Saturday, October 20, 2012

Tyler Perry in the Action Thriller ‘Alex Cross’

Tyler Perry—the man best known for dressing in drag as ‘Madea’—must now prove to the world that he can be a legitimate action star. In Alex Cross (in theaters now), Tyler Perry reprises the role first made famous by acting legend Morgan Freeman in Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider.
Perry plays police detective Alex Cross who clashes with a sadistic serial killer who specializes in torture and pain. Giancarlo Esposito, Matthew Fox, Carmen Ejogo, and Cicely Tyson also star in the thriller.
Check out the trailer below:

Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs Accepts Civil Rights Award From Al Sharpton

Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs was presented with the Triumph Award by National Action Network (NAN) founder Al Sharpton on Wednesday evening, according to Huffington Post.
Combs gave a special thanks to civil rights leaders who have paved the way for hip-hop artists like himself in his acceptance:
“I had to honestly look at those (who) have come before me and the responsibility that they’ve taken on… spawning me and a generation of young people like me… Which the truth is our culture of having a sense of entitlement that we deserve to be treated fairly and we deserve to have swag and be leaders, actually came from those who cam be before us, like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Quincy Jones, Clarence Avon and Rev. Al Sharpton, who I think deserves a special round of applause, not only for what he’s done in the community but for the way he’s wearing that suit tonight.”


The accolades keep rolling in for Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas as the 16-year-old phenom has been named Sportswoman of the Year.
The Women’s Sports Foundation awarded Douglas on Wednesday for exhibiting exceptional performances throughout the year. The gymnast beat out ski racer Lindsey Vonn, tennis star Serena Williams, swimmer Missy Franklin, sprinter Allyson Felix and Paralympians Jessica Long and Tatyana McFadden.
Behind Mary Lou Retton (1984) and Nastia Liukin (2008), Douglas is the third gymnast in history to win the award.
At the 2012 London Olympics, Douglas became the first African-American to take home all-around gold and helped the U.S. woman’s team win gold in all-around team.


Things got heated between comics Faizon Love and Katt Williams out a Hollywood nightclub. What started as a friendly chat between "friends," turned ugly in the blink of an eye. Love tells TMZ that Katt flipped out on him after he brought up a $50,000 owed to him. Before he knew it, Williams had retrieved a gun from his car.
TMZ Reports:
Love says, "Once the argument escalated, Katt went to his car to go get his gun to pull it out on me.”
“Fortunately, one of my homeboys who was there took the gun out of Katt's hands."
Faizon continues, "Come to find out the gun he pulled out on me was not even loaded. My homeboy gave it back to him ... then we went in the club.”
Minutes later, Williams was arrested for a possible gun violation ... but Love insists he is NOT the person who called the cops.
“I am just extremely upset that his punk ass would pull a gun out on me and even play with me like that," Love says ... adding, "He better chill his ass out."
Williams was released the same night.

The Big and Small Numbers of Psy's 'Gangnam Style'

Small numbers can tell a big story. Take Psy's "Gangnam Style," for example. His video has been watched about 501 million times on YouTube since being uploaded on July 15. The video is now No. 4 on YouTube's list of most-viewed videos behind Justin Bieber's "Baby," Jennifer Lopez's "On the Flood" and Eminem's "Love the Way You Lie."

Momentum has picked up recently. Over the last five weeks, "Gangnam Style" has been viewed 284.5 million times, according to Next Big Sound. That works out to roughly 0.16% of all YouTube views during that five-week period, according to my very rough math. I divided 284.5 million by 175 billion. I calculated that by taking areported figure for YouTube's daily traffic in January and used its growth rate over the previous eight months.

It might not seem like 0.16% of YouTube's traffic is much, but it's actually quite impressive. YouTube is localized in 43 countries and across 60 languages. It's a standard platform for watching news clips, sports clips, music videos and a variety of videos around the world. Given the incredible volume on YouTube and the many uses for the platform, 0.16% is an achievement.

On a side note, the Visible Measures blog explains that the "Gangnam Style" video has actually been seen 1.2 billion times (as of Oct. 11) when related videos are counted.

The market share gets better -- although arguably less impressive -- with digital sales. "Gangnam Style" has been purchased 1.27 million times in five weeks of release in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. The track accounts for 1.1% of all track downloads over that five-week span. If not for a relatively slow first week, that number would be higher. In a typical week, 12 to 13 out of every 1,000 tracks purchased in the U.S. -- or somewhere between 1.2% and 1.3% of all track sales -- has been "Gangnam Style."

