United States Music Sales Hit Decade High

FILE PHOTO Country artist Michael Ray performs at 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville, Tennessee. Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Essential Broadcast Media/AFP
Jason Kempin / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP

 

Music sales soared anew last year in the United States backed by the rise of streaming, bringing revenue to a level last seen a decade ago, the industry said Thursday.

The Recording Industry Association of America said that revenue grew a robust 16.5 percent in 2017, marking the first time since 1999 at the dawn of online music that the business has expanded for two years in a row.

Recorded music sales in the world’s largest music market from all formats totalled $8.7 billion, returning to the revenue level seen in 2008 even if it is still 40 percent below the pre-internet peak.

The growth was almost entirely attributable to the public’s embrace of streaming, with subscriptions to paid platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and the new service of retail giant Amazon growing 56 percent to 35.3 million users.

The biggest loser in the rise of on-demand streaming has been digital downloads on iTunes and elsewhere, which tumbled 25 percent. Physical sales also fell but were propped up the continued resurgence among audiophiles of vinyl, for which revenue jumped 10 percent.

With the countervailing trends, revenue from physical sales outpaced digital downloads in the United States for the first time since 2011.

Streaming has been transforming the music business in much of the world, although artists frequently complain that they see little of the industry’s newfound bounty.

But Cary Sherman, chairman of the Recording Industry Association of America, pointed to a study that record labels worldwide invested $4.5 billion in artist development and marketing in 2015.

“More than any other creative industry, music companies successfully transformed themselves ahead of the transition to streaming, all while forging stronger relationships with their most important partner: the artist,” he wrote in a blog post.

He reiterated the industry’s concerns that antiquated laws have capped revenue from advancing even further. But he voiced hope that the US Congress will soon pass a bill, backed by members of both major parties, that would guarantee that online radio stations pay royalties for songs recorded before 1972, which are exempt under current law.

AFP

Music Industry Hails Jay-Z Before Grammys

JAY-Z performs onstage during Day 1 of The Meadows Music & Arts Festival at Citi Field in New York City. / AFP PHOTO / ANGELA WEISS

Jay-Z, who once boycotted the Grammys as biased against hip-hop, was hailed Saturday by the music industry’s power brokers ahead of the latest awards where he leads nominations.

The rapper who rose from a broken home to become a hip-hop multimillionaire was contrite over his previous attacks on the Grammys when he accepted a prize as an “industry icon” at a pre-award gala thrown by veteran music executive Clive Davis.

Jay-Z refused to attend the Grammys in 1999 because the Recording Academy which administers the awards snubbed fellow rapper DMX.

He stayed away, upset at the lack of recognition for hip-hop, until coming in 2004 with wife-to-be Beyonce, who joined him on Saturday.

“I realize like, man, art is super subjective and everybody is doing their best and the Academy, they are human like we are,” Jay-Z told the packed ballroom in New York’s Times Square.

“We can pretend we don’t care, but we really care,” he said of Grammy recognition. “We care because we see the most incredible artists stand on that stage and we aspire to be there.”

A who’s who of top artists performed in Jay-Z’s honor, with soul legend Gladys Knight singing her classic “Midnight Train to Georgia” and Luis Fonsi dancing through his viral hit “Despacito.”

Alicia Keys weaved Jay-Z’s songs from “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” to their collaboration “Empire State of Mind” into a piano medley, in which she raised her hands and led a chant of the rapper’s nickname Hov.

 Breakthrough year for rap 

Jay-Z is in the running for eight awards at Sunday’s Grammys including Album of the Year for “4:44,” a strikingly introspective work in which the rapper apologizes for infidelity to Beyonce and supports his mother as she comes out as lesbian.

The music industry’s premier awards gala — which has returned to New York after 15 years in Los Angeles — is shaping up to be a big night for hip-hop, which for the first time makes up a majority of nominations in the top categories.

Jay-Z is already one of the most accoladed artists in Grammy history with 21 awards. But until this year he had always been passed over for the main categories.

Jay-Z grew up fatherless in Brooklyn and became a small-time drug dealer.

He is now worth an estimated $1 billion with Beyonce after amassing a business empire that includes fashion, entertainment and the Tidal streaming service.

In an interview aired Saturday on CNN for a new show of Van Jones, the community activist and former aide to president Barack Obama, Jay-Z urged African American entrepreneurship.

“Until we come to the table with our own… power base, nothing will change,” he said.

