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Twitter Notes, Instagram age verification, Spotify’s Live Events – TechCrunch

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy.

The app industry continues to grow, with a record number of downloads and consumer spending across both the iOS and Google Play stores combined in 2021, according to the latest year-end reports. Global spending across iOS, Google Play and third-party Android app stores in China grew 19% in 2021 to reach $170 billion. Downloads of apps also grew by 5%, reaching 230 billion in 2021, and mobile ad spend grew 23% year over year to reach $295 billion.

Today’s consumers now spend more time in apps than ever before — even topping the time they spend watching TV, in some cases. The average American watches 3.1 hours of TV per day, for example, but in 2021, they spent 4.1 hours on their mobile device. And they’re not even the world’s heaviest mobile users. In markets like Brazil, Indonesia and South Korea, users surpassed five hours per day in mobile apps in 2021.

Apps aren’t just a way to pass idle hours, either. They can grow to become huge businesses. In 2021, 233 apps and games generated over $100 million in consumer spend and 13 topped $1 billion in revenue. This was up 20% from 2020, when 193 apps and games topped $100 million in annual consumer spend and just eight apps topped $1 billion.

This Week in Apps offers a way to keep up with this fast-moving industry in one place, with the latest from the world of apps, including news, updates, startup fundings, mergers and acquisitions and suggestions about new apps to try, too.

Do you want This Week in Apps in your inbox every Saturday? Sign up here: techcrunch.com/newsletters

Instagram to verify users’ ages in new test

Image Credits: Instagram

Instagram announced this week it’s testing a new set of features for verifying users’ ages in the app, including things like video selfies, vouching from adult friends and providing an ID. The tests, which will begin in the U.S., will apply to users who try to change their age to 18 or over after being previously set to under 18. These users may be trying to correct an earlier mistake or they could be teens trying to circumvent the app’s newer age-appropriate restrictions.

If users are prompted to provide an ID card, like a passport or driver’s license, Meta will store it on its servers for 30 days before deletion. If users choose the social vouching option, they’ll need at least three other adult friends to vouch for their age — and Instagram will choose a list of six people randomly who meet the criteria. Those users can’t have a new account or be vouching for others at the same time.

The company also said it’s using AI that can estimate users’ ages in video selfies. The company is working with the London-based digital identify firm Yoti which will examine the file, make an estimate, then delete the file.

Age verification is an increasingly common feature in social apps used by younger users as a result of tighter regulations. Another company catering to Gen Z users, Yubo, recently rolled out its own age estimating tech as well.

Twitter goes long form

TechCrunch broke the news that Twitter was testing a long-form writing feature called Twitter Notes. The next day after our report went live, Twitter announced it officially.

The news is one of Twitter’s more significant changes since doubling the character count from 140 to 280 characters, as it will allow users to write on Twitter directly, as if it’s a blogging platform. With Twitter Notes, users are able to create articles using rich formatting and uploaded media, which can then be tweeted and shared with followers upon publishing. The company also said it would merge its newsletter service, Revue, into Twitter Notes.

Users with access can create Twitter Notes from the “Write” link in Twitter’s navigation. For the time being, Twitter is testing Notes with a small group of writers in the United States, Canada, Ghana and the United Kingdom. The Notes can be up to 2,500 words in length.

The feature could encourage users to rely on Twitter Thread (tweetstorms) less in order to share their longer thoughts, ideas or stories with their Twitter followers, Community or Circle. It could also put an end to using a screenshot from the Notes app to tweet something longer than 280 characters. Meanwhile, Twitter Notes can tap into the potential for viral distribution that comes with posting to the platform. Like tweets, the Notes would have their own link and could be tweeted, retweeted, sent in DMs, liked and bookmarked. They can also be reported and must comply with Twitter’s rules.

It’s worth noting (ha!) that Twitter Notes also gives the company a new business and potential revenue stream as it further develops the product. The feature may allow the social platform to compete with established services, like Medium for blogging, or Substack’s newsletters.

Platforms: Apple

E-commerce

Image Credits: Twitter/Shopify

  • As part of its ongoing efforts to expand into e-commerce, Twitter announced a new partnership with Shopify. The deal will see Twitter launching a sales channel app that will be made available to all of Shopify’s U.S. merchants through its app store. The app allows merchants to onboard themselves to Twitter’s Shopping Manager, the dashboard offered by the social media company where sellers can access product catalog tools and enable other shopping features for their profiles. Merchants will be able to use the new sales channel app to connect their Twitter account to their Shopify admin then get set up with Twitter’s Shopping Manager and other free tools Twitter built for “Professionals.” This includes Twitter’s launch of a new feature called Location Spotlight, which allows local businesses in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Australia to display information like their street address, contact info and operating hours directly on their profile.

