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Industry Updates: Sony’s Making Money Moves

Ultra Records Expands:

Ultra Records, one of the top EDM labels in the business, has just expanded its operations throughout Scandinavia by hiring Michel Petré as the Managing Director for the region. Petré will be joining the label, which was recently acquired by Sony Music to fortify artist signings and to find new talent throughout the Nordic region.

Petré has 44 years of experience in the industry. He started out in Stockholm’s first import record stores and has held positions at Edel Music and Ministry of Sound. As for other accomplishments, Petré, Martina and Daniel Ledinsky cofounded Family Tree Music in 2004, which has grown into one of the leading independent companies in the Nordic Region.

This new talent acquisition to the Sony team demonstrates US companies’ growing interest in talent throughout the Scandinavian population, also highlighted by Sony/ATV ‘s launch of Stellar Songs Scandinavia last week.

Activism and Artists:

Many artists use their platform in order to speak out issues they view to be unjust. This week Selena Gomez used her power as an influencer to speak out against children being separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border. She discussed this controversial issue at the premiere of Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation in LA stating, “It’s extremely disheartening. There’s a lot of confusion and anger.”

In other news Panic! At the Disco’s frontman Brendon Urie pledged $1 million dollars towards setting up Gender and Sexuality and Gay-Straight Alliance clubs at schools throughout the United States. He’s partnered with GLSEN in order to make this possible. This partnership follows his creation of the Higher Hopes Foundation, which aims to support human rights advocacy in marginalized communities.

Minor Court Victory for Kesha:

A judge in New York has demanded that Sony Music must disclose the identities of the individuals they interviewed during the internal investigation into Lukas Gottwald also known as Dr. Luke. Gottwald is currently pursuing defamation claims against Kesha and is continuing to argue against the rape allegations she claims he perpetrated.

In a decision made on July 2nd, a New York Supreme Court Justice stated that Sony’s argument that releasing the names of those interviewed violates attorney-client privilege was invalid as the release of such names would not disclose the team’s legal strategy.

Cardi B Breaks More Ground:

Cardi B has become the first female rapper with two Hot 100 Number One Hits. With the success of “Bodak Yellow” and “I Like It” it seems that Cardi has cemented herself and an unstoppable female force in the music industry. This record was previously held by Lauryn Hill with “Doo Wop (That Thing)” and Iggy Azalea with “Fancy”.

Ground was further broken as Invasion of Privacy also became the first album to hold two Hot 100 Number one hits since Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ record, The Heist. Cardi’s album debuted at number one in April, making Cardi B the fifth female rapper with a chart-topping LP.

Giiants: An Interview

“Mysterious” might be the best word to describe Giiants. The band, made up of Adam Bailey, Andrea Rullo, and Cameron Maxwell, is set to make it big. Their first single, “Small Talk,” has already blown up, with 1.5 million YouTube plays and 450,000 streams on Spotify. Their new song, “American Summer”, was released just in time for the 4th of July on June 29th. It’s upbeat, it’s got a catchy refrain, and it’s sure to end up on your summer playlist. Did I mention they’ve been picked up by Ultra, one of the top electronic music labels? Be on the lookout; Giiants is set to take the world by storm.

Typing the group’s name into a Google search won’t provide much information. In fact, the only result to be found pertaining to the band itself links directly to their Facebook page. When pressed for personal details about Giiants, Cameron responded with, “There’s not much out there, and it’s kind of on purpose.” If anything, this just adds to their mystique and makes the listening experience that much better, as the music remains the focus.

As enigmatic as they were during our interview, I was able to discern how passionate each member is about their craft. When asked, “What would you be doing if you couldn’t make music?” they responded simply, “We’d still be making it in secret.” I’ve asked this question countless times to artists across every genre. Giiants is the first group to firmly assert that music is all they could envision themselves doing.

Furthermore, the band is perhaps one of the most dedicated groups on the scene right now. They noted, “We spend quite a while in the studio. Collectively, we’re writing and producing every single day.” Each member has previous experience in the industry, be it through writing for other artists or working on other projects. This balance of passion, commitment, and experience makes Giiants a force to be reckoned with. Clearly, the music industry agrees, as the band explained:

It started with an email. We finished the song and our manager loved it, so we said ‘Okay let’s send it to our top pick labels’. We wanted to shoot really high and aim for our dream labels to start. We sent it to Patrick Moxey, the head of Ultra and Sony worldwide for EDM, and David Waxman. They got back to us quickly and were in.

This desire to make it big is partially what inspired the name Giiants in the first place, according to the band. “That’s kind of where the Giiants name came in,” they noted. “We just wanted to be huge. And we wanted something that didn’t really have any backstory. We wanted to build from the ground up.” The trio believes that their “I’ve made it moment” will be the first time they see just Giiants as the artist name when one of their songs plays on the radio and not just as the last name in a set of remixes. With their current sound, influenced by the likes of Avicii and Empire of the Sun, it’s only a matter of time until this is a reality.

Adam, Andrea, and Cameron have combined forces to become a powerhouse trio set to take over the world, or at least your summer, with their latest hit, “American Summer.” With music festivals and concerts on the horizon, it will be interesting to see how the passion and dedication they feel for their craft will translate onstage. EchoMe is excited to follow all they accomplish as they release more music and their sound develops.