Jay-Z is nominated for Record of the Year, which recognizes the top song, for “The Story of O.J.,” which explores the persistence of racism with his own success as a backdrop.

 Tough competition 

While Jay-Z is ahead for Sunday, music industry prognosticators see fewer clear-cut favorites compared with previous years.

West Coast rapper Kendrick Lamar closely trails Jay-Z with seven nominations amid acclaim for his album “DAMN.,” a return to a classic hip-hop sound by an artist known for his experimentation.

Lamar’s previous album, “To Pimp a Butterfly,” offered an unofficial musical soundtrack for the Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality — but, to the disappointment of many music industry watchers, was denied Album of the Year two years ago.

Album of the Year contenders also include two high-selling pop albums — “24K Magic” by Bruno Mars, who has revived fun-loving retro funk, and “Melodrama” by Lorde, the 21-year-old pop prodigy from New Zealand.

A dark horse in the category is “‘Awaken, My Love!’,” the psychedelic, R&B-infused album of Childish Gambino, the rap alter ego of actor and comedian Donald Glover.

Lorde is the only woman nominated in one of the two top categories — despite the growing attention to gender discrimination in the entertainment industry following revelations of sexual misconduct by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

In a show of support for the #MeToo movement, performers selected for the televised Grammy show include Kesha, who has taken on sexism in the industry after accusing her producer of raping her.

A group set up by female entertainment executives plans to hand out white roses as a show of solidarity with women fighting abuse.

AFP

Music Was The Least I Was Interested In -Mr Eazi

mr-eaziPopular Nigerian-born star, Mr Eazi, says of all his talents, music was the least he initially had interest in.

As fate would have it, singing is the reason why Nigerians and Ghanaians lay claim to him today.

The Port-Harcourt born ‘skin-tight’ crooner, originally named Tosin Ajibade, said this while explaining his journey into the music industry.

He told Channels Television that while growing up, he traveled a lot within the country and this, as well as his large extended family, influenced his life a lot.

He moved to Ghana when he was 15 years old and although he had the dream of studying aeronautic engineering in a Canadian University, he found his way into music.

According to him, his family, advised him to study mechanical engineering in Ghana, instead of his initial choice.

Recounting the experience, he said: “I hated it for the first one week, but by week two, I didn’t want to come back to Nigeria anymore.

“Ghana is where everything started to happen – I started doing music based on the fact that I was doing shows, concerts from my second year.

“I would use my school fees to invest in parties, concerts and bring artists from Ghana and Nigeria to my school and at a point, that was all I was doing.”

He explained that music for him, was a “mix-match of influences” and being around artist, comedians and entertainers in general, brought about the Mr Eazi personality.

Furthermore, the artist stated that his music inspiration mostly comes from old school Ghanaian high life.

“A mix-match of influences is what basically formed this sound. I never tried to have a sound and to be honest, I have never really put so much thought into writing a song.

“I just go as my mind tells me, Mr Eazi stated.

Some of his hit tracks include, ‘Sample you’, ‘Hollup’ and his most recent ‘Ohema’, featuring Nigerian multiple award winning Dj, Dj Spinall.

Gracee Drops ‘Body On Me’ Music Video

gracee, body on meNigerian songstress Gracee, makes a new impression with her brand new video, titled ‘Body On Me’.

The new song shows the young star experimenting with a fusion of R & B, pop and dance-hall as she joins forces with new label ‘Amari Music’.

New Music: Phyno Drops Album ‘The Play Maker’

phyno, the play makerRapper Phyno has released his sophomore album, ‘the Play Maker’.

The 20-track album includes earlier released singles such as fada-fada, E sure for me, and Pino
-Pino.

phyno, the play maker
Onyeka Onwenu

Prominent musicians Onyeka Onwenu, Tu-face Idibia, as well as P-square, all feature in the body of work.

The album was produced by Mastercraft, Major Bangs, Del-b, T-spice and Kezzy Clef.

The artist, originally named Azubuike Chibuzo Nelson, got into the music industry in 2010, first as a producer then later on in 2012, he started recording his songs.

He has since carved a niche for himself with his unique rap style, rendered in the Igbo language.

New Music, Phyno, 'The Play Maker' So far, his popular hit tracks include: ‘Ghost Mode’, ‘Man of the Year’, ‘Alobam’, ‘Parcel’ and ‘O Set’.

Asides his blooming music career, Phyno has signed major endorsement deals such as Guinness Nigeria’s ‘Made of Black’ campaign, alongside Olamide and Eva Alordiah.

