TIDAL Threatens to Sue the Entire Country of Norway – Digital Music News

Once again, Jay-Z has found himself embroiled in controversy, at least indirectly.

Though, unlike the one with the NFL, this one could have international ramifications.

Tidal, the music streaming platform part-owned by the famed entertainer, is now threatening legal action against the government of Norway.  Officials in the country have been investigating whether the company had manipulated listening statistics for a pair of albums that Tidal held exclusive rights over.

The albums in question are Beyonce’s Lemonade and Kanye West’s Life Of Pablo, and the issue relates to the way the platform calculates royalty payments.  If Tidal did in fact manipulate how many times the two albums were streamed on the platform, it would adversely affect royalties for other artists on the platform.

That’s flat-out fraud, and hence the Norwegian investigation.

Incidentally, Tidal was actually founded in Norway.  In 2015, Jay-Z bought the company and changed the name.  Three years later, Dagens Næringsliv, which is a Norwegian business newspaper, first made the allegation of widespread manipulation. Then, Tono, which is the copyright collection society in Norway, requested that the government investigate the matter.

All of this eventually led Okokrim, which is Norway’s economic crime unit, to officially launch an investigation.

Making the case even more interesting is the fact that it is Tidal’s office in Poland that is threatening legal action over the investigation.  The Polish unit insists that, because Okokrim’s investigation is not sufficiently justified and excessively aggressive, it violates an investment treaty that Norway and Poland have signed.

Tidal Poland says that it is willing to meet with representatives of the Norwegian government to try to settle the matter.  But if the matter is not resolved within 6 months, the case will be referred to an ad hoc international arbitration tribunal as well as to Norwegian courts, as specified in the treaty that the two countries signed.

How this will all end no one knows, but some are wondering if Jay-Z might find himself asking for help from President Trump. After all, if Jay-Z can form a partnership with the once-hated NFL, anything is possible.  And who knows: perhaps there’s a role for Greenland in all of this.

Mexican Court Legalizes Cocaine For Two People

There have been more and more countries and places across the world who’ve embraced the legalization cannabis. It’s a huge step forward towards the destigmatization towards cannabis and drugs as a whole. However, it looks like Mexico is taking an even greater step towards the progression society. According to BBC, a judge in Mexico made a huge announcement when the court ruled to legalize recreational cocaine. The thing is, the ruling is on applicable to two people. 

Mexican Court Legalizes Cocaine For Two People
Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Getty s

Mexico United Against Crime, an organization fighting towards ending the “war on drugs,” said the court in Mexico City ordered health ficials in the country, Cepris, to authorize two individuals to possess cocaine. The ruling allows the two plaintiffs to “possess, transport and use cocaine,” although they are prohibited from selling it. 

Even though it’s a major step forward, it still needs to be approved by a higher court. Cepris made several attempts to block the ruling, claiming its outside his legal jurisdiction. A panel judges will have to review the ruling and side with the decision to legalize cocaine for the two plaintiffs. 

“We have been working for a safer, more just and peaceful Mexico for years, and with this case we insist on the need to stop criminalizing users drugs other than marijuana and design better public policies that explore all available options, including the regulation ”said Lisa Sánchez, director the organization,” Lisa Sánchez, director MUCD, said after the ruling. 

Death Row Co-Founder Michael Harris Will Be Released From Jail

Death Row Records has had an impressive presence in 2019, a testament to the label’s enduring legacy. Between Snoop Dogg openly embracing Suge Knight as his OG and his frequent throwbacks to the glory days with 2Pac, Tha Row has been on many minds. Now, a new development finds another piece the puzzle returning to the fold at long last. Michael “Harry” O’Harris, the co-founder Death Row Records, is set to be released from prison after serving thirty-one years. 

According to a report from Daily Mail, Harris will be released in “mid-August.” He originally helped build Death Row by investing $1.5 million dollars into its parent company, all while behind bars for charges attempted murder and kidnapping. Prior, Harris was a cocaine kingpin interested in expanding his business into the entertainment industry. Difficult to maneuver from a jail cell, but somehow, he made it work. Alongside his ex-wife Lydia, Harris helped bankroll some Death Row’s most notable albums, including The Chronic.

