Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sony/ATV Re-Ups With BMI

Sony/ATV Re-Ups With BMI

PALACE NEWS (PMG)-Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the largest music publisher in the world, has announced it will remain a part of the BMI (Broadcast Music Inc.) blanket license, which means its entire catalog as well as the EMI Music Publishing catalog songs can be played as part of the hundreds of thousands of licenses given by BMI.

**Editors choice**

Sony/ATV and its administered EMI Music Publishing catalog was the first to withdraw digital rights from the two largest U.S. performance rights societies, BMI and ASCAP on Jan. 1, 2013.

Other publishers, including Universal Music Publishing Group and BMG Chrysalis, subsequently withdrew their digital rights because they said the consent decree that the two performance rights organizations (PROs) signed with the U.S. Department of Justice left them unable to achieve market rates with their digital music services.


But separate court rulings last year, involving Pandora and the PROs, resulted in both BMI and ASCAP rate court judges deciding that partial withdrawal -- only taking out digital rights for example -- violated the consent decree. Both rulings said that publishers have to be all-in or all-out with rights to all their songs.
The BMI rate court ruling on the digital withdrawals came out on Dec. 18, leaving hundreds of thousands of licensees uncertain as to whether they were now suddenly copyright infringers, particularly as it applied to Sony/ATV and EMI Music Publishing, since they had withdrawn digital rights at the beginning of last year. Today’s announcement helps clarify the situation.

 Editor's choice
In a statement, BMI and Sony/ATV said their new agreement provides stability to the music publishing copyright marketplace while affording an opportunity for BMI and music publishers to seek regulatory and legislative change to protect the value of copyright for songwriters, composers and music publishers alike.
“Sony/ATV is proud to renew our relationship with BMI, which will continue to license the world's largest and most relevant music catalog to the hundreds of thousands of businesses that rely on music to drive their profits,” said Sony/ATV CEO Martin Bandier. “In the current digital environment, it is critical that we reform the current system which does not fairly compensate songwriters and composers. BMI is an important player in this fight.”

Behind the scenes, sources say that the PROs and music publishers have approached the Dept. of Justice about amending the consent decrees, which publishers privately say they hope will result in allowing partial withdrawal of rights from the PROs, such as the digital ones that both BMI and ASCAP rate courts just disallowed.


In re-upping with BMI, Sony/ATV gets to keep the efficiencies that the PRO provides while still maneuvering for the ability to achieve market rates from digital services. In the meantime, BMI is currently litigating streaming music license fee rates with Pandora.

Last week, Universal Music Publishing Group also resigned with BMI, after announcing it had signed a licensing deal with Pandora. 

“We appreciate the vote of confidence from Sony/ATV and the faith our writers and composers place in us every day as their trusted broker,” said BMI CEO Michael O'Neill in a statement. “It is our privilege to represent the incredible writers and musical works in the Sony/ATV repertoire. We are dedicated to the mission to fairly value the rights of publishers and songwriters in today’s market.”


Beyond the rate court trial, the organization said it has worked with songwriter and music publisher groups to fight for a level playing field across the music industry. As part of this effort, BMI, songwriters and music publishers are seeking a marketplace-driven environment to set fees for mechanical and public performance rights.


Publishers say that the consent decree -- which allows non-interactive licensees to simply request a compulsory performance license and immediately get the ability to stream songs to their listeners before engaging in rate negotiations with the PROs -- creates an unfair field for setting marketing rates.

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CD Album Sales Fall Behind Album Downloads, Is 2014 The Year Digital Takes Over?

CD Album Sales Fall Behind Album Downloads, Is 2014 The Year Digital Takes Over?For the third time this year -- and only the fourth time ever -- the year-to-date total sales of digital albums have exceeded those of CDs. 

According to Nielsen SoundScan, so far in 2014 through the week ending Feb. 2, a total of 22.99 million albums have been sold. Of that total, 11.18 million were downloads while another 11.10 million were CDs. (An additional 710,000 were vinyl LPs and other physical configurations, like cassettes.) 