After years of hard work, the ‘Ghost Mode’ crooner, appears to have tele-ported himself from underground hype to a household name in Nigeria and beyond.

Tu-Baba Set To Launch ‘I Hate What You Do To Me’ Video

Tu-babaAfrican music legend, Innocent Idibia, also known as Tu-baba, has announced that he would be launching the video to his latest hit track, ‘I hate what you do to me’, at the Dare To Mix festival.

The festival organised by Campari and set to take place on November 5, 2016 in Lagos, would also feature superstar performances from top acts like 9ice, DJ Jimmy Jatt, Ycee and a host of others.

With the brand’s recent ‘Dare To Mix’ Campaign, it has decided to celebrate the diversity in music, comedy as well as cocktails.

The event would mark the first ever cocktail festival in Nigeria.

It would also feature various attractions, including comedy, a ‘mixology session’ with Tu-baba, making his signature mix, “Implication Shakerato”, a DJ face-off, among others.

Gospel Artist, Precious Sam Hosts Album Launch Concert

gospel artist, precious sam,concertFollowing the successful release of the music video for his latest single, ‘Alagbawi’, musicologist and gospel music singer, Precious Sam, hosted an album release concert in Lagos, for the new album titled ‘The Future’.

Giving insight on the title of the album, he explained that “the future is bright” although many seem to have given up on Nigeria.

He said it is a reminder that other developed countries have had their fair share of hardship however, they overcame.

In the case of Nigeria, he says everyone ought to be in unity as the nation is only passing through a phase.

He also hinted that some tracks on the album give insight as to where the problems lay, rather than the popular idea that it’s the fault of the government.

The gospel artist says his academic background in music gives him an edge and the opportunity to create something unique which he called a fusion of afro-beat and high-life.

He considers his music to fully message-based as opposed to the dance concept of regular music.

Business With God

gospel artist, precious sam, concert, monique
Monique

Another gospel singer and music partner, Monique expressed joy over the album launch, saying that she feels blessed to win souls for God through the ministrations.

“Doing business with God is always profitable we are winning souls and getting blessed.

“Even if other artists are killing it, we are winning it. we are not setting our standards by whatever they are winning,” she said.

2Baba, Others Set To Thrill At Celebrity Fans Challenge

falz, tu face, celebrity fans challengeMusic stars, 2Baba, Falz, and several others are set to headline the 2016 Celebrity Fans Challenge.

The second edition of the event will feature up to 30 celebrities who are expected to thrill their fans on stage as well as compete with them in various football based competitions.

The A-list stars are to battle each other in support of their favourite football clubs before a panel of judges as well as fans.

‘Soft work’ crooner, Falz, was present at a press parley held in Lagos, to unveil the artiste line-up.

He pointed out similarities in music and football, two things that organizers of the event consider a unifying factor for Nigerians.

The showdown which has been slated for December 3, 2016 will hold in Victoria Island Lagos.

Patoranking Releases ‘Money’ Music Video

patoranking, money, music video, phynoDancehall artist, Patoranking, has released a video to one of the tracks off his new album, God Over Everything.

The track titled ‘money’, features rapper, Phyno, and was directed by Sesan.

The Alubarika crooner, who started his career as a dancer, and lover of ghetto music as well as dancehall vibes, appears to now be the rave of the moment.

patoranking, money, music video, phyno
Patoranking, Phyno

With his vocal command and patois flair, he has so far done over 10 collaborations, including that of his ‘Girly o’ remix in which he featured Nigeria’s Biggest Female artist, Tiwa Savage.

Penthauze label member, Phyno, on the other hand, has gained much popularity for his unique rap style usually done in the Igbo language.

With recent collaborations with artists such as YBNL’s Olamide, law graduate turned musician/comedian, Falz, and many others in the industry, the artist appears to have gained even more fan base.

AO Of G.R.A.P Music Drops New Single

AOMeanwhile, G.R.A.P music signee, A.O, has dropped his first official single, ‘Walahi Walahi which features label mate, Vector and rapper, Jesse Jagz.

The highly anticipated track was produced by heavily sought after Producer Licious Crackitt.

Some reviews on the track have already revealed that there seemed to be a lot of refreshing experimentation on the record, most noticeable the relaxed baritone voice singing in the chorus.Falz

With Falz ‘upping’ his rap game with more frequent collaborations as well as music releases, he has yet again featured Ajebutter 22 and Fresh L on a new track titled ‘Regards To Your Mumsy’ which was produced by Oluwasesan.

