This week in RCS Music News Weekly: Kanye West now just Ye, Dualtone cues up new Chuck Berry album, online radio airplay tips for bands, and the Billy Joel meme is true (mostly). But first…

Elton John - The Lockdown Sessions Album

Elton John Releases The Lockdown Sessions

Elton John releases his 32nd studio album, The Lockdown Sessions, on October 22nd. Though the Rocketman had no plans to make music during lockdown, that all changed after meeting singer-songwriter Charlie Puth in an LA restaurant, where Puth invited Sir Elton to his studio if he felt like coming out and writing something. So, he did.

What was resulted was a hybrid project of sorts—a collection of 16 tracks recorded with relative newcomers and seasoned music industry veterans, including Texas duo Surfaces (“Learn to Fly”), Gorillaz (“The Pink Phantom”), and Rina Sawayama (“Chosen Family”), Eddie Vedder, Stevie Nicks, Nicki Minaj, Jimmie Allen, Brandi Carlisle, and… well, basically music industry stars to more than fill any Rocketman afterparty.

Pre-order The Lockdown Sessions at the official Elton John store on vinyl, cassetts (yup, cassette) or in bundles that include coffee mugs, T-shirts and CDs.

You can also order the Elton face mask pictured above.

Kanye West now Ye - RCS Music News Weekly

Kanye West Now Just Ye

An LA judge recently approved a request by the rapper, producer, and fashion designer to legally change his name from Kanye West to just Ye.

Citing personal reasons for the request, Ye (who’d been using the handle for years on social) also said he liked that “ye” (meaning “you”) is used throughout the Bible. While Ye didn’t specifically identify the personal reasons, the 44-year-old is in the middle of a divorce with Kim Kardashian West, who did not ask that last name be changed back to just Kardashian when she filed to split with Ye last February.

The couple’s four children also retain Ye’s former last name.

Chuck Berry - Live From Blueberry Hill Album

Posthumous Chuck Berry Live Album to Be Released in December

To mark the birthday of the late rock legend Chuck Berry (born Oct. 18, 1926), Dualtone Records will release the live album Live from Blueberry Hill on December 17th.

Featuring Berry tearing through classics like “Johnny B. Goode,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” and “Sweet Little Sixteen,” the album was recorded from performances given between July 2005 and January 2006 at BlueBerry Hill café in St. Louis, where Berry duck-walked across the stage more than 200 times, and was one of Berry’s favorite places to play.

Pre-order Live from Blueberry Hill at Dualtone Records’ official store on vinyl or CD.

Online radio airplay tips for bands

Online Radio Airplay Tips for Bands (Don’t Send Links)

Lots of indie online radio stations are open to bands sending tracks for airplay consideration. Yet many (if not most) do not want bands to send links to tracks on streaming platforms like Spotify, Soundcloud, or YouTube unless there is a way for stations to download the tracks into their system.

Basically, they need a copy of your track. To facilitate this, some stations ask for links to file storage/download folders on sites like Dropbox or Google Drive.

Some stations prefer MP3 email attachments (or provide the option), while some request CDs. Given the promotional importance of online radio airplay, bands are well-advised to produce a wide range of digital and physical formats (even in simple, limited-run numbers) to optimize reach with online radio stations.

Other important things to include when submitting to online radio stations:

  • A short bio (that can include links to streaming services)
  • Your personal contact info
  • Song file meta data (title, performer, year, genre)

For more helpful info, read Why Radio Still Matters to Bands and Live Shows.

Billy Joel - RCS Music News Weekly

Billy Joel Meme Is True (Mostly)

If you haven’t seen the meme, it goes like this: “Billy Joel never sells tickets to the front row of his concerts. Aside from wanting to beat the scalpers, he got tired of all the bored, rich people starting at him. So now, he sends his road crew out to bring down the fans from the worst seats so there’ll be ‘people in the front row who are really happy to be there—real rans’.”

But is it true?

According to Snopes, it’s mostly true.

  • The true part: Billy Joel has a longstanding policy of preferring to hold seats in the first few rows of his concerts and gives them to ardent fans, rather than selling them to “wealthy and disinterested socialites.”
  • The unclear part: It’s unclear to what extent Joel has personal control over the sale of front-row seats. So, the meme is based on Joel’s own account of his touring habits.

Proof of vaccination now required at Royal City Studios

Proof of Vaccination or Negative Rapid Test Now Required for Rehearsals and Recording at Royal City Studios

ICYMI: In a recent survey to gauge how musicians felt about proof of vaccination for rehearsals and recording at RCS, the majority of respondents said they support proof of vaccination, not only to better ensure health protection for themselves but loved ones who are at higher risk of compromised health. RCS also respects the decisions of those who do not choose vaccination and supports inclusion. In respect of this, proof of vaccination or negative results from a rapid antigen test are now required beginning today for rehearsals and recording at Royal City Studios.

Please have your information ready when you arrive.

RCS will keep people updated on proof of vaccination and antigen testing changes/developments at RCS as they happen.

RCS would like to thank everyone for their understanding through all the difficult phases of this pandemic. If you have any questions, please contact RCS at or call (226) 314-2177.

Music Hall - Royal City Studios

Book Your Own Concert at Royal City Studios for Free

With more competitive booking at many local music venues, Royal City Studios is helping bands return to live music by making its music hall free for bands to book for shows. (Not a typo.)

To make shows viable for bands and RCS, bands take ticket sales. RCS takes bar sales. That’s it. No charge for cancellation.

Show bookings include (at no charge) promotion on the RCS social channels and other channels. Posts include digital concert posters* created by album artist Xristopher Bland and Eventbrite banner graphics.

For optimal poster images, bands are encouraged to send high-resolution photos (band shots, head shots, and/or whatnot) and a short bio to RCS once their music hall booking has been confirmed. To help maximize show attendance and augment RCS promotion, bands are encouraged to promote their shows directly with their fans.

*Bands are free to share RCS promotional posts, but all poster imagery remains the property of the creator. Bands wishing to directly use created images should contact the creator directly.

Book the RCS music hall online or contact RCS owner Jim Duffield directly: