Music News: Guitar gender gap closes


Bully portraits at The Current
Bully's Alicia Bognanno, pictured here at The Current in 2017, has appeared in Fender marketing. (Evan Frost | MPR)
Is the playlist the new soundtrack album?
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Half of today's new guitar players are women and girls. That's the result of a new study by Fender, which says its marketing strategy will reflect the new normal...which really should be just that, normal. Historically, though, guitar stars have been men: Google "best guitarists ever," and nearly the first 50 are male. That doesn't reflect objective truth, just describes what people are saying on the internet. It's about time for them to change their tune.

Fender CEO Andy Mooney tells Rolling Stone that the study's numbers hold in both the U.S. and U.K., and demonstrates that a recent surge in young women picking up guitars is more than just a short-lived "Taylor Swift effect." Fender's recent marketing has included notable female guitarists in bands like Bully and Warpaint.

Lady Gaga's engaged

Congratulations to Lady Gaga, who is apparently engaged to Hollywood agent Christian Carino. Gaga referred to Carino as her fiancé during a speech at Elle's 25th Annual Women in Hollywood Celebration in Los Angeles on Monday, and she's also been sporting a ring in recent months. (E! Online)

Chance isn't running for mayor

Chance the Rapper may be one of the most popular people in Chicago, but he's not running for mayor — at least, this year. We know that because he's endorsed a different candidate in the competitive race: Amara Enyia.

There could be some interesting dinner-table discussions among members of the Bennett family, since Chance's father Ken Bennett, a former staffer for current mayor Rahm Emanuel, is supporting a different candidate, Toni Preckwinkle.

"I probably won't ever be running for mayor of this city," said Chance at a Tuesday press conference. "But I believe that me and Amara share a vision on what Chicago could be." (Chicago Sun-Times)

Everybody wants a piece of Dire Straits

It's been a tough week for the stock market, but investors are bullish on Dire Straits. That's what the online marketplace Royalty Exchange discovered on Monday when it offered the opportunity to buy a share of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers' future royalties: demand far exceeded supply.

"The demand for the Dire Straits catalog illustrates just how well music royalties satisfy investors' appetite for a meaningful return in today's investing landscape," said Royalty Exchange CEO Matthew Smith. With expected returns of 12-15%, these buyers clearly don't think they're paying... (Billboard)

Is the playlist the new soundtrack?

A new movie, Mid90s, has released its soundtrack...not in the form of an album, but a playlist. A collaboration with Spotify, the Mid90s songs are being called "the first ever Official Motion Picture Playlist." Basically, director Jonah Hill says, soundtracks as compilation albums are things of the past. "A traditional soundtrack, at least with predominantly pre-existing songs, doesn't make sense in a world of streaming when the songs are widely available." The playlist features tracks from Nirvana, Cypress Hill, and the Pixies; the coming-of-age movie hits theaters this Friday. (Pitchfork)

Ironically, the number one album in the country right now is a soundtrack: A Star Is Born. Historically, soundtracks have been very important to the record industry, spawning hit singles and revitalizing artists' careers. The all-time biggest? The top five, in descending order, are The Bodyguard (1992), Saturday Night Fever (1977), Purple Rain (1984), Forrest Gump (1994), and Dirty Dancing (1987).

Courtney Love plays with a band of 1,500

Speaking of women who rock, Courtney Love sang Hole songs with a band of 1,500 this past July, and the results were captured in a video that was just released. The Florence concert was organized by Rockin'1000, a group that grew out of a massive 2015 performance of "Learn to Fly," a successful effort to entice Foo Fighters to play a show in Italy.

Love says that when she saw the video and heard about the group, she immediately wanted to be a part of such a performance. "It reminded me of the early punk scene, with its community centered around diversity and acceptance," she said. The July concert was a charity benefit, with proceeds going to support drug rehabilitation. (Billboard)

Songs sampled in podcast
Jahzzar: "Comedie" (CC BY 4.0)
BoxCat Games: "Against the Wall" (CC BY 3.0)
The Ronettes: "Be My Baby"
St. Vincent: "Surgeon"
Dire Straits: "Money for Nothing"
Chance the Rapper press conference
Courtney Love: "Celebrity Skin"

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