Saturday, January 12, 2013

Palace Music Group, LLC on Prezi

PMG Presentation by Palace Music Group, LLC on Prezi

Palace Music Group, LLC brings artists and fans together by driving action and creating value wherever music is experienced. To do this most effectively we have three business units: New Digital Music, Catalogue and Music Distribution Services.

Through our own companies and network of licensees, we are able to serve our artists, consumers and partners all over the world.


Six Technology Trends from CES That Will Shape 2013

Every January, the Consumer Electronics Show gives the world a preview of the flood of gadgets heading our way in the coming year and beyond. Some are incredibly silly, while others are complete game changers. All promise to make people's lives better somehow. We've crisscrossed the show floors to come up with six products -- each representing larger trends in consumer electronics as they relate to the world of media. They are:

Brookstone SoftSound pillow
 ($129, out in May) - Audio is being embedded into everything - even pillows. Brookstone's SoftSound pillow has two high fidelity, ultra-thin speakers inside that can wirelessly receive and transmit sound coming from a nearby television set. Why should anyone want such a thing? Many people like to drift to sleep with the TV on, but their bedmate may not be so thrilled about having the TV blaring. SoftSound is designed so that audio can be heard if the person's head is on the pillow, but muffled everywhere else. The pillow is heavy, but comfortable - using the company's existing memory foam-like material. And even better, you can set a timer to automatically turn off the set, so your slumber isn't disturbed by late night infomercials.

Panasonic Bone Conducting Headphones
 (Price unknown, releasing this fall) - One of the big themes at CES this year is how existing technologies get mashed up to become more useful. The Panasonic Bone Conducting Headphones is one great example. It pairs up Bluetooth wireless technology with bone conduction to deliver personalized audio for its TV sets. That means, for instance, two people watching the same show in the same room can get different levels of audio.  According to a Johns Hopkins University study, more than 20% of Americans have hearing impairments. This allows them to watch TV with their families without having to crank the volume to 11 and deafening everyone else in the room.

iriver ON earbud and heart-monitor ($199, release in March) - Gadgets that help users monitor their health has been a major theme for the past year. In 2013, expect entertainment to play a larger role in this trend, helping to boost the fun-factor and make health and fitness less of a drudge. iriver, a South Korean electronics company that made one of the first digital music players in 2000 and had the largest market share for that category until Apple came around with its iPod, teamed up with Valencell Inc. to make ON, a combination earphone and heart monitor that also gauges distance, speed, cadence, aerobic fitness levels and calories burned, using sensors that uses light to monitor blood flow characteristics in the ear. The data is wirelessly transmitted to a smartphone while the earbuds pipe music during the workout.

Motorheadphones ($49-$129, out in April) - Celebrity-endorsed headphones are proliferating this year. The challenge for folks will be how to cut through the glamour to find a pair with as much high quality sound to match the level of hype. Our recommendation would be to listen to them for yourselves. Many premium headphones pump up the bass. But if you're a rock lover, an emphasis on the thumping, driving bass can come at the expense of mid-range sound - and can alter other qualities of the music. Motorheadphones, endorsed by the eponymous band, dial that bass down to focus on the mid-range, promising that rock fans can hear the music "the way it's meant to be heard," a marketing mantra that will no doubt hit many ears this year.

Sony Xperia Z with One Touch (price varies by carrier, out by March 31) - Sony, which has struggled to compete in the smartphone category against Apple, Samsung and others, is trying again with the Xperia Z. This time, Sony added One Touch, which lets users who are listening to music or watching video on the device transfer that over to other Sony devices by touching them together. Using near-field communication (NFC), the Xperia Z can "hand off" the video or the music to Sony TV's or stereos that also have One Touch so users can continue to listen or watch on a bigger screen or a better audio system. One Touch is an example of how devices are increasingly able to "talk" to each other, a trend that we saw in spades at CES this year. An oven that has reached a certain temperature can, for example, can flash that message to the TV. LG showed a washer-dryer set that sends messages to a smartphone telling owners when the laundry is done. Esoteric? Perhaps. But the market will soon teem with services that use inter-gadget connectivity and personal context to create more meaningful applications.

Ford Sync AppLink
 -- Connected in-car entertainment is blossoming this year. For the driver, there is a panoply of music and audio entertainment optionsbeing directly integrated into the dashboard of new cars rolling off the assembly line. For rear-seat passengers, video and games are added to the mix. This is not new. What will be different in 2013, however, is the amount of streaming content that can easily find their way into the car, thanks to efforts by car companies such as Ford and General Motors to turn vehicles into platforms that developers can distribute their applications. Both car companies announced at CES that they are opening up their in-car software platforms to outside developers. Ford, with its Sync platform, is ahead of the game, having worked with a select group of developers such as Pandora, Aha and Rhapsody to bring streaming content into its vehicles. Now Ford, along with GM, are opening up their software platforms to all developers. This is just like Android oriOS, but the car companies will be much more selective as to which applications will be allowed in the vehicle. For safety reasons, apps must adhere to a strict set of criteria, such as no distracting videos or lengthy texts, before they can be approved.


