Angry Investors Sue Over Sirius XM's "Invalid" $3.5 Billion Pandora Acquisition

Former Pandora investors, angered and frustrated by the details surrounding Sirius XM’s acquisition of Pandora, have filed a lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges that the was “invalid and void” because of earlier agreements made between Sirius XM and Pandora, as well as below-board tactics used by Sirius XM-backed Pandora board members.

After buying into Pandora 2017, Sirius XM execs voiced an interest in purchasing the company outright. The deal came to fruition in February of this year, when Pandora shareholders voted to accept the $3.5 billion offer submitted by Sirius XM.

The lawsuit claims that Sirius XM violated the terms of the 2017 deal, which required Sirius XM to wait one year before purchasing a larger portion of Pandora.  While the actual buyout came after the one-year mark, the investors’ lawyers say that the planning itself came within the prohibited window, and therefore violated the agreement.

This legal argument’s basis is rooted in a Delaware law that imposes a three-year delay on buyouts from individuals and companies that own 15 percent or more of businesses.

Additionally, the investors’ lawyers, led by Richard J. Tornetta, allege that Sirius XM used the board seats it gained from the 2017 investment to pressure stockholders and Pandora execs into accepting an underwhelming deal.

At the time of writing, Sirius XM hadn’t publicly commented on the lawsuit.

Owing to aggressive business strategies and an emphasis on proprietary content, Sirius XM has grown substantially over the last five years.

The company, which is publicly traded under symbol SIRI, has seen its per-share price nearly double since 2015.

Prior to that, in 2009, Sirius and XM were having trouble competing in the marketplace; many considered their much-debated merger to be the only means of staying in business. While it’s almost impossible to prove or disprove this stance, there can be no denying that the last decade has been important — and fruitful — for Sirius XM.

Yung Miami Hints At JT’s Prison Release: “Couple More Days & We Back Acting Up”

It looks like the City Girls will soon be whole again. On Monday, Yung Miami took to her IG to tease JT’s prison release, saying she’ll be home in a “couple more days.”

“We gone keep smashing Keep cashing, diamonds keep flashing ,money keep stacking 💰 Couple more days & we back acting up! 😬” she captioned the post. Back in June, reports surfaced saying JT would be coming home within 90 days and that would make sense with this release.

If you forgot, JT was arrested and charged with aggravated identity theft back in 2018. It’s alleged that between September 2016 through April 2017, JT spent more than $1,000 using three different peoples credit cards and was sentenced to 24 months in a Tallahassee prison. She was denied early release from prison back in May, but if Yung Miami is right, she’ll be home in a “couple more days.” Following her release however, JT will have to complete one year probation as well.

Check out Yung Miami’s post (below) and keep it locked for JT’s homecoming possibly later this week? We’ll be sure to keep you posted.

25% of CDs 'Fulfilled by Amazon' Are Counterfeit, Major Labels Say

Amazon is riddled with counterfeit CDs, says the RIAA.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which represents major labels Sony Music, Universal Music, and Warner Music, has made a stunning discovery.  , 25 percent of CDs ‘Fulfilled by Amazon’ are knock-offs.

“Alarmingly, 25% of the purchased CDs that were ‘Fulfilled by Amazon’ were counterfeit,” the group flatly relayed.

Amazon’s ‘Fulfilled’ program allows third-party sellers to reach Amazon customers, with Amazon handling the shipping chores.  “With Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), you store your products in Amazon’s fulfillment centers, and we pick, pack, ship, and provide customer service for these products,” Amazon explains on its site. “FBA can help you scale your business and reach more customers.”

The 25% claim, which was made after RIAA placed a number of orders on Amazon, eBay, and additional online marketplaces, is accentuated by other alarming statistics.

