A slew of new releases from local artists have hit, or are about to hit, major streaming platforms.
Even though these songs can be enjoyed on sites like YouTube, Spotify and iTunes, if you’d like to purchase them do so through bandcamp.com — when available — where the artists will receive the greatest compensation.
Indigo Hush, aka musician Scott Roberts, will release its latest single “Clever” on June 9.
This uptempo shoegazer (a musical subgenre) is a collaboration with singer Faith Angeles (who is gaining some impressive momentum of her own lately). The driving guitars growl and shimmer over bouncy, new wave drums and Roberts’ and Angeles’ voices intermingling seamlessly to great effect.
Lyrically, both singers take turns telling the time-worn tale of two people looking at the end of their relationship with both seething resentment and wistful, doomed hope who unite on the delusional realization, “It’s too late for now, but things could get better …”
Caution: There is some minor explicit language.
Indigo Hush’s 2022 EP “Waiting” is also recommended to fans of well-crafted blasts of indie pop.
Matt Salkeld is another talented multi-instrumentalist with an impressive penchant for quality with his projects, whether as an acoustic punk solo act or as a sideman like his time drumming with post-hardcore outfit If It Kills You.
Salkeld is definitely an artist who follows his muse wherever it takes him and with his latest project, Hooves, Salkeld has taken the reins and created a song — pretty much single-handedly — that’s both an artistic evolution sonically as well as a statement of purpose, integrity and craft.
The song, “W.K.W.W.A.” (We Know Who We Are) is an adrenaline shot of melodic punk rock with one heck of an outro where Salkeld performs a haunting cello melody on an Alesis MIDI keyboard.
“I recorded the whole thing in my apartment,” Salkeld said.
Salkeld sings in a gritty, high-end register here like Axl Rose, Jason Shevchuk from Kid Dynamite or Chester Bennington that cuts like a buzzsaw. The guitars are crunchy and razor-sharp but never get in the way of the mix, courtesy of Daniel Bubert who mixed the song at Maple Sound Studios in Santa Ana. The song was mastered by Brandon Fitzgerald and the vocals recorded locally by Justin Martin at The Noise Feed. The album art was created by Raul Gallardo.
“I played the music, whatever, but a lot of people put their time and energy into this song, and I try to give credit where credit is due,” Salkeld said.
Salkeld’s barometer for quality control is intertwined with his integrity. His entire identity as an artist depends on it. It isn’t just about putting out the best possible release or getting the best possible sounds, it’s about adhering to and achieving one fundamental tenet that all musicians should foster.
“More than anything, and I’ve always said this, is (that) I just care about the song. That’s it. That’s the most important thing to me is making the song as good as it can be,” Salkeld said.
“There’s a lot of stuff I want to say these days and I’m trying to put out there what it is I believe and feel passionate about and put it into a song and try to wrap it all up neat and nice.”
The best way to find the song in a sea of other acts with the same name is to type in “Hooves” and the acronym song title (with or without periods). Note: This release also features explicit language.
Singer-guitarist Andrew Tallent might be better known to local audiences by his stage name Andrew Royalty, were he performed solo or with his group the Penny Royalties. His cover of America’s “Horse With No Name” was a favorite.
He moved to Colorado a few years back and established himself there but will return to Bakersfield to perform Friday at 2nd Phase Brewing, 1004 19th St.
His band, Circles We Draw, will release its latest single “Endless Pathways” on June 16.
Its upcoming EP will be released in October and Tallent’s solo album, “Sacrificing Mental Stability For Your Art,” will be out in November. His free solo performance at 7 p.m. Friday will promote that solo release as well as his record label, Kinda Vague Records.
“The Long Way Home,” the latest single by Monty Byrom, is actually a holdover from his early 1990s Big House days, co-written with Big House bandmate David Neuhauser.
It has all the elements of a Monty Byrom song: soulful vocals, interesting harmonies and chord voicings, a rock solid rhythm section — as well as some fleet-fingered playing by bassist Gary Rink — and some impressive solo guitar work. Byrom also released the ballad “It’s Love” in March.
Lastly, irreverent punk act Latest Regret will release the first single off of its upcoming album released by Phantom Stranger Records on Friday.
The galloping “FOMO” (caution: explicit language) is recommended for fans of supercharged 1990s punk ala NOFX, Lagwagon and No Use For A Name. Their album release will be at 6 p.m. June 30 at Narducci’s Cafe, 622 E. 21st St. A music video will be filmed for “FOMO” at 3 p.m. June 25 at Jerry’s Pizza, 1817 Chester Ave. Admission for the release party is $5 and both shows are all ages.
Tehachapi Winery Summer Mini Music Fest, noon June 10, Tehachapi Winery, 22136 Bailey Road. $40, $60 VIP; tickets at eventbrite.com or call 661-821-9587.
Tehachapi Winery has been hosting live music every weekend for a good while now, keeping many Bakersfield original and cover acts employed in the process. On June 10, the little winery that could will be trying something new: a music festival.
While the scope of the event seems to be bigger, the heart behind it will be much the same as the one beating with their usual weekend concerts. Dub Seeds, Caleb Henry and the Customs, and American Mile will perform at the outdoor festival. Marlon Mackey, from local band Tonight We Are, will DJ in between sets and host his own dance party after the bands are done at 7 p.m. up to the festival’s end at 8 p.m.
The tickets, before fees, are $40 for general admission or $60 for an upgraded VIP ticket, which includes VIP parking, VIP seating, access to a VIP lounge inside the winery and a complimentary glass. Honestly, the VIP upgrade sounds worth it, especially if you’re of a certain age that values comfort and convenience. Food trucks and vendors will be on site.
If you’re looking for something interesting to do next weekend, you can do worse than a nice trip up Highway 58 to catch some fresh mountain air (and cooler temperatures) watching some entertaining live music.
Contributing columnist Cesareo Garasa brings you the latest news on Bakersfield’s music scene every other Thursday.
EL CAPITOLIO – En ocasión de sus 30 años de carrera musical como solista, la Cámara de Representantes reconoció hoy al salsero boricua Víctor Manuelle en una festiva y emotiva ceremonia que sirvió de antesala a los eventos de celebración que realizará el artista en la isla.
El intérprete conocido como “El Sonero de la Juventud” realizará dos conciertos el próximo 3 y 4 de junio, en el Coliseo de Puerto Rico, como parte de la conmemoración del trigésimo aniversario de su trayectoria artística.
Víctor Manuel Ruiz Velázquez, nombre de pila del salsero, recibió el homenaje en presencia de familiares, legisladores, celebridades y el alcalde de su pueblo natal de Isabela, Miguel “Ricky” Méndez Pérez.
“Son muchos los sentimientos que se desembocan en una actividad como esta. Quiero darle las gracias a ustedes por estar aquí presente. Gracias por entenderme como ser humano”, expresó el salsero al público.
“Tengo un compromiso. Son treinta años de carrera. Me comprometo a dar lo mejor de mí, a representar a Puerto Rico con el orgullo, la dignidad que siento en el corazón, que lo llevo muy, muy, muy adentro”, afirmó.
Víctor Manuelle fungió como cantante en orquestas de la talla de Andy Montañez, Marvin Santiago, Tito Allen, Adalberto Santiago, Domingo Quiñones y Rey Ruiz, entre otros. Esas experiencias lo prepararon para iniciarse como solista.
Fue en el 1993 que Sony Discos lo identificó como una promesa que mereció esa oportunidad y lanzaron el primer disco del artista titulado Justo a tiempo. Unos años más adelante, su segunda producción musical Víctor Manuelle, lo llevó a alcanzar gran éxito en Colombia, Centroamérica y los Estados Unidos.
Desde entonces, los éxitos no han cesado en la carrera del cantautor que se ha destacado en otros géneros más allá de la salsa, como el pop latino, bolero y hasta baladas románticas. En 1997 sale su cuarto disco llamado A pesar de todo, del cual melodías como “Dile a ella”, “He tratado” y “Mentiras” le dieron la vuelta al mundo.
El prestigioso premio Grammy no le es ajeno, y fue en el 2018 que se alzó con dos galardones al Latin Grammy por su disco 25/7 como “Mejor Álbum de Salsa”, al igual que la canción “Quiero Tiempo”, interpretada junto a Juan Luis Guerra, como “Mejor Canción Tropical”.
Ha sido distinguido en Premios Lo Nuestro, Billboard Latin Music Awards, Premio del Diario La Prensa, el ASCAP Golden Note Award, Artista del Año de los Premios Cassandra, entre otros galardones.
“Tres décadas han transcurrido y nuestro homenajeado continúa formando parte de las figuras medulares de la música en nuestro país. Treinta años de innegable acogida se dicen fácilmente. Pero requieren paciencia, dedicación y saber escalar peldaño a peldaño sin perder el entusiasmo”, destacó la representante Deborah Soto Arroyo, presidenta de la Comisión de Educación, Arte y Cultura.
El salsero también produjo el disco Son 45 de su homólogo boricua Ismael Miranda, logrando así la posición #1 en los listados de Billboard y una nominación al Latin Grammy. También ha tomado el derrotero de la composición para otros artistas. Si te dijeron es una de sus creaciones que logró el puesto #1 en las listas de popularidad, en voz de Gilberto Santa Rosa.
