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Best Hip Hop Artists of 2021

The past year has been a turbulent one for the music industry thus far, but it is not stopping some of the most amazing hip hop artists from doing what they do best. 

Drake

Drake is a Canadian songwriter, singer, producer, actor, and entrepreneur. He has sold over 170 million records, won four Grammy Awards, six American Music Awards, and countless others. 

He has spent the last ten years shattering streaming records and has produced amazing singles.  However, Drake hasn’t stopped at music. 

Drake’s Early Entertainment and Life

Drake has dual citizenship between Canada and the United States, thanks to his father. His parents divorced as a child, and he regularly traveled between his mother’s and father’s homes. In school, he studied acting and other arts. He was also bullied for his racial and Jewish background.

Drake’s early success is credited to his role in the Canadian television series Degrassi: The Next Generation. From 2001 to 2009, he played Jimmy Brooks, a dramatic role. His character survived a school shooting and was paralyzed for the remainder of his time on the show. 

In 2006, Drake came out with his first mixtape called Room for Improvement, followed by Comeback Season in 2007 and So Far Gone in 2009. He signed a deal with Young Money Entertainment and came out with his first record called Thank Me Later in 2010. 

The album was very successful and debuted as number one on the US Billboard 200. In the mid-2000s, Drake released several highly acclaimed albums. He left Young Money Entertainment in 2018 to pursue his music independently. 

Drake’s Modern Work and Life

Drake’s musical style has evolved over the years from R&B and hip hop to rap and pop. His lyrics are heavily influenced by his personal relationships and emotions. 

In March of 2021, Drake released three tracks under the name Scary Hour 2, a collaboration with other known artists like Lil Baby and Rick Ross. 

In October of 2020, Drake announced an upcoming album called Certified Lover Boy that was to be released in January of 2021. However, later in 2020, Drake suffered from a mysterious leg injury that required surgery. Certified Lover Boy was postponed indefinitely, but Drake finally released it on September 3, 2021. 

Beyoncé

Beyoncé is a singer, actress, songwriter, and record producer. She has been awarded 28 Grammy Awards, 24 NAACP Awards, 31 BET Awards, 26 MTV Video Music Awards, and 17 Soul Train Music Awards. 

Beyoncé’s Early Career

Beyoncé found fame as the lead singer of Destiny’s Child in the 1990s, but before that, she performed in many dance and singing competitions in her childhood. She briefly broke off from the group and released her first album in 2003 called Dangerously In Love.

She left the group permanently in 2006. Aside from music, Beyoncé has starred in multiple films over the years, such as The Pink Panther, Dreamgirls, Obsessed, and the remake of The Lion King

Beyoncé has been involved in multiple business ventures like television commercials, her own clothing line, and a whole lot of philanthropy. She started her clothing line, House of Dereon, in 2005 with her mother. The company made deals with shoe companies and had other subsidiaries beneath it that were also run by her mother. 

She also owns Ivy Park, a trendy athleisure company that often partners with other big names like adidas. Thebrand aims to focus on and support women to embrace their personal beauty. Beyoncé is also a donor to 37 charities and 33 causes. 

Black Inspiration

This year, Beyoncé won four Grammys, including one for Best Music Video for the song “Brown Skin Girl.” She also won Best Rap Song, Best R&B Performance, and Best Rap Performance. 

“Brown Skin Girl” is an unbelievably inspiring and beautiful celebration of black women. 

Putting aside the catchy and uplifting music, the video itself is a visual treat and highlights some of the most amazing black styles in clothing and hair, both traditional and modern. 

The song is a mixture of hip hop, R&B, and some West African music inspiration. Every woman in the video is adorned with lavish and ornate dresses, and all have their hair done in beautiful, traditional ways. 

This music video is an absolute must-watch and listen. It may only be 2021, but this song and music video is likely to resonate with black women for years to come. Beyoncé has proven herself to be a true masterclass in musical production.  

Tyler, The Creator

Tyler is known for his truly unique musical style and influence on other well-known artists in similar genres. You may remember him from a meme of him holding a microphone and saying, “So, that was a lie.” 

Tyler, The Creator’s Early Career

Before his career as an entertainer and songwriter, Tyler worked at FedEx and Starbucks and hated it. He was always a misfit in his formative years. He was not allowed in his school’s band class because he couldn’t read music, but he still had a passion for it. 