While your ears are building wax for a new Outkast track, Big Boi forces his entry onto Frank Ocean's "Pink Matter," accompanied by Andre 3000. Stream their unplanned collaboration below.

Britney Spears Signs With CAA

Rob Light, managing partner at Creative Artists Agency, confirms that the agency has signed Britney Spears, with Light and Jeffrey Azoff as responsible agents. Spears' last tour in 2011 grossed $37 million and drew just under 400,000 to 39 shows, according to Billboard Boxscore. 

The agency will represent Spears worldwide and in all areas. 

One of the most successful singers to come out of the late 90s pop explosion, Spears was most recently a judge and mentor on the U.S. version of "The X Factor," although on Friday she confirmed that she'll be leaving the show after one season. 

Spears is currently working on a new album, her eighth since 1999's "...Baby One More Time," with such collaborators as and Ester Dean. Her most recent album, 2011's Femme Fatale, was certified platinum, marking sales of over 1 million units. 

Spears was previously repped by WME, and later on Friday she confirmed that she and former WME agent Jason Trawick (who left the firm last May) had called off their engagement. She is managed by Larry Rudolph and Adam Leber.


milton bradley charged
Ex-baseball player Milton Bradley was charged with 13 misdemeanors Friday, and could face more than a dozen years in prison as a result. Prosecutors in Los Angeles charged the well-traveled former star, who was known as much for his temper as his exploits on the field, with assault with a deadly weapon and other counts in relation to allegations of spousal abuse.
According to sources, Bradley was charged with 4 counts of spousal battery, 4 counts of criminal threats, 2 counts of assault with a deadly weapon, 2 counts of vandalism and 1 count of dissuading a witness from making a report.
TMZ says "Bradley was arrested in August 2011 for allegedly attacking Monique with a bat, and in March 2012 he allegedly threatened her with a knife and said, "You’ll be dead b-tch before you divorce me.""
Bradley was charged after wife Monique accused him in November of trying to choke her after she asked Bradley to stop smoking marijuana in front of their children. Seeing Milton Bradley charged with these crimes is no surprise for the hot-headed former talent. Bradley has been out of baseball since 2011, and is probably best known for an incident in which he tore knee ligaments during an altercation with an umpire during a game.

Friday, January 11, 2013

50 Cent Talks Headphones Biz, G-Unit Reunion at CES 2013

                   (Photo: Chris Morris)

50 Cent's first foray into headphones didn't go well. In fact, it was something of a disaster. 

A 2010 investment in Sleek Audio failed to materialize any headphones, but it did spawn a lawsuit. It also convinced the hip-hop icon that if he wanted to pursue his own branded line of musical headgear, he'd have to do it himself.

"I've bumped my head in this space before," 50 Cent says. "I invested in a company that was the wrong company. I came to CES for the first time in 2010 and presented the concept of what I wanted to do. It didn't work out with that company, so I acquired Kono Audio, which specialized in child safety products, so they understand how the ear registers sound."

Kono was digested into SMS and the company has been making high-end headphones for the past two years. At CES 2013, 50 Cent is once again on hand to unveil Street by 50, a new high-end line ranging in price from $180 to $300.
(Photo: Chris Morris)

He also unveiled a new investment partner in SMS -- mega-producer Timbaland has come on board as a principal and member of the company's board of directors. In addition, he'll have "substantial involvement" in the design and audio engineering process for forthcoming products.

SMS is a return of sorts to the music industry for 50 Cent -- the businessman, who has primarily focused on other ventures. Previous successful investments include Vitamin Water and Street King energy drinks. He has also struck deals with Reebok and Right Guard for a variety of licensed products.

That diversification helped him break public perceptions that formed after the release of his breakthrough 2003 debut album, "Get Rich or Die Tryin.'"

"I became that to the general public," he says. "It makes it difficult to be … the guy who should be endorsing major corporations. I've since destroyed that aura of me not being the guy who can endorse products."

He also expanded his artistic reach beyond music, appearing in films and videogames -- areas where he plans to remain active.

An active player of NBA games, he says he longs for the days of classic titles -- and wants to see if there's a way to modernize them.

