Thoughts and music of double J x


‘Get A Proper Job’ The World’s Highest-Paid DJs 2017! How Much?

DGzKUdeXcAUiW1NFew DJs make it to festival mainstages and Ibiza club gigs–only one has done it as an independent artist dressed like a marshmallow. Perhaps the only thing more absurd than Marshmello’s appearance–the anonymous DJ performs in a puffy white mask–is how much money he makes: $21 million over the past year, thanks to a rigorous touring schedule and six-figure nightly fees. “We were like, ‘How do we create something that’s not driven by who it is, or what it’s about?'” says Moe Shalizi, Marshmello’s manager at Red Light Management, who helped form the act. “We’re creating more of a faceless brand.” His music, a melodic, bubbly synth-scape infused with brief vocal hooks and nods to trap drum programming, sounded mellow to Shalizi–hence the name. Hits have followed: “Alone” has shifted some 800,000 units, according to his management, while his self-released Joytime–an album composed largely of tracks previously uploaded for free–peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard’s Top Dance/Electronic chart. Without a label, Marshmello enjoys bigger take-homes on his tracks and merchandise.

Electronic Dance Music (EDM) is no stranger to the masked marauder--Deadmau5, who last appeared on the list in 2015, performs in a mouse head. But Marshmello’s stratospheric rise is indicative of the music industry’s current state, where marketing and social media have never been more important. “We’re creating more of a faceless brand,” said Marshmello’s manager, Moe Shalizi. “That’s Marshmello … he’s only about two and a half years old and he’s one of the biggest DJs in the world.”

960x0That hasn’t stopped fans speculating about his identity. Many believe Marshmello to be an alias of Chris Comstock, also known as Dotcom, a DJ-producer on Shalizi’s management roster who reportedly shares a first name and tattoo with Marshmello. Further indication comes from royalty monitor ASCAP: Marshmello’s “Silence” lists Comstock as the only songwriter on the track aside from Khalid, who is the featured vocalist–Marshmello is not credited anywhere. (Shalizi declined to comment on Marshmello’s identity.)

That’s good enough for the No. 8 spot on our list of the world’s highest-paid DJs. The group pulled in a collective $298 million, up from $270.5 million in 2016. Much of that increase comes from the two newcomers, Marshmello and the Chainsmokers. The latter clocked 2.2 billion-plus streams over the past year, mostly from crossover hits “Closer” (with Halsey) and “Something Just Like This” (with Coldplay). “We work with artists because it makes sense, because we’re excited about them,” the Chainsmokers’ Alex Pall explained to Forbes earlier this year. “Anytime we work with someone, it’s because they offer something to us creatively that inspires us.”

vinyl-goldYet the highest-paid name on our list for the fifth consecutive year is Calvin Harris, who earned $48.5 million—roughly as much as Marshmello and the Chainsmokers combined. The Scottish DJ tops the Electronic Cash Kings on account of mid-six-figure fees for his Las Vegas performances and seven-figure music festival hauls. He’s also one of the most successful crossover producers on the planet, most recently releasing “Feels,” featuring Pharrell Williams, Big Sean and Katy Perry.

Tiësto, the 48-year-old Dutch DJ who has finished in the top three every year in the Electronic Cash Kings list’s existence, continues to outpace EDM stars half his age, playing 134 gigs in our scoring period en route to a payday of $39 million. The aforementioned Chainsmokers follow close behind at No. 3 with $38 million.

960x0 dgThe ranks of the top-earning DJs reveal an unfortunate lack of diversity—among the top ten, there are no women, and all hail from the U.S. or northern Europe. There is, however, a bit of a mix when it comes to age: the oldest, 49-year-old David Guetta (No. 7, $25 million), could easily be the father of Martin Garrix (No. 9, $19.5 million), who just reached legal drinking age.

Guetta still banks millions by combining festival gigs with club shows from Ibiza to Las Vegas. An international draw, he tallied 100-odd performances in 12 months across the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia. He remains one of a handful of EDM artists to have mainstream pop success, working with the likes of Rihanna, Sia and Usher. Very few artists have been able to straddle both worlds, hitting the top of the charts while maintaining the respect they’ve earned in the dance industry with tastemaking kids, but David Guetta has now been doing just that for well over a decade, and he shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. “When I started, our music was underground,” Guetta reminisced during a recent studio visit. “There was no such thing as DJ music that would be on the radio.