He was apparently kicked out of the school’s drama club for being too hyper. In 2008, he started a YouTube channel that featured him rapping and… other types of content. On November 15, 2008, Tyler and his friends released a tape called The Odd Future Tape Vol. 1. From that moment on, the group went by the name Odd Future, and they didn’t stop there. 

It was recorded on his computer using the built-in microphone, and it was pretty rough-sounding from a technical perspective. Tyler and his group found an audience on MySpace and quickly captivated people with their completely unique music. 

Tyler and Odd Future gained underground success with marketing and the sale of merchandise with popup shops. After one of their music videos got over a million views, they signed on with a manager who took an interest in the group’s provocative nature. 

Tyler’s first album, Bastard, did a wonderful job of shocking people. It was gritty, unnerving, and violently offensive with truly horrific lyrics. With this release, Tyler’s work began to be recognized by big hitters in the industry. 

Tyler and Odd Future starred in an Adult Swim program called Loiter Squad from 2012 to 2014 with some pretty crazy sketches. In 2013, Tyler created one of the most controversial commercials in television history—the infamous Mountain Dew commercial that featured a goat and black men. 

After the ad was pulled, Mountain Dew made a public apology for the ad and pulled it. The company also cut out Tyler from future ad campaigns. Tyler claims the ad had nothing to do with racism, but that didn’t stop the public from interpreting it that way. 

Tyler didn’t stop creating provocative and unique albums after the incident. His next album, Wolf, exemplified his growth as an artist, and it was the first album he produced in an actual studio and not on his laptop. 

Since then, Tyler has reached the mainstream with fantastic music videos and live performances. His music has become exponentially more thought-provoking. He’s also branched out from music with a clothing line called Golf Wang, filled with brightly colored, ironic designs geared towards humor. 

Tyler, The Creator’s Upcoming Performances

The Outside Land Festival at the end of October is going to feature Tyler in San Francisco. 

He will also be performing at the Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival and Day N Vegas, both in November. He is a true entertainer and is electrifying when performing live—it is a sight to behold. Check out his recent music video, Lemonhead. It’s something out of a Wes Anderson movie in the best of ways.

Kanye West

Kanye West is an American musical artist, businessman, and fashion designer. He is credited for a lot of the development of modern hip hop and popular culture with his influential production style and the product he has marketed. 

Kanye At the Beginning

Kanye West dropped out of college to pursue his music career. He worked for Rock-A-Fella in the early 2000s and gained notoriety by helping produce hit singles for big-name artists at the time. In 2004, he created his own record label called GOOD Music. 

West is known partially by the public for his outspoken opinions and views on various topics. Some say he’s crazy. Others believe he’s a genius. His run for the White House in 2020 may have something to do with that. 

Apart from his music career, Kanye owns multiple brands and companies like Yeezy, the outrageously popular shoe company that’s partnered with adidas. These shoes are often bought up by mega fans and scalpers that sell them for a considerable markup.

Kanye’s New Work

Kanye’s 10th upcoming album Donda was released on August 29, 2021. Donda features a big lineup of talent, with names like Jay-Z, Travis Scott, and Lil Baby. 

According to listeners, the album will feature heavy religious themes and familial subject matter. 

The Top Artists in Hip Hop

As a genre, hip hop is constantly teeming with new talent and fresh ideas. These are just a few of today’s big names, but keep watching out for new up-and-comers. 

 

 

Sources: 

Kanye West’s ‘Donda’: Everything We Know About New Album | Rolling Stone

Kanye West Collaborator, Consequence, Calls Out Drake Over Release Date | HNHH

Beyoncé: Charity Work & Causes | Look To The Stars

2021 Music Festivals: Events To Look Forward To

2021 is a year of uncertainty for music festivals around America compared to years past, but it seems like some of the biggest ones are still geared up and set to go. There’s Summerfest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the biggest festival in the country, which will feature the Jonas Brothers. Wherever you live in the country, there’s something for you, from the Firefly Music Festival in Dover, Delaware, to Outside Lands in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. 

Whether you’re a huge fan of Tame Impala or you love Phoebe Bridgers, there’s a festival out there for you. Because of COVID-19, some of these events may require masks in the future, so don’t forget to bring one!

EDC

How does one describe the Electric Dance Carnival in one word? “Mind-blowing” seems appropriate. EDC takes place annually in Las Vegas, NV, and it is one of the craziest weekends of the year. In 2016, this festival generated a whopping $1.3 billion dollars for the local community, as well as creating countless jobs. 

