Saturday, June 23, 2012

Billboard & The Hollywood Reporter Film & TV and Music Conference

October 24-25 2012
W Hotel Hollywood
The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard join forces to deliver a cutting-edge, two-day seminar on the role of music in film and television. 
Now in its 11th year, this Conference offers attendees the unique opportunity to learn from, network and expose their music directly to the best music supervisors, composers, directors, music editors, songwriters and producers in the business. The event also provides a dynamic forum for the exchange of ideas - featuring roundtable discussions, and other networking cocktail parties and sessions.

Music Licensing Tips: How to get your music ready for Film and TV

If you’re like many independent artists trying to get your music heard far and wide, you might dream of having your music licensed for use in movies and TV shows. Music placement can indeed be a potent career booster – when it comes to visibility, credibility, and getting paid – but it’s a tough world to break into, and many talented artists don’t know where to start. Here are some tips to help you get your house in order before you ever talk to a music supervisor on the phone – so when that precious licensing opportunity comes, you’ll be ready.

1. Get the levels and format right.
"It’s very important to get your tracks mastered," says Lindsay Fellows, music supervisor for movies like The Avengers, Bridge to Terabithia, and Journey to the Center of the Earth. "It’s a good spend. You end up with a volume level that is going to be competitive with major label commercial releases. A lot of indie stuff I get is 30 decibels lower than major releases. It’s flat and it doesn’t pop, which isn’t good."
When it comes to file format, diversity is key. "MP3s are usually fine to start off with," says music supervisor Gary Calamar, who has worked on shows like Weeds, True Blood, and Men of a Certain Age. "If we end up using the song in production, I will need a higher quality WAV or AIFF." Make sure that you have both the low-rez MP3 and higher rez WAV or AIFF files ready to go.

2. Choose your very best music.
"Focus on your strongest material," says Fellows. "Either tag your physical CD with standout tracks or, if you’re sending MP3s, send your three best songs."
But how do you know which tunes are your most powerful? "Choose the ones that work best live, the ones that your friends say are great," advises Fellows.
"Music supervisors look for a mood," adds Cheryl B. Engelhardt, an indie singer and songwriter who has had music placed in shows like The Real World and All My Children. "If a song doesn’t evoke a lot of emotion, it won’t do anything on screen. When I was choosing which songs to push for placement, I asked a lot of people. And even though I took everyone’s advice with a grain of salt, it turned out that my favorite songs to play live are also the most licensable. It just kind of works that way."
Choosing your best songs also means choosing your best recordings – and the vast majority of the time, that means nothing that isn’t the finished, polished master track. "I do want the final version of the song," said Calamar. "Sending me an unfinished demo to check out is generally a waste of my time."

3. Include everything music supervisors need to know.
"Whether you’re sending a hard CD or digital files, make sure all of the info is there," says Fellows. "Publishers, writers, track names, contact info, label – everything should be there, easily accessible." If you’re sending a physical CD, that could mean a sticker or insert in the album casing, or text printed directly on the CD – just make sure it’s readable, easy to find, and hard to misplace. If you’re submitting digital files, make sure that your metadata and ID3 tags (a.k.a. the identifying digital information that comes attached to music files) contain all the above-mentioned info that music supervisors may need. And regardless of whether you’re going physical or virtual with your song submissions, make sure that your album is entered into the Gracenote database. "You wouldn’t believe how many songs I get that come up listed as ’unknown’ or ’Track 1’ when I load them into iTunes," continues Fellows. "I delete them immediately. I just don’t have time."

Industry Trade Publications

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Industry trade publications are intended exclusively for the music industry. Both online and in print, these magazines contain the latest in music and industry news, music chart listings, upcoming releases and events, reviews and much more.


Wendy Goldstein, Senior Vice President of A&R for Universal Republic Records announces the expansion of its Urban A&R department with the addition of Tab Nkhereanye as Vice President, A&R and Naim Ali McNair as Vice President, A&R.

The label has always maintained a strong foothold in hip hop, and Nkhereanye and McNair stand poised to strengthen that foundation even further. Not only has Nkhereanye seen success at RedZone Entertainment, as Vice President of Creative at Sony/ATV, and consulting for Geffen Records, he's an accomplished songwriter himself, having penned songs for everyone from Justin Bieber and Mary J. Blige to Madonna and Britney Spears.