Además, junto a Emilio Estefan compuso “Tengo ganas”, una de las melodías más destacadas de su disco Travesía. Otras de sus colaboraciones más importantes han sido con exponentes como Don Omar, Tego Calderón, Yandel, Bad Bunny, Farruko, Wisin, entre otros.
Estas movidas, aunque arriesgadas, le han permitido establecerse como un sonero salsero de altos quilates que ocupa también altas posiciones en el mercado urbano.
En su mensaje protocolar, el presidente cameral Rafael “Tatito” Hernández Montañez resaltó la histórica gesta del salsero y legado musical que ha dejado en diversas generaciones puertorriqueñas.
“Aquí en la Cámara de Representantes es un privilegio reconocer treinta años de multiplicar tu talento a través de todo Puerto Rico. En tus causas, con tu música, con tu gesta, con tu trayectoria”, manifestó Hernández Montañez, quien describió al salsero como el orgullo de Isabela y de Puerto Rico.
Seyi Vibez, the Nigerian singer, has come through with his new single titled ‘Hat-trick’.
The singer announced the release of the song via his Instagram page on Monday.
“Matter getting serious! Dangerous! Military zone – keep off. Hat-trick out worldwide,” he wrote.
The ‘Bullion Van’ crooner also accompanied the song with a music video, shot by TG Omori.
Born Balogun Oluwaseyi, Seyi Vibez has been pulling the weight of fame in the music industry with several hit songs.
The Ketu-born singer connects himself with the street with his ingenious style of music.
Last year, the singer dropped ‘Billion Dollar Baby’, his album which included hit tracks such as ‘Chance’, ‘Bullion Van’, and ‘+234’.
Seyi Vibez is not signed to any record label currently. His songs are being promoted by Dvpper Music, the Nigerian distribution company.
Last Friday, he announced his upcoming concert at the Indigo 02 in London on August 11.
“I want to give you guys the best experience ever at 02 Indigo. LOSEYI Live in London, August 11,” he had said.
SEYI VIBEZ ACQUIRES MANSION
On Thursday, the singer shared footage of his newly acquired luxury house on Instagram.
“I wish my mother could witness this and more of my achievements to come, but GOD knows the best,” he captioned the post.
Watch the video below:
DOWNLOAD: ‘HAT-TRICK’ BY SEYI VIBEZ
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During a break at the Brunswick Studio in Chicago one day in 1972, engineer Bruce Swedien asked Willie Henderson if he knew of any good gospel groups. Music label founder Billy Ray Hearn wanted to sign an African American gospel artist to his new Christian imprint, Myrrh, and had reached out to Swedien for recommendations.
“Sure,” Henderson replied. “I know some singers at my mother’s church.”
His mother’s — actually the entire Henderson family’s church — was Beautiful Zion Missionary Baptist in West Englewood. Swedien, who would go on to win Grammy Awards for engineering Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” “Bad” and “Dangerous,” among other successes, decided to check out the church’s young adult choir. He liked what he heard and, with Hearn’s blessing and Henderson as producer, recorded the Beautiful Zion Young Adult Choir’s debut LP for Myrrh in summer 1972.
Fifty years ago this month, the choir’s joyously optimistic single from that album, “I’ll Make It Alright,” achieved something almost unheard of, then and now: it made the top 40 of Billboard’s soul singles chart. The album, released in September 1973, hit No. 4 in its first week on the gospel album chart and remained in the top 10 for several months. The young adult choir, once so small it could fit in two cars, became national stars overnight.
For Hearn, signing the Beautiful Zion choir must have felt like winning the golden ticket. He was undoubtedly aware of the Edwin Hawkins Singers, another African American young adult choir whose softly rocking take on the hymn “Oh Happy Day” topped the pop charts in 1969. Hot on the Hawkins’ heels, Chicago’s own Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir charted nationally that same year with “Hello Sunshine,” a gospel version of a song recorded by both Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett. Could Beautiful Zion complete the gospel crossover trifecta?
If anyone could make that happen, Willie Henderson could. A versatile R&B and soul musician, songwriter and producer, Henderson assembled some of the city’s most respected studio musicians for the Beautiful Zion sessions. Drummer Terry Thompson and bassist Louis Satterfield comprised the rhythm section. Ron Steele was on guitar and Odell Brown on organ (he would later cowrite Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing”). There was also keyboardist Marvin Yancy, a member of the R&B vocal group The Independents and, later, producer of early hits for wife Natalie Cole. For arranger, Henderson tapped Gene “Daddy G” Barge, a saxophonist and songwriter with a music resume as long as his arm.
The choir itself was no johnny-come-lately. Organized in 1962, it had grown to some 70 members and was celebrated for its church-wrecking capabilities. Samuel Douglas, a former member of the choir and participant in the Myrrh recording, recalled, “Eighteen of us would go to the Thompson Community Singers musical. We’d sing and run them out of their own church!” Devora Miller, another former choir member present on the recording, concurred. “We did a lot of traveling because we were bad!”
Choristers Ollie Cherry, Charlie Hatter and Emma Richards were the album’s lead singers. Most of the leads, including “I’ll Make It Alright,” fell to Richards, who shared directing duties with Cherry. Richards came from a talented musical family. In the late 1940s, her brothers Jake, Curtis and Lee formed a gospel quartet called the Highway Q.C.’s that included a teenage Sam Cooke.
Henderson relied on Richards to prep the choir for recording sessions. “Willie instilled in us that we couldn’t dillydally,” Richards said. “We needed to be ready because the sooner we got done, the less money you spent on studio time.” All songs and arrangements were written exclusively for the album. “We rehearsed in the studio,” Miller said. “Sometimes we’d only do two or three songs in a session, depending on how complicated they were.”
Given the modest size of the Brunswick Studio, located in the former home of Vee-Jay Records on South Michigan Avenue, the production crew recorded one section of the choir at a time, bringing everyone together only when necessary. Choir members recall sitting on the floor, watching Swedien and Henderson record The Chi-Lites while they waited their turn to use the studio. “And when they got done,” said Vaudelita Griffin, “The Chi-Lites watched us record.”
“I’ll Make It Alright” caught fire in spring 1973. WVON in Chicago played the record over and over. “It was on R&B radio stations all across the country,” Henderson recalled. “Everywhere you went, there it was, playing. It was almost as big as ‘Oh, Happy Day.’”
Invitations to appear on gospel programs came from as far away as New York. “The church grew tremendously,” Richards said. “People from the West Side came all the way to our church.” Douglas said new members “flooded into the choir after they found out what was going on.” In June 1974, the Chicago Chapter of the National Association of Television and Radio Announcers bestowed its Best Gospel honor on the choir.
But the additional exposure did not come without controversy. It turned out that “I’ll Make It Alright” had actually been written by Curtis Womack and recorded in late 1962 by The Valentinos, a vocal group consisting of Womack and his four brothers. Womack wrote it originally as a gospel song but turned it into a love song for the recording on Sam Cooke’s SAR imprint. The Beautiful Zion record label credited Henderson as an arranger but not Womack as a songwriter. “We got into a big old dispute over the royalties of the record,” Richards remembered. Added Henderson, “The lawyers called and said that was their song, so we only got paid one time.”
Meanwhile, Richards, whose energetic vocals helped sell the song, was approached to become an R&B singer. She refused. “All my life I was sickly, and my parents pulled me through,” she said. “I realized later that the Lord had something to do with it, but I didn’t want to betray my parents by singing R&B.”
Hoping for another hit, Myrrh hustled Henderson, Swedien, Barge, the musicians and the choir back to Brunswick Studios later in 1973 for a follow-up album. “In the Spirit,” credited to the Beautiful Zion Missionary Baptist Church Choir featuring Emma Richards, produced the single “Ride to the Mountaintop.” In October 1973, it, too, crossed over to the soul singles chart but never made it higher than #87. Myrrh dropped the choir and it never recorded commercially again. The church received a royalty check only after Myrrh recouped all recording and production costs.
The choir settled back into its weekly routine. Membership dwindled over the years as choir members moved away and others became ministers and started their own churches. But Yvonne Tate, who sang with the 1970s choir and remains a member today, said they still do “I’ll Make It Alright” for special church occasions. “Fifty years later, people still call us the church that did ‘I’ll Make It Alright.’”
Robert M. Marovich is editor-in-chief of Chicago’s Journal of Gospel Music.
Ahead of their performance at Download Festival next month, Halestorm have announced details of their biggest-ever UK headline show at the OVO Arena Wembley in London.
The only UK date of their forthcoming European tour will take place in the capital on Saturday December 9, where the Pennsylvania hard rockers will be supported by Black Veil Brides.
“We are so excited to be back across the pond where the rock’n’roll lifers are!” says frontwoman Lzzy Hale. “We are celebrating so many milestones this year, including having the honour of headlining Wembley at the end of the year! To kick it up a notch we’ve invited our friends in Black Veil Brides to join us for a run as well. We can’t wait to see all of your passionate faces!”
A pro-Trump rapper’s new single demanding consumers boycott Target has shot to number one on iTunes’ Top Ten Chart – beating out artists like Taylor Swift in the process.
Meanwhile, the Florida man behind the track’s historic ascension, alt-right emcee Forgiato Blow, has continued to accuse the music platform of purposely putting a clamp on the song’s progress due to its conservative message.
Titled Boycott Target, the two-minute song comes in direct response to the superstore’s newly announced Pride Collection.