Those are still pretty incredible numbers if you think about it. Tens of millions of consumers with the ability to buy an equal number of tracks, and they're buying a track with few English lyrics. A memorable video goes a long way.

Big fractions still exist. Taylor Swift's upcoming album, "Red," is likely to sell about one out of every six albums sold next week.

But today's music industry is about eking out a living through small numbers. Per-stream royalties are small. Shares of worldwide streaming markets are infinitesimal. YouTube will stream more than 1 trillion videos this year. A label will hope to get its fraction of that trillion and convert it into something meaningful.


2 Chainz' performance at Howard University's Legendary homecoming event, Yardfest resulted in a riot. One police officer was reportedly trampled and other students sustained injuries.
It all went wrong when Pusha T was welcomed out to perform "Mercy" with 2 Chainz. Though everything was calm prior, the crowd began to show extreme excitement as they pushed to the front of the set.
When the song "No Lie" came through the speakers, 2 Chainz brought out YMCMB rapper Drake and the entire crowd went up in a frenzy. Media gates were pushed forward and multiple videographers, photogs, journalists and concert goers were forced to jump the gate to get to safety.
Even after barricades were knocked down, Drake continued to jump into the audience as he remained committed to his performance and faithful to the crowd. The set continued and aside from the injuries, Drake delivered an enthusiastic show. He was swiftly taken off campus once he finished.

Rock Hall Museum's Jim Henke Steps Down

Jim Henke, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum's VP exhibitions and curatorial affairs, has left his position abruptly under a cloud of questions. 

Henke, the longtime chief curator who had been with the museum since before its opening, stopped working there sometime last week. According to one Rock Hall staffer, Henke left amid allegations of sexual harassment involving a female museum employee. Rock Hall representatives did not address the accusations directly, telling The Hollywood Reporter that Henke's role "transitioned to that of a consultant" so that he could "focus on collecting and writing." 

Before joining the Rock Hall, Henke was a writer and editor at Rolling Stone. During his 16-year tenure at the magazine, he wrote cover stories on Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, U2 and The Clash and spent more than a decade as its music editor. In the early '90s, Henke also worked as VP, product development at Elektra, handling such acts as The Breeders, Afghan Whigs and Moby. 

Rock Hall brass haven't decided whether the position will remain or be contracted out. 

Henke's departure comes as the museum and the Rock Hall Foundation continue their transition from an organization shadowed by their connections to Rolling Stone and Atlantic Records to something more autonomous. The first winds of change could be felt in 2006, when Hall co-founder Suzan Evans stepped down as foundation president in favor of Joel Peresman. 

"Joel came in and has done a great job of making people here, in New York and elsewhere realize that the foundation exists to support the museum and the inductions," Rock Hall president Terry Stewart said. 

Before that, some charged that the foundation existed for its own self-aggrandizement -- Evans earned a $300,000 salary and the organization threw lavish private parties at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. (After Peresman came aboard, the foundation helped create a $5 million endowment for the museum's operating costs and kicked in an additional $15 million for capital improvements.) 

Since taking over as CEO in 1999, Stewart has guided the once-faltering museum to greater profitability and stature, as well as bringing the induction ceremonies to Cleveland, the museum's home, every three years. But Stewart, who spent years as a businessman before helping revitalize Marvel Entertainment Group, announced that he will retire at the end of next year. His departure could leave a huge hole. 

During Stewart's tenure, the foundation and induction ceremonies have become more inclusive. Public tickets are available for the ceremonies in Cleveland (though not in New York), and everyday music lovers now have a ballot for the Rock Hall inductees.

Copyright Alert System Coming Within Weeks

American Internet users can expect to start seeing notifications from their Internet service providers if they trade files on peer-to-peer networks. 

A blog post by Jill Lesser, executive director of the Center for Copyright Information, revealed the long-awaited Copyright Alert System (CAS) will begin "in the coming weeks" and provided some details about the partnership with ISPs to deter subscribers from infringement over peer-to-peer networks.