16 percent of the CDs bought from eBay were found to be counterfeit, as were 11 percent of those bought from Amazon proper. The latter figure is especially shocking, as it indicates that more than 1 out of 10 items shipped by Amazon itself are fake. “A recent sample purchase program found 11% of new CDs offered for sale on Amazon were counterfeit, and 16% of new CDs sold on eBay were counterfeit,” the group relayed.

Also, 100 percent of the CD box sets bought by the RIAA — 40 boxsets on eBay, 32 on AliExpress — were found to be counterfeit.

Naturally, these items’ generally higher sales prices attracted more counterfeiters; however, that means record labels and artists lost substantial sums on would-be sales.  Because of the value of these items, one would assume that the RIAA prioritizes their removal from e-commerce sites.

The mentioned elements of the report represent a small portion of its total text, as the final five (of seven) pages highlight the various steps, measures, and procedures that the RIAA believes will reduce and eventually eliminate counterfeit CD sales.

Each of these suggestions depends heavily on the cooperation of eBay, Amazon, and other online marketplaces, though these companies haven’t yet issued a public statement on the matter. In all likelihood, each marketplace will only clean things up if presented with serious threats, legally or otherwise. A voluntary crackdown could substantially reduce profits at each seller, especially if heavy sellers close their accounts.

While the growth of music-streaming platforms has fundamentally changed the ways that artists and record companies earn money, CD sales are still significant. In 2017, for instance, CD sales accounted for $1.5 billion in revenue.

With this figure and the high counterfeit rates in mind, it isn’t difficult to understand the RIAA’s concern. It’ll be interesting to see how eBay, Amazon, AliExpress, and other online-shopping brands ultimately respond to the issue.

#DXCLUSIVE: Budo Remixes SISTERS’ "Y Do You Take So Long" Single With Sol

HipHopDX Premiere – Seattle-bred producer Budo rose to prominence while working with longtime friend Macklemore. Before “Thrift Shop” took Macklemore to another level, the duo worked on 2005’s The Language Of My World together on songs such as “White Privilege” and “Claiming the City.”

He also worked on Macklemore’s sophomore solo album, Gemini, contributing his talents to 10 different tracks on the 2017 album. Now, the tenured beatsmith is back with a remix for SISTERS’ “Y Do U Take So Long” featuring Sol.

SISTERS — comprised of Emily Westman and Andrew Vait — pulled the song from their upcoming We Can Get Together EP.

“The remix for ‘Y Do U Take So Long’ is the completion of a collaboration circle,” Vait tells HipHopDX. “Seattle rap icon Sol wrote his verse to a fledgling version of the remix that was initiated by myself under my production moniker Little Wins. Sol enlisted his longtime collaborator Budo to complete the remix.”

The We Can Get Together EP is expected to arrive on September 13 Tender Loving Empire.

Check out “Y Do You Take So Long” above.

#DXCLUSIVE: Budo Remixes SISTERS' "Y Do You Take So Long" Single With Sol

French Montana Responds To Dog Biting Lawsuit, Denies Wrongdoing

In 2017, French Montana hired Juan Lomeli to clean his pool but after six months working on the job, Juan got bitten by French’s dog Zane leading him to sue the rapper. Juan claimed that he was injured so badly in the vicious attack that he was unable to work and went after French for loss wages.

French Montana Responds To Dog Biting Lawsuit, Denies Wrongdoing
Mike Coppola/Getty s

The Blast now reports that French has responded to the lawsuit and denies any wrongdoing in the matter and wants to pass the blame to the employer who hired Juan. The “Unforgettable” rapper has called on the statute limitations and how they’ve run out in hopes halting Juan’s case. French and his legal team argues that “the damages and injuries sustained by Plaintiff did not arise from circumstances reasonably foreseeable to Defendant and were not within his reasonable ability to control.”

The publication details how French’s team also filed a cross-complaint against the company that hired Juan, stating how they should take all blame if he’s successful in his lawsuit. French is seeking “total and complete indemnity for any judgments rendered against” him. 

