Saturday, September 29, 2012

So Long – Cosby Writing Program Ends On High Note

It was a night of high emotion, small class reunions and celebratory goodbyes.  The Guy Hanks and Marvin Miller Screenwriting Program, otherwise known as The Cosby Program, ended September 24, 2012.  After 18 years and hundreds of alumni, this distinguished fellowship has been a pivotal stepping stone for many of Hollywood’s literary rank and file in the entertainment industry.
With a pedigree that includes some of the industry’s best writers, producers and directors, one has to wonder why the program came to a precipitous end?  Viewed as an option for writers of color (and those interested in African American history) to learn more about what’s necessary to succeed in the industry and achieve gainful employment, while writing/refining their TV spec and feature film scripts, Drs. Bill and Camille Cosby, along with colleague and former agent, Larry Auerbach, got the literary ball rolling.  They were joined by several executive directors, the latest being the indefatigable Doreene Hamilton Hudson who’s had the longest staying power with a tenure of 14 years.  She recruited industry leaders as teachers and mentors, including writer/producer and directors Michael Ajakwe Jr., Dwayne Johnson Cochran, David Wyatt to name a few. 
The night’s attendees were students and classmates.  And the many mini-reunions that took place were perfect testimony to the program’s strengths – long-term strategic alliances and friendships.   
Appropriately, the commencement ceremony was held at The Writers Guild of America, West in Los Angeles and sponsored by the Guild’s Committee of Black Writers, where industry mavens Janine Sherman Barrois (Criminal Minds, ER), Mara Brock Akil (Being Mary Jane, Girlfriends) and Gina Prince-Bythewood (Secret Life of Bees, Love and Basketball) were also honored.  
Coincidentally, all three women met on Fox’s 1994 dramedy, South Central, and have since blazed their own respective tales and trails in the biz.  It’s only fitting they each received a Trailblazer Award.
The standing room only crowd at the packed WGAw house, was regaled by stories and remarks from Program participants and supporters.  The value of the Writing Program could not be overstated.  Its  demise was mourned by everyone present, but Janine Sherman Barrois implored everyone to “continue to write.  That’s the only thing that’s going to change the game.”  The kinship visible in the room only added to her next statement.  “Don’t look at each other as competitors, but as allies.”
Similar sentiments were echoed by Brock Akil and Prince-Bythewood.  “No one can stop you from expressing your art as a writer,” says Brock Akil.  “Write.  Find the time.”  Prince-Bythewood said Bill Cosby himself was such an influential role model in her early career, “he paid me to read to make sure I knew my history.  [Doing this type of work] is always a fight, but perseverance is what keeps you going, and growing.”
Yes, the Program has ended, but its value will be felt for many years.  The depth and breadth of talent in the room, and beyond, reaches every sector of the business.  Sherman Barrois put it best, "you have to reach out to those behind you.  There is still much work to be done." 
As an alumni myself, I can’t help but be grateful for the experience and opportunity of working with this incredible body of professionals and I eagerly anticipate greater ventures.  Cosby Program Executive Director Doreene Hamilton Hudson couldn’t have said it better – in her thank you note to the attendees, she encourages everyone to “keep writing, keep striving and keep the legacy alive!”

Universal Completes $1.9 Billion EMI Recorded Music Acquisition

LONDON - Vivendi's Universal Music Group said Friday that it has completed the $1.9 billion acquisition of EMI's recorded music arm.

"This is a next step towards ensuring the health of our industry," said UMG chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge. "EMI is finally returning to people who have music in their blood. We are acquiring incredible labels and a roster of stellar talent, including top-selling artists like Katy Perry, Lady Antebellum, The Beatles and The Beach Boys. We remain true to our vision of investing in EMI, growing the company as a vibrant source of new music, offering consumers more choice and supporting the growth of online music services."

The combined company will bring together such labels as Blue Note, Capitol Records, Decca, Def Jam Recordings, Deutsche Grammophon, EMI Records, Geffen Records, Interscope Records, Island Records, Capitol Records Nashville, Mercury Records, Motown Records, Polydor Records, Universal Music Latino, Universal Music Nashville, Virgin Records and Verve Music Group.

Grainge also thanked EMI boss Roger Faxon and his team "for their tremendous support over the last year and for staying focused on developing artists and delivering new music throughout this transition."

Earlier this month, UMG had received approval for the deal in the U.S. and from the European Union. The EU approval came under the conditions of a range of asset sales, including sale of the label housing such acts as Coldplay.

Vivendi said in a statement that the deal enables it to "significantly strengthen its ownership of exclusive content."

