The Weeknd Helps Mercedes Introduce Its New Electric SUV

The Weeknd Helps Mercedes Introduce Its New Electric SUV

Photo of The Weeknd

The Weeknd is teaming up with Mercedes to promote the company’s first fully electric SUV, in a commercial that features the singer’s new song “Blinding Lights.”

The commercial, which advertises Mercedes’ new EQC car, is not your typical ad. It runs two and a half minutes, and it is almost entirely accompanied by music, making it seem almost like a music video.

As some are alluding to, the ad could be a model for producing music videos in the future, by taking product placements to a whole new level. This could create a win-win situation for both artists and brands, as artists could get the cost of their music videos underwritten and brands could get great publicity and awareness of their products.

Bettina Fetzer, who is vice president of marketing for Mercedes-Benz Cars, says of the commercial, “With The Weeknd as the creative director and performer we are addressing young and digital target groups to a greater extent – a perfect combination for this unique Mercedes moment on the road to an electric future.”

“Blinding Lights” represents the first release from The Weeknd in nearly two years.

The artist previously released the EP My Dear Melancholy in March of 2018. It reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. His last studio album came out in 2016.

Some believe that The Weeknd may soon release a new studio album. This seems predicated on the fact that the artist just returned to Instagram. He recently also posted a cryptic tweet that stated: “[S]ome chapters are smaller than others. Not this one though …”

In addition to the new song and video, The Weekend is set to appear in a new movie with Adam Sandler called Uncut Gems. The film, which is directed by the Safdie brothers, also features Indina Menzel, Laketh Stanfield and Kevin Garnett. It premiers December 13.

Kanye West Reveals "Closed On Sunday" World Premiere Date

One the most iconic creatives all time, Kanye West has been the king music videos for years. From “Runaway” to “Flashing Lights,” the 42-year-old Chicagoan has created timeless pieces art that will live in our memories forever. In recent years, West’s focus has shifted subtly from music production to fashion design and the establishment his Sunday Service group. Each week, he and his massive choir travel the country to perform the gospel to the world, singing Jesus Is King tracks and rendering new models existing classics. A favorite from the new album, “Closed On Sunday,” appears to be the next single from JIK and West is already planning out his next steps for it. It turns out that, after the debut his “Follow God” video on his brand new ranch in Wyoming, Ye is ready to premiere his next work art.

Making the announcement on Twitter, the world-renowned recording artist said that the world premiere for “Closed On Sunday,” his infamous Chick-Fil-A banger, would take place on November 28. Unfortunately, we don’t have a time yet for when the video will debut. The strategy is pretty clutch though — especially considering the fact that most people will have the day f for Thanksgiving.

Last weekend, Kanye introduced us all to his first opera Nebuchadnezzar, which was not particularly well-received by critics. Hopefully, “Closed On Sunday” is more a hit with his audience.

Tidal Tries Algorithmic Music Video Playlists ⁠— 'My Video Mix'

Tidal is trying its hand at an algorithmic-based music video playlist. The new ‘My Video Mix’ creates a personalized video playlist based on listening history.

Tidal says its editorial team influences the playlist’s recommendations. The mix is divided up into eight different video playlists in a dedicated video tab. Each playlist will feature a . Those who frequently listen on Tidal will see a rapidly changing playlist.

The Tidal ‘My Video Mix’ playlists can be saved for offline viewing, too. A new video tab is now available in the Tidal app to accommodate these new playlists.

Tidal CCO Lior Tibon says the new video playlists are intended to provide a best-in-class music experience.

“From original content to full-length movies and stunning visuals from artists in its unparalleled video catalog, Tidal provides its members with well-rounded music experience. My Video Mix and the app redesign reaffirms TIDAL’s commitment to creating a best-in-class experience for members.”

Tidal is facing stiff competition as major music players start peddling HiFi tracks. Amazon Music HD has taken a big gamble by betting on HiFi audio. They’ve also got deep enough pockets to use The Beatles to .