Year-to-date sales of albums on CD have only trailed downloads in three earlier times -- and two of those were this year. Before 2014, it happened in just the first week of 2013 (week ending Jan. 6).

While it may seem counterintuitive to some, digital albums have yet to consistently surpass physical album sales. Up until now, only when track equivalent album (TEA) sales, whereby 10 songs equal one album, are factored in do digital album sales surpass CDs. Digital albums plus TEA first surpassed physical albums in 2011 when physical albums accounted for 49.7% of albums while digital albums plus TEA accounted for 50.3%. The market has yet to have a year where digital album sales without TEA surpassed those of CDs, but 2014 might be the year where it finally happens.


The divide between the two configurations has grown closer in recent years. Last year, CDs represented 57.2% of the album market, while downloads were 40.6%. In 2012, CDs were 61.2% of the pie, while in 2011, they were 67.6%. So far in 2014, CDs are 48.3% of all album sales, as compared to its 50.3% share of the market at the same a year ago.


Worth noting: when vinyl, cassettes and DVD albums are added in, physical albums account for 51.38% thus far in 2014 versus digital's 48.62%. Vinyl itself is nearly 3% of all album sales so far this year. 
Additional reporting by Ed Christman.

Why Simon Cowell Couldn't Save 'X Factor'

Simon Cowell X-Factor Horizontal - H 2014PALACE NEWS (PMG)-After a last-minute approach to NBC, the reality mogul heads back to Britain as insiders debate his "grumpy uncle" appeal in a changed TV landscape.

**Editors choice**

A version of this story first appeared in the Feb. 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Weeks before Fox officially lowered the curtain on The X Factor, sources say its creator and star Simon Cowell quietly reached out to NBC to find a new home for his TV baby. "Simon himself was involved in this process," says an executive familiar with the approach on behalf of Cowell's Syco production company and partner FremantleMedia. (A Cowell source vehemently denies a pitch was made, adding, "Fox and Syco/Fremantle looked at plausible other options in the U.S. without him but decided these weren't viable.") But NBC already has The Voice and the Cowell-produced America's Got Talent -- and, more importantly, X Factor was damaged goods.

In fact, now that the show was canceled Feb. 7, observers are divided on Cowell's future on U.S. television as well as the steps Fox will take to replace its failed franchise.

When the bombastic singing competition launched to much fanfare in 2011, Cowell -- whose pay was reported to be tens of millions of dollars because of his ownership stake -- boldly told THR he expected 20 million viewers a night for its twice-weekly broadcasts. But by its third season, after an overhaul that included slashing per-episode costs to what a source says was a still-pricey $2.5 million an hour, X Factor delivered only 6.7 million viewers a week in live-plus-7-day numbers (with younger viewers 18-to-34, it was down 45 percent). At the same time, ad revenue plummeted. X Factor raked in an estimated $500 million during its first season, according to Kantar Media, plus a lucrative two-year, $60 million sponsorship deal with Pepsi. But by season two, that ad money had declined more than 20 percent to $386 million. And during the first 11 months of 2013, X Factor generated slightly more than $139 million, compared with American Idol's $596 million and Voice's $565 million (the latter airs two cycles a year). Making matters worse, Pepsi declined to renew its sponsorship deal for X Factor's third season, as did Chevrolet, though Fox sales execs lured Honda and Procter & Gamble to replace them.

The harsh reality was addressed head-on during 21st Century Fox's earnings call Feb. 6, with president and COO Chase Carey noting that the show's ratings were "disappointing" and "fell faster than we hoped." At the TV critics press tour in January, Fox Broadcasting Co. chief Kevin Reilly said that if X Factor returned for a fourth season, it "would not be in the current format we have." Reilly and his team are said to have discussed options for months, with Cowell noting in December that the show -- which critics have knocked as tacky and too over-the-top for mainstream U.S. audiences -- could shift to a one-night-only format. At the time, Cowell, who once ruled TV as the star judge on Idol, acknowledged that increased competition, including from Voice, was taking its toll: "It's getting to be probably too much."

