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The Case to Define our Industry: Fighting for a Better Economy

You may have heard the news spreading regarding the fight for a more equitable music economy with a greater emphasis on the economy of music streaming to artists…

.. aaand another one has been added to the roster. A UK artist, who goes by the name of Kieran Hebden (artist alias of Four Tet) has instigated legal action against his record label, Domino Records for 20 years. Many contracts associated with music artists often precede streaming services and – more importantly, the power role they’ve come into the 21st Century.

According to Hebden’s 2001 contact agreements, Hebden is entitled to an 18% royalty rate from physical sales and a 50% cut from licensing income. However, the music streaming moguls of our Internet bonanza have become ambiguous and less considered to their artists whom they “provide” for and as such, has allowed record labels to apply the same 18% rate as their physical counterparts in sales. But, like many, artists simply don’t believe that physical sales and streaming are one and the same and should be placed in the licensing income bracket – worthy of a 50% cut.

While many other artists before Tet have brought forward the case of music moguls tearing the legalities of artistry independence – the likes of Ye and Taylor Swift to name a few – it may be the first discussion that brings it forward to a full public hearing, which is a huge development in changing the course of royalty revenue on streaming platforms.

As such, after Hebden’s litigation, Domino records have responded. The declaration of what he owes transpires to the albums that Domino own the rights to, which is another 50 years or so. With that in mind, the record label have simply removed three of his most popular albums from streaming services altogether thus giving him no royalties in streams .. and no leg to stand on. Their recent move has solidified what we already know about the monopoly of record label in our industry – callous and greedy.

But it has also widened the scope into the survival of the music industry and whether or we not we can simply do without these record labels with their outdated and out of touch legally-binding contracts: which do nothing but bind the artist to the industry devil.

Hopefully, we’ll hear more about this as news progresses into the Spring of 2022.

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HAPPY NEW YEAR! What are YOUR plans?

Here’s to 2022, folks! A new year in the making with opportunities, plans and goals galore. What are your long-term plans for this year? Whether it be for your blogging perspective or just general targets in your personal life – do let me know!

As January hits, we look forward to our summer getaways – our gig managements and festival planning, perhaps? Either way, do let me know your thoughts and perusals and we’ll explore them together. It’s perhaps a good idea to jot them down here too .. just to remind you!

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Year in Review 2021: What’s Happened with our Music this Year?

So, 2021. As another year passes in a blink of an eye, we decide to look back at all things that were presented to us in 2021 in terms of music.

Newsworthy Moments in Music

It was a colossal moment for women in music. Encompassing powerhouses from the popular – soloist debuts for the ages with Olivia Rodrigo’s SOUR, charting global history with Billie Eilish and Dua Lipa taking the throne at the Brit Awards with Record of the Years’ Future Nostalgia – to the indie and underrated with Arlo Parks work.

… Not to mention the unruly return of Adele with ’30’, an album showing strong promise with Easy On Me – which has seen become the fastest streamed song in the year – but fell short somewhat the mark. Unforgiving or not, Adele has returned to the world of music and we love her for it. Nostalgia entwined in one, the work of female artists has been empowering and gratifying to an industry that is often quite the opposite for gender equality.

From Olivia Rodrigo’s rise to dominance … to the boycotting of the Grammys from our favourite plastic-surgery star, The Weeknd (who also had a triumphant year as usual) … to our queen of Taylor Swift re-recording her albums … to Foo Fighters ushering in the return of arena shows entering the summer … the work of Ye’s tinkering with Donda that took half a year .. and .. finally the momentous occasion of Adele’s and ABBA’s resurrection to the world of music, what a year it’s been.

Following on from the fanatical favourites throughout the year, we thought it be best to delve into some Man v Music’s favourites of the year.

Albums to Talk About …

Tyler, The Creator emblazoned in emphatic fashion by jettisoning off to paradise with ultimate summer sizzler, CALL ME WHEN IF YOU GET LOST. Charting the course of revolutionising how we perceive mainstream rap and hip-hop with artistic alternative evolution, it topped my ratings with its review.

Another noteworthy album to mention was IDLES‘ composed stifling of CRAWLER that saw the mad punk pack diverting into avenues of understanding and emphatic storytelling – as opposed to an all-out of war of anger.

On to the next with Easy Life‘s life’s a beach – an album that was on constant repeat since its initial release in the Summer. An ultimate lo-fi beat-bop of cult classics in the coming years, Easy Life rise to its debut demands and reach indie peaks. More to come next year!

A surprise entry to the albums of 2021 is MOD SUN‘s Internet Killed the Rockstar which saw the once-mainstream rapper charting into the unknown with pop-punk. Redeeming an otherwise lost genre, MOD SUN joins the entrails of other punk colleagues to revitalise the shaping and shifting of the pop-punk genre .. which has been a sight to see in itself!