Augmented Reality

  • Walmart gave its app an AR upgrade with the launch of View in Your Space, which allows customers to see home décor and furniture in their own homes. The feature will be rolled out to over 300 items on Walmart’s iOS app by early July.
  • Tim Cook may have hinted at Apple’s AR headset plans when he told a Chinese state-run news outlet to “stay tuned” to see what Apple had in store next for AR in an interview. A later investor note by Ming-Chi Kuo also suggested the new hardware could arrive as soon as early 2023.
  • IKEA launched a new in-app design experience, called IKEA Kreativ, that lets U.S. shoppers visualize furniture in their own spaces using AR and AI. The feature can also remove the existing furniture from your room so you can better imagine the changes.
  • Snap shared some data about AR shopping trends, noting that there was a 32% increased use of shoppable AR during the pandemic and that 69% of consumers believed AR was a part of shopping’s future.

Fintech

  • Coinbase is shutting down its standalone Pro service by year’s end and replacing it with Advanced Trade across its website and app. The latter offers comparable features to the Pro service, which had lowered fees to traders who interacted directly with the Coinbase Exchange order book.
  • Facebook Pay formally rebranded to Meta Pay. The change had already been announced but is now rolling out in the U.S. before expanding globally.

Social

Image Credits: Twitter

  • Snapchat announced its first accelerator program for emerging Black creators, which will see 25 selected participants receive $10,000 per month to launch their careers across a total $3 million investment.
  • Instagram has been experimenting with a new feature that would allow users to leave notes for their friends at the top of the DM inbox. The feature could help users share urgent or more important messages that could be overlooked in Stories or in messages.
  • Meta announced more ways for creators to make money on Facebook and Instagram and the expansion of other monetization tools to more creators. The company will keep paid online events, fan subscriptions, badges and its upcoming independent news products free for creators until 2024, instead of 2023, as it had said before. Meta is also testing a designated place on Instagram where creators can get discovered by brands for partnerships; will launch a way for users to subscribe to Facebook Groups even for those who have paid for access on another platform; and is expanding the Reels Play Bonus program to more creators and making Facebook Stars available to all.
  • Twitter announced the return of its developer conference, Chirp. The event was first held in 2010 but was then canceled the next year. At the time, the event had been a reflection of Twitter’s attitude toward its developer community in general — disorganized and constantly in flux as the company’s business initiatives changed. Times have since changed and Twitter has been trying to woo back developers with its new API, even by promoting some apps on Twitter itself.

Messaging

  • Telegram said it now has over 700 monthly active users and announced Telegram Premium, a subscription that gives users access to exclusive features like doubled limits, 4 GB file uploads, faster downloads, exclusive stickers and reactions, improved chat management and more.

Photos

Dating

  • Match-owned Hinge added a new feature that allows users to share their “Dating Intentions” — meaning whether they’re looking for long-term, short-term, open relationships and more. The update changes Hinge’s focus as the company has historically been the app designed to connect people looking for more serious relationships, while Match-owned Tinder was aimed at those seeking casual encounters.

Streaming & Entertainment

Image Credits: Spotify

  • Spotify revamped its concert discovery feature with the launch of a new Live Events Feed. The personalized feature will allow users to find favorite artists’ events in your area and will now include artist imagery and more tour details. Local events will also be highlighted while streaming and soon, in other places in the Spotify app.
  • Clubhouse is testing a new feature called Houses, per Bloomberg, which are private rooms aimed at encouraging social interactions where anyone can unmute themselves and speak.
  • Reddit Talk, the company’s live audio Clubhouse-like feature, announced its Host program would launch on July 11th. The program will promote hosts’ audio across the site. Reddit Talk also gained new features like a soundboard and topic selector for discovery purposes.
  • Apple Music raised the price of its student plan in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. In the United States and Canada, the price for the plan has increased from $4.99 to $5.99. In the United Kingdom, the price has increased from £4.99 to £5.99.