"With EMI, Universal Music Group enlarges its presence in countries such as the United States, Japan and Germany, the leading international music markets," the French media and telecom conglomerate said. "It increases its market share and develops its availability on all digital platforms, while remaining true to its vision: to invest in talent and offer consumers more music and choice."


Jay-Z christened the new Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets, with a the first of eight concerts on Friday (Sept. 28) night. Hova came dressed for the event, alright. The "Empire State of Mind" rapper swapped his usual t-shirt and jeans and showed off the new Nets jersey.
Just in time too. Today, the black and white jerseys hit stores -- the Nets Shop by adidas at Barclays Center,, the, Modell and the NBA store -- with a price tag ranging from $60 - $250. With Brooklyn stamped across the front, the jersey also includes a herringbone detail on the side that was inspired by the same pattern on Barclays basketball court. Other gear available includes everything from hats to socks and watches.
“The inaugural event at Barclays Center, the new home of the Brooklyn Nets, was the perfect time to reveal the new Nets jersey and there was no one more fitting than Brooklyn’s own JAY Z to do it,” said Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark. “The jersey’s black and white color scheme and classic look speaks to the rich history of Brooklyn and we anticipate Brooklyn Nets fans proudly sporting our jerseys throughout the borough and all over the world.”
The Nets play their first official game against their crosstown rivals, the New York Knicks, on Nov. 1.

Lyor Cohen and Warner Music Group: What Are the Next Moves?

Below is the story "Lyor Mulls Next Move" -- an in-depth look at the options facing Lyor Cohen who this week stepped down as CEO of WMG's recorded music and how WMG may fill the vacancy -- from this week's edition of Billboard Magazine, which also features a cover story on superstar Bruno Mars who gives an exclusive preview of his wide-ranging second album Unorthodox Jukebox. Also, a special section on Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw's "Brothers of the Sun" Tour and how it made country music history; a guide to ad agency music supervisors; an up-close look at both Universal's acquisition of EMI and how the deal may hinder the digital market; and a piece on how Clear Channel's direct deals with labels could hurt Pandora, as well as our incomparable columns and charts, and much more. 

With Lyor Cohen's sudden exit from Warner Music Group as chairman and CEO of recorded music the industry rumor mill has been working overtime naming his replacement, but insiders say that CEO Stephen Cooper may stay in place running the company and just have the labels heads reporting into him, as they are doing since Cohen resigned.

Warner Music's parent company Access and Cooper are not into layers of management, says one Warner Music Group insider. "Cooper, besides being frugal, likes to have the shortest point between people," says that executive. "But I don't think this [Cohen's departure] was planned."

Lyor Cohen Stepping Down as Warner Music Chairman/CEO
 In the beginning there was a rocky start between Cooper and Cohen, but it seemed like they were finally working things out and that they would be walking down the road together. So we were all shocked when it happened."
When the Warner Music Group had company meetings in Germany two weeks ago, "Cohen was acting very strong, very presidential, very much in charge, which is why I was really surprised" when he left, says one Warner Music Group executive.

So what happened to turn things around? All along sources have been saying that the key sticking point had been Cohen's contract, which a year after Len Blavatnik and his Access Industries had acquired WMG, still hadn't been signed to take into account his promotion to chairman of recorded music on a worldwide basis. According to company insiders, the problem didn't so much concern a money dispute as to how bonus and incentives based on performance can be worked out in the absence of a publicly-traded stock, which is how Cohen's previous contract and pay was structured. But others say that Access had a problem with the industry's executive high payment schemes. Two people close to the situation said there had been disagreements over future company structure and strategy, which would give him a modified role he was not keen on.

Warner Music and Cohen declined to comment.

Some industry executives still believe Cohen could wind up at Sony Music as Doug Morris' successor or helming Capitol Records; others, including WMG executives, say its more likely that he will align with a private equity firm and start a management company or maybe even become one of the bidders for the record label catalogs being divested by the Universal Music Group.

As one executive who is familiar with Cohen put it, "Lyor is an entrepreneur and he could only deal with so much of corporate." That executive bets that Cohen will start a management firm/label operation, rather than wind-up at one of the other majors.

A Daily News story on Sept 27 said Cohen has been secretly working on building a management company for the last two years and would continue to pursue that opportunity.

"Lyor's forte is to 'move artists' as he and [Atlantic Group chairman/COO] Julie [Greenwald] like to say," another executive says. "If there is no room at UMG or Sony, Lyor may have to turn to private equity and build a new company."