"I like fighting games -- the old games are exciting to me, like 'Street Fighter' and 'Outrunner,'" he says. "I want to be able to take that and do a newer version of that and bring something to the table, because that's exciting and entertaining."

On the big screen, he's appearing in two upcoming films: The thriller "Frozen Ground," with Nicolas Cage and John Cusack; and "The Tomb," with Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He also recently completed filming for the Robert DeNiro/Morgan Freeman holiday release "Last Vegas".

"I like to keep myself in good company," he says.

Musically, 50 Cent's next album -- the first since 2009 -- drops Feb 26. The regular audit process that came as he reached the end of his obligations to Interscope caused the delay. "I kinda got writer's block until I got paid," the rapper says.

Once it was settled, though, that writer's block was cured fast. While the album will contain 13-14 songs, he says he ended up recording more than 70.

And, he says, there's a good chance of a reunion with G-Unit partners Lloyd Banks and Tony Yayo.

"People grow in different directions," 50 Cent says. "[They] have different agendas about things they want to do and they're sorting themselves out in that way and I'm focused on things that are important to me right now, but there's a strong possibility there will be a G-Unit [collaboration] with the three of us. But right now, I'm focused on my solo project."

A technology nut, 50 says he lives by his phone and constantly carries a Canon camera to document his travels.

He also carries a MacBook Air, but says it irks him from time to time, since he's unable to watch movies on the device (which lacks an optical drive).

Ian Rogers Named CEO of Beats Electronics' Music Service

Beats Electronics today announced that its new music service, project "Daisy," will have Topspin's Ian Rogers as its CEO. Rogers will oversee the "direction, vision and strategy" for project "Daisy" and the team developing the service, the company said in a press release.

Simultaneously, Rogers will step into the leadership position at MOG, the streaming music service Beats acquired in 2012, and Beats is making "a significant investment" in Topspin, Beats chief Jimmy Iovine said on a conference call. Rogers, who became CEO of Topspin in 2008 after serving as general manger of Yahoo! Music, will remain on the Topspin board of directors and serve as executive chairman. Rogers said in a blog post that COO Jeremy Bellinghausen will take over as CEO.

The subscription service, being called Daisy internally, is Beats' revamping of the former MOG service, which Beats acquired last year. The service is set to launch in late 2013 as a stand-alone company under the Beats Electronics umbrella. As previously announced, the new service's chief creative officer is Nine Inch Nails founder Trent Reznor.

In their announcement, Iovine, Rogers and Beats president/COO Luke Wood emphasized the introduction of Daisy as part of "a complete thought in music." The first step was creating a trusted brand in Beats headphones; part two is introducing a curated subscription service with high-quality audio that allows for a connection between fans and artists and vice-versa.

"First off, these other services are not providing an environment for artists or fans to interface [with each other]," said Iovine, who is also chairman of the Interscope Geffen A&M label group. "Our intention is to everything to bring the industry together through a form of curation that doesn't exist right now. I don't believe the 'here's a credit card -- you get 12 million songs' will stick. The industry desperately needs subscription to get the business back to where it was and I think everyone is on board now."

The service will be offered on desktops, IOS, androids and Windows 8. While there are rights issues and other hurdles that come with taking the service beyond the borders of the United States, Rogers said "our mission is to win and to win we do global."

Iovine detailed curation as meaning the service would offer music bundles as "a solution" to music needs, whether its for a ride in a specific part of the country, a party or other get-togethers. Ultimately, all three said, the goal is to restore the emotional connection fans felt with music in earlier generations that digital has not delivered. The key, Iovine noted, is for Daisy to have a human element that goes beyond the usual algorithm-based suggestion boxes.

Reznor's role was vaguely defined as relating to aesthetics and the curation. "He is one of the leading artists making sure things are done right from a credibility standpoint," Iovine said.

The team has yet to come up with a ballpark figure that consumers would be charged, but they were confident enough to say that the strength of the service will make it "relatively price-insensitive."


Diddy can be a pretty funny dude when he wants to be. If you need proof, check out these lighthearted outtakes from Sean John's recent Macy's campaign.
It's always a good thing to be able to laugh at yourself—or a multimillionaire at least.
See Diddy's comedic side in the video below:


