If there’s an opportunity to play live music, even if we’re not sure if it’s gonna work, count me in.
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Thursday - April 29, 2021
Dawn Richard at the Pitchfork Festival, Chicago, July 14, 2017. "Second Line" is out Friday on Merge.
(Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
quote of the day
If there’s an opportunity to play live music, even if we’re not sure if it’s gonna work, count me in.
Grace Potter

Can we hit pause on the whole NFT thing for a minute the same way we hit pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine? Asking on behalf of a certain late visual artist who was famously inspired by music—I mean, swoon. The artist's estate had to step in when a digital art dealer with old ties to DAVID BOWIE tried to sell a non-fungibly digital reproduction of one of his drawings along with the right to destroy the drawing itself should the buyer want to assure only one copy remained in the universe. Which is not only obscene—if you want only one copy in the universe, maybe you should, like, keep the painting and drag the digital thing to your trash folder—but also betrays a questionable understanding of copyright law. You, owner of a JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT drawing who came up with this dumb idea, do not get to sell reproductions of it, no matter how much you paid for it at auction. You bought a piece of paper, not the underlying intellectual property. To its credit, the digital agent, a company called DAYSTROM, scrapped the sale when the estate complained. Not to its credit, the company then told the Art Newspaper, "best copyright practices have yet to evolve for the digital economy." There's nothing to evolve, not in a case like this, inasmuch as no amount of evolving copyright practice is going to change the fact that you didn't own the copyright in the first place.

There are, of course, sellers of art and music NFTs who do understand how copyright works, and who know what they want to convey and how to convey it. They'll continue to experiment and develop their own best practices for the art of blockchain selling while prices drop from seven or eight figures to more like the $14.99 that can currently buy me a digital version of NOMADLAND at AMAZON PRIME or the $9.99 that will get me MADVILLAINY at BANDCAMP. But there's some clearing out of all those wannabe NAPSTER-circa-2002 cowboys that needs to be done, too, and a pause might help us do that. We can also use the time to argue about whether LARS ULRICH was right about Napster or not. And to work on a Green NFT Deal. And maybe do some copyright and licensing seminars on CLUBHOUSE or TWITTER SPACES. Then, and only then, we can begin to figure out how to make these things for work for ordinary buyers, ordinary sellers and the extraordinary artists who make it possible.

Some Kind of Mini-Monster

"The first marital-drama documentary that has, at its crux, irreconcilable differences over a pre-chorus" is a helpfully accurate description of I'M GOING TO BREAK YOUR HEART, a feature-length documentary about the making of the debut album by Canadian husband-and-wife duo MOON VS. SUN and the marriage counseling sessions it grew out of. He (RAINE MAIDA, taking a break from his day job fronting OUR LADY PEACE) is a cold, clueless, inattentive, selfish husband with a gift for hooks, which I don't mean as a critique; that's how the movie wants you to see him. She (singer/songwriter CHANTAL KREVIAZUK) writes good hooks too, with or without him, and just wants him to notice once in a while. It's hard sometimes to tell if it's a documentary about musical therapy or a very well-produced promo video for the album of the same name, which came out last week. Alternatively, you can pretend they're characters on the old ABC series Nashville and you're getting a season's worth of their story and a handful of good songs all in one sitting. Shoutout to my friend RICK KRIM, who's an executive producer. It's on Apple TV, YouTube Movies and Google Play... (And yes, if that title sounds strangely familiar, this was, and still is, a very good rock doc about the making of a classic album.)

Etc Etc Etc

SPOTIFY's average paid subscriber is paying less than $5 per month thanks to the streaming company's menu of discounts. Which may explain those upcoming price hikes... TENCENT reportedly facing a fine of more than $1 billion for antitrust violations in China... MIDNIGHT OIL, TAME IMPALA and the KID LAROI among top winners at Australia's APRA AWARDS... ROD WAVE at the (virtual) TINY DESK.

Rest in Peace

Australian singer/songwriter ANITA LANE, best known for her early collaborations with NICK CAVE in the BIRTHDAY PARTY and the BAD SEEDS. That link is to a compelling appreciation by Rolling Stone's ROB SHEFFIELD, who writes, "She was a lot more than a muse—she was the girl who schooled these boys in the art of badness, the queen of this underground"... PAUL KELLOGG, who led the GLIMMERGLASS OPERA and the NEW YORK CITY OPERA... Choral composer JAMES PRIMOSCH.