Moreover, features lyrics that accuse the stalwart department store of attempting to instill an LGBTQ ‘agenda’ with their aggressive clothing campaign – which itself touts several polarizing items such as a ‘tuck-friendly’ bathing suits to stash wearers’ private parts and pro-trans T-shirts for kids.
In the midst of a meteoric – and unlikely – rise that has already seen him secure well over $1million, Blow appeared for an interview to decry iTunes for what he alleged is censorship, while taking the time to offer some choice words to brass responsible for the recent progressive push.
Scroll down for video:
Titled Boycott Target, the two-minute song from Florida rapper Forgiato Blow (at front) is currently experiencing an unlikely rise, after its release four days ago in response to the superstore’s new Pride Collection exhibits
The song’s meteoric ascent has seen it beat out heavily backed artists such as Taylor Swift and Luke Combs – all in a mere four days
Since the displays were unveiled this month, Target has lost billions in market capitalization in a matter of days, as customers continue to swear off its products over the Pride-themed rollout
‘It’s shadow-banned all over the world right now,’ Blow told outspoken anchor Brian Kilmeade Monday, using terminology that refers to a certain form of censorship that see a user’s content blocked from part or all of an online forum without warning.
Utilized in the past by big name platforms such as Twitter and YouTube amid a recent rise in heated political discourse – often to mixed results – is a known stealthy strategy platforms limit posts’ visibility.
Speaking with Kilmeade during the day’s Fox and Friends broadcast, Blow elaborated on what he believes to be a conspiracy concocted by the Apple-operated application – despite his song already topping iTunes’ Hip Hop chart at the time, and standing at the number-two spot on the platform’s hallowed all-genre list.
‘You can’t even search the song on iTunes without going to the music video and clicking the external link,’ Blow claimed.
‘They’re trying their hardest to keep it off the radar.’
Shortly after the televised interview, the track’s popularity continued to burgeon – propelling it to the overall No.1 spot around midday Tuesday.
As it stands, the song – released with an accompanying music video filmed in an actual Target store – is beating out high-profile releases from artists such as Swift, 33, Lil Durk, and country star Luke Combs, and has amassed millions of downloads.
That said, iTunes once outsized popularity has waned in recent years amid the advent of streaming, as well as an outdated a la carte purchase model where users pay per puchase.
Still, the service charges $1.29 for most songs, Blow’s included – with each purchase providing the artist somewhere between 60 and 70 cents in royalties.
Less than a week since the song’s May 25 release, Blow is on track to take home a quite the sum – with royalties reportedly paid out to artists promptly and with each purchase.
In the midst of a meteoric – and unlikely – rise that has already seen him secure well over $1million, Blow appeared for an interview to decry iTunes for alleged censorship, while taking the time to offer some choice words to brass responsible for the recent progressive push
As it stands, the song – released with an accompanying music video filmed in an actual Target store – is beating out high-profile singles from artists such as Swift, 33, and Lil Durk, and has amassed millions of downloads
The video, also released Saturday, has already been viewed more than a quarter of a million times on YouTube
In it, Blow also references the recent Bud Light boycott – after releasing a less successful song about it earlier in the year
‘It’s shadow-banned all over the world right now,’ Blow told Brian Kilmeade Monday, using terminology that refers to a certain form of censorship that occurs without warning. He also chided Target for sending messages to kids he feels are inappropriate with the new campaign
As for the song itself, it shot to the number-six spot almost immediately after its release on Friday, and has since continued to perform – casting some doubt on the rapper’s censorship claims.
Speaking to Kilmeade Monday, Blow – whose real name is Kurt Jantz but goes by ‘Trumps [sic] Nephew’ on Twitter – revealed his outspoken support for the former president has already seen him banned from Instagram and Facebook indefinitely.
‘I had my free speech ripped from me,’ he recalled during what ended up being a five-minute sitdown.
‘A lifetime ban on Instagram, a lifetime ban on Facebook for speaking positivity.’
He added of the alleged liberal-led agenda meant to hinder his current success: ‘You know, when I was an artist before this… they didn’t care if I rapped about negativity and demonizing America.’
The artist proceeded to lay out what part the Minneapolis-based megachain’s recent LGBT-themed release he has taken issue with – pointing specifically to the items marketed toward children.
‘We’re living in a culture right now where people need to speak out,’ Blow said of the new song, which adds to an oeuvre of tracks that includes this year’s ‘Fock Bud LIght’, 2022’s Burn Balenciaga, and a tune from his debut album All Eyez on Maga creatively titled Trump Train.
‘We need to stand up for the children,’ the relatively unknown rapper insisted.
The Pride collection also includes items for babies and children – items Blow has taken issue with specifically. Many of the pieces are emblazoned with slogans and feature the rainbow colors of the Pride flag
A ‘tuck-friendly’ swimsuit to stash wearers’ private parts, meanwhile, is sold online for $40 in the adults section. Target has been asked to clarify claims the item is also available for children
The swimsuits, which appear in sections set up for Pride month in June, include a label which advertises the ‘tuck-friendly construction’ and ‘extra crotch’ coverage. The design is made to help conceal a person’s private parts
Seen here is a $25 slogan sweater – part of Target’s Pride Collection – emblazoned with the words ‘cure transphobia not trans people’
One of the most controversial items was this adult swim bottom, in the women’s section, that had ‘tuck friendly’ tags in stores. It is still being sold online
Target said it decided to pull the items from shelves because they have ‘been at the center of the most confrontational behavior’ – and have led to store staffers being harassed
Target, meanwhile has lost more than $10billion in market capitalization since coming under scrutiny for its latest LGBTQ-themed rollout – for which it continues to face backlash
Blow has dozens of other songs on iTunes, though none nearly as popular as his unexpected hit.
He also has several songs on YouTube – where his username is ‘Mayor of Magaville’ -including the aforementioned boycott ballad ‘FOCK BUD LIGHT.’
The Anheuser-Busch-owned brand recently distanced itself from transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney, following a disastrous failed partnership that saw customers across the country swear off the country’s most purchased beer.
In the video for Boycott Target, Blow cleverly references this recent occurrence – by carrying several cases of the beverage in the nondescript Target store.
‘We’re obviously shifting the culture,’ the rapper claimed on Fox Monday of his pointed, political releases. ‘We’re waking people up, letting them know that, hey, you don’t have just to follow the crowd.’
He added: ‘You can stand on your own and be a leader, not a follower.’
Target, meanwhile has lost more than $10billion in market capitalization since coming under scrutiny for its latest LGBTQ-themed rollout – for which it continues to face backlash.
Prior to the controversy, Target shares were trading at $160.96, giving the retailer a market valuation of roughly $74.3billion.
Today, the blue-chip stock was trading at around $137 – marking a loss of roughly $10.2billion.
The sum stands as the superstore’s lowest market value in an entire year – all achieved in a matter of days.
In a statement last week, Target – led by CEO Brian Cornell – announced the company had pulled some items that have ‘been at the center of the most confrontational behavior.’
The company did not specify which items had been taken off-shelves – but has since confirmed that it will move some its Pride section to the back of several stores, chiefly in the rural south.
As of Tuesday, though many of the swimsuits, onesies and t-shirts that sparked outrage remain available online – and consumers like Blow are continuing to boycott the superstore.
Likening the recent touting of LGBT campaigns by big brands to the blind support the Black Lives Matter movement received in 2020 following the death of George Floyd, Blow said “I feel like in the 2020 election there was, you know, the agenda was BLM… now for the new election… it’s going to be LGBTQ.’
‘And if you’re not with them, they’re going to ruin you anyways.’
The song, meanwhile, is trending online – and as of Tuesday at 5pm, was still enjoying its spot at the top of the iTunes top 100 chart.
New York, NY (Top40 Charts) Capitalizing on incredible momentum, St. Louis’s hottest new voice Big Boss Vette serves up a brand new song “Ion Need ” and adds “Karma” to all streaming platforms via Beatstaz/ Amigo Records/ Republic Records.
The punchy “Ion Need” hinges on bass-y piano and a glitchy beat as sirens wail. Without apology, Vette proclaims, “I’m a motherfing P.I.M.P.” while asserting she doesn’t need a man for anything. In the commanding music video, men line up for a job interview to be Vette’s man and like the boss that she is, she denies them one by one.
Simultaneously, following the celebrated release of “Karma” on her YouTube channel, Vette answers the call of her fans, whom she lovingly refers to as her cousins, by making the song accessible on all major streaming platforms. The fiery song targets fakes as she warns, “I’m all out of favors so that free s is a no.” Brace yourself for a whole lot more to come from Big Boss Vette including her debut project in June.
Recently Big Boss Vette has been killing the stage! In addition to opening for Kehlani on her Oakland tour stop, she joined the acclaimed Hip Hop platform On The Radar to spit some bars in their “Ladies Night Part 2” cypher which is releasing soon.
Additionally, she joined them for a performance in their Atlanta showcase in partnership with ASCAP. She also just lit up the desert in Palm Springs attending events for Pitchfork Live, Poosh, Clinique, and more during Coachella weekend.
This summer, she’ll be at Sundown Alaska Festival, Rolling Loud Miami, and Lollapalooza. However up next, she’ll be performing at WHTA’s “Who’s Hot?” in Atlanta on 6/16 ahead of their HOT 107.9 Birthday Bash.