Dipset's Juelz Santana recently updated fans on the status of a long-awaited Diplomats group album and why he temporarily lost his place in the music a few years ago.
According to Juelz, buzz behind a Dipset reunion LP back in 2010felt rushed and too premature for himself.
"Shout-out to Jim, shout-out to Cam. I'm not going to even lie, at the time, when we put out the 'Salute' record, it was still at the time where I wasn't doing a lot of music, just, period. I wasn't back in the zone that I needed to be in, musically. Honestly. It's not even about that project. I had the same way like I took a break from everything. ... I wasn't really in my mojo to just sit down and just complete a Dipset project. We up with my manFlex, this is a new year. In order to get it right, we've got to make it all the way right. You dig what I'm saying? That's why I'm saying it is possible, because I know Cam is willing to do, I'm sure Jim is willing to do it. I've always been willing to do it, it's just about me getting my music mojo back." ("Funkmaster Flex")
Last spring, Santana talked about putting efforts into his own music and getting his Diplomats all back together.
"I'll probably drop two mixtapes before the album and we gonna get everything right, we gonna get everything back in the proper perspective where it need to be," he told MTV News. "When I put out my music it will be well worth the wait, that's all I can say." And in case you were wondering about the status of Diplomatic Immunity 3, the long-awaited reunion album with Cam'ron, Jim Jones, Juelz and Freekey Zekey, that idea is still on the table. "Hopefully we gonna get that Diplomat album poppin'," Santana plugged. "We just want to do that the right way." (MTV)
In 2011, Jim Jones spoke about the slow progress surrounding the team's album delay.
"Currently in motion, we been working . . . it hasn't been going as fast as we'd like it to go because everybody got so much business that they're doing aside from where we left it," Jones said about the current state of the Diplomats album, before taking to the basketball court of a Downtown Manhattan, NY middle school with his "Jones Family" squad as part of MTV2 and Converse's Band of Ballers event. "But we definitely been locking in. Shout outs to Cam, shout outs to Juelz, shout outs to Freekey Zekey. Everybody's on board." (XXL Mag)
Retail-ready or not, Juelz opened up on Dipset's long-lasting legacy in early 2012.
"Things [are] normal. Everything is good. Me and [Cam'ron] and [Jim Jones] we just did our first show on the West Coast the other day. That sh*t was crazy out there. A good five, ten thousand people out there. They don't make them like us no more. I'm gonna keep it funky. It's [the] perfect time for my kind. Took a little hiatus if that's what you wanna call it, but I ain't really go nowhere. I always got something out there, whether it's some verses here or there, I don't just go nowhere. That's why they're always checking for a n*gga. I won't let you down this time. That's all I can say. Let's go." (Real Talk NY)
Check out Juelz Santana's interview:

Essence to Honor Solange Knowles, Lianne La Havas During Grammy Week

Rising singer/songwriters Lianne La Havas and Solange Knowles will be this year's honorees at Essence Black Women in Music. The fourth annual, invitation-only Grammy Week event will take place on Feb. 6 in Los Angeles with Grammy Award winner Kelly Rowland and Essence editor-at large Emil Wilbekin as hosts.

London-based La Havas, whose influences range from jazz icon Charlie Bird to Erykah Badu, is currently garnering critical acclaim for her 2012 Nonesuch debut album, Is Your Love Big Enough?. A popular DJ as well as a singer, Knowles recently released the EP True featuring the single "Losing You." She also released two previous albums: Solo Star (2003) and Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams (2008). Both honorees will each perform live sets during the celebration.

In announcing the 2013 honorees, Essence editor-in-chief Constance C.R. White stated, "Essence Black Women in Music highlights the success of amazing African-American women in music who are not only changing the game but also creating the rules. Lianne La Havas and Solange Knowles are each making their own inimitable mark on the industry and around the world."

Essence Black Women in Music was launched in 2010 to celebrate the accomplishments of influential emerging and established artists and industry executives. Last year's event at L.A.'s Belasco Theater saluted pioneering label executive Sylvia Rhone and Rowland. Previous honorees also include Janelle Monae and Mary J. Blige.

Additional details about 2013 Essence Black Women in Music, including venue, will be announced shortly.


beiber sued by bodyguard
Apparently, Bieber is a diva. Justin Bieber has been sued by his bodyguard for an alleged assault that took place during a backstage meltdown.
According to the former employee Moshe Benabou, the diminutive pop star had a temper tantrum backstage before a concert in October, and physically assaulted his guard. Of course, seeing Beiber sued by a bodyguard for an assault raises a lot of questions about the bodyguard's overall effectiveness, but the suit claims Bieber has a mean side.
"Justin Bieber, egged on by a small group of his 'companions,' launched an abusive tirade against Moshe Benabou," says the suit. "The tirade was apparently triggered by what Justin Bieber perceived as an attempt by Moshe Benabou to keep one member of Mr. Bieber's entourage physically away from Justin Bieber. As part of his tirade, Justin Bieber repeatedly punched [the plaintiff] in the chest and upper body area."
After the assault, Beiber allegedly screamed, "You are fired!" at the bodyguard, presumably in his best Donald Trump voice.
Benabou is seeking in excess of $400,000 in unpaid wages and damages.