Meanwhile, McNair has held positions in A&R at MCA Records and Warner Bros., working with the likes of The Roots, Talib Kweli, and Mike Jones to name a few. Most recently, he consulted for both Top Dawg Ent. (TDE) and Epic Records.

Both of these individuals bring diverse experience, clever insight, and invigorating energy to the table and will undoubtedly beef up the label's roster with exciting new talent and perspective.
About their 2012 hiring, Goldstein comments, "Tab and Naim are going to help usher in the next generation of hip hop artists at Republic. They're extremely dynamic, devout, and diligent, and it's an honor to be working with the both of them."

Nkheanye echoes her excitement. "I love what Monte and Avery Lipman did. This label is their blood, sweat, and tears. That passion drew me to Republic. I'm looking forward to helping develop a roster of unique artists that will end up in the mainstream. I enjoy building careers, and Republic specializes in that. I hope to create history with this team."

For McNair, the prospect of fostering and expanding the label's esteemed roster is equally thrilling. "I hope to help further grow the artist roster from a hip hop standpoint as well as help build the label's legacy. It's a groundbreaking company that's not afraid to take chances, and it's one of the most diverse labels out there."

Nkheanye began his career by helping to found Atlanta-based music production entity RedZone. He worked as a songwriter, writing Justin Bieber's first single, "One time", Mary J. Blige's "Take Me As I Am", Fantasia's "Truth Is", and "Me Against the Music" for Britney Spears and Madonna, as well as many others. As Vice President of Creative at Sony/ATV, he signed both Mike Caren and Frank Ocean. He also worked as a consultant for Geffen Records.
McNair started in the music business at producer Dallas Austin's Rowdy Records in Atlanta, GA. From there, he served as A&R for both MCA Records working under Goldstein and Warner Bros. Records as well as consulting for Top Dawg Ent. (TDE) and Epic Records.
Universal Republic is home to an all-star roster of multi-platinum, award-winning legends and superstar artists. It is comprised of innovative imprints and digital business ventures including Republic Nashville (The Band Perry), Cash Money (Lil Wayne, Drake, Nicki Minaj), Indie Pop (Dev, The Cataracs), Lava Records (Jessie J, Black Veil Brides), SRC (Akon, Melanie Fiona), Aware Records (Mat Kearney), Brushfire (Jack Johnson, G. Love), Tuff Gong (Damian Marley), Downtown (Miike Snow), among others.


B.o.B is heading overseas this September. After announcing his U.S. tour with Cee Lo Green and Flo Rida, B.o.B has now announced a European tour. The eight-date trek starts on September 15th at Newcastle's University. Stops on the tour include London, England, Manchester, UK and Dublin, Ireland. Bobby Ray will wrap up his short venture at Birmingham's HMV Library on September 24th.

September 15 - Newcastle - University
September 16 - Glasgow - ABC
September 18 - Dublin - Olympia
September 19 - Manchester - The Ritz
September 20 - Sheffield - Leadmill
September 21 - London - Indigo2
September 22 - Norwich - Waterfront
September 24 - Birmingham - HMV Library

Katy Perry to Launch Her Own Record Label

At the age of 27, Katy Perry has already sent 11 singles to the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 and sold 3.7 million albums to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan. She's been an actress and will soon be hitting the silver screen with the July premiere of her 3D movie, "Katy Perry: Part of Me 3D."

Now she'll add an executive title to her resume -- the pop star revealed in her Hollywood Reporter cover story that she's in the process of launching her own record label. "I'm preparing for it now," Perry said of the as-yet-unnamed imprint. "And when this record label does come to fruition, I'm going to try and avoid the things that take away any fighting chance for an artist to have financial success."

Once the label is formed, Perry -- who has been signed to EMI's Capitol Records since 2007 -- will follow in the footsteps of fellow pop superstars Madonna, who started Maverick Records under Warner Music Group in the '90s; Frank Sinatra, who founded Reprise; and Prince, who created Paisley Park Records in 1985.

Perry also discussed her upbringing, divorce from comedian Russell Brand, upcoming 3D film -- which she helped to finance with her own $2 million -- and more in the interview.