The Jay-Z owned music company may have been an early pioneer in high-definition audio. However, it is no longer the only player. Branching out by offering music videos to listeners already engaged with the platform helps keep them out of YouTube Music’s backyard, too.

YouTube Music is one of the , thanks to it becoming a default app on Android. Spotify has inked hardware deals with Samsung to keep their app in the Android ecosystem. It’s unclear how well Tidal’s partnership with Sprint has paid off.

For now, Tidal is offering a Black Friday deal to entice new subscribers. New users can get four months of premium for $1, or four months of HiFi for $2. That’s the entire price for the whole four-month period. The offer is only available to new subscribers, but it severely undercuts what Spotify and Google are offering.

Looks Like Amazon Music Unlimited Is Getting Music Videos Soon

Amazon Music Unlimited may soon feature music video content ⁠sooner than you think. A report suggests the launch could be within the next few weeks.

Hot of the heels of launching HD music streaming, Amazon is turning to music videos. Music Ally reports they’ve seen evidence of a ‘direct license amendment’ email. The email was from Music Reports, a rights management company sent to licensors on behalf of Amazon.

According to the report, the email states that “in addition to its full catalog of audio content, Amazon is excited to offer customers […] access to view music videos (where available) in addition to their favorite audio tracks, later this year.”

The email notes that the music videos will not include user-generated content, like YouTube.

Other details gleaned include up to $8 million in advances to be paid on a pro-rata basis and based on usage. The email also laid out payment details for the new arrangement.

“Royalties for audio and music video will be calculated using the then-current statutory rate structure. However, a 35% uplift will be applied specifically to music video plays. That will be incremental to the payable royalty pool.”

It’s not that surprising that Amazon is branching out by offering music videos to Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers.

Back in September, music video platform and reported 300% growth of its platform in the last five years. Just yesterday, VEVO announced a deal with Pluto TV to on the free TV streaming service.

Amazon’s suite of smart products like the Echo Show are perfect for displaying video content with related songs.

It would also give Amazon an edge over competing services like YouTube Music. That app is since Google made it a default app for Android devices, for frequent travelers for years.

TikTok Nemesis Triller Raises $28MM In Latest Funding Round

AI-powered music video app Triller just completed a $28 million Series B funding round. Triller is aiming to replace the Chinese-based music app, TikTok.

Triller allows users to create and share short music videos using its library of music. The press release says the company has grown organically over 500% since last year. The company also claims to have 13 million monthly active users with over 60 total downloads.

The company’s growth and success is owed partly to its acquisition of MashTraxx. Creators spend up to an hour a day in the app, while regular users spend up to 20 minutes per day scrolling through content.

With the recent news of TikTok and some , Triller is aiming to create a better space for content creators. CEO Mike Lu says the latest funding round reflects broad support for the app that plans to .

“This funding round reflects broad support from savvy, successful investors that appreciate our relentless focus on artist discovery and continuous expansion of Triller’s groundbreaking AI technology. Proxima Media’s team and expertise give us access to unparalleled content and IP.”

Triller only had two employees in 2017. Today, the company’s offices have grown to more than 40 people.

One interesting difference between the two apps is licensing partnerships. Triller has all three major labels on board, while TikTok has struggled with that. The press release even takes shots at leveled at TikTok as a Chinese-owned entity.

“As a U.S company, Triller is laser-focused on the protection of our community from the prying eyes of nefarious parties or political agendas, which has been a clear issue among our competitors.”

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio shares those concerns after he TikTok surpassed one billion downloads worldwide with over 100 million in the U.S. Triller has a long way to go if they’re going to catch up to those growth numbers.

 

Kevin Gates Reveals ‘Embarrassing’ Reason Behind Weight Loss

Kevin Gates is getting candid about his weight loss.

