Bedroom Musicians: 001

The Bedroom DJ/Producer

Once upon a time, being a DJ or music producer meant that you belonged to a very niche and somewhat elite-ish group of people. Equipment was expensive and upgrading to the latest gear – a necessary purchase to make in a competitive market – was a big investment. Furthermore, lugging around hard-copied vinyl collections and heavy masses of equipment to perform a gig at a different venue every night was very inconvenient.

With the evolution of technology came a huge change in the dynamics in which DJ’s work. The affordability of powerful home computers, the accessibility of the Internet, and the invention of pocket-sized hard drives that can carry thousands of tracks, have made it easier for aspiring DJ’s to get hold of music equipment and software, to produce music straight from their bedrooms and to eventually make it to the big stage.

As music changes, so do the musicians –  Music these days can be found in any form, and this has allowed for a new type of musician to step forward.

EQUIPMENT: SINCE 2007 DJ GEAR SALES HAVE GROWN AT TWICE THE RATE OF GUITAR SALES IN THE USA

• DJ Gear sales increased by 25% from 2007 to 2014

2013 was an interesting year for connoisseurs of electronic music. The resurgence of vinyl (buying and releasing in the form) continued, as the 90s New York and Detroit vibes made their strongest comeback yet. In house music, a more commercial push was made, with strong performances from Disclosure and Duke Dumont seeing house music become arguably the most popular genre of all.

What are the key characteristics that have come to define the rise of bedroom music?

The Desire to Create versus Search for Success

Most "bedroom" DJ's/producers don't necessarily have a desire to become global superstars but rather focus on the joy that is gained from creating and performing. 

The rise of DJ culture and EDM has however created a new wave of young fans that are determined to succeed with the likes of Martin Garrix and David Guetta inspiring the wave.

Experimenting versus Emulating

When segmenting different bedroom musicians it's very easy to identify their inspiration and individuality. This can be seen in a number of ways.

DJ's: typically DJ's that are inspired by other acts will emulate their style, copying the songs they play and their techniques as opposed to finding their own approach.

Producers: will also follow a similar approach when it comes to following inspiration, emulating the sound and feeling of their favourite acts.

More advanced & individual bedroom musicians will be more likely to experiment with new techniques and may draw from numerous influences.

James Blake, nominated for “Best new Artist” at the Grammy Awards in 2014, confesses to making all of his music out of his one-bedroom flat, while Skrillex – who won three Grammys in 2013, talks of “making records on laptops and blown speakers” with some pride, and this summarises the notion that people can produce music of exceptionally high quality, through taking a minimalistic, modern approach.

Key Brands

  1. Pioneer DJ

  2. Denon DJ

  3. Serato

  4. Traktor

  5. Native Instruments

  6. Ableton

  7. Technics

  8. M-Audio

  9. Numark

  10. Xone

When Music Meets Science: Innovative Culture

We're working with some of the leading scientific institutions, helping them engage the next generation by connecting science and art culture. 

SCIENTIFIC INTEGRITY & MUSIC CULTURE

We're living in a time where scientists are learning how to simulate aspects of the universe in the most unique ways from super-computers to the particle accelerator in CERN. What is more exciting is that institutions like CERN realise the value of art and through new initiatives like ARTS@CERN, this vision of connecting the art and science community is being realised whilst still protecting the scientific integrity of the each concept. 



A great example is the latest project by Ryoichi Kurokawa, hosted at the very credible FACT in Liverpool. Ryoichi is an exceptionally talented artist who blends audio and visual to create a seamless experience. He worked with a leading Physicist and key data from CERN to create the Unfold project shown above. 

Unfold is a synaesthetic, immersive audio-visual experience. Through a complete unison of sight and sound, Kurokawa has created a beautifully abstract (but scientifically based) expression of the beginning of the universe.

NASA INSPIRES SYNERGY BETWEEN MUSIC & SCIENCE

Recently, a NASA mission encouraged musicians to look to space as inspiration for creative expression. This isn’t the first time a composer has turned NASA findings into art.

As the Juno mission prepared for insertion into orbit around Jupiter, NASA announced a collaboration with Apple designed to stimulate synergies between musical composition and interplanetary exploration. Highlights of the collaboration, which inspired several pieces of music, are on view in the documentary “Destination: Juno.” The video includes commentary by Juno principal investigator Scot Bolton and can be accessed via iTunes.

JEFF MILLS: THE MUSICAL FUTURIST

Jeff Mills has spent the past 30 years living in the future. In his ongoing adventures as musician, DJ and filmmaker he combines the gleaming optimism of Golden Age science fiction with the protean tumult of the warehouse party. He is forever hurtling forward, an innovator inhabiting a space-time continuum of his own imagining.

Mills was one of the primary instigators of Detroit techno (he was born in the rustbelt metropolis in 1963). He established the avowedly nonconformist Underground Resistance collective with fellow mould-breaker "Mad" Mike Banks and, under his alter-ego The Wizard (now retired), laid down many of the founding principles of a movement that gene-spliced Kraftwerk's digital utopianism and the hedonistic clamour of the early house scene.

A highly regarded techno album inspired by the Cassini-Huygens space probe

ARTS FUNDING SCIENCES: A NEW MODEL

What is the future of art and science? How can we reach a stage where art can fund the sciences? Both are incredibly important aspects of society and the common discussion is based on investing in one or the other. This is shortsighted and ignores the vital link between the two. 

Last year NTS Radio put on an event with Four Tet, Floating Points and Gilles Peterson all performing. The concept was to send all proceeds to a Syrian charity. A few months later we saw DJ EZ perform a 24 hour set, raising over £50k in 24 hours, also for charity. Concepts like this unite society in a way only music is able to and as a result focus the attention on important subjects and action. 

How could this ethical music model be applied to the world of science?

1) Museums as record labels and facilitators

When Tate Britain decided to let Kurupt FM bring their Champagne Steam Rooms rave to the infamous halls they we're making a statement, not sure they knew what they in for.

Many forms of contemporary music have always had subtle links with the art world but it's not typical to experience what might be defined as "underground" in these spaces. Institutions like Tate and other museums around the world have the ability to showcase new talent unlike many other entities and with the recent demise of the UK club scene it's logical for new facilitators to give artists the space to grow and exhibit their talents. 

2) Enlightened Art - Partnerships & Commissions

Too many talented artists lack the investment to truly realise their potential or take projects to the next step. At the same time there is a world of established musicians that can experience a lack of inspiration leading to meaningless music.

Institutions like CERN have very specific research and data that underpins everything they do. By commissioning artists to explore these data-sets and interpret them in new ways you start moving closer to more experimental and potentially meaningful work. There should be more collaborations between science and music organisations that lead projects that have purpose.

3) Self Sustaining Art

The real value will come down to the commercial models that make up these new deals.This is the ability to not just invest in art programmes but to have them generate awareness and revenue as well. 

We believe new immersive shows will be the future of the music industry and they will present a perfect platform for large education and scientific institutions to finally inspire the next generation in the most effective way. Imagine when NASA or CERN are able to share their ideas through visual shows that are experienced at festivals and in clubs, performed by leading artists. 

ART VS SCIENCE

Instead of this being a debate around the Arts vs STEM it should be about how they work together. It's frightening to think that many children won't have the chance to explore music but equally so that they might not even find a passion in science either. 

There are a few key pillars that we can all agree will need to be addressed for our long-term future and they revolve around sustainability, ethics and innovation.  

THE ROLE OF BRANDS

Brands like Google, Microsoft, Facebook & even Spotify sit in an interesting space; balancing a cultural role with technological vision of the future. We believe they have an important role to inspire the next generation to find an interest in art and science.

Google and Boiler Room used VR to transport people to a Berlin techno club, imagine what the evolution of this is could be when NASA also get involved and take you from a club to a planet.

Keep up to date with this series to see the latest examples on how these brands are connecting art and science in new ways. 

Underground Music in Indonesia: 001

The fourth most populous country in the world, comprised of thousands of volcanic islands between Southeast Asia and Australia, is home to a committed music scene.

INDONESIA— SET FOR RAPID SPENDING GROWTH POWERED BY INTERNET-BASED SEGMENTS

Spending on entertainment and media in Indonesia has grown rapidly in recent years, driven by the country’s expanding middle class and rising disposable incomes. While the country’s entertainment and media market remains relatively small compared to other leading Asia Pacific countries such as China, it is set to be the region’s equal fourth-fastest growing market over the coming five years.

PwC’s Global entertainment and media outlook 2014-2018 projects that overall spending on entertainment and media in Indonesia will rise during 2013- 2018 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.1% — a pace of growth that will be exceeded in Asia Pacific only by India (11.6% CAGR), China (10.9% CAGR), and the much smaller Pakistan market (10.6% CAGR).

Read more here

Demographics

Population: 261.1 million (2016) World Bank

Life expectancy: 69.07 years (2015) World Bank

Population growth rate: 1.1% annual change (2016) World Bank

GNI per capita: 11,220 PPP dollars (2016) World Bank

Official language: Indonesian

Age structure: 0-14 years: 25.42%
15-24 years: 17.03% 
25-54 years: 42.35%
55-64 years: 8.4% 
65 years and over: 6.79%

A GROWING FESTIVAL SPACE

Djarkata Warehouse Project is an enormous electronic music festival in Jakarta, Indonesia's capital city. For two days, the city's international exposition centre plays host to global megastars of dance music from the world over.

