The passing of the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act has seen a lot of outrage with many speaking out about its potential to be used to discriminate. The latest group to do so? Wilco. The band announced today via their Facebook that they are cancelling a show in Indianapolis in light of the act.
Businesses are fighting back as well, including Angie’s List, which is headquartered in Indiana, and Salesforce, as well as Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Earlier this weekend, Jay Z announced the launch of his new streaming service TIDAL, which will offer service to millions of online consumers. No stranger to media expansion, Shawn Carter is making a big play for next-gen app users who hunger for better options. He may also be targeting artists who want a better percentage of the equity in their streaming songs. At 5 p.m. EST today, he will host a live-stream event to talk up the product to the masses.
So far, some of the marquee names in music have hopped on the Tidal wave, including Rihanna, Coldplay, Nicki Minaj, Daft Punk, Kanye West, Usher, Alicia Keys, and just about everyone else famous that Jay either knows, or knows would move the ticker to promote his product.
And here’s what we know about TIDAL from the press conference:
The platform is owned by artists
Alicia Keys spoke on behalf of her fellow artists, calling Tidal an “artist-owned, global music and entertainment platform.” Artists played the main role in today’s announcement as Keys’ was joined on stage by Beyonce, Arcade Fire’s Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, Calvin Harris, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Daft Punk, Jack White, Jason Alden, J. Cole, Jay Z, Kanye West, deadmau5, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Usher all own it. They were there, at the press conference, to prove it. Well, Martin and Harris videoconferenced in but they were still present.
It has full offline capabilities
You can take your music with you without a wi-fi connection. That’s been a very difficult challenge for Spotify, Amazon, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, and Google Play. As a New Yorker, I struggle to find a service that I can take with me on the subway, where there’s no connection in some spots.
It’s a new era in music preservation…kind of
While this won’t topple bootlegging, it will mean that the bootlegged songs aren’t “lossless” high-quality files like what Tidal is offering. For audiophiles, that’s a plus. It means there will only be one true copy of a song that maintains the digital integrity.
All the owner-artists signed the membership decree in front of people
They used the same pen. It was like the Constitution. (But how did the people who connected via LiveStream sign theirs? IDK. IDC!)
It’s not just music in single song form
There are curated playlists by the Tidal staff – sort of like Beats service. There will be editorial content, although there wasn’t any mention of what it would be. But, it’s not just music!
Still trying to start the work week? Here’s a little metal classic to get you going, but it’s all banjos, so it won’t shock you into a headache. Banjo Guy Ollie put together a fantastic arrangement of Metallica’s classic “Enter Sandman,” and it will keep you awake without making you fear the inside of your eyelids.
Ever wonder what being Jay Z for a day would look like? Actually, let me rephrase that. Ever wonder what being Jay Z for a day would look like, but without any of the good stuff like winning Grammys or going to bed with Beyoncé? This video for TIDAL, the streaming service Hova and his famous friends tweeted about last night, should give you an idea. It’s a lot of meetings with Coldplay’s Chris Martin, which… eh, not worth it.
Also, the Daft Punk robots never take their helmets off. That’s just rude.
Few debut albums have been as titanically popular as Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction. Since July 21, 1987, it’s sold more than 30 million copies, 18 million in the United States alone. “Welcome to the Jungle,” “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” and “Paradise City” continue to be rock radio mainstays, and in 2013, Rolling Stone named Appetite the fourth best first album ever.
Before all that, Axl, Slash, Izzy, Duff, and Steven were just five broke dudes relying on rusted pick-up trucks to get them to gigs. In his must-read book, Reckless Road: Guns N’ Roses and the Making of Appetite for Destruction, Canter’s Deli general manager Marc Canter shared his experiences palling around with GNR before they made it big.
We animated one of his stories above, and hippie chicks on acid are involved.
To follow up her family-friendly Home being the No. 1 movie in America, Rihanna performed her new hit single, “B*tch Better Have My Money,” at the iHeartRadio Awards last night while dressed as a villainous mad man. Okay, technically, she was channeling Lil’ Kim, but the green coat and boots scream Riddler to me. Or Kermit as a pimp. One of the two.