 Editor's choice
The 54-year-old Cowell, who on Feb. 11 told a U.K. publication that it was always "[the] plan to do three years" of X Factor in the U.S., isn't out of the TV business, of course. X Factor continues to air in 45 countries, and Cowell said that he will return to the judges panel on the U.K. version. "The plan is for [Cowell] to have homes in London and New York and to say goodbye to L.A. for now," another source tells THR. Such a move would also bring him closer to girlfriend Lauren Silverman, who lives on the East Coast, with whom he's expecting a child in February.


In addition, adds an industry insider, the exit allows Cowell an opportunity to return to his other income source: label boss. "Simon's a businessman first and foremost, which is why he created these TV shows in the first place," says the source. "But he's running a worldwide entertainment business when he's not at the judging desk, and he has to make long-term decisions. Simon doesn’t shy away from making difficult decisions. …  He knows when to make changes and he would rather take a show out of the market than compromise it."


Still, the Fox cancelation does leave him off American TV with no immediate plan for the first time since Idol hit big in 2002. Few deny his magnetism, particularly when playing the role of "grumpy uncle you love," says one top unscripted executive. Others add that he's one of few names in the genre that are bigger than any single brand and that he easily could jump into another show. Still, one network executive questions whether Cowell's "acerbic style fits into the mood of the culture anymore," noting that singing competitions -- including Cowell's old home, Idol -- now focus more on support and encouragement than on tearing people down. (In the U.K., Cowell in 2013 had a ratings dud on ITV with the cooking show Food Glorious Food, which debuted with an average of 2.7 million viewers, his lowest-rated launch to date.)

Already, Cowell's team is said to have floated the idea of him joining America's Got Talent. Although its judge lineup -- Howard Stern, Mel B, Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel -- is signed through the summer, Cowell, an executive producer on the New York-based show, could join the following year. Indeed, Got Talent might be his most enduring legacy. Airing in 193 countries, the U.K. version -- which launched the career of Susan Boyle (21 million albums sold) -- saw a peak audience of 13 million tune in for its 2013 premiere, its best season launch to date, and drew 17.4 million to its finale. "Simon Cowell has managed to have his finger on the pulse of world television entertainment for the last decade," says former Idol collaborator Nigel Lythgoe. "He is an extremely driven person, and if he remains motivated, I see no reason that his success will not continue."

X Factor's demise leaves three hours on Fox's fall schedule up for grabs. Although no formal decisions will be made until its upfront presentation in May, Reilly has been retooling the network in a bid to have a competitive year-round schedule. He has amped up investments in scripted entries, with several straight-to-series orders including the Batman prequel Gotham and fantastical drama Hieroglyph, and will look to program projects that begin in the summer and bleed into fall. Among other offerings in the wings: a high-profile unscripted "social experiment" series, Utopia, developed under new unscripted chief Simon Andreae.

As Carey told investors, "We've got to continue to try and find and build that next hit franchise."

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Twitter: @LaceyVRose; @shirleyhalperin

Fiat Debuts Global Ad Campaign Featuring Diddy, Pharrell's 'Happy' (Exclusive)

Fiat Debuts Global Ad Campaign Featuring Diddy, Pharrell's 'Happy' (Exclusive)

Following its 2011 spots featuring J-Lo (including a music video-like spot where she performs her single “Papi”) and its 2013 campaign with Pitbull and Arianna singing “Sexy People,” Fiat is upping the ante for its new 2014 global campaign.

**Editors choice**

Set to premiere on television Feb. 13, the new spot (watch below), titled “Mirage,” features a hot song -- Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” playing in the background. But it also features Sean “Diddy” Combs, touting not only the new four-door Fiat 500L, but also Aquahydrate, his own brand of “performance water” (a venture he has with Mark Wahlberg) and his new cable TV network Revolt.

