Tag Archives: Jessie J

Music Musings: #RealFansBuyMusic

When we’re living in real-time, it’s tough to spend much of that time in reflection mode. We get up and go on to the next big project or new gadget. We keep moving forward. Because of this forward motion, it’s also tough to tell sometimes just how drastic some of the changes around us really are.

But ask anyone who works in the music industry, and they can tell you without fail that in the last decade-plus, everything about the way consumers interact with music has changed. Once a world of several huge, competing record labels flush with profit from impressive album sales is now an industry reeling from debt at virtually every corner. 2014 has now seen the lowest year for platinum-certified album sales ever recorded.

Lowered… some might say tragic music sales are now being accepted as the new normal in music. Even the official Billboard charts in the US acknowledges as much in a recent retooling of how it determines chart placement. Here’s more on the new chart formula directly from Billboard.com

The Billboard 200 albums chart will premiere its biggest upgrade in more than 23 years, transforming from a pure sales-based ranking to one measuring multi-metric consumption.


The revamped chart will premiere with data from Thanksgiving week (ending Nov. 30), one of the most active music release periods of the year. The new methodology aims to provide a better sense of an album’s popularity by reflecting not just sales, but consumption activity.

The updated Billboard 200 will utilize accepted industry benchmarks for digital and streaming data, equating 10 digital track sales from an album to one equivalent album sale, and 1,500 song streams from an album to one equivalent album sale. All of the major on-demand audio subscription services are considered, including Spotify, Beats Music, Google Play and Xbox Music. Current artists likely to benefit from this change in methodology include Ariana Grande,Hozier and Maroon 5, among others, as their streaming and digital song sales have been outperforming their album sales in recent weeks.

Yes it’s true that YouTube views, Soundcloud plays and subscription services are important ways of connecting with music today.  But let’s be honest for a minute about what they also do. Online sources make it really easy for consumers to just not buy music, and that’s exactly what they are doing.

Contrast this reality with the growing online fandom of contemporary music stars and it’s even more shocking.

The biggest-selling solo artist of 2014, Taylor Swift, boasts an astounding 48 million Twitter followers, and a loyal legion of fans– #Swifties– that profess their unyielding devotion to her at every turn.  Many in the fandom world proclaim to know all of her songs, have tons of Taylor merch, and have been to every single concert. it’s no doubt that upon the release of Swift’s 5th album 1989, her most loyal fans were a huge part of earning her the best album sales week in more than a decade. Weeks later, 1989 has cleared the 2 million mark and continues to top the recently revamped Billboard charts.

But the question remains– if Swift presumably has so a huge legion of fans, why have so few chosen to actually purchase the smash hit album? 48 million Twitter followers, yet only 2 million in sales?  This is not to sound diminutive, as almost any other artist would give the first available limb to have anything close to the sales power of mighty Taylor Swift.  Still there seems to be a huge disconnect between those that proclaim fandom, yet aren’t buying the album.

The answer can be found promptly on YouTube.  One look at the 339 million view count of the album’s lead single Shake it Off and 144 million view count of second single Blank Space gives a proper indication of how some fans are learning the artist’s material.  For all the so-called fans out there that are actually making an investment in Taylor Swift, and everyone that worked so hard to make her smash hit album what it is, there’s still a lot more that are enjoying the music free of charge.

Investment is the key word here.  It takes a lot of talented people to make a commercial album– writers, producers, mixers, singers, musicians and a gaggle of development experts.  If fans choose to skip out on buying the album, they are not only robbing the artist that is behind the album, but endangering the entire music business itself.

This culture of reward without purchase needs to change.  Whoever your favorite artist happens to be, don’t just stream their music or pirate it for free by racking up YouTube hits.  Take a chance on these people and actually BUY their album.  If you’re anything like me, you’ll quickly find that the holistic journey of an artist is much more important than their promo singles sailing through the radio.

Had I never chosen to invest in the full album Days and Nights by British singer Daley, I would have never discovered one of R&B’s most incredible songs of 2014– the hauntingly beautiful She Fades.  It’s now one of my favorite songs to listen to.  Likewise with fellow Brit Jessie J, her musical talent extends far beyond the girl power single Bang Bang, but also is embodied through awesome Sweet Talker tracks like Get Away, Seal Me With a Kiss and Masterpiece.

So whoever it is that you enjoy, be a real fan in 2014 and 2015.  Take a chance on them, and actually BUY their music.