When David Guetta first stepped into the control room of a New York City recording studio to play some previously-unheard tracks for a handful of journalists, something about the man was different. He didn’t look like the same DJ I had seen perform live at shows or in hundreds of photographs throughout the years. His trademark lengthy locks were gone, he had upped his style game and he was, somewhat surprisingly, visibly both nervous and excited to press play on the tunes that would soon be hitting airwaves around the globe. The world has this man to thank, at least in part, for dance music finally reaching the masses. Around the start of the decade, he ushered in a new era of pop with hit songs of his own like “Sexy Bitch” with Akon, “Without You” featuring Usher and perhaps most memorably, “Titanium,” which highlighted the incredible vocals and songwriting talents of a still relatively unknown pop oddity by the name of Sia. In addition to his own singles, Guetta also produced for artists like the Black Eyed Peas, giving them their 14-week No. 1 hit “I Gotta Feeling,” and further inundating the public with an all-electro sound.

960x0 soOur rankings of the world’s highest-paid DJs take into account earnings from June 2016 through June 2017. Fees for agents, managers and lawyers are not subtracted. We create our list with the help of data from Nielsen, Pollstar, Bandsintown, Songkick, as well as interviews with industry insiders and some of the DJs themselves. It’s quite possible to earn double-digit millions as a DJ and still fall short of making the Electronic Cash Kings list. A number of well-known names fit that description, including some who had very big years: Steve Aoki, Afrojack, Deadmau5, DJ Snake, Kaskade, and Dmitri Vegas and Like Mike, to name a few. We’ll look out for them in 2018—after all, in the EDM world, a lot can change in a little bit of time.

Edited by Zack O’Malley Greenburg and Natalie Robehmed; additional reporting by Rebecca Lerner. Note: The first two paragraphs of this story appeared in the latest issue of Forbes, alongside names and earnings totals of the top ten highest-paid DJs.

Apple: iPod: Future-Now: Sync or Swim!

apple bootlegThe iPod showed Apple that it could be more than just a conventional computer company, and that changed everything. Earlier this week, Apple officially discontinued the iPod nano and shuffle by removing them from its online store and slowly phasing them out from retail locations. The move was somewhat out of the blue, but one that makes sense when you think of the current state of technology. I suppose a few people will be greatly annoyed. Others won’t care. iPod sales are so low now, Apple hasn’t reported the sales numbers for years. The iPhone is the new music player. (And for some, the iPod touch—which endures for now.) There are several ways to define innovation, and I think that contributes to an enduring misunderstanding. One can take the approach that innovation means a breathtaking, unexpected new product that ignites the company’s fiances and takes the tech world by storm. One can argue that the iPod and iPhone did just that. Apple Music’a long-awaited spinoff series Carpool Karaoke will launch on August 8th, and Apple launched a new video to promote it. The video is set to Willie Nelson’s On the Road Again, and it features many more celebrities than were originally announced, including Maisie WilliamsSophie Turner, Gwen Stefani, Ariana Grande, Camilla Cabello, Metallica, Billy Eichner, Blake Shelton, and many more.

jobsyoungold“The Day Steve Jobs Launched the iPod and Changed Apple Forever.”

It was early October, 2001. I was at home in Wales when my they called “Make arrangements to be online for an event on October 23rd. This is important.” There are videos of the Apple event, so I won’t go into a lot of detail. There were lots of charts and figures and discussion about the music industry. What I remember most, however, was the first time I was in the same room with Steve Jobs. He was in his prime. He was in control. The first iMacs had shipped, and the product was an amazing success. He was very, very confident. The iPod might be the most important product ever produced because it cast Apple from being a so-called toy computer company into an integral part of our modern tech culture via the avenue of a powerful medium: music. It forever changed Apple. And the world.

By the time Steve was done launching the iPod, it seemed perfectly natural for Apple to make a music player. Its design blew everything else out of the water. It was beautiful. It was well engineered. It was to be coveted. Apple had worked with a partner to build a near-miraculous miniature 5 GB hard disk inside. “A thousand songs in your pocket,” he said with a grin and some charm. It synced nicely with music you’d ripped into iTunes. (The iTunes store would come along later in 2003.) We were in awe. It’s said that without the iPod, the iPhone wouldn’t have been possible, and I believe that. Apple, under Steve Jobs, came to realize that it could bring a new perspective and set of integrated electronics to our lives. Sony started on that path, but never quite got there the way Apple did.

Innovation-2Innovation 1st, 2nd & Future!