EDM, house and techno comprise the majority of the music on offer across the festival, with the likes of Martin Garrix, Axwell^Ingrosso and Nicky Romero among the hundreds of DJs who have performed in recent years. 

 

100,000 FANS VISIT ULTRA BALI

Ultra Bali is an outdoor electronic music festival that is a part of Ultra Music Festival's worldwide expansion, which has now spread to twenty countries. Having officially SOLD OUT within a week of going on sale and without announcing a single act it is clear the demand for electronic music culture is huge.

 

5 HEAVILY ANTICIPATED MUSIC FESTIVALS

  1. Spotify on Stage

  2. We The Fest

  3. Sunny Side Up

  4. Ultra Beach Bali

  5. Djakarta Warehouse Project

REBEL YOUTH VERSUS CORRUPT REGIME

For most of the 1990s, Indonesia was still under the authoritarian New Order regime, which ended after 33 years with the fall of the military dictator General Suharto in 1998. But despite censorship and bans, Indonesia's underground music scene thrived as a youth subculture, allowing itself to become an alternative medium for artists and activists to express rebellious voices against the regime.

Musician, anthropologist, ethnomusicologist, and assistant professor in the Department of Popular Culture at Bowling Green State UniversityJeremy Wallach just launched a book titled Musik Indonesia 1997-2001: Kebisingan & Keberagaman Aliran Lagu, written in Bahasa Indonesia.

It tells about the Indonesian music upheaval in the era of the New Order transition towards the Reformation Order. Jeremy was in touch with the music communities from punk, metal to dangdut in documenting part of the pop culture in Indonesia at that time.

INDONESIA'S HIJAB-WEARING MUSLIM METAL GROUP CHALLENGES STEREOTYPES

With their heads covered with Islamic headscarves, the three members of the Indonesian band VoB (“Voice of Baceprot” or “Noisy Voice”) do not look like your typical heavy metal group.

Formed in 2014, the band of teenagers met at school in Indonesia’s most populous province of West Java, and use their music to combat the stereotype of Muslim women as submissive or voiceless.

The relationship between Islam and music is an ambiguous one. Often, Islam and music are perceived to be antagonistic, while for many Muslims music is an integral part of their religion. This relationship becomes even more difficult to define in Indonesia where many different forms of Islam exist, from fundamentalist to liberalist. There is not a common stance among Indonesian Muslims towards the role of music; some find it to be haram (forbidden by Islam) and regard music as a potential medium to distract the listener from worshipping God, while others find it halal (permitted by Islam) and feel that music can help bring a listener closer to God.

The surge of Muslim pop culture shows that religious obedience and modernity are certainly not contradictory in present day Indonesia. It also allows a wide range of Islamic popular music to emerge.

GROWING MIDDLE CLASS

In the past fifteen to twenty years, Indonesia has been characterised byunprecedented transformations in both political and cultural life. One of those transformations was in the music industry which thrived as never before. As the authoritarian regime of president Suharto came to an end in 1998, new political leaders adopted a much more democratic system, allowing freedom of the press and political parties with new orientations that were largely suppressed before. A growing Indonesian middle class has a clearer view of what lies beyond the nation's boundaries through modern technologies, such as the Internet and mobile phones. The rise of pop culture went hand in hand with the expansion of national and local TV and radio stations, and the emergence of many new magazines. As a result of these changes, where political aspirations were free to be expressed and debates about social issues reached the public sphere, Indonesians may have reconsidered their place in society and expressed their identities in new ways.

ETHNIC GROUPS

There are over 300 ethnic groups in Indonesia. 95% of those are of Native Indonesian ancestry. The largest ethnic group in Indonesia is the Javanese who make up about 40% of the total population.

RELIGIONS

Muslim 87.2%, Christian 7%, Roman Catholic 2.9%, Hindu 1.7%, other 0.9% (includes Buddhist and Confucian), unspecified 0.4% (2010 est.)

Music in China: Hip-Hop 001

Hip hop has been getting a bad rap in China.

Last year, the genre was having something of a heyday, but since then, the bubble has burst.

In the wake of new rules from China's media regulator, songs have been blacklisted; rising Chinese rappers, such as Gai and VaVa, have been dropped from shows; and another artist, PG One, even apologized for lyrics that came under fire for glorifying drugs and sex.

The crackdown has had a chilling effect on a genre more commonly associated with blasting rebellious opinion.

"DO YOU HAVE FREESTYLE?"

That's the buzz phrase in China these days. The catchphrase came from “The Rap of China”, the country’s first talent show that centers on hip-hop artists, many of them previously underground.

With hundreds of millions of views since its launch in late June, the show has quickly put these artists, as well as the music genre, into the limelight.

DELICATE POLITICS

Ever since China's underground music and art culture started to really emerge in the 1980's, artists have had to release their work while maintaining a delicate relationship with authorities. Even today, the government still cracks down on what they consider vulgar culture.

VPNS

The first and most obvious challenge is censorship, which is hardly news in China. Most young people use VPNs to connect to overseas private networks that circumvent China’s so-called Great Firewall, which prohibits Google, Youtube, SoundCloud, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. The majority of young people’s music sharing remains on Chinese platforms like Weibo, the Twitter of China, or Xiami, a SoundCloud-like service that isn’t even available outside the country. While most young people now consider the Great Firewall a mere inconvenience, its long term effect on music in China is significant.

HIP-HOP GIVES CHINESE DIALECTS FRESH EXPRESSION

On his recent track “Stupid Foreigners,” rapper Cai Zhenhong — better known as “Xie Di” or “Fat Shady” — rails against arrogant and entitled expatriates living in his homeland. Although it drew attention primarily for its provocative subject matter, the track is also notable for being entirely in the Chengdu dialect, part of the family of Sichuan dialects spoken by over 100 million in China’s southwest.

Rap music in Chinese dialects started to emerge in the 1990s, around the same time as Mandarin rap. While some dialect rappers regard their art as an avenue to fame and fortune, for others, it is a tool for promoting and protecting local language and culture.

Online, hip-hop fans debate whether Mandarin or dialects are better suited to rap. In a discussion on Q&A website Zhihu, a commentator claims that Mandarin has less colorful slang and a monotonous flow, owing to its four tones. By comparison, the Changsha dialect — from central China’s Hunan province — has seven tones, and Cantonese has nine. Yet using Mandarin to make music gives artists a wider market for their songs and a larger vocabulary to draw from: Most rappers, educated after Mandarin became the primary language of instruction in schools, have a stronger command of Mandarin than their local dialect.

THE SHOW THAT INSPIRES CHINESE CONSUMERS TO TALK ABOUT STREETWEAR

Hip hop fashion and streetwear culture, though popular in the West, have never gone completely mainstream in China. But that may be changing owing to a popular online reality show and rap competition called The Rap of China, which features four celebrity producers tasked with training and guiding a rotating cast of young competing rappers.

The first episode of the show, which is produced by China’s largest online video platform iQiyi, launched on June 24, drawing over 100 million viewers within the first four hours, according to local Chinese media. The average viewership of each episode is currently around 200 million.

One direct result of this wildly popular show is that a series of high-end streetwear brands, including Off-White, Vetements, Supreme and Raf Simons, have become household names among China’s millennials.

STORYTELLING & RAP: CHINESE CULTURE

Rap music in China seems like a paradox at first glance. How did this music genre borne out of the stories of struggle, joy, and life of black Americans find an audience in China? Like other subcultures, is China simply rap’s latest home and playground? Or is there a deeper connection (intersection one might say) between rap’s history and China that makes it more appealing?

Much like the everyday stories told during the golden age of hip-hop, Emcees in China are using rap as an outlet to talk about their frustrations, triumphs, or apathy towards society. Without delving deeper, one can easily misrepresent rap as a subculture transplant that gave the first form of spoken poetry over a beat and influenced oral storytelling to Chinese people.

To understand the appeal of the golden age of rap, one needs to go back in China’s history to see there’s a closer link between rap and Chinese culture.

Storytelling over instruments in China has been common for centuries, most notably in Fuzhou Storytelling (福州评话) delivered over a cymbal or wooden block and the more modern Kuaiban (快板) (dubbed “the original Chinese rap”) where a rhyming verse was spoken rhythmically over bamboo clappers. Even the Chinese term for rap (说唱 | shuōchàng, which literally means ‘speak and sing’ ) predates hip-hop; and up until the late 20th century 说唱 was used as an umbrella description for all forms of traditional Chinese storytelling.

Traditional Chinese storytelling was used for a wide range of reasons, from social commentary in the dynasty eras to keeping family ideals and morals alive for next generations – paralleling many of the same themes in the golden age of hip-hop. Chinese youth, perhaps unknowingly, are actually continuing a long lineage of traditional folk shuōchàng, drawing inspirations from the clever lyricism in the golden age of rap to create their own unique Chinese spin/cultural asset.

For Chinese rappers, identity is expanded beyond the ‘hood’. Unlike in the US where a specific neighbourhood reflects your socioeconomic class, there’s no equivalent in China. So instead of pride in “reppin’ your hood” (e.g. NYC, Compton, Detroit, Atlanta, East v. West), Chinese rappers state their identity with regions and local dialects. It’s common to hear Chinese rap referencing well-known local gems/trademarks and rapping entire songs in local dialect.

