YBN Cordae Teams With Chance The Rapper For "Bad Idea" Video

YBN Cordae has enlisted the help of Chance The Rapper to provide some visuals for their collaborative single “Bad Idea.” The track, which features a sample of Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway’s “Be Real Black For Me,” recently debuted on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 Radio show.

“My brother Chance did it — killed the verse, murdered the verse,” Cordae told Lowe. “I really loved the song. It’s one of my favorite songs. We was both in Coachella. He just came up to me, showed love. I just told him he’s one of the people that inspire me. Took each other’s numbers down. I flew to Chicago actually to get the song done.”

He continued, “The opening lines to the song is, ‘I know myself far too well to be a stranger of pain.’ I freestyled that line. That’s like immediately what I thought of when I heard that beat. Meaning like I know what I’ve been through. Everything that I’ve witnessed, everything that I’ve been to act like I don’t know myself. And that’s really essentially what the song is about. It has like good home vibes, good summer vibes, like good nostalgic feeling to it. But like, not in a forceful way, ’cause I feel like now everybody’s bringing back the nostalgic way, but in a force. Like, it’s got to come natural.”

Cordae’s debut album The Lost Boy is expected to drop later this year. Fans can currently catch the Atlantic Records artist on his first headlining tour.

Watch Cordae’s “Bad Idea” video above. Purchase the track here.

Taylor Swift Breaks Apple Music's 'Pre-Add' Streaming Record

Taylor Swift’s upcoming Lover album has broken the record for most ‘pre-added albums’ by a female artist on Apple Music.

Pre-adds are Apple’s unique lingo for pre-orders of a streaming music album.

Swift’s album achieved 178,600 pre-adds worldwide in the first day of availability, starting June 13th. The album breaks the previous record held by Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next.

Since pre-adds opened on the platform, Lover’s number of pre-adds continues to grow. It is up to 222,400 at the time of writing and is increasing exponentially.

Lover will release globally on August 23rd, so there’s plenty of time to push that number above 500k or even one million.

Back to the definition: a single ‘pre-add’ occurs when an Apple Music subscriber registers their interest in a full album ahead of release. This happens when a user schedules the album’s arrival on their account.

racked up over 800,000 pre-adds in one week ahead of her debut album, When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go? That release broke the all-time pre-add record for at the time.

Will Taylor Swift manage to shatter Eilish’s record? She’s got nearly two months to do so.

Apple says it still emphasizes the value of albums as a storytelling tool for artists to create context around their music.

“Pre-adds are great early indicators of engagement around an artist and the intention of the fans. To actively pre-add an album, much like the pre-order we invented with iTunes, means that the fan is excited about the content and wants to be among the first to enjoy it the moment its available. That kind of engagement is very valuable to an artist and to us.”

Last week Taylor Swift dropped her new single, “You Need To Calm Down” to celebrate Pride Month. Swift gave a shout-out to LGBT-friendly organization GLAAD, which caused a spike in donations for the organization.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Soundtrack Available July 12th

Rockstar Games has announced The Music of Red Dead Redemption 2 soundtrack is now available for pre-order.

The original soundtrack will drop on July 12th.

Fans who pre-order the soundtrack receive access to “Crash of Worlds” by Rocco DeLuca and “Table Top” by Daniel Lanois immediately. The collection of vocal tracks will release digitally on July 12th in collaboration with Lakeshore Records. Rockstar hasn’t announced any plans for a limited edition vinyl release like with the first game.

Red Dead Redemption 2 was one of the hottest video games released in 2018. Imagery from the game featured on Lil Nas X’s .

The RDR2 soundtrack is produced by 11-time Grammy winner Daniel Lanois, who created these tracks exclusively for the game. Lanois has worked with Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Willie Nelson. Lanois says he was thrilled to work on the game, as it provided “a terrific compositional space, vast and covering a range of emotional textures.”

Vocal performances on the soundtrack include those from D’Angelo, Willie Nelson, Rhiannon Giddens, Josh Homme, and David Ferguson.

If you have Spotify, you can listen to the first two songs for the original soundtrack below.

Back when Rockstar Games released Red Dead Redemption in 2010, they also revealed an exclusive red vinyl soundtrack release. Hopefully, something like this will be available for fans of the sequel who prefer Arthur over John.

