Tag Archives: #RealFansBuyMusic

Music Musings: Sia Pushes Boundaries With ‘Elastic Heart’ Video

In the modern-day pop music industry, it’s really tough to find someone that is a true risk-taker.  Record companies survive on the slimmest of profit and debt margins, and as a result they seek desperately to contain creativity.  Artists, on the other hand, are always searching for a way to both break the mold and be rewarded for their efforts.  Few are able to push the boundaries while achieving measurable success.

But few have the gifts, talent and dedication of Australian singer-songwriter Sia Furler.  For one thing, her trajectory into music super-stardom has been much longer than most artists, as she seems to be reaching the peak her success now in her late 30s.  Her very long list of collaborators… from Rhianna to Beyonce to David Guetta… is a testament to how much influence she has throughout the industry.  But as a solo artist, it took the work of her and Guetta to launch Sia straight into the stratosphere with the 2012 smash hit Titanium, regularly cited as one of the best pop songs of the decade.

After Titanium, Sia released what some think is her greatest album yet, 1000 Forms of Fear. Just as the new year starts, Sia releases the epic song Elastic Heart for the album’s second single, with a controversial video that nearly broke the internet hours after it was posted.  Hunger Games fans may already know the song from the Catching Fire soundtrack.

The new video stars Maddie Ziegler (who previously starred in the video for Chandelier) and veteran movie and television actor Shia Labeouf.  The whole video is shot with Lebeouf chasing Ziegler in a large metal cage.  Though one can easily misinterpret singular images as disturbing or predatory, one thorough view of the entire video reveals that it’s less about the characters, but more about a depiction of inner struggle.  Perhaps it represents someone who cannot defeat a problem like drug addiction, illness or a difficult relationship.

In one scene, Ziegler quickly and easily escapes from the cage, while Labeouf is trapped behind the bars reaching for her.  Amazingly, he pulls his whole upper body out of the cage, yet still cannot figure how to actually get out of it.  It’s a metaphor many of us have dealt with time and again, where the solution to a seemingly complicated problem is well within our grasp… we just cannot see it.

Elastic Heart also challenges many societal stereotypes.  We see a true redefinition of bravery, courage and strength, as the young girl proves to have much more of each quality than the seemingly stronger adult man.  Is this video meant to be a feminist statement?  Not sure, but it’s certainly possible to read that way as well.

Lacking huge special effects, shocking costumes or expansive effects, the video is quite simplistic on first observation.  But the message, and how it connects with the contents of Elastic Heart, are profound.

Whatever your reaction, Elastic Heart is sure to get people talking, and once again cast the spotlight on this trailblazing artist.  Both the song and video are some of Sia’s best work yet.  Watch for yourself here…

Music Musings: Taylor Swift Gets Real About the Music Business

Check out Taylor Swift’s incredible speech at the Billboard Women in Music Awards.

The music superstar made the state while accepting the award for Billboard’s Woman of the Year.  Swift, a seven-time Grammy Award winner and twelve-time Billboard Music Award winner, had the year’s highest selling album by a single artist with 1989 (only Disney’s smash hit Frozen has sold more as of now).  Swift is one of the most powerful voices in all of the music industry right now.

So her choice to get right to the problem at hand was heard loud and clear by fellow artists, writers and producers in the room.  For music to continue to truly be an industry, some serious changes need to take place.

Here’s what she had to say…

…I am very well aware that the music industry is changing, and it will continue to change.  I am open to that change.  I’m open to progress.  I am not open to the financial model that is currently in place.  I really believe that we in the music industry can work together to find a way to bond technology with integrity.  And I just really hope we can teach a younger generation the value of investment in music rather than just the ephemeral consumption of it.

There has to be a way for streaming, or any future ways that we access music to fairly compensate the writers, musicians and producers of that music.

If any of this sounds familiar, then you probably caught my earlier post taking a look at the issues surrounding dismal album sales.

When people say that the music business is in crisis over sales, it’s not joke either. Just how much does a hit song actually make from streaming services?  Fusion online has the answer…

Through the first three months of 2014, “Happy” was streamed 43 million times on Pandora, while “All Of Me” was played 55 million times on the service.

But how much money did all those streams make for the artists involved in creating the tracks?

According to an email from Sony/ATV head Martin Bandier obtained by Digital Music News’ Paul Resnikoff, “Happy” brought in just $2,700 in publisher and songwriter royalties in the first quarter of this year, while “All Of Me” yielded just $3,400.

At current rates, Bandier said, one million plays of a song on Pandora typically translates to only approximately $60 in royalties, which then gets shared between the songwriters and publishers.

“This is a totally unacceptable situation and one that cannot be allowed to continue,” he wrote.

When contrasted to the early 2000s (when most people It’s one thing for industry professionals to share their private fears and frustrations over the future of music sales.  But when icons like Taylor Swift speak up, the greater community is sure to listen as well.

Cheers to Taylor for her commitment and bravery.  This speech itself is yet another indicator for why she is indeed Artist of the Year.