A piece of advice: never choose a song you like as your alarm. In college, I woke up every morning to the Gob Bluth-approved “The Final Countdown.” Whenever I hear the Europe hit now, it makes me agitated and sleepy and oh god, did I sleep through Mad Men 101 again?
Anyway, I can almost guarantee that everyone who’s stayed at the Panama City Beach Holiday Inn during spring break since 2012 now hates “Circle of Life” from The Lion King, which the motel promptly blasts every morning at 11 a.m. Coincidentally, when the hundreds of college kids leave, the mess they leave behind looks like something a monkey would smear on a wall.
A few weeks back, Jay Z’s company acquired TIDAL streaming service for a cool $56 million. While it was initially thought he’d be announcing the purchase of Tupac’s catalog today, it’s becoming more apparent that this announcement will have to do with the launch of his streaming service, as there’s a countdown on the website set for 5 EST.
The streaming is expected to allow users to stream hi-fi audio for $19.99, with lower fidelity files going for $9.99. The site also mentions options for video streaming.
If that’s not enough, Jay called in some favors and got a few of his famous friends to change their Twitter avatars in support. The social media campaign comes on the heels of a clandestine meeting reportedly held after the Grammys back in February and rumored then to center around TIDAL.
Beyonce treats Twitter like I do, but hey she changed the avi.
Everybody else had relevant tweets:
Nas is not on the list, but he’ll be changing his up soon enough.
Update: Here’s a short promo video featuring a lot of A-list musicians giving TIDAL their co-sign.
Update: The press conference was a star-studded event. Watch it here.
Good news, everyone! Selfie sticks will not be getting in your way at a few of this year’s must-see music festivals.
Coachella, the big California festival that kicks off in two weeks, is leading the charge by banning selfie sticks and narsisstics altogether. Meanwhile, Lollapalooza in Chicago has followed suit and disallowed GoPro attachments like sticks, selfie sticks and monopods, according to their FAQs page.
As we noted last week, SXSW definitely did not ban these obnoxious phone extensions, which is why they were running rampart throughout every show we attended. At the moment, other popular festivals like the Governors Ball and Hangout Fest don’t seem to mind either, but that could change if they decide to follow the new trend established by Coachella and Lollapalooza.
No one should be told how to have fun, and selfie sticks aren’t really hurting anyone, but this is one trend we wouldn’t mind seeing get handcuffed for good.
Mariah Carey and Brett Ratner go way back — at least in a professional sense. The director was behind some of the pop singer’s most popular videos, including “We Belong Together“, “I Still Believe“, and “Heartbreaker“. However, it appears they’ve recently become more than just colleagues — a change no doubt facilitated by Carey and Nick Cannon’s split last year.
Despite publicly denying a relationship just days ago, a new photo of the two canoodling on a boat in St. Barts pretty much spells things out:
Yes, Ratner looks like he just escaped a season of Survivor and is knee-deep in some kind of love-struck stupor (or drunk — same thing). But they are together. Messily together. Weirdly together. To-ge-ther. Per TMZ:
This pic was taken Saturday on a yacht in St. Barts. Sources — let’s just say close to the boat — say they’re all over each other. She’s totally into him and he is nuts for her.
Ratner recently said he and Mariah were just really good friends, calling rumors of romance “ridiculous.” Well now that’s just ridiculous, because they’re in full romance mode. We’re told she’s over Nick and moved on.
Here’s to hoping they’re at least having a good time, paparazzi notwithstanding.
For the first time since the 2013 Super Bowl, Destiny’s Child reunited to perform at the Stellar Gospel Music Awards in Las Vegas last night. Beyoncé, Kelly Rowlands and Michelle Williams got the band back together to perform “Say Yes,” Williams’s solo single.
In addition to the surprise performance, the three got together for the song’s music video last summer.
The Stellar Awards will air on TV One April 5th.
Source: Rolling Stone
“Entertainment has evolved. The mediums have changed. But the one thing that has remained the same … is us.” Grammy-award winning rapper/artist LL COOL J introduces us to the opening video of WrestleMania 31, available tonight on WWE Network.