Now, with his release imminent, Harris claims to be moving forward as a changed man. He has since taken on a passion for activism, and intends on linking up with Texas company, Paul Nutall’s 2nd Chance, an organization dedicated to helping those down on their luck. Speaking to Daily Mail, Harris opened up about his intentions. “Over 30 years ago I was part the problem,” he explains. “However, over the years I have repeatedly proven myself to be part the solution. It’s about returning to society with my new found vision, talents and insights. Giving back to the communities where my help is so desperately needed.”

For more about Harris and his relationship with Nuttall’s organization, check out the full report right here


#DXCLUSIVE: Lee "Scratch" Perry & Mr. Green Drop “Come Back Alone” With Sheek Louch

HipHopDX Premiere – Iconic Jamaican producer and singer Lee “Scratch” Perry has crafted work for a number of notable artists, including the late Bob Marley, Beastie Boys and The Clash. Sir Paul McCartney even considers Perry one of his greatest inspirations.

Now, the legendary musician has teamed up with fellow producer Mr. Green for a new album called Super Ape Vs. Open Door, which boasts contributions from Sheek Louch, Daniel Son, Bad Brains’ frontman H.R. and Eric Andre.

Ahead of its release, Perry and Green have provided a taste of the project called “Come Back Alone” featuring the aforementioned LOX MC. 

“Are you ready out there for me?” Perry asks HipHopDX. “I’m ready for you … Mr. Green opens all the doors in the United States of America for me, so listen to our new project and the open door.”

Super Ape Vs. Open Door is expected to arrive on August 23 Tuff Gong Records. 

Check out “Come Back Alone” above.

Sebastian Telfair Pleads With Judge During Court Appearance: Video

Former NBA point guard Sebastian Telfair was sentenced to three and a half years in prison on Monday, stemming from a 2017 illegal firearm possession. Telfair was convicted one count second-degree criminal possession a weapon in April and faced up to 15 years behind bars.

During his appearance at Brooklyn Supreme Court, an emotional Telfair pleaded with the Judge John Hecht for leniency, and begged not to be ‘taken from society right now.’ Telfair’s rant included the following, according to the New York Post:

“Please don’t take me from society right now,’’ said Telfair.

“I am 34. I can go play in China for six years and take care my family. I’m waiting for my daughter right now to get her period. Real mental illness because I wasn’t around … She hasn’t even gotten her period yet.”

Shouting and crying as he spoke, Telfair added, “Sebastian Telfair is going to jail for a … victimless crime.

“Put a gun in his hand and fight for us n—a … I go to the gun store. I got an American Express.’’

Check out the footage in the video embedded below.

Telfair entered the NBA straight out Lincoln High School in 2004 as the 13th overall pick by the Portland Trail Blazers. His pressional career spanned from 2004-2015, including stops with the Celtics, Timberwolves, Clippers, Suns, Sixers, Raptors and Thunder.

"The Probe" Philly Crime Drama Stars Gillie Da Kid & Clifton Powell

There’s a new crime drama getting ready to hit the airwaves and this time the storyline follows the rough underbelly Philadelphia. The City Brotherly Love is steeped in U.S. history, and the fictionalized series The Probe will follow various figures in the drug and real estate market who are looking for a piece the American Dream.

According to executive producer Cortez Johnson, The Probe is a series unlike any other that has been set in the heart Philly. Johnson believes that the show will not only “move the culture,” but it will “stir up universal issues in a nonstop twisting and turning, nail-biting way.”

“In the mean streets Philadelphia there is no loyalty and betrayal is an everyday ritual,” the press release states about the show. “Internal Affairs are watching dirty cops, The Feds are watching dirty politicians, judges, and drug dealers. The drug dealers are watching their backs from their rivals and the dirty law enforcement- on and f their payroll. This gritty drama has everyone watching each other and at the same time trying to escape the deadly web deceit.”

The Probe hosts a bevy recognizable faces including Clifton Powell (Ray, Rush Hour, Menace II Society, All Eyez On Me, Dead Presidents), rapper and Philly native Gillie Da Kid, Neil Carr, Dennis White, rapper Omillio Sparks, Nakia Dillard, and many more. Filming began earlier this year, but Johnson has dropped f the first trailer for the forthcoming series. Check it out below and let us know what you think.

MTV Refuses to Drop Michael Jackson's Name from Its Video Vanguard Award

On August 12th, MTV announced that Missy Elliot is this year’s winner of the network’s Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award.

The announcement was not without controversy, as one of Jackson’s accusers expressed dismay that the network was keeping Jackson’s name on the award.

