Blackpink’s ‘How You Like That’ Collects Multiple Guinness World Records

Blackpink’s historic week has been rewarded with a swag of Guinness World Records.

The south Korean girl group’s music video for “How You Like That” earned 86.3 million views on its arrival June 26, enough to set records for most viewed YouTube video in 24 hours, most viewed music video on YouTube in 24 hours, and most viewed YouTube music video in 24 hours by a K-pop group.

It’s not such a great week for compatriots BTS, who were the previous record holders in those categories with the video for “Boy With Luv” featuring singer Halsey, which dropped in April 2019. “Boy With Luv” is now scrubbed from the record books.

Jisoo, Jennie, Rose and Lisa aren’t done with busting records. The live premiere of ‘”How You Like That” reached 1.66 million peak concurrent viewers on the streaming video platform, setting new records for most viewers for the premiere of a video on YouTube, and most viewers for the premiere of a music video on YouTube.

They’re already the holders of records for most followed female group on Spotify and music group with the most subscribers on YouTube, eclipsing One Direction, according to Guinness World Records.

Written by Teddy and Danny Chung, “How You Like That” ends Blackpink’s one-year musical hiatus since 2019’s Kill This Love EP, which reached No. 24 on the Billboard 200.

“How You Like That” is expected to appear on Blackpink’s forthcoming debut studio album.

In just five days, the music video has powered to more than 170 million views.  Watch below.

50 Years In, Argentina’s Los Palmeras Prep ‘Great Show We Never Did’: Interview

Many artists have enjoyed years of success, but Los Palmeras have managed to reach the top of their career after 50 years. The group was formed in Santa Fe, Argentina, in 1968 with the idea of performing local cumbia, which includes touches of reggaeton and chamamé, a traditional rhythm from the northeast of the country.

It is made up of Rubén “Cacho” Deicas, Marcos Camino, Exequiel Enrique, Gustavo Martínez, Darien Jorge Grenon and Silvio Medina.

Although they have performed more than 10,000 times, the sextet is preparing what will be their greatest show ever at the Movistar Arena in Buenos Aires. The show, full of rhythms never played before by the band and with guests from all over the region, was scheduled for May 16 and canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The group waits to do it once the quarantine is over.

Argentine cumbia has long been looked at with disdain by many. And yet, Los Palmeras’ crossover into pop sensibility could not be stopped. Their performance during the 2019 South American Cup Final put them in touch with a wider audience, and people answered by taking their cry — “Aeea, yo soy sabalero” — and transforming it into an anthem.

Today, the group that made multiple generations of Argentines dance has erased social boundaries and currently enjoys the recognition of the entire industry, plus 1.5 million monthly listeners on Spotify. After they appeared on the cover of Billboard Argentina, they were a trending topic on social media.

On the country’s Independence Day, July 9, Los Palmeras will headline Billboard Argentina’s online festival to raise money for pandemic-relief charities alongside Luciano Pereira, Miranda! and Chano.

In a chat with Billboard Argentina via Zoom, Rubén “Cacho” Deicas (the group’s singer since 1978), Marcos Camino and Roberto “Kuky” Pumar (creator of Leader Entertainment) remember the early days, share their opinion of tropical music in Argentina and tell us what the future holds for them. “We never strayed from our style; the public was the one who changed,” Deicas said.

Do you feel respect from the industry and your colleagues?

Camino: Of course. It is more than evident, given we have performed so many duets with different artists of all sorts of genres, and many have called us to participate in the next duets album. We have received much respect from all of them, and the response of the public on YouTube and Spotify reflects the mood of the recording. It is a great moment for us. Unfortunately, everything was interrupted by Covid-19, but still, we are trying not to lose contact with the public and continue writing.

How did you reschedule your plans, considering the high number of live shows you usually perform on tour?

Camino: We’ve done a lot of shows throughout these 47, almost 48 years. But now, we are going to do our biggest show in Buenos Aires, at the Movistar Arena. For us, it is the great show that we never did. We are working hard for it, in terms of music, costumes, screens, the stage and our ideas. We want it to be something that has never been seen. There are things that people do not know about us, and we believe that it is the right time to show it to them. Who knows, see if we can make other types of music too.