For their part, sources at Universal and Sony say there is no room for Cohen, although they officially decline to comment.

While the press have been working overtime in installing soon-to-exit EMI boss Roger Faxon as Warner Music CEO, sources within WMG say that is not happening. They say that while Faxon would be a good replacement for Cooper, he could never handle Cohen's job because he doesn't have the A&R chops. He also does not have the close relationship with Blavatnik that Cooper does. But while some executives question if Cooper has the vision to run a major record company, WMG insiders say it doesn't appear he is going anywhere.

One music industry executive, who says he knows Cooper and his limitations says, "you need a music guy in the top spot and Access is crazy not to have one there."

But a WMG insider said the move makes some sense. "If Cooper wants to stay, why should they replace Cohen? You cut out a big chunk of overhead, and if you feel the separate record companies are running well why do you need to bring in someone else?"
Atlantic Records' team of Greenwald and chairman/CEO Craig Kallman receive a lot of praise from executives within WMG. But they add, the jury is still out on Warner Bros. management team comprised of chairman Rob Cavallo, co-president/CEO Todd Moscowitz and co-president/COO Livia Tortella.

One possible money-saving solution would be to give Greenwald, Kallman and Warner/Chappell Music Publishing chairman/CEO Cameron Strang more responsibilities, suggests another WMG executive. With Big Jon Platt recently joining the publishing company as president of creative for North America that could free up Strang, if he was needed.