Apparently, this is French’s second dog attacking lawsuit after another man has come after the rapper after he was attacked by French’s guard dog when installing security cameras. 

Drake Hints at Young Thug Collaboration on ‘So Much Fun’

Drake and Young Thug may have another collaboration on the way.

Just days after Thug announced a release date for his album So Much Fun, Drizzy teased fans by posting a black-and-white GIF of himself grinning while flashing his icy watch and ring. “So Much Fun,” he captioned the post.

View this post on Instagram

So Much Fun

A post shared by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on

That was enough to trigger speculation of a collaboration between the two. Lil Duke, who is signed to Thug’s label YSL Records, also commented on Drake’s post with the snake and spider emojis.

On Friday (Aug. 16), Young Thug is set to release his album So Much Fun featuring the J. Cole and Travis Scott-assisted single “The London.” It may also include a collaboration with the late Nipsey Hussle.

This wouldn’t be their first collaboration. Drizzy and Thug previously teamed up on “Ice Melts” and “Sacrifices” off Drake’s 2017 More Life project. They also toured throughout Europe on 2017’s “Boy Meets World Tour.”

Monica Lewinsky Green Lights FX’s "New Impeachment: American Crime Story"

After the wildly successful first season  The People v OJ Simpson and second season  The Assassination Gianni Versace, FX’s true crime spin-f  American Horror StoryAmerican Crime Story will return to tackle the Monica Lewinsky scandal. The third season will be entitled, New Impeachment. Massive TV producer, Ryan Murphy, had been hoping to use this storyline since 2017, but the project was stalled because he insisted on obtaining Lewinsky’s approval beforehand. 

According to Vanity Fair, Lewinsky decided to give the OK for the series after she met Murphy at a Hollywood party. Murphy assured her that he had no interest in telling this story unless her perspective was centered and valued, and she would be able to benefit financially from the show. Lewinsky agreed to sign on as a producer once she learned that it would give her the opportunity to “fully reclaim her] narrative”. As she wrote to Vanity Fair, “I’m so grateful for the growth we’ve made as a society that allows people like me who have been historically silenced to finally reintroduce my voice to the conversation.”

Monica Lewinsky Green Lights FX’s "New Impeachment: American Crime Story"
Kevin Winter/Getty s

Sarah Burgess will be adapting the show’s script from Jeffrey Toobin’s 1999 book, A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President. Sarah Paulson has been cast as Linda Tripp, the woman who taped and exposed Lewinsky’s confessions, and Monica Lewinsky will be played by Beanie Feldstein. Jonah Hill’s sister, Feldstein, is one Hollywood’s biggest rising stars right now, after her lead roles in high school dramedies, Lady Bird and Booksmart. It should be interesting seeing her in this more mature role. There is no word yet on who will play the Clintons. 

New Impeachment: American Crime Story premieres on Sunday, September 27, 2020, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX. 

Apple Revamps Its Hi-Res 'Mastered for iTunes' for Streaming — Introducing 'Apple Digital Masters'

Apple Music has launched ‘Apple Digital Masters,’ a revamp of ‘Mastered for iTunes’ content.

Apple recently killed off its iTunes umbrella in favor of separating its digital offerings. But that doesn’t spell death to Apple’s hi-res audio download ambitions.

Mastered for iTunes was launched in 2012 as a set of guidelines and software tools to optimize iTunes music by encoding from high-resolution masters. According to Apple, the result is studio-quality sound files that sound nearly identical to the original recordings.

Now, the Mastered for iTunes collection is being translated into a streaming-based Apple Digital Masters catalog.  Apple says it’s been quietly working on this translation for quite some time, and now, it’s ready to announce the project’s completion.

Apple says that most of the top releases on Apple Music are actually Digital Masters.  Around 75% of the Top 100 in the U.S. and 71% of the Top 100 globally are Digital Masters.

