Wednesday, July 30, 2014

N.W.A. Biopic Finds Remaining Pieces, Newest Cast Members Revealed

Cyrus Langhorne

Diehard fans hoping to learn who will portray N.W.A. members MC Ren and DJ Yella can breathe a sigh of relief as reports claim the main casting has come to an end.

According to reports, Hollywood actors Aldis Hodge and Neil Brown Jr. have joined the highly-anticipated biopic.

Aldis Hodge (Leverage) will play MC Ren, and Neil Brown Jr. (Suits, The Walking Dead) will play DJ Yella, joining the already-cast leads of O'Shea Jackson Jr. (Ice Cube), Corey Hawkins (Dr. Dre), and Jason Mitchell (Eazy-E). The film is currently slated for release next August, and will examine the incredible rise of the N.W.A., one of the most influential groups in hip hop history. (Complex)

Earlier this month, late member Eazy-E's son/rapper Lil Eazy-E blamed gossip site TMZ for misquoting him about not being cast in the flick.

Earlier this week, TMZ wrote that Lil E was "outraged" that Ice Cube had cast his own son in the movie but did not cast Lil E to portray his father. The younger rapper claims he was misquoted and that he has no ill will for Ice Cube. "[TMZ] just asked me, 'You're not mad? Everyone in the office is mad,'" he said. "I said, 'OK, well, why don't you put it that "TMZ is mad at Cube?"' 'Oh, we can't do that politically.' If they can understand the political value in that, how can you not understand the political value of what's going on in the situation in why I did not get the role? (Rolling Stone)
Eazy-E also denied having any problems with the film's maker and ex-N.W.A. member Ice Cube.

"I'm not upset about [the casting]," adds the rapper. "What Cube did was a great thing and a loving father, that you're supposed to do for your family and your legacy." As for how he feels about Ice Cube, Lil E said, "Besides my father, that's the person I was inspired by; that's like an idol to me." (Rolling Stone)
A photo of Cube, Dr. Dre and director F. Gary Gray with the new cast surfaced last month.

Dre will be played by classically-trained actor Marcus Callender, Ice Cube's son O'Shea Jackson Jr. will fill in for his famous father, and Jason Mitchell (Broken City, Contraband) will take on the role of the late Eazy-E. Cube and Dre posed alongside the actors and director F. Gary Gray. "Finally found the cast for the NWA movie. Me, Gary Gray, Dre w/ Cube, Eazy & Dre #StraightOuttaCompton coming 8/14/15," tweeted Cube. Straight Outta Compton hits theaters on August 14, 2015. Production is set to begin this summer. (Rap-Up)

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Suing Auction House Over Bruce Lee Poster

The former Lakers star is demanding Julien's Auction House return 152 pieces of memorabilia.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar - H 2014
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says his signed Bruce Lee poster is being auctioned off against his wishes — and he's fighting to get it back.
The former NBA star has filed a lawsuit against Julien's Auction House to retrieve 152 personal items, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

According to Abdul-Jabbar's suit, he initially agreed to allow the Beverly Hills auction house to sell 400 of his items, but the deal fell through when he decided not to part with some of the memorabilia, TMZ reports.

Among the items Abdul-Jabbar wants back is a signed poster for Game of Death, the 1973 film he made with Lee. Other items include a McDonald's "Top Faces of Black History" Award, five pairs of Los Angeles Lakers sweatpants and a script for Chevy Chase's 1985 comedy Fletch.

Abdul-Jabbar recently told THR that fans still consistently ask him questions about working with Lee, even more than they do about his time in the NBA. (See him talk about the late martial artist here.)
Julien's did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

APRA AMCOS, Peermusic Announce Pan-Asian Digital Licensing Deal

Australian Live Music Industry Worth More Than $1.2 BillionAustralasian collecting societies APRA AMCOS have struck an agreement to represent peermusic in licensing the independent music publisher’s digital rights throughout Asia, excluding Japan.

Under the new agreement, announced Wednesday (July 30), APRA AMCOS will represent peermusic’s catalog on a multi-territory, non-exclusive for licensing its repertoire to digital music services.

Both parties are confident the arrangement will help facilitate more business -- and generate greater revenue -- at a time when the digital business (driven particularly by smartphones) is showing signs of growth across the region. 

Right now, says Mary Megan Peer, peermusic’s president of Asia-Pacific and strategic markets, licensing “our catalog to digital services is increasingly important. By leveraging the APRA AMCOS team’s experience in digital licensing and strong back-end systems, we expect to be able to license and collect more efficiently, creating a better experience for licensees and increased income for our writers.”

