Monday, July 21, 2014

Kendrick Lamar Crowns NY Rap Moguls...

"They'll Always Be The King Of New York"

by Cyrus Langhorne
Top Dawg Entertainment's Kendrick Lamar finally dishes on his controversial "King of New York" proclamation from last year's "Control" song and revealed who he believes can wear the crown in the new Complex magazine. #kingofny

In K. Dot's opinion, the late Notorious B.I.G. and music icon Jay Z are the true Empire State kings.
On Lamar's earth-shattering verse he called himself the King of New York, a claim he shies away from now: "I feel B.I.G. and Jay will always be the King of New York." More important, Lamar called out nearly every rapper in his generation--from A$AP Rocky to J. Cole and even Big Sean and Jay Electronica--and claimed, "I got love for you all but I'm tryna murder you n*ggas." (Complex)
Earlier this year, rapper Maino said both local moguls would give him a pass over his King of New York underground project title.
"Biggie okay with that, man," Maino said in an interview. "Jay Z the king of the world. He ain't thinking about me, man. He don't care about my antics and my ways. He don't give a f*ck. Straight up." (Whoolywood Shuffle)
In 2011, fellow Brooklyn rapper Papoose crowned himself the "King of New York."
"The reason I chose that title is because I am the king of New York," the Brooklyn MC said with confidence to Mixtape Daily. "It feels good to be the king of New York so I just wanted to celebrate myself being the king of New York, so I figured I'd make it a self-titled mixtape...It's just basically breaking down some of the reasons of why I'm the king of New York. The reaction was both-sided, but it was a little bit more to the good side. A lot of my supporters, a lot of my fans reached out. And a lot of my haters reached out who disagree that I'm the king and I just let them know that I intend on proving it." (MTV)
Brooklyn rap veteran Fabolous previously said his "Get Back" record touched on the backlash K. Dot sparked with his now-infamous "Control" verse last summer.
"I want to talk about the 'Get Back.' It's over one of Jay Z's samples and it plays reference to what was going on with the whole Kendrick 'Control' verse thing. At first, it was a big thing to respond back and everybody was hyped off the response. What I loved about it to is that a lot of people responded back to it without really knowing what was going on. They just heard the blatant said, 'King of New York' line and 'The 'Get Back' is taken from, once you say something you also have to live and die by your words. But then now it becomes on other people to get back. It's almost the revenge of what you're saying. Do you relish in it? Do you back away from it? Do you step up to the plate? A lot of times, people don't always think about the backlash or what's going to come back to them." (FUSE TV)

Farrah Franklin Former Destiny's Child Member Arrested

Former Destiny's Child Member Farrah Franklin Arrested

Former Destiny's Child member Farrah Franklin is having another brush with the law.  TMZ says the singer was arrested for disorderly conduct in Conway, South Carolina early Sunday morning. 
The circumstances of the arrest are unknown, but sources tell the site she booked and released on bond Sunday afternoon.  Alcohol was reportedly involved. 

Farrah posted an Instagram photo of herself on the beach hours before the arrest. 

After news of her arrest started making the rounds, she also tagged herself at the Myrtle Beach International Airport along with a photo with the message, "May the Lord turn all your sour moments into sweet lemonade." 
It's her second arrest for disorderly conduct.  She was picked up in Los Angeles on the same charge in 2011.

Farrah was a member of Destiny's Child for just five months in 2000.  She joined the group at the same time as Michelle Williams, to replace another two exiting singers, and was fired shortly after. 

Netflix Passes 50 Million Subscribers

The company reported Monday that it added 1.69 million paying streaming subscribers worldwide in the second quarter.


Netflix's "Orange Is the New Black"
Netflix on Monday reported that it added 1.69 million paying streaming subscribers in the second quarter, enough to put it past 50 million for the first time.

Netflix had guided analysts to expect less than 1.5 million additions during the quarter, which would have kept it under the 50 million threshold. Instead, the company ended the quarter with 50.05 million streaming subscribers worldwide.

The company reported earning $1.15 per share on revenue of $1.34 billion, which were mixed results compared to Wall Street's expectations.