So while hip-hop can seem like a paradox in China, an oddity even – it’s worth a closer look, to see it has a snugger fit and closer connection than what first appears.

Demographics

Population: 1.379 billion (2016) World Bank

Life expectancy: 75.99 years (2015) World Bank

Population growth rate: 0.5% annual change (2016) World Bank

GNI per capita: 15,500 PPP dollars (2016) World Bank

Growth rate: 0.47% (2009 est.) (159th)

Official languages: Mandarin Chinese, Standard Mandarin

Age structure: 0-14 years: 17.1% 
15-24 years: 13.27%
25-54 years: 48.42%
55-64 years: 10.87%
65 years and over: 10.35% 


Brands and Business Incubators: Incubation 001

Innovation: The process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value or for which customers will pay. To be called an innovation, an idea must be replicable at an economical cost and must satisfy a specific need.  

Innovation is one of the most overused buzzwords in business and marketing. Most companies that want to “innovate” aren’t willing to take the risk and want a guarantee of results. This mentality can be counter-productive and restrict the development of great ideas. In this series we will explore different ways brands are trying to develop their innovation strategies. 

From incubators and accelerators, to hosting hackathons and creating new job roles, welcome to the modern world of innovation.

The Lean Startup

The lean startup is a book by Eric Ries which provides a scientific approach to creating and managing startups and get a desired product to customers' hands faster. It is a principled approach to new product development. A core component of Lean Startup methodology is the “build-measure-learn” feedback loop.

The first step is figuring out the problem that needs to be solved and then developing a minimum viable product (MVP) to begin the process of learning as quickly as possible. Once the MVP is established, a startup can work on tuning the engine. This will involve measurement and learning and must include actionable metrics that can demonstrate cause and effect question.

Innovation doesn’t neccesarily have to focus on new product development but can also be focussed on making processes more efficient, usually through technology but not always.

The most popular approach to drive innovation at the moment is based on brands setting up incubators and accelerators.

Here are some notable examples of large brands launching their own incubator programmes.

Sky Betting & Gaming - With over 1.6 million customers, SB&G want to tackle key business and customer challenges by building relationships with small businesses, with the potential to develop longer term commercial partnerships.

L’Oreal Founders Factory -  L’Oreal announced a strategic investment in the Founders Factory, a leading global multi sector digital accelerator and incubator. L’Oréal and Founders Factory will invest and scale five early stage startups and co-create two new companies from scratch every year. The in-house team of experts at Founders Factory, many of whom are successful entrepreneurs themselves, will provide hands-on support and advice to participating startups, as well as working with L’Oréal to jointly build and launch new products and services.  

L'Oreal StationF - L’Oréal is the official sponsor of the exclusive beauty accelerator within STATION F, the 366,000 square foot Parisian campus designed to host a startup ecosystem under one roof.The L’Oréal beauty accelerator will welcome up to 20 high potential early stage startups starting in January 2018 and accelerate their development by bringing them strategic mentoring and operational support. 

Sephora - Sephora Accelerate is dedicated to building a community of innovative female founders in beauty. The months-long program begins with a one-week bootcamp where founders acquire the necessary skills to create a successful business.

Unilever Foundry - The Unilever Foundry is Unilever’s platform for start-ups and innovators to engage, collaborate and explore business opportunities with Unilever and their 400+ brands. Through the Unilever Foundry, start-ups can view and apply to address new briefs from our brands and functions, apply for mentorship through one of their partners, and register to attend events across the world.

P&G Connect - P&G’s Connect + Develop program helps initiate partnerships to meet today’s needs across the P&G business: for products, technology, in-store, ecommerce and the supply chain. Whether you are an individual inventor, a small business, or a Fortune 500 company, Connect + Develop is designed to help innovators and patent-holders connect with P&G.

Nike FuelLab - A partnership program designed to connect Nike with industry leading companies who share our commitment to using emerging technologies to create better solutions for athletes. In the first ever Nike+ Accelerator, 10 start-up companies moved to Portland for 3 months and collaborated with Nike and mentors on their company products and connections to NikeFuel and Nike+.

Under Armour Idea House - dea House was designed to give you the tools and information you need to develop that great idea and bring it to market.

Arsenal Innovation Lab -  The Arsenal Innovation Lab is the latest step in Arsenals desire to be at the forefront of the game on and off the pitch. They are looking for smart-thinking businesses to help identify ground-breaking ideas.

Abbey Road Red - Building on a legacy of more than 80 years of groundbreaking technological advances at the Studios, Abbey Road Red is an open innovation department designed to support the endeavours of the brightest music tech entrepreneurs, researchers and developers. They run a unique music tech start-up incubation program – they claim it's only one of its kind in Europe – to support the most promising music tech start-ups, as well as collaborating with  the brightest minds in academic research. The white lab coats are long gone at Abbey Road but the spirit of adventure is still as present as ever.

John Lewis JLAB - Helping startups shape the future retail experience.

IKEA Bootcamp - IKEA Bootcamp is about collaborating and co-building with startups. They are looking for startups to help solve the IKEA ‘Big Problems’ around being truly affordable for the many people, reaching and interacting with the many, and enabling a positive impact on the planet, people and society.

PepsiCo Nutrition Greenhouse - PepsiCo has launched a new incubator scheme, designed to nurture emerging nutrition and wellness brands. The new programme focuses on products aimed at European consumers and seeks to identify up to eight breakthrough brands, with successful companies receiving a €25,000 grant and entry into the six-month incubator programme. They will benefit from both in-person and virtual events, including being paired with executives whose industry expertise can help them address their immediate market challenges and accelerate growth.

BritVic Wisehead - Britvic has launched WiseHead Productions, an incubator company setup to create drinks for adults who seek quality drinking experiences.

Diageo x Distil Ventures - Diageo partnered with Distill Ventures to  support entrepreneurs who want to create the global drinks brands of the future. 

Volkswagen Transparent Factory - The Transparent Factory from Volkswagen is starting a new chapter: six innovative mobility teams will today begin the new start-up incubator programme in Dresden. They now have 200 days to take their innovative ideas and develop mobility products or services which are ready for the market. Alongside Volkswagen mobility experts they will be supported by Group It's Ideation:Hub as well as experts from the SpinLab – The HHL Accelerator-Programm of HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management – and with financial support from the state capital city of Dresden.

Mercedez Startup adVANce - Opportunity to work with Mercedes-Benz Vans and help you turn your transport idea into reality. Support as a fair partner, granting up to €500,000 to co-develop prototype with shared IP rights.

Grime Music, Politics and Ethics: 001

"For the first time in my adult life there is a chance to elect someone I would consider a sane and decent human," wrote rapper and poet Akala on Twitter soon after the snap election was announced in April.

Grime music has reached new heights over the past few years as artists like Skepta and Stormzy raise the profile and have helped the genre go global.

Attendance for grime events has increased by 34% over the last three years, with Ticketmaster selling more tickets to more fans than ever before.

In this insight piece we explore the relationship between Grime, Politics and Ethics, looking at key examples that highlight the synergy.

LYRICS

Dizzee Rascal

Grime has been a style music that above all describes poverty and alienation, as a teenage Dizzee says on Boy in da Corner: “Queen Elizabeth don’t know me so, how can she control me when, I live street and she lives neat?”

Skepta

"When it comes to the articulation of politics and grime, the lyric that is often quoted is Skepta Shutdown's 'We don't listen to no politician. Everybody on the same mission. We don't care about your -isms and schisms.'

Stormzy

After some fans told Stormzy to shut up and stick to music instead of politics, he responded in his next track, Hear Dis: “They said I can’t tweet about the government, why can’t I be free any more? / I’ll expose these racist clubs and feds who can’t move me any more.”

Novelist is another leading artists who has a clear message.

He started 2016 with the instrumental David Cameron Riddim which was followed by Street Politician. Novelist’s depiction of violence and “black boys stuck in the system” was juxtaposed with swirling sirens and a repeated sample of the prime minister assuring a post-riots Britain that “keeping people safe is the first duty of government”.

He followed it with another new track, Break in Your House, on which he said: “Not enough man like me are voting / But man are on the blocks, chatting shit, moaning.”


A NEW GENERATION WITH A STRONG MESSAGE

DAVE

BIG ZUU

KOJEY RADICAL

INFLUENCING A GENERATION TO VOTE: GRIME 4 CORBYN

INFLUENCING A GENERATION TO VOTE

JME x Corbyn: #Grime4Corbyn

A major conclusion from the latest Ticketmaster report on Grime include the impact of the #Grime4Corbyn campaign. With 58% of grime fans voting for Labour during the 2017 election, one in four said that the campaign directly influenced their vote.

It became clear on June 9 that Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to call a snap election was ill judged. This election has highlighted the disregard for the “many” that government should serve, and after an election in which the youth turnout was around 72% of those aged 18-24, the impact of the youth in Labour’s surge of popularity is obvious.

Of particular note is the role of a series of influential grime artists, who are not traditionally known for their politics yet came out in full force, working to galvanise the youth to vote and specifically supporting Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. In a 2003 radio interview, then MP Kim Howells laid into the grime scene, calling its artists “macho boasting idiots”. In the aftermath of the election, who are the macho boasting idiots now?