Wade Robson was one of the men who leveled accusations of sexual abuse against the late King of Pop in Leaving Neverland, which was a shocking documentary that HBO aired earlier this year.  Robson called MTV’s decision to leave Jackson’s name on the award “unfortunate.”

The Video Vanguard Award has been named after Jackson since 1991, which was two years before the first accusations of sexual misconduct were made of the singer.  While a jury in 2005 acquitted Jackson of sexually molesting a minor named Gavin Arvizo, who was a 13-year-old cancer patient at the time of the alleged crime, the singer settled with another accuser in 1993 while always denying any sexual misconduct.

But the airing of the documentary, which featured interviews of both Robson and another alleged victim named James Safechuck, has reignited the controversy surrounding Jackson.

Robson indicated that he is not demanding that MTV remove Jackson’s name from the award.  But, at the same time, he said that there are many survivors of sexual abuse who may be receiving a tough message.  “I don’t personally need MTV to do one thing or the other, but as child abuse survivors all over the world watch to see whether society will support them or not if they have the courage to come forward, in that regard, it’s an unfortunate choice,” Robson told TheWrap.

As of now, MTV has yet to issue a statement in response to Robson’s comments.

Despite that omission, MTV indicated in the award announcement that the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award was the Video Music Awards’ “highest honor.”  The award was first given in 1984 and some of pop music’s greatest talents have won it, including Jackson himself and others such as Madonna, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Rihanna and Beyoncé.

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. 

LGBTQ History Will Be Taught In Illinois Schools: Report

According to CNN, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has passed a law that guarantees the history and contributions LGBTQ people are taught in the state’s public schools. House Bill 246 was introduced by Rep. Anna Moeller to amend the school code to add a more inclusive history curriculum.
“In public schools only, the teaching history shall include a study the roles and contributions lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the history this country and this State,” states the bill.

Topics that will be added to public school’s new curriculum include the nation’s first gay rights organization, the Society for Human Rights, being formed in 1924 in Chicago, and Sally Ride, the first US woman in space, who was a lesbian. “One the best ways to overcome intolerance is through education and exposure to different people and viewpoints,” State Sen. Heather Steans, who also sponsored the bill, said in a statement. “An inclusive curriculum will not only teach an accurate version history but also promote acceptance the LGBTQ community.”

This is a big win for the LGBTQ community, which has been steadily fighting, and winning, against oppressive systems. “It is my hope that teaching students about the valuable contributions LGBTQ individuals have made throughout history will create a safer environment with fewer incidents harassment,” Steans added. “LGBTQ children and teenagers will also be able to gain new role models who share life experiences with them.”


Supreme’s Founder Gives A Super Rare Interview Into The Brands Beginnings & Inspirations

If you’re a hardcore Supreme fan, and have been following their rise since the mid ’90s, you’ll know that the brand is not just a streetwear label for hype heads and fashion-conscious teens, but also a very important element in culture. When Supreme first launched, its debut coincided with the arrival the iconic Kids movie, both going on to shape generations outliers and rebels to society. If you know the brand well you know that it’s super rare to get any insight into the brand’s story from founder, James Jebbia, but in a new GQ piece by Noah Johnson, he does just that.

“The reason that we do things the way we do is because we respect the customer,” said Jebbia, by way “an in-house interlocutor,” said the brand’s strategy when it comes to drops. Kids writer, Harmony Korine, went on to recall the influence for the team in their early days as being more comparable to a “raw” hangout than a traditional business, with Jebbia pointing that “true skaters” were the most frequent customers to the original New York site. “They would wear cool shit; they wouldn’t wear skate clothes,” Jebbia said. “It would be Polo, it would be a Gucci belt, it would be Champion. We made what we really liked. And it kind was a gradual thing. From a few tees, a few sweats, a pair cargo pants, a backpack. But the influence was definitely the young skaters in New York.” Jebbia also pointed to Japan and London as influential geographic locations. When it came to noting specific brands as a source influence, Jebbia was quick to mention that Helmut Lang was “really important, personally” at the time to him. Nowadays, Jebbia and the brand are said to be inspired by the “open-mindedness young people,” saying how they’re “not stuck in a box.” The full GQ article is here, and if you’re interested you should definitely give it a read. 

Kendrick Lamar and Fiancée Whitney Alford Welcome Baby Girl

Kendrick Lamar is a dad!

The rapper and his fiancée, Whitney Alford, have welcomed their first child. According to Us Weekly, the baby girl was born on Friday (July 26). The couple kept the pregnancy private and did not publicly announce it ahead of time.