The ad opens with two guys stumbling through the dessert, thirsty and delirious. When two 500L Fiats full of pretty girls -- “Happy” blaring from their sound system -- pull up and Diddy offers them a bottle of Aquahydrate, they dismiss them as mirages. Later, when they reach an oasis in full party mode with a big banner that says “Revolt” and Diddy again greets them with water (“Happy” continues to play in the background), they still deem all this a mirage, because as everybody knows, Fiat only makes two-door cars.
The spot is an example of what Chrysler chief marketing officer Olivier Francois calls the “triangulation of brands.”

“Fiat could never write a check for an appearance from Diddy,” Francois said during a presentation in Midem. “But we are able to offer something instead. The connection. The exposure. The triangulation of brands. Is it product placement?  Of course it is. It’s Diddy’s products in our ad. But it makes as much sense as water in the desert. And in return, we get something unique. Him.”

Francois later told Billboard that Fiat had licensed the rights to “Happy” for use in the spot worldwide. “It’s a global partnership,” he said, adding that the Fiat spot will help propel the track to even greater popularity around the world.

“Happy,” of course, already has notable traction. It’s featured on the “Despicable Me 2” soundtrack album and is also nominated for an Academy Award. The song currently stands at No. 8 on the Hot 100.
Francois heard the track early on in the process, when Williams invited him to the studio to listen to new material for possible collaborations down the line.


"There was one song that stuck in my head: 'Happy,’" said Francois at Midem. "That song and the Fiat brand were a match made in heaven."

Francois, who says he looks for stars to align when he sets out to do his campaigns (which include the famous "Imported from Detroit" spot for the Chrysler 200,featuring Eminem, and this year’s "America’s Import" Superbowl spot featuring Bob Dylan, which has garnered 11 million views on YouTube and was ranked No. 11 in USA Today’s Ad meter for Super Bowl Sunday) found the perfect partner in Diddy and the launch of his product.


"Music is the connector between us, the artist and another story," Francois said.

 Editor's choice

UPDATE: Suge Knight's Nasty Attack Caught On Tape

A day after reports surfaced about ex-Death Row Records owner Suge Knight being accused of threatening a man, new footage from the incident has emerged.

In the footage, Suge is shown getting into a heated confrontation with a male employee.

Suge Knight punched a guy hard at an L.A. pot dispensary ... and we got the surveillance video. TMZ broke the story ... Suge got angry at an employee ... allegedly threatening to kill the guy .... after the rapper was told to leave because he didn't have a medical marijuana card. When you watch the video, things start out friendly enough inside the pot shop -- called Medstar Collective -- but turn ugly quickly. Suge and the employee walk out and the mogul socks the guy in the jaw without warning ... then storms away. The employee filed a police report and the cops have the video. Suge is being investigated for making felony criminal threats. (TMZ)
Details of the messy situation scattered across the Internet Monday.

Suge Knight got blazing mad at a weed shop and allegedly threatened to kill one of their employees ... TMZ has learned -- and it may all be over the marijuana payday Suge was expecting to get. Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... cops were summoned Sunday to an L.A. marijuana dispensary -- and when they arrived an employee dropped the dime on Suge. We're told the store owner attempted to defuse the situation while Suge was getting angry for not getting in to the shop ... but it didn't work and that's when Suge really blew up. According to law enforcement sources ... Suge told an employee, "I will kill you." (TMZ)
Despite the allegations, Big Suge denied threatening anyone's life.

We're told police are now investigating Suge for felony criminal threats. Sources close to Suge tell us this is all a misunderstanding over what he thought was going to be a promotional appearance at the dispensary ... where Suge would be paid in cash AND weed. We're told Suge insists he didn't threaten anyone ... but did get a little heated because the shop owner refused to pay him. Always advisable to take the high road ... when dealing with Suge. (TMZ)
In 2012, Suge ran into legal problems with law enforcement out in Las Vegas.

