How TikTok is Ruling the Music Industry

By Amanda Barkin // Instagram @the_amanda_show 

TikTok is a video sharing app, much like Vine, where people can make 15-60 second video clips- lip syncing, dancing, and comedic skits are popular categories. TikTok has quickly become one of the most popular social media networks, and has even changed the way music is discovered.

Once a user uploads an original sound, it can be accessed and re-used by any user. This allows the song to reach vast, widespread audiences. TikTok’s algorithms also vary from other social media apps- instead of promoting popular users’ videos, they are constantly looking for new clips, and promote each video based on the amount of time other users spend watching it (if people are scrolling right past it or watching the clip the whole way through). This gives more videos and songs the opportunity to “go viral”.

The song ROXANNE by Arizona Zervas was released in October 2019, and after being used in hundreds of thousands of TikTok’s, it now sits in Today’s Top Hits playlist and has 485,000,000 streams on Spotify alone. For artists, TikTok is more than just a social media app, it’s a strategic platform for marketing their songs; It can turn an artist working alone in their bedroom into an internationally recognized star.

Not only can this app help new artists gain traction and popularity, but it can also help well-established artists promote new releases. The Chainsmokers, Jonas Brothers, Charlie Puth, 5 Seconds of Summer, and others have accounts where they post various genres of videos. These videos attract viewers to their personalities and help build their brand as artists. TikTok can help creators gain a fanbase that they didn’t have before, and help fans fall in love with more than just their music. TikTok continues to grow, reaching over 120,000,000 users, which will evidently continue to be a resource for artists in the music industry.

The Tea From John Ly

By John Ly // Instagram @jxhnly

Here’s the tea from me, John Ly.

Fine Line. Harry Styles’ second studio album…Average.

Don’t get me wrong, there are so many aspects of this album that make the album loveable but from my perspective, there was nothing ground-breaking about the album. On this project, Harry released three singles before revealing his entire album, Lights Up, Watermelon Sugar, and Adore You. All of these singles debut highly on the Billboard charts which was very much deserved as it created an uproar for what Styles’ was going to release next. Adore you, was a BANGER. IT slapped. It gave me everything. The music video? A concept. However…following those singles was his album…

Like I said earlier, the album isn’t terrible. Other than the previously released singles, Cherry and Falling were the only songs on the album that stood out to me. They made me cry. Both songs were raw and relatable, perfect for the brokenhearted. After that though…Harry, what happened?

The tracks after Falling became theatrical, an experimentation on old rock music with a Harry Styles twist. It was boring and had no replay value. Each track carried the same melody that repeated throughout the song and it was difficult for me to pay attention to the rest of the album. Two of the tracks, She and Fine Line were six minutes long which dragged out the album even more. When an artist releases songs that are more than the typical three to four minutes long it is essential to keep listeners entertained with some progression or tempo change, something that adds another “oomph” to the song. 

For example, Justin Timberlake’s song Mirrors was actually eight minutes long. It became one of his most well-known songs. Radios evened played the full song, not even a radio edit. Why? The song pulled listeners into a journey of emotions. From the changing of tempos, instruments, and melodies, the song was simply a masterpiece. Needless to say, if you want to make a song that is loooong, make it captivating. 

Fine Line as a whole would have been greater if the tracklist was mixed around a little. I know that Harrys’ intention was to separate his album into four different stories, but the concept became diluted with dullness. I needed an emotional rollercoaster from him but all I got is a flatline. 

I’m not a hater. I love Harry, his music, his fashion. I just expected more. So here’s the tea from me, John Ly. This album was not for me. Score?

5/10

John Ly is a College of Charleston student studying Arts Management with a Concentration in Music Industry. As a singer/songwriter himself, John plans to establish his own music career as a POP icon.

Follow John Ly on Spotify/Social to keep up!

