The year 2020 ushered a sudden change in our day-to-day lives. With social distancing and staying at home becoming our new normal, it’s unsurprising that this pandemic has taken a toll on people’s emotional and mental health. The GadgetMatch team may be used to working remotely, but we’re experiencing this crisis, too. Here’s what’s Now Playing and what’s keeping us sane during the lockdown!
Games to play
Rodneil: There were so many things that could have gone wrong for a title that was so hotly anticipated. Instead, what we got is a thoughtful expansion on a game and story so dear to many gamers’ hearts. FF7R is not perfect, but it does more than enough to quench the thirst built up over five years (since it was confirmed to be in development) while also making us want more.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Leez: At this point, who wouldn’t want to escape the impending doom of millions of people dying across the globe by going on a small island getaway, making it your own, and socializing with friends? Animal Crossing: New Horizons is addictive with more customizable features for you and your island to make every detail your own. This game is definitely one to add to the list of games and reasons you should get a Nintendo Switch if you don’t have one by now.
Luigi: If you’re a fan of the life simulator genre (à la The Sims or Animal Crossing), then you’ve heard of Stardew Valley before. Released in 2016, this cozy farm simulator is one of the best companions when you’re stuck at home in quarantine. With tons of things to do and villagers to warm up to, Stardew Valley can keep you entertained for hours on end.
Resident Evil 3 (Remake)
Kenrick: Capcom just can’t get enough of Resident Evil remakes. Last year, fans of the beloved action-horror game were treated to a glorious remake of Resident Evil 2. This year, Resident Evil 3 becomes the latest installment to be remade. The remake will surely please fans as it sticks to the story of the original. There’s just so much to love about this game as it breathes new life to the characters of Jill, Carlos, and the dreaded Nemesis.
Shows to binge-watch
MJ: When life throws you a curve ball, that’s the universe’s way of redirecting you to a new path — it’s a lesson I gleefully accept. Community reminded me of my younger days. I remember an unexpected disaster that threw me to a bunch of misfits who I now call friends. The hit sitcom finally found its way to Netflix where you can binge-watch its six seasons, giving you real good laughs and serious life lessons in every episode.
What We Do in the Shadows
Luigi: In the month or so that we’ve been under quarantine, you might’ve found yourself stuck with the quirkiest of housemates. Nothing gets stranger, however, than the weird vampire (and vampire wannabe) quintet of What We Do in the Shadows. Inspired by Taika Waititi’s 2014 eponymous film, FX’s mockumentary comedy series follows the adventures of the most dysfunctional housemates: a 757-year old vampire and his familiar, an overtly sexual vampire and his wife, and an energy vampire.
The Last Dance
Rodneil: The Last Dance is a 10-episode documentary detailing the last 6th and final championship run of the Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Phil Jackson Chicago Bulls. Seeing as live sports is currently postponed until further notice, the documentary is a much-needed dose of entertainment for basketball fans who badly miss the game.
2gether: The Series
Vincenz: Tine (aka Mr. Chic) is a playboy who’s desperately looking for a girlfriend to replace his ex. But here’s the catch: a guy named Green likes him so much and follows him around to the point that Green looks like a leech attached to its host. The only way to get him out of the way is to beg Sarawat, a campus hottie, to become his fake boyfriend. He saw Sarawat as his savior to get away from an obsessed gay admirer. Little did he know, Sarawat was already head over heels for him long before they agreed on a pretend relationship.
Carol: A closer look at the lives of Hasidic Jews in New York and a young woman’s struggle when she finds out the world she’s always known isn’t really for her. The story takes viewers from a secretive part of New York to the freedoms of Berlin. A poignant story spread out in four episodes based on the life of writer Deborah Feldman. It’s so good, you’ll end up wishing for a second season.
Chay: Unorthodox is a short but profound story about self-discovery and questioning what happiness truly is — is it one that you find for yourself or that which your circumstances dictate? The only bad thing about the series is it doesn’t have enough episodes!
TWICE: Seize The Light
Rodneil: This is a YouTube Originals documentary following K-Pop girl group TWICE during their TWICELIGHTS world tour. It also dives deep into their time as trainees and how they overcame hardships together as a nine-member group. It’ll surely be an emotional roller coaster for ONCEs — their devoted fans.
Why R U?