While answering fans’ questions during a video for Men’s Health, the Baton Rouge MC opened up about his journey to becoming “slim and trim.” In response to a fan, he revealed the “embarrassing” story that inspired him to hit the gym and shed the pounds.

“One word—commitment,” said Gates. “But what really did it for me, I had my shirt off and I was holding my partner’s baby and his baby tried to suck my breast.”

He continued, “I just was like, ‘I am too fucking fat. I’m a fat slob, I need to lose weight.’ That was the most embarrassing shit. I mean, shit, even though I’m a big gorilla, I still got feelings too! Man, that shit hurt my fucking feelings. I said, ‘I gotta lose some weight!’”

The 33-year-old rapper has been showing off his fit physique on Instagram and in his music videos.

“I wanted to be slim and trim like a bicycle rim,” he added. “Then once I lost that weight, I saw this guy come in the gym, seeing a guy’s stomach with the V. He didn’t have the pec, but he had that V. I was like, ‘I want that V.’ I got that V now.”

Gates is fresh off the release of his sophomore album I’m Him, which debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200.

YouTube Layers Merch and Vinyl Alongside Official Music Videos

YouTube has announced a partnership with Merchbar to showcase official artist merchandise and vinyls. The merch will appear alongside official artist videos on the platform.

Merchbar carries over one million items from 35,000 artists. It is one of the largest music merchandise aggregators in the world. Now YouTube artists with an Official Artist Channel can promote their merchandise underneath their music videos.

Showcasing merchandise is part of several new features YouTube announced last year. Those features focus on revenue generation for artists ⁠— including channel memberships, premieres, merchandise, and more.

YouTube partnered with Teespring at launch for its merchandising efforts. But several companies including Crowdmade, DFTBA, Fanjoy, Represent, and now Merchbar are available.

YouTube Layers Merch and Vinyl Alongside Official Music Videos

Marshmello took advantage of the promotion by offering an exclusive soccer jersey on the platform. Previous merchandise partnerships gave YouTube a small cut of the sale ⁠— it’s unclear if that’s the case with Merchbar.

Google is more heavily invested in YouTube Music than ever. It is trying to build the service into a worthy competitor to Spotify and Apple Music. Recently, Google abandoned Google Play Music in favor of YouTube Music on new Android devices. That means every new Android device sold in 2020 will .

Artists who are interested in signing up for the new merch shelf can do so through YouTube Studio. You’ll need a Merchbar store with U.S. fulfillment to be eligible. The feature is currently only available to those in the United States ⁠— YouTube says it will expand internationally later.

Spotify partnered with Merchbar back in 2016 to integrate its retail listings into the streaming platform. Merch shelves can help raise awareness of the artist and from fans who are eager to engage with their content. YouTube says this is a way to give fans direct access to their favorite merch drops.

UMG, WMG, Sony Music Finalize Music Video Deal With SAG-AFTRA

The national board of directors of SAG-AFTRA unanimously approved a new 3-year contract with the major record labels, specifically relating to performances in music videos.

The signatories include Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and their various subsidiaries.  The new SAG-AFTRA agreement goes into effect retroactively from May 1st of this year and lasts until April 30th, 2022.

Danielle Town, who is both the Negotiating Committee Chair and the National Vice Chair of the Dancer Committee, said that she is “proud” to have been part of the team that helped conclude the agreement, which she said will ensure the production of quality music videos in which all the performers “feel safe.”

The agreement includes better rates for background actors and set minimums while including protections against ual harassment.

From now on, background actors in music videos will receive an hourly rate that is 10% higher than the prevailing minimum wage while requiring a $500-per-day minimum on $50,000 – $100,000 productions where performers work a 12-hour day. Dancers will receive a 3% increase in pay immediately and another 3% increase in May of 2020, along with a 2.5% increase in May of 2021.