Sony Classical Relaunching OKeh Records Jazz Imprint

Sony Classical is relaunching historic OKeh Records as its primary jazz imprint. The imprint will be part of Sony Masterworks in the U.S., Sony Classical's domestic branch. Overseeing OKeh will be Chuck Mitchell, senior VP at Sony Masterworks, and Wulf Muller, Sony Classical's exclusive jazz A&R and marketing consultant.

Focusing on both new and established artists who embody "global expressions in jazz," OKeh is eyeing between 10-12 projects for release this year. The first wave includes John Medeski (A Different Time, April 9) and David Sanborn & Bob James (title TBA, May) as well as Bill Frisell and Dhafer Youssef.

Muller, a 29-year industry veteran who recently joined Sony Classical, conceived the OKeh relaunch. "We hope to create a label that will define the present and future of the music we call jazz," said Muller in a release announcing the news. "OKeh's tradition as a label for great improvised music of its time, its connection to some of the most influential artists in the genres of jazz and blues, made it the perfect label for us to use."

Mitchell, most recently VP at eOne Music and formerly worldwide president of Verve, joined Sony Masterworks a few months ago. "The re-activation of OKeh comes at a particularly auspicious moment in the international evolution of creative music," added Mitchell. "Wulf's knowledge of and commitment to jazz make him the ideal individual to lead the next chapter in the development of this historically important imprint."

Founded in 1918, OKeh built its reputation with artists from the classic jazz and blues arenas. The label's roster boasted such iconic talents as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, King Oliver and Sidney Bechet.

Sony Classical is headed by president Bogdan Roscic. Sony Masterworks comprises the Masterworks, Masterworks Broadway, OKeh, Portrait, RCA Red Seal and Sony Classical imprints.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

SiriusXM Adds 2 Million Subscribers in 2012

SiriusXM added more subscribers to its satellite radio service last year than any U.S. on-demand service has gained to date.

The company announced Wednesday it added 2 million net subscriber additions and finished the year with 23.9 million subscribers. In addition, the company said it expected to meet or exceed all of its 2012 financial guidance.

But the company expects subscriber growth to slow this year. Sirius XM expects to add 1.6 million self-pay net subscriber additions and approximately 1.4 million total net subscribers by the end of the year. The company forecasts revenue of $3.7 billion and $1.1 billion in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

Muve Music, the on-demand subscription service of mobile carrier Cricket Wireless,  announced Tuesday it surpassed 1.1 million subscribers. Spotify announced last month it has one million subscribers in the U.S. 

SiriusXM shares were down 0.6% in late trading while the Nasdaq was up 0.4%.


Rap veteran Nas recently discussed his method for staying relevant after over two decades in the music industry and what hip-hop album stands out the most in his head from last year.
Asked for what keeps fresh ideas churning, Nas said authenticity is key.
"Rule No. 1 is you can't be fake. If you're fake, you become a gimmick and you're selling a gimmick; a little gimmick is cool, this is entertainment. But when you base your stuff on mostly real stuff, you never run out of it because every day is a different adventure." (SF Gate)
He also bigged up West Coast rapper Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d city LP and hinted at new music coming down the pipeline.
"No disrespect to nobody else in rap music, but Kendrick Lamar. I'm really happy about his record. I needed that. His record reaches you. It gives you hope. ...Also, Meek Mill. His energy is amazing. ... [New music?] Yes. It has started. I must tell you. I can't stop now. I'm in a great zone." (SF Gate)
Recently, Nasir Jones talked about his music's evolution in an ever-changing rap game.
"I've been called everything. Gangsta rap. I've been called conscious rap. You know, everything. Whoever feels like calling it whatever they want to call it, that's on them," he said. "Don't blame me; blame our wonderful country, America. And you can't even blame America. It's life. Blame life. I talk about life, and I make universal music with an American style -- and that's what I do," he said. "I know one thing: People put too many labels on music." (CNN)
Last year, God's Son considered why his career has lasted for over 20 years.
"So many people think they're relevant because they're still alive. That's not the case. Just because they stay alive, doesn't make you relevant. Your music should mean something, and that's what I always try to do. I don't work hard on anything other than being me, and if that resonates and they say that's relevant, that's official. I get that question from so many people, 'What makes you so relevant today when they're not relevant?'" (Muve Music)


All gold everything! A wealthy Indian man commissioned a team of 15 goldsmiths to weave him a shirt made entirely of gold. And he did it - to impress the ladies!
Datta Phuge, 32, is a millionaire in his native India, but unlucky in love. So in the ultimate form of peacocking, Phuge decided to spend his money on something that will definitely draw attention. He shelled out £14,000 for an all-gold shirt.
The team of goldsmiths weaved the shirt from gold thread, working 16-hour days over a period of two weeks. It even comes with matching cuffs and rings.
'I know I am not the best looking man in the world but surely no woman could fail to be dazzled by this shirt?' he said.
Wait until Trinidad James gets a hold of this style.