WORKING WITH THE POLICE

Occasionally, grime MCs have been persuaded by the authorities into more serious musical preaching. Roll Deep’s 2006 song and video Badman, a cautionary tale about gun crime, was produced in aid of Stop the Guns, a campaign organised by the Metropolitan police’s Trident division, which is charged with tackling gun crime.

POLITICIANS AND GRIME

SADIQ KHAN - GRIME IS HERE TO STAY

Mayor Of London Sadiq Khan has spoken up in praise of the city’s grime scene, declaring that it is ‘here to stay’. 

“My girls are 15 and 17 and big grime fans,” Mr Khan told NME. “Skepta’s one of their heroes, Stormzy, Wiley, it’s great. We went to Drake last week and he had Section Boyz on stage – they’re a big grime act from London.”

GRIME AND CHARITY: #GRIMEAID

Over the past year there have been a number of events hosted under the #GrimeAid banner where artists perform for free and use all funds raised to support important causes, for example the crisis in Syria & Sierra Leone.

Sports Sponsorship Trends

Technology to drive more activity

Gone are the days when sports sponsorship was restricted to jerseys, equipment and stadia. Digital technology means that social media, which now dominates fans' lives, will play an increasing role in sponsorship over the next few years.

Supporters are now quick to like or follow a brand on social media that sponsors their favoured team or player and it's reported that 30% who connect with a sponsor in this way buy one of its products.

They clearly prefer the new ways that brands seek their attention – such as radio frequency identification wristbands and facial recognition – and so do the rights-holders.

READ SOME OF OUR FAVOURITE EXAMPLES OF FUTURISTIC DIGITAL SPONSORSHIP IN SPORT HERE

“Sports is a people business, so we’re looking for ways to use technology to further engage with people,” said John Abbamondi, vice president of the NBA’s Team Marketing & Business Operations division. Recently we've seen Nike develop their "connected" jerseys for the NBA and at KRPT we're having numerous conversations with UK Football teams about developing their own connected strategies, whether that is the stadium or otherwise. 

There will be less use of physical sponsorship activation in 2018 – for instance at a major sporting event – and more digital sponsorship because of the number of social media platforms. That sponsorship could include digital video and LED boards as leagues and teams upgrade their facilities to provide increased connectivity to their fans.

Data to drive higher value deals

Sponsorship is set to become the latest area of the sports industry to use data more effectively as rights-holders seek to attract more fans.

Brands have started to work with rights-holders to create interesting content with their data and this is likely to increase massively in 2018 due to the resultant increase in revenue.

Mars have already worked with the Australian Football League (AFL) to launch a fantasy competition, in which around 10,000 players participated, delivering 1.5 million page views on desktop and mobile, and engaging over 50,000 fans.

Increasing role of influencers

As sport's principal social influencers, athletes remain a key vehicle for companies to enhance the reach, popularity and influence of their brand.

But as Puma's $10 million-a-year deal with nine-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt demonstrates, the cost of getting elite athletes on board can be incredibly expensive. This has seen companies looking for alternative strategies and 'guerilla' endorsements.

'Accidental' endorsements see a celebrity athlete using a product or service 'by chance', instantly boosting its popularity. To the general public, it appears more genuine than a commercial sponsorship as it's perceived that the celebrity actually uses and favours the product, as opposed to being paid to appear as if they do.

Savvy sports brands have cottoned on to this merging of the sporting, lifestyle, fashion and music worlds already. It’s this trend that led Manchester United kit sponsor Adidas to team football star Paul Pogba up with grime singer Stormzy in a music video, which quickly went viral. Reflecting on the campaign, the brand explained that sports marketing activations which combine influential social media personalities like Stomzy with its signed players will be its focus going forward.

Sports fans demand more immersive experiences

Brands are realising that plastering a logo over a stadium or shirt isn't going to deliver a truly engaging message. Fans are looking for more interactive moments and sponsors are having to deliver through new experiences. 

Esports to continue playing an important role in wider strategies

Big football clubs have been signing up eSports players and teams and it won't be long til we see sponsors and clubs combining in this space to develop new strategies. 

Since Wolfsburg signed two FIFA players in 2015, football clubs around the world have invested in eSports. Paris Saint-Germain and Schalke have League of Legends teams, West Ham’s number 50 is a FIFA player, while FC Copenhagen own a Counter-Strike team.

With eSports predicted to reach 600 million viewers by 2020, it’s easy to see why sponsors & football clubs want to get involved in the scene.

Music will be used a medium to develop campaigns between clubs and sponsors

Pogba x Stormzy

One of the most effective music campaigns in football

Pogba & Stormzy, AJ Tracey & Tottenham and Gorillaz & Chelsea were all campaigns that achieved success this year. 

Sponsors will continue to explore how music can be used as a way to collaborate with their partnered clubs and engage new audiences. 

READ ABOUT OUR FAVOURITE CASE STUDIES HERE. 

Women in Electronic Music: Research Papers

We have identified a range of research papers that focus on gender diversity in music.

WHERE IS SHE? FINDING THE WOMEN IN ELECTRONIC MUSIC CULTURE

The author discusses the visibility and participation of women in electronic music culture. She argues that most electronic music social networks privilege male inclusion and success, and that skill-sharing is an important strategy to encourage women in the field. To seed this discussion, the author examines her own history with reflections on the gender dynamics within electronic music communities outside the academy, and the role that social and technical currencies play within them. She also discusses Ladies club, a music distribution project that led to several solo female electronic musicians taking the stage and organising events in Montreal during 2007.

RESISTANCE OR REITERATION? RETHINKING GENDER IN DJ CULTURES

Many practices of contemporary DJ-driven electronic dance music derive from 1970s club scenes in the United States, which were welcoming spaces for people who otherwise encountered prejudice for their gender identities and sexual orientations. Through their prominence in dance music literature, these scenes, along with British rave culture, have come to represent a broader conception of a global ‘alternative dance music culture’ that incorporates various communitarian ideologies—including non-discriminatory and non-patriarchal gender relations. This paper offers a critique of such celebratory interpretations.

FABRICATING ACTIVISM: CRAFT-WORK, POPULAR CULTURE, GENDER

This article examines the recent resurgence of interest in what we call “fabriculture.” Three dimensions of fabriculture are explored: the gendered spaces of production around new domesticity and the social home; the blurring of old and new media in digital craft culture; and the politics of popular culture that emerge in the mix of folk and commercial culture. Ultimately, we conceptualize craft as power (the ability or capacity to act), as a way of understanding current activist possibilities.

FEMINISED NOISE AND THE ‘DOTTED LINE’ OF SONIC EXPERIMENTALISM

This article outlines various intersections of noise and femininity, through which noise has been feminised and the feminine has been produced as noisy. Feminised musical genres, such as mainstream pop, have been dismissed as excessive, banal and extraneous noise. Noise has also been feminised by a number of recent historiographical and curatorial projects that have sought to amplify the creative work of women in experimental and electronic music. Using a cybernetic understanding of noise as an explanatory metaphor, I suggest that these projects threaten the integrity of a patrilineal ‘dotted line’ that characterises histories of musical noise and sonic experimentalism. This cybernetic metaphor is also applied to Pauline Oliveros’ Willowbrook generations and reflections (1976) and the performances of noise artist Phantom Chips, so as to identify the production of a feminised noise in and through music. I suggest that these curatorial projects and musical practices raise important questions as to if, when and how feminised noise becomes feminist noise.

‘BEYOND THE DANCE FLOOR’? GENDERED PUBLICS AND CREATIVE PRACTICES IN ELECTRONIC DANCE MUSIC

This article draws on ethnographic fieldwork in London (2013–2014) to address the reasons why men dominate the crowds in certain spheres of electronic/dance music. Focusing on a group of London-based genres, notably dub, dubstep, grime and ‘bass music’, I analyse how gender gets attached to musical formations through the qualities and connotations not only of musical sound, but of its material, technological, social and spatial mediations. I show how such connotations ‘stick’ (Ahmed, S. [20041. Ahmed, S. (2004). The cultural politics of emotion. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. View all references]. The cultural politics of emotion. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press) and get transmitted through time, leading to the persistent absence of women from certain musical lineages; and I demonstrate how this process serves to entrench and ‘naturalise’ associations between musical genres and ‘maleness’. I then take this analysis to creative practices. Through my dialogue with DJ/producer Jack Latham—aka Jam City (Night Slugs)—I illuminate how musicians caught up in gendered socio-musical formations can become reflexively engaged with the gendered implications of the sounds they produce, and can therefore experiment with making changes.

GENDER, CREATIVITY AND EDUCATION IN DIGITAL MUSICS AND SOUND ART

This special issue examines the politics of gender in relation to higher education, creative practices and historical processes in electronic music, computer music and sound art. The starting point is a summary of research findings on the student demographics associated with the burgeoning of music technology (MT) undergraduate degrees in Britain since the mid-1990s. The findings show a clear bifurcation: the demographics of students taking British MT degrees, in comparison to traditional music degrees and the national average, are overwhelmingly male, from less advantaged social backgrounds, and slightly more ethnically diverse. At issue is the emergence of a highly (male) gendered digital music field. The special issue sets these findings into dialogue with papers by practitioners and scholars concerned with gender in relation to educational, creative and historical processes. Questions addressed include: What steps might be taken to redress gender inequalities in education, and in creative, compositional and curatorial practices? How can we combat the tendency to focus exclusively on the ‘problem of women’ while at the same time ignoring the challenges posed by the marked styles of masculinity evident in these fields? Is the gendering of electronic and digital musics and sound art evident in certain aesthetic directions? And what musical futures are augured by such imbalances?