In the coming weeks, participating ISPs will launch its version of the CAS. Each system allows content owners to send infringement notices to subscribers via the ISP. When infringing activity continues, CAS will send "enhanced alerts" that vary by ISP but range from a requirement that a subscriber review educational material to temporary throttling of the subscriber's Internet speed.
The CCI member companies include the RIAA, the MPAA and five major Internet service providers: Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Cablevision and Time Warner Cable.

Consumers and critics may find some comfort in the steps the CCI has taken to ensure fairness. For starters, unlike anti-piracy efforts in other countries, CAS is not a "strikeout" program that will result in termination of an account. In addition, CCI has retained Stroz Friedberg to ensure MarkMonitor's system for identifying alleged infringement is accurate and works properly.

The CAS is the result of a 2011 memorandum of understanding between a group of U.S. Internet service providers, the MPAA and the RIAA that outlined the system for alerting subscribers of their infringing behavior and educating them on alternatives. Lesser was hired as executive director in April. She was previously Deputy Director of Public Policy and Director of the Civic Media Project at the advocacy group People for the American Way.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Before Music Dies documentary

Before the Music Dies (2006): Discription:- "With outstanding performances and revealing interviews Before the Music Dies takes a critical look at the homogenization of popular music with commentary by some of the industry's biggest talents like Eric Clapton, Dave Matthews, Elvis Costello, Erykah Badu, Branford Marsalis, Bonnie Raitt and more

Making it Big in the Music Business

In this WSJ documentary, Lee Hawkins asks Paul Stanley of Kiss, Soulja Boy, Cee-Lo Green, and Far East Movement how they plan to stay relevant. These interviews come at a time when the music industry has experienced major changes over the last decade. Music sales now represent just a small part of many artists' income, and the charts are topped with dance music instead of rock and roll. Those who remain relevant will likely rely on building a profitable brand through touring, social media, and merchandising. 

Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson Lead R&B Music Hall of Fame Inductees

R&B music lovers are in for a treat. The Official R&B Music Hall of Fame is set to open in Cleveland in the summer of 2013. The museum will celebrate the accomplishments of R&B in music history through interactive exhibits, educational programming and an annual list of inductees.
According to a press release, the class of 2013 inductees will consist of 25 artists, including Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, James Brown, The Temptations, The O’Jays, Gerald Levert and Aretha Franklin. Reverend Al Sharpton will also be honored for his life-long support of many R&B and Gospel artists with the Ron Banks Humanitarian Award.
The museum's founders are Ron Banks, a former member of The Dramatics, and LaMont Robinson, founder of Leo’ Casino in Cleveland. Together they form the Robinson Global Sports & Entertainment Group, LLC. 
Robinson's love for R&B music started as a child. "I was a big James Brown fan and my uncle played in the band at Leo’s Casino behind Edwin Starr, and I’ve always had a big love for music," he said in an interview with the local Cleveland paper, Call & Post
In February, Robinson led the creation of a mobile R&B exhibit because he wanted to highlight the artists that didn't get recognition in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 
“Groups like The Dramatics, The Stylists they might not ever get in there, and if they do we may not get to see it. They deserve to be in it," he said. “I don’t get mad when they honor Bruce Springsteen and all these other big names because we as Black folks need our own.”
Robinson had dreams of turning his mobile exhibit into a permanent museum, and thanks to sponsorship by Leo’s Casino, he has been able to turn his dream into reality. 
"I decided since Cleveland was already the Rock Capital of the World that we ought to make it the Rhythm and Blues Capital of the World," he said. "I began to start putting together memorabilia and the concept and talking to different people that would help me put it together."
The inaugural induction ceremony will be held on May 5, 2013 at Cleveland’s Music Hall/Public Auditorium, the same venue where the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies are held.
Other integrated components of the R&B Music Hall of Fame Museum will include an African-American Music Research Center, Gospel Music & Preachers Hall of Fame Museum and the Hip Hop Museum of America.

Watch a Sneak Peek of Michael Jackson: Bad25

This coming Thanksgiving, ABC will air Michael Jackson: BAD25. The Spike Lee documentary follows Jackson's life as he creates 1987's mega successful album, Bad. In addition, the documentary will show never-before-seen footage and celebrity interviews with Sheryl Crow, who is his former backup singer, Martin Scorsese, who directed theBad video, and Nelson George who wrote The Michael Jackson Story.

