Does Music Artists Personal Life Connect to Our Consumption of Their Music?

Recent comments by singer Katy Perry, about singer Adele and her new project 30 (debut November 19th) sparked a popular topic in the music industry. Perry’s comments stated “Adele drops new music when everyone is vulnerable and sensitive” typically during the Autumn seasons. She says it in a joking tone, indicating that she is excited to hear this new music. But acknowledges a tactic that labels and music artists use to generate the most traffic to their projects. Adele being a highly anticipated artist, understands her influence on the music industry and her fans. She releases heartfelt ballads that are praised but often associated with love and sorrow. Katy Perry being more of an upbeat pop artist, she joked that other artists release music when they know the world is about to be “sad”.

Other artists like Drake have been associated with promoting his music by thriving on his fan’s highs and lows. Since debuting his first studio project Comeback Season  Drake was associated with jokes like “don’t drake and drive” or “Drake is so sensitive and lonely, always longing for a woman”. His Toronto sound became a staple in the music industry because of his reminiscent lyrics and personal life. This age of celebrities shares so much of their lives with their fans. Drake’s been romantically associated with women such as Serena WilliamsRihannaJorja Smith, Jennifer Lopez, etc. Drake acknowledges his failed romances, childhood traumas, and feuds in his music. His fan’s connection and opinion towards his romantic relationships, somehow correspond with his album/streaming success. A pattern shown in Drake’s release dates shows that he thrives on his fan’s highs and lows: releasing music strategically in the colder seasons and summertime.

Perry emphasized in her comment that Adele’s songs alone don’t keep the fans anticipated. It’s the fact that Adele releases her music during the colder seasons, when there is a rise in seasonal depression. Another artist associated with his industry strategy is the singer Kehlani. In a recent interview with Power 105.1 The Breakfast Club radio show, she expressed her appreciation for fans that support her music. She then described a common theme in reaction to her music, saying “my fans love when I’m heart-broken”. Implying that she releases more “fire” music when she’s dealing with emotional trauma. Now that her fans hear more “self love and happy songs”, they still admire it, but it gives them a different feel.

To name one more artist whose name is associated with heartbreak, strategic release dates, and close connection to fans is Summer Walker. Without getting too deep into her personal life, Summer Walker is an R&B singer who debuted her first EP in 2019 and first album the same year. Walker has been associated with her now ex-boyfriend, producer London on da Track. This up and down relationship led to him producing her first studio album, along with causing a great amount of heartbreak for the two of them. Because Walker uses social networking sites to connect with her fans, they got a front-row seat to the madness. Since their break-up, Walker announced her new album to be released November 5th, not produced by London. Her fans are excited for her music because they thrive on her heartbreak songs that just so happen to be released when “everyone is most vulnerable” like Perry says. Is it true heartbreak and seasonal depression bring album sales? 


Mama Mia! Here we go again 40 years later…

ABBA brings back their iconic sound in a brand new album released this month

Long-time fans of the iconic Swedish pop group were on the edge of their seats earlier this month, when ABBA unveiled the name of their new secret project, Voyage. 24 hours later an official album by the same name was released. The super troupers dashed to their choice of audio streaming service to find an album with two songs, “I Still Have Faith in You” & “Don’t Shut Me Down”. These two bops are hard to describe in any words other than “Yeah, it sounds like ABBA”; It’s authentic in its signature style, a true testament to what come of bringing back together the original talent of 18 consecutive Top Ten singles and a total of nine number one hits. Accompanying the songs was a music video for “I Still Have Faith in You”. The emotional ballad was set to footage of the band’s evolution through the years on tour; silk rompers and blue eyeshadow, synchronized dancing and large crowds having a blast in the past. It evokes a nostalgic feeling in a disco decade that feels so far away, and makes their renewal very exciting and in comparison.

This revival of ABBA poses many questions about what could be on the horizon: A tour? Well, ABBA confirmed on twitter that there would be a digital concert on May 27th 2022. Though we can assume in the short term that it will be the extent of their live experience, as they’ve been open on social media about wishing to remaining cautious in the COVID 19 era. But who knows what the future could bring?  In a statement acquired by Rolling Stone, the band described the release of Voyage as “truly sailing in uncharted waters.” So far, the seas have been kind to their journey. Critical reception has been majority positive, and ABBA’s hit have had an increase in listening across all music platforms since the album drop. We can take an important note as media scholars: this type of revival is rare, and the excitement from the pop community is a feeling we could use more of. Someone pass the message along to Paul Simon- please and thank you.  If ABBA were to continue releasing music, it would be interesting to see how their sound plays in the 2020s. Their current legacy is nothing short of iconic, so 40 years later, would these legends have potential to climb the charts and live up to their reputation?

Apple acquires Classical Streaming Service Primephonic

Image Via Apple

Apple has bought the classical music streaming service Primephonic. The company announced in a release on August 30, by the acquisition “Apple Music Classical fans will get a dedicated experience with the best features of Primephonic, including better browsing and search capabilities by composer and by repertoire, detailed displays of classical music metadata, plus new features and benefits”. The acquisition adds more than 75 million songs to Apple Music’s library and Apple is planning to use Primephonic’s data about classical track to improve search capabilities and browsing. Moreover, Apple announced plans to launch a music app next year, which mainly focused on classical music and combines Primephonic’s classical user interface with more added features.  Primephonic said in a statement posted on Monday that in order to reach more classical music listeners worldwide they need to partner with a leading streaming service. The major shareholder of Primephonic Gordon P. Getty concludes “Primephonic and Apple together can realize that mission and take classical to a worldwide audience”. The acquisition is going to help serving classical music especially to those listeners, who listen to other music genres as well.

Primephonic is no longer available for new subscribers and will be taken offline beginning September 7. Current subscribers of Primephonic will receive six months of Apple Music for free.

In my opinion, the acquisition is an important step for Apple to expand its monopoly position in Media. In the last years, Apple acquired dozens of companies to improve expertise in particular areas. In the music area, some of the largest and highest profile acquisitions have been music service Beats for $3 billion in 2014 or Shazam, the music-identification service in 2017. By adding and promoting specific music genres, the company presents Apple Music as a multifaceted service, where every user can enjoy their unique taste in music. Moreover, with the addition of classical music, Apple tries to diversify their listeners, and convince the older audience in particular, to use Apple Music.