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Industry Updates: Sony’s Making Money Moves

Ultra Records Expands:

Ultra Records, one of the top EDM labels in the business, has just expanded its operations throughout Scandinavia by hiring Michel Petré as the Managing Director for the region. Petré will be joining the label, which was recently acquired by Sony Music to fortify artist signings and to find new talent throughout the Nordic region.

Petré has 44 years of experience in the industry. He started out in Stockholm’s first import record stores and has held positions at Edel Music and Ministry of Sound. As for other accomplishments, Petré, Martina and Daniel Ledinsky cofounded Family Tree Music in 2004, which has grown into one of the leading independent companies in the Nordic Region.

This new talent acquisition to the Sony team demonstrates US companies’ growing interest in talent throughout the Scandinavian population, also highlighted by Sony/ATV ‘s launch of Stellar Songs Scandinavia last week.

Activism and Artists:

Many artists use their platform in order to speak out issues they view to be unjust. This week Selena Gomez used her power as an influencer to speak out against children being separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border. She discussed this controversial issue at the premiere of Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation in LA stating, “It’s extremely disheartening. There’s a lot of confusion and anger.”

In other news Panic! At the Disco’s frontman Brendon Urie pledged $1 million dollars towards setting up Gender and Sexuality and Gay-Straight Alliance clubs at schools throughout the United States. He’s partnered with GLSEN in order to make this possible. This partnership follows his creation of the Higher Hopes Foundation, which aims to support human rights advocacy in marginalized communities.

Minor Court Victory for Kesha:

A judge in New York has demanded that Sony Music must disclose the identities of the individuals they interviewed during the internal investigation into Lukas Gottwald also known as Dr. Luke. Gottwald is currently pursuing defamation claims against Kesha and is continuing to argue against the rape allegations she claims he perpetrated.

In a decision made on July 2nd, a New York Supreme Court Justice stated that Sony’s argument that releasing the names of those interviewed violates attorney-client privilege was invalid as the release of such names would not disclose the team’s legal strategy.

Cardi B Breaks More Ground:

Cardi B has become the first female rapper with two Hot 100 Number One Hits. With the success of “Bodak Yellow” and “I Like It” it seems that Cardi has cemented herself and an unstoppable female force in the music industry. This record was previously held by Lauryn Hill with “Doo Wop (That Thing)” and Iggy Azalea with “Fancy”.

Ground was further broken as Invasion of Privacy also became the first album to hold two Hot 100 Number one hits since Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ record, The Heist. Cardi’s album debuted at number one in April, making Cardi B the fifth female rapper with a chart-topping LP.

Not Out Of Love For Two Friends

You might have heard of Two Friends, a DJ/producer duo consisting of Eli Sones and Matthew Halper. Based in Los Angeles, the pair has mixed everything from party classics like “Mr. Brightside” to jams by Tori Kelly, Lana Del Rey, and The Chainsmokers. They’ve also gained notoriety for their hour-long “Big Bootie” mixes. No matter which of their mixes you find yourself listening to, you can be sure you’ll be dancing and moving. However, while this is one of their goals, they are equally hopeful that their music will also resonate with their audiences on an emotional level. After listening to their entire library on Spotify, Echoes in the Industry has determined it does.

When it comes to influences, Two Friends is all over the place in the best of ways. They mix different elements across all genres from dance music, pop, alternative rock to hip-hop. This means Halper and Sones have done something special. By taking elements from so many genres, they manage to create music that attracts a spectrum of listeners and thus have a large audience. This is evident from their 877, 927 monthly listeners on Spotify and 149,000 followers on SoundCloud.

While their musical journey began during their senior year of high school, they’re still a relatively young group considering Sones is 24 and Halper is 25. As both attended college, Sones at Vanderbilt University and Halper at Stanford University, Two Friends has been a long-distance project. The group has only been working together in LA post-graduation since 2015. This makes their 2015 “Award of Independent Excellence” from the Hollywood Music in Media Awards and their 2017 “Top DJ Set” honors from SoundCloud all the more impressive.

Their song “Out of Love”, an original track, featuring Cosmos & Creature is their most listened to track on Spotify with over 10 million streams as of February 26th. It consists of a nice mix of both electronic and real instrumentation and clear flowing vocals. Somehow, the song manages to be both danceable and relaxing at the same time, an impressive feat. Additionally, the lyrics are cleverly crafted and incredibly relatable as most people have felt that feeling of wanting to be the more to someone than they are. Released on their Out Of Love EP in 2017, it’s clear we can expect great things from the duo as they continue their music making journey. Currently on tour, Two Friends had dates across the US. With danceable and relatable music, it’s clear The Just A Kid Tour is set to be an experience unlike any other.




Lovelusting over Nate Chung Project

Nate Chung might be one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. An acquaintance from work, I knew about his passion for music and that he’s the frontman of his band, Nate Chung Project, but I was completely unaware of how talented he and the rest of the group truly are.

A college band from Holy Cross, Nate Chung Project is made up of Nate Chung (vocals/guitar), Casey Dawson (guitar/vocals), Sean Horan (bass), Zach Sowerby (banjo), and Frank Dwyer (drummer). Sure, their covers are great, but it’s their original music you’ll want to take the time to listen to. Their repertoire is extensive. Although a young group still in school, they’ve already got an album and EP under their belt. The EP was just released today, February 23rd.

Talking to Nate, it’s clear this group is approaching the music industry from a different angle. “We know that our acoustic pop/rock music isn’t necessarily for everyone, but if we can find the people that appreciate it or connect with it in some way we absolutely want to. We don’t need to be famous to realize our vision for this project. Organically finding our audience and growing together is our focus now,” he shares. This is what makes them so special. Many artists get wrapped up in what feels like a race for fame because with fame comes money and money is what pays the bills. But Nate Chung Project seems completely comfortable staying true to their current vision and sound. “If in time I can build a career around my music and working with EchoMe that would be amazing. But for now, I’m pumped that my job with PwC just got moved from New York to Boston, where both EchoMe and my band are based.” 