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN: A CONVERSATION WITH BJÖRK

Following a rupture in her personal life, Björk returns with her most exposed album to date, Vulnicura. She talks to Jessica Hopper about finding clarity and liberation amidst incredible pain, and reclaiming herself as a woman, artist, and feminist.

Youth Unemployment in Europe: 001

EUROPE'S LOST GENERATION

Youth unemployment in the eurozone has been stuck between 19% to 25% for the past eight years. In Spain and Greece, it's north of 40%.

For comparison, youth unemployment in the U.S. is just below 10%.

The bleak numbers underscore the uphill battle many young Europeans face in finding jobs that match their aspirations and education.

The widespread rocketing youth unemployment rates are having a noticeable effect on culture, art, and society; meanwhile, pessimism is perpetuating the economic crisis

THE ROOT CAUSE: GLOBALISATION? 

Of the 15 countries with the highest youth unemployment rates in the world, eight are located in southern Europe. Of the top 14 countries with the highest rates of pessimism in the world, seven are located in southern Europe. It is no coincidence that Greece, Portugal, and four others fall into both categories.

Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal, and Croatia, just to name a few victims of the crisis, have all reached youth unemployment rates of close to 50 percent or more. These countries find themselves far above the EU’s average youth unemployment rate of 18.6 percent, and over the past 17 years their rates have been (and still are) growing. What caused this proliferation? Many nationals blame globalisation, international trade, EU policies such as economic austerity, immigration, and the general economic crisis.

PESSIMISTIC & UNEMPLOYED: INTRISINCLY LINKED?

A study conducted by Gallup in which people were asked to rate their future lives either as better or as worse than their current ones found that Europeans were the most pessimistic group in the study, which included 141 countries in Asia, North America, Africa, Europe, and Australia. Southern and eastern European countries were “in particular” more pessimistic. Gallup theorizes that this correlation may be linked to the economic crisis. 

THE EFFECT ON MUSIC & CULTURE

The evolution of popular music is yet another reflection of the effects of the youth unemployment rate on cultural norms. In recent years, there has been a growth in the popularity of rap music, which, historically, has been a means to lament political, economic, and social issues. In Italy, Greece, and Portugal, pop had been the most common music style among the younger generations until relatively recently. Now, rappers (such as Fedez and Emis Killa) are slowly replacing pop stars.

Moreover, popular themes of these songs include suicide, justification of vandalism, complaints about politics and capitalism, hate towards elites and corruption, and a general sense of hopelessness for the future.

In an Italian rap song by Fedez, called Si Scrive Schiavitu si legge Liberta, the phrases “questo mondo e una prigione con la cella un po piu grande” (this world is a prison with a slightly larger cell) and “ma questa e la mia nazione che pesa sulle mie scelte” (but this is my nation that weighs on my choices) are just two examples of the types of statements that young Italians feel represent their current state of mind.

They believe their nation is what pushes them down. While this is a reflection of the contemporary state of mind in southern Europe, it has its own impact on the public. Negative songs are played in public spaces, parties, and shops. One could argue that an influx of pessimistic media may have negatively influenced cultural norms, feeding into the vicious cycle.

The city infrastructure is another emblem of cultural pessimism. An online publication explains that “Germany, Italy, Spain and many other European countries have a major problem due to the sheer scale of the graffiti.” The graffiti is not just a sign of widespread frustration. It is also used as a form of “sophisticated” protest of the economic and political problems.


While globalization, EU policies, and other factors may directly contribute to high rates of youth unemployment, a vicious cycle that perpetuates the situation has installed itself in southern European culture and society. High youth unemployment causes widespread pessimism which, in turn, results in shifts in popular music, art styles, and cultural norms. These changes then prolong and worsen the situation by perpetuating cultural malaise.

SKILLS & TRAINING: THE SOLUTION?

The lack of professional experience is a big obstacle that prevents young people from getting a job. Having less job-related experience than adult workers makes youngsters more vulnerable when there are lay-offs and decreases their chances to be employed for newly opened positions. As a result, young people are most likely to be the last to be employed and in the same time the first to be laid off. This makes the transition from school to the labour market almost impossible. 

Moreover, there is a growing mismatch between the skills that young people have and the positions that are offered on the job market. The low quality of education and the continuous expansion of the skill pool required for a job, leaves young people under qualified and without any work offerings. On the other hand, it is often the case that young people with higher education find it hard to find positions that suit their qualifications and skills, accepting work for which they are overqualified. The skill mismatch affects the job satisfactions and wages of workers and in the same time distresses the productivity of firms, while the qualification mismatch prevents countries from realising the full potential of their labour force.

In order to cope with the problem of high youth unemployment the EU has already adopted initiatives like the Youth Guarantee and the Youth Employment Initiative which have for a goal to provide funding and encourage Member States to take action by making it easier for young people to find jobs and provide them with vocational training. 

Brands Supporting Emerging Music: 001

Boiler Room x Budweiser: What’s Brewing

Budweiser partnered with Boiler Room and hosted a series of events around the globe, from Madrid to India. The general consensus has been very positive and it’s great to see the brand supporting new markets like India where electronic music is now one of the most popular genres.

They also created “My Way” - described as a six part series of short films, where they talk to some of the amazing artists who have performed at the Budweiser x Boiler Room | What's Brewing events globally.


Levis Music Project

The Levi’s Music Project is a global platform that collaborates with the world’s most relevant artists to provide access to music and inspire the next generation of creators.

As part of the Levi's® Music Project, Levi's® and Skepta partnered to establish a community youth music facility in the heart of Skepta's hometown of Tottenham, North London.

Skepta was a natural choice as someone that embodies the modern day independent spirit and the perfect mentor to show young people what it means to be an artist in the modern digital age. It has now expanded to Birmingham and Manchester with more leading artists supporting the cause.


Netflix x GRM Daily: The Ghetts Down

A recent campaign with Netflix where GRM Daily had a leading musician (Ghetts) giving fans a chance to win a day in the studio with the artist. Fans were encouraged to send their freestyles and this generated tons of UGC. When the audience visited the digital channels they were also exposed to full web-takeovers from Netflix and their latest show (The Get Down).  The campaign was a great example of how you could promote a new show whilst also providing a platform to help talent gain exposure. The creative execution was completely aligned as well which made this project stand out in terms of authenticity.


Pepsi The Sound Drop

Pepsi announced the launch of The Sound Drop, a new music platform, in partnership with iHeartMedia, Shazam and MTV, that will provide emerging artists with a powerful stage to promote their story, share their art and connect directly with their fans.


Burn Residency

The world’s biggest DJ competition, BURN Residency , seeks out the best-undiscovered talent from across the globe. BURN Residency offers undiscovered DJ talent the opportunity of a lifetime, a career jump-start that puts them onstage in a European city as well as a 5 weeks Residency in electronic music mecca, Ibiza.

The crowned winner will receive a €100,000 contract – a direct investment into their new career as an emerging DJ. Each stage of the competition will be judged by a panel of industry experts and international DJs. BURN Residency has seen guest mentors and judges such as Carl Cox, Pete Tong, John Digweed, Maceo Plex, Steve Lawler, Luciano and Jamie Jones invest their time into the competition and offer candidates tips and tricks on how to build a successful DJ career.

 

Mountain Dew Green Label Sound: Open Call

A national search for the next up-and-coming musical talent. Through a collaboration with SoundCloud and with the support of former Green Label Sound artist RAC, the contest was designed to give emerging artists a stage for exposure. The contest winner will receive a $50,000 grant to record an EP, the ability to tap RAC for career advice, a music video and an opportunity to take the stageat the Green Label House during South By Southwest (SXSW).

“So many of today’s biggest artists began their careers by simply uploading their music and sharing it online,” said Greg Lyons, Vice President of Marketing, Mountain Dew. “Through Green Label Sound, Mountain Dew has a rich history of giving emerging artists the support and platform they need to make it big.  We are proud to continue that legacy, and to be part of introducing the world to the new sounds that will continue shaping youth culture.”

It comes as no surprise that an experiential marketing pioneer like Mountain Dew would champion the cause of supporting emerging musical talent. It makes good business sense because it provides great content for Mountain Dew’s marketing efforts. It feeds itself, in a way. As the artist’s career blossoms, the growth in the artist/brand partnership creates an authenticity that traditional campaigns can only dream about.

 

Tuborg Beer: The Tuborg Beat

Snce 1880, Tuborg claim they have been enabling collaboration and discovery across the globe. For the next chapter in their musical quest, Major Lazer has created the Tuborg Beat, which they have sent off to travel the world, serving as a basis to inspire many other artists

The files from the “beat” have been passed on to artists all over the world who, inspired by their respective hometowns, will create their own song: whether it’s by mixing it with a sitar or blending it with bagpipes. Collaboration is the name of the game.


Coors Light - My Climb. My Music.

Coors Light's launched a new initiative to highlight emerging and under-the-radar artists in 10 key cities across the U.S. The program also explores the unique careers of these musicians through documentary-style videos about how their "climb" has defined them as artists.