Analysts predicted the streaming-media company to post earnings per share of $1.16 on $1.33 billion in revenue.

Wall Street appeared mildly impressed with the financial results, as shares were trading 1 percent higher after the closing bell. During the regular session, Netflix shares were up 2 percent to $451.96.

At the end of the quarter, Netflix boasted 35.1 million paying subscribers to its domestic streaming service, up from 28.6 million a year ago. Domestic DVD subscribers fell to 6.2 million from 7.4 million last year.
Paid international streamers rose to 12.9 million from 7 million a year ago. Netflix does not offer an international DVD service.

In a letter to shareholders on Monday, CEO Reed Hastings and CFO David Wells noted that Netflix surpassed the 50 million threshold 15 years after its service first launched. Mostly, though, the letter focused on original programming, including its upcoming talk show hosted by Chelsea Handler that is slated to debut in early 2016.

"Fewer people are watching talk shows live and are instead watching stacked episodes on DVR or online in the days and weeks following initial airing," the executives wrote. "Our intent is to produce a show with Handler and her team that reflects this shift to on-demand enjoyment and that will appeal to a global audience."

On a conference call with analysts Monday, chief content officer Ted Sarandos enthused over the second season of Orange is the New Black. He also said that if 21st Century Fox were to acquire Time Warner, as Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch proposes, it would not impact Netflix's ability to acquire content from either conglomerate.

Also on the conference call, Hastings gushed about the adoption of international streaming, saying it's "an enormous moment in history" for Netflix.

New Watermarking Tech Probably Won't Impact Piracy?

Watermarking audio files is nothing new, but a team of international researchers think they've found a way to improve it. 


On June 30, scientists from Sydney's Deakin University and Aizu University in Japan published an article about their new watermarking technology, which they say is better-designed to resist music pirates' attempts to strip audio files of their watermarks. Though the news has been hailed by some as an unprecedented obstacle to piracy, the researchers' discovery raises more questions about watermarking's effectiveness in the global war against piracy. 

The process of watermarking implants an inaudible yet traceable marker within the sound waves of an audio file so that if the song or album in question is found online (say, on a peer-to-peer sharing network) by its distributing record label, like Sony or Universal, that company can then trace it back to the illegal upload source. Once embedded, the identifying signal cannot be removed -- though music pirates can theoretically "scrub" watermarks by cutting out part of the song, changing the pitch, or speeding it up or slowing it down -- without damaging the audio quality.

"It would be quite difficult to remove it and keep the music pristine," explains David Hughes, SVP technology at the Recording Industry Association of America. "You hear the term 'robustness,' or 'survivability,' or 'tamper-proof.'" 

Professor Wanlei Zhou, head of Deakin's School of Technology, told Billboard his team's watermarking technology was robust enough to withstand attempts to remove the watermark. In contrast to the six other methods they tested, which had a detection rate of between 40 and 90 precent, theirs detected the watermark (after testing common attacks like mp3 compression, re-sampling, and adjusting the amplitude) nearly 100 percent of the time. "If the industry is interested in that technology," he says, "it can become a product the whole society can benefit from." 

That's all very well and good, says Hughes, but watermark removal isn't the problem -- marketplace adoption is. When the iTunes store launched in 2003, every song was encrypted with FairPlay, a digital rights management (DRM)-system. Those songs would then only play on select Apple devices, which was the iPod but now includes iPads, iPhones, Apple TVs, etc. Following a series of anti-trust complaints against Apple, the dominant digital retailer at the time, Amazon launched its own DRM-free music store with over 2 million tracks from an assortment of major and indie labels, none of which were traceable back to the initial track uploader; they only tracked where the song was purchased.

The initiative "represents the music industry's clearest repudiation yet of the elaborate copy-protection schemes it once staked its future on," wrote Wired's David Kravets. Since then, the vast majority of watermarks have been only stamped on pre-releases sent within the music industry.

"If [Amazon] is trying to sell 300,000 copies of Justin Timberlake's new single, there's a lot of processing power going on, there's a big database to keep track of, they're putting customer ID numbers in each song... it's a big pain in the ass," adds Hughes. "They probably don't see a lot of value -- because it's not pre-release, it's about the song being widely distributed."

