Headphones: Streaming Takes Over

While this week lacked the big events sampled in previous Headphones columns, it did provide an array of current music events that we’ll touch on this week.

In an apparent 90’s revival, Blink-182 (along with Pokémon) has made a momentous comeback.  Last week Blink released their first album in 5 years, titled California.  The nostalgia and hype for a new project from the group was enough to oust Drake’s album Views from Billboard’s 200, which had previously held the top spot for a record 9 weeks.  The new album may sound a bit different to Blink fans, as they have a new lead singer/guitarist in Matt Skiba.  After founder Tom Delonge departed for different aspirations, Skiba filled in on recording duties.  The album has met favorable reviews among critics and fans alike.

In other news, one of the world’s premier music festivals was cancelled over the weekend due to scheduling conflicts.  Lollapalooza, a festival held in multiple locations around the world, has made a name for itself as one of the best and most successful music festivals to date.  One of the main attractions is that despite it being located in North America, South America and Europe, it has always maintained the ability to feature big name artist consistently.  However in order to preserve that reputation, it cost Lollapalooza Columbia its festival altogether.  In the wake of a cancellation from Rihanna, festival organizers decided to pull the plug on the weekend, stating that they couldn’t find a headliner to replace her.  While fans in South America are out of luck, North American fans will pleased to know that the Chicago Lollapalooza is still on, with J Cole, Radioheard, and Red Hot Chili Peppers set to headline.

Last in our news round up, scary news out of Brooklyn.  On June 10th, the band Hollywood Vampires received a scare when guitarist Joe Perry was forced to leave the stage as he experienced undisclosed health complications.  The band, comprised of Perry, Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp, continued on with the set as Perry was rushed to the hospital.  Cooper would later tweet that he was in stable condition, and appeared to be okay.  Joe Perry is better know for his role as lead guitarist of Aerosmith, playing alongside Steven Tyler. 

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Album of the Week: Glass Animals – ZABA: This week’s album feature is a bit of a throwback, as we visit the Glass Animals 2014 debut LP ZABA.  Glass Animals are comprised of four band members, all hailing out of Oxford, England.  Their hype as a small group in the UK caught the eye of Paul Epworth, label head of Wolf Tone, which also manages Adele.  At their trippiest their bass driven rhythms will send chills down your spine.  When they want to be more upbeat, they feel similar to band like MGMT or Edward Sharpe, with folky ballads that feel very introspective.  With ZABA you are blasted with an entourage of sound that ranges from indie to psychedelic.  The best representation of this is the song Gooey, where we see Glass Animals at their very best.  Check out this old work, and find a new favorite for your summer playlist.  

Music Videos

Pop: Justin Bieber - Company: This video sees the 'dread-less' bleach blond Bieber doing what he does best, serenading the camera with his charm.  The video takes clips from his Purpose World Tour.  Each is a snippet from his recording studio, tour stage and scenic backdrops from around the world.

Hip/Hop: Beyonce – Sorry:  Is this yet another Jay-Z dis track?  Whether or not you believe the rift between the power couple, the Lemonade album has been a huge success.  Check out the latest featured video from Mrs Carter.

DM: Major Lazer– Lean On: Do you recall, not long ago, when this song was #1 on the charts?  This weeks featured EDM track is a bit of a throwback, but who could complain?

Alternative: Lukas Graham– 7 Years: Lukas Graham's debut song may be the hit of the summer.  Check out the new video!

International: Thomas Rhett – T-Shirt: Simple is better when you're as handsome as this country crooner.  The video is in black and white where Rhett trades in his cowboy boots for converse.  

Noteworthy: Album Sales/ Music Industry Hit New Low: In today’s music climate, physical album sales have a grim outlook.  In recent years, illegal downloads were the main antagonist to music sales.  Now there’s a new player in the game with a plethora of streaming services available.  While more people are listening now more than ever, the music industry has hit an all time low, reporting a 17% decline at the end of the 2016’s first half.  CD’s, once the lead format, are becoming an antique.  Why go out to buy the CD when you can simply download it from your couch?  It’s a tough position for both artist and fan.  On the one hand, the artist wants to make a profit off of his work, but now with streaming they have the ability to spread their music to more fans than ever.  Even the most dedicated fans can’t always afford to go out and buy every CD.  Streaming has provided a guilt free alternative to downloading illegally.  Fans pay a minimal amount and get to listen to a wide ranging catalog in return.  However, some artists like Taylor Swift have taken a stand, demanding more money from the streaming services.  This is also the origin of artist choosing between streaming services based on their rights.  Tidal, owned and run by Jay-Z, is the leading canidate in this movement, offering the artists more in return for their catalog. In the next few years we should see more change in this industry in regards to streaming.  While it doesn’t pay the artists what they deserve, streaming offers the happiest medium between the two today.

MusicLJ Hilberath