If you don't know Glu Agency CEO Derek Jackson, allow us to introduce you to the man responsible for getting lucrative deals for some of your favorite artists.
Lil Wayne's new skate park in New Orleans? Thank Derek. Nicki Minaj's multi-million dollarPepsi deal? You can credit Mr. Jackson for that one too. With his Glu Agency—a firm that"weaves the latest and most relevant trends" together like glue (get it now?)—Jackson plans to take the music industry by storm, and give it a much needed face lift.
VIBE got a chance to catch up with the influential businessman to discuss everything from locking down Nicki's Pepsi deal, the difference between managing artists versus managing a business, his ten-year plan for Glu, and even rates Weezy's skating skills on a scale from 1 to 10. You might just be surprised with his rating.
VIBE: Let's talk about who you are as a person, GLU Agency, and how you got started in the business in the first place.
Derek Jackson: After Scott Storch and I went through what we went through (Editors Note:Jackson managed Storch spanning from the early 90s to November of last year), I found myself in a position where I wanted to do something different. I saw the transition occurring in the industry, and I needed to find a safe haven. I knew I was well connected, and I also knew that in the industry there's a pocket for brands & for the relationships. I found it necessary to fill that void. That was my driving force. I took a couple dollars of my own money and I started [GLU Agency] up. At that point, I met with a gentleman by the name of Marcus Glover—who's now the President of the company and my partner—and I suppose you can say, in a cliché way, the rest is history.
You went from managing Scott Storch to pretty much managing an entire company. What would you say is the biggest difference between managing artists vs managing business? Were there any kind of struggles while making that transition?
Actually, no. I’ve done this before, but managing a company is much simpler. When you’re managing individuals, you're managing them 24 hours a day—you manage their every need & want. Basically, you are on-call. In the business world, you can manage people, but you can manage them at a distance. It's not as intimate I should say.
Speaking of individual artists, let’s talk about this Nicki Minaj Pepsi deal. That was pretty huge, man. She was out in South Africa filming that! How did you go about approaching her with such a game-changing business venture?
The great thing was, I already knew that she was on her way to going on her international tour. I found it necessary to fill that void—like I did with Wayne. I’m great friends with the management company, and I said, 'Guys, there is a void. I think we can fill it.' At that point, I was committed to selling Pepsi on believing she was worth the money and the program. I think they’re learning the truth—she was worth it.
With addition to the Nicki deal, Weezy just launched his skate park—which you had a big role in cultivating. How did you get started with that whole YMCMB union?
From being a manager, I know a lot of the head guys at Blueprint Group (Lil Wayne's management firm), like Shawn GeeCortez Bryant, and Gee Roberson. I have great relationships with them. I’ve been in this business for 25 years, so these are people I know really well. I knew that there was a time, as I watched this thing grow into something so immense, when they could use some sponsorship opportunities. That’s what I did. I pitched to them that I can help bring additional pieces to the party, and they agreed. They believed.
Let's delve more into Weezy's new skate park. He’s been really dedicated to the whole “Skater Life." Have you ever seen him skate, with your own two eyes?
[Laughs] Yeah, yesterday. He skated in front of everybody! He was not intimidated.
So with that said, how would you honestly rate his skate skills—on a scale of 1 to 10?
I think, considering the timing, he’s definitely a 9.
You gotta remember, kids usually start skating from a very young age. [Wayne's] only been skating for about a year in a half. He’s picking it up and really getting it.
For you to give him a 9 though is pretty crazy [Laughs].
Listen, watching Lil Wayne skate was one of the most amazing sights I’ve seen in my life. He wasn’t Wayne the rapper—he was Wayne the skater. The difference in that is, he had to stand in line, he wasn’t the best, and he was just a guy wanting to be a part of a group. It was the most amazing thing I’ve seen from him thus far. He knows that he, as a individual and celebrity, is huge. However, he respects the sport so much, that he doesn’t thrust his celebrity on everybody. He wants to be a skater and be respected as a skater.
You can definitely tell. Even in the DEWeezy campaign—which I know you had a hand in too—he's really trying to learn it and go through everything that actual skaters go through. From getting injured and coming right back from it, Wayne is really intertwining himself into this whole culture.
Let me say this to you: From the minute we did the launch at South By Southwest, he's been so committed to this that it's ridiculous. There’s not one thing I asked him to do that he hasn’t done. I couldn’t have asked for more. He was incredible.
With yesterday being his 30th birthday, where do you see Mr. Carter 30 years from now?
Wow! [Laughs] In all honesty, from doing some of Wayne’s biggest records with him, I really know this guy. Wayne is an intense human being and one that’s committed. With those kinds of characteristics, he’s destined to be successful for the rest of his life—as long as he stays true to that ritual. There are tools to success, and he has them. When it’s all said and done and he sells this, 60 years from now I see him somewhere with his kids & grandkids enjoying life—deservingly so too! He really is committed. He didn’t even miss a beat when he got incarcerated.
Agreed. He just surpassed Elvis Presley for the most Billboard Hot 100 entries, so he’s already paving a lane to becoming a living legend—if he hasn’t already.
He is a legend. I'll give him that—he's a living legend.
Definitely. To sum all this good stuff up, where do you see Glu Agency going in the near and distant future?
D: Well obviously we’ve got Nicki. We’re setting up some deals for Drake. We’ve gotMuhammad AliMeek MilTrey Songz—I mean, we have the luxury! We're even doing stuff with Kelly Rowland, so the list is endless. I call us, as a company, “The Cleaners."
Care to elaborate?
What I mean by that is, this industry that we call advertising needs new life, new breath, and new ideas. That’s what we’re trying to bring in. We’re trying to cultivate new strategies. It's things that people are not doing what they should be doing. Just because you’re an A-List artist, doesn’t mean it’s certified success because you participate in something. What if I take a new artist, who has 500,000 Twitter followers and 1 million Facebook 'Likes', but they’re brand new. Why aren’t they just as important as Meek Mill?
Good point.
I'm cultivating the strategy of believing—not just in the A-List artists, but the B- List and C- List artists. They work just as hard and they need people to believe in their vision. If I go to a brand, we’re creating a phase-out program. You work from one level to the next, until you get to the top. People will definitely go crazy.
That sounds like an amazing business platform.
It’s all about getting everyone on track. Social networking has really turned the industry into a new plateau. It’s creating a new frontier. To be at the forefront of it, Marcus Glover, the staff at GLU, and myself all take great pride in it. The reality is, our future is dedicated to how much we can do. How much we can give directly affects what we will get back. That’s why we work at the pace we work at. We’ve had a hell of a year. We’ve done a lot of cultivating of the marketplace. Never in history have you heard about an advertising agency building a skate park. We built that skate park. We’re gonna leave it here, and let be left as a blueprint. It’s important to a community that has been downtrodden and affected by devastation. Now what happens is, we’ve given them a life preserve. It’s something to hold on to. I think that’s where I'm most prideful.

Kobe Bryant Dishes on Talking Trash on the Court with President Obama

If there's one person you'd be hard pressed to find anyone talking trash to it's President Barack Obama. Unless, of course you're Kobe Bryant. The NBA star recently opened up to Ellen Degeneres about shooting hoops with the Commander in Chief and engaging in a bit of harmless competitive banter, too. 

"He talks a lot of trash," Bryant says of Obama reports PEOPLE.  "You know he's from Chicago – the Bulls through and through. He always talks Bulls this, the Bulls that. I'm like, my goodness. Can I talk trash to the President?" 

The LA Lakers shooting guard did admit that he fired back at President Obama, but it was all in fun. "Of course I did. I couldn't help it," admitted Bryant. 