The new agreement broadens the scope of APRA AMCOS’s existing Pan-Asian digital licensing and administration initiative, which was announced in July 2013 following a "groundbreaking" deal with Universal Music Publishing.

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That UMP arrangement follows similar pacts struck in recent years with French authors’ collecting society SACEM for Europe to streamline international rights clearance procedures for music.

“Users are consuming music in more ways than ever before and we are working hard to ensure songwriters are fairly compensated for the value their work creates – no matter where, how or when it is delivered or consumed,” adds APRA AMCOS CEO Brett Cottle in the statement. “We’re excited to increase the opportunity for peermusic’s diverse catalogue to reach audiences throughout Asia as new legal mobile and online music and audiovisual platforms gain traction.”

Ray J Admits He "Never Shoulda Did That"

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

R&B singer Ray J has looked back at his past and openly come clean about making a now-infamous celebrity sex tape with ex-girlfriend Kim Kardashian. #regrets

Ray J released his personal "Never Shoulda Did That" music video this week and copped to his past mistakes.

Regrets ... Ray J's had more than a few, and he lays them all out in a new song that includes a not-even-thinly veiled shot at his ex sex tape partner Kim Kardashian. In "Never Shoulda Did That" ... Ray confesses and sorta apologizes for a bunch of crap. But the line that will have Kim's ears ringing -- "f***ing bitches on camera, shouldn't a did that s***." He also cops to taking drugs, fighting in clubs, yelling at friends, and cheating on his GF Princess Love -- who makes a cameo ... we're told that's her drunkenly weeping on a voice mail in the song. (TMZ)

Last year, Ray said he would never make another sex tape.

"No man, I'm done. That was a time in our life where we took something negative and we tried to spin it into something positive in our life and we tried to move forward. And that's what we did and now looking back, we were just having fun. We're taking things that happened in our life and we're poking fun at it, we're laughing at it, we're giving the crowd something to talk about and enjoy and laugh and that's what this is. And I can't wait for people to see the video because it's one of those ... people watch SNL, people watch other stuff that you can look at and sort of chuckle at. That's what this is. It's nothing more than that. Lighten up, let's have fun, let's go into spring and summer the right way." (The Boom Box)
The R&B hitmaker also addressed his misconstrued public image.

"You know, I'm a good guy. I think people look at me in a different way until they talk to me or get to know me. Listen -- we party, we have fun, we live life to the fullest. But we're also professional, we also wake up every day and stay on time for our meetings and we also have a structure and a certain structure and a certain substance behind the brand. It's not just luck." (The Boom Box)
Around mid-2012, reports surfaced which claimed Kim's mother Kris Jenner planned out the graphic tape.

In the latest episode of the messy split, Kris Humphries' supposed ex-girlfriend Myla Sinanaj is said to be releasing some juicy tidbits of Kardashian gossip that the NBA player spilled during their brief relationship. Chief among the damning comments? That Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner was the mastermind behind Kim's now-infamous 2003 sex tape with Ray J, the one that launched her into the public consciousness. (New York Daily News)

R. Kelly Dropped From Ohio Festival After Protests


R. Kelly Dropped From Ohio Festival After Protests
R. Kelly on CRWN Courtesy of Myspace
R. Kelly has been dropped from the lineup of an Ohio music festival following complaints about his past as an alleged sexual predator.

The musician was slated to perform on the opening day of the inaugural Fashion Meets Music Festival over Labor Day weekend in Columbus. But following complaints on Twitter and Facebook and bands and vendors reportedly pulling out of the event, the festival tweeted Monday that it and the musician “have decided to part ways,” linking to a USA Today article about the decision.

Kelly’s publicist released the following statement to USA Today: "R. Kelly is sorry to disappoint his fans but looks forward to seeing them in the near future during one of his upcoming tours."

After Kelly was announced as a performer, numerous complaints were posted on Twitter and Facebook, mostly about his past as an alleged sexual predator, USA Today reported. Kelly was indicted in 2002 on charges of making child pornography and was acquitted in 2008.

The Chicago Sun-Times also ran an investigative series portraying the musician as a sexual predator.

One of the comments retrieved by USA Today said, “It's actually very common for sexual predators to put on a good show. That is how they lure their victims."

Rape victims responded to the Kelly booking with "sheer horror,” another Facebook user wrote. “That's why we are upset. Support victims of sexual abuse and don't ignore them."