Additional stipulations in the agreement include protections for stunt personnel. When a music video employs aerial acrobatics or non-dance stunts, productions will henceforth be required to hire a stunt coordinator to oversee this. The agreement also includes a nudity rider, which not only defines nudity but also lays out special requirements for when it exists in a music video production.

Right before the SAG-AFTRA national board met on October 14-15 to discuss the new contract, the guild held its 4-day biennial convention in Beverly Hills at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. During the convention, the general body elected 8 national vice presidents. This included Rebecca Damon as its executive vice president, which is the second-highest elected position in the union.

Slayer Film 'The Repentless Killogy' Is Being Released In Theaters

Legendary thrash metal band Slayer will be screening their new concert film on November 6th.

The concert/action film, which is entitled The Repentless Killogy, will appear in over 1,500 movie theaters around the world, but only for a day.

There are two parts to the film. In the first, the band has woven together the three music videos that were produced in support of their 2015 album, Repentless, and directed by BJ McDonnell into a narrative. This centers around a character named Wyatt, who is a former neo-Nazi gang member.  It includes the videos for “You Against You,” “Pride in Prejudice” and “Repentless.”

The second part of the film showcases the band’s complete 2017 performance at The Forum in Los Angeles. Wayne Isham, who has directed videos for Michael Jackson, Foo Fighters and Britney Spears, directed this part of the film.

McDonnell said that the trio of videos — along with the live concert — was the perfect way to wrap up Slayer’s final album and tour.

Heavy metal fans have a lot to look forward to in the coming month in terms of films.

On October 9th, Metallica will screen its S&M2 concert film. Like The Repentless Killogy, it will only screen for one night. The two films also have a few more things in common: Isham directed the concert footage for both and Trafalgar Releasing, which is known for distributing concert films, will distribute both films.

Interestingly, tickets for The Repentless Killogy go on sale on October 9th, which is the same day S&M2 screens. Fans can purchase tickets at the band’s film website, www.slayer.film.

Slayer fans who cannot be at the November 6th screening will not be completely left out. Nuclear Blast will be releasing DVD, Blu-ray and audio editions of the film on the same date. The audio editions include a two-disc vinyl set and a pair of CDs.

SAG-AFTRA Reaches a Deal With Major Labels Over Music Videos

After 3 long days of negotiations, SAG-AFTRA came to an agreement with all the major recording labels.

Their new 3-year contract covers various types of performances in music videos.

Danielle Towne, who is the national chair of SAG-AFTRA’s Music Video Negotiating Committee as well as a dancer, categorized the negotiations as “intense.” She says, though, that her guild’s negotiating team aimed to locate “a shared path toward the future” with the record labels.
She further said that she herself is looking forward to working under the new contract terms.

Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, who is not only SAG-AFTRA’s COO and general counsel but its lead negotiator as well, also commented on the agreement. He praised the “diligence and smart, forward thinking” of those in the Music Video Negotiating Committee. He went on to say that the new contract helps their members not just in today’s world, but also well into the future.

The new contract was not only about improving pay for all those who perform in music videos.

It was also about improving safety as well. Though the guild refrained from announcing specific details about the new contract, they said that they were waiting until the guild’s national board ratifies the contract, which is expected to happen sometime in October.

If ratified, the new contract will go into effect retroactively, from May 1st, 2019, to April 30th, 2022.

Among the major record labels that are party to the new SAG-AFTRA contract include:

  • Warner Records
  • Atlantic Records
  • Sony Music Entertainment
  • Universal Music Group
  • Capitol Records
  • Hollywood Records (part of Disney Music Group)

The new contract covers the following types of performers in music videos:

  • Actors
  • Announcers
  • Dancers
  • Models
  • Narrators
  • Singers
  • Stunt Performers

We’ll have more details on the terms as we learn about them.  As for now, the big development is that something has been signed — and at least one side seems pretty happy with the terms.