Stop us if you've heard this one before: Suge Knight's in trouble again. The erstwhile Death Row Records impresario was popped in Las Vegas on Wednesday for drug possession during a routine traffic stop. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police tell E! News that Knight (full name Marion Knight Jr.) was pulled over at approximately 5:30 p.m. yesterday when he made an unsafe lane change. Officers ran his name through the system and discovered that he had several bench warrants out for his arrest. (E! Online)

Sid Caesar Dead

PALACE NEWS (PMG)-He starred in the 1950s sketch classics “Your Show of Shows” and “Caesar’s Hour” and influenced the likes of Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Neil Simon and Woody Allen.

**Editors choice**

Sid Caesar, the intelligent and yet nonsensical comic who forever changed the course of television with his groundbreaking 1950s live Saturday night variety shows Your Show of Shows and Caesar’s Hour, has died. He was 91. His friend, Carl Reiner, confirmed the news to The Hollywood Reporter
"Inarguably he was the greatest single monologist and skit comedian we ever had," Reiner said in a statement to THR. "Television owes him a debt of gratitude for his pioneering work and the great shows he gave us all. Render onto Caesar what is his due. He deserves real applause from the American people."

Caesar was known for his physicality, improvisation, mimicry and his whimsical signature, the double-talk.
Whether played out in a sketch, pantomime or a full-blown revue, Caesar’s observational humor exposed the truths of everyday life. His two whirlwind variety shows produced writers and performers who set the comic agenda for decades to come -- people like Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Carl Reiner, Larry Gelbart, Imogene Coca, Nannette Fabray, Howard Morris, Lucille Kallen, Mel Tolkin and Fiddler on the Roof playwright Joseph Stein.

The proof: Reiner developed the classic 1960s sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show using his Show of Shows experience for comic fodder (the Alan Brady character, played by Reiner, was modeled after Caesar). The 1982 film My Favorite Year, a thinly disguised memoir of life with Caesar during the tumultuous era of live TV, was backed by Brooks and had Joseph Bologna playing the Caesar-like King Kaiser. And Simon re-created the writers room tension of Caesar shows for his 1993 Broadway hit Laughter on the 23rd Floor, starring Nathan Lane as another Caesar stand-in, Max Prince.

In fact, it could be said that Saturday Night Live is a direct descendant of Caesar’s sketch-laden variety shows. He hosted the late-night show in 1983 and was named an honorary cast member.

His live, 90-minute Show of Shows debuted in 1950 when Caesar was 27 and ran through 1954 in an era before cue cards and Teleprompters. Its frenetic high-wire uncertainty made for great hilarity and produced back-to-back Emmys Awards in 1952 and ’53.

After Your Show of Shows, which ran for 160 episodes, Caesar started Caesar’s Hour. Also live, it collected three Emmys and featured his Show of Show mates Reiner and Howard Morris (Coca left for her own show and was replaced by Fabray). At the time, half of all Americans who owned TV sets tuned in each week to watch the antics of Caesar and his cohorts.


Among the 25 million viewers each week was Albert Einstein, who particularly enjoyed one of Caesar’s stock characters, The Professor, a bluffing German who sounded smart but was not really an expert on anything. The physicist so enjoyed the show that he contacted Caesar’s office to have lunch, but Einstein died in April 1955 before that meeting of the minds could take place.

Caesar’s other characters included space expert Ludwig von Spacebrain, marriage expert Ludwig von Henpecked, nonsensical storyteller Somerset Winterset and one-half of the bickering couple The Hickenloopers.

 Editor's choice
“All my comedy was character- and plot-driven,” he said in 2003. “I always believed that in art and life, it’s not what you do, it’s the way you do it; it’s not what you say, it’s the way you say it. In the doing, you’ll find your strengths and weaknesses, and you will find your art.”