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Another user said, “Accepting R Kelly as an artist is to ignore the fundamental basics of human dignity. It's not like he's just a player and folks don't dig it. A very real line was very clearly crossed and this is how we choose to express our disdain for the deeds and support for the victims."

Remaining headliners on the festival include O.A.R. and Michelle Williams.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ford, General Motors Sued for Unpaid Royalties


GM headquarters, Detroit, Michigan.
The headquarters building of General Motors Co.

The Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies -- which represents artists' and recording companies' interests within the digital duplication sector (think blank CDs and "digital jukeboxes") -- has brought a suit in Washington, D.C., against two major automobile companies, Ford and GM, as well as two technology companies, Denso and Clarion, over unpaid royalties related to the Audio Home Recording Act. (The AARC was created to oversee administration and enforcement related to the AHRA.)

The suit brought by AARC alleges that Ford and General Motors, via the technology companies Clarion and Denso respectively, have failed to register their in-vehicle media duplication devices, which AARC stresses are subject to the royalties mandated by the AHRA. Both companies' devices offer the same functionality -- to store a CD's audio on a hard drive for later playback, as well as apply identification information from Gracenote (artist, album and song titles, etc.) for the stored recordings. You can read the complaint in full here.

AARC seeks an injunction against the four companies for sale and distribution of the devices, statutory damages of $2,500 per device for three years up to the filing of the lawsuit, all royalties that would have been normally owed by the companies in the three years prior plus 50 percent, and attorneys' fees.

The Audio Home Recording Act was signed into law by George H.W. Bush in 1992 in order to address the (at the time) new developments in digital replication, which allowed companies and fans to create one-to-one copies of recordings. The crux of the legislation was to introduce a statutory royalty for manufacturers of digital copying technologies and devices to pay in order to avoid a spiderweb of litigation by songwriters and trade bodies over their usage. The law also featured provisions for end users' ability to use these technologies for their personal use, such as making a backup copy of an album they had purchased.

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"While no one likes litigation," said AARC executive director Linda Bocchi in a statement, "Ford, GM, Denso, and Clarion have stonewalled long enough, and we are determined to collect the royalties our members -- and all artists and music creators with rights under the AHRA -- are owed."
Neither Ford nor General Motors immediately responded to a request for comment.

Judge OKs Clippers Sale to Steve Ballmer

UPDATED: The Los Angeles superior court ruled against current owner Donald Sterling.

Associated Press
Donald Sterling’s time as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers is one step closer to over.
A Los Angeles superior court judge Monday ruled against Donald and approved Shelly Sterling’s deal to sell the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

Shelly had the right to negotiate the sale of the Clippers in a record $2 billion dollar deal and rightfully had her husband removed from the family trust that owned the team, Judge Michael Levanas stated in a tentative ruling.

The decision, which will likely be approved in writing in 10 days, included an order that specified the ruling would stay in effect even if Donald's lawyers filed an appeal.

That order was given due to the time sensitivity of Ballmer's offer, which is set to expire Aug. 15.

While Shelly's and Ballmer's attorneys are very hopeful the deal will be closed in a few weeks, Donald's lawyers emphasized that he has other cases in progress to block the sale, which Donald's attorney Bobby Samini says means the sale is not guaranteed. In addition to the dispute that triggered today's ruling, Donald filed a new lawsuit Tuesday against the NBA, the Clippers and Shelly with allegations of being defrauded. He also sued the NBA in May, alleging antitrust and privacy violations.

His legal team intends to fight Monday's decision by filing a writ against Levanas' order when the judge's decision becomes final, Samini said. If that's approved, the appeal will take effect and stay the decision.
Samini said  his client's reaction to the ruling had been "very calm," but that he intends to continue trying to block the sale of the team in court. "His comment to me was that we have to push on and keep fighting on the other fronts," Samini said.

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"This is one stage of a long war. This is one battle. We'd hoped for a different result, but this is not the end," he added.

The decision concludes a three-week probate trial over Shelly's negotiation to sell the team after her husband's racist remarks led the NBA to force a sale. His attorneys argued that the neurological examinations that found him incapacitated had been improperly conducted with the intent to remove him from the trust, and that when he later dissolved the family trust, Shelly was without rights to negotiate the sale of the team.

