Tag Archives: Taylor Swift

Celebrity Cyber Report – 50 Cent, Drake

50 Cent

How would you like to find $8 million dollars you didn’t know you had? Rapper 50Cent did just that.

The rapper and actor recently learned that he was sitting on a stack of 700 bitcoins. 50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, forgot he had accepted the bitcoins from some fans as payment for his 2014 album, “Animal Ambition.”

According to IBTimes 50 Cent said he wanted to “stay with the times,”  when he released the album so he allowed fans to pay for it with the new cryptocurrency. At the time the bitcoins were worth about $660 each. Purchases made with bitcoin made up about a half a million dollars from album sales. But as bitcoin values skyrocketed past $10,000 that half a mil became a helluva lot more.  Jackson now owns 700 bitcoins in total worth close to $8 million.

The iconic rapper has had his share of controversy surrounding money. In 2015 he filed for bankruptcy but managed to hold on to properties and was photographed around that time with stacks of cash. At the time he had the 700 bitcoin but their actually worth was closer to $200,000.

Drake

Rapper Drake has dethroned singer Taylor Swift as the Queen of daily downloads. The new King took the throne at Apple Music and Spotify. According to Beats 1 host Zane Lowe, Drakes’ “God’s Plan” broke the first-day streaming record on that service as well with 14 million spins worldwide.

Spotify confirmed the news with Engadget. In a statement Spotify said,  “We can confirm ‘God’s Plan’ by Drake now holds the U.S. record as the most streamed track in a single day on Spotify.” Setting records is nothing new for Drake. In 2016 he was the most streamed artist and also set the record for Spotify’s most-streamed song of all time, “One Dance.”

 

Celebrity Cyber Report – It was Prince vs. The Internet

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Prince Rogers Nelson, June 7th 1958-     April 21st, 2016

Prince Rogers Nelson departed our realm on April 21st, 2016. Departed, yes. Dead, never! We lost something more than an artist. We lost the sound, the theme song, of a generation. He was a relentless artist and warrior for freedom of expression, his expression, which so many embraced but could never copy. Prince was unlike any other and to him I say; “Nothing Compares 2 U!”

But the Prince we loved enjoyed was not one we knew very well. That was his choice and his right. Prince was a business man and he understood the music industry and he hated it.

Prince fought an epic battle with his recording company whom he labeled “slave masters.” His anger was so deep that he wrote the word “Slave” on his face and refused to use the name Prince. He became simply, “The Artist.”

And along came the Internet and the fight was on! Prince did not go to war with Warner Bros., and win, to become a slave to the Internet. It was his music, he owned it and he was not about to give it away to anybody.

“I don’t see why I should give my new music to iTunes or anyone else,”  said Prince. “They won’t pay me an advance for it and then they get angry when they can’t get it.”

When it came to his music and the Internet Prince was all business. He once sued 22 fans for $22 million dollars for sharing his music and recordings of his live performances online. The Purple One was not playing around.

Prince’s aggressiveness and penchant for take-down notices earned him a “Lifetime Aggrievement Award” from the Electronic Frontier Foundation for his efforts in “silencing speech.”

But Prince was not the enemy of free speech or technology. Instead he was the protector of his name, his music and his legal ownership of it. He, like many musicians, felt the technology, the Internet in particular, was robbing them of their rightful income and royalties for the music they created. It was the reason that rap mogul Jay-Z founded Tidal music streaming service. Jay-Z re-launched Tidal this year and offers artists a greater slice of the pie for the use of their music. Tidal is only music streaming service that can offer Prince’s music legally.  Prince praised Jay Z for creating Tidal, telling a group of journalists, “We have to show support for artists who are trying to own things for themselves.”

In a 2010 interview Prince boldly declared “the Internet is over!”  But that does not mean he was against technology. His relationship with technology was misunderstood. Prince embraced digital distribution.