Gaming

  • Epic Games has come up with a new system for game ratings. While these changes apply to its own online games store, it’s an example of why alternative app stores could be useful to provide competition with Apple’s own — they can be a ground to test out new ideas. In Epic’s case, random players who have played a game for over two hours will be asked to rate the game on a five-point scale. Over time, these will create the game’s Overall Rating. The system, which relies on random sampling, could cut down on review bombing and reviews left by those who aren’t actual players, the company notes.
  • China’s regulation of the mobile gaming market may be leading to declining use of the App Store in the country, according to Morgan Stanley. The firm’s latest analysis estimated that the App Store only saw 1% growth in June so far, compared with 6% growth in May.

Health & Fitness

  • Fitbit added a new premium feature, “Sleep Profile,” which will allow users to track their sleep patterns across 10 key metrics, including new data points like bedtime consistency, the time before sound sleep and disrupted sleep. The feature is rolling out to the Fitbit app’s Premium users and supports devices including Sense, Versa 3, Versa 2, Charge 5, Luxe or Inspire 2.

Travel & Transportation

  • Apple is planning to expand its CarPlay experience to China, according to a job posting.
  • Polestar has now added Apple CarPlay to its all-electric Polestar 2 sedan via an over-the-air software update, after previously only supporting Android Auto.
  • Car rental apps saw their MAUs grow 19% year-over-year in the U.S. in May, reported Apptopia, despite rising gas prices.

Image Credits: Apptopia

Government & Policy

  • TikTok offered a series of commitments in the EU to improve user reporting and disclosure requirements around ads/sponsored content as well as an agreement to boost transparency around its digital coins and virtual gifts. The agreement follows a series of complaints over child safety and consumer protection complaints filed back in February 2021.
  • The U.S. Department of Justice today entered into an agreement with Meta to resolve a lawsuit that alleged Meta engaged in discriminatory advertising in violation of the Fair Housing Act (FHA). As a result, Meta has agreed to develop a new system for housing ads and will pay a roughly $115,000 penalty, the maximum under the FHA.

Reading & News

  • India-based VerSe Innovation rolled out its news aggregator Dailyhunt in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait, with over 5,000 content partners in the region.

Security & Privacy

  • Google Chrome for iOS gained a number of new features in a recent update, including access to Enhanced Safe Browsing to protect users from dangerous websites and malware, as well as the ability to make Google Password Manager your Autofill provider. Other additions include Chrome Actions (typed commands in the URL bar) and access to Google’s Discover feed on the main page.
  • Daycare apps including those from Brightwheel, HiMama and others were found to lack 2FA and other privacy protections, in an analysis.
  • Google threat researchers detailed a commercial spyware system called Hermit, used in Kazakhstan and Italy, which targeted both Android and iOS. The iOS version had six exploits, including two zero-days. Targeted victims are tricked into installing a malicious app — which masquerades as a legitimate branded telco or messaging app — from outside the app store.

💰 Courier raised $35 million in a Series B funding round led by GV. The company provides an API for sending notifications across multiple channels, including email, text, web and mobile.

💰 Ghana-based fintech Fido raised $30 million in equity investment and some undisclosed debt funding in a Series A round led by Israel-based private equity fund Fortissimo Capital. The round brings the total equity investment raised to date to $38 million. The startup says it’s adding savings and payment products to its portfolio later this year and will enter Uganda.

🤝 Twitter asked its shareholders to approve the $44 billion Elon Musk acquisition. At the time of its SEC filing, Twitter’s share price was around $38.12 — lower than Musk’s offer price of $54.20 a share. The company’s market cap had also dropped below $30 billion, making a $44 billion deal look very good.

WatchTube

Image Credits: WatchTube

Well, here’s something kind of crazy: 9to5Mac this week highlighted the new app WatchTube, which lets you watch YouTube videos directly on your Apple Watch. Yes, really!

The app is not the best experience for watching videos, as you may have guessed, but it is pretty wild that it actually works. The app by default shows you top trending videos, but you can customize this so the videos that appear are selected from a particular genre, like Music, News, Gaming, Movies and more. While it would be enough to just accomplish bringing YouTube to the Watch, the developer also added other features like the ability to search for videos, save videos to the app’s local Library and subscribe to Channels. When you get back to your other devices, you can also scan a QR code to share the video back to your iPhone or iPad.

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The Guild Theatre goes from ‘Downey to Lubbock’ with Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore on Saturday | News

Dave Alvin, left, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, play Menlo Park’s Guild Theatre on Saturday with Alvin’s band The Guilty Ones. Courtesy Guild Theatre.

Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore with The Guilty Ones will take the stage at The Guild Theatre on Saturday, June 25, the latest in the theater’s diverse lineup of musicians and bands.

This isn’t the first time the two singer-songwriters and guitarists have played together: Alvin, Gilmore and The Guilty Ones recorded the 2018 album, “Downey to Lubbock” (named in tribute to Alvin and Gilmore’s respective hometowns), and have toured many times in both the United States and Europe. The duo are accompanied by Alvin’s band, The Guilty Ones.

Growing up in the Los Angeles area, Alvin cultivated an appreciation for many genres, including blues, folk and surf, while taking lyrical inspiration from distinctly Californian authors like John Steinbeck, according to the artist’s website. He co-founded roots-rock band The Blasters with his brother, Phil, in 1979 before embarking on a solo career in the mid-’80s. (Local audiences can catch The Blasters at The Guild on Sept. 17).

Gilmore grew up in Lubbock, Texas, and one of his earliest musical influences was his father, who played lead guitar in a country band, according to his website, giving a foundation to a sound that’s not only country but also draws on folk, rock and bluegrass sounds. With longtime friends Butch Hancock and Joe Ely, Gilmore founded The Flatlanders in the early ’70s, a group that has come to be considered to be among the founders of the alt-country movement. After years away from music, Gilmore released a solo debut in 1988, produced by Ely, and launched a successful solo career.

Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore with The Guilty Ones play Saturday, June 25, 8 p.m. at The Guild Theatre, 949 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. Tickets start at $48.88. For more information, visit guildtheatre.com.

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UVic news – University of Victoria

To paraphrase the poet Longfellow, music may well be our universal language, but how it’s traditionally taught in our schools no longer speaks to students in a multicultural society.

That’s why University of Victoria School of Music professor Adam Con is looking to rebalance the musical scales.

“We need to broaden the perspective of how and what we’re teaching,” he says. “We have to honour the past, but we also have to move forward by ensuring students see their own cultures reflected.”

Con, co-head of UVic’s music education program and principal investigator of the National Study on the Status of Music Education, says he believes we can build a better society by integrating concepts of access, equity, diversity and inclusion (AEDI) into every school’s music classroom and ensemble—a difficult task as the study revealed vast disparities between provinces’ approaches to music education.

“At UVic, we’re teaching students that when they create music together, they become a community,” he says.

“We’re actually teaching life—music just happens to be the vehicle.”Con’s AEDI concerns are not only core to his teaching—including 15 years in the K-12 system as well as his role as Choral Canada’s national chair of AEDI—but are also rooted in his experiences growing up in Vancouver. “None of my music teachers looked like me … they were all white,” he says, adding, “I’ve recognized I can be one small piece of the representation puzzle: people see me and hopefully see possibilities in themselves.”

Putting an AEDI lens on music education means reframing how it’s taught, with an emphasis on process over performance. While Con’s research revealed there’s no single solution, essential steps forward include diversifying cultural partnerships to include Indigenous ways of knowing and being, and expanding the musical portfolio that’s taught to better reflect Canada’s multicultural makeup.

“People tend to think about this lens by colour—what you can see—but sometimes it’s more about what you don’t see,” says Con. 

While the Western tradition places emphasis on reading sheet music, many cultures learn by ear, and that’s where access and inclusion become important.

“When we only teach music for music’s sake, we start to exclude people,” he explains.

This shift in approach was at the core of the groundbreaking Indigenizing Music Education conference held in May at UVic. Attended by more than 200 people, the conference was an essential next step after research revealed the need to include First Peoples Principles of Learning in the classroom.

“We’ve never had music educators, Indigenous cultural bearers and knowledge keepers from all of BC’s 60 school districts together before.” 

Con says he realizes that more research and a long-term approach are needed to adopt an AEDI approach and decolonize the reliance on Western classical music. “Once our students start teaching in the public school system and are able to make a difference, it could be another five or 10 years before we see significant change,” he says. “But we plant the seeds and put our hope into our students.”

Advocating AEDI into music education reflects UVic’s commitment to quality education as articulated in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.


Edgewise

With financial support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Indigenizing Music Education conference, Everything is Connected: Songs, Relationships and Indigenous Worldviews, featured eight partner organizations: the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, BC Ministry of Education (Indigenous Branch), BC Music Educators’ Association, School Districts 61 (Victoria) and 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap), Pacific Opera, University of British Columbia and UVic.