With a championship ring and an Olympic gold medal under his belt, going up against a player of Bryant's caliber is enough to make anyone a bit intimidated, even if you are the president. Bryant says that despite his all-star hoop skills, he went a little easy on President Obama when they were on the court. 

"The thing that’s interesting is that if he makes a nice move, you kind of catch yourself," said Bryant. "I’m going to steal the ball from him. Then all the sudden, I start peeking around looking for the CIA. I say, you know, I should just let him go."

Kanye West Sued Over Song Sampling

A record label is suing Kanye West for what it claims are illegal song samples on the rapper's latest album. 

TufAmerica says two tracks on West's 2010 disc "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" include a bit from of "Hook and Sling, Part 1" by New Orleans singer-pianist Eddie Bo. TufAmerica says it bought the rights to the 1969 single more than 15 years ago. The sample appears in West's "Who Will Survive in America?" and "Lost in the World." 

In its complaint, filed in federal court in Manhattan, TufAmerica says West's label Roc-A-Fella and parent Universal Music Group paid it a license fee of $62,500 but "failed and refused to enter into written license agreements that accounted for their multiple other uses of ['Hook and Sling']." The sample also appeared in the "Lost in the World" video and the short film based on West's song "Runaway." 

"My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 496,000 units sold and since has been certified platinum. 

TufAmerica, represented by New York attorney Kelly Talcott, is seeking undisclosed damages for copyright infringement. 

The label made headlines in May when it filed a copyright-infringement suit against Beastie Boys and other entities the day before the rap trio's Adam "MCA" Yauch died of cancer. That suit, which also named Universal Music, Brooklyn Dust Music and Capitol Records as defendants, claimed that samples from Trouble Funk two songs it administers were illicitly used on the Beasties' 1980s albums "License to Ill" and "Paul's Boutique."


"Kicked out? Yall funny!" tweeted the Game after reports surfaced Saturday morning that the "Celebration" rapper had been kicked out of Lil Wayne' 30th birthday bash the night prior.
Game got into an altercation with rapper 211 at the party, and the two took things outside where security intervened and TMZ had their camera rolling. Game hasn't been silent about the incident and is trying to claim the W in the fight. "I was standing over you while you was faced down & coulda "Compton Stomped" you..... But I aint shady so I let you up & 2 pieced you again," he tweeted victoriously.
Before you get too excited, the footage is grainy. You don't see any jabs or uppercuts flying about because the video begins after the swings. According to reports, Game was hanging with Sean Kingston, Chris Brown and the birthday boy himself when 211 walked up and started talking smack. Watch more smack talk in the video below.

Robert Kraft, President of Fox Music, Stepping Down

Robert Kraft is leaving his position as president of Fox Music to create a new venture to develop musical films and television shows.
He also supervised the music for Twentieth Century Fox Television hits such as "Ally McBeal," "The X-Files," "24" and "The Simpsons."
During Kraft's tenure, Fox Music received 10 Academy Award nominations, winning four times; 61 Emmy nominations with 11 wins; and 49 Grammy nominations with 14 wins.

A composer, producer and performer whose recording career began in the 1970s with his band the Ivory Coast, Kraft's breakthrough in film music came when he co-produced the soundtrack to "The Little Mermaid" and its Oscar-winning song "Under the Sea."  In 1992, Kraft was nominated for an Oscar, a Grammy and a Golden Globe for co-writing "Beautiful Maria of My Soul" for "The Mambo Kings."
During Kraft's tenure, Fox Music received 10 Academy Award nominations, winning four times; 61 Emmy nominations with 11 wins; and 49 Grammy nominations with 14 wins. 

A composer, producer and performer whose recording career began in the 1970s with his band the Ivory Coast, Kraft's breakthrough in film music came when he co-produced the soundtrack to "The Little Mermaid" and its Oscar-winning song "Under the Sea."  In 1992, Kraft was nominated for an Oscar, a Grammy and a Golden Globe for co-writing "Beautiful Maria of My Soul" for "The Mambo Kings."
A composer, producer and performer whose recording career began in the 1970s with his band the Ivory Coast, Kraft's breakthrough in film music came when he co-produced the soundtrack to "The Little Mermaid" and its Oscar-winning song "Under the Sea."  In 1992, Kraft was nominated for an Oscar, a Grammy and a Golden Globe for co-writing "Beautiful Maria of My Soul" for "The Mambo Kings."

Kraft has been the chief executive of Fox Music since 1994, becoming president in 1998.  He supervised the music for all  the studio's films, including "Titanic," "Waiting to Exhale," "Moulin Rouge," "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Rio."   

