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Arvind Narayanan

* Perception, such as facial recognition and song identification, where there is a definitive correct answer, which is making "genuine, rapid progress."

* Automating judgment, such as spam detection, copyright violation, essay grading, where humans routinely make judgments that can be used to train a model, which is "far from perfect, but improving," albeit with limits, because "reasonable people can disagree about the correct decision."

* Predicting social outcomes, such as predictive policing, predicting terrorist risk, predicting which kids are at risk, which is "fundamentally dubious" because regression analysis and other statistical tools do not work better than "manual scoring using just a few features" -- and this doesn't work very well (and that's before you get into areas like training data bias, etc).

Hi Bob,

I co manage Tones And I for the world.

Tones has gone from living in her van busking last year to the #1 global streamed song (for over 2 months now and it’s not slowing down, it’s growing)

It’s simply incredible and this is only the beginning.

Wait until you see her live! This is just the beginning.

Thanks for your words and hopefully see you at a show early 2020.



We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we live and work


Hey, Bob,

"Dance Monkey" is streaming #1 on our Alternative chart subscription service. Those folks are consuming the hell out of it, giving the new Billie a run for her money Dave Van Dyke / President
Bridge Ratings Media Research


Hi and she is the longest running female at #1 in the UK since Leona Lewis:

Best regards,

Michel Petré
Managing Director
Ultra Music Nordic


did you hear her song "The Kids Are Coming"'s a protest song....about fucking time....

Michael Rosenblatt


Hi Bob,

One word.....Horrible.

Leigh Goldstein


I have been in Slovakia for several months now, and this song was everywhere. However, they have content laws here too, so hearing homegrown music is frequent also. Some of it is very good. Oftentimes it is a popular Slovak singer covering well known songs, sometimes in remix style. I also have been marvel at some stations broad playlists that span hit music from 6 decades. Quite a departure from tight playlists in the US.

Terry Rindal


Great track and great to hear Millie getting a Big Up

She is a relentless champion of Aussie music and all of us Conference Monkeys love her ! Stephen Budd

Stephen Budd Music / OneFest / Africa Express


I and my kids dig this...

Steven Anderko


We all know Millie. :).

Jake Gold


Hey bob, Dave Ash here Tones’ TM. Straight after fallon taping we went right to mercury lounge for an 8pm show time and she killed it there too. Unfortunately you just missed her set tonight at El Cid.

Let me know if you’d like to come to the Fonda gig in feb. I know it’s years away and everything you’ve ever wrote about says how no one cares about what they’re doing next week let alone in 3 months so I’ll remind you closer to the date.


Dance Monkey is awesome!
It was on Amazon Alexa in the pop list.
No such things as US charts when there is world charts. It’s very strong pop. People should try writing a pop smash before saying it’s easy to write. If pop writing was so easy, every songwriter will be super rich.

Clarence Jey


I would disagree with your assessment that something is wrong with our American system of music.

She is just another good singer with shitty , simplistic one finger melody lines.

We have plenty of shitty music.

I just attended both days of the camp flog gnaw festival at dodger stadium and saw plenty of big name crap acts. Lots of simplistic, one finger melodies.

I told my buddy who got me free passes " I'm almost embarrassed to tell these rabid fans I got free tickets"

He replied " The only embarrassing part is that these fools paid 400 bucks for this "

Thaddeus Graham


She’s going to go here. She’s just too great and it’s just too big to ignore at this point. Plus Easterlin don’t fuck around.

Noah Sheer
Def Jam Recordings


Sorry Bob. It didn’t”t move me./ No complaints but a# 1. Don’t hear it.

Stu Cohen


another song that American radio aren't playin'

Jeff Laufer

We love the song at Rock Bands of


So this is everywhere in Europe and I dismissed it entirely until someone showed my this video of her performing the song in the streets around Byron Bay and explained the song. Until then I just thought it was a annoying edm bit, but when you see live recordings of her, the talent just goes through the screen - how cool is that! Anyways, here is the video:

Simen Smith Aulie


"Relentless naggers"

Ken Baum



D Hamil


I listened to it. I don't get it. Your first instinct was correct.

