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Notables: Nicki Minaj, Travis Scott, JID & Smino

Welcome to this week’s Notables, Boardroom’s overview of the buzziest bits circulating in the music industry.

For the sake of everyone’s health and wellbeing, we’re going to go ahead and declare this edition of Notables a Ye-free zone. Now that we’ve squared that bit of business away, let’s focus on the far more interesting things happening on the charts right about now. For instance:

  • With 14 total weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, Steve Lacy’s “Bad Habit” just earned its second week at No. 1.
  • Bruno Mars extended his all-time RIAA certification record for Diamond (10x Platinum) singles now that “Locked Out of Heaven” reached the milestone 10 years and four days after its original 2012 release.
  • Khalid surpassed one billion streams in 2022 in the US alone.
  • Bad Bunny is still the most-streamed artist on Spotify globally, but he was supplanted on this week’s Billboard’s Artist 100 by… Slipknot?!?

But that’s not all we need to talk about today. Welcome to Notables, Boardroom’s roundup of the buzziest bits circulating in the music industry.

Let’s start with Nicki Minaj, who’s doing exactly what she did in that verse on “Monster” — taking us all to school.

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Nicki Minaj Goes Back to School

It may be midterm season, but students across the country are starting to curate their course selections for next semester.

Students at UC-Berkeley will have the opportunity to dive deep on rap royalty with a new course offering entitled “Nicki Minaj: The Black Barbie Femmecee & Hip Hop Feminisms.” The class will be offered through the university’s Department of African American Studies and taught by post-doctoral fellow Dr. Peace and Love El Henson, as they revealed on Twitter.

But Barbs who sit for the course may have a special guest lecturer. When tapped in by a user on Twitter, Minaj herself responded that she’d love to stop in.

Minaj joins a lyrically-inclined lineup of advanced coursework across the country that already includes a Harry Styles class at Texas State University, Taylor Swift studies at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute, and Questlove’s appearance at the head of the class for his own NYU course, “Classic Albums.”

JID & Smino Hit the Road 4Ever

The Zoink Gang roadshow is coming to a city near you. On Tuesday, JID and Smino announced the Luv is 4Ever Tour, a 32-stop blowout scheduled to kick off on Jan. 22, 2023 in Seattle, Washington and conclude in Nashville, Tennessee on March 29.

This is an international affair, too — while the action won’t travel west of Wisconsin, it notably includes mid-March visits to Montreal and Toronto.

Atlanta kid JID rolls into the tour on the heels of the Aug. 26 release of The Forever Story, the Dreamville artist’s critically acclaimed third studio album and a direct sequel to 2017’s The Never Story. The release peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard 200.

Meanwhile, Smino is likely taking pre-emptive victory laps over his upcoming LP Love 4 Rent, which drops Oct. 28 on Zero Fatigue, the label and artistic collective he founded in 2014. Three singles have already been released from the album, the most recent being “90 Proof” featuring JID’s most famous labelmate, J. Cole.

Tickets for the Luv is 4Ever Tour go on sale on Friday, Oct. 14.

Travis Scott to the Moon

La Flame is back. Houston rapper Travis Scott popped up as the surprise guest at esports organization FaZe Clan’s annual Twitch Con, sponsored by MoonPay. “RGB: A Night On The Moon” took place at San Diego’s PARQ nightclub, and he was joined by some of the industry’s biggest streamers and content creators, including Kai Cenat, Deestroying, and FaZe Rug.

Scott stayed booked and busy over the weekend but kept things in the FaZe Clan family. The next night, he turned around and headed back to the City of Angels, where he was joined onstage by SoFaygo for Bronny James‘ 18th birthday. The Sierra Canyon hooper surely had a lot to celebrate, as he also inked a deal this week as a member of Nike’s first-ever NIL starting five.

This weekend, Scott heads back to Vegas for the second installment of his “Road to Utopia” residency at Zouk Nightclub.

Music’s Meteoric Projections

The big business of the music industry is on the rise. Earlier this summer, Goldman Sachs released a report forecasting that by the year 2030, the industry will be worth $130 billion driven by an extended history of disruption. Diving into the numbers, the analysis reveals the following:

  • An overall increase of 209% from the 2017 estimated value of $62 billion by 2030
  • Recorded music is projected to skyrocket from $30 billion in 2017 to $80 billion
  • Live music is expected to spike from $26 billion in 2017 to $38 billion

The spike can be attributed to increased investment in the music industry by millennials and Gen Z-ers who spend an average of $153 on music each year and are likely to spend at higher rates than their elders.

Data courtesy of Music in the Air

However, the single most important factor setting up the future is the proliferation of streaming services, which are on collectively pace to become a $40 billion biz all by themselves. Independently, data show that over 100,000 songs are uploaded to Spotify each day. As record labels scramble to optimize A&R efforts, artists have sought out alternative platforms for promotion — so, will this shift the bottom line in the long run? We don’t know for sure, but the soundtrack we’ll blast on the way to getting there is assured to be stacked.

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