Music veteran Akon recently gave his take on pop star Justin Bieber getting busted for allegedly kicking back a few totes of marijuana and said he will handle the situation himself.
Although 'Kon did not get too specific, he did vow to reach out to the Biebs.
Akon doesn't drink ... Akon doesn't smoke ... but Akon was pretty damn surprised when he found out his pal Justin Bieber might be doin' both. Akon was leaving The Ivy yesterday when we asked him about the fan reaction to the photos of Bieber puffin' away on a joint, while surrounded by Coronas, at a recent hotel party. "I gotta talk to Justin," Akon said ... "I didn't know he was smoking. That's my little man ... hopefully, I'll make an impact." Akon's confident he can reach his 18-year-old friend ... telling us, "He's a responsible kid." (TMZ)
West Coast rapper Game recently shared some similar sentimentsand defended JB's polished image.
Game -- a self-proclaimed weed enthusiast -- was getting his hike on in L.A. today when we asked about the Bieber pics, and Game replied, "Let's keep it real. There's a lot of people in high positions ... who smoke a little weed sometimes." Game added, "I'm not saying it's okay ... but [Bieber] made a mistake. Forgive him. Let him go through the growing pains of his life." And if Bieber REALLY needs to smoke out -- Game says it might be worth looking into getting a prescription ... for his glaucoma ... or insomnia ... or whatever else he can pull out of his ass on the fly. (TMZ)
Photos of Biebs allegedly indulging himself with marijuana have circulated online over the past week.
Bieber was photographed last Wednesday at a hotel-room party in Newport Beach holding what appears to be a marijuana cigarette while sitting with fellow partyers and a couple of empty beer bottles. The photos, taken in the presence of security and obtained by TMZ over the weekend, show the Biebs laughing and chatting with the lighted blunt between his fingers. Sources at the party told the website that rapper Lil Twist and his brother were rolling the blunts. The day before the pics were taken, Twist was pulled over while driving Bieber's Ferrari, and freelance photographer Chris Guerra, who was trying to snap pics of the traffic stop, was killed while crossing Sepulveda Boulevard. (Los Angeles Times)
The controversial photos even started a "#CutForBieber" harmful trend.
Justin Bieber fans are known for their extreme dedication to the pop icon, but a disturbing Twitter trend that emerged on Monday made it seem that they had take their obsession to a frightening level. The term #CutForBieber started trending, initially as a joke started by the prankster website 4Chan. The trend comes days after photos surfaced of the "Baby" singer allegedly smoking marijuana. "Let's start a cut yourself for Bieber campaign," an anonymous user wrote on a 4Chan message board, according to Billboard. "Tweet a bunch of pics of people cutting themselves and claim we did it because Bieber was smoking weed. See if we can get some little girls to cut themselves." (Fox News)

Mark Shimmel, Erik Olesen Exit Epic Records

In a surprise move, both COO Mark Shimmel and Senior VP of Promotion Erik Olesen have left Epic Records. 

Both were new to their positions: Shimmel, who was touted as Epic head LA Reid's number-two, was named COO just under a year ago, while Olesen was appointed in March but has been with the company since August of 2011. 

Previously, Shimmel had held the position of head of music at Turner Entertainment Networks for the seven years, overseeing TNT, TBS, CNN, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim. 

The two went back to LaFace Records, where Reid and partner Kenneth "Babyface" Edmunds discovered Usher and TLC, and the now defunct Arista, where Shimmel was svp of marketing and artist relations and Reid was CEO. In addition, Shimmel ran his own management company, had a hand in the induction of the first-ever hip-hop exhibit into the Smithsonian Institute and spent several years overseeing talent for the Kennedy Center Honors. 

Reid recently stepped down from his judging gig at "X Factor" in order to focus on his "core business and the responsibility of running Epic Records," he said.  

Shimmel's departure marks the third No. 2 executive Reid has jettisoned since he took over the label in July 2011. Initially, Jive executive VP/GM Tom Carrabba was set to move to Epic after Sony dismantled the Jive staff after chairman Barry Weiss defected to the Universal Music Group. But then, Reid brought in former Sony International executive Kevin Lawrie as chief operating officer, and Carrabba departed. Although Lawrie was never officially announced as CEO, his tenure was also short-lived, as Reid let him go in October 2011. 