ABC is no stranger to musical documentaries on Thanksgiving night. Last year, the networked aired A Very Gaga Thanksgiving and the year before aired BeyoncĂ©'s I Am… World Tour.

Watch Michael Jackson: BAD25 on November 22 at 9:30 p.m.

Victoria Beckham Shows Off Her Legs In ELLE France Spread By Karl Lagerfeld

Victoria Beckham has good reason to be excited.
Back in July, she got the honor of being photographed by "fashion-god" Karl Lagerfeld on location in Coco Chanel's actual Parisian apartment. The shoot was for ELLE France and it's safe to say their collaboration went remarkably well. 
Victoria has released two pictures via her Twitter feed of the shoot. Both are in black and white and coincidentally, Victoria is not wearing pants in either one!
She proclaimed:
“First pictures from my @ELLEfrance cover shoot with Karl Lagerfeld, a dream come true! X VB”
Surely when we see the entire Karl Lagerfeld photographed spread, we will be living a dream of some sort as well. 

Songza Tops 1 Million Registered Users in Canada in 70 Days

With all the hubbub over Xbox Music, iHeartRadio and other music services associated with
large companies, people may overlook a popular Internet radio service by a small company from New York City. Numbers released today might change all that for Songza. 
The internet radio service announced it has reached 900,000 iOS installs and 1 million registered users just 70 days after it launched the service in Canada. Songza has delivered 160 million streams to its Canadian listeners, nearly 4% more per visitor than in the U.S. 
The last figure Songza gave for the U.S. was 2 million active users in July but that number has "grown significantly since then," CEO Roman Elias told He added the company has grown to 10 employees from six since that July announcement; it also employs 25 independent contractors, he said. 
Pandora investors seemed to take notice of Songza's Canadian growth. Shares of the Internet radio company were down 1.8% in early trading Thursday morning. The slight dip was reminiscent of the 11.2% drop over two trading days in July after BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield warned that Songza's sudden popularity suggested Pandora was prone to competitive threats. Songza's iPad app had been installed 710,000 times in a matter of days. 

Business Matters: Songza Lands Investments from Troy Carter, William Morris Endeavor, Others 

Although Songza is small compared to rivals such as Pandora, iHeartRadio and Slacker, it has carved out something of a niche. Its Concierge service helps people find music to fit their mood or activity at a given time of day. Go to Songza in the morning and you might choose music for "Waking Up" and end up with a selection of bossa nova songs. On a Saturday night you can choose the "A Sweaty Dance Party" playlist and end up with stylish pop and house remixes. 
Pandora is the top free app for iPhone and #3 for iPad at the iTunes Store in the U.S. Songza is #18 for iPhone and #21 for iPad. Clear Channel's iHeartRadio is the #1 free app for iPad. 
Pandora is also well ahead of Songza in listenership - and it's growing. The company had 58.3 million active listeners in September, up 49% from 39 million in the prior-year period. Pandora had 56.2 million active listeners in August, up 48% from the prior-year period.


No, it's not a "Degrassi" special. Drake has actually taken care of his high school education.
After tweeting that he's been studying hard for the past five months in summer school, the Young Money rapper passed his exams with flying colors. "97% on my final exam. 88% in the course. One of the greatest feelings in my entire life. As of tonight I have graduated high school!," he postedWednesday night (Oct. 17).
He even thanked his teacher Kim Janzen for the tireless dedication. Drizzy may never know what Harvard gets him, but this'll do.

7digital Snags $10 million in Funding, Inks New Deal for BlackBerry 10

7digital, a London-based technology company that operates digital music stores and services for companies like Samsung and Hewlett-Packard, said on Thursday it had secured $10 million in financing from undisclosed corporate investors.
The news coincides with 7digital's agreement with Research in Motion (RIM) to power the music service for the new BlackBerry 10 operating system, due out in early 2013. 7digital already operates the music store for RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook tablet device.

Founded nearly nine years ago by Ben Drury and James Kane, 7digital has worked to chip away at the iTunes juggernaut. By dealing with companies outside of Apple's iOS universe, 7digital has carved a niche for itself as the go-to company to provide so-called "white-label" music stores. Its clients run the gamut from large companies like HTC to tiny players like, a website dedicated to brass bands.

7digital has a catalog of 22 million songs, and its music apps are on 60 million mobile devices, Drury said in a press conference the company held Oct. 18 in London.