"I'm very proud of what Fox Music has accomplished during my tenure, and I know the division will continue to inspire both music and film audiences for a long time to come," Kraft said in a statement. "I am excited about the opportunity to develop my own musical films and TV shows." 

Nicki Minaj Will Do a Three-Part Reality Special on E!

Yesterday, various outlets, including XXL, has reported that Nicki Minaj is considering a reality TV series. However, it’s been announced today that the news has been widely exaggerated. According to E!—the channel that’s supposed to host the show—the Queens-bred rapper will appear on three reality specials starting from November. The specials will feature previously unreleased footage of the rapper, as well as a closer look into both her personal and professional life.
While it’s nothing close to the initial rumor of having a full-fledged reality program, with cameras tailing Nicki Minaj and her close affiliates, the rapper’s loyal circle of Barbz will have to settle for the three-part reality specials for now. 

Friday, September 28, 2012


Reports are surfacing that actor Johnny Lewis, famous for his role as Kip "Half Sack" Epps in the first two seasons of the FX Network series Sons of Anarchy, has died after falling from a roof—shorty after murdering an 81-year-old woman.
Yes, you read that correctly.
According to TMZ, cops believe Johnny was high on either PCP or meth at the time he allegedly killed the woman and then fell to his death.
Lewis was found in a driveway yesterday morning in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, and the elderly woman who owned the home was found dead inside. Lewis had been renting a room from the 81-year-old victim.
Law enforcement also tells TMZ that shorty before his death, Lewis fought with two men, who claimed Lewis fought with "super-human strength" and was "phenomenally strong."
"It was a tragic end for an extremely talented guy, who unfortunately had lost his way. I wish I could say that I was shocked by the events last night, but I was not," Kurt Sutter, creator of Sons of Anarchy, wrote on his website. He continued by adding, "I am deeply sorry that an innocent life had to be thrown into his destructive path."
If you remember, Lewis dated pop superstar Katy Perry back in 2006 in a often-publicized relationship. Lewis was 28-years-old.
The details surrounding these deaths are too bizarre, so we'll just end it with an appropriate "R.I.P."

David Geffen on New PBS 'American Masters' Film: 'Wow, Did I Do That?'

American Masters creator and executive producer Susan Lacy premiered her latest installment of the Emmy-winning series, Inventing David Geffen, at the Toronto International Film Festival, but the two-hour rags-to-riches tale will air in the U.S. nationwide on PBS Nov. 20 at 8 p.m. (ET/PT).

Now 69-years-old, the notoriously interview-shy Geffen told the TIFF audience in a Q&A alongside Lacy that he was "incredibly flattered" by the film and that he had "forgotten most of it." "I thought, 'Wow, did I do that?" He added that he had nothing to do with the content, bad or good. "I didn't ask her to change anything," Geffen said of Lacy and later added, "I just wish my mother was around to see it. She'd be so proud."

Described as everything from "outspoken" to a man "not known for being warm and fuzzy," Inventing David Geffen begins with comments from a range of Geffen's friends, colleagues and clients, including Neil Young, Tom Hanks, Don Henley, Cher, Jackson Browne and Steve Martin. In all, Lacy interviewed more than 50 people (Elton John to Irving Azoff, Elliot Roberts to Mo Ostin, Jimmy Iovine to Steven Spielberg) to tell this unparalleled story of a young man with movies on his mind who left Brooklyn for Hollywood the day he graduated from high school.

When he learned "you can be an agent and know absolutely nothing," he knew he fit the bill and returned to NYC to take a job in the mailroom of The William Morris Agency - after lying on the application. From there, the hard-working Geffen with an eye and ear for musical talent signed his Jessie Colin Young and The Young Blood and Laura Nyro. He avoided military service by telling the psychiatrist he was gay (he did not come out publicly until 1992) and dove right into his career.

So began a trajectory in show business that made him one of the most powerful entertainment figures in America - and a billionaire.

Lacy packs a lot into Inventing David Geffen: most notably the building of Asylum Records, Geffen Records, Geffen Films and DreamWorks; the partnerships he formed; his passion for deal-making; the artists for whom he went to the ends of the earth; the betrayal he felt when Nyro signed with Columbia (he calls it "the single most devastating thing that happened to me at that time"); the devastation his artists felt when he sold Asylum; his love affair with Cher (she calls him "the most loving boyfriend in the world"); a misdiagnosis of bladder cancer that changed his view on life; his acceptance of his sexual orientation; and phenomenal philanthropy, particularly to a range of medical causes. She also covers the source of his drive: a passion for movies that began as a child, troubles with school that stemmed from dyslexia and his ultimate fear of failure.

