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Tag: the Internet (1-4 of 4)

Shawn Mendes talks about turning Internet fame into an IRL hit

A year ago, Pickering, Ontario native Shawn Mendes was just an average teenager with an interest in music. Then, last August, he posted a six-second clip of himself singing Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me” on the video-snippet-sharing service Vine. By the next day, he was an Internet star, thanks to the 10,000-plus followers he amassed overnight.

Now, he has nearly 3 million followers and has embarked on a more traditional musical career path, signing with Universal Music Group subsidiary Island Records. In late June he released his first single, “Life of the Party,” a piano-driven power ballad with an unexpectedly mature vibe that immediately went to the top of the iTunes singles chart.

Just after “Life of the Party” was released EW got on the phone with him to talk about Vine, YouTube, stage fright, and his sudden rise to fame.

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The great irony of Silicon Valley's curated-music craze

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The music industry has always chased trends, and as tech companies have started getting into the game, they’ve not only picked up the habit but taken it to an unimaginably expensive level—one that makes the most coke-fueled excesses of the Fleetwood Mac era look miserly in comparison. And right now, the market is going bananas for curation: After years of investing in algorithms that can figure out that someone who likes the Beatles would probably also be interested in Creedence Clearwater Revival, which has helped the online radio behemoth Pandora claim 250 million users, the tide has turned. “Curation” is now the buzzword du jour.

Yesterday, word got out that Google will be buying the playlist site Songza for a “substantially higher” amount than the $15 million it was previously rumored to have offered, according to a Billboard article. Songza offers users, in its own words, “Music Curated by Music Experts”—that is, playlists broken down not only by genre but by mood or compatibility with different activities, some of them as specific as “Lounging in a Cool Hotel” or “Hanging Out in the Man Cave.” The tech giant has plans to fold Songza and its team of 50 or so curators into the unwieldily named Google Play Music All Access, a subscription-based streaming platform it launched to compete against Spotify that hasn’t offered very serious competition so far.

Apple also recently acquired a curation service: the Beats Music platform, whose place in the $3 billion acquisition has been massively overshadowed by Beats’ much larger and more profitable hardware division. Now that Apple and Google have both bought their own curation services, other companies will most likely be scrambling to get their own. READ FULL STORY

Prince embraces Internet meme-dom with new track 'This Could Be Us'

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Prince has had a famously tumultuous relationship with the Internet, as full of wild ups and downs as any of his romantic entanglements or relationships with record labels. On one hand, he pioneered the concept of the online preorder with his 1998 collection Crystal Ball and in 2003 released one of the first albums by a major artist to be available exclusively as a download, not to mention the fact that with his history of cryptic lyrics aimed at former lovers he basically invented the subtweet. On the other hand there’s the veritable army of lawyers he keeps busy nuking any Prince material that even gets close to YouTube.

But Prince contains multitudes, so while it may be surprising that he’d embrace a Twitter meme that at one point incorporated a still from Purple Rain, it’s not entirely unexpected. The meme in question, #ThisCouldBeUsButYouPlayin, involved matching that hashtag with images of romantic pairings ranging from the sassily iconic (including Prince and Apollonia sharing a seat on his Purple Rain bike) to the surreal. READ FULL STORY

Is YouTube really going to block indie acts?

The consensus across the music industry is that the next big thing is paid streaming, a la Spotify’s premium services and the recently launched (and recently acquired by Apple) Beats Music, and the rush of companies looking to get involved is beginning to resemble a stampede. The tech giants vying for control of the market are becoming increasingly unabashed about throwing elbows as they deem necessary.

Among those tech giants is YouTube—and there’s been speculation that when it launches its new paid streaming service later this summer, some indie labels may not only be left out of the deal but also removed from the site altogether. But according to a source at YouTube, not all indie artists are in danger of being shut out.

As has been reported in the Guardian and elsewhere, YouTube head of content and business operations Robert Kyncl confirmed yesterday that, as has been widely rumored, the video platform will be removing from its free side any content owned by labels that refuse to sign on as part of the music-based paid subscription service it’s working on, which is currently being tested as an in-house beta with a public rollout planned for later in the summer. So far, only independent labels are holding out—YouTube has already inked deals with the Big Three major labels (Universal Media Group, Sony, and Warner Music Group), as well as a number of indies. According to an official statement from YouTube, they’ve come to agreements with “hundreds of major and independent labels,” which an employee there speaking on background says represents “95 percent” of the labels they’ve approached. While the proposed changes may not represent the extinction-level deletion of independently produced musical content that some of the more alarmist responses to the news have made it out to be, it still represents a new level of aggressive dealmaking in a segment of the music industry whose public image has been already defined by contract terms that many artists consider unfair.

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