So far no plans have been revealed to do something similar for Red Dead Redemption 2, but there is another original score soundtrack on the way.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Soundtrack Available July 12th


Meanwhile, fans who are looking for something new to sample might be interested in Lil Nas X’s latest EP. The explosive country rapper is dropping a 7-song EP in collaboration with Billy Ray Cyrus. The new EP and will be released by Columbia Records on June 21st.

Troy Tomlinson Ditches Sony/ATV to Lead UMPG Nashville

Troy Tomlinson is ditching his home since 2002 at Sony/ATV Nashville for Universal Music Publishing Group Nashville. He has been named UMPG Nashville’s first chairman/CEO.

Tomlinson’s appointment will take effect on July 15th, and he will report to UMPG chairman/CEO Jody Gerson. Tomlinson will also join UMPG’s global senior management team and will be responsible for all of UMPG’s Nashville operations.

Industry rumors have suggested Tomlinson was in line to head up UMPG Nashville, despite renegotiation talks reported last week.

Tomlinson’s departure from Sony/ATV makes him the to leave the company. Former co-president Rick Krim and Guy Moot exited in March and April respectively.

Tomlinson oversaw the songwriting careers of many artists, including Taylor Swift. Swift continues to be Sony/ATV’s most prominent songwriter, and speculation suggests she may exit after her music publishing contract expires.

Taylor Swift with Universal’s Republic Records last fall, leaving her long-time label Big Machine Records. Swift’s move away from country music may explain some of that, but her ties to Nashville’s publishing scene are very tight.

Tomlinson’s move coincides with the departure of Kent Earls from the company. Earls headed up the Nashville division as EVP and General Manager since 2012.

Tomlinson is credited with steering the careers of Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Luke Bryan, Darius Rucker, and Thomas Rhett. He also helped guide the careers of songwriters such as Josh Osborne, Chris DeStefano, Jon Nite, Jaren Johnston, Lindsay Rimes, Luke Laird, and Jim Beavers.

Oak View Group Pacts With Live Nation to Build an Arena In Milan

Oak View Group (OVG) has partnered with Live Nation to build the first music and sports arena outside the United States.

The venue will be built in Milan, one of the most prominent tourist destinations in Italy.

The privately funded venue will be built and run by OVG and Live Nation in a joint partnership. It will be located in Milan’s Santa Giulia area.

A ‘head of terms’ agreement has been signed with Risanamento S.p.A to construct the new venue, according to the parties.

Development of the new area will likely commence in 2021 as part of a regeneration project of the Santa Giulia district. The venue is expected to open in 2024. Capacity for the arena is slated to be around 17,000 seats.

Milan already has its share of large-scale venues for entertainment, but OVG hopes the new arena will host an upcoming Olympic event. The 12,700-capacity Mediolanum Forum and the 80,000-capacity San Siro Stadium are both nearby. San Siro Stadium will hold concerts from and Muse later this summer.

Milan is in the running to host the 2026 Winter Olympic Games alongside Stockholm. If the city’s bid is successful, OVG says the new arena would host the ice hockey tournament. OVG co-founder and CEO Tim Leiweke said Live Nation is the ideal partner to deliver and run the arena.

“The new arena will be an exciting addition for the city and an important part of hosting what would be an inspiring 2026 Winter Olympics.”

Just a few months ago, OVG opened its first European office in London. When that office opened in March, Leiweke confirmed they would explore arena and stadium development opportunities in Europe.

OVG has several development projects underway in the United States. That includes Key Arena in Seattle, Belmont Arena for New Yorkers, and a new arena facility for The University of Texas in Austin.

Maxo Kream Announces Major Label Debut LP "Brandon Banks"

Maxo Kream is prepared to release his first official album for RCA Records. The Houston-bred rapper revealed his debut LP, Brandon Banks, is scheduled to drop on July 19.

“This album is me telling the story of how I’m just like my dad except he was a scammer and I was a trapper,” Maxo said in a press release. “Despite his flaws, he was a great parent, always made sure the rent was paid, made sure I went to school, taught me right from wrong. I wasn’t raised to be a trapper, it just happened because of my circumstances. My relationship with my dad now is great – I used to be terrified of him growing up but now that’s my nigga. We’re like yin and yang.”

Brandon Banks will feature collaborations with fellow H-Town natives Travis Scott and Megan Thee Stallion. Production is handled by Mike Dean, Murda Beatz and Ryan ESL, among others.

