DMX and Snoop Dogg’s Verzuz battle. (Source: Complex)
Verzuz has evolved from a fun way to listen to hit songs on Instagram Live during quarantine into “a cultural institution [reviving and sparking] new interest in hip-hop and R&B’s legacy songs and artists.” This quote is pulled from the latest edition of Billboard Magazine, which features the Swizz Beatz and Timbaland co-created concept as its cover story. However, most powerful to consider regarding Verzuz’s future is the impact of the event-related popularity surge known as the “Verzuz Effect.”
Verzuz’s explosive potential is transforming key areas of the music industry. April 20’s Teddy Riley vs. Babyface battle resulted in a 115% increase in on-demand streams for both artists combined. Babyface also saw both his Instagram followers jumped from 300,000 to 1 million, plus an increase in sample clearance requests.
Recently, the impact has moved past Instagram and solely streaming music platforms. For new Verzuz partner Apple Music, Verzuz’s placement there has resulted in a reported over half a million concurrent views for each battle, the most-watched of any livestreams held on the platform.
Also, since Memorial Day, Diageo — Ciroc vodka‘s parent company — has signed on as a multimillion-dollar sponsor. Moreover, as also revealed in Billboard, if artists endorse, Apple Music, Diageo’s liquor brands, or any of the other forthcoming potential sponsors, Verzuz will offer artists payment for their battle time.
Already, Verzuz has — via Apple and Diageo — brands worth a Forbes-estimated $1.4 trillion already on board. What has developed during a global pandemic and one of the most shocking eras in the history of modern music is clearly impressive.
Latin and African pop-specific Verzuz battles are reportedly also on the horizon. Key to note here is Apple Music’s recent desire to engage in expansion in the African marketplace. As well, “Latin Music Is Growing Faster Than Overall U.S. Music Market” reads an April Rolling Stone headline. Attaching Verzuz to that growth could have gigantic possibilities, especially for that culture’s classic reggaeton, bachata, and salsa superstars.
“People need to be educated and celebrated. That’s why we say we’ve got a long runway with this thing,” Swizz Beatz notes. Creatives playing music hits over poor Instagram Live connections in the name of avoiding boredom has blossomed into a trillion-plus dollar industry. The “Verzuz Effect” has, and will continue to yield radical, industry-shifting consequences.
Vice, Beatsource, and DJcity’s Beyond The Music Retreat has returned for a second year. The Beyond the Music Retreat 2020 Mid-Year Check In will take place virtually, in the form of a free webinar series being held every Thursday in August. The webinars feature a variety of topics relevant to DJs from some of the most respected names in the industry.
Check out the schedule below and register for the Beyond the Music Retreat 2020 Mid-Year Check In here.
Related Post: Watch the ‘Beyond the Music Retreat’ Documentary
(Source: National Independent Venue Association)
The “Save Our Stages Act,” a bipartisan bill that aims to provide economic relief for independent music venues affected by COVID-19, was introduced to the United States Congress earlier this week. The bill was co-authored by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Cornyn (R-TX) in response to concerns raised by the National Independent Venue Association.
The bill calls for $10 billion, spread over the next six months, to be made available in the form of Small Business Administration grants. Applicants will be eligible for up to 45% of their 2019 operating costs or $12 million, whichever is less.
In order to reserve funds for those hit hardest by the pandemic, the “Save Our Stages Act” strives to “narrowly define independent live venue operators, promoters, and talent representatives to prevent large, international corporations from receiving federal grant funding.”
According to concert industry publication Pollstar, venues are at risk of losing a combined $8.9 billion in revenue if they were to remain closed for the rest of the year. NIVA’s Adam Hartke issued a statement, saying:
“While existing government assistance programs have helped other industries, they weren’t tailored to meet the needs of small businesses like ours that have zero revenue, enormous overhead and no visibility into when we can fully re-open. The Save Our Stages Act will provide the assistance we need to get through the shutdown until we can reopen safely and once again become the economic generators for our communities that we’ve always been.”
H/T: Rolling Stone
Rosalia performs at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Source: Instagram)
Billboard has announced new dates for the 30th anniversary of Latin Music Week, the largest and longest-running event in the Latin music industry. The event was originally scheduled for April 20 to 23 in Las Vegas but was postponed due to COVID-19. It will now be happening virtually from October 20 to 23.
Additional participants and schedules will be announced in the coming weeks. Check out the Billboard Latin Music Week website for more information and to RSVP.
Related Post: J Balvin’s #ColoresDJChallenge Winner Announced
Verzuz co-founders Timbaland and Swizz Beatz. (Source: Getty Images)
Verzuz, the quarantine-borne Instagram Live streaming producer and artist competition series started by Swizz Beatz and Timbaland, will now be available on Apple Music and Beats 1. The forthcoming July 22, 8 PM EST “Battle of the Dogs” between Snoop Dogg and DMX will be the first official Verzuz battle broadcast via the partnership. Previously, Apple Music and Beats 1 live-streamed a dueling piano Juneteenth episode of Verzuz, featuring Alicia Keys and John Legend.
The move is likely aimed at creating greater structure and longevity for the series. Past battles have featured significant technical difficulties, as well as connection issues posed by solely using Instagram Live. As well, the ability to maintain the series as an episodic-style catalog has not been possible. As quarantine moves into its fourth month with no definitive end in sight, Verzuz gaining sustainability as a breakout music industry leader for compelling content feels necessary. Concerns about paying artists and developing live music options are an industry concern. Ideas like simulcasting Verzuz, for free, via Instagram Live, but making it available via paywalled, subscription-only services like Apple Music and Beats 1 begin to solve this issue.
Peak musical content engagement goals during quarantine spiked 400 percent in the 50 days between D-Nice‘s 150,000 peak viewer March 21 DJ stream to Jill Scott and Erykah Badu‘s 750,000+ peak viewer May 9 Verzuz battle. However, top producers like Pharrell Williams and musical acts with Verzuz-ready catalogs like Jay-Z and Beyoncé have yet to be tabbed to “compete.” It is entirely likely that their involvement could potentially raise those numbers well over one million-plus peak viewers. If this were to occur, having multiple live arms for engagement, as well as the ability to both monetize and archive Verzuz, would be valuable.
For more Verzuz information, visit them via Instagram.
DJ E-Rock, a veteran party rocker and host on REAL 92.3, sits down with DJ Spider on this week’s episode of The 20 Podcast. The San Francisco native discusses the power of Twitch, the importance of diversifying your income, among other topics.
Watch the interview above. An audio version of the podcast is also available on all major platforms.
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