The Rules All Digital Music Services Must Follow

And To Whom They Must Pay Royalties In Order To Sell Music In Their Stores

In order for a digital music service like AmazonMP3 and others to allow a song to be downloaded, it must get two separate licenses and make two separate payments.

The licenses are:

-One from the person or entity that controls the recordings (like a record label)
-One from the person or entity that represents the rights of the songwriter

The two songwriter rights needed by digital music stores to be able to sell your music outside of the United States are:

1. The Right of Communication (aka Public Performance)

2. The Right of Reproduction

When a song sells in the United States, a digital music service like Amazon pays the songwriter money to the record label and then the record label pays the songwriter.

When a song sells outside of the United States, a digital music store must get the licenses and pay the person or entity directly that controls the songwriter rights. The digital music service does not pay the money to the record label to pay the songwriter.

Therefore, any royalties paid to you by TuneCore distribution for the sale of your music and songs outside of the United States do NOT include the additional money owed to the songwriter. The digital music services outside of the US must get the necessary licenses and make payments to the person or entity that controls these rights.

The digital music service must pay a separate royalty to the person or entity that wrote the song for each sale outside the United States.

If an artist is affiliated with a performing rights organization in the US like ASCAP or BMI, it is only for the right of Public Performance, not for Reproduction, which is just one of the two needed songwriter licenses.

The digital music service still needs to obtain the second license (the right of Reproduction), and make payments to the person or entity that controls that right for the songwriter.

Outside of the United States, the amount of the second royalty that typically gets paid to the songwriter for the download of a song via a digital music service is between 8 – 10% of the purchase price.

Some digital music services might try to get the licenses and make payments to a local, third party that does not represent all the rights (or any of the rights) of the songwriter.

These local collection agencies hold onto the songwriter’s money, take over 20% of it, and give the rest of it away to others companies like Warner Bros., Universal, EMI, Sony and others based on what % of the “market” they control.

In many cases, these local collection agencies never had the right to issue licenses and take the songwriter’s money in the first place.

It is not known if digital music services know this and turn a blind eye.

But what we do know is this: for songwriters, the digital music services must obtain the two licenses from songwriters, and make payments to them each time a song is downloaded from their stores.

If they do not have these licenses and are not making these royalty payments, they are violating copyright law and not paying artists the money they are owed.

Making Money with Your Music Q&A

How do I get paid when other people record my songs? 
Contrary to popular belief, songs are not "sold" to the artists that record them. In fact, artists who record "outside" songs, pay nothing for the privilege —until records are sold. Songwriters earn money in two ways: a) When records are sold and b) when their songs are played on radio, TV and other public areas (restaurants, concerts, etc).

How do I get paid from record sales? 

Payments from record sales are called 8. mechanical royalty rate mechanical royalties and are paid by the record company to the publisher of the song through the Harry Fox Agency. The royalty rate is set by congress (the "statutory rate") and is at this writing set at 8 cents per song. Therefore if you had one song that was written and published solely by you on a million selling album, you would earn $80,000 in mechanical royalties.

How do I get paid from radio airplay? 

Performance royalties are collected from radio and TV broadcasters, etc. by the Performing rights organizations ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC in the United States (each country has its own P.R.O.). The P.R.O.s distribute these payments to their member songwriters and publishers based on formulas that calculate how many people have been exposed to the song. A number one pop single might earn as much as a million dollars in performance royalties in its biggest year.

How do I get paid from film and TV usages? 

That varies widely depending on the kind of show or film using your music. Money is earned in two ways: the licensing fee, paid up front to the writer/artist, and the performance royalty, which is distributed to the writer by a performing rights organization ( ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC in the U.S.). The license fee is determined by the overall music budget a music supervisor has to work with, and the negotiating power of the artist. Unknown artists get far less license money than superstars, for example. TV shows and small films pay less than major studio feature films. A prime-time network TV show might pay a license of $500 - $5000 for an unknown artist - same for the smaller films. Major studio pictures pay well-known artists in the tens of thousands of dollars. Performance income is determined by the number of people estimated to have seen the show and therefore heard the music. The more popular the show - the more money you make on performance royalties. A network TV usage might pay in the $1000 - $2000 range for one broadcast. You make new royalties every time the show is re-run, which is particularly good news if you've got music on a show that goes into syndication and airs frequently in markets around the world. Cable broadcasts generally pay less than broadcast networks (less viewers). No performance royalties are generated on theatrical showings of films in the U.S.A. (though they are paid in other countries), but when the film is aired on TV, you would make your performance money. You may also make money when videos or DVDs are sold, depending on the nature of your original license agreement.

