Sonos Will Stop Updating Older Speakers in May Despite 92% 'Still In Use'

Sonos will stop updating its older speakers and hardware in May, the company has announced.

Sonos says it is retiring old products because “they have been stretched to their technical limits in terms of memory and processing power.” The change will affect many Sonos customers, as 92% of its products are still in use.

The Sonos Play:5 speaker released in 2009, and all earlier devices are affected. The issue will affect anyone who is still using older hardware and even those who have mixed equipment.

Sonos says older products can still be used, but it will prevent new speakers from receiving updates. Sonos says it is because all speakers run on the same software, so old hardware will cause the system to lag behind.

The company plans on launching a way for customers to segment their older products in a separate speaker group. Let’s be clear here; these speakers still work just fine. Sonos speakers used to be a ‘for life’ purchase for many.

Sonos is offering a ‘recycling’ program that gives users 30% off of new hardware. But the recycling program bricks your old device, rendering it completely unusable afterward. This scheme isn’t some cash for clunkers buyback program Sonos is doing here; it’s planned obsolescence.

Sonos says its recycling program is about “sustainability,” but e-waste recyclers confirm that’s not entirely true.

Putting your old Play:5 speaker into after 21 days. Bricked devices cannot be reused and end up in a landfill. The bricked hardware can’t be repaired, either. The recycling process puts the speaker’s serial number on a blacklist on Sonos’ servers.

The news sparked outrage when it hit social media, which Sonos defended. The spokesperson said the Trade-Up program is intended to “help customers that are interested in upgrading to the next generation of Sonos products.” Well, now it seems like Sonos is forcing those customers’ hands if they want an up-to-date home entertainment system.

Payola Claims Lead FCC Commissioner To Ask Record Labels To Investigate Issue

FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly is fighting against the issue payola in the music industry — a concerning practice that many have made allegations for decades. In September, O’Rielly previously shared a letter asking the Recording Industry Association America to look into the issue payola. In response, the RIAA said they weren’t in a position to investigate their members’ practices and suggested that the FCC inquire directly to the labels themselves.

O’Rielly shared a letter on Twitter sent to the three major record labels, Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group, asking them to investigate “accusations that financial enticement is in some cases driving chart rankings, album and song sales, and commercial success.”

“Such practices, in turn, create unfair financial advantages for some, to the detriment others. Additionally, artificially and secretly facilitating the commercial success certain performers—or their management—at others’ expense disadvantages American consumers by undermining access to artists they might otherwise prefer,” he explained. 

The FCC is requesting these labels to submit information pertaining to their knowledge payola, their understanding the current rules and what rules and laws need to be applied to curb the issue. 

Among the questions are how the company defines payola and if employees are required to be trained in “payola prohibitions and potential penalties.” Peep the full letter here. 

NFL’s 2020 Draft Stage In Vegas Will Require Players To Be Transported By Boat

The 2020 NFL Draft will be held in Las Vegas this April, and the league is going 110% Vegas with their stage design.

According to the Los Angeles Times’ Arash Markazi, the actual draft stage will be situation in the Fountains Bellagio, requiring players to be transported to the stage by a boat.

According to ESPN, teams will make their draft selections at the nearby Caesars Forum conference center, aka “Selection Square.” Of course, there will also be plenty activations available for fans attending the draft in Vegas.

Per ESPN:

“Adjacent to the main stage will be the NFL Draft Experience where fans can participate in interactive games, view the Vince Lombardi Trophy and attend autograph sessions with NFL players and former players. There also will be a stage at the Experience for performances by local talent, all available without charge.”

To accommodate the NFL invasion in late April, a large portion the Las Vegas strip will be closed to traffic for the three days from April 23 to April 25, according to Mick Akers the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The league is reportedly anticipated more than 400,000 fans to attend the 2020 Draft.

“We are going to try and incorporate all the iconic features this city,” says NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “We are going to do what we can to show the tremendous entertainment and hospitality that goes on in this city.”

Check out the tweets embedded below for some additional renderings what the 2020 Las Vegas NFL Draft experience will look like.

Grammys Will Honor Nipsey Hussle With Tribute from John Legend & More

The Grammys will host a live tribute to Los Angeles rapper Nipsey Hussle. Hussle was shot and killed last year at age 33.