Recently, “Problem” earned widespread critical acclaim. Billboard named it among “R&B/Hip-Hop Fresh Picks of the Week” and proclaimed, “Big Boss Vette is wasting no time.” Brooklyn Vegan raved, “It’s loud, abrasive, and super catchy,” and Earmilk hailed it as “a bravado-laden track that is filled with pure energy and gusto from the fiery rapper.”
She has officially affirmed herself as St. Louis’s biggest, boldest, and best new artist!
“Problem” arrived on the heels of her hard-hitting “Pretty Girls Walk (Remix)” [feat. Coi Leray]. HotNewHipHop proclaimed, “it’s a creative and head-bobbing fusion of more modern percussion styles with a classic bassline that harkens back to the old days.”
Following her own set, Big Boss Vette and Coi Leray brought their undeniable energy to the stage as they performed the song together at Rolling Loud California.
She only continues to make waves. She recently guested on Apple Music’s The Plug Radio in addition to showing out “Bar for Bar” with VH1 in honor of Women’s History Month. Plus, she catapulted to #45 on the Billboard Emerging Artists chart.
“Pretty Girls Walk” has emerged as a phenomenon. The contagious track exploded on Instagram Reels with north of 220K Reel “creates,” including videos from icons such as Reba McEntire, Madonna, Kate Beckinsale, Jennifer Lopez, Paris Hilton and Nicole Scherzinger. On TikTok, the song has inspired over 650K “creates,” eclipsing 2 billion views. Thus far, “Pretty Girls Walk” has gained over 14.4 million Spotify streams and 2.5 million YouTube views on the music video, which released last October. The “Pretty Girls Walk” video remains in steady rotation on mtvU, CMC, and more. At Rhythm Radio, it popped off as the greatest gainer.
Big Boss Vette canvased the country on Nick Cannon’s “Future Superstar Tour.” Alongside Symba, Hitman Holla, and more, performing across 24 cities in the U.S. and Canada.
Top digital platforms have been paying homage to the rising star and making sure she will be a household name. YouTube named Big Boss Vette its latest Trending “Artist on the Rise” and Tik Tok included Big Boss Vette in their #WomenInHipHop campaign including a billboard alongside artists Latto, Coi Leray, Monaleo and Exmiranda in Toronto’s legendary Scotiabank Arena. Not to mention, “Pretty Girls Walk” notably appeared on South Park’s 26th season premiere, furthering the momentum on the single.
Last year, Big Boss Vette shined in the 2022 BET Hip Hop Awards Cypher and starred in the 2022 Hip-Hop Awards edition of BET’s Rate the Bars. In addition to “Pretty Girls Walk”, her bossed-up single “My Sista” soundtracked a key moment of Hulu’s The D’Amelio Show. Building her audience, Big Boss Vette has attracted north of 1 million followers on TikTok and has crossed 2 million monthly listeners on Spotify.
Big Boss Vette continues turning heads and kick-starting conversation with her relatable and refreshing talent, solidifying her place as one of the top rising stars of 2023.
Screaming infidelities: Dashboard Confessional introducing emo to the world on MTV Unplugged. Photo: Scott Gries/Getty Images
In 2002, the music industry was on fire. CD sales hit an all-time peak in 1999, but the rise of file-sharing platforms like Napster had sparked a sharp drop. Of all genres, rock seemed most under siege. As the search for the next Nirvana neared its 11th hour, lightning struck in the form of a yearning punk-rock subgenre called emo. Or at least that’s what music execs like Jimmy Iovine and Luke Wood were hoping for. Dashboard Confessional and Jimmy Eat World were just happy to be there.
I always knew their fame was unexpected, but interviewing both bands for my book, Where Are Your Boys Tonight?: The Oral History of Emo’s Mainstream Explosion 1999–2008, illuminated just how novel it all felt. Less than two years before Dashboard Confessional did MTV Unplugged and Jimmy Eat World graced SNL, they were playing venues like the Wayne Firehouse, a rec hall in northern New Jersey where tickets went for $8. At home between tours, Dashboard’s Chris Carrabba worked in a South Florida elementary school and Jimmy Eat World’s Jim Adkins at an art-supply store in Arizona. These were ‘90s kids raised on Fugazi. They never planned on being music-industry saviors.
Then Dashboard’s Unplugged went platinum and Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle” became one of 2002’s biggest pop songs. Shocking as this was to the punks who frequented the Wayne, it was just the beginning. Over the next five years, bands like My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Paramore, and Panic! at the Disco pushed emo so far into the mainstream that it’s now impossible to imagine social media or millennial emotional awareness (or lack thereof) without it. Emo didn’t end up saving the business, but Best Buy behemoths like Paramore’s Riot! and My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade provided overcast teens with a thrilling soundtrack as it careened into the unknown.
If one moment captures the unlikely success of emo’s many heroes, it may be Dashboard fans voting the Strokes home early from the MTV Video Music Awards. The following chapter, an insider’s pass into Radio City Music Hall and Studio 8H, falls at the pivot point when emo subculture went mainstream — and somehow emerged as the defining rock music of the 21st century.
Andy Greenwald (music journalist, former Spin contributing writer): The front of Spin magazine was a section called “Noise” where they covered up-and-coming bands and things. The editor Tracey Pepper would often, generously, give me opportunities to cover bands other people weren’t interested in or she herself didn’t fully understand or appreciate. I was given the opportunity to write about Dashboard Confessional at CBGB. I went to the show a little skeptical, having listened to Chris Carrabba’s records and not personally connecting with them. Emo hadn’t been my scene at all.
That night, the clientele was almost entirely suburban high schoolers wearing, like, pleated khakis and Gamecocks hats. Chris was up there singing songs that had felt kind of mono on record, but they were exploding into this outrageously intense stereo because the audience was singing along, singing everything back to him. It was something I’d never seen before.
Mike Marsh (drummer, Dashboard Confessional): Chris really went out of his way to condone it. He would step off the mic, step to the front of the stage, and sing with them. It became like a church thing, where you’re trying to get the people to sing the word of God back to you.
Ian Cohen (music journalist): If you didn’t know all the words to the songs, you were gonna feel out of place.
Chris Carrabba (front person, Dashboard Confessional): This is when things really started to snowball for Dashboard. When people started to have a real sense of community.
Rich Egan (co-founder, Vagrant Records; manager, Dashboard Confessional): When The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most came out in March 2001, we had no setup for it, just because we had to rush it out. We sold 2,500 records the first week. Most records in their second week drop off 70 percent. This went up. It got to about 2,550. And it just stayed there for a year. I remember it was right around a year later when the record hit the 100,000 mark. The kids loved Chris. It wasn’t a press-created thing. The press was reacting to the cultural shift. He was unlike anything before him in our scene.
Carrabba: That album cycle took us from playing VFW halls to headlining our own shows at big clubs. I would end up talking to the kids at the merch table — forgive me when I say “kids,” you know what I mean, the people attending the show. They would tell me why the songs were important to them or what was special about the night. And then they would tell me about other bands they were excited about or books they read or things that were going on in their lives. And I thought, This doesn’t feel that different than being back in Florida.
Marsh: When Chris finally signed to Vagrant and [booking agent] Andrew Ellis, I think there was a lot of talk about, “You need to get a band. We’re not gonna do the guy-sitting-on-a-chair, Bob Dylan shit. We need a band. It’s going to be more powerful, it’ll sell more tickets, the records will be cooler.”
Egan: Interscope really wanted to get into the Dashboard Confessional business. So they bought part of the label to get into that business.
Jeff Sosnow (A&R, DreamWorks Records, Interscope Records): Jimmy Iovine bought half of Vagrant Records to get Dashboard Confessional — that’s all you need to know. He went to the end of the earth for Chris Carrabba.
Egan: We sold 49 percent of Vagrant to Interscope around October/ November of 2001.
Greenwald: There was a lot invested in the idea that Chris Carrabba was the next big thing.
Egan: Bill Carroll, Vagrant’s head of radio, and our publicist Brian Bumbery had really sold MTV on Dashboard. So they got all of MTV down to Irving Plaza to watch Chris. That was the tipping point.
Carrabba: A couple of folks came backstage after the show and said they found it really exciting: the volume, the ceaselessness of the sing-along. And one of the guys said, “I’d always wanted that to happen on my show, and it never did.” I said, “What’s your show?” He said, “MTV Unplugged.” That was Alex Coletti, the one and only.
Greenwald: Alex Coletti was a major voice and tastemaker at MTV. Alex saw Chris live, understood it, and was the person inside MTV championing him.
Egan: Alex was sitting in the balcony during Dashboard’s set, and he called Van Toffler and the heads of MTV saying something like, “I’m gonna bring MTV Unplugged back and start it with this kid. You wouldn’t believe it. The crowd is just singing every word at the top of their lungs. Not just the choruses!” Alex was like, “This will play really well on TV.”
Jim Adkins (front person, Jimmy Eat World): Chris also looks like a model. So when he’s on TV, people want to watch more of that. Seriously, Chris is hot, man!
Carrabba: I was like, This can’t be real. But then the next week, Alex was emailing me about dates and logistics.
Dan Bonebrake (bassist, Dashboard Confessional): At that time, I’d watched almost every MTV Unplugged and I was like, Man, they do it well.
Carrabba: I liked the idea of songs you’d come to know one way being delivered in a fully different way. The ones that stood out to me most were obviously Nirvana’s and Pearl Jam’s, which they did pretty early on in their career.
