THE LATEST. Highs and lows from the pop frontline

Tidal’s launch and Jessie J’s biscuits. A post about taking the piss.

Posted by Popjustice on Mar 31 2015 at about 10:18

We love to take the piss don’t we.

It’s 2015 and taking the piss is what we do.

One day we take the piss out of this.


The next day we take the piss out of this.


Then the next day we take the piss out of this.


It’s all very funny.

Yes but is it funny?

Once we’ve finished LOLing to ourselves about Jessie J’s hat, the question is this: do we really think Jessie J enjoys dressing up as a cheese cracker and hitting send on a toe-curling tweet to promote Tuc biscuits? Did Clean Bandit really wake up one morning and think to themselves, “we’re in the mood for degrading ourselves”?

Chances are, they’re about as keen on endorsement deals as most media organisations are on desperately hoping that someone will book some advertising. The person writing Coronation Street doesn’t want to have to factor in product placement. In 1855 the Daily Telegraph was not founded in the hope that one day the revenue from OutBrain might just about cover the cost of an intern.

With the exception of acts for whom product placement can be used as a status symbol, or the handful of media entities who can pick and choose perfect commercial partners, nobody wants to be doing any of that shit.

Without wishing to baffle you with complicated terminology, people are doing that shit because everything is fucked.

What is Tidal?


Tidal is, supposedly, an effort to un-fuck the music business. It’s a streaming service like most other streaming services, but the idea is that artists will make more money from streams on Tidal than they might do on other streaming services.

At the moment Tidal’s big competition is Spotify, but its launch comes ahead of iTunes’ all-but-confirmed Beats offering.

One of Jay Z’s quotes in his Billboard interview was quite interesting. “People really feel like music is free,” he told the magazine, “but will pay $6 for water.” The thing is, Jay Z might hang out with people who pay $6 for water, but most people wouldn’t pay $6 for water. This said, it’s a bit of a red herring to suggest that a line of multi-millionaires isn’t allowed to complain about being exploited.

But it’s also true that everybody on that stage benefitted from a the old fashioned music industry way of doing things: record labels would invest in ten acts. One would become successful, and would fund the next ten acts. And so on. Some of the artists on that stage benefitted from that system more than others, but for every one person on that stage there are ten who were given just as much of a shot at success, but failed.

One of Tidal’s aims is to give more money to songwriters and producers, which is great because they’re the ones who can’t do a deal with Tuc biscuits. But you do wonder where last night’s a-listers think the a-listers of 2025 will come from if record labels somehow fall out of the equation, because acts who break without big label support are still few and far between.

It’s very nice for Madonna owns some of Tidal, but where’s the next Madonna coming from?

So should we all be taking the piss out of Tidal or not?

Last night’s livestreamed event was completely ridiculous. However you present it, it’s also ridiculous to suggest that owning a stake in a tech company is an expression of artistry.

And there are three other points to consider.

1. Once the social media campaigns are out of the way, nobody in the real world really gives two shits who owns a company. 99% of consumers will simply go for the streaming service that offers them the best deal based on what they want to do, just as everybody on stage last night signed record deals that suited them best based on what they wanted to do. When they signed those deals with major labels, or Live Nation, or whoever else, they weren’t thinking about how this would benefit the artistic community. They were thinking about how it would get them what they wanted. This is how normal people approach streaming services.

2. Jay Z’s businessman credentials are part of his whole schtick. You could argue that investing in tech because traditional music revenues have gone tits up isn’t fixing the music industry, it’s fixing your own pension. This isn’t exactly Paloma Faith taking Owen Jones out on the road.

3. It remains to be seen whether the artists involved in Tidal will receive preferential treatment from the service. Imagine Tidal becomes the biggest music service on the planet and Katy Perry (who apparently doesn’t own any of Tidal) drops a new single on the same day as Rihanna (who does). Which artist do you think will get the biggest push? And if Rihanna did get the biggest push from Tidal (which she’d be within her rights to expect, demand or even orchestrate), what does that say about fairness to artists?

Having said all this, if Tidal does properly support new artists (and not just in the VEVO Lift sense of ‘this act’s had a Number One single, let’s promote them’), and if labels’ own cut does increase in line with artists’, and if it does mean artists have to do fewer shit endorsement deals, and if it forces other streaming services to revise their own payouts, it could be a good thing.

But is it still alright to take the piss out of Jessie J?

Well we’re going to give the Tuc thing a rest for now. She’ll do another interview soon, there’s bound to be something funny in that.
UPDATE: These tweets from electronic artiste Mint Royale are interesting. Maybe there’ll be loads of cash for everyone!

You and I Alone - Single


Posted on Mar 29 2015 at about 18:10. comments

Madeon continues to challenge pop norms in his new ‘You’re On’ live video

Posted by Popjustice on Mar 26 2015 at about 16:05


It’s been a turbulent week for pop what with Rihanna’s eyebrows and Zayn being sacked from Top Gear, but prepare to suspend your disbelief because Madeon is about to turn the pop world completely on its head.