"Most commercial focus and attention has been on that period of time: once [the album] is released, it's almost impossible to control it," says Gunnar Siewert, representative for watermarked music promotion company PromoJukeBox. Though he doesn't know too much about the new Australian study, he doesn't think there's a need for another technology.

"Also, we have very robust watermarking technology," he adds. 
Additionally, statistics on how much piracy negatively impacts sales can be contradictory. Earlier this year, a study found that Sweden's anti-piracy legislation, IPRED, boosted music sales while reducing internet traffic. And yet, in 2013, the European Commission's Joint Research Centre demonstrated that online piracy didn't hurt music sales. Music streaming services have also made piracy less necessary if one wants to listen to a song without purchasing it. 

After Zhou's team publishes their paper in September, they'll start looking for corporate sponsors to fund a wider study of their new technology, which they hope will lead to market adoption. "I've gotten lots of calls from newspapers, radio, TV in the past few days," he says, laughing. "Hopefully after that they'll call one of my team members." 


ASAP Rocky Sued For Allegedly Slapping Female Fan

Lawsuit has been filed, accusing ASAP Rocky of assaulting a female fan at the 2013 Made In America festival.

Last year, it was reported that A$AP Rocky had been charged with assault, stemming from an incident at that year's Made In America festival where he allegedly slapped a female fan. It seemed Rocky was actually able to avoid charges, as the case was put on hold until the plaintiff could supply a "viable address" for the rapper.

Close to a year later, Rocky has finally been hit with a lawsuit. The woman who filed the suit is looking for "compensatory and punitive damages for civil assault and battery, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligence and premises liability".

While no charges came from it, Rocky found himself facing similar accusations last summer, when video surfaced that appeared to show him hitting another woman at a show in Australia. 

The rapper has yet to comment on the suit. Updates to come as information arrives.

Carmelo Announces New Venture Capital Firm

Carmelo Anthony, who recently signed a $124 million contract with the New York Knicks, has announced a new venture capital firm called M7 Tech Partners. Stuart Goldfarb, the former CEO of Bertelsmann will partner up with Melo in the firm, which has already made an initial investment in an interactive children story company called Hullabalu.

Goldfarb was previously the head man at a direct marketing company for movies, music, and books as well as NBC's executive vice president for worldwide business development.

Not exactly the type of business we'd expect Melo to be getting into, but it's certainly refreshing to see an athlete taking steps to invest some money rather than blowing it on toys. Carmelo had this to say regarding his newest venture;
”For as long as I can remember, I’ve been interested in technology. We are actively looking for ventures with strong leadership that resonate with consumers.”
The office for M7, which stands for 'Melo 7,' will be located in New York City and will focus on “early stage digital media, consumer Internet, and technology ventures,” according to an official statement.

Capitol Music Group and Producer Rodney Jerkins Enter Label Partnership

Grammy winner's Evolve Music Group roster includes Diana Ross’ son Evan Ross.


Capitol Music Group (CMG) and Grammy Award-winning songwriter/producer Rodney Jerkins have signed a multi-year, worldwide agreement on behalf of the latter’s Evolve Music Group (EMG). 

Under the new partnership, the companies will develop, market and promote releases overseen by Jerkins.

The current EMG roster includes R&B/pop singer Evan Ross (Diana Ross’ son), soul singer Keta and YouTube discovery Sara Forsberg. The label’s operations will be based at the Capitol Records Tower in Hollywood. Evolve will also house a spiritual music division, Evolve Inspirational. The imprint will be distributed through CMG’s Nashville-based Capitol Christian Music Group. Joy Enriquez and Tim Bowman Jr. are the first artists signed to Evolve Inspirational.

In a statement announcing the new alliance, CMG chairman/CEO Steve Barnett said, “Rodney possesses a keen eye for talent and a great vision for what he wants to accomplish with Evolve.” Added Evolve chairman/CEO Jerkins, “I’m excited for this partnership, confident that Evolve will play a major role in the future of our industry.”

Jerkins’ production credits include songs by BeyoncĂ©, Whitney Houston, Justin Bieber, Destiny’s Child, Toni Braxton, Brandy and Monica.