Buy Music



Music Musings: Jessie J + Ariana Grande + Nicki Minaj– BANG BANG

In today’s music industry, it’s rare to find a talent like British singer-songwriter Jessie J. Her gifts lie in solid melodic composition, a wealth of pop music knowledge and versatility. She’s a well-known presence throughout the music industry, having written Miley Cyrus chart-topper Party in the USA, and other hits for artists like Chris Brown. But her greatest gift by far is a unique voice, which can only be closely described as the power of Patti Labelle combined with the agile melismatic skills of Whitney Houston. But even comparisons to those singers don’t quite fit Jessie J.

And fitting in, at least for marketing to US audiences, has been the issue. Of course she is not entirely without her successes in the United States.  Her song Domino reached Number 6 on the Billboard charts, and she had another significant worldwide hit with ‘Price Tag‘…  both of which came from her debut album Who You Are.  But due to a string of bad decisions by her management, most Americans know very little about her or her incredible talent.  While finding great success in countries like Brazil and her native UK, the artist has struggled to even have the chance of releasing music stateside.  In fact, the singer’s entire second album Alive has yet to be brought into the US market.

After a rocky road, Jessie J is giving US fans another go.  This week, her new co-single Bang Bang with fellow pop stars Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj was released worldwide, and was an immediate success.  Thus far, the song has already skyrocketed to Number 1 on US iTunes, as well as 20 other countries, cementing its status as a certified hit.

The tune is a fun romp into the world of pop collaboration (something surprisingly missing so far in 2014), and could be destined to become one of this decade’s “girl power” anthems.  All three ladies bring their best on this fiery track, but instead of being a vocal duel, the trio manages a fair level of cohesiveness.  Jessie J and Ariana Grande both have a great show of their respective vocal skills, while Nicki Minaj almost steals the show with her rapid fire rap. It’s a great song for the summer.

Besides the official record, Jessie J did a live acoustic version of Bang Bang. With just her and guitarist Lewie Allen Jessie J proves her worth as one of today’s best pop singers, navigating massive registration shifts with utmost precision and clarity. As Vibe magazine said when tweeting out the video, “she kills it.” Check out the track below.

Here is the record version with partners in crime Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj…



Music Musings: DJ Cassidy’s Paradise Royale

Is 2014 the year that Disco makes a huge comeback??

If DJ Cassidy has anything to do with it, the answer is a resounding yes.

Cassidy’s upcoming album, titled Paradise Royale and expected to be released this spring, is something seldom attempted in contemporary “pop” music… a full-on exploration of the Disco genre, using the talents and expertise of the original musicians. But it’s not a cover album. Greats like Nile Rodgers, Phillip Bailey, Verdine White and Patrice Rushen join forces with some of today’s biggest stars to create all new, original tunes. Here’s more from DJ Cassidy in a recent interview with Billboard.com

Cassidy began the process by assembling a playlist of 25 of his favorite dance hits from that era and making notes about which musicians played on them. “What I saw was the same names repeating over and over again,” Cassidy recalls. “It became apparent that the recording artists and producers of these songs were recruiting the same session musicians. Those were the men behind the music, the architects of the sound. At that point I realized that in order to fulfill my mission I needed to go back to the source.” He ultimately recruited 22 musicians for the recording, while making a deliberate decision to use modern hit makers for the vocals.

Those ‘modern hit makers’ are the likes of Jessie J, Robin Thicke, Kelly Rowland, John Legend and a host of others.

The lead single for the album is Calling All Hearts… due to be released in February. And if this track is any good predictor, expect big things from this album. The beat is driving, infectious, and proves to be a real relief from the reigning trends in dance music. The use of real instruments and real production is a real gem in a world where we’ve grown accustomed to manufactured sounds. As a result, doing things “the old way” sounds as new and as fresh as ever. It’s quickly become my favorite song of 2014. Check it out, and decide for yourself.

Updated March 4th to include the Music Video for Calling All Hearts!!

The Only Way is UP

So far 2012 has proven to be a tough year for the US, both economically and politically. Sometimes it feels like we just get lost in the shuffle… especially those who don’t have Billionaires or campaign machines to speak for them.

But on this Recall Day for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, we are finally reminded that Democracy can’t be killed. All the rights that people have fought so hard for are still alive. Even if the efforts of the Recall are unsuccessful, the citizens of Wisconsin still made their voices heard, and stood up to the forces that are constantly trying to drown them out.

Wisconsin, we’ve heard you, and we’re responding to the call. My hope is that we’re finally beginning to awake the sleeping giant of Democracy, and we will soon tell the Washington oligarchy that enough is enough.

Seeing the long lines to the voting booths, I’m inspired by one of my favorite songs by British phenoms James Morrison and Jessie J…

It’s never too late to turn it back around, yeah I know you can!

Don’t bury your demons deep in the ground.

When it all falls down, the only way is up.

For Wisconsin voters, and for everyone else, the only Way is UP.