EDC has everything from live music to carnival rides and everything in between. There are a few things to keep in mind before you go; drink lots of water, prepare for all kinds of weather, and get ready for lots of traffic and crowds. 

Hydration is probably one of the most important things to keep up with while at a music festival. Luckily, there are free hydration stations all throughout the venue, so bring a refillable water bottle with you. 

Las Vegas is known to be extremely hot, but there are the occasional cold fronts. Bring three types of outfits: hot weather stuff, moderate weather outfits, and stuff like sweaters and jeans. You’d probably rather bring a bunch of clothes that never get used than get caught in 50-degree weather with nothing but tank tops. 

The crowds at EDC can be insane. Traffic is also a nightmare around this weekend, but there is another option besides hotels and shuttles: camping. You do have to buy camping tickets, and they sell out fast, so buy them early!

EDC’s Music Lineup

All kinds of techno and dubstep are going to be at this event this year, and some of the performers set to be there are pretty big. Keep in mind that it will be almost impossible to see every performance with 250 artists over the three-day weekend. 

Some of them include Kaskade, Knife Party, deadmau5, and DJ Snake. Keep in mind that some of the artists you may be looking forward to seeing may be performing sets at the same time. So, if you’re interested in particular sets, plan accordingly. 

Don’t be too focused on just the music while you’re there. EDC isn’t just a music festival. It’s certainly the most prominent element, but there is a ton of other stuff to do there, like rides and even art installations.  

What To Do in Las Vegas

EDC is, of course, not the only thing to do in Vegas. The city has a lot to offer in terms of entertainment. There are casinos, shows, and a lot of dance clubs. You don’t need to get the best hotel rooms with the nicest rooms because EDC goes all night long, and you’re probably just going to use them for sleep. 

There are some really fascinating exhibits and aquariums to check out while you’re in the area. Some of these attractions are permanent, but some are traveling around the country and will only be there for a short time. 

Lollapalooza

If you’re in the mood for something slightly less extreme and a little more laid back, the Lollapalooza Music Festival is right up your alley. There are a variety of genres performed at this event, like rock, techno, and hip-hop. This festival was the last weekend of July, moving into August in Grant Park. In 2019, the event made more than $247 million dollars. Lollapalooza was canceled in 2020, and we’re still waiting to see how much it brought in this year—it’s likely to be a large number. 

Lollapalooza was originally a traveling farewell tour for the band Jane’s Addiction in 1991. Following annual events were planned due to the success of the original, but it struggled financially and dealt with a few cancellations. 

The organizers eventually realized that the event should occur every year in one location. This helped with the budget enough to make the event popular and very profitable.   

The Lollapalooza Music Lineup

In 2021, there was a pretty eclectic lineup of talent at Lollapalooza. Miley Cyrus had a set on the opening night and Jack Harlow performed on Friday. Rapper Post Malone had a spot for that Saturday, and the Foo Fighters were one of the big-ticket performances on the final night. Tyler the Creator and Megan Thee Stallion also made an appearance. 

It was a pretty big event with over 150 performers participating, and there was a little bit of everything to please almost everyone. 

What To Do in Chicago

There are some really fun and interesting activities and things to see in Chicago outside of Lollapalooza. Chicago has a fantastic museum of natural history with truly impressive exhibits. Chicago is home to some of the most unique art installations like The Bean and historical statues. 

The Lincoln Park Zoo is a wonderful place to get away from the crowds and take a gander at some cute animals. Interested in the history of old-school gangsters like Al Capone and ghosts? Take a look at the ghost tours available if you wanna do something unique at night. 

Austin City Limits

Are you looking for a music festival with a more local vibe? The Austin City Limits festival is for you. The event is split up between two weekends and six days total. The nice thing about this particular festival is that the park the venue is held in is relatively small. 

This means less hopping around and roaming from stage to stage. Performances are a little closer together. There’s a hydration area and tons of food venues, all sourced by local restaurants. There’s even a kids’ area for families to hang out at! 

In 2018, the Austin City Limits festival brought in $264 million for the local economy, and we can only imagine that this year would have done just as much, considering people have been raring at the bit to get out and about. 