Check out the album’s trailer and cover art below.

Maxo Kream Announces Major Label Debut LP "Brandon Banks"

Drake Confirms OVO Fest’s Return

Toronto, CA – Drake decided to share some big news while celebrating the Toronto Raptors’ 2019 NBA Finals victory at their championship parade on Monday (June 17).

Drizzy announced his OVO Fest will be returning this year and invited his hometown team to the event.

“I hope all these guys will join me this year because we bringing OVO Fest back, so I hope we can go crazy!” he announced to the crowd while speaking in Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square.

Although OVO Fest didn’t happen last year, the multi-platinum recording artist hinted his annual concert series might return in 2019 during the Toronto stop of his Aubrey & The Three Migos Tour.

In May, speculation about OVO Fest’s return was also heightened when Drake offered tickets to Milwaukee Bucks owner Wes Edens’ daughter Mallory, who trolled the 6 God by wearing a Pusha T shirt to Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

The lineup and date of the next OVO Fest have yet be announced. However, it has typically taken place in August with the artists being revealed during the last week of June.

Past festival performers include The Weeknd, Eminem, JAY-Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar.

Hip Hop Album Sales: Future’s "SAVE ME" Debuts In Top 5

Future’s SAVE ME EP couldn’t reach the top spot on the Billboard 200 due to some stiff competition, including the Jonas Brothers (No. 1) and Santana (No. 3). The Freebandz leader’s latest release reached No. 5, making it the highest-charting Hip Hop project of the week.

Newcomer Polo G was the biggest surprise though, landing at No. 6 with his debut album Die A Legend. Other notable Hip Hop debuts were Tyga’s Legendary, which became his best-charting album since 2015, and Tee Grizzley’s Scriptures LP, which secured the No. 20 spot.

Elsewhere, DJ Khaled and DaBaby maintained their positions in the Top 10 while Tyler, The Creator fell from No. 6 to No. 15. And further down the chart, Denzel Curry’s ZUU plummeted from No. 32 to No. 135 in its second week.

Future Debuts At No. 5

Earlier this year, Future earned his sixth No. 1 album with the release of The WIZRD. The influential artist couldn’t make it seven with his SAVE ME EP though, instead having to settle for No. 5.

Future had a tough hill to climb with new albums from the Jonas Brothers, Santana and Luke Combs also entering the charts for the week. In the end, he secured a Top 5 release off the strength of selling 41,529 total album equivalent units.

Polo G Cracks Top 10

Columbia Records may have found a new star in Polo G. The creator of the hit single “Pop Out” debuted at No. 6 with his first studio album, Die A Legend.

Polo’s success marked another example of streaming’s importance on the charts. He only sold 761 copies in terms of pure album sales but managed to move 38,028 total units thanks to his large amount of streams.

Tyga Returns To Top 20 For 1st Time In 4 Years

The comeback story of Tyga continues. After failing to chart with last year’s Kyoto album, Tyga made his way back on the Billboard 200 thanks to his Legendary LP.

The West Coast rhymer’s latest project hit No. 17 after racking up 24,524 total units in its first week. The album marks his highest-charting LP since 2015’s Fan Of A Fan: The Album collaboration with Chris Brown.

Top 10 Billboard 200 Rap & R&B Albums For The Week Ending 06/13/2019

Note: The first number below is this week’s “total album equivalent units” count, an intersection of album sales, single sales, and streams implemented by Billboard’s new rating system. A pure album sales figure is available in bold in parenthesis and information about each album’s streaming count is available in brackets.

1. Future — SAVE ME — No. 5 — 41,529 (5,469) [46,186,364]
2. Polo G — Die A Legend — No. 6 — 38,028 (761) [55,038,157]
3. Khalid — Free Spirit — No. 7 — 36,287 (4,654) [40,637,443]
4. DJ Khaled — Father Of Asahd — No. 8 — 30,874 (4,219) [33,239,378]
5. DaBaby — Baby On Baby — No. 9 — 29,200 (501) [41,108,760]
6. Lizzo — Cuz I Love You — No. 14 — 26,524 (3,080) [27,945,424]
7. Tyler, The Creator — IGOR — No. 15 — 26,195 (840) [35,404,011]
8. Tyga — Legendary — No. 17 — 24,524 (3,377) [26,816,291]
9. Post Malone — Beerbongs & Bentleys — No. 18 — 24,446 (1,199) [31,720,396]
10. Drake — Scorpion — No. 19 — 24,428 (861) [31,305,639]

Exponentially Increase Audience Engagement with PosterMyWall

“We more than doubled our audiences using social media posts created with PosterMyWall.”