Marsh: I remember feeling like, Are we ready to do MTV Unplugged? For me, that was like Eric Clapton, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Jay-Z … We were a band [as a trio] for about a year and a half. We hadn’t done shit yet. We were still trying to figure out our sound. And it was exciting, but it was horrifying. With that type of notoriety comes fame …
Greenwald: For MTV, I think being able to be back in the authenticity business mattered. They’d feel better about their jobs if they were putting a guy like Chris on TV, with his fan base who adored him, than they would by putting Fred Durst up there, you know? They were hoping to fill the same role that they had filled ten years before.
Egan: MTV needed to kind of justify why they were doing an Unplugged with this kid, so they started playing the “Screaming Infidelities” video a lot.
John Lefler (guitarist, keyboardist, Dashboard Confessional): The first show of note we did as a four-piece was the Unplugged. I played guitar and keys.
Egan: Unplugged was recorded for MTV and released as an album with a DVD of the session. We filmed at MTV Studios. The windows look down onto Times Square. We got there in the morning.
Carrabba: I remember walking by the line for the show and thinking, That’s a long fucking line. The nerves really set in when I saw that line. It’s in Times Square, in the Theater District. So when you walk through there and see a line, it’s like, They’re here to see something excellent. And I really wanted it to be excellent.
Egan: They put out a call saying “first come, first serve,” and way too many kids showed up than that studio could handle. Not even a hundred kids could fit in there.
Carrabba: Walking onto the set, I was like, “We better rise to the occasion because this is very real now.” This is what I’d seen on my TV so many times, what I’d been moved by so many times: these thick, hanging, red velvet drapes with beams of blue light cascading through. There’s this mix of grandeur and intimacy without being gaudy. What made our Unplugged different than other bands’ was they had the audience wrap behind us and even onto the stage with us. You can see the audience’s faces more than any Unplugged at that point.
I remember saying, “Hey, listen, they’ve told me it’s okay if you guys sing along.” That was a wash of relief: Okay, we get to be ourselves. You can conduct yourselves like you would at any Dashboard show.
Marsh: I don’t particularly care for how campy it was, if I’m honest. I didn’t like it at the time; I don’t like it now. They put a lot of emphasis on something that happens at every show.
Lefler: I don’t feel that way. It’s Dashboard Confessional. Chris being genuine, the lack of irony in his music and performances I think works well with something like that … Yes, people sing at shows. But Dashboard, in those years especially, was a different-level thing.
Egan: There’s that blonde girl with the glasses. I remember her and her boyfriend distinctly in every shot. They were directly behind Chris.
Greenwald: The kids who filled the studio at 1515 Broadway that day were essentially the same kids who’d been at CBGB. His people came with him.
Egan: Man, it was exhausting. I can’t imagine what Chris and all the kids were going through. We had to do every song multiple times: a string would break, a bad camera angle, or maybe a camera would fall over. And Chris is a perfectionist; if he didn’t feel the song was right, he’d say we need to do it again.
Lefler: From what other people have said, we played “Screaming Infidelities” like seven times. I don’t remember that. It was a very unusual situation to be in, when two weeks prior you’re a waiter who’s never heard any of these songs before.
Marsh: Even as a drummer, it wasn’t as physically exhausting as the mindfuck of having to do things over because the lighting’s gotta be right or you gotta make sure this person’s being seen. It wasn’t like telling Eric Clapton and his band to redo it, where it would be the same exact take. We’d just done these great takes, and we weren’t gonna synch together like that again because we weren’t that good of a band yet.
Carrabba: Sometimes there’d be ten minutes in between songs.
Egan: You’d expect him to go back to the greenroom, but Chris would just start talking to the kids and working his way through the audience.
Marsh: I remember the audience being really tired. I’d turn around and there’d be people leaning their head on their hand. They knew they were gonna miss the last train home. But as soon as “PLACES, EVERYBODY!” they were back singing along again.
Carrabba: There was all this intensity. And then it was over: “Okay, everybody turn in their badges. Nice having you today.” We had to pack up the euphoria and holster it for a minute. I’m used to finishing my work in a bar or a club, then spilling out into an alley, then hopping in a bus and turning the music really loud. I remember thinking, What do I do with all this energy?
Egan: It was 5 a.m. the next morning when we finally wrapped. It was about a 24-hour shoot.
Carrabba: I got out into the street and saw the people who’d been in the audience hanging out waiting for us. I viewed them as my bandmates for the night. Finally, without feeling self-conscious or anything, I was high-fiving them like, “Wasn’t that fucking amazing!”
Marsh: We went to Jimmy Iovine’s house [months later] to view MTV Unplugged in his massive theater room. I remember some of his comments: “You guys are gonna be the next big band. You guys are gonna be the next Nirvana!”
Adkins: A lot of people saw Unplugged and said, Hey, that looks like me! I want in on this party!
Egan: Unplugged went platinum. Places You Have Come to Fear the Most eventually went gold.
Carrabba: Dashboard Confessional’s popularity was growing because people were burning CDs for friends and bringing their friends to shows. It wasn’t really based on “I heard the song on the radio.” That’s not how it happened for us. I guess there is a certain elegance about … you just have this song. It’s a single. It serves as an invitation.
Cohen: I was a junior in college, working at the radio station 91.9-WNRN in Charlottesville, Virginia. We were able to play songs that weren’t necessarily singles. On Jimmy Eat World’s Bleed American, I think pretty much everything besides “My Sundown” and one other song was cleared for us to play, which was unheard of. Like, aside from greatest-hits albums, you don’t clear nine out of 11 songs for airplay.
Jimmy Eat World in the middle of emo’s mainstream takeover. Photo: Scott Gries/Getty Images
Luke Wood (A&R DreamWorks Records, Interscope Records): Jimmy Eat World’s single “Bleed American” had been starting to move up rock-radio rotations … 12, to maybe nine, and we start to think, Oh fuck, it could be a hit. After 9/11, it died immediately. But we were all very mature about realizing “We’re gonna work this album for a long time. How do we move past this conversation?”
There was a desire to prove the album. We didn’t want to lose it because of a tragedy that wasn’t related to anything the band did. We had to decide what single to go with next. It was between “If You Don’t, Don’t,” “Sweetness,” and “The Middle.” Their manager, Gary Gersh, told me how perfect the lyrics to “The Middle” were.
Cohen: One of Jimmy Eat World’s best qualities is the ability to sing about people who are like, five to ten years younger than they are.
Wood: You feel isolated and alone, you’re stuck in the middle, and it takes some time to find your place. Everybody feels like that at some point when they’re a kid.
Greenwald: “The Middle” is a perfect pop song. But it’s also a perfect pop song that encapsulates that yearning that’s endemic to Jimmy Eat World as a project. It’s like, imagine if “Goodbye Sky Harbor” was three minutes long and you could sing along to it.
Wood: DreamWorks had just had “Last Resort” with Papa Roach. We had “Hanging by a Moment” with Lifehouse. We had Alien Ant Farm with the “Smooth Criminal” cover. And Nelly Furtado’s “I’m Like a Bird.” We had a lot of hits. A lot of things were happening. Nobody was looking at Jimmy Eat World to be the hit. The band was gonna go tour, play to their core audience, make sure people saw the band they loved.
Adkins: We played at Tom DeLonge’s wedding reception. It was a surprise for Tom. He seemed stoked! We played “Episode IV” from Static Prevails, “Call It in the Air,” “If You Don’t, Don’t” from the new record, and probably “Sweetness.”
Cohen: That Jimmy Eat World album got the lead review in Rolling Stone. One of the main talking points was that they played Tom DeLonge’s wedding. Like, that’s their peg? Okay! This was before “The Middle” was big. This was the first thing that made me aware that Jimmy Eat World could be a big deal.
Wood: Bleed American was clearly a little different than Clarity. I just wanted them to play to as many people as possible and get over the baggage of having been dropped by a different major label recently.
Adkins: It was a frog-boiling-in-water situation. We didn’t realize how big it was getting until much later.
Wood: At first, “The Middle” was driven by major-market modern-rock radio stations, where it climbed the charts relatively quickly. By that time, it wasn’t uncommon for rock records to cross over into pop. There was a track record of this. But not for bands from the underground of third-wave emo.
Egan: “The Middle” is one of the catchiest songs ever written.
Wood: At that point, after a decade of working at major labels and working with MTV, I knew what we needed: How do we get them on TRL? I knew we needed a video to drive the story.
Adkins: We hadn’t done many videos up to that point, and we certainly had never done anything with a narrative behind it.
Wood: We all felt like it had to be some crappy high-school party. Okay, well, what makes you not belong? Not wanting to be in my underwear at this party!
Adkins: No approachable, normal people were cast at first.
Wood: It was all L.A. music-video casting kids. I remember someone bringing out Polaroids and they all looked like video girls, for lack of a better word. I was like, “We don’t want to see some Keanu Reeves–looking lead guy! This is Jimmy Eat World!”
Adkins: Luke was like, “We want an actual dream sequence of showing up alone at a party in your clothes and everyone’s in their underwear. It wouldn’t all be models; there’d be all types of people there.”
Wood: There was a scramble 72 hours before the shoot. We ended up recruiting everybody from Arizona State University. There was no Screen Actors Guild, just kids.