Caesar also was known for his furious temper and strength. He was known to punch through walls and tear sinks from walls. He once punched a horse — a gag Brooks paid homage to in Blazing Saddles. And after one writing session, he dangled Brooks from an 18th-floor hotel room window.

Caesar was nominated for 10 Emmy Awards, winning in 1952 and 1954. He was given the Lifetime Achievement Award in Comedy in 1978 by the Television Hall of Fame.

He was born Isaac Sidney Caesar on Sept. 8, 1922, in Yonkers, N.Y., the youngest of three sons of Jewish immigrant parents who ran a 24-hour luncheonette. He played the clarinet and saxophone and went on to study the sax at the Juilliard School; ultimately, he was good enough to play with the likes of Benny Goodman and Charlie Spivac. While performing at shows, Caesar observed the comics and realized that stand-up was his true bent. He was asked to help out with a skit, thus beginning a comic career that lasted more than a half-century.

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Caesar joined the Coast Guard and was based in Brooklyn during World War II. While in the military, he formed a band with composer Vernon Duke (“April in Paris”) and made his stage debut in a PSO show, Tars and Spars, about a coast guardsman on shore duty for years. Caesar reprised his role in that for a 1946 musical comedy adaptation at Columbia Pictures.

After his stint in Hollywood, Caesar returned to New York and landed a gig as the opening act for Joe E. Lewis at the legendary Copacabana nightclub. He performed in the Broadway revue Make Mine Manhattan, which featured “The Five Dollar Date,” one of his signature pieces in which he sang, did sound effects and double-talked – using nonsensical utterances that sound like French, German, Japanese, Italian and other languages (in real life, he spoke English and Yiddish).

Caesar’s first foray into TV came in 1949 with The Admiral Broadway Revue, an hourlong show that brought he and Coca together. Conceived to sell Admiral television sets, the show aired simultaneously on NBC and the Dumont networks and was a smash hit, drawing nearly as many viewers as the one starring “Mr. Television” Milton Berle. But with the popularity of the show, Admiral couldn’t make TVs fast enough to meet demand, so the company dropped its sponsorship and the show was canceled.

NBC chairman Pat Weaver, who later created the Today show and The Tonight Show, approached the producers about having Caesar and Coca star in a similar series. That project came to be Your Show of Shows, which debuted in February 1950 as a 90-minute variety show that aired at 9 p.m. Eastern time (6 p.m. Pacific) for a mind-boggling 39 live shows a season for four seasons. It was the first program not to rely on a single sponsor -- another Admiral debacle was not to happen again.

The show’s crazy pace led to consequences. “Nearly everyone on our staff at Your Show of Shows was in analysis,” he recalled in his 1983 autobiography, Where Have I Been? “We spent a lot of time comparing out experiences with our doctors, which led to many funny psychiatrist skits in the show.”

At age 30, Caesar was earning a million dollars a year, but he was drinking two bottles of Scotch and depending on barbiturates. 

It took decades for him to hit bottom. In 1977, he was in Regina, Canada, doing Simon’s The Last of the Red Hot Lovers on stage when he said his mind went blank. He walked off stage, checked into a hospital and went cold turkey.

His battle was well documented in his 1983 autobiography. “I remember how I slipped further into darkness,” he wrote. “I kept working in films, on the stage and in TV -- but I wasn’t really there. It was like a 21-year blackout.”

The era of live television was ending, and so too was Caesar’s Hour, with Lawrence Welk providing stiff competition in 1957. “I was exhausted,” Caesar said.

He followed with Sid Caesar Invites You in 1958, briefly reuniting Caesar and Coca, and The Sid Caesar Show, a half-hour sketch comedy show that aired every second Thursday on ABC, alternating with Edie Adams’ show Here’s Edie, in 1963-64. But Caesar would never be the force on television that he once was.
In 1962-63, he had seven or eight roles in the Broadway musical comedy Little Me, written by Simon. He continued to appear in occasional films and TV movies through the 1970s and 1980s, most memorably as dentist Melville Crump (with Adams as his wife) in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) and as a Hollywood studio head in Brooks’ Silent Movie (1976). He played Coach Calhoun in the two Grease movies and was a caveman in Brooks’ History of the World: Part I (1981).