Funke Akindele Makes Appearance With Husband At ‘A Trip To Jamaica’ Premiere

It ay, fuke akindelewas a star-studded, black carpet event at the premiere of AY’s new movie, ‘A Trip to Jamaica’, in Lagos.

Among those in attendance were fans, supporters as well as celebrities in the music, film and fashion industries.

The movie, which was a mix of Hollywood, Nollywood and Ghallywood actors, featured Funke Akindele, Nse Ikpe Etim, Chris Attoh, Dan Davids, Eric Roberts, Rebecca Sylvera, Paul Campbell and AY among others.

In 2014, comedian Ayomakun popularly known as AY, released his debut feature length film ’30 days in Atlanta’, which gained rave reviews and eventually became a box office hit, as the highest grossing film in Nigerian cinema.

Despite mixed reviews, the Robert Peters directed comedy, came back with the spin-off in 2016 ‘A Trifunke akindelep To Jamaica’.

AY, who is regarded as one of Nigeria’s highest grossing comedians, explained that he decided it would be a good idea to shoot the movie in Jamaica because he discovered after some research, that “Jamaicans love Nollywood movies, and we also love their culture, especially in the aspect of Music”.

He also said that as part of making it work, there were a lot of collaborations along-side the movie. Such collaborations he said were between Tiwa Savage and singer, Busy Signal, who created the official motion picture soundtrack for the movie.

Director, Robert Peters further explained the multicultural film, saying “we are trying to connect, trying to make a cross cultural movie and at the end of the day, it is aimed at giving our film a world view”.

AY also addressed concerns on piracy, a menace to which the ’30 days in Atlanta’ fell victim. He said certain measures have been put in place to avoid a repetition.

He, however, appealed to the government to take proactive steps to allay the fears of stakeholders in the creative industry.

Funke Akindele And JJC

Another interesting detail that crowned the event was the first time appearance of Funke Akindele, A.K.A Jenifa, with her singer husband, Abdul Rasheed Bello A.K.A JJC skills.

The couple, who had gotten married in a secret wedding, in London on August 23, 2016, finally came open in public for the first time during the premiere of the movie ‘A Trip To Jamaica’.

Reports say they chose a quiet wedding in London because neither of them wanted to be at the center of attention, having been on that lane before.

“The decision to do it quietly was right for us and we pray for the understanding of our close friends and fans at this offer of a lifetime moment,” the couple said.

Joy Bucknor Says Challenges Always Crumble With Music

joy bucknor, mercy, Gospel, Inspirational singer“Music is something that always gives me joy. It helps me go through a lot of my challenges while growing up, Nigeria’s singer, Joy Bucknor, said, expressing hopes that she could inspire other Nigerians too.

Joy shared her thoughts on her inspirational single ‘Mercy’ saying, she wrote the song because “right now, we all need God’s mercy, nobody is exempted from the mercy of God”.

She was speaking to channels Channels Television few days ago on her drive, inspiration and music as her lifestyle.

Joy, who recently joined the music industry professionally in 2014, is a graduate of Computer Engineering with a dream to change the world through music.

According to the singer, her father told her she had always been drawn to music.

She says, she wants to inspire people with her genre of music. “I do inspirational music, my songs are songs that give people hope.

“I share my heart out in my song, making sure that I stay true to my lyrics. My lyrical content are things that inspire people,” Joy added

According to her, Nigeria is often perceived in bad light by foreign media, which is why she featured clips of some foreign leaders such as President Obama, in the music video for ‘Mercy’.

She said her reason for including the clips were to prove that there was chaos all around and that one do not have to look too far to see it.

She also added that “what inspired the music video was just everything happening in the world, because we are humans and we all have issues”.

Nomoreloss’ Body Committed To Mother Earth

NomorelossThe body of veteran Nigerian singer and songwriter, Nomoreloss, has been committed to mother earth on Friday.

Nomoreloss, whose birth name was Olumuyiwa Osinuga, was buried at the Ikoyi cemetery in Lagos State, Nigeria’s commercial city.

Family, friends and showbiz practitioners were present at the funeral to pay their last respects to the singer while they lent their support to his wife and daughter.

The talented artiste was confirmed dead on Monday, March 21, after battling an illness since January.

Aged 39, he has contributed immensely to the growth of the Nigerian music industry and his death would be felt by the industry.

After his death was made known, Twitter was awash with condolences from people in the music industry, his fans and other sympathisers.