The band is dedicated to making music: “As soon as Casey returned from being abroad in Sri Lanka I knew we should begin recording music together. I approached him after Chinese class one day suggesting that we should meet up in the studio to work through some originals. We began recording that week.” Recording originals within the first couple days of playing together? I think anyone can agree that’s impressive.

Their startup story is equally interesting as they’re supported by Holy Cross, a college in Worcester, Massachusetts.When Nate wasn’t able to enroll in a class he planned to, he began looking around and found something under the Interdisciplinary Department. “I came across this offering CISS496 Special Project and I just clicked on it and the description was exactly what I wanted it to be. It read, ‘For third and fourth-year students that have a passion or project outside of their regular academic curriculum,” he explains. In addition, Holy Cross supports them with the Ignite Fund, an endowment at the school dedicated to supporting student projects.

At the end of the day, Nate Chung Project in an incredible music group well worth checking out. Nothing they perform is subpar. Their original content is made up of well-crafted lyrics and their unique sound makes listening to them engaging, while their covers are incredibly well done as they change it up just enough to make it their own while keeping the integrity of the original songs.




ULTRA South Africa: The Up And Coming Festival You’ll Want To Visit Next Year

ULTRA South Africa celebrated its fifth anniversary in style this past weekend, with electrifying shows in Cape Town and Johannesburg. As the first event of the 2018 Ultra calendar, and with a line-up that appealed to a wide range of electronic music fans, the event proved a remarkable success.

On Friday, February 9, the Cape Town Stadium saw 15,000 fans stream through the gates to enjoy the sounds of Afrojack, Armin van Buuren, Axwell /\ Ingrosso, Carnage, Hardwell and Malaa. Black Coffee, Dubfire and Eats Everything commandeered the RESISTANCE stage in the stadium basement, which was heaving with house and techno fans throughout.

The atmosphere at the show was exhilarating, with fans further rejoicing when the drought-stricken Mother City was gifted rainfall during Armin van Buuren’s set, which also featured a surprise appearance by Mr Probz who delivered two breath-taking live vocal performances of the global smash hit ‘Waves’ and his collaboration with Armin, ‘Another You’.

The Johannesburg show at the Expo Centre at Nasrec welcomed a record-breaking 32,000 Ultranauts through the gates on Saturday, February 10, for what was the biggest and most successful ULTRA South Africa in Joburg to date.

The RESISTANCE dance floor was moved into a new warehouse space at Nasrec, which catered specifically to the house and techno community. Local RESISTANCE artists including Da Capo, DogStarr, Ryan Murgatroyd, TranceMicSoul, and many more got the dance floor heated up before Black Coffee, Dubfire and Eats Everything blew fans away with their hypnotic performances.

The Until Until Stage with MTV hosted the best of the local hip-hop talent, and was bursting with flavour and soul at every moment. The Samsung Galaxy Experience Stage was packed from start to finish, topping off the host of successful brand activations over the weekend.

The Main Stage production and performances stunned crowds at the Nasrec, with a display that was a fitting end to a phenomenal 48 hours of ULTRA South Africa.

“ULTRA SA brings new surprises each year and this year was no exception.  It also brings new magic each time we produce the show, and 2018 was the most magical yet,” says Shaun Duvet, partner in ULTRA South Africa. “Speaking on behalf of the full ULTRA SA team and sponsors, we are blown away by the support of the fans and industry and cannot wait to see what 2019 brings.”

Follow ULTRA SA on Facebook and Twitter for real-time updates on forthcoming events.




(Article and Photography Courtesy of Get In PR)

Cheat Codes: Rave or Concert?

“If you like to have sex make some noise!”, screamed Trevor Dahl of Cheat Codes during their Saturday night concert at Boston College. While technically advertised as a concert by the Campus Activities Board, Cheat Codes’ performance would be more accurately labelled as a rave. With spazing strobes, bass drops, and dollar bills regularly shooting into the crowd, it’s no wonder the crowd became incredibly rowdy.

The trio that makes up Cheat Codes (Trevor Dahl, Matthew Russell, and KEVI) is currently on a world tour, but it played without any of its collaborating acts through the course of the night. As a result, the DJs

had to rely on remixes, hard bass drops, and most surprisingly, a lot of crowd interaction to make up for the lack of artists such as Demi Lovato and Fetty Wap. Over the course of the night, one of the three members, Dahl, stepped out from behind the podium to pump-up the crowd. The other two DJs also exited the podium on occasion, but Dahl went above and beyond by crowd-surfing, holding students’ hands, and tossing dollar bills into the audience. Whenever Dahl’s presence was impending, the audience reacted by swamping into the area. There was no escape.

The live performance varied greatly from their studio recordings. Cheat Codes’ recorded music is known for its distinguishing clean sound, upbeat vibe, and mild drops. It an easy listen for those that like electronic music and the DJ style. This weekend, they intensified their stage presence by relying on much harsher drops and remixes of popular songs. They played remixes of songs such as “Mask Off” by Future and “Peanut Butter Jelly” by Galantis intermixed with their own content. These remixes managed to hype up the audience more than their personal material.

The members of Cheat Codes were there to facilitate fun, energize the crowd, and leave audience members exhausted after a night of jumping around. As a whole, they were successful, though it’s unfortunate their remixes of popular songs seemed to do the job better than their own material.


Streaming Stats:

Instagram followers when published: 222k

SoundCloud followers when published: 49.6k

Spotify Monthly Listeners when published: 18,449,779