Prince set recording industry precedent in 1994 by releasing Interactive, a CD-ROM that contained unreleased music, interviews, a video game, and a virtual tour.  In 1997, Prince released Crystal Ball, a five-CD box set of outtakes and rare cuts exclusively through a website or by calling 1-800-NEW-FUNK. In 2001 Prince unveiled NPG Music Club, a monthly subscription service by which fans could get exclusive Prince content. NPG won Prince a Webby Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.

Prince was about his music. Many people believed he hated the Internet. That is not completely true. What he hated was the fact that his work, his artistry, was being stolen and the Internet was the tool used to do it. Prince went after bootleggers,  bloggers, YouTube and anyone who dared to use his artwork without fair compensation. It was not a war against technology. It was about getting paid fairly. And he was not alone. There are hundreds of other artists who feel the same and are still fighting to keep their work under their control.

Prince was great beyond music. He understood what technology was doing to musicians and he fought like hell to change things. For himself he won the battle. But the war wages on.

See also – Celebrity Cyber Report, Prince

Celebrity Cyber Report – Dr. Dre, Kanye West

Dr. Dre

Dre


Word on the street is that
Apple and Dr. Dre are collaborating on a new television series starring the rich and famous NWA alum. The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Apple is financing a scripted series starring Dr. Dre. and an Apple executive. Entitled “Vital Signs” the series to be released by Apple Music has been described as a “dark semi-autobiographical drama.” THR insiders have revealed that Sam Rockwell and Mo McCrae are among the additional cast.

“Vital Signs” has been described as a dark drama filled with its fair share of with violence and sex. Filming has begun and according to the THR naked extras simulated sex in a mansion in the Bird Streets neighborhood of Los Angeles’ Hollywood Hills.

Apple, known mostly for its computers and iPhones has reportedly been interested in producing original programming for a few years. This interest is sparked by the success of streaming media giants Netflix and Amazon. The original concept for the show is the brainchild of Dre himself and he pitched it to his partner  Jimmy Iovine ‘Vital Signs’ marks Apple’s first serious investment in scripted television and the first season is slated for six episodes produced by Dre.

Dre, who’s government name is Andre Young, is rollin’!  His recent successes include his bio-pic ‘Straight Outta Compton’ which blasted onto the big screen to the tune of $200 million and some how got Suge Knight charged with murder.  In 2015 he also dropped his first album  in 15 years entitled ‘Compton’ As of January it had sold 502,000 copies in the U.S. Oh! And don’t forget Beats by Dr. Dre headphones sold to Apple for $3 billion!

Kanye keeps busy. As if launching a clothing line, a magazine and a new album was not enough it appears he in another dust up relating to Taylor Swift.

Kanye’ s Madison Square Garden concert celebrating the release of his new album ‘The Life of Pablo’ or  T.L.O.P. ignited the controversy.  The album is only available from the Jay-Z’s Tidal music service. One particular cut entitled ‘Famous’ included the line, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / I made that bitch famous.”  Some believe it’s a reference to Taylor Swift. Kanye interrupted her at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, remember that? Thank Beyonce for cleaning that mess up. It was thought the two had made peace. But maybe not.

The controversy surrounds the idea that Swift actually had a chance to read the lyrics before Kanye released the song. At least that is what  TMZ is reporting and that she approved it.

According to Kanye  he called Taylor and had a long talk with her about the offending lyric. ” …and she thought it was funny and gave her blessings.” On Twitter Kanye said he can’t take credit for the line. Kanye insists Swift had dinner with a friend of his during which she is supposed to have said; “I can’t be mad at Kanye because he made me famous!”

New York Times’ music critic Jon Caramanica is telling a different story.  According to Caramanica who shared a statement  from Swift’s spokesperson condemning the track. In the statement the representative wrote;  “Kanye did not call for approval, but to ask Taylor to release his single ‘Famous’ on her Twitter account. She declined and cautioned him about releasing a song with such a strong misogynistic message. Taylor was never made aware of the actual lyric, ‘I made that bitch famous.'”