Aside from the set, the reveal of the opening video package to WrestleMania is one of the best aesthetic parts of the night. Last year we got a New Orleans jazz band, and this year we’ve got host LL Cool J putting on his Freddie Blassie boots and walking us through the emotional importance of WrestleMania. From Andre and Hogan to Shawn Michaels to Hogan and The Rock to The Rock and Cena. There’s also a lengthy look at Don Muraco vs. Dino Bravo from WrestleMania IV. Nah, I’m kidding.
WWE should stop trying to build WrestleMania cards and just spend the time between the Rumble and Mania doing “DO YOU REALIZE HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS” video packages. They’re better at that than anyone in the world.
Back in November we reported Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor was working on a new project with Apple. The timing of the news led many to assume it was related to Apple’s decision to shutdown — albeit temporarily — their Beats Music streaming service. According to the New York Times, Reznor is not only playing a major role with the company, he’s redesigning the Beats Music digital platform from scratch:
In a sign of how important Beats is in reshaping Apple’s digital music, the company has made a musician a point man for overhauling the iPhone’s music app to include the streaming music service, as opposed to an engineer. Trent Reznor, the Nine Inch Nails frontman who was the chief creative officer for Beats, is playing a major role in redesigning the music app, according to two Apple employees familiar with the product, who spoke on the condition they not be named because the plans are private.
Once the relaunch happens, the price of the subscription service is as of yet unclear. Apple attempted to push record labels into a licensing deal that would make the monthly fee $2 less than Spotify but failed. What is clear is the growing concerns by both labels and artists alike regarding the low payouts they receive from music played through Spotify’s freemium music-streaming service.
Speculation has the new Beats Music platform launching around the time Apple rolls out their next major operating system update. Your move, Jay-Z.
(Source: New York Times)
Yesterday’s widely reported story about Queen manager Jim Beach’s confirmation that Sacha Baron Cohen had returned to the Freddie Mercury biopic as writer, director, and star has come undone. The disappointing revelation came via Queen guitarist Brian May, who issued a denial after reading a story about the remarks:
“It doesn’t mention a small joke that Jim threw in during his acceptance speech. He said that, in response to enquiries about the progress on the Freddie feature film, that Sacha Baron Cohen had been re-engaged to write, produce, and direct the film, as well as starring in all four major roles ! I’m afraid some folks might have taken it seriously !”
Talk about a crushing blow to the forces of joy. May said nothing else on the matter, so there is no indication if the film is any closer to becoming a reality with another creative force at the helm or if they’ve got another actor in mind to play Mercury.
Previously, Dexter Fletcher had been on-board to direct and Peter Morgan had written the script, with Cohen set to star. Ben Whishaw then replaced Borat, but he and Fletcher later departed separately, and from the outside looking in, it seems like the project is creatively adrift now. And if the rumors are true about the creative differences between Cohen and Mercury’s Queen bandmates over the tone of the film — with Cohen advocating a “gritty R-rated tell-all” while the band wanted a “PG movie about Queen” — maybe its best if it stays that way.
Source: Brian May
Just when you thought Justin Bieber could become America’s favorite Canadian pop star, he’s run afoul of the law again. A limo driver commissioned by the singer in Toronto claims Bieber got allegedly slap-happy with him when he wouldn’t turn up the volume on his music.
Abdul Mohar wants $850K from the Biebs for the December, 2013 incident in Toronto … according to the Toronto Star. Bieber and his gang were in the back of the limo when the the driver claims he was repeatedly struck. (via)
Whether it’s true or not, it’s yet another mark on Bieber’s checkered record. Though he’s supposedly rebounding from a crazy year, even volunteering to get roasted on Comedy Central, it seems like his fame won’t allow him to clear his name just yet.
Who could forget the way Michael Jackson seemingly defied gravity in his video for “Smooth Criminal”? The fancy footwork in that 1987 clip was made possible by using wires, but the King of Pop himself sought to recreate that same magic for his live performances.
In order to do so, Jackson and two co-inventors created a special pair of futuristic kicks, for which they received an official U.S. patent in 1993. Per Mashable:
A slot in the heel engaged with a peg, which could be raised and protruded through the stage floor when activated. With the heel fixed, the performer could lean forward into the attached ankle straps. (However, the move would have required some strength in the legs and upper body to achieve and maintain this position.)
