This Week We Heard

Relevant and inspiring happenings tied into music and media

No more smart-phones at concerts? Apple patents new technology.

Apple was granted a patent last week for technology that could soon be used to restrict iPhones from capturing content at venues where specific emitters have been installed to broadcast an infrared signal that would temporarily disable smart-phone cameras. News that might elicit joyous applause for many who find an incessant barrage of phones brandished at concerts tedious and distracting, but if nefariously used the technology could prevent public filming of political demonstrations or other sensitive events. A number of artists have publicly expressed their frustration with crowds incessantly capturing instead of experiencing. Read reactions from Australian music industry heads here.

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Twitter and SoundCloud marry after all + The Open Music Initiative

With the recent news of Microsoft acquiring Linkedin dominating the press, another deal has been inked also worthy of discussion: Twitter has invested $70M in music streaming service SoundCloud, notably two years after having walked away from a $1B purchase offer. How the strategic partnership will play out is unclear. In other streaming related news, YouTube, Spotify, SoundCloud, Pandora, Netflix, major labels and many other key players have announced a new open-sourced platform around creative rights called the Open Music Initiative (O.M.I.) that aims to streamline the way online royalties are tracked and paid, improving how rights owners are identified and compensated for digital music.

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‘Don’t F*ck My Future’: influencer rhetoric.

Despite powerful grassroots campaigning to encourage voter turnout, and a resounding head-nod from the music industry to ‘Remain’, the cards have been (marginally) dealt in favour of Brexit. Over the last few weeks in the lead up to the much contested referendum, a series of online videos featuring a great array of handpicked talent have been urging people to participate in the vote, with the intention of highlighting both the impact of and short lead-time required to vote. Featuring Keira Knightley and Lily Cole, it was Big Narstie’s appearance who most captured our interest. Read Pitchfork’s and The Vinyl Factory’s assessment of the impact on music industry here and here.


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Converse’s new guitar-friendly sneaker puts a Wah pedal in its Chuck Taylors

Converse, long-appealing to counterculture and defining itself around creativity and self-expression, regularly appears in our newsletter. We love how the 108-year-old brand purposely sets out to celebrate their best customers, rather than itself, and works to contribute to youth culture rather than take from it. Its latest unveiling is a sneaker with a built-in guitar pedal that works using micro-sensor technology to track the flex of the sole, before communicating wirelessly with a Wah Box via bluetooth. Excellently named Chet Atkins All Wah after the guitar legend famed for first using the Wah pedal. As wearable tech goes, it’s almost as cool as Zungle’s ‘bone conduction audio shades’.

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Miles Davis’ legacy, represented by every Wikipedia page that mentions him

Possibly one of the coolest visualisations of data ever, The Universe Of Miles Davis tool amasses all 2,452 Wikipedia pages that mention the late and great trumpeter to illustrate the jazz pioneer’s ongoing enormous influence on decades of musicians and culture in general. Quoted in Forbes, Legacy Recordings President Adam Block said: “we find ourselves at such an interesting moment in time, where art and information like so much else are converging. […] to then present that useful information in an elegant, interesting, visual way […] but artfully, beautifully, makes the message we’re trying to convey with it more likely to be received.”

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Uncle Toby’s Oats taps into passion as a driver; does story-telling right

Black Summer, quite possible Australia’s youngest electronic music producer (whom we featured in the very first iteration of our This Week We Heard newsletter!), has been snapped up by Uncle Toby’s Oats to illustrate their ‘Energy Feeds Your Passion’ campaign. Originally discovered via Triple J’s Unearthed program, the 12 year-old producer from Canberra is the star of a content series around featuring real people with unique passions. A valiant marketing effort from Uncle Toby’s: evolving out of the kitchen setting to connect with audiences in an engaging and authentic way. Being a musician gives a unique insight into what is genuine.

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