It focused on developing respectful relationships and exploring ways to embed Indigenous ways of knowing and being into BC music education classes in ways that are culturally appropriate to each school district. “This was a historic event,” says Con. “We had spontaneous drumming and sharing of songs, as well as critical conversations about decolonizing music education.” Next steps? Developing local relationships with First Nations peoples in every district and expanding the conversation nationally.

UVic is one of only two Canadian universities supported by Ontario’s Don Wright Foundation through a $1-million, one-time endowment to the School of Music, focused specifically on music education.

A recent report on music education in Canadian schools found that only one in three had a specialized or certified music education teacher on staff and that, over the past decade, music education funding has decreased while student participation in music programs has increased.

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Sidhu Moose Wala’S New Song ‘Syl’ Is About To Drop Today; Here’S Where To Watch

The first unreleased song of late Punjabi singer Sidhu Moose Wala will be out today, almost a month after his untimely death.  The song titled ‘SYL’ will be released on Moose Wala’s official YouTube channel at 6pm, announced his team in a Facebook post.

The slain singer’s team also shared the cover picture of the song. Sidhu Moose Wala’s team had requested all the music companies and producers to handover the singer’s unreleased songs to his family after the singer’s death on May 29.

The song is based on the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue and Moos Wala himself penned the lyrics besides giving his voice. The lyrics mention Punjab’s rights over river waters and Sikh prisoners languishing in jails.

Canadians mourn death of ‘underdog’ Sidhu Moose Wala who ‘found success in Brampton’

People associated with the song said that lyrics mentions about Balwinder Singh Jattana, a militant of the pro-Khalistan outfit Babbar Khalsa, who was involved in the assassination some officials who were discussing the construction of the canal at a Chandigarh office in 1990, according to a Hindustan Times report.

The song is scheduled to be released just after the voting of the Sangrur by-election concludes.

Earlier, the song was reportedly leaked and started circulating on social media. Moose Wala’s family made an appeal to all music producers that they should not share or release any of his unfinished tracks.

After this song, Moose Wala’s father, Balkaur Singh would be taking the final call on rest of his pending and unreleased works.

As per his family, Moose Wala had completed the audio recording of the ‘SYL’ song, and the video shoot conceptualisation was in progress when he was shot dead on May 29.

(Edited by : Sudarsanan Mani)

First Published:  IST

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Famed cricket star Chris Gayle partners with Group 33 to launch The Chris Gayle Universe Show.

Widely regarded as one of the game’s best strikers in the sport, Gayle holds multiple records across all formats of the game. A two time world Cup winning player Gayle is opening this new chapter of his career by engaging with his long serving supporters.

“This show fulfills my desire to interact with my supporters directly, “Gayle said. “This is a great opportunity to control when and how I interact with my fans and guests. This is my chance to thank the people who have supported me throughout my career, gain some new fans and also take people behind the curtain of life. This show will also have never before told stories and gives viewers a chance to meet me and some of their personal heroes.”

The Chris Gayle Universe is a partnership between Chris Gayle, New York based media company Group 33 and strategy company M Style Marketing. Group 33 known for its award-winning series TdUp Golf with Twitch that paired celebrities playing golf with golf pros and legends for a virtual / simulator golf series.

“We look forward to working with Chris to bring this engaging show to his fans as well providing great content. Chris is beloved through the cricket world and his guests extend beyond sports into famed entertainers, musicians and celebrities. With his constant travels, the Chris Gayle Universe will take viewers around the world to new sights and places” Rob Striar Group 33 Chief Executive Officer.

Gayle has selected a star-studded list of guests from sport, entertainment and media for the first ten weeks of the show.

The Chris Gayle Universe will be announcing its broadcast platform and sponsorship partners shortly.

Chris Gayle:  Twitter: @henrygayle. Instagram: chrisgayle333

Group 33 is a media and house specializing in content for a new generation of viewers and consumers. Digitally focused, Group 33 brings an award winning pedigree to broadcast partners and brands to increase their reach. 
Group 33: For media inquiries & interviews contact: [email protected]

M Style Marketing, a global agency strategy, marketing and branding firm working with leading companies specializing in sports, entertainment, and media.
Twitter @MStyleMarketing, Instagram @MStyleMarketing, mstylemarketing.com , [email protected]

SOURCE Group 33

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Column: Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls San Diego is live and cranking up the volume

When she attended her first Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls summer camp in 2017, Lori Rodriguez was a 12-year-old music fan who did not know how to play an instrument. Or how to write songs. Or how to be in a band.