Vincenz: BL (Boys’ Love) series are common in Thailand, and these are based on fan novels. In Why R U, Zon has a younger sister (named Zol) who became popular because of the BL novel she published online. The characters were named after him and Saifah (the person he hates the most). Other than them, Fighter and Tor are also part of the novel (and they both consider each other as enemies). What if one day, you suddenly realize that you and the person you hate are already falling for each other? Would you still think it’s a curse that’s why you fell into the world of a BL novel? Or would you believe that homosexual love is the reality all along?
Chay: Award-winning chef David Chang takes us on a culinary trip around the world; watching this felt like traveling while in self-isolation. Not only does the show combine two things I love, it also tackles racism, history, and what the future of regional cuisines as we know it might be like.
Movies to see
Kenrick: A timely movie to watch? While the fictional virus in this movie is much more intense than the current COVID-19 pandemic, the story itself remains faithful to how society will respond to a health crisis. While the movie is almost nine years old, the current situation has revived interest in it as people try to understand just how a pandemic will affect the global society.
Rodneil: This feels like a very unique attack on Godzilla/Kaiju movies. Instead of having the protagonist be a regular citizen with some ties to people researching the creature, the film focuses on how the government responds to its emergence. That seems mundane at first glance but the pacing will keep you engaged. It does a good job of maintaining tension with well-timed reminders that ordinary people are dealing with a threat that can end mankind.
Albums/Songs/Podcasts to listen to
Human. :||: Nature. By Nightwish
Luigi: I’ve always been a huge fan of the hard rock and metal genres coming out of the “it’s just a phase, mom” era. If you want a taste away from the ordinary fare, Nightwish, a paragon of symphonic metal, brings together brutal guitar riffs, operatic vocals, and a full orchestra. Their latest album, “Human. :||: Nature.” comes in two discs: one, a masterpiece of melodic metal; and, the other, a full orchestral arrangement thematically highlighting the human journey of art and discovery. Listen here.
Chay: A daily podcast from The Atlantic tries to make sense of the grim reality that we’re living in. Journalist and physician James Hamblin answers executive producer for podcasts Katherine Wells’ questions about the pandemic and its consequences. Listen here.
Foam and Flotsam
MJ: Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s Chelsea Peretti (known as Gina Linetti) may not be in the popular sitcom anymore, but she knows how to keep us entertained with her humor. The artist dropped “Foam and Flotsam”, a concept comedy album about coffee. These coffee-centric tracks may give you laughs while jamming due to its lyrics, but the songs tackle the complexity of human emotions, only told through coffee. Listen here.
“Easily” by Bruno Major
Rodneil: It’s a song from 2017 but I only chanced upon it recently. The lyrics suggest it’s a song about taking a chance on a relationship. While the thought has crossed my mind, I just really flow with the song’s melancholic but soothing vibe. Listen here.
Redraftables by The Ringer
Rodneil: With the NBA postponed indefinitely, Bill Simmons of The Ringer decided to do an NBA redraft. The rules are simple: How would we rank the players in a certain draft class knowing what we know now. They start with the notable 1996 draft that featured the likes of the late but great Kobe Bryant, and cultural icon Allen Iverson.
Oh My God by (G)I-DLE
Vincenz: A powerful love song with an unusual concept talking about how one woman is going crazy over another. Homosexuality in South Korea (and several parts of the world), is still a taboo. The music video depicts how same-sex love is considered a sin/crime while the lyrics suggest real intimacy and attraction between the two people. Soyeon, the member who’s responsible for writing the lyrics of the song, said it’s open to interpretation.
Doors by Ben&Ben
Vincenz: Just like anyone, we “open our secret doors” to people who we fully trust. This is an empowering song that tells us not to be afraid of opening up ourselves to those we hold dear. At the end of the day, people who truly love and care for you will be there in your darkest times. Listen here.
Chay: The Internet’s agony aunt Cheryl Strayed seeks wisdom and advice from writers like Margaret Atwood, Pico Iyer, and George Saunders. The reassuring podcast comes at a time when nothing makes sense and the future seems more uncertain than ever. Listen here.
Now Playing is the GadgetMatch team’s favorite games, movies, TV shows, and more each month. If you’re curious to know what we’re into at the moment, this is what you should check out. So grab your popcorn, get some drinks, and enjoy what’s now playing!