"What Kinda Music" by Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes Single Review

By Coleman Gould // Insta – @cole_gould

As an avid Tom Misch listener, fan, and appreciator for over half a decade, I was incredibly pleased by his and drum virtuoso, Yussef Dayes, new single “What Kinda Music.” The song begins with an arpeggiated riff with out of time and alarming tom-hits from Dayes. Then, Dayes smacks you in the face with what he is famous for, a complex and powerful drum beat differing heavily from Misch’s typical bare-bones, “Boom Bap” style. 

The song is filled with curious and deep lyricism covering angst, confusion, and inner demons accompanied by heavy bass synthesizers that can be compared to a crossover of BadBadNotGood’s neo-jazz sound and LCD Soundsystem’s electricity. As their first single released for the duo’s forthcoming album of the same name, Dayes and Misch seem like a match made in heaven.

Misch, a consument jazz, soul, and hip-hop influenced and trained guitarist, decided to get out of his comfort zone for this single. Misch’s previous albums featured J-Dilla-influenced drum loops along side simple, catchy hooks and guitar phrases giving him a very laid-back ambient sound. Misch, known as a very respected and technical guitarist, focused more on his composing and songwriting rather than his trademark sexy guitar licks and simple yet tasty lyricism. 

Dayes, a freelance drummer and member of neo-jazz jam group Yussef Kamaal, is considered to be one of the most creative and explosive drummers of our generation. 

Although many have seen this album from the two coming from various Instagram teases featuring the two bountifully jamming for the past couple months, the pairing Misch and Dayes is both riveting and agape. Dayes’ loose, jam style drumming compliments Misch’s technical playing like peanut butter compliments jelly. I personally cannot wait to listen to this duo’s album, the two being my favorite guitar player and drummer currently. Their album is projected to be released on April 24, 2020 and a tour featuring the two should be announced any day now.

Coleman Gould is Junior at the College of Charleston majoring in Arts Management with a Concentration in the Music Industry. He is Lead Guitarist of local Charleston band, Tennis Courts.

What Does it Take to Make it?

By Margie Hussey // Instagram @margie_hussey

What is more important: stage presence or vocal talent? I truly believe it depends on the artist. Some artists have a combination of both onstage charisma and a beautiful voice, while others rely on one or the other to get by. 

This topic is subjective based on the audience and genre of music. While I would say Taylor Swift dominates all sides of performing from her lyrics, sound, performance, videos, and social media, others would say she gets more attention from starting drama, which is how I feel about Kanye West. Artists in the pop/rap/rock world feel more pressure to dramatize their live performances to cause more of a splash, while alternative/folk/indie bands are more inclined to keep things simple. It depends on what you like to see and hear. 

I appreciate when an artist can just stand in a spotlight, sing beautifully, and totally wow the audience; however, I can also appreciate singers that have elaborate costuming and choreography. When it comes down to raw talent, I judge artists on their ability to tell stories through music.

Stripping a performance of its gimmicks and extra add-ons is really telling of how talented an artist is. If an artist can do all of the above, they are unstoppable.

Music Farm Presents: Whitney, Forever Turned Around

by Haylee Miller // Instagram @hayleemmiller

The Chicago-native band, Whitney, made their debut in Charleston on Friday, February 7, 2020 to play a show at the Music Farm. Personally, I’ve thought for a while that the Farm would be a fitting venue for the band in terms of size and their fanbase here in town. I was super pumped when they announced the dates for their tour, Forever Turned Around.

 A girl-band from Japan called Chai opened the night with their punk rock dance music. This was unexpected and truly a sight to see. All four members of Chai are extremely talented musicians and I love that they are an all-girl band but their music was not particularly my taste. With that being said, Chai and Whitney made for a dynamic mix of music for the show, which I respected.

Whitney was formed in 2015 by lead guitarist, Max Kakacek and lead vocalist/drummer, Julien Ehrlich after the breakup of their previous band, Unknown Mortal Orchestra. In 2016, Whitney’s first full length album Light Upon the Lake was released followed by their first headlining tour in Europe. Later, the album Forever Turned Around was released in 2019. In January of 2020, Whitney embarked on a North American tour titled after their latest album. 