Zach Lind (drummer, Jimmy Eat World): A bunch of our friends wound up being in the video. We basically said, “Anybody who wants to come down and be in a video and be in their underwear, come on down.”
Wood: I’m not gonna say we still didn’t cast really good-looking people …
Cohen: This was back when MTV still mattered. It was one of the primary conveyances for interacting with popular music. And you would just see that video all the time, for obvious reasons. It’s very photogenic.
Adkins: “The Middle” went to No. 1 on alternative radio. On the Hot 100, it went top five.
Wood: Dashboard was a cultural moment. But in terms of radio, “Screaming Infidelities” did not get that kind of airplay.
Adkins: When “The Middle” was headed to No. 1, we got asked to play SNL.
Wood: In New York City for SNL, we went to a sneaker store and they’re playing “The Middle” on the radio. At Starbucks an hour later, “The Middle” was on the radio. Then like four times the next hour, Jim got recognized: “Are you that guy? Are you ‘The Middle’?”
Adkins: Will Ferrell, Jimmy Fallon, and Amy Poehler were on the SNL cast then. There was like a four-foot hallway between our dressing room and the host’s. Cameron Diaz was running in and out of there all the time for costume changes. It’s a tight situation; you meet everybody. I was doing a dummy check of everything before I left the dressing room, there was no one else around, and I bumped into Philip Seymour Hoffman. He was like, “Hey, I’ve never heard you guys before, it’s good stuff!” I’m thinking, Famous people are hearing our stuff now? The best I could think to say was “All of us are big fans of your work!”
Carrabba: I remember thinking, We made it! Our scene! We made it! We’re on Saturday Night Live.
Adkins: That was the most nervous I’d ever been. I grew up watching SNL. I would set the timer to record it so I could watch the musical guests in the morning. Then all of a sudden, you’re there. We’d played “The Middle” so many times by that point, and we were on tour. Once we started playing, it’s like, Oh yeah, we got this. But up until that point? Hooooooly shit. Insane.
Lind: SNL was such a blur.
Wood: Then it got to “What’s the next single?”
Adkins: “Sweetness” was the next big Bleed American song.
Wood: It had a massive hook, but it also had this silent conversation with their core audience — the whole call-and-response, “sing it back” thing. Those of us who came from the scene knew what that was. Trying to pick our fourth single, we went with “A Praise Chorus.” In hindsight, I would have gone with “Hear You Me” one thousand times. It was probably the biggest A&R mistake I ever made. The band was worried: “How do we be a rock band on tour and suddenly have a power ballad?” But it’s one of those records you don’t worry about, like Green Day’s “Time of Your Life.” We should have gone with “Hear You Me.” It would have been a No. 1 song. It would have changed their entire career.
Adkins: It was a matter of How much are we going to push this album? versus Maybe we should switch gears and just work on a new album. Traditionally, our fans thought of us as more of a rock band. We didn’t want to be blowing up as the acoustic-ballad band when, for a lot of people, that would have been their only experience with us.
Matt Pryor (front person, the Get Up Kids, the New Amsterdams): I remember playing a festival in Germany and seeing Jim and Zach. Jim had to go do, like, six interviews. He got pulled away and goes, “I gotta go explain to people what emo is …”
Adkins: For a while, every interview we did was “What’s with this emo thing?” “Where’d you get your band name?” and “So you played Tom DeLonge’s wedding …” Those three questions. Every single interview.
Lind: We treated the word emo like a dog you’re training not to jump up on you. The best way to train that dog is just to ignore the dog.
Cohen: Jimmy Eat World’s what really cracked it open: “Well, fuck, man, whatever is going on in this genre of music, I want all of it.”
Tom Mullen (marketing, TVT Records, Equal Vision Records): I was so amazed that people were paying attention because emo was largely ignored for so much of my life.
Jolie Lindholm (front person, Rocking Horse Winner): Rocking Horse Winner did a Seventeen-magazine photo shoot about the emo scene at the time. It’s so funny to me now … I think it was shot in New York City — we were in there with Jimmy Eat World and Dashboard in the same section.
Cohen: I was reading Pitchforkat the time, and they just hated all that shit.
Amy Fleisher Madden (co-founder, Fiddler Records): Things like Pitchfork came for us and used really negative words to describe what we were doing. We didn’t even use the word emo back then. That made it worse. Emo was a derogatory term. We didn’t say, “This is gonna be the biggest emo band of all time,” because that was like saying, “This is the worst thing you’re ever going to hear.” Emo didn’t really become cool until much later. And it’s still surprising to me.
Egan: Vagrant bands, we never used the word. Not because emo was a like four-letter word or forbidden, but because it was … kinda lame. To us, it was punk rock, it was indie rock. The mainstream didn’t really start labeling it emo until Dashboard was taking off. Then they started to drop that word all over the place.
Carrabba: I didn’t have a clear picture of how big our band was going to get.
Pryor: Dashboard is its own thing. It’s a unicorn. Chris’s trajectory doesn’t follow any norms you read about in music autobiographies. It’s just a phenomenon.
Carrabba: We were supposed to have a run of shows in the U.K., and we got nominated for the VMA. I felt really guilty canceling those shows. I remember that morning in New York City, getting coffee and feeling conflicted. It felt like skipping school.
Egan: The morning of the VMAs, I remember thinking we had no shot of winning. It was Dashboard, the Strokes, the Hives, and Norah Jones, all nominated in the same category, for the MTV2 award.
Carrabba: Hopefully, I’ll get to meet some people I see on TV, like Jimmy Fallon. Wouldn’t that be amazing? If I get to meet Jack White, wouldn’t that be cool? It was at Radio City Music Hall. These are the things I was thinking about. I was not thinking, What if we win? I thought it was nice to get nominated. I wasn’t gonna write a speech. That seemed weird.
Finn McKenty (vlogger, journalist): This is the peak of MTV’s relevance. A lot of people forget or pretend that MTV fell off in the ’90s. MTV was at the peak of its relevance in the 2000s. TRL alone! TRL started in the late ’90s, but it was mainly the 2000s. Jackass, Viva La Bam …
Mullen: Someone who was part of our scene was on the VMAs. That’s crazy! I was definitely watching that award show.
Chris Carrabba on winning a VMA: “I don’t remember this, but my name was announced.” Photo: Scott Gries/Getty Images
Egan: We were going over in a limo, and you know, you gotta stop at the red carpet, get out, and do all that stuff. We felt like freshmen crashing the seniors’ party. We had no business being there.
Carrabba: I was from a scene I was proud of. I didn’t want to get disowned by that scene for visiting another one. And that moment of being on the red carpet, I really felt like, Oh shit …
Egan: The press didn’t know who Dashboard was. There’s all these pop stars around him, and I could hear people: “Who is it? Who is it? All right, pose for a picture!” Then Chris got interviewed by Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. That was awesome.
Carrabba: Actually seeing Robert Smigel there, face-to-face with the puppet dog … I’m thinking to myself, I’m about to get dunked on so hard, and it’s going to be the best.
Egan: The dog was like, “And who are you?” And Chris was like, “Dashboard Confessional.” He’s like, “What are you gonna confess to, sucking?”
Carrabba: That was pretty disarming. Then I remember somebody saying, “Hey, what if you won and you got up there and forgot to thank somebody important?” So I wrote a list.
Egan: We had gotten tipped off from the MTV people, like, “Hey, you may want to prepare a few words.” The category Chris was nominated in was fan-voted. So it didn’t matter that 99 percent of mainstream America didn’t know who he was.
Lefler: Whoever’s fans were the most internet savvy in 2002 probably had the best shot at winning.
Carrabba: At award shows, they stage a camera near you. I was really aware of the camera. I felt uncomfortable in my own skin. I remember them announcing the names of the nominees, which included the Strokes and Norah Jones. Norah was sitting not far from me, and I could see the camera on her. The Strokes were a couple rows behind me.
Marsh: I remember I couldn’t get my armpits to stop dripping. I couldn’t get my legs to stop moving. Chris was the same.
Egan: I was thinking either the Hives or the Strokes were going to win it. Brittany Murphy and Anthony Kiedis announced the winner.
Carrabba: I don’t remember this, but my name was announced.
Egan: She didn’t even pronounce “Dashboard Confessional” correctly. She’s like, “And the winner is Dashboard Confessions … ‘Screaming Infidelities!’”
Carrabba: They just said me. Wait, I think we won this. Avril was sitting right in front of me. I remember her turning around to clap when they announced my name, which I thought was nice.
Marsh: I remember walking down the aisle to get up onstage and seeing Gwen Stefani looking at us … How did I get here, man? Eminem and all these massive artists. I don’t know how we got here so fast.
Carrabba: And then I was on the stairs. And I was reaching in my pocket. And I’m thinking, I’m glad they suggested I write thank-you notes. I remember thinking, Just speak clearly.
Lefler: When the Strokes didn’t win, they bailed right away. I was disappointed because I wanted to hang out with them.
Egan: Afterwards, we went to the Interscope after-party and Eminem performed. A hundred people in this little bar up in the balcony. Then like an hour in, he comes up to the railing, the music drops, he starts freestyling. We’re like, “What kind of life are we living?” We had a shoot for GQ the next morning. And I had a Newsweek interview at 9:00 a.m.