This just the latest ugly skirmish surrounding Kanye’s latest release. He has also been caught up in a  Twitter spat with Wiz Khalifa . West criticized his ex-girlfriend Amber Rose, the model and activist who has a child with Khalifa. In addition he went on the record defending Bill Cosby’s innocence also on Twitter.

Now with all that going on Kanye has also been working on  video game. No, I’m not kidding. According to Thenextweb.com  Kanye showed off a video game he had worked on with the title  ‘Only One.’ According to West, “The idea of the game is, my mom traveling through the gates of heaven.” Told you he was busy and he better stay that way. Kanye tweeted that he is $53 million in debt and pleaded for Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to come to his rescue. Really Kanye? Don’t you have Dre’s number?

Jay-Z Taking the Hard Knocks of Music Streaming

jay-z-600Rap mogul Jay-Z is learning the music streaming business is a tough game. In March of this year Jay-Z purchased Tidal the subscription music streaming service for $56 million. This was clearly a bold move considering the competition from Spotify, Google, and Apple.

Jay-Z’s plan was to address complaints from artists that they are not getting paid, or not paid enough, for their music.

Music streaming apps and websites original purpose was to  make music cheap, or free, for consumers while assuring artists would be fairly compensated for their work. That’s not happening. Musicians and songwriters claim they’re barely seeing any money from streaming.

Some muscians have openly revolted. Singer Taylor Swift pulled all of her music from Spotify. Taylor claims the ability to stream her new album, “1989,” threatened to hurt sales. Spotify claims 50 million users paying $9.99 a month for the service or listening for free with advertisements.

In a move to back Jay-Z’s service Prince removed all his music from online streaming services except Tidal.

Jay Z’s strategy is to have Tidal be a company with majority ownership in the hands of the artists. Prior to a news conference anouncing the service Jay-Z said “This is a platform that’s owned by artists. We are treating the people that really care about the music with the utmost respect.”

But the streaming game has no gentle side and Tidal has struggled. To begin with the company has seen the loss of executives recentlyCEO Andy Chen left the company and was replaced by Peter Tonstad,  former CEO of Tidal’s parent company Aspiro Group, as an interm CEO.

At the time the company stated Tonstad “has a better understanding of the industry and a clear vision for how the company is looking to change the status quo.” But shortly thereafter Tonstad was fired. He was there less than three months. Currently day-to-day operations are being handled by Vania Schlogel, Roc Nation’s chief investment officer.

Right now Tidal is in desperate need of leadership. Though the company has significant artist backing it is tiny with a subscriber base of about 750,000 listeners. Spotify claims to have 20 million paying customers.

Another problem is that App Annie rankings reported that Tidal quickly dropped out of the top 500 most downloaded apps in the U.S. on April 18. In three days, it plummeted to no. 870.

For Jay-Z there seems to be no light at the end of the streaming tunnel. Currently the company is in a nasty dust up with rapper Lil Wayne’s record label Cash Money. The label has filed suit against Tidal for releasing Lil Wayne’s latest album “The Free Weezy Album.” They are asking $50 million in damages. Jay-Z only paid $56 million for the service.

Cash Money’s lawsuit claims that Tidal did not have the right to license the music and owes the label for the unapproved debut of the album. Tidal however claims that the rapper granted exclusive rights to the album in exchange for partial ownership of the company. Cash Money records called Tidal’s deal with Lil Wayne “a desperate and illegal attempt to save their struggling streaming service.”

Sadly Jay-Z and Tidal may have gotten caught up in a dispute between Lil Wayne and his record label. Lil Wayne claims his record label is holding back his money. The dispute has even led to the revelation of a possible murder conspiracy against the rapper.

Anyway you look at, if it gets to court, the outcome could have a major impact on the music business especially streaming services and music labels. When it comes to music streaming Jay-Z is learning, its a hard knock life.