Friday, August 2, 2013

Viacom 3Q Net Income Rises 20 Percent

Viacom Inc. said Friday that its fiscal third-quarter net income rose 20 percent, boosted by higher affiliate fees at its cable TV channels and an increase in advertising revenue.

The New York company, which owns MTV, Comedy Central and Paramount Pictures, posted an adjusted profit that fell a penny short of Wall Street expectations, but its revenue came in higher than expected.
Viacom also announced that its board boosted the company's stock buyback program to $20 billion in shares from $10 billion, adding that the company plans to buy back $2 billion in shares under the expanded program over the next several months.

Its shares rose more than 4 percent in premarket trading.

For the quarter ended June 30, Viacom earned $643 million, or $1.31 per share. That's up from $534 million, or $1.01 per share, in the same quarter of 2012.

Excluding discontinued operations and one-time items, Viacom earned an adjusted $1.29 per share for the latest quarter. Analysts polled by FactSet expected $1.30 per share.

Revenue increased 14 percent to $3.69 billion from $3.24 billion. That topped analysts' expectations for $3.57 billion.

Viacom said revenue at its media networks business increased 13 percent to $2.57 billion, boosted by a 26 percent jump in global affiliate revenue that stemmed from both digital distribution agreements and rate increases.

Traditionally, Viacom's pay TV channels generate about two-thirds of its revenue and nearly all of its profits. But an increasing amount of the company's revenue is coming from licensing content to video streaming services.
In early June, the company struck a licensing agreement with Inc., giving it exclusive online rights to key Viacom programming, including episodes of Nickelodeon's "Dora the Explorer," after Viacom couldn't come to terms on a larger, omnibus deal with Netflix Inc.

Excluding digital distribution agreements, which are affected by the timing of available programing, domestic affiliate revenue rose in the "high-single digits," Viacom said.

Domestic advertising revenue increased 6 percent, helped by higher ratings, while worldwide advertising revenue rose 5 percent. Viacom has been struggling with a ratings decline at Nickelodeon, but the company third-quarter results lapped a weak year-ago performance, so the increase in advertising revenue was expected.

Revenue at the company's filmed entertainment business, increased 15 percent to $1.16 billion, as global theatrical revenue jumped 64 percent to $464 million, helped by the releases of the movies "Star Trek Into Darkness," "World War Z" and "Pain and Gain," along with continued strong ticket sales of other movies released in the second quarter.

The jump in film revenue also was largely expected. "Star Trek Into Darkness" has already brought in about $450 million globally, while one of the year-ago quarter's major releases was "The Dictator," which grossed $177 million globally.

But operating income at the business dropped 63 percent to $17 million, pulled down by higher film distribution costs.

Viacom shares rose $3.32, or 4.4 percent, to $78.21 in premarket trading. That would top its 52-week high of $75.09 set July 19 if it were to hold up in regular market trading.

2 Chainz Featuring Cap-1 “Where U Been?”

As “Fed Watching” featuring Pharrell is burning up the radios, 2 Chainz makes another statement with “Where You Been?” The track, which features his longtime collaborator Cap-1, goes hard over the bass-heavy production by Mike Will Made It.


His sophomore album, B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time arrives September 10 via Def Jam.

2 Chainz "Where U Been" feat. Cap 1

The Turtles Lead Whopping $100 Million Class Action Against SiriusXM

Enjoy an old rock tune on satellite radio lately? A new proposed class action raises the theory that SiriusXM has infringed millions of these older recordings from thousands of song artists. 

Damages are alleged to be at least $100 million, but for a company that last reported quarterly revenues of $940 million, the attorneys representing the plaintiff believe that damage figure to be on the conservative side.

The lead plaintiff in the case is Flo & Eddie of The Turtles, the iconic band whose hits include "Happy Together," "It Ain't Me Babe" and "She'd Rather Be With Me."

The band has a history of bringing big cases, but the reason why this lawsuit filed in L.A. Superior Court commands notice comes down to the magical number of 1972.

February 15, 1972 is the exact moment in which sound recordings began falling under federal copyright protection. For recorded music created before then, the situation is a bit more murky. The question this lawsuit addresses is what laws cover those recordings?

Every day, SiriusXM transmits thousands of pre-1972 recordings and does so likely with the confidence that §114 of the Copyright Act gives them this authority. That statute carves out limitations on exclusive rights and also sets up the way that owners of recordings get compensated. Currently, the Copyright Royalty Board is the entity that sets statutory royalty rates for satellite radio, and SoundExchange is the entity that collects the royalties to pass along.