John Legend, DJ Khaled, Meek Mill, and others will be on hand to honor the late rapper. The performance will be part of Sunday’s broadcast from the Los Angeles Staples Center.

Other previously announced include Billie Eilish, Lizzo, Ariana Grande, Camila Cabello, Jonas Brothers, Rosalia, Aerosmith, Demi Lovato, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, Run-DMC, H.E.R., Charlie Wilson, and Tyler, the Creator.

Nipsey Hussle is posthumously nominated for rap performance “Racks in the Middle” as well as rap/sung performance for “Higher.” He was in his Los Angeles neighborhood last year. He was more than just a rapper; he was an activist and entrepreneur in his community.

Ken Ehrlich, Grammy Awards executive producer, says the tribute will celebrate Nipsey’s life. “We are honored to bring together this amazing group of artists to celebrate Nipsey’s life and pay tribute to his many contributions to music,” Ehrlich said.

The 62nd Grammy Awards will be hosted by Alicia Keys and begin at 5 pm PST on Sunday. Several artists in the Nipsey Hussle tribute performance are also nominated.

Both and are nominated for rap/sung performance for “Higher.” Roddy Ricch is also up for “Racks in the Middle.” Meek Mill is nominated for the rap album, Championships.

Last year, the man who shot and killed Nipsey Hussle tried to get the . A Los Angeles Superior Court judge said he was unwilling to toss the two attempted murder charges. The shooter’s trial will begin in February.

Nipsey Hussle emerged in the West Coast hip-hop scene in the early 2000s. His first studio album, Victory Lap released in 2018. Victory Lap earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album in 2019.

Ozzy Osbourne Reveals Parkinson's Diagnosis After Nasty Fall Last Year

Ozzy Osbourne has Parkinson’s disease. The Black Sabbath star received his diagnosis after a fall last year.

Osbourne spoke about his diagnosis on Good Morning America, describing his as a ‘mild form’ of the disease. A fall last February helped pin down the diagnosis, though he still suffers complications from the fall. He told hosts sometimes he is unable to tell if his numbness symptoms are from Parkinson’s or a result of the fall.

His wife Sharon said, “It’s not a death sentence, but it affects certain nerves in your body. You have a good day; you have a good day, then a really bad day.”

Ozzy admits dealing with the condition has been a new challenge for him. He performed his on New Year’s Eve last year before suffering a fall in February. The fall resulted in Osbourne needing surgery on his neck, which he says, “screwed all my nerves.”

Ozzy is now on medication for Parkinson’s and his nerve pain. Some speculation about Ozzy’s health has been rampant online since the fall. Fans have also noticed Ozzy’s hand tremors during interviews and performances.

Ozzy says his son and daughter were the first to notice something wasn’t right. But he added that he’s grateful for the fans that have stuck beside him. “They’re my air, you know,” the singer said. “I feel better. I’ve owned up to the fact that I have a case of Parkinson’s. And I hope they hang on, and they’re there for me because I need them.”

Someone with Parkinson’s can experience a wide variety of symptoms. The three obvious symptoms include hand tremors, slow movement, and stiff muscles. They may also experience problems with balance and a loss of smell and memory problems.

Ozzy says his health is improving every day. “I’m a lot better now than I was last February. I was in a shocking state,” he admitted to hosts. He’s due to hit the road again when his US tour starts in Atlanta. Last year he canceled all UK appearances because of his health.

Issa Rae Announces Release Date & Teaser For "Insecure" Season Four

The time has finally arrived. After months anticipation, Issa Rae has come through to announce the season four release date for her beloved HBO series Insecure. Taking to Instagram, Issa showcased a clip her character doing he usual mirror motivation rap, this time ripping her skirt leading her to be happy since it means her booty is getting big. ” It’s 2020, soooo… Season 4?‬ @insecurehbo is back April 12th,” she captioned the clip.

Issa Rae Announces Release Date & Teaser For "Insecure" Season Four
Amy Sussman/Getty s

We do know that the new season will now have 10 episodes as opposed to the previous installments that only had eight. Issa also expressed how all the characters in the show are based on individuals in her life and all events have some truth to them. “All them are based f real people that are in my life and real situations that have happened,” Issa previously stated. “Also, a lot the stories come from a predominantly black writers’ room. There are people and stories from there that we just put in the show.”