Something urban or more folklore-oriented?

Camino: I was talking about what I played when I studied accordion: tango, waltzes, ballads. We’d like to take the opportunity to show the public what we are capable of. It’ll be exciting, with many guests and, of course, plenty of cumbia.

Deicas: The idea is to revisit the history of Palmeras through the music and show everything we went through and surprise the audience. The people have given us a lot through these many years, and we want to give it back in one unique night.

What was it like to sign with Leader in the late 1990s?

Pumar: When they arrived, they said: “One hundred hours of recording time is enough for us.” I couldn’t believe it; I thought they were saying it for me to sign them but they proved me wrong when they did the second album: It only took them 88 hours to finish it. They arrived at the studio with a level of rehearsal and confidence that I have not seen in my 37 years of producing.

In ’89, Leader Music began to develop many tropical music artists. The genre needed it: It was always the same three or four performers out all the time. We started looking for diversity, and I realized the great presence that Los Palmeras had on local radios. Cumbia was very marginal and quite rejected.

Palmeras bought their own radio space in Santa Fe in order to have their songs heard more and therefore be booked more. That is a very common procedure in the tropical scene. They are very used to investing in their own promotion. Anyway, we saw the “Palmera value,” so we bought the entire catalog from Santa Fe Recording — over 15 of their albums, including El Bombón Asesino. Today, we own more than 60 percent of Los Palmeras’ catalog.

Were you surprised by your performance on YouTube and Spotify?

Deicas: Of course. We were surprised in the best way. We are delighted with social media. You reach every country simultaneously without having to travel. The massivity we have achieved lately has turned the ear of many young people toward our songs, and they are the ones who spend all day on the apps and make us grow. The “Asado + Cumbia” playlists are packed with our songs.

Some say that Los Palmeras are the Rolling Stones of cumbia.

Deicas: No, not at all. While it is a great compliment for us to be compared to The Rolling Stones, in the end, it is the audience that supports you and shows affection to you in each performance. The fact they give us their hands while looking into our eyes is wonderful.

Camino: They say that Los Palmeras are the Rolling Stones of cumbia. Well, we say that The Rolling Stones are the British Los Palmeras.

John Prine Posthumously Named First Honorary Poet Laureate of Illinois

John Prine has received a very special posthumous honor. The late country folk legend has been named the first honorary poet laureate of Illinois, his home state.

“John Prine leaves behind an unparalleled musical legacy and was beloved by family and millions of fans who hope that in Heaven he finds Paradise waitin’ just as he longed for,” comments Governor J.B. Pritzker in a statement.

Prine is the first Illinoisan to receive the honorary designation, which commemorates his and celebrates his writing and musical contributions.

“John had a great respect for Writers of all kinds. He regarded Poets as being among those whose work carried weight, relevance and elevated craft,” comments Fiona Whelan Prine, the celebrated singer and songwriter’s widow. “It is such an honor for me, our sons, and the entire Prine family to acknowledge that our beloved John will be named an Honorary Poet Laureate of the State of Illinois. Thank you, Gov. Pritzker, for this wonderful recognition.”

The unprecedented accolade closely follows the release of Prine’s final single, “I Remember Everything,” which opened at No. 1 on the Rock Digital Song Sales tally dated June 27, for his first leader on a Billboard chart.

Prine died April 7, due to complications with coronavirus. He was 73.

His life and career was celebrated with the two-hour June 11 special Picture Show: A Tribute Celebrating John Prine, which aired on multiple social platforms including the musician’s Facebook, YouTube and Twitch channels. During the service, viewers were encouraged to make donations to the National Alliance on Mental IllnessAlive Hospice and Make the Road New York.

“I Remember Everything” was written with longtime collaborator Pat McLaughlin and recorded in Prine’s living room.

Cirque du Soleil Files for Creditor Protection

Cirque du Soleil filed for creditor protection in Canada on Monday (June 29) while it develops a plan to restart its business amid the pandemic.

The creator of many of the most popular shows in Las Vegas on Monday blamed the “immense disruption and forced show closures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Montreal-based circus arts show company temporarily suspended its productions around the world in March because of the new coronavirus outbreak.