— Arielle Danos, Southern EarthTones band

The following guest post comes from PosterMyWall, a proud partner of Digital Music News.

The competition for musicians has never been more intense as you try to promote your band, your music, your sound.  Along with the fact that an average person becomes distracted in 8 seconds, or less, there’s no time to waste in creating attention-grabbing promo graphics.

On social media, video generates 12 times more shares than text and images combined, while original graphics generate 40% greater engagement than stock graphics or pictures.

PosterMyWall provides jaw-dropping, customizable video and poster templates that can exponentially increase your audience engagement.

Read on to discover how you can use PosterMyWall to employ video, as well as other visual graphics that together will propel your music into the next big thing.

#1 Capture it on Video, and You Capture your Audience

Nothing engages an audience like video. But using video to hype your music may seem daunting, expensive, and requiring skills not in your toolkit. Luckily, do-it-yourself online tool, PosterMyWall, gives you easy to use, customizable video templates, as well as enables you to add your own audio tracks.

Design engaging promo videos for everything from a new album or song release, to studio clips (have a mind-blowing drum solo or a sizzling violin session?), to teasers for upcoming concerts. Tag your video with a short phrase (e.g., drum solo) that music enthusiasts may be searching for that will bring that audience straight to your band.

Engage away with video templates from PosterMyWall:




The digital world has dramatically changed the landscape of marketing musicians and their music. But fans still love to poster their walls with pictures of their favorite bands, concerts, and even lyrics. Post captivating graphics online, as well as give away mind-blowing posters that YOU designed, to keep your band as visually engaging as you are musical.

#2 Design Visual Content – Digital & Print

Visual content is a two-pronged approach to marketing. First, use visual marketing materials on digital platforms, especially your website. Promote gigs and sell new releases with attention-generating graphics. Second, print marketing, that is, posters and flyers, remain a tried and true method for getting the word out about your music. Future fans can’t hear you jam unless they visually learn where, when or how to listen.

It should be music to your ears that creating stunning marketing materials for digital and print use has never been easier with PosterMyWall, which offers a bonanza of customizable templates that enable you to design professional posters, flyers, banners and tour announcements. Incorporate photos of your events, crowd selfies, Instagram hashtags, and of course, your website address and logo before handing them out at events or posting them locally to build your brand recognition.

Go for jaw-dropping visual content using PosterMyWall templates:

Keep those creative design juices flowing to promote your latest releases with a mind-blowing album cover.

#3 Create an Unforgettable Album Cover

With so many new artists emerging every day, and new releases on top of that, capturing your audience’s attention and generating a following is challenging. Your music needs to stand out and get noticed. There is no better way than to design an eye-grabbing album cover for your newest tracks. The good news is that you already have the tools to make this happen, easily and without breaking your budget.

PosterMyWall offers professionally designed and customizable album cover templates for a variety of musical genres. Customize a template or get ideas to design a cover that captures both the essence of your music and the attention of your audience. The possibilities to promote your music are endless. Check out some album cover templates from PosterMyWall.

Engaging your fans and marketing your band is not unlike creating music in that you have to keep doing it. You have to consistently produce new music, just like you have to consistently create new marketing content to keep your audience engaged. Keep this tip in mind: everything you or your band does can be a promotional opportunity. Writing lyrics on a napkin, jamming in the garage, or performing in concert, all give your fans the chance to know you, connect with you and follow you. And the even better news is that the tools at PosterMyWall enable you to take that content and create powerful print and video promotional materials easily, quickly and affordably.

Check out how PosterMyWall has helped other musically inclined people market their sound, and even find a creative market on PosterMyWall.

Joe Wisniewski (Cam Music):

“Regardless of the platform I use to promote my events, the number of views has increased massively in comparison to the DIY posters used in the past. Promotions that included video templates skyrocketed.”

Joe Wisniewski is a professional entertainer and event organizer. He organizes gigs, karaoke nights, music lessons and numerous other events at a variety of local entertainment venues.   PosterMyWall is his go-to design tool for promoting his events.