Levanas said in his ruling that he was convinced the exams by Drs. Meril Platzer and James Spar had been conducted solely because of Shelly's concern at her husband's cognitive function and emotional swings. 
They were not part of a plan to remove Donald from the trust if he did not comply with his wife's negotiations to sell the Clippers, Levanas said. "The court does not find any credible or compelling evidence of a 'secret plan B,'" he said, using to a term Donald's attorneys had often attached to Shelley's alleged scheming.
Shelly would not have been formulating a secret plan, he said, because Donald had encouraged his wife to negotiate the sale with Ballmer—telling her "Wow, you really did a good job" when she secured the $2-billion offer, she testified weeks ago—before abruptly pulling the plug on the sale on June 9.

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Levanas dismissed other objections Donald’s lawyers had to the examinations—he stated he did not believe Donald's assertion that Dr. Platzer had been intoxicated while examining him, and that he believed Drs. Platzer and Spar's assertions Donald could not have "prepared" better for their exams had he known they would be used to remove him.

He ruled that while Donald had dissolved the trust on June 9, Shelly selling the team would be within the "winding up" of a trust's affairs permitted by the state probate code. 

Finally, Levanas granted a 1310(b) order to keep his ruling in effect even if Donald's lawyers file an appeal.
The order is for situations in which the trustee's property is in imminent danger. Levanas found the Clippers to face a significant decrease in value if the team is not sold to Ballmer, citing the previous week's testimony by Clippers interim CEO Richard Parsons that Clippers head coach Doc Rivers may quit and players may boycott the team if Donald Sterling remains owner. Levanas also agreed with Shelly's lawyers, fighting for the 1310(b) order, that the disclosure of offers lower than Ballmer's ($1.2 and $1.6 billion) would lower the team's going price if it were to be auctioned off by the NBA, which will seize the team on Sept. 15 if the Ballmer sale is not completed.

Shelly Sterling said in a press conference after the hearing that she is "sure" her husband will drop his continuing lawsuits over the team in light of the ruling. She said she thinks the NBA's lifetime ban on her husband will be lifted and that he will attend Clippers games when the team has "the best new owner anyone could find."

She expressed hope for her marriage, though the trial saw him call her a "pig" and testify that she had deceived him. "I hope it'll all work out between us—it will," she said. 

Pierce O'Donnell, Shelly's lawyer, said after the hearing that he is confident the sale will hand the team off to Ballmer by August 15, though he concedes Donald's other litigations present a potential stumbling block. "We hope at this point Donald realizes he can't run out the clock forever," O'Donnell said. "We're thrilled with this victory."

Monday, July 28, 2014

Licensing Music

License your music today! Music licensing is a billion business, with endless opportunities to place music. Every company, or business uses music in some form or fashion. If you are flexible, organized, and patient it can be very rewarding.


Here are some vital steps to licensing music.

1. Quality recordings are paramount.

These are not the good old days when an artist could say, I didn't have access to a professional recording studio, because today, if you have a computer, tablet, and even some cell phones, you can create quality recordings. Demos don't work anymore, and the competition is stiff, so you have to bring your 'A' game. Top notch productions, and top notch recordings will generate multiple opportunities for your music. Bring it!

2. Own 100% of your masters.

If you do not own the music you are recording, then you essentially have music that can not be licensed. A lot of Hip Hop guys like to go on soundclick and download free beats with voice tags (uugh). They record vocals over these beats and put the songs on mixtapes, but the songs can not be sold, or licensed because the artist does not own the rights to music. Music supervisors and record labels will almost always pass these type of recordings up.  Go exclusive, and own 100% of your masters!

3. Get affiliated with a P. R. O. ( ASCAP - BMI - SESAC)

If you and your music are not registered, you will not be paid for any public performances of your music. Your P. R. O. collects the money your music generates, then sends out a check to you on a quarterly basis. each country has it's own P. R. O., and it's absolutely imperative that you join one.

4. Good song titles, and alternate versions are key.

The more attractive or catchy your song titles are, the more compelled your listener will be to listen to them. "01 Track 01" is not compelling at all, but "Skyscrapers, and Cocktails" may grab your attention. Alternate versions give music supervisors and music editors more flexibility,  so having a vocal version, a radio edit, an instrumental, a bass and drum mix, and a drums only mix, will make you a music supervisors best friend.

5. Learn the business.

Legal representation is always the best thing, but it is better to get a grasp of things for yourself, in other words,  you won't have to pay an attorney $500.00 per hour to read a contract for a placement that may not even earn you $500.00 in a year. Most of the licensing agreements you get will be non-exclusive with a 50/50 split across the board, pretty standard these days. Most companies don't even have time to rip off artist, because they are doing so well being on the up and up, it doesn't make any sense to cheat the artist.  Not to say that it does not happen, you should still be sure to read everything, that way, at least you will know whats going on.