From The Desk of...

Getting Ahead

I watched a comedy some years ago called, How to succeed in business without really trying. The main character was a young employee who was constantly trying to impress the boss. In one scene he arrived a few minutes before nine, loosen his shirt and tie, messed up his hair, filled the ash trays with cigarette butts, and threw paper and documents all over the office floor. When his boss arrives a few minutes later the employee has collapsed at his desk, obviously worn out from busting his butt all through the night.
Now this is obviously over exaggerated, to dramatize the ridiculous lengths some people will go through in order to get ahead.

Assuming everyone has a similar background and abilities, why do some A&R’s shoot straight to the top while others seem to stall forever in the middle management or as an entry level employee?
I think that the overall answer lies in understanding the difference between ones abilities and ones effectiveness, which is simply using ones abilities to achieve certain ends and results.
A&R’s who live up to their abilities don’t become superstars, PERIOD.

Those A&R’s who become superstars combine their abilities with other things-savvy, people sense, an understanding how the music game is played. They are usually achievers and can show results, but this is because they are effective in selling their ideas and themselves inside the company as well as outside the company.

Is climbing the corporate ladder in the music business a game? Absolutely.  In fact,  it is several games all going on at the same time. If you care about your career, you should take these games serious and want to play them well.

As an A&R you should be constantly attempting to recognize real talent and not to be misled by appearances .

Question. Can you make yourself look good by not making someone else look bad?

Maxwell Cancels Tour After Vocal Hemorrhaging

R&B singer Maxwell has cancelled his short U.S. tour after developing vocal swelling and hemorrhaging.

A representative for the singer said Friday that he has been advised by doctors to rest and undergo treatment. Maxwell's six-date summer tour had shows planned for Los Angeles, Atlanta and Newark, N.J. for July and August.

Maxwell said in the statement that cancelling the tour "sucks" and he plans to hit the road when his new album, "blackSUMMERS'night," is released later this year.

The 39-year-old made his return to music in 2009 after a seven-year break with the platinum album "BLACKsummers'night." It won the singer-songwriter two Grammy Awards, among other accolades.

The statement also said refunds are available at the point of purchase.


Looks like McDonald's ain't getting love no more.
According to a report released by the American Consumer Satisfaction Index, Mickey D's ranked last in customer service among its fast food counterparts. Pizza and sandwich shops like Papa John's and Subway snubbed past the Golden Arches, with Wendy's filling the top spot. Burger King came in second.
The fast food giant, which serves 68 million customers daily, has always come last in the listing since 1995. The only exception was when Ronald McDonald's house came in a slight lead before BK and KFC in 2009.
Still, the catchy jingle has mustered some influence. McDonald's 73% ranking in overall satisfaction this year has risen greatly since it's 59% scoring in 2000.
Despite the placement, Mickey D's issued a statement emphasizing the significance of customer satisfaction: "At McDonald’s, customer satisfaction has, and continues to be, a top priority. We take all customer feedback seriously. Our internal and third-party research shows that we continue to make progress in satisfying our customers. Business results also reinforce this. In fact, the producers of the American Customer Satisfaction index said that McDonald’s customer satisfaction is at an all-time high. Still, we know we can do more by continuing to offer our customers great value, menu variety and a positive service experience every time they visit our restaurants.”
Forbes reports that the company plans to shell out $1.5 billion this year to install comfortable seating, WiFi, and McTV,

Lauren London Is Ready To Play "The Game" (DETAILS)

Actress Lauren London is the perfect young woman to fill Tia Mowry's shoes in the popular TV series The Game. BET was looking for fresh faces to replace both Mowry and co-star Pooch Hall in the show's upcoming season and it looks like they found just that!
London has reportedly snagged the new lead role in the show, and with her recent features on Single Ladies and role in Madea's Big Happy Family, ratings for The Game are sure to soar!  
Lauren London first won our hearts when she played rapper T.I.'s girlfriend in Blockbuster film ATL. Though we understand she has a newfound responsibility to motherhood, with her young baby boy Cam who's daddy is none other than Lil Wayne, we're glad to see Lauren getting back to her first love: acting!
The new season of The Game hasn't been announced quite yet, so stay tuned! 