But it is the contention of Flo & Eddie, representing themselves and others similarly situated, that federal law can't be relied upon when dealing with pre-72 music on satellite radio. Here's the complaint filed on Thursday.

Among the cases that could support this theory is Goldstein v. California, a 1972 U.S. Supreme Case dealing with a piracy dispute that gave deference to state laws. The ruling held, "Until and unless Congress takes further action with respect to recordings fixed prior to February 15, 1972, the California statute may be enforced against acts of piracy such as those which occurred in the present case."

In the present action, the plaintiffs assert misappropriation under California law as well as unfair competition and conversion. Those claims were recently tested in favor of record label plaintiffs in a California case against BlueBeat, a website that attempted to use §114 for among other things, to sell 25 cent songs from The Beatles. A judge found BlueBeat liable for misappropriation of pre-72 recordings.

If there is another reason why Sirius might be concerned that state laws aren't preempted by federal statutes that confer them distribution rights, a case decided earlier this year by a New York appeals court might give the satellite giant some pause. There, appeals judges held that music streaming site Grooveshark couldn't take advantage of DMCA safe harbors – another federal law – to defend against charges of pirating pre-72 sound recordings. A different jurisdiction, and dealing with digital rather than satellite distribution, but in the wake of that ruling, many legal commentators warned that all hell could break loose when determining liability on older recordings.

Now, The Turtles are stepping up to give Sirius a major challenge.
This isn't the first legal fight for the band.

In 1971, they sued their record label, White Whale, for accounting irregularities, and wound up recovering rights to their original masters. Years later, they brought one of the first "sampling" lawsuits against De La Soul. They've also sued record pirates and brought claims against advertisers for using without authorization their voices in commercials. They are now being represented by Henry Gradstein and other attorneys at Gradstein & Marzano.

Besides hundreds of millions of dollars, the plaintiffs are demanding an injunction against the defendant distributing pre-72 recordings. The lawsuit could conceivably stop a lot of classic rock and jazz being played on SiriusXM.

We've reached out to Sirius and will update with any comment it has.

Drake ~ All Me feat. 2 Chainz & Big Sean

Drake ~ All Me feat. 2 Chainz & Big Sean 


Once again, Drake hits us with another late night track presumably off his forthcoming album, Nothing Was The Same. “All Me” features 2 Chainz and Big Sean.

Waka Flocka Flame’s Mom Deb Antney Sits Down With The Breakfast Club

Earlier today Waka FLocka Flame’s mother Deb Antney stopped by New York’s Power 105.1 and chopped it up with The Breakfast Club, providing a look behind the scenes of some of rap’s most complicated relationships. 
Antney started off talking about her beginnings in hip-hop, saying that her career in management started when she gave birth to her first son back in 1981. Throughout the interview, she opened up about her relationships with Nicki Minaj (“That’s the daughter I never had”), French Montanna (“Frenchie needs media training”) and her complicated history with Gucci Mane (“Everybody got issues”). Even though Waka Flocka and Gucci Mane have been at odds with each other lately, Antey sounded hopeful about the future. “Anything can be fixed,” she said. “It’s just a matter if it stays in place.”

The Mizay entertainment CEO also discussed why she laughed when Waka first played his music for her, her neglect of OJ da Juiceman and her edgy relationship with New York. “This is my city,” she said. “I popped off two of the biggest artists here in this city and this city turned on me. This was the city I was trying to put back on and they turned on me.” Listen to the whole interview above.

Should Sony Entertainment and Universal Music Leave Their Parent Companies?

Over the last several months, financial propositions have been made to cleave Sony Entertainment and Universal Music Group -- the world's two largest music companies  – away from their parent companies. If these proposals were ever to come to fruition, they would radically change the face of the music industry as we know it and also present a number of interesting possibilities. 

David Loeb of Third Point, a hedge fund which has 6.9% invested in Sony Corp, in May first called on the Japanese conglomerate to put its music and film holdings up for an Initial Public Stock Offering which could possibly raise as much as $2 billion. Loeb argued that the move would strengthen the company with the "transparency that comes with public reporting, an active media analyst community evaluating financial performance regularly and an expert board with strongly aligned incentives.”  Today (Aug. 1), news brokeposting its first profitable quarter in two years due in part to a weaker Yen -- down. The market, it seems, favors the idea of an independent Sony Entertainment.  that the Sony board plans not to spin-off its entertainment holdings, which sent shares of Sony down 3% -- despite

Two weeks ago, news broke that Japanese Telecom SoftBank (which recently merged with Sprint) had made an $8.5 billion dollar offer to buy Universal Music Group from Vivendi, a French conglomerate that, much like Sony, has had its share of financial challenges. A report in the Financial Times noted that Vivendi has been under pressure to restructure its holdings as its stock shares had fallen 13 percent since early May. And much like Sony, Vivendi has an activist investor in Vincent Bollore who is similarly pressing Vivendi to dispose of its holdings, which include Activision Blizzard and French TV group Canal Plus. Vivendi, again like Sony, has insisted on keeping its entertainment holdings and instead sold-off its 53% in Maroc Telecom as it tries to focus more on its media and entertainment holdings.

