande and Scooter Braun are back together again, but this time, not in a management capacity. The songstress announced a new partnership with HYBE America’s superfan platform, WeVerse.

🏦 Money In The Bank: Tunecore, an independent development partner dedicated to distributing music for self-releasing artists, has paid over $4 billion to participating artists since the company’s inception in 2006. Similarly, music licensing platform BeatStars has paid artists $325 million in royalties.

🖊️ Indies Ink Deals: Last week, EMPIRE signed a deal with Bandcamp to give its artists easy access to a platform dedicated to superfans and drive more retail opportunities. Meanwhile, Neon Gold Records now has a global distribution deal with Virgin Music Group, which founder Derek Davies says allows them to “maintain independent spirit and an artist-centric ethos while benefiting from the scale, global infrastructure, and team at Virgin.”

🇫🇷 Tout ceci est bien pour toi et moi: Our friends over at Chartmetric have aggregated data summarizing the expansion and global impact that French (or francophone) artists/music have had on the industry in recent years. The steady rise to surge is nicely illustrated, and the summer Olympics seem like a perfect opportunity for that growth momentum to continue…

💰 Securing the Bag: Breakr, the music marketing and technology platform enabling direct-to-creator relationships in the music industry, has raised $9 million, including investments from Nas and Andreessen Horowitz.

Eminem’s “Houdini” proves his staying power, ATEEZ and Shaboozey make strong debuts, Chappell Roan climbs charts

📈 After 25 years, Eminem shows he can still command the hip-hop industry, with his most recent single “Houdini” debuting at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, matching his 1999 hit, “My Name Is.” ATEEZ has now scored their third consecutive top-ten album within 12 months, an accolade that even BTS hasn’t achieved. Shaboozey’s highly anticipated album, Where I’ve Been, Isn’t Where I’m Going debuted at #2 on the country album charts, right below Morgan Wallen’s One Thing At A Time. Finally, multiple songs by Chappell Roan have slowly climbed the charts within the past few weeks, alongside her current hit, “Good Luck, Babe!” We expect her to continue her strong year and are encouraged by her recent surge in weekly album sales.

Three big album releases coming this week: Peso Pluma’s ÉXODO, Gracie Abrams’ The Secret of Us and Kygo’s self-titled album

📅 For upcoming albums, tours, and festivals access our comprehensive music calendar here.

⏩ Here are album releases to look out for this week: 

  1. Peso Pluma, ÉXODO

  2. Gracie Abrams, The Secret Of Us

  3. Kygo, KYGO

  4. Avril Lavigne, Greatest Hits

  5. Lake Street Dive, Good Together

  6. Kehlani, Crash

  7. Olivia O’Brien, Love and Limerence

  8. The Story So Far, I Want To Disappear

  9. G-Eazy, Freak Show

  10. Famous Dex, Gore

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See ya next Sunday 😎

Chris and Donya

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