Strangely, Apple seems to be doing this without much fanfare. But maybe that’s based on a read of music streaming audiences, most of whom seem to care little about hi-res quality (if they can even discern the difference).

Of course, Apple isn’t the first music streaming service to offer a premium audio experience.

And competitors have made a lot more noise about higher-res options, with a competitive advantage in mind.

TIDAL made a big deal of its 2015 launch of its tier. For $19.99/month, audiophiles can get access to lossless audio. In 2017, TIDAL upgraded its lossless audio to use .

Both Deezer and Qobuz also offer high-quality music streaming plans for an extra $5/month. Qobuz even features a $24.99/month that offers 24-bit/up to 192kHz FLAC-encoded tracks.

Spotify tinkered with offering a hi-res subscription service back in 2017. The service was called Spotify Hi-Fi and offered lossless audio quality to subscribers. The feature was never rolled out to the general public and was only tested with certain subscribers.

Elsewhere, Amazon has been expected to debut for its Amazon Music service. Apparently, Amazon is in active talks with record labels for license agreements for high-quality audio. For various reasons that may be tied to licensing costs, however, sources have relayed that various labels have resisted offering high-resolution masters access.

Amazon has yet to make any announcements, but rumors suggest the high-resolution audio subscription may cost $15/month.

That’s less than most other services charge for their extra services. Amazon Music is currently available for $9.99/month with a $2 discount for Prime members. An Echo-only subscription model is available for $3.99 for those with smart speakers.

Off-White x Nike Dunk Low "Pine Green" Images Revealed: First Look

Nike and Virgil Abloh’s signature brand Off-White have been collaborating since 2017 and the results have been phenomenal. Sneakerheads can’t seem to get enough Virgil’s aesthetic and so far, he has brought it to a plethora models. At first, ABloh was confined to just ten silhouettes but since the original collection, both parties have been able to up the ante. Now, it appears as though Virgil and Nike are working on three colorways the Nike Dunk Low and according to @pyleaks, they are coming in October. 

Thanks to the Instagram story sneaker account @solebyjc we now have a closer look at the “Pine Green” colorway. So far, the shoe appears to have green leather overlays and Nike swoosh, while the side panels, toe box, and midsole are white. From there, there are green laces with extra red rope interwoven throughout. It’s certainly a unique look for the Nike Dunk Low but Off-White fans will definitely appreciate it.

So far, there is no exact release date for these but rumors suggest October is a safe bet for copping these. Stay tuned for all the latest updates as we will be sure to bring them to you.

Off-White x Nike Dunk Low "Pine Green" s Revealed: First Look

 solebyjc

Young Thug, Future, Lil Baby, & Gunna Announce ‘Super Slimey 2’

A Slimey sequel is on the way.

Nearly two years since Future and Young Thug dropped their joint project Super Slimey, a second installment appears to be in the works.

On Wednesday (Aug. 7), Thug’s label, Young Stoner Life Records, tweeted that Super Slimey 2 was “coming soon.” But instead of only Hndrxx and Thugger, the new version will also include Lil Baby and Gunna.

Super Slimey 2 follows Future and Young Thug’s 2017 joint mixtape that spawned the hit “Patek Water” featuring Offset. The project debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 with 75,000 album equivalent units in its first week.

Thug is also gearing up for his own album So Much Fun, which will reportedly be executive produced by J. Cole. He and Machine Gun Kelly will launch their joint North American tour on Sept. 30 in Toronto with special guests Polo G, YBN Nahmir, Killy, and Strick.

Jussie Smollett Officially Fired from 'Empire,' Fox Confirms

Charlie Collier, CEO of Fox Entertainment, has confirmed that controversial actor Jussie Smollett will not be returning to the final season of Empire.

Collier made the comments at the Television Critics Association press tour, and they confirm a previous statement from the show’s co-creator Lee Daniels.

Collier indicated that the decision not to bring back Smollett was made in coordination with the network’s partners. He also said that many things affected the decision, including discussions with those involved in creating the show.