Cirque du Soleil also announced the termination of approximately 3,480 employees previously furloughed in March.

In connection with the filing, Cirque du Soleil said it has entered into a purchase agreement with its existing shareholders TPG, Fosun and Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec as well as Investissement Quebec as a debt provider. Its said the sponsors’ bid includes an intent to rehire a substantial majority of the terminated employees, business conditions allowing, when its operations can resume.

The company added that given that its resident shows in Las Vegas and Orlando are expected to resume before the rest of the other shows, the artists and show staff of the resident shows division are not affected.

The Las Vegas shows that were cancelled included “O” at the Bellagio, “KA” at MGM Grand, “The Beatles LOVE” at the Mirage, “Mystere” at Treasure Island, “Zumanity” at New York-New York and “Michael Jackson ONE” at Mandalay Bay.

Cirque du Soleil shows in Austin, Texas, Chicago, Houston, New Orleans, Salt Lake City, Montreal, Boston, Tel Aviv, Meloneras, Spain, Munich, Costa Mesa, California, Denver, and the Australian cities of Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth were also cancelled.

Coronavirus

Rising J-Pop Duo YOASOBI Reveal Influences From Anime to Folk: Interview

YOASOBI is a breakout J-pop act whose debut single, “Yoru ni kakeru,” has been taking various Japanese music rankings by storm. The male-female duo formed for a project by the online creative writing site monogatary.com, and its unique concept is to produce music inspired by stories submitted to the site.

Released in December 2019, “Yoru ni kakeru” — which can roughly be translated to “Racing into the night” in English — is based on an original short story by Mayo Hoshino titled “Thanatos no yuuwaku” (“Seduction of Thanatos”) that depicts the fleeting romance between the first-person narrator, presumably a young man, and the woman he loves who repeatedly tries to commit suicide.

“Yoru ni kakeru” first took off on the short video platform TikTok and other social media, leading Spotify’s Viral Top 50 (Japan) ranking in January. The animated music video directed by Niina Ai, currently a student at the Tokyo University of Arts Department of Design, has been viewed over 30 million times. The at-home single-take performance of the song by vocalist ikura uploaded May 15 on YouTube’s The First Take channel has also been viewed over 20 million times.

The duo’s first single has gone on to become its first No. 1 hit on the Billboard Japan Hot 100, leading the chart dated June 1 and staying there for three straight weeks. Billboard Japan spoke with the members — Ayase, the songwriter and producer who started releasing music online as a so-called “vocaloid producer (vocalo-p)” in December 2018, and singer ikura, a university student who also writes and performs her own music as Lilas Ikuta — and asked about the group’s origins, the members’ musical influences, the process behind their songwriting and more in this in-depth interview.

How did YOASOBI originally get started?

Ayase: There’s an online creative writing site called monogatary.com, and I received an offer from the staff there to collaborate on a unit that creates music inspired from original stories. So after discussing things like what kind of vocalist we wanted and the direction of the music we were aiming for, we found ikura on Instagram — where she had uploaded some of her music — and formed our duo.

What are your musical influences?

Ayase: I grew up on mainstream J-pop artists like aiko, Sukima Switch, Kobukuro and EXILE. They were major influences, so when I make my own music — whether it be vocaloid tracks or songs for YOASOBI — I don’t have a sense of doing anything particularly offbeat and always aim to straightforwardly create the best kind of J-pop.

Where do you think those influences are most apparent in YOASOBI’s songs?

Ayase: The way the melody works. Aside from J-pop from the aughts that I mentioned, I also listen to a lot of mainstream J-pop from the ’80s and ’90s, so I like the kind of melodies Japanese people are familiar with. But I do want to stick to global trends as well in terms of the overall sound, and currently listen to a lot of K-pop in particular. I find the way they make their tracks really enlightening.

ikura: I grew up in the States until I was 3 years old, and listened to a lot of Western music from a young age. When I was in elementary school, I watched a lot of programs on the Disney Channel and bought the soundtracks to practice singing the songs in English. I think the way I sing now has a lot to do with my experience from back then. Also, my father likes folk music and he taught me how to play the guitar. I listened to a lot of folk and country music up to my early teens, so those kinds of simpler tunes are my influences as well.

