Tag Archives: Billboard.com

Celebrity Cyber Report – Tyler Perry, Drake

Filmmaker Tyler Perry is warning fans of a Facebook hoax claiming he is giving away money and other prizes.

In a Facebook video Perry said “I am not giving away anything on Facebook. I am not giving away any money. My team has to shut down these things every day.” According to Perry his team shuts down as many as 30 fake websites and social media pages daily.

The actor and film producer did not go into specifics but reiterated that unauthorized people were using his name for “giveaways.” Fans searching “Tyler Perry” on Facebook will find hundreds of fake accounts using the actor’s name. Fans are warned that his real pages are are verified by blue checkmarks.

Perry said he is a giver saying “In my life, I’m a giver. I give a lot of things to a lot of people, to a lot of employees, random things, cars, houses, I do.” But he drew the line at scams using his name. “But that is not true. The Facebook stuff. I’m not giving away anything. Stop it, devil.” Perry did however give comedienne Tiffany Haddish a new Tesla electric vehicle wrapped in a red bow. Perry explained why he gave her the car saying he understands how rising stars worry about money at the start of their careers.

Drake

Drake

Canadian rapper Drake shattered records with his new album which hit a billion streams in its first week.  The first album ever to do so. According to Billboard.com the album entitled “Scorpion” also broke the U.S. streaming record with 745.92 million streams in its first week. The new record easily topped Post Malone’s Beerbong & Bentleys streaming record of 431 million streams in its first week. 

In a stunning 24 hours “Scorpion” scored record breaking totals of 300 million streams on Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. Billboard.com reported that Drake now owns four of the top 10 streaming weeks ever for an album. “Scorpion” is Drake’s eighth consecutive No. 1 album on the Billboard 200.

 

Silicon Valley Responds to Trump and Hate

Silicon Valley, the very heart and brain of the nation’s tech industry, is sending a strong message to both Donald Trump and white supremacist, NO!

Since the neo-nazi and alt-right demonstration in Charlottesville the nation has come to realization that hatred and bigotry is alive and well and supported from the highest office in the land. But tech companies are reacting to shut racist down

Apple CEO Tim Cook blasted Trump for his words supporting racist in an email to Apple employees. In the email cook said,  “I disagree with the president and others who believe that there is a moral equivalence between white supremacists and Nazis, and those who oppose them by standing up for human rights.” Cook continued on to say, “Equating the two runs counter to our ideals as Americans.”

Cook announced that Apple will donate $1 million each to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Anti-Defamation League.

Cook and Trump have locked horns before over his immigration and climate change positions. At the same time Cook has been working to influence Trump’s policies on issues from tax reform to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

Apple has also shut down Apple Pay on all white supremacist websites selling clothing and accessories.

Google, the world’s largest and most powerful search engine acted quickly to cancel the Daily Stormer neo-nazi website’s domain registration. Google acted in a mere 3 hours after it signed up. A Google spokesperson stated that the Daily Stormer was “violating our terms of service.” Web hosting service GoDaddy also rejected the neo-nazi website. GoDaddy tweeted that is giving the site 24 hours to move to another domain provider for violating of its terms and services.

White supremacist bands are also being silenced online. Billboard.com reported that Spotify is removing “hate rock” from its streaming service. Other tech companies and forums shutting racist out include Reddit which bans ban hate groups, gaming chat app Discord also shut down racist accounts and GoFundMe shut down a campaign to support the man accused of driving a car into protesters this weekend in Charlottesville killing one women and injuring 19 others.

PayPal all took steps to shut down white supremacist outlets and Twitter even suspended an account that provided updates for the site.

Other financial services companies are also rejecting hate group’s commerce en masse. Square, Visa and Discover Card have all stopped hate groups from using their service to accept payments. Other companies rejecting neo-nazi activity on their platforms include Cloudflare which stripped away the Daily Stormer security and protection against hackers

But can all this action to shut down hate really make a difference? Some believe that hatred will survive online regardless. Neo-Nazi and hate groups have already moved onto the dark web according to news accounts. In the debate on racism, hate and the groups that support it some believe that sending these groups underground is counter-productive. The argument is to keep these groups out in the open so they can be monitored closely. Others, including the ACLU, have argued in support of hate groups to express themselves freely. The ACLU was key in helping the neo-nazi demonstrators win a court battle for permission to carry out the Charlottesville march.

ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said in a statement that hateful and bigoted speech must be heard. “Racism and bigotry will not be eradicated if we merely force them underground,” Romero wrote. “Equality and justice will only be achieved if society looks such bigotry squarely in the eyes and renounces it.”

Celebrity Cyber Report – JayZ, Kanye West and Tidal Music Streaming

JayZ continues to show that he still is a hip-hop force and businessman to be reckoned with. The rapper/businessman’s most recent release, 4:44, has gone platinum in less than a week. JayZ’s album was released on his Tidal music streaming service last week via the link 444.tidal.com.  JayZ’s partner and co-owner Sprint also released the album exclusively to Sprint customers.