The Austin City Limits Music Lineup

The wonderful thing about the ACL is that it’s not just big names that will be performing. The ACL is known for having many lesser-known artists and local bands perform sets alongside big stars. 

Some of the bigger names that are set to perform are Miley Cirus, Billie Eilish, and Stevie Nicks! A little tip about the Austin area: there is a park called Hope Outdoor Gallery primarily known for amazing graffiti art, but there are also musical performances done there.

What To Do in Austin

Austin is a fantastic area for mountain biking, hiking, and swimming. There is a lot of natural beauty to be seen, so take advantage of it if you’re in the area. You’ll probably work up an appetite from the festival and all of those physical activities. 

It’s a good thing Austin is known for its stellar BBQ. There are countless restaurants and food trucks in the area with some of the best southern food in America. The state capital is a wonderful place to see some impressive architecture and learn about some American and Texas history.   

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

Jazz Fest is an annual event in New Orleans, Louisiana, that features local jazz music and some of the biggest names from around the country. It was started in 1970 as a non-profit organization that made the events happen. 

The foundation that runs the event contributes to many educational and charity organizations like music workshops for children and funding for local restaurants. This particular festival is a lot more focused on local music history and culture than most of the other festivals that we’ve mentioned.  

According to their director of programs, Scott Aiges, this festival generates over $300 million dollars a year for the local community, both through direct and indirect service. 

Music Lineup

Along with local talent, there will be big names headliners like the Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, and even Stevie Nicks. And prepare your stomach because the food at this event is just as amazing as the performances themselves. 

All kinds of southern and Cajun food are served from local restaurants and food trucks. There will be gumbo, deep-fried gator, beignets, boiled crawfish, and much more. 

What To Do in New Orleans

New Orleans is brimming with American history and is home to some unique tours. Ever seen a swamp? Believe it or not, boat tours of these areas are very popular and highly regarded. 

As for nightlife, the area is packed with fun dive bars and clubs. Bourbon Street is a great place to start. If you’re a Disney fan, you may want to check out the Saint Louis Cathedral because it was Walt Disney’s inspiration for the iconic Disney castle. 

The Future of Partying

No matter what the future holds for us, there will always be things to look forward to. The celebration of music can be found across the country and all throughout the year, whether you’re seeing A$AP Rocky at a classic festival like Governors Ball in New York (which will be at Citi Field this year, rather than Randall’s Island) or you’re switching it up with Glass Animals at Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Tennessee. Get out there and experience the different flavors of music and culture!

 

 

Sources: 

Insomniac | EDC 2021

Lollapalooza | Lollapalooza

ACL Festival | ACL Festival

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival | NoJazz Fest

future party r kelly

Spotify’s Mixed Bag of Censorship

Last year the #metoo campaign swept the film industry. Finally, after decades of terror, predator after predator was held accountable. Last week Spotify brought the fight to the music industry with its new “Hate Content and Hateful Conduct Policy.” Banning hateful content is nothing new, but what’s new is punishing creators for ‘Hateful Conduct.’ To christen this precarious decision, Spotify removed R Kelly and XXXTentacion from it’s playlists with a few strokes of their corporate keys.  

So, what exactly does that mean for both Spotify and the artists? On Spotify’s end it means they’ve entered into risky territory. They’ve thrown their two cents into the age old debate about separating the art from the artist, and have done so in a particularly subjective manner. They’re teetering on the brink of censorship. R Kelly has never been convicted of a crime. While he has been party to a growing number of scandals, no court of law has found him guilty. This is a position shared by many musicians in both the urban and the pop space.  

It’s going to be interesting to see where Spotify draws the line.  XXXTentacion’s manager fired back with a high profile list of other musicians and their alleged crimes and asked for comment on how their cases would be addressed in the court of Spotify. Do XXXTentacion’s face tattoos make him more of a threat than fellow alleged abuser and former Backstreet Boy Nick Carter? Is R Kelly more of a danger to us than Tekashi69 who has been convicted of having sex with a minor?

Regardless, reality is that eventually someone has to address the widespread gross misuse of power and Spotify is up for the task. What they’re doing is certainly uncharted territory but it’s no different than the film industry pushing out Harvey Weinstein without a legal judgement. Our legal system has often failed us and the fact that R Kelly and many others remain legally innocent does not mean that they are truly innocent of their alleged crimes.