Katy Perry Reveals Her Lowest Divorce Lows To Jay Leno (VIDEO)

Katy Perry always manages to maintain an up-beat, fun attitude even through hard times, but on her latest visit to the Tonight Show With Jay Leno, Katy revealed that her new film "Part of Me" documents what she calls the "lowest" point in her life. 
“I think that if you went to see the movie and it was completely avoided you come out of that theatre going, ‘Hmmm…That’s strange, I know something else did happen at that time in her life last year,’” she told Jay Leno of her new docu-movies that was taped around the time of her split from husband, Russell Brand.
She continues: 
“I wanted to show people that like ‘Look yeah I’m going through some of the same situations that half of America goes through,’ and somehow I landed on my feet and you don’t have to lay down and die even if you feel like you’re going to.”
But even though Katy admits showing that part of her to the world was a tough feat, she thinks it helped her get to where she is today, a place she is calling her highest. 
“It wasn’t always exciting to watch those unflattering scenes where I’m crying and having an intense moment.”
Katy added, “But I think that people will relate to the movie even more seeing me at my lowest point and now at my highest point.”
It is absolutely refreshing to know that Katy has found her success and herself coming full circle. Her brevity is admirable. 

Meet The Newest Male Lead Of 'The Game!'

We all head the sad news last month that Pooch Hall and Tia Mowry's contract with ‘The Game’ came to an end and will not be returning to the show as they want to to venture into new things.
Even though no one can fully take their place on the TV series, they can fill some of that void!
We already learned that Lauren London was cast as the new female role, and now they have casted actor Jay Ellis to be the male lead! reported that industry sources revealed Jay as the new male lead and will be coming on starting next season.
He will be playing Bryce “The Blueprint” Westbrook who is a running back from an Ivy League school who doesn’t get along with some of the San Diego Sabers teammates.
Jay has been featured on shows such as “Hart of Dixie” and “NCSI” in the past, so he should be ready to take on the role of a football player.
We can’t wait to see what Jay brings to the table!

Flo Jo’s Daughter Invited to Sing At Olympic Trials

Mary Joyner, daughter of late track and field legend Florence Griffith-Joyner, is headed to the Olympics. Only, not quite how you think. 

After Joyner’s recent standout performance during her America’s Got Talent audition, she received three “yes” votes from the judges and caught the attention of the Team USA Olympic Track and Field Team. They have invited her to sing the national anthem at the 2012 U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon later this month, reports

It's sure to be a touching moment for all those in attendance. Flo Jo, who passed away suddenly in her sleep in 1998, won 5 Olympic medals, three gold and two silver, and holds the world record for both the 100 m and 200 m sprints. She is still known as "the fastest woman in the world." If you missed Joyner's touching audition, check it out here.

Read more:

Rodney King's Family Does Not Want His Fiancee at His Funeral

Last weekend, the world learned the sad news of police brutality victim Rodney King’s sudden passing. Today, we learn that his fiancée, Cynthia Kelley, who found his body at the bottom of their pool, will not be invited to attend his funeral, reports

According to reports, King’s family has decided not to include her in any funeral plans because they feel she hasn’t helped since his death and are suspicious that she may have had some involvement. Sources tell the news site that she hasn’t reached out to his family and because they knew him to be a strong swimmer, they find her story about his drowning unlikely. Kelley reportedly told police that on the morning of his death she heard King knock on the window and then fall into the pool. Police are still investigating King’s death, and it’s still being called an accident at this time. King’s funeral services will be held next Saturday in Hollywood.

Do you think it’s wrong for King’s family to turn on his fiancée? Should she be allowed to attend the funeral, even if the official cause of his death has still not been determined? Tell us your thoughts below.