As he says at the clip from his 2010 Rock And Roll Hall of Fame induction, included towards the end of the documentary, "I never thought I'd be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. I have no talent, except being able to enjoy and recognize it in others." In the epilogue to Inventing David Geffen, we see that he bought the home that once belonged to Jack Warner, the Canadian-born movie studio mogul whose accomplished and creations lured him to Hollywood.

Now in its 26th season on PBS with more than 180 documentaries to its credit, American Masters has earned 24 Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Non-Fiction Series eight times since 1999, 12 Peabodys, three Grammys, an Oscar, and the 2012 Producers Guild Award.  Lacy's writer-director credits include Leonard Bernstein: Reaching for the Note (1998) and Judy Garland: By Myself (2004). As a producer she has won Grammys for Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart (1998) and No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (2005)

Happy Birthday, Lil Wayne!

Lil Wayne hits the big 3-0 today (September 27).
The rapper and superstar performer celebrates his 30th birthday—coming off another impressive run in his still growing rap career. After killing the game last year with his Grammy-nominated Tha Carter IV release—which sold 964,000 copies its first week—Weezy remained afloat this year with various output. In June 2012, he saw the launch of his skate apparel, street wear line TrukFit and months before that partnered with Mountain Dew for their new Mountain DEWeezy advertising campaign. Aside from his business ventures, the Louisianimal keep his musical output steady flowing with a bulk of guest appearances including alongside Nicki Minaj (“Roman Reloaded”), Tyga (“Faded”), 2 Chainz (“Yuck!”), Curren$y (“Jet Life”), French Montana (“Pop That”), Game (“Celebration”) and more.
His appearance on the latter added in another accolade for the rap star, as he’s now surpassed the late Elvis Presley as the male artist with the most entries on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart. The single off Game’s forthcoming Jesus Piece album, which features Weezy as well as Chris Brown, Tyga and Wiz Khalifa, landed at No. 82 on the charts making it Wayne’s 109th Hot 100 entry. The previous record held by Presley was 108 between 1958 and 2003.
As he currently gearing up for the release of his upcoming 10th studio album, I Am Not a Human Being IIXXL wishes Wayne a very happy G-Day. Salute!


We went through all of this for $3.2 million dollars?
Pretty much. It cost each NFL owner approximately $100k to get this deal done. The issue that refs and owners got hung up on wasn’t exactly a pay raise, but it was the fact that the referees wanted a pension plan. The referees are essentially part-time employees and the NFL owners weren’t having that.
The refs are getting a pay raise from an average salary of $149k in 2011 to $173k in 2013, and $205k in 2019. Pretty good for a part-time job, huh.

Mary J. Blige Begins Shooting Betty & Coretta

Mary J. Blige is taking a break from her national "Liberation" tour with D'Angelo to begin filming biopic Betty and Coretta, reports

Blige, who is set to play Betty Shabazz, stars alongside Angela Bassett as Coretta in the Lifetime drama about the friendship the two developed after their husbands were assassinated. "Right now it's a little sad, but I'm enjoying it," said Blige. "It's the death of Malcolm, the death of Martin and the women trying to be strong and get through it." 

So far, Blige and Bassett have completed screen tests with hair and makeup to look the part. "I've really been enjoying the whole experience. It's a lot of long days and months and weeks and you know, I'm working my way through it."

The ESSENCE Music Festival alumna is no stranger to acting. This past summer she had a part in Tom Cruise's Rock of Ages. She previously had a supporting role in 2009's I Can Do Bad All by Myself.

Blige also made movie headlines recently when the Hollywood Reporter announced that Zoe Saldana would replace Blige in an upcoming biopic about Nina Simone. Blige reportedly pulled out due to funding issues.

Bringing Nets to Brooklyn ‘American dream’

