Thursday, March 7, 2013


State Property's Beanie Sigel is reportedly going to remain behind bars for up to nearly two additional years after pleading guilty to a narcotics possession charge.
Details of the unfortunate news landed online Wednesday (March 6) afternoon.
Rapper Beanie Sigel has been sentenced to six to 23 months after pleading guilty to a narcotics possession charge in suburban Philadelphia. The Delaware County Daily Times says Sigel, whose real name is Dwight Grant, entered the plea Wednesday in Delaware County to a misdemeanor count of illegal possession of Percocet. Sigel has been behind bars since he was arrested Aug. 29 in Tinicum Township. A co-defendant entered a plea to a firearms charge. Defense attorney Carson Morris called his client a successful entertainer who had made some mistakes, but said "he's ready to go ahead and put that behind him and move on with is life." Sigel is also facing a two-year federal tax evasion sentence, which Morris said he hoped would run concurrently. (The Republic)
Sigel appeared in court nearly a month ago to waive a preliminary hearing.
Shackled and wearing prison blues, Sigel, born Dwight Grant, stood before Magisterial District Judge Edward Christie and waived his preliminary hearing on all charges. The portly but seemingly slimmed down defendant said little during the brief proceeding, but smiled when the judge wished him good luck. Assistant District Attorney Lindsay McDonald said the rap artist's case will be "fast-tracked" to allow him to begin serving his federal time. "We expect to have the matter resolved in Media in the next few weeks," said defense attorney Fortunato N. Perri Jr. Sigel is scheduled to be formally arraigned in Media on March 6. (The Reporter Online)
Last year, fellow Philadelphia rapper Cassidy spoke to SOHH about Sigel's publicized woes.
"Yeah, that's a sad situation because you know Beanie is from my city. He was one of the first cats to get on and get it popping and take it to a whole other level, and he's really lyrical," Cass told SOHH. "It's sad that he has to go away for the [tax evasion conviction] situation. Everything happens for a reason, so hopefully he'll be able to build from the time where he's sitting down. Be able to develop. Learn more about himself. Learn more how to move when he finally gets the opportunity to get back out here, so when he does get back out here he can take it to a whole other level. That's definitely sad. I don't wish nobody to go to jail. I've been there before. I know what that life's like, and it definitely ain't a fun place to be so it's sad to see him have to go away." (SOHH)
Although slated to begin a two-year jail sentence for a tax-related crime on September 12th, Beanshad to start his bid immediately following a late August arrest.
"At this point, the Federal authorities will take him into custody and he'll begin serving the sentence that he was going to start on September 12 anyway," Sigel's longtime attorney Fortunato N. Perri told XXL. "He had bail set on the new charges, but the Federal authorities have issued a detainer--a warrant, essentially--that will transfer him to Federal custody and he'll start serving his sentence." (XXL Mag)

Kanye West Vents About Being Ranked No. 7 on MTV's Hottest MC List

When it comes to his standing in the rap world, Kanye West couldn't help but sound off.
The Watch the Throne rapper called into New York's Hot 97 radio station Tuesday night to dispute his No. 7 ranking on MTV's"Hottest MCs" list, coming in behind artistsBig Sean at No. 6 and Drake at No. 5.
And per MTV, unlike his recent outbursts at his European concerts, West kept his cool on this occasion and attributed his lower position to the fact that his new compilation,Cruel Summer, was greeted with tepid reviews at best.
"I feel like for them to put me at No. 7, they had to bring up things they didn't like, like they didn't like Cruel Summer album. And I'm, like, 'That's a compilation. It's not all rappers on [it]," he said.
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Video Thumbnail: Fellow Musician Mourns Mindy McCreadyFellow Musician Mourns Mindy McCready
Kanye then name-checked all the CD's hits—"Mercy," "Cold," "New God Flow" and "Clique"—as proof of its power, adding, "You can't name five records like that on an album."
While praising Big Sean, Kim Kardashian's beau claimed that the media's been against him these days because he's not playing the part of the clean-cut rapper anymore. 
"What happens with these type of things and the people that review it, when I come in and I have the pink polo and the backpack, I'm checking all the boxes of that A Tribe Called Quest era and all that, so they want to champion it," he said. "They don't like Givenchy Kanye. They don't like Kanye in a kilt, they don't like Kanye in a relationship."
The G.O.O.D. Music CEO also asserted that his lyrical diss in "Cold" supposedly aimed at Kardashian's estranged hubby, Kris Humphries, was easily the best bar of the year.
"Ain't no bar of the past 12 months that's hotter than that bar," he said.
Of course, West is referring to the rhyme in which he said he could have had pal Jay-Z, a part owner of the New Jersey Nets, fire the NBA star at will ("Lucky I ain't have Jay drop him from the team"). 