Matty Karas (@troubledoll), curator
from her to eternity
The Advice YouTube Executive Tuma Basa Wants to Share With Up-And-Coming Artists
by Dimas Sanfiorenzo
We spoke with YouTube executive Tuma Basa about the streaming climate, advice he has for young rappers, and trends he's watching for.
The New York Times
The Face of Solo Guitar Is Changing. It’s About Time.
by Grayson Haver Currin
Since the heyday of John Fahey, the genre has been seen as the province of white men. A new generation of diverse players is rapidly changing that.
The Common Reader
The Death of Genre
by Jeannette Cooperman
Even as genre loses sway, it continues to organize our cultural marketplace—and we continue to glue on the wrong labels.
‘Hey Spotify, play Up First:’ Two weeks with Car Thing
by Billy Steele
It’s undoubtedly an upgrade for older cars, but do you really need it?
Why Can’t Music Get Livestreams Right?
by Tatiana Cirisano
Preventing livestream crashes is a lot more complicated than it looks.
AFAR Media
Next Stop, K-Pop: A Dizzying Tour of Seoul’s Pop Music Scene
by Eric Weiner
In an attempt to connect with his K-Pop-obsessed teenage daughter, writer Eric Weiner books two tickets to the land of BTS: Seoul, South Korea. Here’s what their trip was like.
The Guardian
‘My energy comes from optimism’: the hopeful music of spring 2021
by Christine Ochefu
In part two of our series on the musicians foregrounding hope in their songs, Esperanza Spalding, Rostam and more discuss the importance of positivity.
The New Yorker
DMX, Shock G, and the Plight of the Middle-Aged Rapper
by Sheldon Pearce
The recent deaths of two musical pioneers show how difficult it is to grow old in hip-hop.
In Conversation: Thomas Rhett
by Ross Jones
After spending the last 10 years becoming one of the biggest names in modern-day country music, 2020 offered Thomas Rhett a chance to re-evaluate. Having given everything to make it where he is today, what was it that he wanted now? 
Music Business Worldwide
Spotify’s average subscriber is now paying less than $5 per month
by Tim Ingham
Bang goes the ARPU (again), as SPOT reveals figure fell to just €4.12 in the first three months of 2021.
stranger than kindness
The New York Times
Who Needs an Album? Just Keep Remaking the Song!
by Jon Caramanica
Recent hits by SpotemGottem and Lil Nas X show the power of extending the life of a single track, album be damned.
Ryan Tedder on Making the NFT Space Safe for Pop Music, and Why It’s the Ultimate Collectors’ Medium
by Chris Willman
"I've tried to write a hit that only a handful of people will get to experience," says Tedder, whose combined music-and-art piece is going up for auction as an NFT. And he's just getting started.
Village Voice
Back in the New York Groove?
by Katherine Turman
The return of live music in NYC--being safe without being sorry.
The Year Without Live Music
by Tim Bugbee
To find out how local musicians and promoters coped throughout this unprecedented period and what lies ahead, I asked them a few questions.
The Results From Spain's 5,000-Cap Concert Are In
by Gideon Gottfried
On March 27, Spanish rock stars Love of Lesbian played to a crowd of almost 5,000 people at the Palau Sant Jordi arena in Barcelona. Jordi Herreruela, festival director of Cruïlla Festival, who promoted the test event, told Pollstar beforehand that people would be safer inside the venue than outside, and the results back this bold claim.
The Problem with the "Lars Was Right About Napster" Argument
by Vince Neilstein
Stop saying "Lars was right about Napster." Lars was wrong. Very wrong. Once music downloading existed, it was never going away.
Texas Monthly
Joshua Ray Walker’s Music Is a Vivid Portrait of Working-class Life in Dallas
by Jonny Auping
His country ballads tell stories about complex, imperfect people who call Dallas home.
Loud And Quiet
Absolutely nebulous: J Mascis and Kurt Vile in conversation
by Ian Roebuck
Kurt Vile was completely unqualified to produce Dinosaur Jr’s new album, but they asked him to anyway. He and J Mascis catch up about it all.
The Opera Queen
Personal Essay: Coming Back To Live, Maybe
by Catherine Kustanczy
Music, and the will toward its live presentation, has taken on a potent symbolism amidst pandemic; that will never really went away in certain places, while in others it has vanished entirely. 
Twenty Thousand Hertz
Twenty Thousand Hertz: SM7
by Dallas Taylor
We tell the story of Shure's SM7 dynamic microphone: from its humble beginnings in voiceover studios in the early 70s, to its use on classic albums, to its rediscovery by podcasters and streamers.
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Music of the day
"The World's a Girl"
Anita Lane
Video of the day
"Dark City Beneath the Beat"
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