Friday, October 11, 2013

Lorde watch

Lorde and Joel Little, at APRA Silver Scrolls

It's been another big week for Kiwi pop star Lorde. Here song Royals is still sitting at #1, for the second week in a row on the US charts. She has two releases in the Billboard Top 200 albums, Pure Heroine and Love Club EP.

Her song Royals was covered by some street urchins in a tv ad for Samsung, featuring football star Lionel Messi. He uses Samsung's latest technology to demolish a building in the slums and create a playing field for the grateful urchins. Apparently the ad is inspired by Messi's own charitable foundation doing similar work.

The reaction online to Royals featuring in a tv ad right after it topped the US singles chart was lively, to say the least. Many online commenters were turned off by what looked like a sudden grab of a pop hit from Samsung, although Billboard quoted an ad exec saying they estimated the music was signed off in late July, well before Royals headed up the charts.

Many folk picked up on a piece written by The Verge's Nilay Patel slamming Samsung on some rather odd assertions. See "Samsung doesn't understand Lorde's 'Royals,' uses it to advertise the Galaxy Note 3 to street urchins."

The comments on that post suggest that Patel has a long history of taking any opportunity to slam Samsung. Is he trolling, or does he have a point? He also mentioned on Twitter that it's "particularly bad timing for Samsung as Royals is currently under fire for being racist." Let's not go down into that particular cesspit.

The Verge's followup piece talked to the ad's director, Adam Hashemi... "Choosing a song proved difficult, and Hashemi makes it sound as though one wasn't selected until late into production. His team considered tracks ranging from David Bowie's "Starman" to Johnny Mercer's "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive." When they finally landed on "Royals," it only had 2 million views on YouTube, he says, and wasn't yet a hit single, although they saw potential. Now, it's at closer to 28 million, and sits atop the Billboard Hot 100. Hashemi isn't sure if Lorde ever saw and approved her song's use in the ad, but a licensing team did clear it."

So, will Lorde cash in on this ad? Her co-writer, Joel Little, has a publishing deal with Sony ATV, and Lorde is yet to sign a publishing deal.  Her record company probably won't get any income from the ad, as they have used their own recording of the song, not the original recording. Lorde's publishing will have been done thru AMCOS, in lieu of a publishing company. [Updated Nov 14 2013  - Lorde has signed a publishing deal with Songs Music, possibly worth about US$4M].

Will the exposure in the Samsung ad hurt her or help her? Simon Grigg (OMC's label) says if the ad only has a short run, then it will help ingrain the song, but if it has a long run, it will become known as the song from the Samsung ad, which may be offputting to radio.

Grigg says "most radio will not want to play a song that is seen to be endorsing a brand." Her future income will be from publishing, and that is linked to airplay. Grigg says when OMC's album came out it sold 1.5 million copies and made it to #39 in the US charts, but that was back when albums were still selling in big numbers. Lorde's album sold 127,000 copies in it's first week, which Grigg described as soft sales.

Meanwhile, she's started doing more interviews, as her album gets released in various parts of the globe. The Guardian's Alex Petridis talked to her, ahead of her album's UK release on Oct 28.

"... Interviewing an international pop sensation while their mum hovers in the background is a slightly odd experience, but then, as Yelich-O'Connor points out, she shouldn't really be here herself. She should be back home in New Zealand, in Davenport [sic], a suburb of Auckland that's apparently known locally as the Bubble – "because it's so insular and closed off from everything" – and which she describes, winningly, as "the kind of suburb that people make movies about, there's quite weird mums everywhere".

ADDED 31 October 2013  - Lorde is on her 5th straight week in a row at #1 on the US singles chart -she posted this on Twitter today - "@billboard: .@lordemusic #Royals crowns the #Hot100 for a fifth week: ” - soon they'll run out of puns.' Royals has just hit #1 on the UK singles chart too.

She and her co-writer Joel Little recently won her first award, the APRA Silver Scroll, for songwriting. Read more about that night here.

Via "New Zealand journalist Duncan Greive caught onto Lorde early and has written the self-styled "definitive inside account of Ella Yelich-O'Conner's rise to the top".

It's a fascinating backgrounder on Ella and her family life. Why is she so assured onstage for a newcomer? That will be eight years of doing drama classes. Originally published in Metro magazine, the story is now available online in full at FasterLouder.

There are approximately six million covers/remixes/mashups of Royals floating round the internet right now, here's the funkiest one. Hat tip to Murray Cammick for the above clip. Video info says "Two of the guys playing on Royals (Window & Rooster) are in a southern-fried-voodoo-funk band named "Harvey Knows A Killer". They are hard at work on their debut album, check them out at the following link"...
 The Rekkids on Facebook  

On Tuesday November 5th 2013, Lorde was in New York, performing at the MOMA for an event honouring Tilda Swinton. See the photo below...

As Consequence of Sound put it, "does this not look like a pair of proud parents
posing with their Gothic teenage? "  Photo: David Bowie's official Facebook page

The next day was Lorde's 17th birthday (in NZ) - she was still in New York, a day behind on the dateline. She wrote about that over on her Tumblr, read that here... she reflects on her previous birthday , which "...fell in the middle of exam revision but a bunch of my friends came over anyway to eat cake and ruffle my hair and talk about pokemon. Weirdos..."

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