Billie eilish gave us Mumble rap. I hope the genre of baby talk singing doesn't catch on. Bill Seipel


So interesting. Watched the video and her spot on Fallon. Is it the value that we place on beauty and expectation of that beauty, particularly in women, that has gotten in the way of Tones and I moving up the charts? The fact that she is overweight, and not buying into the American idea of beauty. She doesn’t dress for us. She isn’t glamorous like Adele. She does have a voice though. I’m looking forward to hearing what else she’s got.

Amy Madnick


Watched it. Dreadful music. Meh...

Bob Davis


Greetings from Canada Bob,

Definitely a hit record. I was ready to think the same thing, but when I saw this song get added to so many stations in Canada I realized there was something going on with this track. (and I had missed it)

Adam Smiths "Invisible hand" of the market still applies... but depending on your age, (and if you've studied American history or basic economics) the invisible hand of the Market in the music business means one of two things:

Old School: Get the "the market" to discover my product through paid or forced press releases and costly radio promotion, (to achieve forced consumption) so that "share of voice" can be guaranteed. With enough people hearing it, their will be enough movement in the market to justify this approach from a cost perspective. Not true -20 years of downsizing in the recorded music business and much of the old school still doesn't get it.

New School: Serve the early adopters with content (not just music) that entertains them all the way through their discovery journey, so that they will be able to do the promotion for you (evangelism). Do this with enough content over time and they will become Ambassadors the brand. This is why Weeknd can sell out three nights in a row, but Rhianna cant, even though she has had significantly larger profile at radio.

Australia, much like Canada knows that America is the "belly of the beast" for large scale breakthroughs, but ...when we get our Sh*&% together on a track, and our people in our respective countries support it, there is enough like minded people to affect the algorithms, which is the real Invisible hand of the market. .

Love your articles !

Take care

Clayton Walters


I appreciate you getting to the bottom of what’s rocketed this song up from nowhere. The song did nothing for me initially, just as it did for you, but when I clicked over to her doing it live I understood the appeal.

But I have to wonder, what does Tones’ look and authenticity selling the song say about this musical moment? Has the overthick morass of perfectly serviceable tunes (and artists) in our streaming era made having an appealing image not only imperative, but necessary for anything approaching wide popularity?

I can’t help but worry that having a distinct, digestible image is becoming more of a factor in musical success than ever. It feels like having songs that rise above the quality threshold where a meme or sympathetic personhood can lift them into the stratosphere is becoming ever more unnecessary. Which is the way it’s been going as long as I can remember, but it’s still sad to see. As a songwriter who values originality and artistic vitality, those unquantifiable i-know-it-when-i-get-goosebumps qualities, it feels bad to see worldwide music culture going to great lengths to lift something that offers little of neither. (yeah, seeing that voice come from that person is remarkable, but does that make the song better?) With its early-2010s production and canned message, "Dance Monkey" scans to me like the opposite of a classic, yet I’m probably going to be forced to remember it as an emblematic recording of 2019 for years to come. I’d rather not.

Thanks for doing what you do Bob!

All my best,
John Warlick


Tones and I got it's start on social media platform TikTok. You probably haven't heard of the platform, but you'll know some other songs that started there (Old Towne Road, Truth Hurts). In fact the Spotify Viral 50 songs is often peppered with songs you hear on TikTok. TikTok was formerly known as and has in excessive of a BILLION downloads.

If you read forums on FM Radio, the masters of that medium will wave their own flag espousing "proof" radio is relevant because 80% of people over age 12 "listened" to it. The fact is FM radio is the last choice for most of us. It's that fast food place on a lonely highway when you are a vegan. You need to eat, grimace reading the menu & the minute there are options you're gone elsewhere. I suspect the song has failed in North America because radio programmers can't figure out what format they should play it on. The same thing happened for Billie Eilish. Eilish should have got her break on Alt Rock Radio and yet it was Top 40 that first embraced her en masse. And they were late to the game. They don't seem to understand that in 2019 we don't care about genres or formats. We like music. Zane Lowe at Beats 1 (formerly @ BBC R1) seemed to be the first "big radio" guy to get that.