Tekashi 6ix9ine Never Named Cardi B As Nine Trey According To Transcripts: Report

A report made by Page Six ran rampant on Thursday that is now being confirmed as being incorrect. On Thursday, Tekashi 6ix9ine, real name Daniel Hernandez, took to the stand in his kidnapping trial, and the government informant testified that Jim Jones and Cardi B were members Bloods gangs. In the title their report, Page Six shared, “Tekashi 6ix9ine testifies Cardi B is member Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods gang,” however, the ficial transcripts, obtained by Complex, the Hernandez’s testimony never shows that he specifically said that the Invasion Privacy rapper was affiliated with Nine Trey.

“You knew Cardi was a Blood, right?” the attorney asked Hernandez, to which he replied, “Correct.” Then he was asked, “You knew Cardi B had made music videos with Bloods members in the background her, right?” The rapper answers, “Correct.” When questioned if he knew about those facts before he made his own songs, he said that he didn’t because he didn’t pay attention to it. Hernandez also said he knew who Cardi was, but “I didn’t pay attention to her at the time.”

That was about the extent Hernandez’s testimony regarding the rapper, but following Page Six’s article title, the story ran rampant. Cardi’s team has denied the allegations that she’s a Nine Trey gang member, but the rapper has admitted in the past that she’s been a Blood ever since she was a teenager.

Tekashi 6ix9ine "Snitches" Against Nine Trey Gang Members in Federal Court

 

Earlier this week, rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine testified in federal court against alleged members of the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods gang, which may eventually require him to enter a witness protection program.

But if Tekashi 6ix9ine, whose real name is Daniel Hernandez, was unnerved by this, he certainly wasn’t showing it.  He even bopped his head along to his own music when it was played in court.

The rapper testified against Aljermiah “Nuke” Mack and Anthony “Harv” Ellison, who are both members of Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods and former associates of Tekashi 6ix9ine. Mack is accused of dealing drugs such as fentanyl, heroin, and ecstasy while Ellison is facing charges of robbing and kidnapping Tekashi. The latter allegedly did this at gunpoint back in July of last year.

During Tekashi’s testimony, prosecutors played music videos from two of his songs: “Kooda” and “Gummo.” This was so the rapper could point out alleged gang members in the videos, and this is when the rapper began bopping to his own songs.

Tekashi further indicated that, prior to the production of the video for “Gummo,” he asked members of Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods to participate.  He did this because he wanted them to be part of the video’s “aesthetic.”

In the lengthy testimony, 6ix9ine also revealed a core insight into rap marketing — at least the modern variation of ‘gangsta rap’.

“I knew the formula was to repeat the gang image,” Hernandez said.  “That’s what people like.”

Interestingly, prosecutors gave the jurors in the trial transcripts of the lyrics for “Gummo,” which Tekashi said were meant to disrespect fellow rapper Trippie Redd, who is allegedly a member of an offshoot of Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods called Five Nine Brims. Both Tekashi 6ix9ine and Trippie Redd have been signed to Caroline/UMG.

As part of his testimony, Tekashi told the court that he decided to cooperate with federal prosecutors within a day of authorities arresting him and the others.  That led to a wave of criticism; Snoop Dogg flat-out called Hernandez a “snitch”.

Years ago, Tekashi 6ix9ine was working in a grocery store in Brooklyn, New York when a customer told him he had the right look to become a rapper. This led to the making of “Gummo” in 2017.

#DXCLUSIVE: Speech Unveils Powerful Video From "16 Bars" Documentary

HipHopDX Premiere – Arrested Development’s de facto leader Speech Thomas hunkered down at the Richmond City Justice Center in Richmond, Virginia for months to help several inmates record their own original music.

The resulting 16 Bars documentary captured the intense emotion and enthralling stories of each inmate who participated.

Teddy Kane, who was one of the inmates involved in the project, has been in and out of jail since he was 10 years old. During his sessions with Speech, he wrote and recorded a song called “Inspire,” which tackles the hardships he’s faced and the injustices in the prison system.