The first definition above is often applied to Apple when Steve Jobs was trying to save the company in the late 1990s. The dramatic “One More Thing” announcement at events was cleverly designed to whet our appetites and make us believe that Apple was imaginative and resurgent. That turned out to be true, but Steve Jobs knew that he had to back up the hype with real, desirable products. He demanded as much from his engineers. The other way to look at innovation, and I think this is he proper one, is the application of original thinking and engineering finesse combined with significant resources to attack modern problems and create solutions that make life better for customers. In new ways.

It seems as if every time anyone writes about the iPod, a growing number of people call for updated models with Apple Music support. While the iPod touch of course supports the streaming service, the iPod nano, iPod shuffle, and iPod Classic never did, but rather stuck to offering music via an iTunes transfer only. It’s interesting to me that so many people seemingly have an interest or need for an iPod with Apple Music. It’s not really an idea that I’d ever thought of before, and I can’t really think of an instance in which anyone would choose an iPod over iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch. Personally, I do see myself interested in an iPod with Apple Music built in. (I was always a huge fan of the iPod classic)

apple productsApple has made some significant advances in terms of how we live (health and fitness) and how we interact with devices. For example, we have AirPods, HomePod, ARKit, HomeKit, HealthKit, and amateur photography to name a few. Our Apple watch tracks our pulse, exercise and soon, perhaps, our blood glucose. An iPhone with a fast 64-bit processor executes 100 billion instructions to deliver breathtaking photos. Another factor is the size of the company. In 2001, Apple’s total revenue for the year was about US$5.4 billion. Today, it’s over $200 billon. August 2017: US index hits fresh peak after strong results push iPhone maker to record valuation of $827bn. (Quarterly profit rose 12% to $8.7bn (£6.6bn). Revenues grew by 7% year-on-year to $45.4bn)

When a company is small, dramatic changes are a significant fraction of revenues. They have an impact. And the company can turn on a dime

Apple sends Dow above 22,000 for the first time

Sales of the iPhone, by far Apple’s biggest moneymaker, grew marginally to 41m judging by Apple’s revenue forecasts for the rest of the year, it means we can expect anticipation for a big upgrade to the iPhone to step into overdrive, what with it being the device’s 10th anniversary year. In those 10 years, 1.2 billion iPhones have been sold! But even more promising was a resurgence in the iPad, its tablet computer that has suffered steadily falling sales. Apple sold 11.4m iPads thanks to the release of a new model, up 15pc. Revenues from its burgeoning Services division, which includes sales of apps, music and cloud storage, grew 22pc.

Either way.. Steve Jobs & Apple Changed The Way We See, Hear & View the world forever in the 21st century, the rise & fall of the company is not an issue, the continuation of innovation is given & recieved with open arms.. Play Loud 🙂 xx

Bruce Dickinson ‘Autobiography’

3e09fa7a-cec2-4648-b1be-39f31ecd905bIron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson will release his autobiography titled What Does This Button Do? in October. The first print run of the UK hardback will feature black-sprayed edges.

“In What Does This Button Do?, Bruce shares, for the first time, the most fascinating recollections, including his 30 years with Maiden, the early days, his childhood within the eccentric British school system, going solo, realising his dream of flying jumbo jets and his recent battle with tongue cancer.” It continues: “Bold, honest, intelligent and very entertaining, What Does This Button Do? is the long-awaited window into the life, heart and mind of one of our most adventurous and multifaceted sons.”

4ed41520-0bd4-4c97-8885-9265e0d8f189It will be published via Harper Collins on October 18, with Dickinson writing parts of his memoir across seven A4 notebooks while the band were on their world tour in support of latest album The Book Of Souls. A statement from the publisher reads: “A true polymath, Bruce is, or has been, an airline pilot and captain, an aviation entrepreneur, a beer brewer, motivational speaker, film scriptwriter, twice-published novelist, radio presenter, TV actor and a world-class fencer.

Dickinson and Iron Maiden recently announced they had teamed up once again with Robinsons Brewery to release another branded beer – a Belgian-style beer titled Hallowed.


Streaming fuels 11.2% growth in music!

14064070_1210729992301865_312302793190136496_nUK entertainment retail sales were up 6.4% in the first half of 2017 according to new stats published by the Entertainment Retailers Association yesterday, and music retail led the way with an 11.2% uplift year-on-year. ERA figures include monies generated by the music, video and gaming sectors, taking in both digital and physical products, and sales and subscription revenues. Unlike stats put out by the record industry, ERA’s music numbers also include the retailer or streaming platforms’ cut of any revenue, plus monies paid over to songwriters and music publishers, which are not generally included when the record industry reports digital income.