It’s been over a year since we got an update on the show since Issa’s movie and other television jobs have gotten bigger and better over the course time. Peep the teaser and let us know if you’re tuning in come April.

HBO Max Announces "Aquaman" Animated Series

HBO Max has greenlit an animated series titled Aquaman: King Atlantis, according to Entertainment Weekly.

The announcement was made during the 2020 Television Critics Association press tour on Wednesday. Aquaman: King Atlantis will be a three-part mini-series with each episode following a different story from Aquaman’s adventures. 

Entertainment Weekly says the synopsis for the first episode reads, “He’s got a LOT catching up to do. Luckily, he has his two royal advisors to back him up – Vulko, the scholar, and Mera, the water controlling warrior-princess. Between dealing with unscrupulous surface dwellers, elder evils from beyond time and his own half-brother who wants to overthrow him, Aquaman is going to have to rise to the challenge and prove to his subjects, and to himself, that he’s the right man for the trident!”

The mini-series will be executive produced by James Wan, who directed 2018’s Aquaman. Victor Courtright and Marly Halpern-Grase will serve as showrunners.

Neither the cast nor the premiere date have been announced for Aquaman: King Atlantis.

HBO Max is expected to release in May. In addition to Aquaman: King Atlantis, the streaming service will include all HBO shows and films, as well as a number other popular series’ such as FriendsSouth ParkFresh Prince Bel-Air and more.

"Surviving Jeffrey Epstein" Gets Green Lit By Lifetime

Following the success  Surviving R. Kelly, Lifetime has ordered a four-hour documentary series titled Surviving Jeffrey Epstein.

"Surviving Jeffrey Epstein" Gets Green Lit By LifetimeStephanie Keith / Getty s

According to Variety, the network made the announcement during the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Saturday.

Anne Sundberg and Ricki Stern will direct. The two have previously collaborated on 2010’s Joan Rivers: A Piece Work, 2007’s The Devil Came on Horseback and more. The series will be released through Emmy-winner Robert Friedman’s Bungalow Media + Entertainment. Shura Davidson and Gena McCarthy will executive produce. Christopher Mason, contributor for The New York Times and New York Magazine, is also attached.

In July 2019, Epstein was arrested on federal charges for trafficking minors. For Epstein’s numerous connections to higher-ups in Washington D.C., including the Clintons, the case gained widespread media attention.

Epstein died an apparent suicide in his prison cell; however, his death has been the subject popular conspiracy theories including murder.

Adam McKay is also working on a separate Epstein-related limited series for HBO. That series will be based on Miami Herald investigative reporter Julie K. Brown’s book. All criminal charges were dropped on August 29, 2019, as his death eliminates the possibility he faces punishment. 

Surviving Jeffrey Epstein is expected to air this summer.

RZA’s Post-Katrina Drama "Cut Throat City" Set For SXSW Premiere

Wu-Tang Clan icon RZA is returning to the director’s chair for a new film that will premiere at this year’s SXSW Festival. Back in 2018, we shared the trailer for Cut Throat City, and while there was talk back then an ficial release date slated for 2019, the year came and went without any updates. Fortunately, Cut Throat City will debut at SXSW this March, and specific dates will be shared later this month.

RZA's Post-Katrina Drama "Cut Throat City" Set For SXSW Premiere
Photo Courtesy Well Go USA Entertainment

The press release describes the project as an “explosive film” that stars Shameik Moore (who portrays Raekwon in Wu-Tang: An American Saga), T.I., Wesley Snipes, Terrence Howard, Ethan Hawke, Demetrius Shipp Jr., Kat Graham, Rob Morgan, Keean Johnson, Denzel Whitaker, Sam Daly, Isaiah Washington, and Eiza Gonzalez.

The synopsis Cut Throat City reads: “A story four boyhood friends in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward who return after Hurricane Katrina to find their homes decimated, with no jobs, and no help from FEMA. Out options, they reluctantly turn to a local gangster, who fers them one shot at turning their situations around – by pulling f a dangerous heist in the heart the city. When the job goes bad, the friends find themselves on the run, hunted by two relentless detectives and a neighborhood warlord who thinks they stole the heist money.” Check out the trailer below.