“When promoting gigs and other events, I’d spend hours putting together posters, flyers, and other Facebook ads. PosterMyWall has a template for everything I need –  gigs, karaoke, themed disco’s, Oktoberfests, music lessons, you name it!”

Brad Grauer (musician and live music fanatic):

As a musician, Brad was always drawn to and intrigued by music posters. It wasn’t long before he found that he was also attracted to the work of talented designers on PosterMyWall.

“I didn’t start out as a designer… actually, I grew to be one with the help of the options available on PosterMyWall.

“The tools and features on the site have given me endless options to reach deep into the bucket of creativity to deliver stand-out work. People often compliment my work, and it’s nice to know people notice the work I’ve designed and shared with the community.”

Arielle Danos (Southern EarthTones):

Arielle Danos, her husband Dexter ‘Dirty’ Danos, and their band, Southern EarthTones, bill themselves as the most versatile band on Bayou Lafourche in Louisiana. What started as a duo playing the smallest dives in the bayou, grew initially by word of mouth, and then by their keen promotion, to be a band opening for acts like Sammy Kershaw, as well as playing in the French Quarter.

“I have yet to find another site so easy to use, with the same quality resources and tools. PosterMyWall gets you noticed with creative and professional designs.”

Not only does Arielle continue to use PosterMyWall to create advertisements for their band, but she also joined PosterMyWall’s Design Community in 2014. Her band templates are wildly popular and serve as creative inspiration for musical groups designing their promotional materials using PosterMyWall.

Marilyn Harang (biggest fan and graphic designer for South 46 Band):


Marilyn Harang is her husband’s biggest fan. He and his bandmates from San Jose, CA make up the Allman Brothers tribute band, South 46 Band.  When the popular band’s graphic designer got too busy, Marilyn stepped in and took over. Using PosterMyWall’s design tools Marilyn can easily, affordably and successfully create eye-catching graphics that keep South 46 Band fans connected and coming back for more.

“It’s the talent that makes the fans follow us from venue to venue, but it’s the flyers, posters and Facebook posts that help them find us.”

Written Hour Productions (Event Planning):

Written Hour Productions brings show-stopping musical events to towns surrounding Pittsburgh, PA.  Their Facebook page sports video clips and eye-catching graphics that mean their events are well publicized and very well attended.

“PosterMyWall has provided an easy and cost-effective way for us to promote our concerts. This is hands down the easiest poster making site out there. We use it about once a month, and it takes no time to find a design to edit and make our own.”

DaniRose (HoneyCounty):

Bringing together their unique sound of “pop hooks, southern twang, and California cool,” the female musical trio, HoneyCounty, are hitting it big after starting small. The three musicians/singer-songwriters came together after meeting in Los Angeles and launching their unique sound. Since then, the band has received praise from Rolling Stone Magazine and even played alongside big-time bands like Lady Antebellum and Old Dominion.

DaniRose relied on PosterMyWall to get the word out as the band gained traction and continues to use PosterMyWall to announce Honeycounty’s latest gigs.

“Can’t wait to perform August 19 with my band @honeycounty & Thompson Square! (sidenote to all the entrepreneurs and musicians out there hustling like me- I made this poster using @postermywall and it was super easy!”

You create great music. And you’re probably reading this blog because you want the world to know it. Get the word, or rather, the music out, by taking advantage of the promotional tools available at PosterMyWall. They are cost effective and enable you to make the most of powerful promotional platforms like social media, as well as traditional marketing channels, like putting digitally designed posters on walls. Let PosterMyWall help you be the design artist that promotes you as a musical artist.


Captivate your audience with engaging videos, personalized for your band, with this 70% discount. Simply enter the following promo code at checkout to avail discount:


Tory Lanez Denies Colorism Publicity Stunt After Model Accuses Him Of Staging Video

Tory Lanez is defending himself after being accused of staging a video in which he took a stand against colorism. The outspoken artist has denied participating in a publicity stunt in response to allegations made by the model in the footage.

“this is the one and only time ima address this,” Lanez wrote on Instagram. “i went out of my way to bring awareness to an important topic of discussion that never gets addressed. the internet has a funny way of tryna take the light off of truthful shit . IF this was a publicity stunt, why would i be doing it for someone elses music video? why wouldnt i have paid the females involved? And if I did pick both girls then how come there’s only shots of me with the ebony model and not the other one ?”