Learning those skills took one whole week. Loving the camp took about 60 minutes.

“It wasn’t scary. It was very cool. I made a group of friends within the first hour of being there, and it was just assumed we would be a band,” said the 17-year-old camp veteran, who will be a senior at High Tech High Mesa in the fall.

“That is one of the reasons why I go back every year. No one is there to judge you on how you sing or how you are playing your instrument for the first time. It is very, very welcoming.”

Founded in 2015 by Melissa Grove, Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls San Diego is the local chapter of the Girls Rock Camp Alliance, an international network of youth-focused arts and social-justice organizations that includes camps throughout the world.

Like most of the rock-camp chapters, the San Diego nonprofit’s signature offering is its summer camp, where girls and non-binary individuals ages 8 to 17 form bands and write original songs that they perform at an end-of-camp showcase. No previous musical experience required.

In San Diego, the 2022 Gxrls Rock! summer camp is happening this week at A Reason to Survive (ARTS) in National City. The campers assembled for the first time on Monday, when they embarked on a journey that started with being introduced to their instruments, the musician mentors who would be showing them the musical ropes, and the campers who would be their bandmates. The rest of the week is being filled with instrument instruction, band rehearsals, and workshops on everything from songwriting and branding to self-image and identity.

Technically, camp ends on Saturday afternoon, when the bands will play their original songs in a live, open-to-the-public showcase at the Music Box nightclub in Little Italy. But if everything goes according to Gxrls Rock! plan, one week of camp is just the beginning.

“My wish or dream for them is they leave thinking, ‘I can do anything. Nothing is going to stop me,’” Grove said last week.

“I want them to leave thinking, ‘I want more. I want more empowerment. I want more drums. I want more music. Turn up the volume and let the volume be me.’”

Taking on the world through music, creativity and tons of teamwork is what Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls is all about. That was particularly true in 2020 and 2021, when the COVID-19 pandemic made in-person camps an impossibility.

But nothing was going to stop Grove and her team from teaching girls about the joys of plugging in to their inner amplifiers.

In the summer of 2020, the organization held “Be Awesome Online,” a free five-day virtual camp that featured workshops in percussion, singing, ‘zine-making and songwriting. In the fall, there was a two-day Zoom workshop on “Songwriting for Social Change.”

In the summer of 2021, the online camp added music-production and recording instruction into the mix. That was also the summer the camp name changed from “Girls Rock!” to “Gxrls Rock!,” the better to make gender-fluid and non-binary campers feel more welcome.

And with the Black Lives Matter protests raising awareness about racism and social justice, and the pandemic changing even the most mundane details of their lives, the young people who came to rock camp had some serious stuff on their minds.

“You can prepare a topic, but there is nothing like saying, ‘What do you want to talk about today?’,” Grove said. “The first year, one of our younger campers wrote a song about will she still have friends after the pandemic. There was a song about extinct animals that gave me chills.

“Sometimes we get lighthearted, goofy songs, and sometimes we get these very in-depth, heavy songs. We welcome both.”

Lori Rodriguez will be 18 next summer, so her Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls experience officially ends this year. But like a great power chord, the reverb has been immense.

At camp, she met the friends who would become her soulmates. A workshop on identity gave her the courage to come out to her mom during that first week. Camp mentors told her about the San Diego Pride Queer Youth Chorus, and her participation there led to her current internship at San Diego Pride.

And when the next group of Gxrls Rock! campers gathers in the summer of 2023, Lori and some of her best band friends plan on being there as volunteers. Because once rock camp turns up your volume, there is no turning it down ever again.

“It’s a female-empowerment camp, which is so important today when social media makes things so difficult,” Lori said. “The songs that we sing at rock camp are about our community. We write songs about not being mentally OK or going through something traumatic. It is a very open community where you can talk about anything and always know there is someone there for you.”

The Gxrls Rock! summer camp showcase begins at noon on Saturday at Music Box San Diego, 1337 India St.,Little Italy. Tickets are $12 at the door or at musicboxsd.com. It is an all-ages show. Go to rockcampforgirlssd.org for additional information.

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Summer Concerts Fill Parks With Music

Hodges Park fills up fast for Friday, June 17, 2022 Summer Concert on the steps of city hall. (Patrick Jasionowski/for the Journal)

The Friday night Concerts in the Parks series is a collaboration between the Park Ridge Park District and the Park Ridge Fine Arts Society, which each share part of the summer season.