2021 as a year … THAT pandemic.

Among the impressive quality of music on show throughout the year – to the young and hopeful, to the simply expected and underwhelming – the year had its restrictions. More specifically, the restrictions with the COVID pandemic. It temporarily hindered the development of the live music sector since the initial panic in 2020 from the pandemic, and more disappointment was to follow. As many events and gigs were postponed again – with no assurance of the insurance guaranteed for either this time around. Despite this, those brave ones among us managed to catch a glimpse of summer festival music with the likes of Tramlines and Reading + Leeds going ahead as usual – with reduced attendance – this year which, was quite overwhelming to see again after so many departed fields across the spectrum of UK over the summer period. However, deja vu struck again with postponements, as winter came and sought to take out as much live music entertainment as possible. With this in mind, 2022 sees more opportunity with activity in the live music sector almost reaching a full year as we see gigs return in January 2022.

For patches in 2021, it was a normal year for the music industry. Hopefully 2022 will see us within the industry follow a more consistent pattern with creating albums and being able to tour thereafter with confirmation – and no hesitations in the near future.

HERE’S TO MORE WONDERFUL MUSIC IN 2022 – AND HERE IS TO US BLOGGERS DOING THE DEVIL’S WORK AND SHARING THE LOVE. GOD BLESS YOU ALL – THANK YOU FOR THE SUPPORT OVER THE YEAR OR SO. Here’s to 2022!

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New Year, New Music: What’s in Store for Music in 2022?

As we bypass the festivities of Christmas and chart a course to New Years, it is ample opportunity to think ahead into the new year of 2022 and see where we are at with music and our industry.

WITH NFTS AND TIKTOK ABOUND in amenities and rife pipelines for artist directory and workflow, live music will plan a course back to its 2019 numbers and regain momentum again as we ramp up to the summer season with festivals stretching far and wide across the UK.

With uncertainty among variants emerging in the winter months, time will tell if Glastonbury is going to be held this time at Worthy Farm. With Glastonbury emerging as a necessary funding asset to the funds of our industry and our artists – aswell as our worthy charities, many are hoping that the festivals alike will return next Summer.

As more and more licensing deals are made and more and more artists begin to sell their catalogues in one swift swoop, would you hedge a guess that they know something that us as the general public do not?

If it’s any year to take the plunge and strive forward with your music, it’s this one. With prevalent artists like Arctic Monkeys and Machine Gun Kelly confirming a return to form – but no date set – we look to those artists that should really be on your radar come the first quarter of 2022:

Audacious indie-rock trio of The Wombats return with their sickle album, Fix Yourself, Not The World in January. The likes of Band of Horses and Billy Talent follow shortly after with Things Are Great and Crisis of Faith respectively. Bastille bring up the rear leading the forefront of a electro-synth wave pop cacophony with Give Me The Future and Korn’s Requiem sees the hard metal eyeglass in February. For fans alike, Alt-J‘s The Dream and Frank Turner‘s FTHC sees excitement build as the three-year hiatus for both artists come to a wonderful end.

As we enter the Spring season of March, we see familiar favourites with The Stereophonics and Bryan Adams rekindling old flames and charting history into another year of music. April comes and go with Jack White’s Fear of the Dawn and Bloc Party’s Alpha Games, while we start to see the list become shorter and shorter as we near the start of Summer. Undecided and unannounced, there is certainly more to come that we’ve been waiting for from our favourites. Including Liam Gallagher’s third studio work with C’mon You Know in May.

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Let me know what you’re looking forward to most in 2022!

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ISLAND: “Yesterday Park” – Album Review

We’re no strangers with the work of ISLAND on here.

Encompassing the soothing tones of underground indie/alternative rock scenes in dingy London studios, we have felt at one with this band before with their eclectic debut, Feels Like Air in 2018 – a story directly inspired from the time on the road.

Following their success story from Feels Like Air, enters an unlikely follow-up of Yesterday Park. With the debut embracing the feeling with freedom, this one couldn’t be more of the polar opposite. Recorded within a semi-lockdown of sorts, Yesterday Park is a self-reflective and a more emotive visioning of our music industry during a time where there wasn’t technically an industry to wave the flag under.

Wishing for longer days in our lifetime (“They’re telling me the world has caught on fire/But I can’t see a single frown outside/Where did my young days go?”) to reflecting on when forgotten moments were “simpler” (“Hey, yeah, do you remember the times?/we said that the city was yours and mine/Hey, yeah, do you remember the times? /We’d forget the world and just stare at the sky,”) is nothing for a longing to dream again.