NEW YORK — Jay-Z has accomplished a lot in his career, but his latest feat has him feeling that like he’s living the American dream.
The 42-year-old music mogul and entrepreneur says when he was a poor kid in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, he never imagined that he’d someday own a piece of a basketball team. Now Jay is an investor in the Brooklyn Nets and instrumental in moving the franchise from New Jersey.
He feels his rags-to-riches story embodies all that is possible in America.
“Yeah I think I’m the American dream,” Jay-Z said. “That whole thing that you could come here and pull yourself up by the bootstraps, like that whole thing what America has always put up to the world that we represent. I feel that. Yes, I’ve lived that.”
Jay-Z made the comments at the launch party for the upcoming NBA 2K13 video game, where he acted as the game’s executive producer.
As a child, he says, he dreamed of glory on the basketball court.
“You know the three-two-one, oh, he hits the winning shot,” Jay-Z said. “But no one was ever on the court saying I was gonna own the Knicks. Yes, it’s way beyond any of my wildest dreams.”
Now as an investor in the Nets, he’s even designed the team’s black and white logo. Brooklyn has not had a professional sports team since the Brooklyn Dodgers left for Los Angeles after the 1957 baseball season.
Rapper Bow Wow, who appears in the video game, says he’s always looked up to Jay-Z, but the move to bring the Nets to Brooklyn immortalizes him.
“I think that’s the biggest inspirational thing for any kid growing up in any ghetto and any suburb, and you can do whatever you want to do as long as you put your mind to it. That’s a great man to follow, right there,” Bow Wow said.
As for his success with music, fashion with his brand Rocawear and now a video game, Jay says his creativity is all over the place.
“When you’re an artist, you can see greatness in all things, and you say, man, I wonder if I can try and tinker with that and maybe if we put the music into (NBA)2K and bring those two cultures” together, Jay Z-said. They “were cousins already, so why not bring the family together and let them sit at the same table?”
The Brooklyn Nets will play in the newly built Barclays Center. But before his new team takes the court for the first time, the rapper will christen the new arena with an eight-show run beginning Friday.
— Associated Press

Yes, Twitter Is an Apple iTunes Affiliate

Twitter has been adding special iTunes preview panes to every tweet on for nearly two years. However, when the company first announced that it would be working with Apple's now-defunct social network iTunes Ping, it didn't mention that it had joined iTunes' affiliate program, and has been adding its own iTunes affiliate ID to each of those links. As such, Twitter has been receiving a bounty (most likely the usual five percent) on all iTunes music sold via's iTunes preview panes.

Even now that iTunes Ping is no more, Twitter continues to insert iTunes affiliate links into tweets about not only music, but also apps. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said he is thinking about adding time-sensitive products such as concert tickets to Twitter's affiliate marketing program. Twitter is not currently running affiliate links for television showsmovies, or books.

A source familiar with the situation told that Twitter has been adding its own affiliate ID to links tweeted by users since it first launched that early integration with iTunes Ping, and that it continues to do so today. As we first reported -- due to's Knar Bedian finding this preview pane while writing a tutorial -- these links do not replace the ones in the main body of the tweet. However, they do replace the user's affiliate link in the iTunes preview area, pictured below:

Twitter's main focus is still said to be on advertising and promoted tweets, trends, and accounts, rather than on becoming a large-scale affiliate marketer, which is probably a good idea.

We did learn something new today: that Twitter really is the iTunes affiliate "wdId=32800." When you purchase music or an app by clicking on one of these iTunes preview links, Twitter -- and not the original tweeter -- gets paid by Apple.

"When you click on a Tweet that's sent via Ping or that contains an iTunes link," reads the original announcement about Twitter/iTunes integration, "you'll see the song or album in Twitter's details pane, with the ability to listen to song previews from iTunes, making the experience even richer."

It makes Twitter richer too, assuming people click through to buy -- though not enough for it to forsake its main strategy of including advertising in favor of becoming primarily an affiliate marketer, from what we hear.

Apple, Twitter, and Linkshare, which administers Apple's iTunes affiliate program in the United States, would not comment on the record. Arriving at this degree of understanding took quite a bit of doing:

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hitachi Data Glass: New Glass-Based Data Storage System Would Last For 100 Million Years

Sick of transferring your files from device to device, risking loss and corruption?
Well Japan-based company Hitachi says it has solved our file woes with a new storage system that the company claims can keep data unscathed for 100 million years. Data is etched onto a four layers of a thin sheet of quartz glass using a laser that creates dots that can be read by a standard optical microscope.
Reportedly heat resistant and water resistant, it's also invulnerable to "many chemicals" and unaffected by radio waves. According to Engadget, Hitachi reported the glass enduring 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours without affecting data quality. PC World reports that just a square inch of the glass can store 40MB of data, which is 5MB more than a square inch of a CD, though that the storage will likely only be useful for archiving.
Originally conceived in 2009, PC World reports that Hitachi had struggled with a speedy write time to make etching of the data timely, but that the company has since resolved the problem and is preparing to introduce the item to consumers in 2015.
However, pricing for the miracle glass has yet to be announced. Tech Report estimates that it will be highly expensive because of additional yet-to-be-developed equipment needed to read and etch the glass.