Kim English dies. Red Bull Music Academy is on its way out. Ultra’s Kentucky Fried mishap. Major label gender pay gaps.

RIP Kim English. US singer-songwriter Kim English has died. The Chicago-born performer released her first single with Nervous Records in 1994. She continued releasing with the New York-based imprint through 2016. “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing tonight of Kim English,” reads a statement by the label. English began her career as a gospel singer, before working with some of the biggest ‘90s house stars, including Mood II Swing, Masters At Work and François K. “Nite Life,” produced by Byron Burke and Byron Stingily of Ten City and later remixed by Armand Van Helden, was arguably her biggest hit. She also released two albums on Nervous Records, 1998’s Higher Things and 2006’s My Destiny in 2006. Listen to “Nite Life” below.  

RIP Nipsey Hussle. Grammy-nominated rapper Nipsey Hussle, real name Ermias Asghedom, was shot to death outside of a clothing store he owned in LA on Sunday.  Asghedom was one of three people shot, the other two victims are in serious condition. The Los Angeles rapper earned a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album earlier this year, and collaborated with  Snoop Dogg, YG, the Game, DJ Mustard, and Ty Dolla $ign in his career. He was also a proponent of social justice issues and philanthropy — he opened a STEM center and co-working space to help black Los Angeles residents break into the tech industry. Tributes poured in from across hip hop. “You were about something positive and for your community in every chance you had to speak,” Pharrell Williams wrote on Twitter. Asghedom was 33.  

RBMA says goodbye. The industry at large expressed shock and sadness at the news that Red Bull Music Academy and Red Bull Radio will be shutting down this year. RBMA was founded by Torsten Schmidt and Many Ameri in 1998, and in the 20 years since, hosted lectures, workshops, parties and concerts around the world, while running a daily online music publication. Nina Kraviz, Objekt, Flying Lotus, Octo Octa, Courtesy, Black Coffee, Sonja Moonear, Palms Trax are just a few alumni of the programme. Both RBMA and Red Bull Radio are run by Red Bull, but managed by the consulting firm Yadastar, which released a statement that read, “Red Bull have mutually agreed to part ways at the end of October 2019.”  

Sónar Reykjavík cancelled. With the sudden bankruptcy of Icelandic airline WOW Air, the 2019 edition of Sónar Reykjavík has been cancelled. “The travel plans of up to half of all the Sónar Reykjavík ticket-holders and numerous artists scheduled to perform have been severely affected or cancelled,” read a statement by the promoters, making continuing as planned untenable. All tickets will be refunded. Yves Tumor, Objekt, upsammy, and Avalon Emerson were scheduled to perform in what would have been the festival’s seventh edition.  

Kentucky Fried what? In a move that shocked, horrified and amazed fans and artists from across electronic music, Miami’s Ultra Music Festival invited Colonel Sanders — KFC’s mascot — for a five minute DJ set on the main stage. The set was considered a spectacle, even for an event known for its bombast, with video showing a motionless crowd staring confusedly at the Colonel on stage surrounded by branded graphics. Neither Ultra nor KFC have commented, but artists like The Black Madonna were swift in condemning the advertising stunt. Pitchfork’s Philip Sherburne wrote a particularly scathing critique of the event, which you can read here.

More trouble for Ultra. Ultra made more headlines last week after revelers struggled to leave the event in orderly fashion. Having moved from its longtime home at Bayfront Park to the Virginia Key island, tens of thousands of revelers were forced to wait hours for shuttles, or walk almost three miles across the Rickenbacker Causeway to try and hail rides. A tree also caught fire, the cause of which was undetermined early this week. Fans took to social media to voice their displeasure, calling the event “Fyre Festival 2.” Organizers released their own statement, which reads in part, “Last night, many of you experienced challenging transportation conditions leaving the festival. This is unacceptable and inconsistent with the high standards you have come to expect from us. For this, we are sorry.” Read more here.

Teenage Ghostly. Ghostly International is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, teaming up with Teenage Engineering for a limited edition PO-33 K.O.! from the Pocket Operator range. Featuring custom sounds and patterns created by Ghostly artist Steve Hauschildt while he was on tour, the ultra-portable micro-sampler has eight melodic sample slots, eight drum slots, 40 seconds sample memory, 16 effects, 16-step sequencer,16 patterns, a built-in speaker, 3.5mm audio I/O and much more. Plus, each unit can be synced to each other, or to external gear. Pick it up on the Ghostly website for $135, while supplies last.

Myspace rescue. A small portion of the five million songs lost in the recent Myspace server migration mess have been rescued. Found by an anonymous academic group and uploaded to Myspace Dragon Hoard by Jason Scott — who’s behind online archive — the archive sits at 1.3 terabytes, or over 450,000 mp3s. The files are said to have been uploaded to Myspace between 2008 and 2010, and Myspace Dragon Hoard features a “custom search and play mechanism” that allows for searching and playing of specific songs. Scott called last month’s music deletion “a suspicious and low-key deletion/loss of data.” Find out more here.

Major pay gap. According to data released by the UK companies of Universal, Sony and Warner, the average gender pay gap across all three is around 30%. The average hourly rate is lower for women by 29.1% at Universal, 20.9% at Sony and 38.7% at Warner. Bonuses are lower for women too — by 24.4% at Universal, 50.1% at Sony, and 67.5% at Warner — though bonus pay is awarded to both men and women roughly equally at all three companies. Those figures were lower for Spotify, which reported an 11.6% mean gender pay gap, while average bonuses for women at Spotify were 19.7% lower than men. These figures put the music pay gap issue in stark terms. Read more on MBE.

5th April, 2019

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