Billboard Latin Music Conference and Awards

Billboard Latin Music Conference and Awards

Presented by State Farm
April 23-25, 2013
JW Marriott Marquis, Miami

Every year, the biggest names in Latin music come together for the most anticipated event of the year - The Billboard Latin Music Conference and Awards. Now in its 24th year, the Conference unites the most extraordinary people in the world of Latin music and entertainment - including the industry's hottest artists, major record label execs, cutting-edge brand marketers, national radio programmers, world-re-nowned producers, revolutionary digital music execs - and many more. Join Billboard and celebrate and explore the issues that make this the most exciting industry in the world.

Warner Music Inks Deal With Google for Music Subscription Services

Warner Music Group has struck a licensing deal with Google for two music services the technology giant is launching later this summer, according to executives familiar with the agreement. Google will offer two distinct subscription services – one through its YouTube online video property and another via its Google Play platform.
Executives at Warner, which is the first record label to commit to Google’s proposed music service, declined to comment. A YouTube spokesman issued the following statement: “While we don't comment on rumor or speculation, there are some content creators that think they would benefit from a subscription revenue stream in addition to ads, so we're looking at that.”
Google is also in deep negotiations with Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and other labels to nail down an agreement similar to the one it now has with Warner.
Google’s efforts to build an on-demand music service was first reported in February by the Financial Times. Fortune followed up with a report that detailed Google’s plans for two separate music services.
Google will be jumping into a fiercely fought market for on-demand music streaming. Spotify, Rhapsody, Muve Music, Slacker, Samsung Music Hub, Sony Music Unlimited and Rdio are among the current players slugging it out for dominance. And later this summer, Beats Electronics will re-launch a revamped MOG service, branded as Beats Music.
Google, however, will be coming to the party with several formidable advantages – YouTube and Android.
Its YouTube platform attracts 800 million unique viewers a month. That’s vastly more than the tens of millions of people worldwide who are estimated to be using on-demand streaming music services -- both free and paid. In addition, Google’s Android operating system powered 68.4% of all smartphones shipped globally in 2012, compared with 19.4% for Apple’s iOS, according to Strategy Analytics.
Under current plans, which could change as Google firms up its strategy, the Mountain View, Calif., technology giant will offer an ad-free subscription tier for YouTube viewers. In addition, it would offer another service from its Google Play platform, which currently sells song downloads similar to Apple’s iTunes and has a free scan-and-match locker service that lets users stream songs from their music library via any Internet connection. Subscribing to a Google Play music service would give listeners access to licensed songs that they don’t own, according to executives knowledgeable with the plans but who are not allowed to speak publicly on behalf of Google.
Warner has historically marched to its own tune when it comes to building a digital strategy. The label declined to join Universal and Sony in creating VEVO, a music video network that has had massive success on YouTube. Instead, Warner created its own YouTube channel – The Warner Sound, which features music videos from Warner’s own artists and has consistently ranked among the top 5 most popular YouTube Partner channels, according to comScore Inc. The company, whose digital strategy is shaped by longtime Warner executive Stephen Bryan, also held out for almost a year after rival record companies signed deals to sell downloads on Google’s music store, launched in 2011.
Bryan, who led Warner’s negotiations with Google for the upcoming music services, declined through a spokesman to comment for this story.
For labels, which have long since moved beyond initial fears that on-demand services could cannibalize music sales, the proliferation of music services is a welcomed development. Many executives who have spoken with have pointed to the recent report from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry showing an overall growth in music revenue for the first time since 1999. The IFPI credited much of that increase to the flowering of digital music services, which now number some 500 worldwide, covering 100 global markets, up from just 23 a year ago. 

Will the Copyright Alert System Break the Internet? By Future of Music Coalition's Casey Rae