Mark Irvine



dance monkey

sounds like Edith bunker singing.
chalk on a chalkboard.

really terrible.

Phil Blaylock


In perfect honesty, you are late (will explain). More over you seem to be analyzing this song with old lenses and a relentless hope for a world of music more familiar to you. I understand nostalgia but let me explain something about "Dance Monkey".

The song was on the Spotify playlist Pollen, as early as July 1st, 2019, and maybe earlier. Anyone who uses Spotify and likes discovering new music knows Pollen. It is a genre-less playlist dedicated to new quality music. When I found "Dance Monkey"in July, it was gold. The beat is tight, her voice is weird, and personally for me it was a great summer song for running and hanging around Maine on the ocean.

To be clear however, it isn’t a Hit, certainly not in America. Not in the slightest. Hits in America come from conglomerate artists that use algorithms and the most strict of circumstances to produce music. "Dance Monkey" rather, is a unique little gem that invokes happiness, weirdness and movement. I argue that the delay in its spread in the US is rooted in our obsessiveness for seeking approval before liking something weird.

I heard "Dance Monkey" in the beginning of July and immediately knew the song was a 9/10 for my circumstance, to my ear and in my current emotional state. But I knew it was weird. I kept it to myself and therefore never really had that viral push to share it with my friends. Music is no longer just about the Hits. No longer do we even seek listening to the Hits.

Today, we play random playlists we identify with on Spotify, where each song and artist has the chance to be a vessel for evoking certain emotions while we live our lives. There aren’t a group of "hits" being played on Spotify like the radio, you can actively stay away from them. The truth is, this song has been out for a very long time and due to it’s weird nature, people needed to find other people who liked the song before they could commit.

So in conclusion, you we’re late... this is an old song finally matriculating into the semi-accepted world of Jimmy Fallon and late night TV music acts, because "Dance Monkey" is a quirky and happy song that so many different kinds of people enjoy, hence the streaming numbers. The mass just needed to make sure "their people" agreed before diving in. Nothing more, nothing less.


Tyler F. Weith


Love it but she stole some of the piano break from the Mika song Relax.

The music business is in freak parade mode, a step up from Bo Ho Chic.

Like you said she can sing and the song is a hit but we are immune to greatness and context is king!

So the Adel effect goes on just like only cartoons are allowed to tell the truth, we now believe that only fat people can get down, the anti-cute singing pop.

We pigeon-hole art to our narrative and then wonder why it sucks!

Alas, the function is to serve the young, remember when we were that, so if they take the torch and put it out and stomp on it, what do you do!

Listen to Classical I guess!

P.S. I think Taylor and that bunch are all in on it, we all are the ones misinformed! All that free press, and she is allowed to play her own songs, we all freed her, wow!

John Payne


"Dance Monkey" is the best song I’ve heard in 2019. Period. And, you know where I heard it first?

NRJ Radio.

You see I grew up in France. NRJ was a way of life there. Every Saturday, my mom and I listened to the Top 20 songs countdown. That’s when I developed a passion and love for radio.

35 years later, in the US now, I still listen to NRJ radio but of course via the NRJ France app. They have the Eurohot 30 station which plays the best songs in Europe on a loop 24/7.

I heard Dance Monkey about 2 months ago as a breakthrough hit on the chart. I jumped out of my car seat and blasted the volume. It’s rare to love a song from its first spin as you know, but this totally electrified me and my kids. We still listen to it at least 2-3 times every day on way to school.

Now back to the problem with US radio. Since I’ve lived here (35 years) It’s hard not to notice how incompetent our radio programmers are. These iHeart execs do nothing to help break new music. Zero. The US is constantly behind in breaking and charting new music. This is nothing new. It’s stupidity!!! Drives me nuts.

If you want to be ahead of the curve with global chart topping music and breakthroughs like Dance Monkey all you and the US program directors need to do is listen to NRJ Radio l’s Hits of The Week station or Eurohot 30. That’s it.