Both scenarios point to the desirability of music content creation companies in 2013 and their intrinsic value. In a follow-up piece on SoftBank’s $8.5 Billion proposal, Billboard’s Ed Christman concluded that the “$8.5 billion pricing SoftBank offered, gave UMG about a 9X multiple, which is a significant improvement over the 7.6 multiple that Citigroup realized through the sale of EMI.” Meaning that the value of record companies are increasing. And with Telecoms like AT&T, Verizon and Sprint increasingly looking to buy music platforms to entice consumers, major record companies may never have been a more desirable asset.

Big Sean Recruits Nicki Minaj, Miguel, And Nas For ‘Hall Of Fame’

For his second go round, Big Sean is trying to convey one thing and it’s all about representing who he is as an artist.
 Also nabbing many exclusive features for the project, the G.O.O.D Music rapper lets it be known that along with giving the world a closer glimpse of himself, on this album fans can be certain about expecting exclusive appearances.

Joining with Nicki Minaj, Miguel, Nas, Young Jeezy, Kid Cudi, Jhene Aiko, and Juicy J, there’s no doubt that B.I.G Sean put his heart and soul into this project. Succeeding 2011′s Finally Famous the rapper presents fans with a combination of tracks all true to his character, a niche he believes is certain to oscillate an even larger audience.

On “M.I.L.F”, Sean enrolls Nicki Minaj and Juicy J. A record reminiscent of “Dance (A$$)”, the trio recreates the fun vibe of the tune solidifying another club banger. Linking with Miguel on a track called “Ashley”, the MC spoons to an ex-girlfriend rapping, “And I wouldn’t trade it for the world, world, world/ And I’m just so fucking lucky you’re my girl, girl, girl/ And I wouldn’t trade it for anything, no, no, not anything/ And you, can’t nobody do it like you.” Along with the lovey-dovey cut, Seans put on for his hometown of Detroit partnering with Jeezy and Doughboyz Cashout. Nas and Kid Cudi appear on “First Chain”, where all three rappers reflect on the course of their careers Big Sean spitting “I be stuntin’/ Stuntin’ like I got my first chain… B.I.G. was the first one that had it/ Then I saw Nas’ chain, man, that was ‘Illmatic’/ Then, I saw Kanye’s hanging from his gold necklace/ Then ‘Ye gave me mine, I’ll show you my work ethic”.

Ellen DeGeneres to host Oscars

Second time’s a charm for Ellen DeGeneres, who announced she’s returning to host the 2014 Oscars via her Twitter page Friday morning.

“It’s official: I’m hosting the #Oscars!” DeGeneres wrote. “I’d like to thank @TheAcademy, my wife Portia and, oh dear, there goes the orchestra.”

The Emmy-winning syndicated talk show host of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” hosted the 79th annual ceremony in 2007.

Oscars producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron trumpeted their longstanding ties to the popular comedian in a statement Friday.

“We are thrilled to have Ellen DeGeneres host the Oscars,” Meron and Zadan said. “As a longtime friend, we had always hoped to find a project for us to do together and nothing could be more exciting than teaming up to do the Oscars. There are few stars today who have Ellen’s gift for comedy, with her great warmth and humanity. She is beloved everywhere and we expect the audience at the Dolby Theater, and in homes around the globe, will be as excited by this news as we are.”

The announcement ended months of speculation about who would emcee the broadcast for outstanding film achievements, which is seen in over 200 countries and is set to take place March 2.

Last year’s host, Seth MacFarlane, creator of TV’s animated “Family Guy” series and the blockbuster 2012 comedy “Ted,” divided audiences with his edgy wit and biting sarcasm through such musical skits such as his much-maligned ode to female movie nudity “We Saw Your Boobs.”

While MacFarlane garnered in bigger ratings over the previous year, with 40.3 million people tuning in to the broadcast (a 2% uptick), DeGeneres’ selection for 2014 marks a return to a kinder, gentler Oscars hosting style, more in line with the broad-based appeal of its 2011 host Billy Crystal.

On Friday, Meron tweeted: "welcome back to the oscar stage, ellen...we can't wait to start working with you!"