How will he do this? Well, you know how artists signed to major labels churn out endless, totally unnecessary and frequently awful video #content when they have records out? Usually involving the act doing a less-good version of their song in a ‘live’ setting? Good old Madeon’s made something that’s actually really good. It looks like it’s not going to be really good for a few seconds, but then it is really good. It features Kyan, who’s certainly changed since his time in Westlife.



Seriously though.

Posted by Popjustice on Mar 25 2015 at about 17:46


You might think it’s not, but being in a pop band is shit.

It’s great, of course. But it’s also shit.

None of us can really understand what it’s like. As supposedly normal people we worry about money and we worry about our futures and when we see an internationally successful artist being moody and sad we all too often think “YES WELL AT LEAST YOU’VE GOT ONE OR SEVERAL NICE HOMES THAT YOU OWN OUTRIGHT AND AT LEAST YOU HAVE LOVELY HAIR”.

And actually that’s a really stupid way to look at the situation because we simply do not understand what it’s like to have spent five years at (or slightly to the right of) the epicentre of the modern fame industry.

We joke about people being selfish when they leave pop bands, and sometimes we forget it’s a joke and we start getting angry. And sometimes we also forget that underneath the beautiful hair there is a human being who is often deeply unhappy. And being in the public eye when you’re deeply unhappy is desperate and dangerous.

So while it’s sad that Zayn’s left One Direction:

1. If he’s doing to be happy for a bit before being sad for a bit before being happy again then as decent people we should probably just let him do that rather than making him stand on a box and jump up and down while we clap and laugh and point at him.

2. They were probably going to split up soon anyway so CALM DOWN.

28 items in the Peckham Toys ‘R’ Us that’ll be 20% cheaper tomorrow morning

Posted by Popjustice on Mar 25 2015 at about 17:28


We were in Toys R’ Us yesterday and, overwhelmed by the quantity of One Direction merchandise on offer, we decided once again to catalogue what was on offer.

“Good luck shifting this lot if Zayn does clear off,” we thought to ourselves.

Now Zayn has indeed cleared off, these are the items we’d expect to be marked down by at least one fifth tomorrow morning.

1. Some beautiful nails


They’re not permanent. NOR IS ANYTHING.

2-5: Assorted tat


Already marked down, but another 20% will be necessary by 9am tomorrow.

6. Singing keychain


The Niall keychain is SAFE from overnight 1D merchandise price slashing, but the musical keychain will need adjustment. FYI: Niall, Harry, Louis and Liam will not require a keychain because don’t forget the door is always open.

7. Inline skates with super soft-padded liner for comfort


And who among us doesn’t currently feel the need for some comfort?

8. Glistening helmet


Might come in useful in case anybody comes down to earth with a bump in the coming months.

9-10. Poster book and 2015 annual


We had a flick through the 2015 annual, the last three quarters are just empty pages.

11. Stationery set


Useful for scrawling WHY WHY WHY ZAYN WHY NOW WHY LIKE THIS WHY across your face.

12. Pencil case


Handy for carrying an eraser around in case you ever feel like you’ve made a mistake.

13. Lockable diary


“March 25, 2015. Today I will make a planet sad.”

14. ‘Cool Cardz’ (?) design studio


“Can someone redesign our last album artwork please? Keep the title the same though, cheers.”

15. Bag


Very useful for stuffing with someone’s belongings then hurling from a first floor window to the street below while shouting “GO THEN, GO, SEE HOW YOU COPE ON YOUR OWN”.

16. More bags


Use these ones for the haircare products.

17. Lunchbox


When was the last time you think Zayn had a carton of Um Bongo? We bet more Um Bongo would have solved all these problems.

18. Headphones


Useful for blocking out the weeping.

19. Karaoke machine


Features include mic volume, which will remain turned down as a mark of respect.

20. No idea what this is


21. Microphone



22. A watch


“What time is it?” “Time I was off, BYEEEEEE.”

23. A Top Trumps collector’s tin


Today’s news is more like a bottom trump.

24. Monopoly


“Zayn, you’ve landed on my hotel.” “Is it alright if I check out early?”

25. Poster


Worth putting up on your wall just so you can TEAR IT DOWN AGAIN IN DISGUST.

26. Birthday cards


Only useful up to a fourth birthday.

27. Badges


Please be careful when putting these on, you wouldn’t want to get the pin STRAIGHT THROUGH YOUR HEART LIKE THE NEWS THAT ZAYN HAS LEFT ONE DIRECTION.

28. Easter egg


Traditionally, Easter is a time when we celebrate someone appearing to clear off, only to turn up a couple of weeks later going “LOL guys I was only joking”. Cross your fingers.


Zayn’s left One Direction

Posted on Mar 25 2015 at about 16:40. comments

Lil’ Chris has died

Posted on Mar 24 2015 at about 13:50. comments