The band played fan favorites like No Woman and Dave’s Song from their first album Light Upon the Lake as well as songs from their 2019 record, Forever Turned Around. They also performed one of my personal favorites, Valleys (My Love). The atmosphere during Whitney’s set was laid-back and chill, complementing their beloved indie folk sound. There was a lot of subtle head bopping, swaying, and singing along going on. 

The show was close to being sold out with a primarily college-aged audience. The Music Farm was the perfect venue to host Whitney, as I predicted. Small enough to create an intimate setting that matched the music but big enough to allow room for a good-sized crowd. 

Coming from a huge fan’s perspective, Whitney did not disappoint. From Julien’s stellar falsetto vocals to Max’s catchy and well executed guitar riffs, the show was nothing less than incredible. I would love for them to make it back to Charleston on their next tour but I’d also be willing to travel outside of the lowcountry just to attend another one of their shows.

 Well done, Whitney.

Haylee Miller is a junior at the College of Charleston studying Arts Management with a Music Industry concentration. Haylee has been an avid concert-goer for years and hopes to work in the music venue industry after graduation.

AI in the Music Industry: Cool or Scary?

By Alea Murray // Instagram @aleamurray

The world of technology has been evolving rapidly in the last two decades, and the music industry has felt those changes significantly, leading us into the streaming era (which we are currently struggling to navigate). This has proven to be a difficult transition for the formatting of how to monetize music. However, technology hasn’t seemed to negatively impact the creative processes of artists, in fact it has opened new avenues for creativity.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a controversial form of technology that scares many people (like Elon Musk) and excites others. As it evolves, its crossover with the artistic world is becoming more frequent. Just the other day my professor showed my class a video of a robot painting. An article from Music Business Worldwide was published recently about AI making a song that sounds exactly like Travis Scott, creating its own rap lyrics with solid rhymes, and producing its own beat. The article states, “A US-based digital agency, Space150, recently thought it would conduct a fun experiment: model Travis Scott’s sonic and vocal style via Artificial Intelligence, and see what original production AI might subsequently invent” (Ingham 2020). It goes on to talk about the song AI produced, and later reveals that there is a new LA based record label, SNAFU Records, that claims to be “the first full-service record label built on AI-music discovery”. The label has $2.9 million in seed funding and is operated by “technologists, A&Rs, producers, and creatives” (Ingham 2020). 

Now we’ve got to ask ourselves, is the idea of AI produced music something we want to encourage? If AI music finds its way into the mainstream, would that push out some real live artists or create even more competition for their livelihood? Morally and ethically, do we want to listen to art that wasn’t created from a living human that has emotions, relatability, purpose, and passion? The humanity in music and in art is something that people love to connect to, and they love to follow and get to know the artists as people behind the music. You can’t follow a machine on Instagram. Do we want to listen to music that was not created with intent, and by a machine? We must consider the implications of this for other artists and for the sake of the validity of art itself. AI, leave art to the humans.

Works Cited 

Ingham, Tim. “Artificial Intelligence Made a Song in the Style of Travis Scott. It Sounds Unnervingly like Travis Scott.” Music Business Worldwide, 16 Feb. 2020, http://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/artificial-intelligence-made-a-song-in-the-style-of-travis-scott-it-sounds-unnervingly-like-travis-scott/.

Alea Murray is a senior at College of Charleston studying Arts Management with a Concentration in the Music Industry. As a singer/songwriter herself, Alea

Music Modernization Act: A Battle Won but the Fight is Still Going

By Abbey Shaffer // Instagram: @ab.shaffer

Streaming services are becoming more and more popular to use as a way for people to listen to music. Whether someone is listening on Spotify, Apple Music, or Sound Cloud doesn’t change that artists aren’t selling as much as they used to for CDs, vinyl’s, tapes, or even downloads. Streaming has proven itself to be a very convenient way for people to hear the music they love at a minimal cost.

Listening to music this way isn’t a problem either as the industry has found ways for artist to still receive some earned income from a number of streams. How this works is Spotify tracks how many times a song is played and pays the artist according to the Music Modernization Act (MMA) surrounding the topic. While this new way of listening is not a problem, there is still a major issue within the legislation itself. 