Overall UK entertainment retail sales generated £2.9 billion in the first half of 2017, up 6.4% on the £2.8 billion that came in during the first half of 2016. Music sales were up 11.2% year-on-year, gaming 8.4% and video sales just 1.2%, even though video products account for many of the best selling individual releases so far this year. Before all you music types get too smug, let’s not forget that overall, gaming accounts for just over 48% of the entertainment retail market, with DVDs and online video products responsible for about a third of revenues, and music just under 20%. But still, music retail is 11.2% up, woo!

deezer-image-new-minStreaming subscriptions, of course, are fuelling that growth in music income, and digital products and services also now account for 75.4% of overall entertainment retail revenues. Though fans of the vinyl revival can sleep soundly tonight knowing that sales of old fashioned records continue to grow, up 35.7% in terms of units and 37.6% in terms or revenue so far this year.

Commenting on her organisation’s latest stats pack, ERA CEO Kim Bayley told reporters: “Entertainment has now seen over four years of continuous growth thanks to a combination of digital services pioneering new ways of consuming music, video and games, and physical retailers working hard to maximise sales of discs. To now deliver another £180m worth of sales in the first half of 2017 is really extraordinary”.

The Quireboys: ‘White Trash Blues’

5971ebce64defThe Quireboys have unveiled details of their tenth studio album.

Released on Friday 5th September via Off Yer Rocka Recordings, ‘White Trash Blues’ boasts unique cover versions of blues classics from legends including Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Chuck Berry and Billy Boy Arnold. The idea for the record came about after the Quireboys were booked in to play their penultimate Blues Stage slot at Ramblin Man’ Fair on Sunday 30th July.

“When Spike and I met Chris Ingham from Ramblin’ Man Fair he floated the idea of doing a blues set at this year’s festival and we loved the idea,” explains guitarist Guy Griffin. “There are a few leftfield choices and we love that but it’s always great to give the classics a go. We’re naturally suited to playing the blues but let’s be honest – once Spike starts singing they all sound like they could be Quireboys songs. And they can be!”

“Why not do something different to the norm? And at that point we sensed an opportunity to make a blues record. All of the guys are great musicians – as a band we can play anything. I suppose the trick was giving these blues classics a unique twist and that’s what we’ve tried to do. The album came together very organically but they are songs everyone has played at different times over the years and they feel like they’re part of our history,” adds guitarist Paul Guerin.

Keyboardist and blues aficionado Keith Weir said the record was a sheer joy to put together. “Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved the blues. I used to buy The Blues Collection magazine back in the 90s – I’ve still got all of those CDs. It’s a genre that I’ve always loved and doing this album was a dream come true,” Keith said. “We didn’t just want to do carbon copies of these great old songs but at the same time we wanted to pay due respect to the people behind the songs. I think we’ve managed to strike the right balance.”

5971ebd505cb4The White Trash Blues track-listing is as follows:

Cross Eyed Cat
Boom Boom
I wish You Would
Take Out Some Insurance
Going Down
Help Me
Shame Shame Shame
I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man
Leaving Trunk
I’m a King Bee
Walking the Dog
Little Queenie

5971ebce19d4cTogether with ‘White Trash Blues’, The Quireboys will also release the three-track ‘Leaving Trunk EP’, featuring the bonus tracks ‘Champagne and Reefer’ and ‘Rollin and Tumblin’, digitally on Tuesday 1st August.

The Leaving Trunk EP track-listing is:

Leaving Trunk
Champagne and Reefer
Rollin and Tumblin

SoundCloud! Future-Now

soundcloud-moneySoundCloud is about to be saved in the nick of time by a pair of investment funds – but the details of the deal have left some who rely on the platform deeply concerned about its fate. Very solid industry sources have said that merchant bank The Raine Group and Singapore state investment company Temasek Holdings will each acquire stakes in the business imminently.

Those stakes are understood to jointly amount to more than 50% of SoundCloud’s equity. In other words, the two finance houses are about to take control of the platform. We’re told that loss-making SoundCloud would not last long into the second half of 2017 without such investments – which come at a far lower valuation than that the company has bandied around the market in the past few years. Raine Group and Temasek’s investments both value SoundCloud at $300m in total. You can therefore make a fair guess that the two parties’ combined exposure sits somewhere around $150m – $160m.

untitled 2If you’ve been following the SoundCloud saga for a decent length of time, you’ll know that in 2014, the firm’s co-founders – Alexander Ljung and Eric Wahlforss – were trying to sell it to Twitter for $1bn. Talks between the two parties eventually fell apart, but Twitter did come back to the table in summer last year to make a $70m investment – a deal which apparently valued SoundCloud at $700m. A few months later, towards the end of last year, sale talks were reportedly started with Spotify and reached an ‘advanced stage’ before Daniel Ek’s company – like Twitter before it – walked away. Earlier this year, MBW heard that Google was investigating a SoundCloud buyout for a price closer to $500m, while in June it was reported that Deezer – majority owned by Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries – was also considering making a bid.