What if there was a copyright enforcement policy and the Internet didn’t break?
In July of 2011, several Internet Service Providers announced a “Memorandum of Understanding” with major entertainment industry groups. In this memorandum, ISPs agreed to implement a “graduated response” program to educate and potentially penalize internet users suspected of sharing or downloading unauthorized copyrighted material. Fast-forward to last week, when the Copyright Alert System (CAS) was officially activated under the auspices of the newly-formed Center for Copyright Information (CCI).
In today’s political and cultural environment, any policy — voluntary or otherwise — involving the internet and content companies is bound to provoke a reaction. Reponses to the launch ran the gamut from “meh” to what can only be described as paranoia. So is the CAS a cabal of corporate interlopers out to thwart internet freedom, or a meaningful way of dealing with an issue that has bedeviled rightsholders and artists for close to fifteen years? 
A close examination of the original memorandum as well as CCI descriptions of the program indicates that much of the panic is overblown. Still, any such effort benefits from transparency in order to build trust among stakeholders and to measure effectiveness. The former is key to making smarter choices around enforcement and growing the legitimate marketplace in a way that benefits not just the big companies, but also creators. In this way, incentives might be better aligned and artists and fans can gain confidence in today’s music ecosystem. Even if it was designed to limit unintended consequences, CAS must operate in plain sight.
But what does CAS actually do? To be clear, the program will not kick anyone off the internet. It’s also worth noting that ISPs can already do a lot this under existing terms of service. Internet providers are given some latitude under the agreement with regard to implementation. But basically, the “six strikes” framework breaks down into three components:
1. Education - After a content provider sends a notice to ISPs of alleged infringement, the ISPs will locate the suspected user and send them an initial alert. This alert explains that the user is been suspected of infringement and that such activity is unlawful and can lead to serious consequences. The alert may also include reminders about licensed alternatives and tips on checking online security.
2. Acknowledgement – Here, users will be required to acknowledge that they’ve received the alert and pledge to stop cease unlawful activity. After around six alerts, the ISP can choose to further escalate to phase three, which can bring actual penalties. (If a user goes a year without receiving further notices, the number of strikes gets reset to zero.)
3. Mitigation - At this stage, an ISP can enact penalties on repeatedly flagged users. Such penalties can include slowing internet speeds, redirection to educational pages, or at worst, temporarily restricting internet capabilities. ISPs are not allowed to disable voice, emergency or email services. Users under mitigation can appeal to an independent arbiter making arguments ranging from unauthorized access of their account to fair use. (But they do have to pay $35 for the privilege, refunded if the appeal is successful.)
Critics of the CAS say that the system could jeopardize user privacy and may also have a chilling effect on open wireless networks. The former is a stretch, given that the system doesn't use invasive technologies but rather public trackers to monitor for suspected infringing activity. The latter would be more of a concern if the CAS applied to business accounts, which it does not. As it stands, open WiFi is among the defenses available in arbitration. Those still inclined to fret should take some comfort in the fact that staunch consumer advocates Gigi Sohn and Jerry Berman are on the CCI advisory board.
The most important thing is whether the system actually works to reduce piracy. As a musician and artist advocate, this is foremost in my mind. At this point, many of us are looking for a positive outcome after the contentious battle that was SOPA. For music companies, getting intermediaries like ISPs to take on some responsibilities in addressing user behavior is probably more cost effective and less brand-damaging than other enforcement tactics. For musicians, it comes down to whether the policy helps protect their rights without compromising what they find useful about the internet. With CAS, we’ll probably have to be wait-and-see.
Previous efforts to go after downloaders, such as individual lawsuits with large statutory damages, were seen as disproportionate by many fans and musicians. And it’s not like the creators themselves saw any of the money from cases against P2P platforms. Most musicians I talk to are more concerned about whether new — and fully licensed — music services represent a viable way forward. Many are incensed by unauthorized access to their work, but they alsorecognize the value of an open and accessible internet.  Inasmuch as the CAS helps with the former and doesn’t mess with the latter, the program could find favor.
As it stands, CAS will not break the internet, put anyone in jail or result in termination of service. This is a good thing. If it manages to diminish piracy while we sort out how the new marketplace can better reward musicians, even better.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Bobby Rogers, Member of Motown’s The Miracles, Dies At 73

Bobby Rogers, a founding member of Motown group The Miracles and a songwriting collaborator with Smokey Robinson, died Sunday at his suburban Detroit home. He was 73.
Motown Museum board member Allen Rawls said Rogers died about 6 a.m. in Southfield. Rogers had been ill for several years.
Rogers formed the group in 1956 with cousin Claudette Rogers, Pete Moore, Ronnie White and Robinson. Their hits included "Shop Around," ''You've Really Got a Hold on Me," ''The Tracks of My Tears," ''Going to a Go-Go," ''I Second That Emotion" and "The Tears of a Clown."
"Another soldier in my life has fallen. Bobby Rogers was my brother and a really good friend," Robinson said Sunday in a statement. "He and I were born on the exact same day in the same hospital in Detroit. I am really going to miss him. I loved him very much."
Roger's cousin Claudette told the Detroit Free Press that everyone was drawn to his personality.
"People always commented on the tall one with the glasses," she said. "He was personable, approachable and he loved talking to the women, loved talking to the guys, loved to dance, loved to sing, loved to perform. That was the joy of his life."
His voice can be heard on Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On," with Rogers saying, "It's just a groovy party, man, I can dig it." Mary Wilson of the Supremes said that captured his essence.
"If people want to remember him, they should put that record on and listen to Bobby," Wilson told the newspaper. "That's who he was."
Rogers and The Miracles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012. He was too ill to attend the ceremony.
He shared songwriting credits with Robinson on The Temptations' "The Way You Do the Things You Do," The Contours' "First I Look at the Purse" and The Miracles' "Going to a Go-Go."
Funeral arrangements through James H. Cole Home for Funerals in Detroit were incomplete Sunday afternoon.