Hundreds of K-Pop songs by KakaoM removed from Spotify
Including songs from IU, LOONA, Dreamcatcher, GFRIEND, SEVENTEEN, MAMAMOO, and more
K-Pop has been making waves both in South Korea and outside their homeland. And with the recent launch of Spotify Korea, international fans are expecting it to be recognized by major Korean music shows as an additional attempt in making more underrated artists and groups succeed without totally relying on Korean streaming platforms and Korean fans alone. But the recent feud between KakaoM and Spotify put everything to a screeching halt.
What is KakaoM?
KakaoM is a large co-publisher of K-Pop albums by Korean artists. Other than being a music publishing house, they’re also a music and concert production house, events management agency, talent agency, and even a record label. This basically means they can handle everything from handling K-Pop trainees and talents, up to pre-production, production, and post-production phases of a single, EP, mini album, or even a full album.
Other than KakaoM’s in-house artists like IU (under EDAM Entertainment), Apink, VICTON, and Weeekly (under PlayM Entertainment), as well as non-KakaoM talents such as LOONA, Dreamcatcher, MAMAMOO, GFRIEND, SEVENTEEN, HyunA, and (G)-IDLE, this long Twitter thread shows the full list of K-Pop groups, duos, and soloists that are handled and/or whose albums were published by KakaoM:
artists that had their stuff on spotify deleted, a thread
— ً (@lemonphobic) February 28, 2021
Explaining the fiasco
In an article published by the Korean site NAVER, Spotify has informed that KakaoM was unable to extend the validity of the agreement. Thus, effectively ending the contract today, March 1, 2021. Spotify also reported that they’ve been keeping in touch with KakaoM for a year but to no avail. They even said that KakaoM never informed the artists nor their respective agencies prior to the cancellation.
KakaoM isn’t totally a stranger in such issues. This already happened in 2019 when KakaoM failed to mass produce LOONA’s “[X X]” albums despite the large volumes of album pre-orders. That hindered LOONA from getting their first win in a music show. It even came to a point where they failed to renew LOONA’s songs listed under them in Spotify.
FIRST YOU RUIN LOONA’S SALES AND THEIR CHANCE FOR A FIRST WIN IN 2019, NOW YOU REMOVE HALF OF THE SONGS I LISTEN TO ON SPOTIFY……THIS IS IT…….YOU WILL NEVER SEE THE END OF ME KAKAO M I WANT YOU GONE FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!
— nina! (@jeonsbits) February 28, 2021
This also has a massive effect among international K-Pop artists and fans in general. With the large number of groups and artists alone, Spotify not only helps them get on a larger scale outside Korea, but it also contributes records to music charts such as Billboard.
Streaming charts have always been a big deal among K-Pop fans. With Spotify’s recent entry in the Korean music industry, fans have speculated that this unsettled agreement between Spotify and KakaoM was due to the fact that they don’t want to lose Melon, which is Korea’s top and largest music streaming platform with 28 million subscribers.
Other than the reliance of chartings and rankings by music shows such as Mnet’s M Countdown, KBS’s Music Core, SBS’s Inkigayo, MBC’s Music Core, and more, the streaming platform is owned by none other than KakaoM. This is a speculation all along but the fact that Spotify has 345+ million subscribers in 170 markets dwarfs Melon alone.
Stan Twitter memes everywhere
Some fans were able to make humor out of this controversy.
kakao m: removes their artist’ songs from spotify
kpop stans: lets boycott spotify
— ً (@jjkpremacist) March 1, 2021
With KakaoM’s Melon ownership, international fans have joked around that signing up to Melon will never happen.
Lmao Kakao M thought people gonna go to Melon after they remove their content from Spotify but instead we all went to YouTube music and apple music pic.twitter.com/lAQe330xgt
— ☁⁷ ¦ SEOKJIN’S VOCALS ARE HEAVEN ITSELF (@millkygyuu) March 1, 2021
The fury of the K-Pop international fanbase might have made KakaoM realize their wrong action.
Kakao M after realizing removing songs on spotify is a stupid move: pic.twitter.com/6oT9zDWXbu
— minwon ; \⁷ D-2 (@Meaniethepooh) March 1, 2021
Orbits aren’t late to the meme party
— TEAMLOONA (@loonateams) March 1, 2021
It seems like every K-Pop fan is transferring to YouTube Music (not even Apple Music)
Spotify and Kakao m issue
Meanwhile youtube music: pic.twitter.com/QEtPv0D9EL
— JunHoshi 1+🐯 (@YeyHuihuiii) March 1, 2021
KakaoM as Thanos, anyone?