Watch Robin Thicke sing 'Blurred Lines' with Jimmy Fallon, Roots

He already did one late-night parody of the summer's biggest hit, and now he's at it again.

 Not long after Robin Thicke took to Jimmy Kimmel's show to spoof the controversial video for his No. 1 smash "Blurred Lines," the R&B singer hooked up with Jimmy Fallon for yet another rendition of the song, currently in its eighth week atop the Hot 100.

The charm of this version, evidently taped in a dressing room at "Late Night"? It has Fallon's house band, the Roots, backing Thicke on the kind of instruments you used to play in elementary-school music class.

"Late Night" viewers will recognize the gag from previous appearances by Carly Rae Jepsen (who sang her "Call Me Maybe") and Mariah Carey (who did "All I Want for Christmas Is You"). But that hardly makes it less appealing.

Watch Thicke, Fallon and the Roots play "Blurred Lines" below.

Flavor Flav Says Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar, And Drake Are “Not Real Hip-Hop”

According to Flavor Flav, hip-hop has come to a fade. Although he believes there are many “great rap records” out there, according to him the principle elements that birthed the era no longer exist.
“There’s no more of that, ‘Wave your hands in the air like you just don’t care,’ you know, something that makes you wanna get out there and breakdance,” the public enemy member told Gigwise. “Rap music has lost that element right now, mainly over in America. There’s not too many great Hip Hop records out there, but there are some great rap records”. Continuing naming many of music’s most prominent artists, the former hype man did dish credit where it is due. “Lil Wayne is making some great rap records, Drake, Nicki Minaj, Ludacris, Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, 50 Cent, Snoop [Lion] – everybody is making great rap records, but it’s not Hip Hop.”

The hip-hop veteran blamed slow tempos for the culture’s hiatus stating, “I think the element of Hip Hop left when Rap music started being created on a slow tempo. It’s just stayed there for years. Right now, a lot of rap music today is being created at very low tempos.”

Rapper Chuck D who also sat in on the interview added,”When it’s just about ‘I got money and you don’t have money’, that’s just taking advantage of the naivety of people.”

Watch the interview here.

YouTube To Broaden Subscription Option, Add Royalty-Free Soundtracks for Creators

In an effort to make its platform more useful to its top creators, YouTube on Thursday announced it will soon open its paid subscription option to more video channels and give them tools to find out more about their viewers and message them directly.

In addition, the Silicon Valley video company is giving away more than 100 royalty-free instrumental tracks to creators who want to add music to their videos, circumventing the need for creators to obtain licenses or write their own soundtrack so as not to run afoul of music labels and publishers. The company said there will be "more to come" regarding this program, which it is calling the YouTube Audio Library, suggesting that YouTube may add to that catalog over time.

YouTube made the announcements at the annual VidCon convention in Anaheim, Calif., where attendance is expected to hit 11,000 people, many of whom are professional YouTube creators who earn their living from the platform or have built businesses within the YouTube ecosystem.

The company did not organize the conference, which is staged entirely by individual YouTube creators. But it is working hard to show that it is sensitive to the needs of thousands of creators who feed its platform with content, responding to a rising chorus of demands for YouTube to help them get more views, reach a wider audience and better engage with that audience.

To help creators generate more revenue from their videos, for example, the company introduced a paid subscription tier earlier this year, but allowed only a handful of YouTube channels to participate in the initial launch. On Thursday, it announced plans to roll out the option to any channel with more than 10,000 subscribers "in the fall."

The announcement that generated the most approval from the audience, however, was Top Fans. For creators with more than 5,000 subscribers, YouTube developed a dashboard that shows who their most frequent viewers are, what they're watching and what other channels they subscribe to. In addition, video creators can contact their fans through the Google+ social network.

"From there, you can message them, send them a T-shirt, send them a discount," said Shiva Rajamaran, YouTube's director of product management. "We wanted to give creators a way to better engage with their top fans."

The company also announced that it will open a YouTube Space in New York City with production resources similar to its facilities in Los Angeles, London and Tokyo. Slated to open at the end of 2014, the facility will be located in Chelsea and be available to select creators to film, record and edit their videos using professional equipment.

Still, satisfying thousands of creators who depend on its platform for their livelihoods has been difficult. YouTube acknowledged as much, showing a video parody of its own "Complaints Department" during its keynote at VidCon.

"YouTube a hard job," said Jack Conte, a musician whose YouTube channel has more than 159,000 subscribers. "They're trying to please a billion people."