But is this news real or fake? According to SPIN.com and Billboard.com all may not be as it appears. According to these industry websites Sprint may have played a role in the achievement by giving away the album for free. But a sale is a sale according to an RIAA spokesperson who said that “sales count toward certification if it’s either purchased by an individual or a business that purchases the release and offers it to customers.” So the bottom line seems to be that the album did achieve platinum status but not as a result of direct sales to fans. Either way it is considered a platinum album. This is not the first time that JayZ has used business smarts to achieve a platinum album. JayZ sold the first one million copies of his 2013Magna Carta Holy Grail” album to Samsung. Samsung, like Sprint, offered the album free to its customers. And for the record this is JayZ’s 17th platinum album more than any other hip-hop artist.

But even with this good news it seems that all is not well in JayZ’s world. Even though the album went platinum in days many fans were left out of the frenzy. New subscribers to Tidal were not permitted to download the album as they expected. According to Variety.com the album was only available to current Tidal subscribers and Sprint customers. It took 72 hours but the so called “glitch” was fixed and new subscribers were able to download the album.

Now, his friend and fellow hip-hop legend Kanye West  is not happy with Tidal. Reports have surfaced that Kanye maybe leaving the music streaming service due to a money dispute. TMZ reported that Kanye has terminated his contract with Tidal.

According to Kanye West Jay Z’s streaming service owes him almost $3 million and is in breach of contract. Kanye’s lawyer says he out but Tidal is refusing to recognize that termination and has threatened to sue.

Kanye joined Tidal after its 2015 launch making him one of the first artists to do so. The 2016 albumThe Life of Pablo” was released exclusively on Tidal. The album was the first ever to go platinum through streaming alone. According to West the release brought Tidal 1.5 million new subscribers. According to TMZ that number was supposed to come with a nice bonus check. West is apparently still waiting. West also claims Tidal failed to pay up for exclusive music videos. According to Tidal Kanye never produced the videos. Kanye says he will provide the videos when he is paid what he is owed. And so and so on.

Celebrity Cyber Report – Serena Williams, Wendy Williams and JayZ

Serena Williams

Serena Williams and SurveyMonkey CEO Zander Lurie (Image courtesy of Recode)

Tennis superstar Serena Williams has taken on the challenge of diversity in the technology industry. Williams has joined the board of directors of SurveyMonkey along with Intuit CEO Brad Smith.  Williams says she wants to help solve the diversity problem in Silicon Valley.

SurveyMonkey employs about 650 workers. Women represent 27 percent of its technology jobs. Just 14 percent of its total payroll consists of African-Americans according to numbers the company provided.

“I feel like diversity is something I speak to,” Williams said in an interview with The Associated Press. “Change is always happening; change is always building. What is important to me is to be at the forefront of the change and to make it easier for the next person that comes behind me.”

Although Williams exact goals are not clear she feels that her presence on the board can help open up the valley to more diversity.

Williams is pregnant and engaged to technology entrepreneur, Alexis Ohanian co-founder of the online forum Reddit. Williams expressed her disappointment in the lack of diversity in high paying technology jobs.

SurveyMonkey, like many technology companies, are looking for a way to change the diversity equation. Williams’ appointment is part of the solution, according to SurveyMonkey CEO Zander Lurie. “My focus is to bring in change agents around the table who can open our eyes,” he said.

Williams’ became linked to to SurveyMonkey through her friendship with Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, another member of SurveyMonkey’s board.

“I have been really interested in getting involved in Silicon Valley for years, so I have been kind of in the wading waters,” Williams said. “Now, I am jumping into the deep end of the pool. When I do something, I go all out.”

Wendy Williams

Day time talk show host Wendy Williams is reaching out to her audience using a new app. Williams just launched ‘Wendy Digitala new entertainment and lifestyle app. Williams is deploying the technology to strengthen her already powerful connection with her audience. 

‘Wendy Digital’ will allow her audience to get to know her better by extending the show to their smartphones and mobile devices increasing interactivity. The app will offer staples of her television show that includes the very popular Hot Topics. Fans will able to participate in the often saucy discussions. The app will also offer shopping from her HSN Collection and outfit of the day or “OOTD.” The ETrivia function permits her audience to test their celebrity knowledge and win prizes. Wendy is using the app to share a little of herself by offering ‘Suddenly Wendy” that gives her fans exclusive video and behind scenes  views of “Wendy’s World.” 

‘Wendy Digital’ is free and available for Apple and Android devices.

JayZ and Tidal

JayZ continues to struggle with his Tidal Music Streaming service. The company announced the loss of yet another CEO. Tidal confirmed that it had jettisoned its third CEO in two years, Jeff Toig. In a statement to Billboard.com  the company wrote, “As part of Tidal’s continued expansion this year we will be announcing a new CEO in the coming weeks. We wish Toig all the best in his future endeavors.”

Toig took the reigns of CEO in January 2016 during its rocky launch. Toig replaced Peter Tonstad who replaced Andy Chen.

JayZ purchased Aspiro a Swedish ­technology company and its Winamp ­streaming service in 2015 for $56 million dollars. He renamed it Tidal and added powerful music stars like his wife Beyonce, friend Kanye West, Daft Punk, Nicki Minaj, Prince and many others. All seeking a away to get their fair share of music streaming revenue.

However, Tidal has struggled in the highly competitive music streaming business. Most importantly Tidal has struggled to attract and hold paid subscribers. Tidal has an estimated one million paid users falling far behind streaming leaders Spotify, 50 million subscribers and Apple Music, 20 million subscribers.

Adding to JayZ’s headaches is a report from a Norwegian newspaper saying Tidal has been inflating subscriber numbers to the media, the public and investors.