Kakao M, which holds the streaming rights to many South Korean artists (and owns Melon), have pulled out of their license agreement with Spotify causing many Korean songs and artists to be unavailable on Spotify worldwide.
When you can’t handle the competition … pic.twitter.com/no13lEpUb6
— Nuice Media (@nuicemedia) March 1, 2021
Memes aside, Spotify has re-assured fans that this issue is temporary and can still be resolved once KakaoM reaches a new global deal. Fans (like me) are hoping that KakaoM will settle this as soon as possible or this might be a huge loss not just to them, but for fans, artists, and their respective agencies as well.
Globe’s Virtual Hangouts: Music, campus, K-Pop, and esports
More coming this year
Last year, Virtual Hangouts brought you music festivals, concerts, youth summits, K-fan meets, and esports tournaments with the #OLTogetherNow. Well, strap up because they’re back.
Globe launched their Virtual Hangouts return with a virtual 360-degree view launch event last February 18. They, of course, had to tease us with sneak peeks of GoJAM, GoCAMPUS, GoKOREAN, and GoESPORTS this year.
Jumping off of last year’s GoJAM, Virtual Hangouts partnered with Karpos Live to bring a concert series featuring local and international acts from Paradise Rising, a music collective born out of Globe and 88rising’s partnership. Talents such as Jason Dhakal, Claudia Baretto, Leanne and Naara, and more are in this year’s line-up.
In light of circumstances last year, GoJAM brought you virtual Wanderland Music Festival 2020 and the Double Happiness: Winter Wonder Festival. So, tune in and wait for any new updates on this year’s events. While on the wait, GoJAM is stepping up their virtual immersive experience with virtual 360 concerts and choose-your-own-adventure interviews in this year’s plans.
GoCAMPUS is bringing in another virtual youth summit and Future Reinvented. Students will be challenged to put theory into practice through a 5G Hackathon where teams make real-life applications of 5G technology.
With these events, GoCAMPUS hopes to reinvent school and learning experiences for students. While, empowering them to eventually bring to life real-world applications of 5G technology in society, industries, and smart cities.
Globe and K-Pop sensation BLACKPINK’s partnership and the recently concluded THE SHOW virtual concert aside, GoKOREAN has even more in store.
With GoKOREAN, K-fans get to enjoy interactive activities, like the design-your-own cup sleeves event as a way of celebrating the birthdays of BLACKPINK members. Virtual Hangouts will be having the Kmmunity Fest where fans can have a safe space to mingle and share their love of all thing K-Culture. Kmmunity Fest will be new platforms such as SHOOR, Upstream, as well as Vlive and VLive+.
Globe’s ongoing efforts to improve the Philippine esports scene by developing and discovering new esports talents and athletes was loud and clear with their VH UltiCup last year. How? Well, they opened both professional and amateur gamers to the competitive scene and giving them the opportunity to represent the country at the SuperGameFest 2020.
With its recent partnership with Riot Games Southeast Asia, it is no surprise that Globe is paving way for new opportunities for local gamers and enthusiasts. GoESPORTS has a few tournaments on their line-up for this year so keep your eyes peeled for any announcements.
If you’re interested in music, campus learning, K-culture, and esports, you can be part of these upcoming events on Virtual Hangouts simply through the GlobeOne app. On the app, just click on the Virtual Hangouts tab to view the events and join.
Disney+ now streaming in Singapore
Have you subscribed yet?
The wait is over. Disney+ is now finally available in Singapore.
If you’ve been longing to stream Disney classics, new shows like The Mandalorian in the Star Wars universe, or just want a feel good flick from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you can now do so via the streaming app.
The subscription costs SG$ 11.98 per month or SG$ 119.98 for a year. With it you’ll have access to a library of 500 movies and over 15,000 episodes of some of your favorite shows from Disney Channel.
You’ll also gain access to content by other major entertainment companies like Pixar, National Geographic, and Star.
To sign-up, users need to go to the Disney+ website and you’ll be asked to input your email address so they can keep you updated on how to subscribe. A subscription plan lets the user stream on four different devices at the same time. There are also different profiles for each subscription just like Netflix. However, instead of just five, Disney+ gives you up to seven profiles.
GeekCulture put together a list of supported devices so check them out to see if you have any of them.
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