Abrupt departures at "the New Epic" have not been limited to the No. 2 position: EVP of marketing Angelica Cob-Baehler was let go in August after less than a year on the job, and was replaced by Scott Seviour in November.


After months of speculation, Young Money's Nicki Minaj has announced her long-awaited clothing line will finally hit store shelves courtesy of mega retailer Kmart.
Reports of the unexpected partnership surfaced online Wednesday(January 9) afternoon.
Nicki Minaj is coming to a store near you. Following deals with Pepsi, M.A.C., and OPI, the hip-hop mogul has announced a partnership with Kmart to sell her multi-department lifestyle brand. Nicki will launch apparel and accessories collections in conjunction with Kmart and the social shopping platform. The "Starships" rapper will develop the lines, which will be available exclusively at select Kmartlocations and on beginning this year. She will oversee the design and development of the brand so that it reflects her strong creative talent, expressive personality, and distinctive individual style. (Rap-Up)
Not alone in the venture, Maroon 5's Adam Levine is also set to launch his own gear through Kmart.
We can't say we were surprised when we heard that Nicki Minaj and Adam Levine would be launching their own clothing and accessories lines at Kmart and Shop Your Way in 2013. The two musicians-turned-reality-show-judges will "design and develop their collections with Kmart to reflect their strong creative talents, expressive personalities, and distinctive individual styles," according to the press release. I mean, Nicki has been very openly shopping around her potential clothing line since last August, and even back then said, "My biggest goal was to make a line that was going to be affordable to my fans and also rich enough in quality that they'll feel like they're wearing exactly what I'm wearing." And for Adam, well, remember he launched a clothing collection (called 222) back in 2010, and since then has been flirting in and out of fashion world by performing at the Victoria's Secret runway show and releasing his first-ever fragrance? Yep, we've been keeping our eyes on y'all! (MTV Style)
Following the news, Minaj answered eager fans' questions about her line.
"That is CORRECT > RT @Jessie_Barbie: @NICKIMINAJ Your clothing line will also be available for online shopping right?," she tweeted January 9th.
"All sizes! XO> RT @ItsMarthaBitch: @NICKIMINAJ About this clothing line....big girl sizes or will I only be purchasing for my lil cousins?" (Nicki Minaj's Twitter)
Nicki spoke on the gear dropping sometime this year back in November.
"That's the big thing I'm looking forward to next year, the clothing line," Nicki said in an interview. "The clothing line's going to be so, so, so freaking cute. You guys are going to love it. But uh, I don't know. I'm not really a lingerie type of girl. I'm like a t-shirt and panties type of girl. Lingerie's stupid! [laughs]" (Tim Westwood TV)


Katt williams arrested
At this rate, his next album is going to be called "Katt Williams Arrested." The comedian, known as much these days for his police record as his comedy and luxurious hair, was arrested on an outstanding warrant in Los Angeles Wednesday, after failing to show up in court for a prior arrest. That's right: Katt Williams was arrested for having been arrested before.
Williams missed a court date in Sacramento, which is when a judge issued a bench warrant for his arrest. That court date was related to an incident in November, when Williams was charged with evading the California Highway Patrol after speeding away from cops on a three-wheeled motorcycle.
That incident got Katt Williams arrested, but he's had plenty of recent run-ins with the cops too. There was a child endangerment charge to ring in 2013, and the IRS claims he owes the Federal government $4 million.
Williams is out on $100,000 bail, but something tells us this won't be the last time we see Katt Williams arrested. The funnyman retired from comedy late last year after racking up an impressive end to 2012. Katt Williams was arrested for a bar fight in Seattle, and even had an illegal gun confiscated from his house. Here's to hoping this is the last Katt Williams arrest for the year.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


rob parker fired
ESPN talking head Rob Parker was fired Tuesday, after an incident last month in which he questioned the "blackness" of Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III. Parker had been on suspension since then, but Parker's firing came two days after he gave an interview on television in which he seemed to double down on his claims.
The comment that got Rob Parker fired came on December 13th, during an episode of ESPN's show "First Take." Parker called the popular RGIII a "cornball brother" and questioned Griffin's commitment to the African-American community based on the fact that Griffin is a Republican and has a white fiance. ESPN suspended Parker after public outcry, but the real action that got Rob Parker fired came this weekend. Parker went on television in Detroit and said he was "shocked" by the backlash, and that he still had "concerns" for Griffin.
Parker said he didn't mean to "condemn the young man. RGIII is a great young man with a bright future. It was more about concerns, not condemning him."
While Parker was already in trouble with his employer, it was the fact that he seemed unwilling to apologize or walk away from his comments that got Rob Parker fired.
ESPN said in a statement that “Rob Parker’s contract expired at year end. Evaluating our needs and his work, including his recent RGIII comments, we decided not to renew.”