In April of this year, Fox renewed the music-centric drama for its 6th season, and at the same time they extended Smollett’s option.  Collier said that the decision to do this was made because the network was still trying to gather all relevant information and make a good decision.

But even then, Fox had no plans to bring Smollett back, Collier confirmed.

“Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire.”

In May, Fox announced that the upcoming season of Empire would be its last.  But they did not specifically indicate if Smollett’s character — a gay man named Jamal Lyon — would be incorporated into these episodes or how he would be incorporated.

Since then, there have been a number of stories published that have expressed the belief that the show’s writers were developing ideas on how to bring back Smollett’s character and presumably Smollett himself.  Though Daniels strenuously denied that this was the case.

In a tweet responding to a story in Variety, Daniels wrote, “Jussie will NOT be returning to Empire.”

Still, even after this, multiple inside sources insisted that the network was indeed having talks with Smollett in regards to his return to the show.  Obviously, those talks, if they were occurring, bore little fruit for Smollett.

After prosecutors in Chicago charged Smollett with filing false police reports, Smollett found himself written out of the final episodes of season 5. Though the charges were later dropped, Smollett’s career is pretty much cooked.

Simpsons Composer Alf Clausen Sues Fox for Discrimination

Alf Clausen — the composer for The Simpsons for nearly 30 years — has sued Fox for discrimination after he was abruptly fired.

Clausen is suing both Fox and its new parent company, The Walt Disney Co. He alleges the companies discriminated against him because of his age and disabilities before they outright fired him in 2017.

The lawsuit was filed this week in a California state court.

The 78-year-old composer worked on the popular sitcom from November 1999 until August 2017.  The suit does not disclose the disability Clausen claims to have, though the composer says he was forced out his position.

In the document filed with courts, Clausen says told him they were going a different direction with the show’s music. Clausen says that’s “pretextual and false.”

He says he was fired and replaced with someone substantially younger who could be paid less and “is not disabled.” Clausen says the sound of the show is fundamentally the same, but now is produced with cheaper labor.

Music production company Bleeding Fingers was brought on in 2018 to handle the show’s musical composition.

Clausen says Fox was never accommodating of his disabilities while he was employed. He accuses the company of consciously disregarding Clausen’s rights and safety.

He alleges both companies committed disability discrimination, failure to accommodate, age discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful discharge, among other claims. Clausen is seeking injunctive relief and an unspecified amount in damages, along with attorney fees and court costs.

Because he was fired from his job, Clausen says he continues to suffer substantial loss of income and job benefits. He describes the situation as humiliating and an embarrassment that caused mental and emotional distress and discomfort.

Both Fox and Disney have declined to comment on the allegations laid out in the lawsuit. Clausen is being represented by Girardi Keese and Livingston Bakhtiar.

Bobby Brown's Lawsuit Against the BBC and Showtime Over Whitney Houston Footage Is Officially Over

A Manhattan federal judge has tossed a lawsuit against BBC, Showtime, and others over ‘unauthorized’ footage of Whitney Houston’s family.

The lawsuit alleges that BBC, Showtime, and others improperly used footage of Bobby Brown and the former couple’s daughter, . The footage in question was used to produce a 2017 documentary about Whitney Houston’s life.

U.S. District Judge Collen McMahon says Brown and his daughter’s estate have failed to satisfy the court. The estate needed to prove that the film companies had violated the Lanham Act by using footage without their permission.

Judge McMahon says Browns’ appearance in the documentary in question was artistically relevant. The ruling states:

“The court concludes that Brown’s allegations of confusion are not plausible, let alone ‘particularly compelling’.”

Brown’s entire argument hinged on an eight-second portion of credits that mentions a company he owns.

The judge said it’s not plausible that a significant number of people watching the documentary would pay attention to the end credits, “let alone the long list of archival sources presented near the very end of the credits.”