Marsh: Axl Rose sat down next to me at that after-party and leaned back on the couch; he was exhausted. He looked over at me, and I looked at him. He says, “Hey, I’m Axl.” I said, “Yeah, I know.” He said, “Who are you?” I said, “I’m Mike, I play in a band called Dashboard Confessional.” Eminem and 50 Cent were upstairs blaring rap music, and Axl Rose leaned into me and said, “I fuckin’ hate rap.”
Carrabba: I remember getting an attaboy from Eminem about winning the award. And he started asking me how many songs I had for my next record, what I was most excited about … I was surprised how much he knew about my music. I remember him rattling off song titles of mine. Also, what he did that was really nice … I wasn’t really looking for an autograph myself, and he said, “Do you have a sister? What’s her name?” And he signed something on a cloth napkin for her. He signed it “Marshall.” I remember wondering if he always does that.
Egan: The next morning, I completely slept through my Newsweek interview. I woke up at 11:30, checked my voice-mail, the writer was totally cool and ended up meeting us at the GQ shoot. DMX walked in with two pit bulls, in a huge fur coat.
Carrabba: I could see someone having an animated conversation with DMX. And DMX seemed to be a willing audience. This kind of piqued my curiosity because I was only a few feet away. I heard them say “Napster” a few times.
Egan: This was right when Jimmy Iovine started on his thing of suing Napster. They were going to go after users, go after kids. So these Universal Music executives were trying to get all these artists to speak out against downloading. That was their big initiative. So a couple suits from the legal department corner us. They had this big chart.
Carrabba: They said, “You’re exactly who we came to talk to.”
Egan: “You’re the No. 1 one most illegally downloaded artist in all of Universal.”
Carrabba: My response was “That’s amazing.”
Egan: “Oh, that’s killer!”
Carrabba: And the guy said, “Right?! What are we gonna do about it?” And I said, “I guess … hope more people download it?” They started yelling at me instantly.
Egan: They’re like, “We need you to do a PSA and speak out against downloading!” Chris was really pissed. He goes, “Those are the kids that come to my shows. The fact that you’re selling less because of it is not my problem.”
Carrabba: They went red-faced.
Egan: We played grown-up dress-up for the night. We went to the MTV Awards and had a GQ photo shoot. It was all foreign to us. This was not our punk-rock world. We’re not in Kansas anymore. There was no turning back. It was almost like an ending when we won that VMA.
Greenwald: It felt like a rubber band: How far could you stretch this music, which was predicated on a very intimate connection between performer and audience? Could you stretch it around the whole country? Could you stretch it around the whole world without something essential snapping? What happens when a subculture goes mainstream?
Egan: I didn’t want to be in the mainstream. With Vagrant, with Chris — everything we did was based on a DIY aesthetic. We bought in wholesale to Ian MacKaye and Dischord, that whole thing. It was almost like betraying it. I just remember feeling like, Well, that was a good ride. It’s over now. Being the underdog is over.
“Some of the short-form video providers are relatively new… it doesn’t take a scientist to realize that we are being underpaid by [them]” – Rob Stringer, Sony Music Group Chairman.
“In terms of where we’re currently situated… we’re going to be working hard to improve the economics for our artists and labels moving forward” – Michael Nash, EVP and Chief Digital Officer, Universal Music Group.
“I’ve seen this movie before. I know the ending” – Sir Lucian Grainge, CEO & Chairman, Universal Music Group.
The untrained eye might not notice that these recent comments from major music company leaders (and more like them) are specifically laser-targeted toward TikTok.
TikTok doesn’t even get a direct mention in any of them. But those who know, know.
One individual who understands precisely what these music execs are saying-without-saying is ByteDance‘s Global Head of Music Business Development (and therefore TikTok’s de facto global head of music), Ole Obermann.
Obermann spent 13 years at major record companies – a decade at Sony Music/BMG and then three years at Warner Music Group – before joining ByteDance in 2019.
Today, he is principally responsible for TikTok’s licensing relationship with music rightsholders both large (major labels) and small (indie artists).
Before sitting down with MBW for the below interview, Obermann is pre-warned that we’re going to fire a number of gnarly questions his way – most of them informed by grumbles-over-a-drink we’ve heard in Record Label Land.
Obermann is relaxed about that idea. Sure enough, he smiles as the heat gets turned up during our questioning – even chuckling on the occasions we spritz a few molecules of hyperbole into proceedings.
For Obermann, this Q&A isn’t only a chance to set the music industry straight on – as he sees it – misplaced gripes over the size of the checks being paid by TikTok to labels and publishers. It’s also an opportunity to amplify his view that TikTok will birth lucrative new areas of business for music rightsholders – cumulatively worth billions of dollars – via ‘sync’ licensing for ads by brands on TikTok, and via real-time e-commerce.
Obermann is clearly cognizant, however, of key tension points that exist today between ByteDance and the major music companies.Namely:
The launch of TikTok’s in-house indie artist distribution-and-services platform SoundOn – and the fact it’s recently started locking down exclusive contracts with successful unsigned acts;
The fact that TikTok’s in-house ContentID equivalent isn’t as thorough or advanced as YouTube‘s music rights-detecting software;
TikTok’s controversial recent “test” in Australia, which saw the platform remove access to major record company-signed music for some users, and the industry backlash that ensued;
And, yes, the size of those checks landing on the doormats of major record companies and publishers. Especially considering ByteDance’s reported annual revenues of USD $80 billion (!) in 2022.
There are other big talking points to cover, too, including Resso: TikTok’s sister-music-streaming app that, so far, remains locked to three international territories (India, Indonesia, and Brazil) and is miles behind Spotify in terms of both global subscriber reach, and in terms of public brand recognition.
It’s been an eventful few weeks for Resso: Earlier this month, ByteDance cut Resso’s free tier entirely, making it a subscription-only platform. Meanwhile, last week ByteDance’s team served up a curveball – inking a trial deal with Apple Music that will see TikTok actively push users to that service (instead of Resso) when they watch a music-driven video in certain territories.
Sitting in the background of this narrative: The immense power of TikTok to boost the popularity of songs online. TikTok itself claims that 13 or the 14 No.1 records on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2022 were “driven by significant viral trends” on its platform.
This, no doubt, is what gives Ole Obermann the confidence – while stressing the vast opportunities TikTok presents for major record companies – to make the fiery statement: “If we were forced to take down a [music] catalog or part of a catalog, we are pretty confident that we could still remain a compelling service for our users.”
(Additional context: Sony Music’s catalog, having been pulled from Resso in September last year, still hasn’t resurfaced on the platform. Elsewhere, MBW understands that Universal Music Group, for one, is currently engaged in active re-licensing discussions with TikTok.)
A lot to talk to Obermann about, then. Let’s get into it…
Why has TikTok recently started experimenting with linking out to tracks on Apple Music?
Most cases of music discovery at this point start entirely or in large part on TikTok. So we have a lot of conversations with our partners – labels, publishers, artists, managers – about how we can do a better job of linking everything together when discovery happens on TikTok, and we don’t have our premium music subscription service [aka Resso] live around the world yet.
It’s early days, but [this Apple partnership] is a nice move for us to provide a link from the discovery [on TikTok] to the consumption and monetization that happens on other DSPs.
It’s still in a test phase; it went live in early May, in a pretty limited way. But so far, so good. We will expand it and we’re talking to other DSPs.
Boyd Muir, CFO of Universal Music Group, recently told analysts that UMG was dead-set on “right-sizing” its deals with certain social platforms that use music. He was clearly talking about TikTok. Do you feel that your deals with the major music rightsholders are ‘right-sized’ today?
Yes, we do.
The first point I’d make is that we’re still in a relatively early stage of building our relationship with the music industry and its rightsholders. And while I can’t share any specific [financial payout] numbers with you, I can tell you that they are growing a lot – as they should be.
Another really important point: you can look at the value that a platform brings to rightsholders in terms of the hard dollars that are paid out [for music usage], or you can look at it in terms of the hard dollars that are paid out in addition to new business that you can grow together. I think that is what really differentiates TikTok from every other [service in music].
“We are really bullish on e-commerce, and we are really bullish on opening up a commercial music library that has all the world’s music in it.”
We are really bullish on e-commerce, and we are really bullish on opening up a commercial music library that has all the world’s music in it – where a small business can choose to use any song that they want at the click of a button, and then pay out a sync fee, but not have to jump through the hoops of weeks or months of clearances, legal fees, and everything else.
There are a bunch of areas where I think we will create really big lines of business [for music rightsholders that are additional to royalties]. So when you ask: “Is it is it right-sized?” I think you have to look at it through a broader lens than maybe traditionally the industry has.
We know that TikTok writes advance checks to music rightsholders for – I believe – two-year blanket licensing agreements for their music. Some have called for a move away from that into a set revenue share agreement, where a certain percentage of advertising revenue is shared with the rightsholders behind music in each video. Is there any desire to get to a place where you move away from just writing a check for an estimated amount of music usage, and towards something more granular?
Our negotiations are confidential and in various stages. But, without talking in detail about the structure of our [music licensing] deals, we believe our core deal works well as it [is structured today].
But as we bolt on [new] areas of business – for example, commercial music being used in TikTok ads – if it’s a transactional use case, we should be able to consider paying that out via a revenue share.
But with the creations and views that go into TikTok [user videos], it’s a lot trickier [to do that considering] the way the feed works, to even ascertain which ad revenue you might attribute to which use of music.