Music, Games Lead Kickstarter's $320 Million In 2012 Pledges

Kickstarter is just under 4 years old, but 2012 may have been the year the crowdfunding service went mainstream. The New York-based startup funded 19 films at the Sundance Film Festival, the Oscar-nominated documentary "Incident in New Baghdad," a new font for the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee and thousands of music projects.
Music had more successfully funded projects -- 5,067 out of 9,086 attempts -- than any other category in 2012. Kickstarter received just under $35 million in pledges, up 84% from $19 million in 2011, from 1.38 million people for music projects, according to statistics released by the company on Tuesday. The average funded music campaign raised $6,900.

In all, Kickstarter received $319.8 million in pledges, up 221%, from more than 2.2 million people in 177 countries in 2012. It collected $274 million, up 238%, in pledges from successful projects. Nearly 571,000 people backed two or more projects, about 50,000 backed 10 or more projects and 452 backed 100 or more.

The games category was the most financially successful category. Although only 911 games were funded, they raised a total of $83.1 million from 1.38 million backers -- an average of $60.22 per pledge. Film & video had more launched projects (9,600) than music but fewer successful projects (3,891).
Musician Amanda Palmer had one of the 17 projects that raised more than $1 million in 2012. The "Theatre is Evil" project and related live shows received $1.19 million from 24,883 backers. The album debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard 200 in September and has sold 35,000 units to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
The most-funded Kickstarter project of 2012 -- and of all time -- was the Pebble E-Paper Watch for iPhone and Android. It raised $10.2 million from 68,900 backers.


G.O.O.D. Music's Kid Cudi is letting his voice be heard over not receiving the same amount of support and effort from Universal Republic as other artists, threatening "problems" to come if his issues do not get resolved.
Cudi unloaded his emotions and problems in an unexpected swoopTuesday (January 8) evening.
"King Wizard 3.4 million views on Vevo, Just What I Am has 4.3 million and my sh*t is not on regular rotation on radio. Hmmm.," he tweeted.
"Trinidad James got 4.1 million views on his hit (rightfully so), and I hear that jam EVERYWHERE. Wheres my f*ckin spins???"
"Im talkin numbers. Im talkin stats."
"To my label, I swear to all that is fuckin holy in this world, if things dont change soon, theres gonna be some problems"
"I worked too hard on all this sh*t. Producing, writing, directing AND executing the sh*t proper. I did my part, I put in work. Wtf"
"Yall kno I cuts no slack. Not w my music. Every song is my life. A piece of my f*ckin tormented soul. It matters to me. I give a f*ck"
"Done goin off and snappin my head side to side :)"
"Aint nobody got time for that!!" (Kid Cudi's Twitter)
Back in March, Cudder defended lashing out at Universal Republic over lackluster support for his joint WZRD album.
"We were really hoping to have more [promotion], but at this point, it's a dead issue," Cudi said in an interview. "The numbers kind of speak for themselves. It lets people know that I'm not out here taking crazy pills. When I get passionate about something, and people hear me kind of outraged, it's not coming from a place of me being irrational, or being difficult to work with. I believe in something I've created." (Billboard)
In late February 2012, Cudder pointed his finger at the record company's album treatment.
"Ok so just a heads up, my weak a** label only shipped 55k physicals cuz they treated this like some indie side project tax right off. So i apologize on behalf of my weak a** major label. And I apologize for the lack of promo, again, my weak a** major label. They tried to rush me thru this so i can just give em another MOTM, but guess what? F*ck that, next album is WZRD. MOTM3 on hold til 2014. who mad??? not me and @DotDaGenius : ) So its def gonna be tough to find one in the stores guys, I'm sorry about that. I gotta go out and find one too, becuz my weak a** label never even gave us a copy of our own album. FAIL!!! Im lettin Universal Republic have it, f*ck it. What they gon' do, spank me?? hahahaha AND Teleport 2 Me, Jamie aint on the radio!!!! like helloooooooooo????? HIT HIT HIT!!! [sic]" (Kid Cudi's Twitter)
Despite the label's underwhelming effort, his LP still debuted atop its competition at number three on the sales charts last winter.
G.O.O.D. Music rapper Kid Cudi and producer Dot Da GeniusWZRD debuted on the chart this week at No. 3. With seven days in the books, the duo's new joint record has shelled out 66,100 units. (SOHH Sales Wrap)