The Grammy-winning MC, 32, and makeup artist, 33, have been together for over a decade after meeting at Centennial High School in Compton.

In an April 2015 interview with Power 105.1’s “The Breakfast Club,” Kendrick confirmed that he was engaged to his high school sweetheart. “Yeah, yeah, definitely,” he said when asked about Alford. “I’m loyal to the soil. At the end of the day you want to always have real people around you, period–whether male or female.”

“I wouldn’t even call her my girl,” he told Billboard in January 2015. “That’s my best friend. I don’t even like the term that society has put in the world as far as being a companion–she’s somebody I can tell my fears to.”

Congrats to the new parents!

Pan European Collecting Societies Agree on Standards for Digital Royalty Processes

A large group of Pan European collecting societies, music publishers, and rights agencies have unveiled a functional digital royalty processing working group.

The Technical Online Working Group Europe – or TOWGE – includes STIM and GEMA’s joint venture licensing hub, ICE.

As explained on a separate page on the Swiss Cooperative Society for Authors and Publishers’ (SUISA) website, TOWGE consists of a small group of direct licensors and local society representatives.  A representative reports back to other local societies on a bilateral basis.

TOWGE representatives include Kobalt, GEMA, Network of Music Partners (NMP), SACEM, SGAE, and STIM, among others.

A terms of reference PDF posted online in January 2019 explains TOWGE’s purpose.  As songwriter royalty payouts remain complicated, the working group agrees on best practice operational processes for – and technical aspects of – multi-territory online music services.  TOWGE aims to reduce associated transactional and administrative costs for the benefit of all stakeholders, including rightsholders and digital service providers (DSPs).

Under Pan European licensing rules, TOWGE first sets out the rights splits between performing and mechanical rights to be applied in each territory for different types of online and mobile exploitations.  These include permanent downloads, on-demand streaming, webcasting, ringtones, cloud services, user generated content, and tethered downloads.

TOWGE’s licensing rules also defines the repertoires direct licensors will manage on a Pan European basis for both online and mobile exploitations.  Exact details include the repertoire name, the direct licensor managing the repertoire, the repertoire’s exact definition, which DSPs are covered by the mandate, which use types are covered, and the start/end date of the mandate.  The working group explains its best practices on repertoire updates include communicating updates three months before the starting period of the repertoire “to allow enough time for TOWGE to communicate a new ‘repertoire definition document.’”  The best practices also include not re-processing invoices licensors have generated and licensees have processed.

In the joint venture licensing hub’s blog, ICE explained it has “joined forces” with customers to drive best practice “clean claiming” on digital royalties.

The benefits for music creators are faster, more accurate payment and a fairer distribution of any remaining royalties to collection management organizations, publishers, and the creators they represent.  Licensors and administrators reduce delay caused by unnecessary disputes.

These improved practices, concludes ICE, will also provide a “building block” for wider music industry agreement on residual solutions with major DSPs.



Irving Azoff's Global Music Rights and the Radio Music License Committee Trade Barbs in Separate Motions to Dismiss the Other's Lawsuit

Irving Azoff’s Global Music Rights (GMR) has gone on the offensive once more against the Radio Music License Committee (RMLC).

For years, both organizations have sparred in a serious of ugly legal battles.

To make , Azoff and GMR accuse the RMLC of paying too little in royalties.  The RMLC, in turn, accuses Azoff and GMR of bullying major radio broadcasters into paying higher performance fees.  Global Music Rights, argues the licensing committee, has leveraged its catalog of high-powered hits to force the higher radio rates.

The radio group negotiates licensing fees for around 10,000 radio stations across the U.S. – 90% of the market.

GMR has accused the RMLC of operating an “illegal cartel.”  The RMLC alleges GMR has engaged in “deliberate witness intimidation.”

In separate filings last Thursday, both groups continued to trade barbs.

According to Azoff’s Global Music Rights, the Radio Music License Committee willfully coordinated a boycott against the performance rights organization (PRO).  This, says the PRO, comes as the RMLC’s filing shows it targets “competitive entry into a previously oligopolistic market.”  The previous ‘rulers’ of the market, says GMR, include Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).

Defending itself against GMR’s claims, the RMLC countered, stating GMR has no right to sue.  In fact, throughout the lengthy royalties legal battle, Azoff’s PRO has refused arbitration.  Both BMI and ASCAP reportedly negotiate licenses based on a decree signed with the U.S. Department of Justice in 1941.  This states rates disputes should be settled in a New York federal court.