Shakira Lawsuit By Ex-Boyfriend Dismissed

A lawsuit by Shakira's ex-boyfriend seeking tens of millions of dollars from the singer was dismissed Thursday by a judge who determined the case should not be heard in California.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Abraham Khan's ruling sided with lawyers for the pop star who argued that the case should be filed in her native Colombia or the Bahamas, where she currently claims residency.

Antonio de la Rua sued his ex-girlfriend in April stating he was instrumental in her transformation into a global star. His lawsuit seeking more than $100 million claimed that Shakira has not paid him according to their business contracts since 2010. The pair broke up in 2011.
De la Rua has pursued his claims in courts in Switzerland and New York, but those actions have been dismissed.

"I am very grateful that the courts are not allowing these groundless lawsuits to proceed," Shakira, whose full name is Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll, wrote in a statement Thursday. "I have moved on in my life and could not be happier now. I hope this harassment will now come to an end."

Khan's ruling does not address the merits of the case, but he determined that the case should not be heard in Los Angeles.

Rachel Fleishman, an attorney for de la Rua, argued during a hearing Wednesday that the case should be heard in Los Angeles because its judges were experienced in the complexity of entertainment contracts and Shakira frequently travels to the city to serve as a judge on the competition show "The Voice."

She also argued that many of the witnesses in the case live and work in Los Angeles.

Shakira's attorney Daniel Wall argued that de la Rua was scouring courts to try to get their case heard, but that it should be handled by judges in other countries.

De la Rua sought access to Shakira's Swiss bank accounts, but a judge rejected that effort in June. He also sued the singer in New York, but the case was dropped.

"When Switzerland didn't work out and New York didn't work out, they filed this case in Los Angeles," Wall said.

"This is a classic case of, `you can run, but you can't hide,'" de la Rua's attorney William T. Reid IV wrote in a statement. "Eventually, Ms. Mebarak will have to respond to his claims because she will run out of procedural arguments and delay tactics."

De La Rua dated Shakira, whose songs include "Hips Don't Lie," for more than a decade and worked on some of her business deals.



Trina wants to let you know what she’s got behind her back. In her new comeback single, the baddest b*tch in hip-hop drops “Ass Fat” featuring Meek Mill. Producer Jahil Beats laces up a bed of drum claps and deep bass that ignites this track into full swing. Of course, Trina also offers some raunchy rhymes that shouldn’t be slept on.

 Listen below.

Tyra Banks Makes Out W/ Bow Wow, R&B Legend Gives Online Dating Tips, Game Hooks Up Random Fans

Too Much Thursday. There’s too much going down today so why not start it off with Tyra Banks making out with Bow Wow? Speaking of love in the air, a certain R&B legend has some good online love tips. It’s not exactly the same thing, but Game showed some true love to random fans and it wasn’t cheap. All this coming up in SOHH Whatcha Think.

Is there love in the air? You would think so if you tuned into “106 & Park” this week and spotted Bow Wow and Tyra Banks getting all hot and heavy during a live broadcast. Rap-Up has the footage:Bow Wow’s dream came true yet again when his crush, Tyra Banks, was a guest on Wednesday’s “106 & Park.” After reliving their first kiss on her talk show in 2009, the supermodel asked if he was ready for another round.

 “You tryna do the remix?” asked Tyra as Bow Wow sprayed his mouth with breath freshener and puckered up.
 She kicked up her legs on his lap and locked lips with him before he stumbled across the stage.

“I had to really walk backstage to really get myself together. I’m rattled right now,” said Bow after the commercial break.
 He later posted an Instagram video celebrating the moment. “Tyra touched these lips!” screamed Mr. 106 & Park. (Rap-Up)


With a simple photo, Beyonce has told her version of the beloved children's tale "Goldilocks and the Three Bears."

You know, the urban, modern-day Instagram version.

The "Standing on the Sun" pop diva, 31, shared an adorable photo Wednesday with no caption and not even a glimpse of herself or her family, but the pic got more than 601,000 likes within 24 hours. 

The snapshot simply showed her little family's shoes du jour: Timberlands, specifically the ubiquitous tan lace-up work boot and its many variatons.

Three, to be exact.

Jay Z's are big (flat and manly), Beyonce's are high-heeled (natch) and their baby girl Blue Ivy's Tims are just right. And by right, we mean teeny-tiny and adorable.

Because, come on, what's cuter than baby footwear??

Rapper Jay Z was spotted leaving Gjelina in Venice this week wearing the brand's 6-inch basic waterpoof boot too. 

And honestly, we prefer to "heart" photos like this (or family photos or inspirational handwritten notes or day in the life of Bey snaps) more than videos that showcase — ahem — golden fangs.