Music Audience Exchange (MAX) provides the underlying data and tech behind the initiative, and has partnered with Coors Light to identify the artists and music experiences that will most appeal to multicultural millennial music fans.

 

Kopparberg: Urban Forest

One of the best pop up activations of the year according to our team. Kopparberg Urban Forests featured across key festivals in the UK, featuring up and coming talent

 

NME & Thatchers: The Emerging Artists Project

A nationwide search for the best undiscovered talent in the UK. The campaign represents the second phase in Thatchers’ ‘What Music’s Supposed To Sound Like’ activity.

Giving emerging artists the chance to be heard, get noticed and get paid, the campaign sees NME give the winning artist exposure to a global audience of music fans, with cross-platform support – from press coverage through to an EP release.

Emerging artists submit one original track to NME with the guarantee that they will be listened to and will receive feedback. NME’s new music reporter Tom Smith will pick an artist that brings to the competition the most exciting, unique and fresh sounds of any genre. The winner will receive studio time worth £10k during which a four-track EP will be recorded and produced with mentor Murkage Dave (collaborator of Mike Skinner / Tonga / NEKFEU).

 

Moet Hennessy & Abbey Road Studios: Masters of Potential

Moet Hennessy has lined up a partnership for its namesake VS Cognac iteration with Abbey Road music studios in the UK, the new project falls under their 'Masters of Potential' campaign.

The company said that the 'Masters of Potential' initiative will see two artists from different backgrounds come together to record live-to-vinyl in the studios. The first pairing is between Mancunian soul singer JP Cooper and musical poet Kojey Radical.

Converse Rubber Tracks

Converse Rubber Tracks offers up-and-coming bands recording time in 12 legendary studios. The massive scheme sees musicians from 28 different countries offered free studio time. More than 9,000 bands and artists around the world applied, with that total whittled down to 84. Abbey Road Studios, Sunset Sound in Los Angeles and Tufff Gong were among the first to get involved. As part of the Converse Rubber Tracks studio takeover, the selected acts will record alongside a team of experienced producers and sound engineers during one- and two-day sessions. After completing their studio time, each act will retain all the rights to their music.

 

Jack Rocks 7

New for this year, Jack Daniel's will debut Jack Rocks 7, which will see the brand bring a handpicked group of seven emerging bands to four festivals this summer.


Marriott Hotels / Aloft Hotels

Giving up-and-coming musicians a chance to be mentored by Grammy-nominated, multiplatinum-selling artist Gavin DeGraw

Music-lovers will once again be able to come together and enjoy stripped-down performances from the next big acts in music as Aloft Hotels announces the launch of its 2017 Live At Aloft Hotels Tour. With a focus on both established and emerging artists, the brand is also kicking off the 8th Annual Project: Aloft Star Competition, a global contest to identify and elevate tomorrow’s hottest artists.

 

 Ballantines x Boiler Room: Stay True Journeys

Brought to you by Boiler Room and Ballantine’s Scotch Whisky, Stay True Journeys is a global series of live broadcast events featuring past, present and future legends of the world’s most authentic music scenes + one-off documentary films exploring the Stay True stories of the culture, characters and cities that define them.

 

Carhartt x Mahogany Music

WhatUpDoe - Carhartt WIP created a small and soulful collection in cooperation with none other than Detroit’s finest Kenny Dixon Jr aka Moodymann.  

Together with Carhartt WIP the long standing DJ and producer that is globally famed for pioneering his own house and genre-bending electronic music productions, jaw-dropping remixes, unique DJ skills and groundbreaking record labels like KDJMahoganiNFD and Private Collection, now launches a compact clothing collection.

 

Relentless Studios

Relentless launches music studio in London to support up and coming artists

The building houses an event space, a meeting room and music studios that are open to the public as well as a retail space selling Relentless merchandise.

It has already hosted a range of events including the Relentless Kerrang! Awards nominations and the Fryars album launch.

Brands Empowering STEM Education

Brands Empowering STEM Education: 001

#MAKEWHATSNEXT - MICROSOFT

Only 6.7% of women graduate with STEM degrees. When we encourage girls to pursue STEM, we double our potential for innovation. 

Microsoft launched a new movement last year calling on girls to #MakeWhatsNext. The campaign raises awareness of the issues that cause girls to drop out of or lose interest in STEM, and aims to pique their excitement in how they can change the world — if they stay engaged.

The response to #MakeWhatsNext last year was incredible. With more than 14 million video views across social channels, it’s clear that girls’ passion is strengthened when they see female role models who have created innovations that are used in our everyday lives. As the motto goes, “If you see it, you can be it.”

Additionally, to help shift perceptions about STEM jobs, Microsoft and LinkedIn launched a new experiential tool in conjunction with the campaign to demonstrate how girls can pursue their passions across industries and social causes.

GOOGLE - RISE AWARDS

The RISE program supports and connects not-for-profit organisations around the world to increase equity in computer science education with a focus on girls, minorities who are historically underrepresented in the field, and youth from low-income communities.

GOOGLE - MADE WITH CODE

Made with Code is an initiative with an aim to empower young women in middle and high schools with computer programming skills. Made with Code was created after Google’s own research found out that encouragement and exposure are the critical factors that would influence young females to pursue Computer Science.

This year the tech giant announced that they'd teamed with Wonder Woman to inspire teen girls to learn coding. Using drag and drop blocks of code that comprise actions, objects and variables, those new to coding can see how the different aspects of code fit together to create a finished product. Young coders can use these code blocks to help Wonder Woman overcome obstacles in her path and reach her goals. It's not the first time Made With Code has partnered with a new film to teach girls to code; it did so previously with Pixar's Inside Out.

Young coders can use these code blocks to help Wonder Woman overcome obstacles in her path and reach her goals. It's not the first time Made With Code has partnered with a new film to teach girls to code; it did so previously with Pixar's Inside Out.

LEGO EDUCATION

LEGO Education WeDo 2.0 makes science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and coding come to life. The unique combination of the LEGO brick, classroom-friendly software, and engaging, standards-based projects results in a resource that builds students’ confidence to ask questions, define problems and design their own solutions by putting STEM learning directly in their hands.

The LEGO Education WeDo 2.0 curriculum pack is built on Next Generation Science Standards and delivers key science content to second through fourth grade students. The curriculum facilitates and supports a clear, easy-to-follow journey through subjects, including: life-, physical-, earth- and space sciences, and engineering. Features 17 projects totaling more than 40 hours of instructional content.

IBM and Sesame Street are collaborating to personalize and transform early childhood education with cognitive computing.

IBM & SESAME STREET PARTNER ON EDUCATION TECH

Big Bird and Elmo are getting a tech savvy upgrade. IBM on Wednesday announced a three-year partnership with the nonprofit that produces “Sesame Street” to develop educational products for pre-schoolers, including a smart Elmo doll and software personalized for specific learning needs.

Sesame Workshop CEO Jeffrey Dunn said in the announcement that pairing the nonprofit’s expertise on early-childhood development with IBM’s Watson – the artificical intelligence program that beat human competitors on “Jeopardy” – can help create “the next generation of tailored learning tools.”

WHY IBM LAUNCHED IT'S OWN STEM HIGH SCHOOL

Pathways for Technology Early College High School (P-TECH), IBM's technical high school in Brooklyn, NY, is training a new generation of tech talent.Founded in 2011, P-TECH focus on training students from local, low-income communities in STEM topics with the aim of addressing the need for more of these skills in the workforce.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC - "MARS"

The series is a company-wide cross-promotional brand event that aims to teach viewers and kids about the science needed to land on Mars.

Nat Geo is using the series to cement a company-wide repositioning as the content leader in science, exploration, and adventure, under the tagline “Further,” and unifying its brand across platforms, global channels, and joint venture with 21st Century Fox. Beyond the singular storytelling approach, Mars will involve its largest cross-platform effort to date to educate viewers and inspire STEM education.

It includes a National Geographic magazine cover story, coffee-table bookvirtual reality experienceRoyal Observatory Greenwich exhibit in London; global screenings in Europe and Mexico; children’s media and related educational materials; ongoing coverage on the Nat Geo website and social media, and a now-streaming digital series, Before Mars, chronicling the backstory of key characters.

Depression & Young People

One in four teenage girls are depressed, by their own accounts 

 One in four teenage girls believe they are suffering from depression, according to a major study by University College London.

The research which tracked more than 10,000 teenagers found widespread emotional problems among today’s youth, with misery, loneliness and self-hate rife.

Charities said girls were facing a huge range of pressures, fuelled by social media, with parents far likely to detect problems in their sons, where levels of unhappiness were lower.

In total, 24 per cent of 14-year-old girls reported high levels of depressive symptoms.

When parents were asked about their daughters, just 18 per cent described such signs.

Suicidal Thoughts common for transgender youth

Researchers examined survey data from more than 900,000 high school students in California. They found that 35 percent of transgender youth said they'd had suicidal thoughts in the past year, compared with 19 percent of non-transgender youth.

Increased rates of depression and victimization among transgender youth partly explain their higher risk of suicidal thoughts, the researchers said.

Untreated depression has been identified as the leading cause of suicide

  • Approximately 20 percent of teens will experience depression before they reach adulthood.

  • Between 10 to 15 percent of teenagers have some symptoms of depression at any one time.

  • Depression increases a teen’s risk for attempting suicide by 12 times.