Since Brown’s name, likeness, and persona were not appropriated to sell products, the judge tossed the case.  On the BBC, McMahon determined her court did not have jurisdiction over a foreign entity.

Brown first sued of last year. He claimed the documentary, Whitney: Can I Be Me, used more than 30 minutes of unauthorized footage.  According to the suit, some of the footage used came from a Bravo reality series called Being Bobby Brown.

The producers of that show were named as defendants, too.  Brown claims they breached their contract by allowing the footage to appear in the documentary.

Bobby Brown first married Whitney Houston in 1992. After a rocky marriage, the two divorced in 2007, just five years before the singer’s death.

A$AP Bari’s Defamation Lawsuit Against Sexual Assault Accuser Dismissed: Report

A$AP Bari’s faced some serious allegations over the past few years. Over the past two years, his career’s been plagued with accusations sexual assault. In July 2017, a video the VLONE co-founder harassing a woman in a hotel room emerged. He was later charged with sexual assault but he struck back with a lawsuit his own. He pled guilty to the charges earlier this year but now, he’s taking yet another loss after the judge dismissed his suit.

A$AP Bari's Defamation Lawsuit Against Sexual Assault Accuser Dismissed: Report
Bryan Bedder/Getty s

According to TMZ, a judge has thrown out A$AP Bari’s defamation lawsuit against his accuser. The decision was made because the woman filed both a lawsuit and a police report. A$AP Bari didn’t have any basis to sue the woman because both were protected speech. Bari initially filed the suit against the woman, not only accusing her defamation but also civil extortion. He said that she only made allegations sexual assault after she got a lawyer but when she was being questioned by police, her only concern was having the video her being harassed deleted. He claimed that she was trying to pressure him into settling the case with him. 

A$AP Bari pled guilty to the charges earlier this year to avoid jail time. In exchange, the fashion designer was required to pay a $5K fine and a $3,150. 

Dutch Consumer Protection Group Challenges Ticketmaster's Non-Refundable Service Fees

A Dutch consumer protection group has outright spoken against Ticketmaster’s fees.

According to Consumentenbond, the ticketing giant, one of the largest sellers of concert tickets in the Netherlands, doesn’t return consumers’ booking fees upon cancellation.

The protection group’s website reads,

Ticketmaster…doesn’t, in principle, reimburse the service costs if a concert or event is postponed or canceled and the buyer asks for his money back.

Consumentenbond states the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) shares its opinion.

This comes two years after ACM, the country’s competition regulator, ordered online ticket sellers to include “unavoidable” fees in purchase prices.  Dutch law mandates companies to outline these unavoidable fees such as booking and processing fees.  Ticket sellers like Ticketmaster could also display “avoidable costs” – extras and upgrades – at a later stage in booking.

The mandate came following multiple complaints to the ACM of the ‘true cost’ of concert, theatre, and festival tickets.

Saskia Bierling, an ACM spokeswoman, said,

[Consumers] particularly reported that they were confronted with additional costs during the booking process that weren’t indicated beforehand, but that they still had to pay.

Tickets that initially seemed like a good deal soon became considerably more expensive – up to 20% more than the original price.

Speaking about Ticketmaster’s ‘price gouging,’ Consumentenbond argues the company’s charges vary per event.  Consumers may receive an additional fee from €2 ($2.22) to well over €10 ($11.08) in service fees.  Upon cancellation, however, Ticketmaster pockets the money.

The consumer protection group explains,

It regularly happens that a concert is canceled or postponed.  This can have various reasons, for example the artist’s illness or because the performance is moved to a different location due to a large or rather disappointing interest.

“Consumers find it unfair that the service costs paid by them…are not reimbursed if they can’t go to the concert and then only get the costs of the ticket returned.

With the public challenge, Consumentenbond hopes Ticketmaster will finally meet with the protection group to “find a solution.”

 


Featured image by slgckgc (CC by 2.0).