Both of these approaches have since fallen quiet.

soundcloud-ipad-biz-2016-billboard-650Soundcloud penetration is higher than Apple Music, Amazon Prime Music, Tidal and Deezer, with only Spotify boasting higher penetration for audio services.

Soundcloud was once a streaming powerhouse, with 175 million Monthly Active Users reported in October 2014. Though that number is still widely cited whenever Soundcloud is mentioned in the media, in truth its user base is now much smaller. Spotify, which now has around 150 million MAUs has a Weekly Active User penetration rate of 16% while Soundcloud’s WAU rate is just 6%. With the caveat that multiple additional variables impact WAU vs MAU rates, this would imply that Soundcloud’s MAU number is now closer to 70 million. Despite this shift in its public narrative, Soundcloud remains a uniquely valuable asset in the streaming landscape, one that would give another streaming service a distinct competitive advantage. Here’s why.

FRANCE-TECHNOLOGY-MUSIC-INTERNET-TELECOMS-FEATUREA Streaming Service Unlike Any Other (Except YouTube That Is)

Soundcloud first rose to prominence as a platform for artists before it rocketed into the stratosphere as a consumer destination with its new VC-powered mission statement ‘to be the YouTube of audio’. The legacy of its unique starting point is that Soundcloud: Has a catalogue unlike any other streaming service, except YouTube (and to a lesser extent, Mixcloud) Gives artists a direct connection with fans unlike standard streaming services
Gives up and coming artists a global platform for reaching fans with no intermediary
That unique combination of assets makes Soundcloud a highly valuable commodity despite its diminished user base and similarly reduced valuation (now said to be around $250 million from a high of $1 billion). Soundcloud has two crucial attributes that will enrich any streaming service: A service tailor-made for Gen Z (ie those consumers currently aged 19 or under)

apple bootlegSoundcloud Is Built For The Era Of Mass Customization

As DJ Spooky put it: “Artists no longer work in the bub­ble of a record­ing stu­dio. The stu­dio is the net­work.” … “The 20th cen­tury was the era of mass pro­duc­tion. The 21st cen­tury is the era of mass cus­tomiza­tion…” Artist creativity is no longer a creative full stop, we are now in a phase of Agile Music. Even though the number of people that upload music is small (7% of consumers upload music to Soundcloud or YouTube, of which half upload their own music) their impact on the broader market is multiplied many times over as they provide the music others listen to. But even more importantly, the blurring of the line between audience and creator is the fuel in the engine of Gen Z experiences such as Snapchat and Instagram. Other than lip syncing apps like and Dubsmash, Soundcloud and YouTube are pretty much all the music business has in this space. That, coupled with a highly shareable, highly social UI makes Soundcloud tailor-made for Gen Z. The importance to the segment is clear: among 16-19 year olds.

soundcloudgo-1483630023800Crowd Sourced Discovery

The other key asset Soundcloud brings is the bridge it provides between fans and artists. A host of diverse services like Tunecore, BandLab, Bandcamp and Reverb Nation provide an unprecedented range of tools to up-and-coming artists. But Soundcloud (along with YouTube) is still the only place where artists can reach such a large audience directly, without an intermediary. Layer on its massively social functionality and discovery algorithms and you have an unrivalled audio platform for new artist discovery.

deezer-image-new-minSoundcloud Needs An Ecosystem

Unfortunately for Soundcloud, it has found it impossible to effectively monetize these assets (and aping Spotify’s freemium model has done little to move the dial). What Soundcloud needs is an ecosystem into which it can slot, bringing all of the great functionality but relying on another part of the ecosystem to do the monetization. Slotting Soundcloud into Deezer, Spotify or even Apple Music would create an entirely new layer in each of those propositions and would massively enhance market positioning.

It would also enable the service to start behaving more like a label, identifying and testing artists before moving them up into the main service. If done by Spotify or Apple Music, this would look highly disruptive to labels as it really would be a precursor to becoming a next-gen label. But for Deezer, the story is a little different. As part of the Access Industry potfolio, Deezer sits alongside talent management agency First Access Entertainment, live discovery platform Songkick and, last but most certainly not least, Warner Music. By acquiring Soundcloud, Access Industries would be rounding out the most complete Full Stack Music Company in the business.