"Apple has had all the fun these past few years," Drury said. "It's time for some competition."

In the past year, 7digital has branched out to include a scan-and-match cloud locker services, as well as subscription on-demand streaming, similar to Spotify. For example, it supplies the licensing rights as well as the backend technology for Samsung's Music Hub service, launched earlier this year. In Europe, 7digital operates the subscription music service for Pure, a manufacturer of digital radios.

As a result, the company is shifting its image as a company that sells downloads to a purveyor of "access."

"It's not about ownership versus access," said Vickie Nauman, president of 7digital's U.S. business. "We're selling access. You can get access to music for free from streaming radio. You can buy access via downloads. Or you can rent access from subscription music services. As we create more convenient experiences, people will in fact pay for music."


No need for Rihanna to craft dance hits or adorn magazine covers to make some bread.
Rih is being offered $10 milli for pushing a button that'll activate all the Christmas lights at the Westfield Complex in London this holiday season,Brit tabloid The Sun reports. Of course, a mini-concert will also be expected of the "Diamonds" singer, who is open to doing it so long as she has the time.
A multi-million payday for a second's worth of work? The 'Unapologetic' songstress better find some minutes for that.

Live Nation's Kevin Morrow Forming New Company, Steel Wool Entertainment, With Kevin Welk

Kevin Morrow, Live Nation's SVP of Touring, today announced he is stepping down to focus on the formation of a new entertainment company with Vanguard/Sugar Hill label vet Kevin Welk. Their new strategic partnership, Steel Wool Entertainment & Media, is a joint venture focused on creating strategic alliances with artists and content owners. 

The new company will officially opens its doors on Monday, Oct. 22 in Los Angeles and will operate out of the Welk Music Group offices. Steel Wool's first client is emerging hip-hop artist George Watsky, whom Morrow also manages.  

Morrow, a two-time Pollstar "Talent Buyer of the Year" award winner, has worked for nearly 30 years in the music industry as a marketing executive, talent manager, and concert promoter. He was appointed President of Live Nation's New York office in 2007 and previously worked as a Senior Vice President of Tours & Talent for House of Blues Entertainment. As President of Welk Music Group, Kevin Welk oversees all aspects of their worldwide recorded music operations, including Vanguard Records, Sugar Hill Records, Ranwood Records and the WMG distributed label group. 
"Welk's one of the best," said Morrow in a statement, "and I'm thrilled that he understood we were looking for a cooperative venture, not one where George would "sign" a traditional label deal but one where we'd all sign together - as partners in a new model."

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Spotify Exec Gerrit Meier Leaves

Gerrit Meier has left Spotify after joining in October 2011 to become its General Manager, Distribution & Partnerships, a company spokesperson confirmed Wednesday. The news was first reported at All Things D.

Spotify Planning Launches in Italy, Poland and (Reportedly) Japan: What Are the Challenges?
Meier is leaving to start "a new venture idea" that will be "a European-focused endeavor," according to All Things D. Meier is the second Spotify executive to depart the company recently. Teymour Farman-Farmaian was Spotify's chief monetization officer until this month, according to his LinkedIn profile. He is now founder and CEO of discounts and referral service Localini.
But Spotify is still on a hiring spree. Last week Spotify announced the hiring of former PRS For Music chief economist Will Page at its London office. The company has also posted job openings recently for managers to launch the services in Italy and Poland

George Zimmerman Trial Date Set

A trial date has been scheduled for George Zimmerman, the man charged with second-degree murder for the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in late February. Circuit Judge Debra Nelson announced this morning that Zimmerman's murder trial will take place on June 10, 2013, reports The Grio.
Zimmerman's attorneys are estimating the trial will last three weeks, and according to a defense tweet, a "self-defense immunity hearing [is] likely to be requested for April or May." This immunity is also known as the controversial "Stand Your Ground" law. 
Despite the scheduled date, Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara, said he's unsure if the defense team will be fully prepared by June 10. “I don’t know today when we’ll be ready for trial,” he said.
Zimmerman and his wife, Shellie, are currently in hiding in Seminole County, according to reports. She is also being charged with perjury, after allegedly lying about her husband's finances. 
A trial date for Shellie has yet to be announced, but Zimmerman is scheduled to have a status hearing on December 10.