Kevin Vahidi


From Greg Prestopino

OMG. I knew I shoulda gone to medical school.

Okay, so the video is actually pretty cute and bespeaks an elevated level of smarts:

But about that "story behind "Dance Monkey". Y'know, if you have to explain a joke, it's not funny or you simply fucked it up?

Same holds true for songwriting. If you have to read an explanation of the lyrics, they probably weren't worth singing in the first place. As every writing teacher will tell you, PUT IT ON THE PAGE!! The lyrics are thin and the track is repetitive without being interesting.

And Bob, please don't give me shit about this being an age thing. There are a number of young songwriters I think are gifted and I love all sorts of contemporary pop and continue to produce/mix the work of various young artists.

I'm gonna go look for other stuff of hers; maybe she'll change my mind...



"And in the old days, prior to Pro Tools, prior to comping, you had to be able to sing to make it."

FYI - you needed a decent engineer, but comping was common before computer-based recording, as was punching. What you couldn't do with tape was loop recording, where you could just record take after take automatically. That's what made comping possible for people with no engineering talent.

On a completely unrelated topic that I think would interest you...I've done a lot of research lately on tempo changes in music from the pre-click-track era. It's FASCINATING!!! There are certain similarities where groups speed up or slow down the tempo, across songs and even genres. In other words these changes weren't random at all, although they weren't premeditated either; they just grew out of good musicians playing together.

Tempo changes add major "feel" and emotion with respect to musical tension and release that's not possible with click-track-based music. At a recent seminar I demoed adding tempo changes to one of my songs, and the audience flipped out. You may not "hear" a difference, but you feel it. Even James Brown's rhythm section, who people think had rock-solid tempo, varied tempo all over the place - but repeatedly, strategically, and precisely. That's something we've pretty much lost with today's music, and I have no doubt the emotional impact suffers.

Craig Anderton


I’ve seen this song blowing up everywhere. She sounds like Millie Small with not as good a song.

Peter Paterno, Esq.


I was so sorry that I clicked that link.

Kevin Kiley


So you got me to check her out. Wow. There's a whole lot more happening here. Look at the official video for Dance Monkey and then this one of her busking in Byron Bay.

Then look at the video for The Kids are Coming.

Impressive. I hope she lasts. She might. She's young and an artist. And maybe she doesn't need to hit here at least not the way we think of it. I suspect the kids are already listening. In the words of some old band from the last century "Something's happening here. What it is ain't exactly clear."


Mary Lou Troy (a frequent (and older) reader from the folk world)


Your point about having music lessons in school is absolutely spot on. If only there were money for music classes. There is a program in Canada called Musicounts. Kiefer Sutherland lend his voice for the commercials (kudos to him). Terribly sad when there needs to be these programs when the government fails to fund music in schools. After all, doesn't music make the world go round and bring people together? Now who would want that?

Andrena Ryznar
Vancouver, Canada


Hi Bob,
All the stats are great.... for right now. It’s disposable music that will be totally forgotten in a year. It’s not new. It’s not edgy. It’s not prodding. It’s completely interchangeable with other pop that saturates our present culture. It’s nothing but a very temporary ear worm... for some.

Take care


I think you're initial reaction is correct. Just not that interesting...

Roy Liu


Horrible! I’d rather die then listen to that shit!

David Wolnik


I just watched the video, Bob.
I am sure that she will make a lot of money, but
all I can say is that I am glad that I grew up in the 60's
(tomorrow I turn 67).

This stuff is not for me.

Steve Isaacson


Thanks for sharing, sometimes we just don't get it and this is one of those for me. Sincerity is good, but not enuff. Love those Aussies though.

John Brodey


I loved it.
Katie Bradford
Portland, OR


It's not stalling. The chart number stayed same 2 weeks in a row. It's up 1400 spins which is great! It's a hit in some cities and not in others. Smart programmers are playing it. As for MediaBase, it's not the only chart that counts. BDS is virtually the same chart. Both don't really mean much anymore in the long run.

Mark Summer
6000 Bristol Drive
Paducah, KY 42002