The listing price for one stream of music is barely anything and nothing compared to how much an artist would get from the purchase of a CD or even a paid download. Artists on Spotify specifically should expect somewhere around $7.50-$8.00 for 1,000 streams of one of their songs. That is not even half the price of how much one album cost and yet that is more than one album’s worth of streams. This isn’t fair to the artist and it is not sustainable for their lively hood either. 

The MMA that was passed in October of 2018 was a good way to have a stepping stone into the right direction of getting artist what they deserve. ASCAP’s admirable help with many artist backing the campaign was truly something to witness throughout our lives. This act was such a monumental point in our history as a legislative pice to be passed through office for rightsholders. However, it should not be expected to hold forever. While the current legislation was a battle to win, it is still a temporary shield for streaming services to hide behind. 

As 2020 continues to pass us by, we need to remember that artist deserve fair pay for their work and thus the amount per stream needs to be increased as they have rightfully earned. We need to remember that this act was not meant to be permanent but to have our foot in the door to a fair future for artist pay. 

Abbey Shaffer is currently studying Arts Management at the College of Charleston, with a concentration on the Music Industry. Shaffer intends to graduate from the College and kickstart her career within the music industry.

Claim Your Fame

Sabrina Imbrogno // Instagram @sabrinaimbrogno

There’s a second gold rush underway, still in California… but this time people are in pursuit of platinum. Countless bright-eyed hopefuls have made their way to the West Coast with nothing but ambition and a dream. But now more than ever, you don’t need to pick up and move to an overpriced apartment in a shoddy LA neighborhood to succeed. So unpack those suitcases, settle into mom and dads for a little longer, and you could have millions coming your way. At least that’s what happened to Montero Lamar Hill, better known as Lil Nas X

Image result for old town road album

Two-time Grammy award winner, Lil Nas X, did not get to where he is today by putting it all on the line. Hill purchased an instrumental track from a music licensing website, BeatStars, for a trifling $30. This insignificant purchase would soon become the basis of his hit single, Old Town Road, a rap-country fusion which he independently recorded and released. The song first went viral on video-sharing social networking service, TikTok. Fast forward to 2020, and the single has been re-released by Columbia Records and remixed with major country music artist, Billy Ray Cyrus. 

Old Town Road is now the biggest hit in the history of popular music, having remained at number one on the charts longer than the likes of legends such as Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, etc. This feat alone proves that anyone given the right circumstances can achieve inconceivable fame without the intervention of a label or mainstream professional services.

The rapid development of technology and the rise of social media have given the music industry a run for their money, leaving major record labels scrambling to keep up. As the digital space continues to evolve, labels are forced to adapt. Back in prehistoric times, before YouTube and SoundCloud, labels held all of the control within the music industry. Now, the control lies in the hands of the artist. Experimenting artists can create uninhibited, unregulated, and uncommercialized music. Stars can literally be born overnight with the click of a reassuring button labeled “share” or “post.” 

Who said that artists have to be broke or starving? With the emergence of new platforms, you can have a 10x Platinum single and still keep your day job. This way you can skip the commercial flight to California, and book private later on for when you’re walking down the red carpet to accept your “Best New Artist” award. 

Sabrina Imbrogno is a student at the College of Charleston studying Arts Management and Marketing. Imbrogno is passionate about the music industry and purses music recreationally, she is the President of the College of Charleston Acabelles and is a classically train vocalist.

Sabrina Imbrogno is a student at the College of Charleston studying Arts Management and Marketing. Imbrogno is passionate about the music industry and purses music recreationally in her spare time- she is the President of the College of Charleston Acabelles and is a classically trained vocalist.

Grimes // Miss Anthropocene

By Kale Clark / Instagram: @dxnce4u

Grimes has made a comeback with her fifth studio album, Miss Anthropocene.  The album features eleven tracks and a deluxe version with four additional tracks (club mixes, shortened versions, etc.). Before the album release, Grimes released six singles, including We Appreciate Power, Violence, So Heavy I Fell Through The Earth, My Name is Dark, 4ÆM, and Delete Forever

With a theme of a post-apocalyptic world, this is Grimes’ most exciting release yet.  She has stated that she “wanted to make climate change fun”, which is an interesting yet effective take on bringing awareness to the issue.  Each track has its own unique sound, some being angry and make you want to bring about world destruction, and others that make you want to fall in love even though you know it’s doomed. 

Some of my favorite tracks from the album are Delete Forever and IDORU, both guaranteed to get you in your feels.  Delete Forever steers in a different direction from the rest of the album, with a folksy pop sound. Grimes released the song with a simple yet stunning music video, with stunning otherworldly visuals.  In her interview with Zane Lowe, she stated that the song was inspired by the untimely death of other artists like Lil Peep and Juice WRLD due to opioid addictions.  In Grimes’ opinion, these two artists “were best expressing issues of mental health, so to have them die specifically just feels like a weird hopelessness.”  IDORU is an upbeat, ethereal, melancholy love song, and you will probably cry to it on repeat at some point in your life (at least I have).  Grimes released a visual for the song as a way to express her appreciation for her fans, since it seemed to be a favorite. On Instagram, she stated that “technically this was a camera test that ended up being a weirdly emotional performance.” 

9/10

Listen to Miss Anthropocene on Spotify and Apple Music.

bnj

Kale is a student at College of Charleston majoring in Arts Management with a concentration in the music industry. She plans to move to LA after graduation to start her career in creative direction. Once well established, her goal is to start a nonprofit organization that creates a space for trans and non binary people to create and display their art and gain recognition in the industry.

The Strokes' "At The Door" Track Review

By Aika Ishimori // Instagram @muscovite.maika

Last month, The Strokes released a new single titled At the Door from their album The New Abnormal, set to be released in April. This 5 minute and 10 second ballad showcases Julian Casablancas’ impressive vocal control and features raw, abrasive, synthesizers that mix beautifully with the melancholy, legato vocals and somber lyrics. These elements create a sense of loneliness and loss for the listener. At the Door is definitely not the type of bop that you would turn on when your friends hand you the aux cord during a joyride, but rather one to listen to while drunkenly wallowing in your teen angst.

Those anticipating a typical Strokes song may be disappointed as the single seems to be heavily influenced by Daft Punk, Casablancas’ solo album Phrazes for the Young, and the experimental rock band The Voidz, formed by Casablancas in 2013. In addition, the lack of climax and absence of Fabrizio Moretti’s drums can be a bit of a turn-off. I waited to be “wow-ed” by a climax or some great tension or surprise, but it never came. This track is an interesting choice for a single, and if it is indicative of the new album, it seems that The Strokes are moving from traditional indie rock to experimental synth-pop.

Although the overall sound is drastically different from when The Strokes first started out, I was comforted by familiar chord progressions, rhythms, and the sounds of the guitar for about 20 seconds into the break. This was just enough for me to prepare myself for what came next.

Following the bridge, there is a non-lyrical break with strong sci-fi, post-apocalyptic vibes shaped by heavily autotuned falsetto vocals and synth arpeggios. This sort of experimentation is very atypical from what The Strokes have done in the past, and it certainly feels like At the Door belongs on a Voidz album. However, for The Strokes, this is a new, refreshing, and exciting sound that piques my interest and curiosity in regard to what stylistic choices The Strokes have made in The New Abnormal.

Lastly, what I do absolutely love about this track is the outro. It wraps up the song beautifully, with Casablancas’ melodic voice quietly mumbling “I been on a cold road/I’ll be waiting, yeah/I’ll be waiting from the other side/Waiting for time to pass,” with the synths rising with each crescendo and then slowly falling, finally fading out into a dismal, empty silence.

Aika Ishimori is a College of Charleston student majoring in Arts Management with a concentration in Music Industry and minors in Religious Studies and Geology. Aika is a classically trained violinist and in her free time, enjoys creating visual art and practicing Kendo, a traditional Japanese martial art.