This Week in Music

by Frederik Nielsen, Apr 27, 2018 . 3 min read

This Week in Music

A star has passed away, a rapper has won a Pulitzer Prize, two rappers won (and subsequently ruined) an Echo award, the US is passing legislation to pay songwriters more, and business in music streaming is really booming.

Check out the latest news in music!

EDM star Avicii dies at 28

The Swedish DJ and producer Avicii (born Tim Bergling) died last Friday at the age of 28. Avicii was one of the great successes in the EDM genre, and worked with a string of major acts, including Daft Punk, Coldplay, Major Lazer, Robyn and even Madonna. He also netted himself some prestigious awards, including MTV Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards and and Grammy nominations. His health had already started to decline a couple of years ago, which resulted in him having to cancel live performances.

Kendrick Lamar gets Pulitzer Prize

The first Pulitzer Prize to be awarded to a musician was for ‘Secular Cantata No 2.’ by William Schuman. Back in 1943, classical music was the thing – at least if you handed out Pulitzer Prizes. In other words, no other genres were considered until two generations later when Wynton Marsalis was awarded a Pulitzer for ‘Blood on the Fields’. Now the time came for yet another genre to break the Pulitzer glass ceiling. Kendrick Lamar, street poet extraordinaire, can now add a Pulitzer to his shelf, which already has six MTV awards, five Grammys, NAACP Image Awards, a Brit award, a Juno award, a BET award and a Clio award.

Germany scraps Echo music prize

Whilst some prizes are awarded, others are scrapped. Rappers Farid Bang and Kollegah won the prestigious Echo prize for their album Jung, Brutal, Gutaussehend 3 (Young, Brutal, Good-Looking 3). Then it turned out that the album was full of anti-semitism. People didn’t like that. The two gentlemen apologised. People didn’t buy that. Previous winners decided it was time to turn in their own Echo awards from past years. With everyone involved embarrassed, Germany’s Federal Music Industry Association has now announced that it will no longer be handing out the award.

Music Modernization Act passed in the US

The US government has outlawed all pre-modern music. Just kidding. The Music Modernization Act aims to assist songwriters getting paid what they are worth for their contribution to the music industry. At the same time, it also wants to help streaming services access more music their audiences can listen to. The Act has now been passed in the House of Representatives, and will be sent on to Congress, where it already enjoys bipartisan support. So rejoice, songwriters – you’re about to get paid!

Streaming brings in money

In other news, water is wet. But streaming is indeed the future. Last year, the service generated $7.1bn in revenue for the international music industry. Not all of that revenue came from Ed Sheeran streams. Some people also listened to Ed Sheeran. The amount of people who tuned in to services like Spotify went up to 176 million in 2017 from 112 million in 2016, so it’s safe to say that the market for CD’s and cassettes are now limited to hipsters.

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As part of our roundup of the last year, we’ve also looked at some of the most shocking music news of 2019. Unfortunately, it was a year fraught with hoaxes, harassment, and untimely deaths.

1. Jussie Smollett’s Hate Crime Hoax

The actor and singer from Empire claimed to have been attacked by two MAGA hat-wearing thugs in what was quickly labeled a hate crime. As Chicago’s Police Department dug into the story, it turned out that Smollett had actually hired two men to help stage the attack.

2. R. Kelly Was Deplatformed with #MuteRKelly

Buzzfeed exposed the alleged sex cult run by R. Kelly a few years back, and 2019 the R&B singer was further examined in the Lifetime documentary series Surviving R. Kelly. Subsequently, the series prompted an investigation into R. Kelly’s alleged abuse of women and he now awaits trial.

3. Taylor Swift Battles Scooter Braun and Big Machine Records

The pop-singer Taylor Swift exchanged hard words with Scooter Braun online after the two fell out over her masters. Scooter Braun’s company had acquired the record label, and thus Taylor Swift’s masters. That led to Swift announcing that she’d rerecord the songs to regain ownership.

4. Ryan Adams Allegedly Exposed by New York Times

The prolific songwriter Ryan Adams was accused by The New York Times of abusing his fame to take advantage of an underage fan called Ava during a Skype call. Despite the singer denying the allegations of exposing himself to her, he is currently being investigated by the police.

5. A$AP Rocky Arrested in Stockholm During Tour

The American rapper A$AP Rocky was arrested during his tour in Sweden after he was accused of assaulting locals. The case received worldwide attention and even attracted the attention of US President Donald Trump. As a result, the story also prompted the movement and hashtag #FreeRocky.

6. Michael Jackson Faced Fresh Accusations Posthumously

The King of Pop faced many accusations during his life and career. However, they have even continued after his death. The documentary series Leaving Neverland brought out new allegations as Wade Robson and James Safechuck recounted their experiences at the ranch.

7. Britney Spears Row with Her Father

Although the pop-sensation lay low for a while, she made headlines again in 2019. Britney Spears quit her last Las Vegas gig before it even kicked off, and later claimed that her father had her sectioned in a mental health facility without her consent.

8. Nipsey Hussle Shot Dead in Front of His Own Clothing Store

The rapper Nipsey Hussle was arguing with Eric Ronald Holder Jr. over the latter allegedly snitching on the former. Holder Jr. then supposedly shot Hussle outside his store, which fatally wounded the beloved hip-hop star and prompted an investigation and eventual trial.

9. Plácido Domingo Caught Up in Harassment Claims

The 78-year-old Spanish opera singer Plácido Domingo faced claims of sexual harassment which he put down to Spaniards being warm and affectionate. Although he hasn’t been formally accused, eight women claim that the abuse and harassment spanned over three decades.

10. Juice Wrld Dies After Seizure in Chicago

The world lost another rapper after Juice Wrld suffered a seizure at an airport outside Chicago. The young rapper had just turned 21 and was on his way to worldwide fame after a string of hits featuring other rising stars like Lil Yachty. His death follows those of Lil Peep and XXXTentacion.

What Could Happen in 2020?

Those were the most shocking music news stories of 2019 — what could happen in the new year? Leave your predictions in the comments section below and let us know.


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