You both have separate music careers aside from YOASOBI — Ayase as a “vocalo-p” and ikura as a solo singer-songwriter. Do you feel that your dual careers influence each other in tangible ways?

Ayase: I make the demos for YOASOBI using vocaloid software, actually, because I can be more innovative with my ideas when I’m writing the melody. That’s why sometimes they’re incredibly hard for a living vocalist to take breaths while singing them. But in the early idea stages, there’s a different kind of excitement compared to writing a song while actually singing it, so that’s something I was able to notice because I’m a vocalo-p.

ikura: Ayase can position notes anywhere and make songs using any kind of rhythm, and I’m always surprised by the breadth of his ideas every time I hear a new song he wrote. But I have to admit, there are parts I find difficult, like when a note jumps an octave or the tempo is a lot faster than the music I make. So, I need to keep improving in those respects.

Can you elaborate on your process of writing music based on stories?

Ayase: I guess it goes without saying that I start off by thoroughly studying the story. Except I primarily compose the music first and add the lyrics later, so usually set aside the finer parts of the storyline for the time being and determine the overall style first, like the tempo and sound. It’s pretty much an intuitive process for me. Kind of like playing the music in my head while I’m reading the original story. I think the result is faithful to the work it’s based on.

“Thanatos no yuuwaku” (“Seduction of Thanatos”) is a story that reflects the way the author views life and death. But the song that was inspired by it, “Yoru ni kakeru” (“Racing into the night”), has a kind of drive to it, with powerfully energetic vocals, which veers away from the serious tone of the story itself.

Ayase: I figured if I were to write a gloomy tune to express “Thanatos no yuuwaku,” it would just become unbearably bleak, so I made it catchy and pop on purpose. I wanted to express the grotesque that resides within beauty and cuteness.

ikura: I wanted to maintain the mood of the original work, so I kept my vocals neutral, to blend in with the color of the track. I tried to convey the emotion of the protagonist with my voice.

On the other hand, your second release, “Ano yume wo nazotte” (“Tracing that dream”), sonically expresses that kind of restlessness of being head-over-heels in love, in keeping with the romantic story it was based on. Was the process for this track different from “Yoru ni kakeru”?

Ayase: Yes, definitely. Precognitive dreams are key in the original story, and it has elements of fantasy, so I started off making a near-futuristic, slightly eccentric track, but it didn’t feel right. I decided to highlight the bittersweet aspect of romance and the kind of rush of being young instead. It’s a straightforwardly exhilarating song, but the original story has an unexpectedly complicated twist to it, so that difference is interesting, too.

What about your third release, “Harujion”?

Ayase: The story it’s based on is about a protagonist who got dumped and is in a funk, but eventually begins to pursue a dream. So I wanted to express the way they face forward and start to move on up. The story had a lot of indoor scenes, so I linked the image of emerging from that room with the sense of taking a new step forward towards one’s dream.

Also, the timing of the release happened to coincide with the coronavirus quarantine in Japan. I figured people wouldn’t be able to feel the coming of spring this year, so to convey a sense of season through music, I aimed to create a spring-like sensation of everything beginning to open up.

ikura: The music unfolded along with the development of the story, so I focused on that. I sing this one in a smoother way compared to the other YOASOBI numbers, which I sing in a sharper, more rhythmical manner. I also gradually increased the intensity from the bridge before the last chorus to the end of that part to express the way the protagonist rises upward and onward.

“Yoru ni kakeru” started buzzing on social media from around the beginning of this year, and went on to become your first No. 1 on the Billboard Japan Hot 100 and stayed there for three consecutive weeks. The song gained popularity with incredible speed. When did you first sense that the tide was turning?

Ayase: (Because of coronavirus quarantine) people are now looking for things to enjoy at home, so the types of entertainment they want have changed. I think there’s a bigger opportunity for our music to be heard. It began taking off on places like TikTok and Twitter around February to March, which coincides with the beginning of businesses being asked to shut down, so I guess we were fortunate in that the timing of social distancing brought us opportunity.

ikura: I think one of the real joys of YOASOBI’s music is how people can go back and forth between the original stories and music videos to enjoy them together, so the fact that people have more time to do so makes a big difference.