Now, the song has been given the visual treatment. Featuring the Positive Impact Choir (comprised of all children), the visual was partially filmed at the jail and details what went into making the track. More importantly, it expresses the inner turmoil Teddy wrestles with on a daily basis.

“Inspire is one of the realist music videos ever,” Speech tells HipHopDX. “It’s timely and urgent. Teddy has the potential to be this generations Tupac [Shakur].”

At this point in time, Teddy is back on the streets, still wrestling with his drug addiction. His exact whereabouts are unknown.

“Inspire” comes from the official 16 Bars Motion Picture Soundtrack. 

16 Bars, directed by Sam Bathrick, is expected to premiere in November. Until then, watch the “Inspire” video above and get inspired.

Fetty Wap Reportedly Arrested After Scuffle With Valet In Las Vegas

According to reports made by TMZ, Fetty Wap was allegedly arrested for tussling with a valet in Las Vegas. The outlet declares that it was at the city’s Mirage Hotel and Casino that Fetty punched the worker three times.

It was a hotel resident who was forced to make a citizen’s arrest to end the altercation, detaining Fetty until law enforcement arrived.

Sources say that Fetty, born Willie Maxwell, was booked on three counts misdemeanor battery, one for each punch he landed. They add that he was released several hours after his original detainment.

Fetty Wap Reportedly Arrested After Scuffle With Valet In Las Vegas

Jamie McCarthy/Getty s

This arrest arrives just months after it was revealed that the rapper is under investigation for reportedly assaulting a woman from the set one his music videos. His accuser filed an ficial report with the LAPD, detailing that the assault took place at an Airbnb in the Hollywood Hills. it was the result an angry discussion after Fetty and his accuser entered a room together.

The evidence in question is a video clip in which the woman accuses Fetty hitting her in addition to a witness, one the accuser’s friends. He has not been formally charged for the alleged assault.

 

 

Woman Groped and Kissed by Katy Perry Says It's No Big Deal

The latest person to accuse pop superstar Katy Perry of sexual assault has issued something of a retraction.

Earlier, we reported that Katy Perry was , which brings the total to three (or four, depending on how you count them).  Now, one of Perry’s recent ‘victims’ insists that her original comments, which appeared in a Russian language newspaper, were mistranslated into English and that she was actually defending Perry.

Tina Kandelaki, who is a Russian television host from the former Soviet republic of Georgia, previously accused Perry of unwarranted kissing and touching.  This was in response to accusations made by a model named Josh Kloss, who said that Perry exposed his genitals in front of people at a party after they had become acquainted while working together on one of Perry’s music videos.

But Kandelaki now says that the English-language news site that translated her comments made in a Russian newspaper had done so erroneously.

Kandelaki says the translation — and subsequent media firestorm — quickly recast her as a ‘victim’ who was ‘blaming Katy Perry’ for sexual assault.  Both are far from true, Kandelaki insisted.

Quite to the contrary, she insists that her original comments were made in support of the actions of Perry.  While she still says that Perry behaved in the manner described in the original report, she also says that the point she was trying to make in the original Russian article was that this behavior was no big deal and that Kloss was exaggerating Perry’s behavior for the purposes of hyping it.

Kandelaki also further attacked the #MeToo movement, which in recent years has exposed sexual harassment and abuse in both the entertainment industry and other industries in the United States. Kandelaki says that the movement is something that could only happen in the Western world.

A Russian-speaking fan of Perry’s has confirmed that the English-language news site did indeed mistranslate the original story and that Kandelaki had defended the singer.  The fan believes that what has caused all this confusion is that Kandelaki used sardonic language that the English language site mistook for being serious.

At the same time, though, the fan has accused Kandelaki of being insensitive in her response, which the fan says was tone deaf to sexual harassment in general.

You can find Kandelaki’s full response statement here (this time, in untranslated Russian).