Barack Obama Wishes Michelle A Happy Birthday With Sweet Black & White Pics

The love Barack Obama has for his wife Michelle is nothing but goals and the former President has never been shy about expressing his unconditional love for his partner. “You have not only been my wife, the mother my children, you have been my best friend,” Obama once stated Michelle. “You took on a job you didn’t ask for, and you made it your own with grace and with grit and with style and good humor.”

Barack Obama Wishes Michelle A Happy Birthday With Sweet Black & White Pics
Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty s

Since today marks Michelle’s 56th birthday, Barack has come through with a short and sweet message accompanied by four black and white images the couple looking happier than ever. “In every scene, you are my star, @MichelleObama! Happy birthday, baby!” he wrote.

Michelle’s beloved memoir Becoming detailed lots information on her marriage to Barack. “One the reasons why I chose to share so much about our marriage is because I think about young couples and how little we know when we get married about what marriage is,” she stated on being so open on the good times and the bad times. “I mean, nobody’s giving us a guidebook on how to do this thing called building a life with a whole ‘nother person.”

Rhymesayers To Re-Press Eyedea & Abilities’ ‘By The Throat’ Vinyl For Its 10th Anniversary

Rhymesayers Entertainment has revealed it will be re-pressing the Eyedea & Abilities album By The Throat. The project has been out of print for five years and its recent 10-year anniversary was evidently the right time to bring it back.

Each record includes custom formulated watercolor swirl vinyl — unique to each unit — and watercolor artwork throughout the packaging by fine artist Michael Gaughan. It also includes a two-panel insert with full album lyrics and free digital download card.

Rhymesayers To Re-Press Eyedea & Abilities' 'By The Throat' Vinyl For Its 10th Anniversary

 

 

By The Throat was released on July 21, 2009 and marked Eyedea & Abilities third and final album. Eyedea passed away in his sleep on October 16, 2010 as a result of an accidental drug overdose. He was 28.

In a  November 2019 interview with HipHopDX, Carnage The Executioner spoke on his late friend’s impact and how his death blindsided him.

“I didn’t see the pain as much as other people said they saw it who were around him,” he said. “Before he passed, I didn’t see him as much, but a couple people told me they seen him totally smashed and trashed a few times. I feel like there was a part of him that didn’t do that around me because he knew where I came from and he knew I didn’t like it.

“I feel like he didn’t want to do that stuff around me. I wasn’t there for all of that, but I heard the stories. But, the painful part was just losing somebody like him. Losing somebody who’s that close to you and someone who’s not only your best MC performing partner but a life coach. I lost somebody who was a combination of things for me and he was also the one who invested the most energy into me.”

The official release date for the reissue is February 7. Pre-orders are available here.

Revisit By The Throat below.

Eminem Attacked for Rapping About 2017 Manchester Arena Bombing

The latest album by rapper Eminem is facing backlash over lyrics that seemingly make light of the 2017 bombing of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.

The bombing, which occurred on the singer’s “thank u, next” tour, killed 23 people.

The lyrics that are offending some are from the song “Unaccommodating,” off his album Music to Be Murdered, which was released today.

Here they are:

But I’m contemplating yelling “Bombs away” on the game
Like I’m outside of an Ariana Grande concert waiting.

Here some of the reaction to these lyrics on Twitter:

“Eminem literally just made a joke about the Manchester bombing at ariana grande’s concert… that is just so f–king sick, y’all better not give this man any attention. people literally lost their lives, and you’re going to release music and try to make a profit off of them.”

“Eminem really making a joke over that tragedy to happen at Ariana’s concert.”

In the aftermath of the bombing, Eminem made an unspecified donation to the victims.

In a Twitter post at the time, he also wrote: “Join me in helping Manchester victims & their families, Make a donation to the @BritishRedCross and @MENnewsdesk.”

The link he posted along with the tweet reportedly led to over $2 million in donations for the victims.

Eminem, of course, is no stranger to controversial lyrics. Just a few months ago, it was that the Secret Service interrogated him over lyrics about President Trump that they construed as possibly threatening.

So far, Grande has not commented about the lyrics, nor has Eminem as of yet commented on the controversy that they have caused.

Though a track on the same album references the 2017 Las Vegas shootings using a much different tone. The song is called “Darkness” and calls for stricter gun control in the United States. A video for the song was released as well.