Beats by Dre Press Conference Announces Partnership With Trent Reznor, Hints at Mog's Future

pillIn line with their far-reaching marketing skills, Beats by Dre knows how to throw a press event. In an event at the company's glossy pop-up-turned-permanent store in Manhattan's SoHo district, principals Jimmy Iovine, Dr. Dre and president Luke Wood, along with VP of Marketing Omar Johnson and chief designer Robert Brunner rolled out three new products, but also expounded at length about the company, its history, its perfectionism and philosophy.
The main takeaways, beyond the release of the BeatsPill, the Executive headphones and upgraded in-ear headphones called urBeats ( head here for more info on those):

1) Trent Reznor has signed on with the company in a consulting role, upping its already high perfectionism; in a Facebook post he said: " Some of you may have read that I have begun working with Beats By Dre. For the past year I have indeed been involved with Dre, Jimmy Iovine, Luke Wood, and the rest of the team on a number of very interesting projects that will start to emerge next year. I have been wanting to experiment and focus my energy and creativity in some different directions, and Beats has afforded me that very opportunity. The process has been challenging and fascinating and as much as I'd like to tell you about the things we've dreamed up... I just can't. Not yet... (I can tell you it's probably not what you're expecting!)"
2) The company has "very big plans," Wood said, for Mog, the streaming service it purchased earlier this year, hinting that it relates to how people consume and discover music. Wood said the process is still in "deep iteration" phase, but Iovine picked up the thread, saying that most streaming services require consumers to program their music experience themselves -- and he said consumers can't be expected to do that, which would seem to suggest a greater emphasis on music discovery and recommendations, possibly including a radio function.
3) These guys could talk all day about sound.
You've heard of the wall of sound? Here's a wall of Beats Pills (Photo: Jem Aswad)
You've heard of the wall of sound? Here's a wall of Beats Pills (Photo: Jem Aswad)

The presentation began with videos of many, many famous facing sporting Beats headphones -- Lil Wayne, Lebron James and dozens of others, including, interestingly, many Olympic athletes (Beats pulled off a marketing photobomb coup by providing the athletes with headphones, a no-no since the company wasn't an official Olympic sponsor)
With Sony Music chief Doug Morris, Iovine's former mentor at both Universal and Warner Music, looking on (there to provide "support," we were told), Beats marketing VP Omar Johnson, chief designer Robert Brunner and president Luke Wood then spoke of the moves the company has made over the past year since its last major conference: It has parted ways with Monster, its founders bought back 25% of the company and now control 75%, they've streamlined their manufacturing processes (and projected photos of people in China assembling the headphones), their staff has grown from 25 to around 150, and the products being unveiled today are "the first we've 100 percent brought to market."

Beats' new Executive headphones. (Photo: Jem Aswad)

Pivoting off of his comment that Beats have inspired people to use headphones as "part of their personality and personal expression of a team, a neighborhood or an outfit," they then launched into the company's "Express Yourself" promotion which, among other things, features a photo booth in Times Square where people can have their photo taken and appear on a giant electronic billboard, and whereby 10 contest winners will be flown in to appear in a TV ad with Lil Wayne, Lebron James and others.

Then, Dr. Dre, who barely said a word at last year's press conference, spoke for several minutes, mostly about his history as a producer and the development of the company and his relationship with Iovine.

Dr. Dre explaining the impact of Beats' audio. (Photo: Jem Aswad)
After he'd recorded The Chronic, he recalled, "I played it for almost every record company that existed at the time. A lot of them were saying, 'It sounds just plain, it doesn't sound like hip-hop. Go back and try more things.' They actually had me second-guessing my work.
"Then around a week or two after, I got a call from Jimmy Iovine. He said to me, 'I don't know a thing about hip-hop, but I know this sounds good,' so that's all I needed to hear.
"Something happened between then and now," he continued. "A lot of people either don't care or just don't know about quality sound. That's why we're here right now. We're trying to do our part to try to change that. I've been tuning speakers for my house, my studio, my car for over 25 years now. To be given the chance and the opportunity to make audio equipment… it couldn't be more perfect for me. So I hope you all enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed creating it."