GMR argues its entry into the licensing market ensures “greater competition among PROs.”  This, concludes Azoff’s PRO, guarantees artists receive better payments for their work.

Filing a motion to dismiss RMLC’s countersuit, GMR wrote it remains small in comparison to BMI and ASCAP.

[Our] repertory of 81 composers is tiny compared to the tens of thousands of composers affiliated with other PROs.  RMLC itself alleges that GMR’s ‘spin share’ — the ‘percentage of plays of works that GMR controls’ — is ‘nowhere near a 15% share of the total music ‘spins’’ on radio stations … far short of the market-power threshold.

Denying the “organized boycott,’ the RMLC wrote no conspiracy over price-fixing among its members exists.

What the court is presented with here is thus an alleged conspiracy, by an entire industry, to knowingly and intentionally expose itself to copyright infringement statutory damages of up to $150,000 per song, for thousands of songs.

The sheer absurdity that 10,000 entities would agree with each other to do anything (much less something that exposes each of them to potentially crippling liability) should be enough, by itself, to end this case.

Both have asked a federal judge to dismiss the other’s lawsuit.

You can view GMR and RMLC’s respective filings below.





Florida Principal Who Doesn’t Consider The Holocaust "Factual" Has Been Fired

A principal is Florida faced backlash after reports emerged that he failed to acknowledge the Holocaust as a “historical, factual event” in an e-mail with a parent. Spanish River Community High School’s former principal, Williams Latson, has been fired from his position after a petition went live calling for his dismissal.

Florida Principal Who Doesn't Consider The Holocaust "Factual" Has Been Fired
Sean Gallup/Getty s

A parent one the students e-mailed the principal about the prioritization The Holocaust in the school curriculum. While he tried to maintain a neutral position on the topic, he made it clear that there wasn’t a big emphasis on educating children on the Holocaust. I can’t say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event because I am not in a position to do so as a school district employee,” he wrote back to the parent. “Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened.”

He later added that the school allows “information about the Holocaust to be presented” to students so they could “make decisions about it accordingly” which he said he also does when it comes to slavery. The e-mailed leaked online last week which Latson apologized for but at that point, the school already caught wind a petition for the principal’s resignation which garnered 11K signatures.

“I regret that the verbiage that I used when responding to an email message from a parent, one year ago, did not accurately reflect my pressional and personal commitment to educating all students about the atrocities the Holocaust,” Latson wrote to the Palm Beach Post. “It is critical that, as a society, we hold dear the memory the victims and hold fast to our commitment to counter anti-Semitism.”

The school district said that Latson’s “leadership has become a major distraction for the school community.” 

“In addition to being fensive,” the district stated, “the principal’s statement is not supported by either the School District Administration or the School Board.”

Scarlett Johansson Shades "Political Correctness" In Acting

With the recent uproar which surrounded the casting Halle Bailey as the new Ariel in Disney’s Little Mermaid, it is fair to say that casting choice when it comes to specific roles remains a sensitive topic in Hollywood. For many, the announcement a Black Ariel was met with joy and excitement, with hundreds social media users praising the diversity. However, some users expressed their strong disapproval over the fact that Ariel’s appearance will change in the live-action remake the movie, slamming Disney for its decision to stray from the original portrayal, which sees Ariel as pale-skinned and blue-eyed, with her iconic fiery red hair. In response to that, many called out the numerous instances in which White actors portrayed the roles individuals who were far from White originally. And now Scarlett Johansson has something to say with regards to diversity in casting with regards to unique roles.

Scarlett Johansson Shades "Political Correctness" In Acting

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty s

The actress was previously called out for landing roles which folks thought were not hers to pray. For instance, Johansson was set to play a trans woman but quickly pulled out after many criticized her for it and supported that the role should go to an actual trans person. In a recent interview, the Avengers actress said her piece: “You know, as an actor I should be allowed to play any person, or any tree, or any animal because that is my job and the requirements my job. I feel like it’s a trend in my business and it needs to happen for various social reasons, yet there are times it does get uncomfortable when it affects the art because I feel art should be free restrictions.” Moreover, Johansson urges that she thinks “society would be more connected if we just allowed others to have their own feelings and not expect everyone to feel the way we do.” Do you agree? Should certain roles be f limits?