_91391630_youtubeerrorYouTube Is Not For Sale But Soundcloud Is

YouTube might do most of what Soundcloud does, and at much larger scale, but Soundcloud is up for sale and YouTube is not. Right now, Soundcloud represents the best opportunity in the marketplace for an audio streaming service to make up the ground in user experience innovation that the streaming market lost over the last few years in comparison to Gen Z apps. And with Deezer at the front of the queue, the French streaming service could be about to transform its market narrative in an instant.

By Mark Mulligan of MIDiA and The Music Industry Blog

Murder Ballads: Graphic Novel + “10 EP

JFDelux_clamshell_1024x1024Mondo and Z2 Comics are proud to present the original score to the musical noir graphic novel MURDER BALLADS, composed and produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys and featuring vocals by iconic bluesman Robert Finley. This limited edition box set contains the score on heavyweight, colored 10″ vinyl, the full 160-page graphic novel written by Gabe Soria and illustrated by Paul Reinwand and Chris Hunt, and three exclusive prints by artist Tyler Boss. The entire collection will be housed in a custom clamshell box with exclusive painted art by Jon Langford of The Mekons. Comic books are a visual medium, obviously. But in his upcoming graphic novel Murder Ballads, writer Gabe Soria tried to invest the format with music — specifically the blues. Dan Auerbach and Robert Finley recorded the original score for the book at Easy Eye Studios in Nashville, collaborating with Gabe to weave the story’s narrative into the music, resulting in an organic marriage of sound, narrative and graphic image. The story of Murder Ballads explores the seedy underbelly of American music history, the darkness and violence that sometimes fuels hit records.

Murder_Ballads_03_Proof_1024x1024MURDER BALLADS follows the fall and reinvention of Nate Theodore, the dead-broke and deadbeat owner of a failed record label who is on a cross-country drive in the dead of winter with his wife Mary, fleeing the wreckage of their business and heading towards the destruction of their marriage. But Nate is given an unexpected chance to redeem himself when, during an unscheduled detour, he “discoversDonny and Marvell Fontweathers, two African-American brothers who play a singular version of doom-laden country blues.

Music runs through the entire comic. Like a classic vinyl record, Murder Ballads is even split into two halves, with ‘Side A’ illustrated by Paul Reinwand and ‘Side B’ illustrated by Chris Hunt. Murder Ballads‘ protagonist is Nate Theodore, a down-and-out record producer who’s failed at pretty much everything he’s ever tried. On a desperate cross-country road trip with his wife, ecstatic that he’s “discovered” such a hot talent, Nate determines to make a hit record with them but soon realizes there might be a higher cost than he expected, and things don’t go the way anyone expects.

In order to tie into that story, Finley and Auerbach worked with Soria to craft a soundtrack that fit the mood and plot. The Murder Ballads Original Soundtrack contains four original songs (“Bang Bang,” “Butter Sandwich,” “The Empty Arms,” and “Three Jumpers”) and one cover of the iconic Leadbelly blues song “In the Pines,” which Donny and Marvell are playing furiously when Nate discovers them for the first time.

Murder_Ballads_FC_disc_1024x1024 Soria tells EW in a statement. “Everybody (or at least I hope everybody) knows the feeling of falling in love with a piece of art. Whether it’s a movie, a book, a game, or, in the case of Murder Ballads, a musician and their music, that shock of recognition is one of the most sublime, mystical, and personal experiences you can have. That’s the type of music story that Nate wants to be part of, but in our story, things get a little twisted and Nate’s scheming sets off a domino effect of complications. It’s basically one of the creation myths of American recorded music – intrepid explorer finds ‘real’ music hidden away in some out of the way place and brings it to the masses – combined with some classic American noir. Think the Anthology of American Folk Music if its liner notes were one of those Vintage Crime/Black Lizard paperbacks. That’s the mood right there.”

The soundtrack is not sold separately but is available only with a purchase of the graphic novel itself. Fans can either buy the standard edition and get a downloadable code or reach for the Mondo-exclusive deluxe version which comes with the soundtrack as a vinyl 10″ EP.

27_28_murder_ballads_interiors-low-rezCheck out a preview of Murder Ballads above. The graphic novel is limited to 500 copies and available only through Mondo. out July 25 from Z2 Comics.