Concerts generally start at 8 p.m. in Hodges Park (Prospect, Courtland and Vine, across from City Hall) on Friday night through August. Audience members can bring their own picnics, lawn chairs or blankets. None of these concerts charges admission, but the Fine Arts Society depends on sponsorships and contributions to continue.

On June 24, featuring an Irish theme, entertainment will start at 7 p.m. with the Trinity Dancers followed by Fagan and Friends at 7:30 p.m., more Trinity dancers at 8:15 p.m., and The Chancers at 8:30 p.m.

The Park District’s Sunday, July 3, fireworks concert shifts to the Maine East stadium. Those needing preferred parking must buy passes through the park district by June 24 ($20 for residents, $30 for non residents). Admission to the fireworks program is free, and picnics are allowed but no grills or alcohol. A dance party with park staff will start at 6:30 p.m., with a concert by New Standard at 8 p.m. and fireworks at dusk.

Concerts on Friday nights resume July 8 and July 15 at Hodges Park with the Park Ridge Fine Arts Society presenting the Park Ridge Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Barbara Schubert.

The July 29 concert will feature the Illinois Brass Band, also a Fine Arts Society event.

The July Aug. 5 and 12 concerts from the Fine Arts Society will feature Brian Patti and his Chicago Big Band, an annual favorite.

Aug. 19’s concert will present Rosie and the Rivets with late 1950s and early 1960s retro music.

Support local news by subscribing to the Journal & Topics in print or online.

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‘The Day the Music Died’: Don McLean Doc Sets Paramount+ Premiere (VIDEO) | Entertainment

The documentary explores the narrative that runs deeper than the catchy tune behind McLean’s famous song which has become a musical phenomenon woven into the history of American culture for the past 50 years. For the first time ever, McLean is revealing the secrets behind the iconic song as the documentary highlights cultural moments in the country’s history.

The film tells the stories of people who are part of this moment from the beginning and shows the point of view of a new generation of artists who are motivated by the same values and ideas that inspired “American Pie.”

(Credit: Courtesy of Paramount+)

“This documentary is something that will make people think, especially since so many throughout the years have asked me what certain lyrics meant or whom I was referring to, but now I finally can solve many of those mysteries,” says McLean. “Everyone from Madonna to Garth Brooks to Weird Al Yankovic has recorded ‘American Pie’ and made it their own. So many people have their own interpretation of the song, and I love it.”

In order to bring the documentary to life, McLean looked to music producer and songwriter Spencer Proffer, CEO of media production company Meteor 17. Collaborating together, Proffer and McLean work to tell the story of this song by using contemporary techniques, and reimagining the music for a modern audience.

“There are interchanges with all stripes of people from many walks of life, including major celebrities, music icons, current breaking artists and industry leaders,” said Proffer. “The film explores what ‘American Pie’ meant to people then, what it means to them now and what it will mean to generations in the future.”

Catch the trailer, below, and don’t miss The Day the Music Died: The Story of Don McLean’s “American Pie” when it premieres on Paramount+.



The Day the Music Died: The Story of Don McLean’s “American Pie,” Premieres Tuesday, July 19, Paramount+

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Fine-Tune Your Music Festival Budget and Save | Entertainment

Attendees of this year’s Coachella music festival have posted viral videos adding up their expenses from the weekend — with costs reaching the thousands for flights, hotels, food, drinks, outfits and rideshares. Plus the ticket, which can start around $400 for a three-day pass to a popular festival like Lollapalooza or Coachella.

Summer music festivals can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but costs can easily blow a hole in any budget. If you’ve decided to take the plunge this summer, here are a few ways to keep your festival spending in check.

Check out credit card rewards

One of the best ways to make the most of your money at a music festival is to take advantage of credit card rewards for entertainment purchases. The right card can get you cash back on tickets, access to lower-cost presale tickets or free add-ons like food and lounge entry. Some can even get you access to exclusive artist performances and activities like a Ferris wheel ride.

Travel-specific credit cards can help you save on flights and hotels if you’re attending an out-of-town festival, and many offer rewards for car rentals and Uber rides as well.

Plan ahead for hidden costs

If you’re unprepared for full days of walking and dancing — and strict rules on what’s allowed inside the festival gates — you may find yourself paying for unexpected necessities including food, water and transportation.

