Hikers in Griffith Park got a surprise last month when they came across a disco ball chained to a bench. But this wasn’t any ordinary disco ball chained to a bench: This one, like dozens more around the globe, was placed there by KATY PERRY’s street team and gave fans a chance to get a first listen to Perry’s new song “Chained to the Rhythm.” As word spread, more people found the disco balls around the world and made pilgrimages to them.
Soon afterwards, Perry performed the song at the Grammy awards with an armband reading “Persist,” a reference most likely to the silencing of Senator Elizabeth Warren. The song, written with SIA and MAX MARTIN, later premiered online.
The Grammys also featured big wins by great artists. ADELE took home best Pop Vocal Album and Song of the Year. CHANCE THE RAPPER won Best Rap Album, marking the first time a digital-only album has won that accolade. JONI MITCHELL, making her first public appearance in months, also told the press that she was “moved” by Chance’s pre-show performance. BEYONCÉ, who won Best Urban Contemporary Album, gave a performance that was all the internet could talk about for a week. And of course, the night honored the late great DAVID BOWIE with both awards and tributes.
Some music fans, however, were distracted from watching the Grammys because there was something beautiful happening online: Streaming services finally got ahold of PRINCE’s discography. Music curators all over have started adding him to their playlists, including Pitchfork’s fantastic “Prince / Club Mix 78 – 84” on Apple Music.
He’s also being added to Spotify playlists left and right. Spotify, by the way, has recently teamed up with AccuWeather to provide Climatune, a service that recommends music based on listening habits and, of course, weather. Certain wind, rain or sun patterns mirror themselves in our musical tastes, they claim. I’m not sure that they’ll catch on, though, as they’ve apparently recommended AVRIL LAVIGNE’s “Sk8r Boi” to Detroiters on a rainy day.
Another fitting tribute to Prince’s legacy is the vocal powerhouse that is ARETHA FRANKLIN covering “Purple Rain,” which is worth your time to watch on YouTube. Sadly, though, Franklin recently announced that this will be her last year of public performances.
“I feel very, very enriched and satisfied with respect to where my career came from, and where it is now,” she said in an interview with Detroit’s WDIV Local 4. “I’ll be pretty much satisfied, but I’m not going to go anywhere and just sit down and do nothing. That wouldn’t be good either.”
Franklin said she would release a final album as well after retiring this year, produced by STEVIE WONDER. She said the album will feature all original songs.
Last year, HARRY SHEARER—one member of the fictional band “Spinal Tap”—filed a suit against the French media company Vivendi SA to terminate the conglomerate’s copyright over all things Spinal Tap in France. He, along with filmmaker Rob Reiner (who directed the film This is Spinal Tap!) and other bandmates CHRISTOPHER GUEST and MICHAEL MCKEAN joined the $400 million dollar lawsuit, citing a breach of contract as well as several instances of fraud and accounting misappropriation.
“Fair reward for artistic endeavor has long been raised by those on the wrong end of the equation,” reads a statement from Reiner. “Such anti-competitive practices need to be exposed.
Adding a bit in for the fans, he continued “I am hoping this lawsuit goes to 11.”
McKean claimed that Vivendi SA had not paid the artists for their work adequately and within the terms of their contract, which entitled them to 40 percent of the gross earnings. This is “a time for reckoning,” he said.