Music News Roundup – 4 November 2014

Reggie Myers

Do you know what time it is? That’s right, it’s time for this week’s Music News Roundup – where I profile and break down music news stories that caught my attention over the past week. This week saw some interesting stories. Check them out below:

How much would you pay for a celebrity’s breath?

An audience of people had to consider this last Friday at an event where the breath of Australian singer-songwriter Sia was auctioned off. Yes, you read that correctly.

Sia’s breath was one of the items being auctioned off at Adelaide Film Festival’s first Ultimate Film Quiz Night. The event was scheduled on 31 October at 6:30pm at the Channel Nine studios in North Adelaide. The quiz night and auction was hosted by festival patrons Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton. Other items that were up for auction included a walk-on extra role on Anthony Paglia’s new film A Month of Sundays and a chance to be a street clown at this year’s Credit Union Christmas Pageant in Adelaide on 8 November.

According to a news announcement on the festival’s website, the film festival’s CEO Amanda Duthie reached out to the Sia and was able to get in contact with her through ‘two degrees of separation’. The singer agreed to contribute after Duthie informed her they were raising money for Adelaide filmmakers.

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‘Gorgeously and magnificently, she breathed into a jar for us,’ Duthie is quoted saying in the news announcement. ‘Her breath is in a Mason jar with silver sealing wax, so no one can accidentally open it. Whoever wins it will be able to break the seal – or just let it be.’

What’s the appeal of Sia’s breath exactly?

I’m not sure, but it could be due to the private image Sia has crafted for herself. She is known for trying to limit the amount of people who see her face, performing with her back turned to the crowd on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Dancing with the Stars. She was also photographed for Billboard Magazine‘s cover wearing a paper bag. And like people say, when people don’t know facts and information, they will create ‘their own’ mythologies around an artist. On top of this, she has made good work which can make for a powerful combination.

Still, I’m split on the idea of bidding on a Mason jar of a celebrity’s breath. While one side of me would want to order a psychological evaluation on whoever feels compelled enough to drop a large sum of money on a singer’s breath, a part is inclined to think this may in fact be a savvy financial move. Think about it for a moment. People love rare or old relics no matter how sensible or ridiculous they may be. For example, do you remember when we used to have trading cards and our parents would tell us not to throw them away because they’ll be valuable down the line? I’m inclined to think the same principle would apply for this.

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Sia has been a rising star in the industry, and I don’t see her coming down any time soon. And as her value goes up, so will the value of that jar. So imagine you what the value of this jar may be 10, 20 or even 50 years down the line.

Prince’s SNL takeover

It had been rumored for weeks that Prince would be performing for eight minutes on Saturday Night Live. Well, it happened and it was everything.

Prince performed an uninterrupted eight-minute medley of songs from his two new albums titled Plectrumelectrum (with his backup band 3rdEyeGirl) and Art Official Age. The singer’s performance with 3rdEyeGirl and Lianne La Havas was his first lengthy performance since his Super Bowl performance in 2007. Songs performed included ‘Clouds’, ‘Marz’, and ‘Anotherlove’.

Prince’s performance was not the only memorable part of the night. The night was hosted by Chris Rock, making it the first time he has hosted the program since the nineties. Skits included Rock playing an old man trying to show his 15-year-old daughter dance moves, a parody about the Suge Knight and Kat Williams arrest, and a pill to cure Taylor Swift vertigo.

But I’m getting off topic. If you are interested in seeing Prince perform, you can check out his performance below:

Un-Blurred Lines?

In the final music news story, let’s go back to an older story with an important new development. Do you remember when you heard about potential legal issues between Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke, and Marvin Gaye’s estate? I mean, how could you not? It was on the music news circuit every day for months, and it reappears every few months with new developments. It was even worthy of a puppet comedy video.

Well, the public finally have a substantial update about the case. U.S. District Judge John Kronstadt ruled against Williams and Thicke in their pre-emptive measure to save themselves from a lawsuit. The producer and the singer filed a lawsuit against Marvin Gaye’s estate after receiving threats from Gaye’s family saying the song samples the singer’s famous hit ‘Got to Give It Up’. The two sought to get the song ruled as non-infringing.

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Both sides brought experts to discuss the songs and copyright law, and Robin Thicke’s deposition was brought into the proceeding.

Ultimately, the judge ruled against Pharrell and Robin. He said, ‘[The Gaye estate] have made a sufficient showing that elements of “Blurred Lines” may be substantially similar to the protected, original elements of “Got to Give It Up”. Defendants have identified these with particularity for purposes of analytic dissection.’

However, this was not a complete loss for Williams and Thicke. Although Thicke admits to having Marvin Gaye in mind during his sessions, the judge concluded, ‘Thicke’s inconsistent statements do not constitute direct evidence of copying.’

The trial is set to begin in February 2015.

Now, I don’t see how Thicke and Williams plan to win this lawsuit after this initial ruling. In my opinion, ‘Blurred Lines’ sounds entirely too much like ‘Got to Give It Up’ to skirt litigation or at least a side-eye, but then again, maybe it’s just me. I’m also not a intellectual property lawyer, so what do I know? I guess we’ll have to wait until February to see how this all plays out, but in the meantime, take a listen to both songs below and let me know whether you think they sound alike or if you think I’m just on that B.S.

Marvin Gaye – ‘Got to Give It Up’

Robin Thicke ft. Pharrell Williams & T.I. – ‘Blurred Lines’

That’s enough for this week’s Music News Roundup. Feel free to let me know what music stories caught your interest over the past week and what stories you want to keep up with this week.

About Reggie Myers

Reggie Myers is a writer and communications professional living in Philadelphia, Pa., where he graduated from Temple University. Music, television, film, books, video games, politics, and human sexuality are just a few of the many things that make him tick. When he's not working behind a computer screen, you can find him looking for new adventures, practicing photography, scheming ways to get to the front row of a concert, or scouring the corners of the internet for new music to put his friends on to. @reggieakil