He continued, “Mind y’all this video shoot happened 3 months ago and a behind the scenes camera man DM’d it to me the other day.. All parties that were involved know exactly what happened in the 30 minutes that I was at the shoot . Whether or not they wanna be truth or not . Much love .”

Tory Lanez Denies Colorism Publicity Stunt After Model Accuses Him Of Staging Video

In the video, Lanez stops a darker skinned model from being switched for one with lighter skin. His statement was issued Monday (June 17) after the model in the clip, who goes by @sultryshen on Instagram, claimed he was lying.

“Tory asked for both me and the girl to do solo shots,” she said, according to The Shade Room. “When it was her turn he said cut the video to make it appear as if it had something to do with race. I know the directors very well and they made me the lead girl in that video and many others.”

She added, “He actually never talked to me on that set and kept telling her how beautiful she was.”

View this post on Instagram

TSR Staff: Thembi! @ThembiTV_ _____________________________________ Earlier today we posted a video of #ToryLanez celebrating black women of all shades. In his post he spoke about how colorism continues to happen in the music industry, and that he had to stop his director from being a colorist. ____________________________________ Tory has since gained a lot of applause and appreciation for his said actions. On the other hand, the model Tory claims to defend claims that things did not go down the way he explained. ____________________________________ According to the model, “Tory asked for both me and the girl to do solo shots. When it was her turn he said cut the video to make it appear as if it had something to do with race.” She adds, “I know the directors very well and they made me the lead girl in that video and many others.” _____________________________________ As for the colorism claims, sis claims that “He actually never talked to me on that set and kept telling her how beautiful she was.” This comes on the heels of Tory being dragged for jokingly trying to ‘trade’ #AyeshaCurry for a Caucasian girl with a mean twerk! _____________________________________ We’re here for #Tory standing up for what is right, however, sis alleges that it didn’t quite go down like that. Thoughts, #Roommates?

A post shared by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on

However, Mia Rothwell — the other model in the video — has publicly backed Lanez’s version of the events. In a lengthy Instagram post, she refutes any notion it was staged.

“I’m not sure where people are going saying it was staged because it wasn’t,” she wrote. “They are talking the most amount of shit.”

Check out her entire explanation below.

Did Run The Jewels Post & Delete "RTJ4" Release Date?

Run The Jewels — the motley Hip Hop duo of Killer Mike and El-P — has been working on their next album for years. On Monday morning (June 17), it looked like fans finally had a release date for Run The Jewels 4, their aptly titled follow-up to 2016’s Run The Jewels 3.

After posting a photo of two hands clinking pint glasses emblazoned with the RTJ logo, the post quickly and mysteriously disappeared. But, those who were paying attention saw a release date in the caption that read, “9.7.19.”

The same image was later shared to their Instagram Story — minus the caption.

Did Run The Jewels Post & Delete "RTJ4" Release Date?


Mike and El Producto have been dropping hints the album is close to being unveiled to the public. Late last month, they posted a photo of themselves with producer extraordinaire Rick Rubin and revealed they’d spent the past week at his Malibu recording studio wrapping things up.

Last December, El-P teased a 2019 release date, but didn’t elaborate . Now, it looks like Run The Jewels 4 could arrive on September 7. It’s yet to be determined why the post was removed. We’ll just have to wait and see.

UMG Secured a Massive Settlement from NBCUniversal After the 2008 Fire — But Shared Nothing Back With Artists

The crisis surrounding UMG’s handling of the Universal Studios Fire of 2008 is worsening with news of a massive settlement in 2009.

As Universal Music Group faces the specter of dozens of lawsuits stemming from its mishandling of the 2008 Universal Studios fire, another buried fact has surfaced.  According to details unearthed by multiple sources, Universal Music Group secured a sizable settlement from NBCUniversal in 2009, based on Universal Studios’ negligence leading up to the 2009 fire.

Both media conglomerates share the ‘Universal’ moniker, but they haven’t been part of the same umbrella since 2004.  Still, there were obviously some shared operations, including media asset storage.

The settlement followed four years of litigation between the parties, which apparently ended in a confidential high dollar settlement.  That settlement was most likely very substantial, though as far as we can ascertain, none of that money was redistributed back to artists whose masters were affected by the blaze.