Iovine then took the stage, and said a lot of things we've heard him say in the past, but one segment in particular stood out.
Jimmy Iovine speaks at the Beats presser. (Photo: Jem Aswad)

Speaking about how digital destroyed sound quality: "Dr. Dre said, 'It's one thing to steal the music, it's another thing to destroy it.' These tech companies -- consciously or unconsciously -- were ignoring sound. The entire ecosystem of this young generation was a bad-sounding computer and a bad-sounding earbud -- a $400 ipod and a 30-cent earbud! We had to make a very big cultural change. We had to get young people into the sound.

"How are we going to [do that]? I said, 'I know what we'll do. We'll treat the headphones like it's U2 or Eminem. We'll market it like it's a rock group. We'll give it life. We'll make it have feel. We'll give it a personality.

"So what am I proud of right now? I'm proud that Beats was able to turn an entire generation onto sound. I don't care what they buy, but dammit, they cannot go back now. So whether you like our headphones, whether you don't like our headphones, we are the beginning of fixing sound for an entire generation that was lost to it."


Jay-Z celebrated his part ownership in the Brooklyn Nets by working up his his very own Nets jersey. Now, you'll have a chance to get your hands on one from Jay's personal collection!
The Shawn Carter Foundation is holding an auction for 10 "Carter 4" jerseys, happening right now over at Ten winning bidders will get one of the jerseys, autographed by Jigga Man himself. All proceeds from the auction are set to benefit AIDS students facing economic hardships.
The auction went live today, October 17th, and ends on October 31st.
This is definitely something you want framed on your wall, so don't miss your chance to own a piece of history.


?uestlove, Universal Music's Harry Weinger To Teach 'Classic Albums' Course At NYU

Ahmir '?uestlove' Thompson will soon be adding another job to his exhaustive list of titles: professor. The Roots' drummer will be joining Universal Music Enterprises vice president of A&R and Grammy winning reissues producer Harry Weinger to co-teach a course titled 'Classic Albums' at the Clive Davis Institue for Recorded Music at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts this coming Spring semester.

The two credit class will focus on the concept of what it means for something to be called classic or seminal, as well as take a close look at the music, lyrics, production, business aspects -- such as promotion and marketing -- that informed the release and reception of the album, and try to provide a context as to why these albums have stood the test of time, according to Jason King, associate professor of recorded music and head of history and criticism at the Institute, who confirmed the course.

The class is expected to look at albums by Sly & The Family Stone ( Stand!There's A Riot Goin' On), Aretha Franklin ( Lady Soul), Led Zeppelin ( IV), Prince ( Dirty Mind), Michael Jackson ( Off The Wall), and the Beastie Boys ( Paul's Boutique), among others.

"We wanted to bring [?uestlove] in because we felt he should really be a professor; in a lot of ways he already is an informal, unofficial professor, not just in hip hop but in music in general," King told "He's one of the smartest people in music, besides being a fantastic musician. We thought [this class] would speak to his strengths."
The idea for the class came out of an NPR blog post over the summer from intern Austin Cooper, who wrote about Public Enemy's It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back as part of NPR's series asking interns to review "classic albums they'd never heard before." Cooper's rather dismissive take on the early hip-hop standard-bearer prompted ?uestlove to respond in the comments, saying "ur (sic) job is to find out why" classic records are considered as such by researching and uncovering the context in which they were first released. That prompted King to reach out to both ?uestlove and Weinger with the idea for the course.

Weinger has produced, mixed, and edited liner notes for classic Motown reissues, James Brown's back catalog (including the 4-disc box set Star Time) and the Verve Music catalog, and a number of funk and soul classic compilations, as well as being named an "honorary Temptation" by original group members Otis Williams and Melvin Franklin. He has taught classes on James Brown, the Motown Legacy, and Stevie Wonder for the Clive Davis Institute.

And ?uestlove has worked with both Weinger and the Institute before, though this is his first time as a professor, serving as a guest speaker for various classes and as the closing keynote speaker for the EMP Pop Conference in 2012.

"[?uestlove] really does represent this hybrid figure in the music industry at this point, this person who is a musician, has social media abilities, is an archivist, has an incredible music mind, and really understands the history of music in a way that you would previously only expect from music journalists," said King. "So it's exciting to have him in this position doing something that in many ways comes naturally to him."

Other courses that are currently offered in the Fall semester include a course on Apple taught by's Eliot Van Buskirk, a Freddie Mercury course taught by King, and a look at the 25th anniversary of Paul Simon's Graceland album taught by Ashley Kahn.