US seeking 5th consecutive gold medal

The U.S. women's basketball team dominated the Beijing Games, winning by close to 38 points per game while cruising to the gold medal.
And this group could be even better.
"We have an opportunity to have one of the greatest Olympic teams all-time given the combination of players we have with the depth, experience and youth," coach Geno Auriemma said. "I have tremendous respect for every team we're playing over there and by no means will this be easy at all. I'm focused on trying to make this team maximize the unbelievable potential they have."
It might be difficult for Auriemma to improve on the United States' recent success. With half the roster made up of his own Connecticut Huskies, they'll at least be ready for his style.
The Americans have won four straight gold medals and 33 consecutive games in the Olympics. Much of the current roster is in its prime now, making it even more likely Auriemma and Co. could reduce the Olympic tournament to a competition for silver.
"This is the first time that it's their time. The last group of veterans was so great with Lisa Leslie, Tina Thompson and Katie Smith and all those guys who played before like Dawn Staley," Auriemma said. "This is a new era. Their time is now and I want to help them capture this moment."
The U.S. is led by Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird and Tamika Catchings, who are all trying for a third straight gold medal. Taurasi and Bird starred for Auriemma at Connecticut, helping the school win three consecutive NCAA titles from 2002-04.
Joining the trio is a wealth of talent, headlined by Candace Parker, Sylvia Fowles and Seimone Augustus. The three all won gold medals in Beijing. Swin Cash also has an Olympic gold medal on her resume, winning one in 2004.
Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen, Tina Charles, Asjha Jones and Angel McCoughtry will be making their first appearance in the Olympics. All five of the newcomers were part of the team that won the 2010 world championship to secure a spot in London.
The biggest problem for the Americans heading into the Summer Games happened off the court, where an employment discrimination lawsuit was filed against Auriemma, the NBA and USA Basketball on June 11 by a woman who works as an NBA security official. Kelley Hardwick said she was removed from a 2012 Olympics assignment after she spurned an advance from Auriemma.
The coach has called the claim "beyond false" and intends to fight it. The U.S. players don't expect it to be a distraction in London.
"I think because we have great leadership on this team that we're just going to focus on the task that will be at hand and that's to prepare to win a gold medal," Cash said. "You never want to let outside distractions interfere with that and I think that we'll have the right leadership to make sure that everybody comes to play and is ready to go in London."
While Auriemma thinks this could be the best American team ever, Taurasi is just hoping for some well-deserved respect.
"The men's team that won gold in 2008 had the mantra of 'road to redemption.' We're on the road to respect," she said. "A team that's won four gold medals in a row and we're still fighting for respect in our own country. I think it's a little sad. That's a motivator for all of us in that gym. Our level is so high that it becomes normal. Even to the public, they think we should win the gold medal and if we don't, it's shocking."
Standing in the way of the Americans' fifth straight gold is perennial runner-up Australia, which has lost the gold medal game at the last three Olympics. The Australians will be missing star Penny Taylor, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee in early April while playing for Turkish club Fenerbahce, where she was averaging more than 19 points a game.
They still have Lauren Jackson, who has competed in the last three Olympics. This time she decided not to play for the first three months of the WNBA season and instead train with her teammates for the London Games. Jackson is trying to add the one thing missing from her incredible basketball resume - an Olympic gold medal.
While the Australians and many other teams have been training for months, the Americans have only been together for a short period. They had a three-day training camp in Seattle in May and then will spend two weeks together before Olympic pool play begins on July 28.
"We know we have limited time to train, but that's the nature of this team," Catchings said. "Because of the WNBA and overseas commitments we'll never be able to get everyone together for a long period."
The Americans and Australians are in different pools and most likely wouldn't meet until the medal rounds. The biggest game of the preliminary rounds could be between Australia and Russia, with the winner likely avoiding the Americans until the gold medal game.
Becky Hammon is once again playing for Russia. She created a stir in 2008 when she first played for them in the Beijing Olympics. The South Dakota-born star became a Russian citizen and under FIBA rules was allowed to compete for the country. She helped guide that team to a bronze medal. She expects a lot less fanfare this time around.
"It's old news," Hammon said about her decision to play for Russia. "I played with them in the world championship, European championship, hopefully I'll enjoy it a lot more. By far it was one of the best decisions I ever made and I stand by that, and really look forward to doing it again."