Last week, an investigatory piece by the New York Times revealed that roughly 500,000 priceless master recordings were destroyed in the 2008 fire.

At the time, Universal Music vehemently denied that any substantial damages had occurred, while flat-out lying to major news outlets like the New York Times. the Los Angeles Times, Deadline, and others.  According to the Times, an internal email from Universal PR exec Peter Lofrumento described the fabrications fed to the major pubs, while gloating about misleading LA Times reporter Jon Healy into misreporting the situation.

King said to expect legal filings as soon as this week.  Industry attorney Ed McPherson is also gathering information in preparation for possible litigation against Universal Music Group.

Digital Music News is currently canvassing around in search of relevant court documents.  According to LA Times journalist Randy Lewis, paperwork was filed with the Los Angeles Superior Court back in 2009.  But those filings may have been redacted, given the confidential nature of the settlement.

Attorney Howard King told the Times that the rumored settlement figure is ‘ridiculous,’ but affected artists were none-the-wiser.  “We’re hearing ridiculous numbers,” King said.   “That would be a good fact to find: how much Universal Music got and then forgot to report to their artists, and to share with their artists.”

Meanwhile, Universal Music Group Chairman/CEO Lucian Grainge has remained entirely quiet on the matter.

Grainge took the reins in 2011, years after the blaze occurred.  But multiple sources have noted that the disastrous damage created by the fire was well known inside UMG.  Now, 11 years later, UMG is facing a serious fallout with dozens of artists and their estates, with a serious PR and artist relationship nightmare just getting started.

Despite an obvious cover-up in 2008, Universal is still trying to downplay the issue.  The label unsuccessfully attempted to discredit the New York Times, while essentially denying (again) that any substantive damage had occurred.  Whether the label decides to reverse that approach is unclear, but highly doubtful.

Exactly how that impacts UMG’s pending sales process is unclear.  UMG’s parent, Vivendi, has been discussing the sale of a 50% stake, with the label fetching Wall Street valuations as high as $50 billion.

More as this develops.

New Music: Wale ‘Folarin’

Wale is back with another one. After dropping “Gemini (2 Sides)” last week, the D.C. rapper unleashes his namesake “Folarin.”

Over the horn-heavy production, he addresses his peers (“Don’t hate rap / I just hate rappers that like perpin’ / Real ice on fake ni**as or vice versa”) and his status in the game (“I’m always in the shadow of average ni**as wit more funding”), while dropping a couple Nintendo references (“Every beat I smash like I’m Ike, Snake, Cloud, or Kirby”).

Wale is now gearing up for the release of his sixth studio album, due later this year on Warner Records.

Apple Music Secures Trademark Filing in Canada for Its 'Up Next' Documentary Series

Several years ago, Apple Music officially unveiled a ‘now-forgotten’ mini-documentary series.

In an effort to place the spotlight on its then-growing indie music catalog, the monthly series – dubbed Up Next – would focus on up-and-coming artists.

The first Up Next series placed the spotlight on both the professional and personal upbringing of Ricardo Valdez Valentine, better known as 6LACK.  His Up Next biography reads,

Considering he made his recording debut at the age of four, you could say that 6LACK – pronounced “black” – was born to do this.  The singer/rapper transcended the Atlanta underground with last year’s “PRBLMS”, a bold showcase of late-night, R&B-inflected hip-hop.

“The unfiltered personal narratives of his full-length debut, FREE 6LACK, proved that “PRBLMS” was just the beginning.  Explore 6LACK’s blossoming catalog, watch his incredible live performance in Atlanta, and get to know him through our exclusive documentary and in-depth interview with Beats 1’s Zane Lowe.

Promoting the series on Twitter, Apple Music wrote,

Introducing #UpNext. Music’s Next Generation.  A new artist every month.  Up first, @6LACK. http://apple.co/UpNext

Yet, the documentary soon shifted to only feature mainstream artists on Beats 1 Radio.

Now, a new filing shows Apple Music has plans to seemingly ‘resurrect’ the indie-centered documentary series.

Is ‘Up Next’ up next?

Late last week, the Hong Kong Patent and Trademark Office granted the Cupertino company two design patents for Apple Store shelving.  This comes several weeks after the Canadian Trademark Office granted the company a registered trademark for Up Next – TMA1023538.