Spotify is operational because of its subscribers and in this day and age people have more of a voice than ever before because of social media. When Laura Ingraham from Fox made bullying comments toward one of the Parkland survivors, many corporations pulled their ads from Fox because people with buying power called them out on social media. Spotify is basically saying, our subscribers own us and we have to respect them.

While the first amendment is something we all hold dear, Spotify isn’t wholly censoring anyone. They’re removing the songs from their editorial playlists, not their platform. Spotify is simply choosing not to support these artists with their resources, not telling them what they can and can’t say or do. Censorship is scary, but so are men in power who wield it to abuse women and escape the law. Our actions have consequences, even if they aren’t always legal. In this situation Spotify is taking the role of the parent telling the children “you have free will, but if you choose to do A then we’re going to do B.”

While the move can be seen as commendable, is this how mass censorship starts? Maybe, but if this type of censorship bleeds into politics, that’s a different story, but right now, it seems like Spotify, among other corporations, is doing what they can do spread goodness through their platform.

newsletter header template   bieber   mason

The Yodeling Kid Is Famous

You’ve probably heard of Mason Ramsey. In March he let loose the yodel heard ‘round the world from the humble stage of a Walmart convenience store, dubbing himself “The Yodeling Kid.” Fast forward to May and Mason is still yodeling away, but on much larger stages. Having recently performed at Coachella, Stagecoach, and the famous Grand Ole Opry, Mason is in the midst of a meteoric rise to fame. And while the kid himself is a new face, the situation can’t help but feel familiar.  

Virality like this is nothing new. From Marquese Scott aka the “dubstep dancer” to Danielle Bregoli aka Bhad Bhabie, digital video virality has been spawning legitimate careers in entertainment since its inception. What’s new is the sheer speed of Mason’s rise. Scott’s famous video was his 53rd. He’d been posting for years and eventually one stuck. Even Bregoli had more than a year for her memedom to simmer after her initial outburst on TV with the infamous “cash me ousside, how bout dat?”

Mason is a different story, he yodeled some Hank Williams in a Walmart and then played Coachella 3 weeks later. This is what virality 3.0 looks like. When these internet sensations first hit the industry, they didn’t know how to properly leverage their digital stardom. Now, 15 years in there’s a blueprint. Both Bregoli and Mason are actually signed to Atlantic Records. Mason’s launch to the big time was a perfect storm. While we have seen this phenomenon in pop and urban genres, this country catapult to fame is a first.

One advantage Mason holds is the increasing number of internet connected devices. With the increasing number of digital platforms this allows artists to instantly intertwine their digital presence with their fans. Whatever the nexus of circumstance, Mason Ramsey is crushing it. His new single ‘Famous’ is written by the Florida Georgia Line team and it’s already done more than 10 million Spotify streams and charted on the Billboard hot 100. With so much adulation it begs the question, what makes it different with Mason than the others? How did he do it in 3 weeks? Even Bieber took longer than that. Speaking of Bieber, their chance encounter at Coachella was very fitting. There’s a new kid on the block and Justin is passing on the torch of youtube video, turned superstar.

Maybe people just like to see a kid make it. Perhaps it’s the convergence of the growing digital population and the need for hope of upward mobility to fight the despair of the widening income gap. The bottom line is that although internet virality has been around since the 1990s each individual case has its own je ne sais quoi. Shoveling marketing dollars across platforms can make a snowball but only the consumer can create an avalanche. Today, Mason Ramsey may be the Walmart crooning avalanche du jour, but lord knows what Taco Bell beatbox genius will claim the throne next.

The Playlist Is The Most Important Thing In Music

Spotify is the new radio. As iHeart Radio inches towards bankruptcy, Spotify is filing for its IPO at a $20B+ evaluation. There are other music discovery platforms services, like Apple, Deezer, Shazam and even Pandora. Yet, Spotify’s robust playlist offerings and adept curation have set their playlists and their company ahead of the pack. After years of being exposed to playlists curated by the radio, people have come to expect their music discovery to be curated for them. Spotify is riding this truth all the way to the bank.

Playlists have captured a generation’s attention because they have tapped into a passive discovery experience. It used to be that you would know your favorite albums, then search allowed you to browse your favorite types of music, now people tap into lists of all sorts based on a mood and different topics that they don’t have to work for. Not only can they put their trust in a person or brand to tell them what to listen to when they want to go on a run or when they’re headed to Coachella, but the list is refreshed at least once a week. In this way, playlists also service our ADD nature and how we constantly need the latest fix. Those who curate playlists have their finger on the pulse of their cultural niches and they know how to make fans, peers and colleagues feel something.