Mark Cuban absolutely destroys ESPN’s Skip Bayless on air, Skip Bayless doesn’t seem to care

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban went on ESPN on Friday morning to absolutely devastate Skip Bayless' willfully ignorant view of pro basketball. It was a destructive, stunning and completely one-sided batch of brilliance from Cuban spurred on by smarts, nuance and research. And, because Skip Bayless doesn't care about being wrong just as long as the check clears and he's got someone with a strong enough Q Rating for the next segment, it made absolutely no impact. Thanks for trying, Mark, but we lost Skip a long time ago.
Here's the video, as provided by ESPN because it cares less about its employee being turned to ash on live TV and more about creating eyes for something that could go viral until the next "big" thing hits. Watch:
For the entire interview, in worse quality and possibly to be taken off YouTube soon by ESPN (as is its right), check out the clip starting at the 8:30 mark of this rip:
We've, sadly, gone over all of this before. The stupidity and the lies.
Skip Bayless, as he's admitted to his colleagues at ESPN, doesn't care to watch the games. The possession-by-possession nuance and adjustment and dictation of a pro basketball game doesn't matter much to him. What he's best at is creating easily digestible swings between the idea of Right and Wrong, and whatever the Right or Wrong is, it's the Rightiest Right or Wrongiest Wrong that's ever been seen in the annals of team or individual sports.
And, as is often the case with those who comment on pro basketball, Skip Bayless turns the NBA into an individual sport. That's just fine to do for a purpose of a column or comment on a radio or TV show — our personal take on Game 5 was all about LeBron James, we immediately gushed over Mike Miller following that, and we made our Oklahoma City postmortem mostly about Scott Brooks — but only if you allow for the myriad influences that stretch beyond one person's individual work to color your overall take of the game. Because even if you have your own NBA blog that you adore that allows you to write about what you want, whenever you want, you can't possibly hope to ever express all that you feel about the NBA as a whole in your or its entirety.
If you're doing it right, at least.
Skip doesn't care that he's doing it wrong. He'll take the verbal pie in the face for ratings. Cuban's interview may have been a major strike for those of us that like our NBA discussion to be thoughtful and well-researched, but this was just another Friday for Skip. Just another late morning working on a basic cable show, counting the days until he gets to talk about Tiger Woods at the British Open, or how Bud Selig is going to screw up the All-Star game, all before pro football's year-long preseason finally comes back around to save him and his declining ratings.
We appreciate what Mark does, clearly. We kind of like the idea of an owner of a pro basketball team shooting Skip Bayless "dude, you can't post-up a zone defense"-look. But we're not being overly cynical when we tell you that none of this matters.
The only thing we know about the game of basketball is that we're never, ever going to know enough. We wish Skip Bayless knew this.

Miami Heat victory party at LIV: LeBron, D-Wade, Bosh and Co. rack up $200,000 bar tab in all-night bash (VIDEOS, PHOTOS)