  • 30 percent of teens with depression also develop a substance abuse problem.

  • Depressed teens usually have a smaller social circle and take advantage of fewer career and educational opportunities.

  • Depressed teens are more likely to have trouble at school and in jobs, and to struggle with relationships.

Music therapy reduces depression in children & adolescents with behavioral & emotional problems

Researchers at Queen's University Belfast have discovered that music therapy reduces depression in children and adolescents with behavioral and emotional problems.

In the largest ever study of its kind, the researchers in partnership with the Northern Ireland Music Therapy Trust, found that children who received music therapy had significantly improved self-esteem and significantly reduced depression compared with those who received treatment without music therapy.

The study, which was funded by the Big Lottery fund, also found that those who received music therapy had improved communicative and interactive skills, compared to those who received usual care options alone.

251 children and young people were involved in the study which took place between March 2011 and May 2014. They were divided into two groups -- 128 underwent the usual care options, while 123 were assigned to music therapy in addition to usual care. All were being treated for emotional, developmental or behavioral problems. Early findings suggest that the benefits are sustained in the long term.

Using Many Social Media Platforms Linked With Depression & Anxiety Risk

Research has suggested a link between spending extended time on social media and experiencing negative mental health outcomes. New evidence suggests that whether it’s distracted attention from using multiple social media outlets or the emotional consequences of a negative online experience, it’s the quality—not so much the quantity—of social media engagement that may affect mood and well-being.

A study published online in Computers in Human Behavior on December 10, 2016, found that the use of multiple social media platforms is more strongly associated with depression and anxiety among young adults than time spent online.

These findings come from a national survey of 1,787 young adults that asked about their use of 11 popular social media platforms: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine, and LinkedIn.

Instagram is the worst social media network for mental health and wellbeing, according to a recent survey of almost 1,500 teens and young adults. While the photo-based platform got points for self-expression and self-identity, it was also associated with high levels of anxiety, depression, bullying and FOMO, or the “fear of missing out.”

Heavy video gaming in teens could point to depression, if it’s always playing alone

Teens who play video games for more than four hours might suffer from depression — but socialising can ward off the danger, according to a new study.

Heavy gaming, particularly in boys, might raise a few warning signs. However, not everyone who plays extensively every day risks developing gaming addiction. The negative effects of heavy gaming can be mitigated by socially engaging with friends either online or in real life while playing. High-quality friendships may even make teens immune from depression symptoms associated with heavy video game use, the researchers report.

The team says the results, though based on data from the Netherlands, are likely indicative for other developed countries such as the US as well. Internet Gaming Disorder has been proposed for further study in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the DSM-5. Still, it’s not yet clear how to distinguish engaged gamers, who show few symptoms of addiction and depression, from problematic gamers, who lose control over gaming.

The full paper “Video gaming in a hyperconnected world: A cross-sectional study of heavy gaming, problematic gaming symptoms, and online socializing in adolescents” has been published in the journal Computers and Human Behavior.

Teenage Mental Health Crisis: Rates of Depression have soared in past 25 years

Rates of depression and anxiety among teenagers have increased by 70 per cent in the past 25 years. The number of children and young people turning up in A&E with a psychiatric condition has more than doubled since 2009 and, in the past three years, hospital admissions for teenagers with eating disorders have also almost doubled. In a 2016 survey for Parent Zone, 93 per cent of teachers reported seeing increased rates of mental illness among children and teenagers and 90 per cent thought the issues were getting more severe, with 62 per cent dealing with a pupil's mental-health problem at least once a month and an additional 20 per cent doing so on a weekly or even daily basis.

For parents and teachers this is a difficult thing to confront: an epidemic of young people at odds with the world around them is hardly a positive reflection of the society we've created for them. When young people's mental health is discussed, there tends to be a lot of hand-wringing about the lack of early help and the long waiting times for clinical support – which is fair enough, because until the Government announced new funding last month, child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) received less than 0.6 per cent of the total NHS budget. But perhaps the more interesting question is why is there a crisis in the first place?

The Role of Brands: Youth Depression

Brands rely on people. They directly connect with them through marketing, aiming to build lasting relationships. So surely they have an ethical responsibility to ensure that they are caring for their customers’ physical and emotional health. And like many brands that are embracing a more purpose-focused approach, doing it the right way can actually support and drive their marketing strategies. But where do they start?

The key to a meaningful and genuine brand attitude to mental health (and not getting it wrong) is taking guidance from the experts. Beyonce’s partnership with Topshop to create active wear brand Ivy Park saw her consult with Mind, one of the leading mental health charities in the UK. Collaboratively, they wanted to ensure Ivy Park active wear appealed to those women who wanted to start exercising but were perhaps too nervous or anxious. Exercise is one of the leading ways to boost your mental health, not just your physical wellbeing, and it was great to see Ivy Park taking this seriously and using their brand as a tool to empower women.

Boots adopted a similar approach by commissioning its Me, My Selfie and I study, which “revealed the views, thoughts and feelings of 1,000 teens and pre-teens from across the nation”. Developed in conjunction with renowned clinical psychologist Professor Tanya Byron, a specialist in child and adolescent mental health, it provided an interesting insight into the wellbeing of 11 to 17-year-olds. It also offered valuable insight on how to market to teenagers, and while Boots must have had sales in mind when commissioning the research, the level of investment and depth of the study showed a genuine ethical sense of responsibility from the brand to get it right.

It was also great to see Persil promoting children’s wellbeing with its ‘Dirt is Good’ campaign, working in conjunction with The Wild Network. The charity was formed following a National Trust report, Natural Childhood, which found that children’s declining relationship with the outdoors (due to the rise of technology and poverty) was having a significant impact on their mental and physical health. This is termed Nature Deficit Disorder, which Persil’s campaign aimed to combat.

Electronic Music in Africa

Electronic Music in Africa: 001

Although music has been made electronically for over half a century, it is only since the rise of affordable equipment – both hardware and software – that electronic music has truly entered the mainstream, particularly in Africa.

New technology has enabled musicians to compose and record in the comfort of their home studios, and no longer requires big budgets and expensive studios. Today it is no exaggeration to say that most radio hits rely on computer programming and sampling, and are often written primarily for the dancefloor. The global success of South African house producer Black Coffee is just one of many examples.

The electronic music scene in South Africa has been bubbling for many years, creating world-class DJs and producers year in and year out. With the many facets that make up the South African electronic music industry

DIVERSE GENRES AND REGIONAL STYLES

In Africa, electronic music is bubbling. Across the vast continent, fresh machine-generated sounds are popping off, sometimes drawing on outside influences, sometimes made within their own creative bubble. In Egypt, electro chaabi, the computerized update of urban folk music, recently caught the ear of Kode9 and other forward-thinking UK DJs.

Afrobeats, with its hip-hop leaning, accessible 4/4 vibe, has travelled beyond its origins in Nigeria and Ghana to grow in the UK and beyond, whilst in South Africa, house and its many regional variants like kwaito have been popular for a long time.

Of all these exciting, recently unfolding forms, gqom could be the most outlandish. Emerging mostly from the townships of Durban, South Africa’s second most populous city, gqom is a raw dance music blueprint with a polyrhythmic bustle – part broken beat, part chrome-plated synth menace. Skeletal, robotic, unsettling and irresistible, it sounds somewhat influenced by UK sounds like grime and funky, but has nothing to do with them, says gqom producer Citizen Boy, part of the Mafia Boyz collective.

- Snippets Taken from Fact Mag

THE AFRICAN CONSUMER

In recent years a diversifying economy has supported an emerging middle class, driving demand for consumer goods and services, as well as luxury brands.

Rising consumer demand, aligned with annual growth of around eight per cent, is likely to add around $1.1 trillion to African GDP by 2019, with Ethiopia, Uganda and Mozambique among the fastest expanding markets, and large economies such as Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt continuing to perform strongly.

However, risks remain, including a lack of infrastructure, poor governance, fragile security and unreliable logistics, but conflicts are more localised and democracy is spreading, suggesting the dominant trend is positive.

According to Deloitte, the consumer opportunity in Africa rests on five key pillars: the rise of the middle class, exponential population growth, the dominance of youth, rapid urbanisation and fast adoption of digital technologies.

Read the report here

BEST AFRICAN MUSIC FESTIVALS TO VISIT 

  1. Afrika Burn

  2. Sandbox Festival

  3. Oasis Festival

  4. Oppikopi Festival

  5. Cape Town Electronic Music Festival

  6. Rocking the Daisies

  7. Rezonance Festival

  8. Vortex Trance Adventures

  9. Lake of Stars

  10. Ultra South Africa

MOST INFLUENTIAL SOUTH AFRICAN ELECTRONIC ARTISTS

  1. The Real Estate Agents

  2. Okmalumkoolkat

  3. Mujava

  4. Vinny Da Vinci

  5. Spoek Mathambo

  6. Goldfish

  7. DJ Fresh

  8. Grandmaster Ready-D

  9. The Nightwatchmen

  10. Black Coffee

DIGITAL POTENTIAL IN AFRICAN MUSIC MARKETS

Take two of sub-Sahara Africa's bigger economies, Nigeria and Kenya. PricewaterhouseCoopers has forecast consumer spending on recorded music revenues to hit $43 million and $19 million for Nigeria and Kenya respectively this year. Both markets are undergoing shifts also seen elsewhere in the world, meaning digital gains will roughly offset physical losses. PwC expects Nigeria's physical market to decline $3 million to $14 million by 2017, while its digital market is predicted to grow $2 million, to $28 million. In Kenya, a $2-million decline in the physical market in 2017 is expected to overshadow a $1-million increase in the digital market.