Caesar also showed up as Elliott Gould’s uncle in Over the Brooklyn Bridge (1984), was The Gryphon in the Irwin Allen 1985 telefilm Alice in Wonderland and starred in a 1985 episode of the Steven Spielberg anthology series Amazing Stories. He noticed at the time that comedy was changing.
“Things now have to be gross to laugh at,” he lamented in 1984 while announcing a scholarship in his name at the UCLA College of Fine Arts.

In 1997, he appeared in the film Vegas Vacation and made a guest appearance as Uncle Harold on Mad About You, and a year later he appeared with old friend Morris in The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit, based on a Ray Bradbury novel.

Caesar was feted in 2001 in the Showtime documentary Hail Sid Caesar! The Golden Age of Comedy. At the 2006 TV Land Awards, he was presented with the Pioneer Award and performed his famous double-talk for more than five minutes.

Summing up his philosophy, The King of Saturday Night once said: “People are funny, not things. People will always eat, brush their teeth, try to go out with a girl, and that’s where they’re funny. They’re not funny chasing cars and firing guns. The perversion is getting out of hand. We’re developing a world view that’s totally false.”

His wife of 67 years, Florence, died in 2010.

G-Unit Affiliate's Alleged Killer Out For Revenge, Murder Plot Details Thicken

Less than 24 hours after reports of an arrest being made on the alleged killer of G-Unit affiliate Mazaradi Fox surfaced, new information suggests the murder may have been fueled by revenge.


According to reports, Fox is believed to have killed murder suspect Jamal Scott's brother in 1998.
Scott's brother Curtis was 21 when he was shot dead by Fox and another man outside the of Jamaica's Baisley Park Houses on July 7, 1998. Fox, after getting into an argument with several men, ordered an associate to open fire. Curtis Scott, who was walking down a hill on Foch Blvd. was hit above his left eye. A second man, identified as Jamal Ethridge, 23, was struck in the chest. Scott was with his brother when he was shot and killed, officials said. Fox was never found guilty of murder, but was convicted of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree in 2001 and sentenced to four years in prison. (NY Daily News)
Fox's unnamed girlfriend claimed he did not kill Scott's brother and questioned last month's fatal shooting.
Fox's longtime girlfriend, who wished not to be identified, couldn't understand why Scott was gunning for her beau of seven years over a beef that's more than a decade old. "(The shooting) was almost 16 years ago," she said. "Jamal didn't pull the trigger, he didn't shoot him, he just happened to be there when it happened." "This is 16 years ago and you're still harboring that?" she asked. "Killing Mazaradi, that's not going to bring your brother back." "I don't know them, I don't talk to them, but I knew the situation," she said when asked about Scott and his family."I knew that Jamal never pulled the trigger." (NY Daily News)
Upset by the news, G-Unit's Tony Yayo acknowledged the violence around his neck of the woods following Fox's passing last month.
"It's crazy out here, man," Yayo said in an interview with DJ Whoo Kid. "Yeah, yeah, yeah, rest in peace to Mazaradi Fox. Southside all day. You know how it is in these streets, man. Yeah man, it's not a game out there. People's not playing. Sh*t is definitely real. You know? Rest in peace to Fox, condolences to his family, his daughters and everybody. Yeah, man. They only got guns in America. When we go to Paris - they don't have guns over there." ("Whoolywood Shuffle")
G-Unit Records released a statement on Fox's shocking death in early January.
"We're sorry to hear about the tragic news. Our sympathy goes out to his family and friends. Despite reports, he was never on the G-Unit record label," says a representative for G-Unit. "50 Cent was in his New York studio and was saddened when he heard the news. He sends his condolences to Mazaradi's family," said a rep for 50-Cent. (This Is 50)