You just won the NBA championship. You are ecstatic, eager to extend that ecstasy as long as you can, and desperate to celebrate, dance, carry on, drink champagne, smoke cigars and, to borrow a well-worn cliche from coach Erik Spoelstra, "live in the moment" of your career's greatest achievement. You are in Miami. So you go to LIV, the massive nightclub and den of debauchery at the Fontainebleau resort hotel in Miami Beach, and get to poppin' off.
That's what the Dallas Mavericks did last year after clinching the O'Brien at the AmericanAirlines Arena, with Dirk Nowitzki and company hammering down a monster magnum of Ace of Spadeschampagne en route to ringing up a $110,000 bar tab, happily paid by victorious Mavs owner Mark Cuban. On Thursday night — and, really Friday morning — the Miami Heat washed away the agony of that defeat and threw themselves whole-hog into the thrill of victory, taking over LIV and casting aside Cuban's credit-card bill like it was a receipt for your airport sandwich.
The Heat reportedly dropped (at least) $200,000 on their post-Finals victory party, an all-night rager that reportedly cost a stack to enter and featured surprise performances, dancing women twirling flaming sticks, carbon dioxide guns and an awful lot of your favorite hip-hop classics (read: the four songs on the radio now). That's an especially staggering sum when you consider that they've got seven more of these to cover.'s Fred Gonzalez was on-hand for what sounds like it was a pretty insane scene:
Shortly after 2:30 a.m. players began arriving and filling up the main stage at LIV which had been turned into a massive VIP area reserved just for the Heat. Along with Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem, Joel Anthony, Shane Battier, Norris Cole, Juwan Howard and others, the Heat filled the area to capacity. (Bosh was the last to arrive at 4:30 a.m.).
LIV had to close its doors to the public by 3 a.m. once the team had arrived, already nearing capacity, and then it was time to pop bottles of champagne — an estimated tab of over $200,000 — including the legendary Ace of Spades super magnum-sized champagne (we're talking 15 liters of bubbly, people, with a sticker price of $75K).
Yeah, but what about the butlered hors d'oeuvres? Did they have little lobster rolls? Oh, man, those are the best. Get me one of those the next time the lady comes around.
Well, that sounds like it was very crazy. And thanks to the magic of photography, videography and the Internet, we know for certain that it was. Hit the jump to bask in the afterglow, thanks
PLEASE NOTE: There's some strong language in the videos below — mostly in the form of singing along with hip-hop lyrics — so the content might not be suitable for all watchers/listeners. User discretion is suggested.
Heat owner Mickey Arison and coach Eric Spoelstra also stopped by to celebrate. Wade wore a t-shirt that read "Team No Sleep", and James, who wore a t-shirt adorned with a vampire version of his face, eventually took to the microphone and attempted to sing to the crowd. Several players took turns shooting the CO2 guns and filling the room with "White Hot' smoke.
It is a testament to how crazy an image of giant men shooting carbon dioxide guns in a club is that "t-shirt adorned with a vampire version of his face" is the second craziest thing in that paragraph.
You'd probably call what James attempted to do rapping, and thankfully, we know what he was rapping: "Riot," by 2 Chainz, in and around a surprise performance by LMFAO. Video, which features some salty language, below:
The weird thought I had while watching the portions of LeBron's rapping in that video is that it doesn't seem very fun to be, like, penned into the VIP while someone else is performing at your party. James, Wade, Bosh and all their people just seem to be standing there, occasionally bopping and watching other people dance. If this was all you saw, you'd think the Heat didn't really have such a great time, especially if you assumed they had to watch LMFAO for, like, hours.
But as the photos from Seth Browarnik at show, that wasn't the case at all:

Bosh, Wade and James celebrate perhaps their best game as a trio, a Game 5 blowout in which they combined for 70 points on 25-for-45 shooting, 26 rebounds, 16 assists, seven blocks and four steals. They were everything Heat owner Micky Arison had dreamed of, which is why he looks so happy here:
Heat owner Micky Arison digs chilling at the DJ booth 
The man who writes the checks gets to smile as wide as he pleases and hang wherever he'd like, which is why he's posted up on the left side of DJ Irie, the Heat's in-arena music maestro, who took over the sound system at LIV to kick out the Miami stars' favorite jams as they enjoyed an adult beverage, or two, or, in the case of this magnum of Ace of Spades, about 3,000:
Dwyane Wade's got a lot of work to do here.

Eat your heart out, Dirk.
I don't have a really smooth, narratively seamless way to link from the giant bottle of champagne to this next one, so let's just call it what it is — Juwan Howard wielding a CO2-powered smoke gun, which is a phrase I never thought I'd get to use outside the context of my little heralded but greatly enriching side gig as a writer of "Ghostbusters" fan-fiction:
Shine on, you crazy ol' diamond.

Ol' Man Spengler. Egon Howard. Nary a Venkman in sight, and I'm not convinced any old nerd's ever been happier.
And on the last night of an NBA Finals and an NBA season that was, in large part, all about LeBron James, it feels only fitting to close out the party post with a picture of the man, wearing a picture of himself as a vampire on his chest, soaking in the moment:
A race well run.
A moment that, according to TMZ, James didn't allow to end until 6 a.m. Shoot, would you want the best night of your life to shut down before it had to?
Here's to you, Miami Heat. I hope you had fun last night and this morning, and that you are, despite being members of awake gangs and possible vampire-people, sleeping the comfortable sleep of a champion right now. May we all join you soon enough.