It was the Ivor Novellos in London the other week and many top music publishing executives were in town. A few of them I saw remarked on their concern over TikTok’s ability – or lack of ability – to say, ‘This song was played this many times, in this many user-generated videos’. One told me that they saw the match rate for music usage on UGC videos on TikTok at around 10%. On YouTube, they said, the equivalent match rate is 90%-plus thanks to that platform’s Content Id technology. Is this something you’re aware of?
I’m really surprised by those numbers. We think it’s significantly better than that.
However, we’d definitely agree that there is room for improvement. There are a couple of things to be said here: First, when you make a comparison to YouTube, remember that YouTube has been operating with ContentID for 10-plus years. We have a system here called MediaMatch and we’ve been at it for three-plus years. We actually get very positive feedback from rightsholders overall, in that we’re very fast in how we’re developing MediaMatch. But we agree that it is not perfect yet, and that we’ve got work to do.
“there is also a known issue around [the metadata] that comes in from publishing data is not very good. We have to do all kinds of scrubbing, data hygiene, to even make [it] effective within our system.”
It’s a big priority; there’s a lot of engineering resource dedicated to building this thing, and to making it more and more accurate. We are fully determined and dedicated to fixing the problem. But I do think the [match rate] numbers are a hell of a lot higher than what you were told.
That being said, I don’t want to go completely off-piste here, but there is also a known issue around [the metadata] that comes in from publishing data is not very good. We have to do all kinds of scrubbing, data hygiene, to even make [that data] effective within our system.
So I’d push back a little, [and note] that the way the black box of music publishing rights works is really challenging.
Last year in its annual ‘Music In The Air’ report, Goldman Sachs made an estimate of what TikTok paid out to recorded music rightsholders for the use of their music on ad-supported UGC on the platform in 2021. That number, according to MBW’s calculations based on the Goldman data, was USD $179 MILLION. What’s your response to that number?
We can’t disclose our numbers, but that figure is not accurate.
We anticipate that soon there will be a new Goldman [‘Music In The Air’] report. We’ll see if they break it out again, but if they do [we’re confident] it will be a much higher number.
Let’s talk about Resso – which many of us expect to be rebranded as ‘TikTok Music’ at some point. You recently shut its free tier.There’s an obvious link-up potential between TikTok’s main service pushing users to Resso to pay for music subscriptions, but for the time being you’ve dOne a deal that pushes people to Apple Music. What’s going on?
We decided that Resso going premium-only makes sense, because we already have TikTok where music discovery is happening.
As we get more creative and innovative about how we link the user experience around music across TikTok and [our] premium subscription service – which hopefully we will have with us [in multiple markets] in the future – we can build that bridge, and we won’t need a [Resso] advertising tier to sit in the middle of it.
We don’t comment on geographies or products that haven’t launched yet. So I can’t go on record and say anything about those plans. But what I can tell you is there’s an ambition to make [Resso] a ubiquitous service, in the same way that TikTok is a ubiquitous service. We want to be everywhere. And we really want to build that link between TikTok and Resso.
Resso is still only in three markets, despite reports emerging last year that ByteDance was planning to expand it into multiple new territories. How far along are you in terms of meeting some of that ambition?
We’re not far away from more news. But having a full global footprint takes time. If you think back to YouTube, even Spotify, it takes a long time to get into every single market around the world.
We have some rationale for why we roll out into certain markets [before] others, why we phase it, because we can look at TikTok user behavior, we can study the penetration of other streaming services and how we’re going to sit side-by-side with that.
There is a roadmap and a plan that we’re tracking to, but it will take some time.
Let’s talk about the Australia ‘experiment’. For my first question, imagine me standing in the shoes of a major music rightsholder. What were you thinking?!
We were a little surprised this became a [big] story, because this is what tech platforms do to better understand user behavior – to build new functionality, built new product, get things optimized in terms of programming, or whatever the case may be.
We saw data afterwards that suggested young people in Australia who were denied access to major music rightsholder content started to reduce their activity on TikTok and even leave the app entirely. So did the Australia experiment fail? What did you learn from it?
It was not a test that resulted in success or failure. It was a test that resulted in us gaining insight around how people, how our users and creators, interact with music on TikTok.
“This was not a test that resulted in success or failure.”
We gained insights that we were looking to gain by doing this.
I mean, the objective for any experiment like this has to be, though, to see wHether your platform can live or die without licensed major label music. So to that degree, it can only succeed or fail.
But that was not the objective. The objective was to see, depending on which cohort [they were] in – or what content is made available – how does the user behave? How do they search? What happens if one song that they were looking for isn’t there? What do they do then?
It was about how users behave when they are presented with different options around which music is made available to them.
Okay. YOU are locked in negotiations with at least one major music company right now, as I understand it. If they pull their catalog, would TikTok crumble?
When we are in the cycle of deal renewals, the objective is 100% to remain fully licensed, and to have all the world’s music for TikTok’s users. We are going to do everything that we can to make that happen, including paying a lot of money to the music industry.
But… if we were forced to take down a catalog or part of a catalog, we are pretty confident that we could still remain a compelling service for our users.
“If we were forced to take down a catalog or part of a catalog, we are pretty confident that we could still remain a compelling service for our users.”
I’m careful in how I say that. [But] we have to do scenario planning for ourselves; we have to consider all the different options.
So, again, the guiding principle is we get fully relicensed with every single music rightsholder out for any song on TikTok. But we also think about if we were put in a position where we had to take down a catalog or a partial catalog: how do we still make the user experience compelling enough for our creators and users?
Let’s talk about SoundOn – TikTok’s in-house distribution service. A recent article from The Information noted that you were striking more committed and exclusive deals with independent artists, which I presume includes an element of financing. People have made comparisons between that and you becoming a record label. In reality, what does it mean?
This is one where we have to set the record straight a little bit.
SoundOn was really born from one of the main objectives [we have] at TikTok, which is to work with our creator community, to allow them to make money, get discovered, and to strike partnerships and relationships with brands. SoundOn is the answer to all of those, as well as: How do we address the fact that so many unsigned, unknown, or unidentifiable pieces of music are coming on to TikTok? And how do we make that better for the community?
“It does not fit into TikTok’s strategy to become a record label.”
There is no intention of TikTok becoming like a record label. I’m happy to say it again: we have lots of people [working at TikTok] who came from record labels and publishers and societies, and we understand how complicated, how capital-intensive, and how specialized that business is. It does not fit into our strategy to become a record label.
But there is a quote out there from a TikTok executive suggesting that 80%-plus of plays on the platform are driven by its algorithm. Some record labels I’ve spoken to put that figure at 90%+. You must understand why that power to drive plays, combined with SoundOn’s exclusive deals with artists, has labels feeling a little paranoid about your intentions?
Every single user on TikTok gets a different feed. And our creators, our influencers, the community on TikTok decides what happens in the algorithm. It really does work that way.
I understand that the algorithm resides with TikTok, but the users are the ones who give the signals to the algorithm, both [as an] individual [and] as a community.
Every single individual user ends up getting a different feed, because they’re giving [individual] signals. The algorithm is different for everyone.
You recently expanded the commercial library of music for advertisers on Tiktok to OVER 1 MILLION TRACKS, including recordings from companies like Believe, DistroKid, Downtown, Songtradr, Vydia and others. This is pre-cleared music that small businesses can use – and pay for – for their short-video ads on the platform. How big do you think this business can get?
If we can get the use of commercial music to really flow freely, it will be in the billions of dollars of revenue.
I don’t know about many-multiple billions, but [Obermann forsees] a couple of billion to $3 billion of [annual] business here. I’m fully convinced of it. Whereas today, the entire [music sync industry] is usually sized at six or seven hundred million dollars, somewhere in that range. [The recorded music sync industry generated around $600 million in trade revenues in 2022, according to IFPI data.]
“It will be in the billions of dollars of revenue.”
We are now working with small and large publishers and labels, pitching them on the potential here. Some say, ‘I’m putting my whole catalog in’, some of them put in small amounts of music and are seeing how it goes.
We’re starting to pay out real money and it’s growing at a very fast clip. But it’s nowhere near the size that we think it will get eventually.
There have been two big changes at the major music companies since January this year. The first is Sir Lucian Grainge switching UMG’s dominant company narrative to ‘artist-centric’ payment models, which seems to encompass the idea of ‘upselling’ fans to spend more money on higher tiers of music. The second big change has been the arrival of Robert Kyncl as the new CEO of Warner Music Group.
I think those are both positive developments. The first one is quite in line with exactly what I’m telling you we’re focused on.
There’s a quote from last year where Lucian [in reference to TikTok’s payouts to music rightsholders vs. UMG’s experience with YouTube] said: “I’ve seen this movie before, and I know how it ends.”
We have a very strong conviction for how that movie ends – and it ends with all of us being in a great place together, because we’ve just grown the size of the music industry by billions of dollars, through all these new lines of business that we’re opening up.
“We have a very strong conviction for how that movie ends.”
I also think it’s really positive that Robert Kyncl [who spent 12 years at YouTube] is now at Warner Music Group
My career trajectory is having worked for major record labels for many, many years – working for a DSP for a few years in-between, and now being on this side.
I think it’s crucial we have leadership in our industry that doesn’t just understand both sides, but has done both sides. That’s how you end up building better things together because you really understand what both sides need and want, and what the limitations and the opportunities are.Music Business Worldwide