On the Spotify platform there are two classes of playlists. There are ‘editorial’ playlists like Rap Caviar that Spotify curates internally and there are user generated playlists. The editorials are the most powerful in terms of exposure because Spotify gives their own playlists preferential treatment within their search algorithm and as such, their lists are the largest on the platform. Spotify’s curators use a proprietary software called PUMA to break down the analytics and data acquired from each playlist. Songs win points for having a low skip rate, a high completion rate and a high number of saves. With all of this data the curators are able to fine tune their playlists to perfection.

Record labels realized the power of user generated playlists early on and began building their own networks. Universal scooped up the Digster brand, Sony acquired Filtr and Warner snagged up Topsify. The 3 majors bought into existing user generated networks to keep a veil of secrecy and to preserve the feeling that people are discovering music from their labels organically. Much the way large corporations operate behind a web of subsidiaries. The bottom line is that playlists, be it radio in the past or Spotify lists now, are both the heart and the future of music discovery. And the curators of those lists are the DJs of the future.

One of the more notable curators is Tuma Basa, the ear behind Rap Caviar. Basa broke Lil Uzi Vert’s career wide open, more than doubling his stream totals from 450,000 to over 1,000,000 simply by adding him to the playlist. Rap Caviar is the second largest playlist on Spotify with just shy of 9M followers. A&Rs, managers and artists alike were courting Tuma as if he was royalty prior to his recent departure. With a few strokes of his keyboard Tuma was able to make or break an artist’s career. Often times these placements on the playlist are arranged weeks or months prior to a release. For the business end of the industry, strong playlisting has become synonymous with success.

In a world filled with increasing amounts of automation, playlists are poised to remain a human-driven niche. Not everything can be broken down into code. There are intangibles, intuitions and emotions that govern how we interact with music. Discovering new music can inspire us to write novels, paint great works, move our bodies in ways we never have and more importantly, nurture our souls. As long as we have the complex and passionate relationship with music, these curators will continue to craft the soundtracks to our lives, and the music industry will continue to do everything in their power to get their artists in prime positions on notable playlists.

State Of The Music Industry

But the music biz is in control…

As we wrap up the end of 2016 and all the “best of lists”  are being showcased and reviewed with the hit songs and albums that dominated the year, we’re starting to think about the state of the music industry.

Just last week the Grammys revealed their list of nominees. We saw some familiar faces and some newcomers. One of those is Chance The Rapper who is up for seven awards, and he, unlike his other nominated brethren, has no record label to call home.

With the democratization of the internet, we’ve seen artists of all kinds become more empowered than ever to take control of their work, and Chance’s success this year as well as the success of other nominees from “Drake” to “Beyonce” represents a new vitality for the industry. This outlook is a stark contrast from the past rocky decade, where the inception of Napster created a catalyst that opened Pandora’s box and led to to the cannibalization of music revenues. CD’s became obsolete as did purchasing digital albums and singles. Now the music industry seems to have a handle on the business.

Apple Music just hit 20M paying subscribers after only 18 months of existence and Spotify has double that. Tidal is somewhere in the mix and alternative platforms like Soundcloud and Musical.ly are helping the music ecosystem. More confounding is the return of the vinyl record. Nostalgia and the experience of holding something tangible is becoming more valuable in an age where everything is “hands free” even though all this music is at our fingertips.

People should play close attention to the music industry, it often signifies where consumer behavior is heading. Live music, musical experiences and subscription platforms have brought the industry bottom line slowly back up. Their struggles and successes have been prophetic to what film, fashion and other industries will face quite soon. Streaming platforms are the new record labels, and the current issues with windowing and exclusives prove that content is king, and film + TV distribution platforms, even social networks like Snapchat, Facebook and the newly defunct Vine, are all facing similar conundrums.

Talent is still everything, the song is still everything, and as the music industry continues to figure itself out, the winners are the artists, platforms and businesses that have an authentic voice, provide a unique experience, and make their music most accessible to their fans. Chance gets people to the polls. Spotify is meeting fans wherever they are, and Apple is creating IP around all of its marquee artists. Music isn’t going away, it’s like oxygen, and those that succeed won’t just make people groove, but get them to take action, keeping fans coming back for more.