Does Mac Miller Have Ariana Grande Harmonizing With Him On "Circles"?

Mac Miller’s posthumous album, Circles, arrived on Friday, and the companion album to 2018’s Swimming is a beautiful devastating bounty self-reflection. According to a statement in which the album was announced by his family, Mac had been working on Circles with Jon Brion, who completed the album following Mac’s untimely death in September 2018, “based on his time and conversations” with the late artist. The project has garnered plenty attention already, and some close listeners have already begun speculating who else might have contributed to the album. After a particularly familiar voice could be heard harmonizing with Mac’s on the track, “I Can See,” some became convinced that Mac’s ex-girlfriend, Ariana Grande, was featured on the song.

Mac and Ariana started dating in 2016 and were together for almost two years before splitting in 2018, months before Mac passed. Ari has since publicly expressed how deeply his death has affected her and how much she misses him. Though Swimming came out only a month or so before Mac’s passing, he was likely working on Circles simultaneously, so it’s possible that Ari recorded some vocals for the latter while they were still together. However, one Mac’s reps had “no comment” on whether this rumour is true, and Mac is currently the only credited vocalist. Still, there is definitely a female voice on “I Can See” that sounds an awful lot like Ari. She even tweeted something about harmonies the day before Circles dropped.

Give the track a listen and see if you agree.

Universal Music Poaches a Top Spotify Executive In Japan

One of Spotify Japan’s leading executives has jumped ship for Universal Music. Japan is the second-largest market in the world for recorded music.

Ichiro Tamaki joins Universal Music Japan starting February 15th. He will be responsible for heading Digital Strategy, data analytics, and platform partnerships for Universal Music Japan. Tamaki formerly served as Spotify Japan’s General Manager & President since 2016, when the service launched in the country.

Before his tenure at Spotify Japan, Tamaki served as a VP at Amazon. There he oversaw driving and expanding the Kindle digital content business in Japan.

Tamaki will become a core member of Universal Music Japan’s executive team. He will work to oversee the firm’s Data and Analytics and Platform Partnerships teams. He will also help lead UMJ’s digital and streaming strategy for Japan. Tamaki will be based in Tokyo and will report to Naoshi Fujikura, CEO of UMJ.

“We are committed to delivering the value of music for Japanese music fans and expanding the universe of opportunities for our artists. We strongly believe that Mr. Tamaki’s leadership will help us ensure and accelerate long-term digital growth while helping our artist talent to reach new audiences around the world,” Fujikura said in a statement.

Universal Music Japan handles BTS Japanese-language releases in a partnership with Big Hit Entertainment. All non-Japanese releases go through Sony and The Orchard.

For Spotify, the loss could have a significant impact. In an interview in 2016, the then-Spotify exec described a passion for both technology and tapping into music culture. “While Spotify is a company with a technology backbone, we’re also passionately dedicated to deepening our respect and understanding of music culture,” Fujikura said. 

Now, that techmusic big thinking comes to UMG.

Japan isn’t the only place Universal is poaching employees, either. In the last two years, Dave Rocco and Mike Biggane are two US Spotify execs joining UMG after leaving Spotify.

Jada Pinkett Smith Is Still Looking Fierce Even On A "Bad Hair Day"

Jada Pinkett Smith kicked f the new year with a brand new look when she debuted her new blonde locks on Instagram, once again looking like she’s aging backwards. The new hairdo was a nice look and proved that Jada was over her “terrifying” hair loss, something she previously opened up about. “It was one those times in my life where I was literally shaking with fear,” she said. “That’s why I cut my hair and continued to cut it.”

Jada Pinkett Smith Is Still Looking Fierce Even On A "Bad Hair Day"
Amy Sussman/Getty s

One Jada’s latest shares to her Instagram feed sees her lounging and enjoying her best life, still showcasing her blonde hair and her flawless skin. “Bad hair day. Oh well,” she captioned the image.

In other Jada news, her husband Will Smith recently admitted that his wife’s relationship with Tupac had him jealous. Apparently, Jada and Tupac’s relationship “had come into the age where” something more could have happened. “Pac had a little thing with that, but she just loved him,” he explained. “He was the image perfection, but she was with the Fresh Prince.”

He added: “I couldn’t handle it. I was the st rapper from Philly, and he was Pac.”