Kaitlin Gomez is a nursing student and avid festivalgoer based in Irvine, California, attending a multi-day music event almost every month. With her devotion to these experiences, she’s learned to prepare in advance so she’s not overspending inside the festival. She recommends eating beforehand (and drinking, if that’s your cup of tea), and carpooling if possible. Pro tip: Many festivals have limited free parking available if you arrive early enough to score a spot.

Her biggest cost saver, though, has been purchasing “investment pieces that last years and work with festival rules,” like a backpack with a built-in hydration pack, sturdy shoes and a portable charger. Events can overcharge for on-site food ($17 for an order of chicken tenders at Coachella), water bottles and even phone charging access, so coming prepared keeps costs in check.

And a note on lodging: While some festivals, like Coachella, offer a camping option for a price, some do not. So if you need a hotel, shop around and book early. Airbnbs often tack an extra $100 or more in fees on top of the booking price, so a shared hotel room may be the most cost-effective option.

Choose payment plan or presale

Most festivals offer a few options to pay for your ticket. The first is paying for the entire ticket price outright, which can vary depending on when you make your purchase.

Festivals usually have several “tiers,” starting at the lowest price for customers with presale access, and up to hundreds of dollars more for tickets purchased within weeks of the event. Signing up for presale, especially with exclusive access from a participating credit card company, can guarantee you the lowest possible price.

But if you don’t have the funds to cover an entire ticket at one time, a zero-interest payment plan from the event company can make the cost more manageable. Though it can cost a small convenience fee to pay in installments, “it doesn’t feel like as much of a financial impact when you’re only paying a fraction every month,” says Gomez.

A Coachella ticket, for example, can be purchased for $99 down, with the rest paid at around $44 a month for the next eight months.

Join the social media community

Going to a half-dozen festivals every year may seem unfeasible, but in this era of social media, that kind of devotion can pay off. Gomez and thousands of others have grown and monetized their online followings to fund their music festival habits, earning themselves free tickets and commissions in the process.

“Create valuable content and the partnerships will come,” says Adriana Ramos, an Austin, Texas-based life coach, digital marketing consultant and creator of festival blog VibeWithAde.com. Ramos has spent years sharing her festival experiences and advice, which has helped her build a strong platform with a loyal audience on her website, YouTube and Instagram.

Because of her influence, event organizers and affiliated brands have offered Ramos free tickets and the opportunity to make a commission from her followers’ ticket purchases in exchange for making promotional social media content.  With some events and brands, you can apply directly to become an affiliate partner.

Individual content creators are a valuable source of marketing for large festival brands, so if you’re willing to invest the time, interacting with the festival community online can help you attend more events at a reduced cost.

Weigh your priorities

Even with credit card rewards, planning ahead and partnering with event brands, a music festival ticket can still be a serious investment.

“It’s OK to not go to a festival if it’s going to set you back financially — or if you can’t afford to enjoy it fully,” says Ramos. “There will always be another one.”

This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by The Associated Press. 

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Indigenous teen releases song about overcoming residential school trauma


A year after releasing a very personal song, 16-year-old singer-songwriter DeeDee Austin is following up with an equally important sequel.


DeeDee was barely a teenager when she first started writing a very powerful song, which she released last year on National Indigenous Peoples Day.


“The first ‘Buried Truth’ is about the residential schools and what they did to our people, and how our culture and heritage was ripped from us little Indigenous people,” DeeDee said.


“My great-grandmother was a residential school survivor as most of you already know, so this is a very, very emotional and touching topic for me.”


On Tuesday, DeeDee debuted a sequel, called “Buried Truth Part 2 and 3,” which she says is even more uplifting.


“‘Buried Truth Part 2 and 3’ is more so just about finding ourselves again, coming together as one, trying to heal within another,” said DeeDee.


She says, at first, she was nervous to share such personal music, but not anymore.


“I’ve been embracing my culture more and more as days go by,” she said. “I’m getting more comfortable. I’ve been learning my language and speaking it a little bit.”


Her new song comes exactly a year after the original.


“Because it’s National Indigenous Peoples Day,” said DeeDee. “It’s just a very loving day, a very happy day, because it’s a day where we focus on us as Indigenous people.”


DeeDee marked the occasion with a special performance in Prince Edward Island Tuesday night.


“Opening up for Silver Wolf Band in Charlottetown at the Guild Theatre,” she said.


As for the rest of DeeDee’s summer, she says it’s packed.


“I have 17 shows this summer so, I’m very busy and I just hope they keep coming.”