South Africa, with a population of 53 million, is expected to generate $85.3 million in consumer spending on music this year, a figure multiples larger than expected spending in either Kenya or Nigeria. And on per-capita basis, South Africa's music spending of $1.61 is far greater than $0.43 in Kenya and $0.25 in Nigeria. By this measure, Kenya and Nigeria have much room for improvement. 

A number of factors influence a country's digital music spending: adoption of smartphones, affordability of mobile broadband, digital services' marketing capabilities, the pricing of digital services, and competition from physical and digital piracy. There are also more complicated factors that impact overall music spending, such as the role of music in its culture and the ability for music companies to launch and operate. The availability of payment options will also come into play. The more roadblocks to spending, the lower a country's music spending relative to gross national income.

Read more here 

AFRICAN MUSIC GOING GLOBAL

In a continent with over 8000 ethnic groups and 60 native instruments spanning horns, percussion and strings, there is a dizzying variety and richness of African music that has truly reached a global appeal like never before.

Over the last couple of decades, the dance scene in all corners of the continent has gathered momentum. From the clubbing scene in Cairo to Ethiopiawi Electronic emerging from the furthest reaches of Ethiopia; festivals bursting out from Morocco and the new genre set for world domination from Ghana known as ‘Afrobeats’. The dance music underground stood up and took note when Boiler Room conducted their True Music Ballantine sessions in Johannesburg. Africa is blessed with the youngest population in the world so what significance does this have on dance music? With youthfulness comes creativity and potential. 

According to recent figures, distributing music digitally in Africa has earned MTN Music over R944 million ($70 million) in revenues during the first six months of 2016 alone.

In a recent interview with South African news website Techfinancials.co.za, MTN Group chief digital officer Herman Singh explained that MTN has developed the capability to offer music to its customers in eight different formats: MP3 (full tracks), ringtones (true tones), caller ring back tones, streaming (music on demand), radio streaming, IVR radio, music subscriptions and music videos. MTN does not produce music, but instead earns income from music distribution via these various formats.

FESTIVALS CONTRIBUTE TO GROWING ECONOMY

In Africa the total contribution of travel and tourism in 2015 was $180.0bn, which made up 8.1% of GDP, and the sector supported 7.2% of total employment, which is 22 million jobs.

In Malawi the annual Lake of the Stars Festival is an event that generates over $1 million for the Malawian economy every year, according to the organisers.

Each year, locals and tourists from neighboring countries and further afield flock to events across the continent. This means good times for performers, visitors and local businesses.

Among the largest is Morocco's Mawazine, which, according to the organizers, attracted more than 2.6 million visitors this year.

SOUTH AFRICAN FESTIVAL MARKET

The past few years has seen attendance at South Africa’s festivals soar with organisers saying they saw massive increases in attendance. Recent figures released by Nutickets, an online all-in-one event management solution, showed the company experienced 300% growth in the first six months of the year compared with 2014. So what’s behind the surge in festival popularity? According to the experts the predominant contributing factors are technology and quality.

Nutickets’ numbers underscore the success of 2015 – in the past 12 months the company did gross ticket sales north of R140m with 30-50k in transactions a month.

“The growth for us is exciting and we are now moving into full e-commerce and cashless offerings for events, not just in ticket sales,” says Shai Evian, Director at Nutickets. “We are not from a technology background, but we deal with a young, tech-savvy crowd and this year we saw purchases using mobile phones reach over 55%.”

“Tickets and redemption will all be electronic and all payments at events will become contactless,” says Johan Dekker, General Manager of the Payment Service Provider Africa business at PayU, the company that processes payment for Nutickets. “Fans will be able to pre-order drinks and other services and preferences will be stored in the system. This will allow for consumers to predefine what they need and experience faster checkouts and access, which will ensure they secure their tickets swiftly.”

Technology is clearly playing a significant role in the growth of South Africa’s festival scene, allowing for greater accessibility, convenience and security.

Read more here 

Skateboarding in the 2020 Olympics

We have identified over 100 skaters aged 13-18 who are going to be making a serious impact in skate culture as skateboarding is to be included in the 2020 Olympics

OUR DATABASE

At KRPT, we have a database of over 30,000 skaters including professionals and amateurs. We’re able to segment and filter based on age, gender, location and even global rank. We can forecast who is going to be a future star and we have insights that breakdown average competition scores.

Most recently we've been able to overlay social insights to understand how their audience is growing and average engagement rates. 

SKATING IN THE OLYMPICS

Last year in August, The International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted unanimously to include skateboarding in the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo. This was a decision that left the skate community very polarised but many argued that it was only a matter of time considering how “contests” have come to define the mainstream idea of skate culture. Other sports that will also be included in the 2020 Olympics include Surfing, BMX and 3 on 3 basketball as the International Olympic Committee is attempting to shrug off its stuffy image and connect with a younger audience

Top 3 Future Skaters to Watch

Brighton Zeuner

Over 40,000 fans on Facebook and the youngest ever female to win Gold at the X-Games.

Brighton is 13 years old and already winning global competitions.

She is ranked 65/30,000 in our database of skaters.

Lazer Crawford

Over 12,000 fans on Instagram and sponsored by Vans. 

Lazer Crawford is part of a new-generation of skaters who are already changing the face of skateboarding as we know it.

Kisa Nakamura

Kisa Nakamura made her X Games debut in Skateboard Park two weeks after her 16th birthday (Austin, 2016.) The Japanese skater turned pro in 2015 and finished 5th at the competitive Combi Pool Classic in Jan. 2016. 

She has over 5,000 fans on Instagram and is sponsored by a range of brands including GoPro.

TOP 5 GLOBAL SKATEBOARDERS (BY POINTS)

Nyjah Huston, USA
Age 22
Points: 41,500
FB Fans: 2.2 Million

Luan Oliveira, BRA
Age 26
Points: 32,235
FB Fans: 832k

Pedro Barros, BRA
Age 22
Points: 21,180
FB Fans: 375k

Alex Sorgente, USA
Age 19
Points: 20,815
FB Fans: 60k

Kelvin Hoefler, BRA
Age 24
Points: 18,780 FB
Fans: 210k

WE TRACK A NUMBER OF KEY DATA-POINTS

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Country

  • Social Following (by platform)

  • Engagement (by platform) - comments & likes

  • Global skate rank

  • Total & Average points scored in competitions

WHAT IT MEANS FOR BRANDS?

  1. Skate culture will continue to grow and more people will get into skating. This will help certain brands that have spend decades developing their presence and message.

  2. A new opportunity to identify who the leading skaters will be in 2020 & create strategies to start supporting them now

Value of Skateboard Market

In 2009 there were 9.3 million skateboarders in the United States alone.

According to the latest study, the global skateboarding equipment market is expected to exceed USD 5 billion by 2020.

Are you interested in learning more about Skate culture and preparing for the 2020 Olympics? Get in touch and we can develop a global strategy that will position your brand for success by working with our network of tastemakers.

ASICS x NOVELIST: CASE STUDY

Exclusive music video from 'South Londons Finest' Novelist, entitled 'When I Step' for the Asics "What The Gel" campaign.

WHAT THE GEL, a platform by ASICS is aimed at supporting the next generation of creators

We brought an exclusive experience to the heart of London in a unique warehouse space situated under a railway bridge in Shoreditch. As part of the campaign, Novelist also created a custom track for ASICS called “When I Step”.


Hosting the night will be a selection of ASICS ambassadors who embody ASICS' commitment to connecting artists that share the same values of a sound mind and sound body. Recent Mercury Prize nominee, Novelist, will lead the evening entertainment with his off the back of his breakthrough album, Novelist Guy.

Accompanying Novelist will be charismatic rapper Samwise, DJ duo POLYTHENE Audio System and House of Pharaohs. Not just focussing on the music, rising artist Ryan Hawaii will also be creating a unique instillation inspired by the ASICS Gel-Quantum range.

Drinks were provided by 808 Whiskey and Frontier across the evening.

International Day of The Girl with WaterAid: Case Study

We recently partnered with WaterAid to raise awareness for International Day of the Girl.

Since 2012, 11 October has been marked as the International Day of the Girl. The day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, whilst promoting empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.

WaterAid & International Day of the Girl

Access to clean water is a gendered issue. In a number of countries that WaterAid work in, men are the ones who will carry out work in local communities. It’s often left to the girls to fetch water - and they often walk miles each day, just to collect water that is dirty and unsafe. The hours they spend each day means they often miss out on the important parts of growing up.

Girls are the ones who are most disadvantaged if their school doesn't have a decent toilet and usually drop out of school when their periods start. Without a clean, safe place to have their period with dignity and privacy, they’ll instead be forced to stay at home, ultimately, the lack of clean water significantly limits the potential of young girls.

How we helped?

WaterAid tasked us to work with influential female leaders to create content around this day and help raise awareness about the challenges young girls around the world face on a daily basis. We worked with 8 leading influencers from music, fitness and entrepreneurship to help bring the message to a wide audience.