What are some other inspirations from daily life that you reflect in your music?

Ayase: I watch a lot of anime in my free time, and often write music right after I’m moved by a particular story. This is something I’ve done for a long time — things like movies, too, I’m the type who wants to make something out of my reaction to a particular work of art. An illustrator might express it through drawings, and I do so through music. Whenever I feel a strong emotion after seeing anime and movies, I channel those feelings into my music.

That sounds a lot like what you do for YOASOBI.

Ayase: Yeah, I guess you could say that I’ve been doing the same thing for a long time. When I was around 16 or 17, an older band member told me, “It’s fun writing songs pretending to be the protagonist of an anime and stuff, or imagining what you would say to that character. It’ll broaden your scope.” I took their advice and got good results. So maybe I’m cut out to make music this way.

ikura: I also write a lot of my music after seeing a movie, or after reading a book. I also like gazing at scenery and am inspired by visual cues like buildings and the color of the sky that I see when I’m riding a train or just walking outside, and often stop to jot down lyrics on the spot.

Lastly, can you share some of your upcoming projects and what you envision for YOASOBI’s future?

Ayase: We’re currently busy working on a new song, and it’s turning out great. We intend to keep writing more songs and put out an album, and when the situation allows, we’d love to perform live as well. Right now, we have a lot of time to plan out our strategy, so we’ll keep preparing to make sure we can present excellent quality when the time comes.

2020 Juno Awards Open With a Dramatic Moment of Reckoning on Matters of Race & Inclusion

The most dramatic moments at the Juno Awards, which were presented virtually on June 29, had nothing to do with the night’s big winners, Shawn Mendes and Alessia Cara. These moments came at the top of the show, where the Junos were remarkably forthright about their need to diversify and how the show was late to acknowledge soul, reggae, rap and other forms of Black and indigenous music.

Allan Reid, president/CEO of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, set the tone in his opening remarks. Musician-broadcaster Odario Williams and singer/songwriter Damhnait Doyle, who appeared together, then built on Reid’s remarks. Williams even saluted by name two artists who have criticized the Junos in the past.

Here are their opening statements, just lightly edited.

Allan Reid: “For the first time in history, we are seeing people of all nations take a unified stand for Black lives. As president of CARAS, it is my responsibility to ensure that we take an active role in dismantling systemic racism. We are committed to the long-term inclusion and amplification of Black voices and a more equitable industry for all. We are working on an action plan with specific commitments that we will reveal this July. We must do better for our BIPoC [Black and Indigenous Person/People of Color] members of the music community and we welcome you to hold us accountable.”

Odario Williams: “Although it’s been a great year for Canadian music, I just want to take a moment to acknowledge that it’s been a long and difficult road for Black and indigenous Canadian artists here at the Junos. The very first ceremony took place back in 1970 and it took 15 years for soul artists and reggae artists to be included in the list of categories. The first rap recording Juno [to Maestro Fresh-Wes’s Symphony in Effect] was awarded in 1991 and the first indigenous music award [to Lawrence Martin’s Wapistan] was handed out in 1994.

“…I’ve got to give a shout-out to the black and indigenous Canadian artists of the ‘70s, the ‘80s and ‘90s that are true pioneers in the growth of our musical landscape. A special shout-out to the great Liberty Silver, who was the first Black woman to ever win a Juno in 1985. I’ve got to give a shout-out to Rascalz who turned down their Juno win for rap recording in 1998 because they felt rap music wasn’t being represented on the grand stage. And I’ve got to give a shout-out to A Tribe Called Red who refused to submit their 2014 Nation II Nation album to the indigenous category in order to not be pigeonholed…So shoutout to all of our talented trailblazers who have helped shape the musical culture in this country.”

Damhnait Doyle: “Every single Canadian artist that I admire is dedicated to making active change in the industry. It is not performative—It is our duty—and it is past due. Seeing our music community come together to celebrate the voices of Black and indigenous people and people of color, it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever witnessed. We will fight every day to push forward this change.”