Filed in Canada under the Nice Classification System, Apple Music Nice Classes 38 and 41 read,

Nice Class 38 – Streaming and broadcasting of live and pre-recorded music performances, music videos, music and interviews featuring musical artists the Internet, streaming and broadcasting of audio and content video the Internet in the fields of news, sport, comedy, namely live comedy shows, comedic musical performances and comedy movies, drama, namely live dramatic performances and audio recordings of dramatic performances, music, music videos, television shows, and radio and television programming featuring musical artists, transmission and delivery of audio and video content namely, radio broadcasting services, and audio-on-demand transmission services featuring musical artists.

“Nice Class 41 – Entertainment services in the nature of development, creation, production, and distribution of musical artist video documentary series, entertainment services, namely providing music, interviews, live music performances, and videos featuring musical artists, entertainment services, namely, a musical artist video documentary program series featuring downloadable music, live music performances, interviews and music playlists distributed websites and computer applications across multiple forms of transmission media namely, wireless computer and broadband networks, local area networks, wide area networks, global computer networks, and the Internet.

Apple Music had first filed its Up Next trademark in the U.S. on October 21st, 2017.

This prompted Spotify to unveil its own imitation series – Rise.  The U.S. granted Apple the trademark – number 5,604,598 – on November 13th, 2018.

Filed under International Class 38 and 41, the American filing has similar wording to Nice Class 41 in Canada.

“Entertainment services in the nature of development, creation, production, and distribution of musical artist video documentary series, entertainment services, namely providing music, interviews, live music performances, and videos featuring musical artists, entertainment services, namely, a multimedia program series featuring musical artists distributed various platforms across multiple forms of transmission media.

Streaming and broadcasting of performances, documentaries, music, and interviews featuring musical artists, streaming and broadcasting of audio and visual content featuring musical artists; transmission and delivery of audio and visual content featuring musical artists.

So far, Apple has yet to officially comment on the trademark filings in Hong Kong and Canada.  However, based on the copyright wording, expect Apple Music to soon relaunch Up Next around the world.


Featured image by Apple Music.

The RIAA Successfully Takes Down Two More Pirate Sites — Mixstep and NoFile

In its ongoing war against music pirate websites, the RIAA has scored major victories.

Over the past several weeks, the RIAA has managed to successfully take down numerous piracy websites.

First, in mid-March, the major music industry organization YouTubNow.  The YouTube stream-ripper had long boasted about its “powerful service.”  Yet, following a subpoena request at the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, YouTubNow went the way of the dodo.

Then, teaming up with the IFPI and Music Canada, the RIAA large-scale cyberlocker, DBRee.

The IFPI explained,

DBR was responsible for large scale copyright infringement of music content.

On behalf of our member record companies, IFPI, RIAA, and Music Canada identified and contacted the site operator who has now agreed to shut down the site completely and not to infringe sound recording rights in the future.

Now, as the RIAA continues to wage war against Y2Mate and FLVTO, the organization has scored two more victories.

Adios, Mixstep and NoFile.

Following another subpoena request at the federal court in D.C., Mixstep has officially closed its doors.

Mixstep allows DJs and music producers to upload and share their own works to a large audience.  Yet, the website admittedly had a difficult time banning users who frequently posted copyrighted works on its platform.

Once again targeting Cloudflare and NameCheap, an accredited domain registrar, the RIAA has requested the personal information of Mixstep’s owner.  In sent to Cloudflare, the music organization identified a single infringing track on the website – Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber’s single, ‘I Don’t Care.’

Speaking with TF about the platform’s closure, Mixstep’s anonymous owner explained the site’s purpose.

We made this project for DJs and producers.  We already banned a lot of users who uploaded illegal files.

Lamenting the DMCA letter, the owner added the site hadn’t earned any money from advertising, like most pirate sites do.

I think it’s enough to fight with all these [users uploading infringing files] so we’re going to shut down our project very soon.  Anyway, Mixstep was a no-profit project.

In addition, giving in to pressure from the RIAA, NameCheap has suspended the domain of cyberlocker NoFile.

Just as in the DMCA letter to the registrar about Mixstep, the music organization ,

The website associated with this domain name offers files containing sound recordings which are owned by one or more of our member companies and have not been authorized for this kind of use.

Whether NoFile will file an appeal against NameCheap remains to be seen.


Featured image by Roger Gregory (CC by 2.0).