The shoes didn’t prove to be a foolproof product, however. Three years later, during a show in Moscow, one of the heels came loose. Jackson was knocked off his feet, and, unfortunately, that was the end of that particular shoe design.
Below, check out pictures of the 1993 patent, followed by the “Smooth Criminal” video:
Back in 2010, actor and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen — the same man who brought this Oscar-worthy scene to life — signed a deal to play Freddie Mercury in a biopic about the famous Queen singer. Three years later, Cohen called the deal off — supposedly because the surviving band members wanted a “PG” version. Now it seems the actor and the band have settled their differences.
According to several outlets, Queen manager Jim Beach dropped a few hints about the new deal at the annual Artist and Manager Awards:
“You have probably followed the saga of the famous Queen-Freddie Mercury biopic which has been developing in Hollywood for the last seven years,” Beach said during a speech at the Artist and Manager Awards this week. “An important breakthrough is that we have now managed to persuade Sacha Baron Cohen to write, produce and direct this movie, and he has also agreed to star.” (Via Consequence of Sound)
Music Week initially broke the news, saying Beach “used his acceptance speech to make ‘a couple of exclusive announcements’ about the future of Queen, ‘just to show that we have every intention of staying around and not packing it in.'”
It sounds like Cohen and the band have come to some sort of agreement about the project — maybe a PG-13 rating instead? (Thanks, Spielberg!) Either way, to say that Cohen’s coming back to the project is exciting would be a serious understatement. Not only does he look the part, but he’s got the lungs to belt out Queen tunes, too.
Google continues to add new bells and whistles to YouTube’s arsenal. They’ve been paving the way for 4K 60fps videos over the past half year, and earlier this month they added extra support for 360-degree video, otherwise known as virtual freakin’ reality video! Now the first music video to take advantage of the new Youtube feature is here: Noa Neal’s ‘Graffiti.’
Chrome desktop users can drag their mouse around the video as it plays to look around the environment, similar to how you use Google Street View. The parade style video makes good use of the tech as viewers are virtually seated on the back of a moving truck with the band as dancers, cars and singer Noa Neal careen through the environment.
The real magic happens when you watch the video through the YouTube app on your phone – if your phone has gyroscopes (and most do nowadays), simply moving your screen pans the display through the virtual set. And users with Oculus Rift or Google Cardboard can watch the video in full VR mode using the Kolor Eyes app, which comes loaded with dozens of 360 degree videos.
It’s another small step towards the inevitable virtual reality revolution, one that is looking more and more like it will occur on your mobile phone as much as it will using bulky computer-controlled headsets. If you haven’t already dropped the ten bucks to buy a cheap cardboard HMD (head mount display), now might be the time to consider it. More cool stuff is coming out for them by the day.
Jon Hamm and Matthew Weiner were in attendance for “LACMA: A Tribute To Mad Men” and Björk of all people came up in conversation. The topic being discussed was the season five finale episode “The Phantom” where Nancy Sinatra’s “You Only Live Twice” was beautifully featured in the episode’s final tracking shot. According to Weiner, Björk’s cover version of the classic tune was almost used in the pilot episode for the series.
Of course, the audience laughed when they heard this. According to Vulture, the two were quick to rebut that reaction:
“You can laugh. It’s amazing.” Jon Hamm quickly jumped in: “Björk was originally going to be Peggy. You laugh — she’s amazing.”
Matthew Weiner went on to explain why he waited five seasons to use the song:
We were listening to this all the time, and I thought I could use this at the end of the show. And then I had this idea that I should save this and the whole James Bond aesthetic to when it started happening (1967). James Bond was pretty deep in the culture. One of the things they attribute to the success of James Bond – movie people anyway — Dr. No [came out] right around the time of the Cuban missile crisis. There were so many great things about James Bond, but this song, “You Only Live Twice”… I wanted to wait for it to be in that period.
Here’s the scene he’s referring to:
The concept of a Björk song featured in a TV series taking place in the ’60s is almost as ludicrous sounding as a David Bowie song showing up in a show taking place in the ’50s.
Take that, American Horror Story: Freak Show!
Dr. Dre already gave us a lot of gems in part one of his candid talk with radio personality Big Boy. As the interview continues to trickle out, the Aftermath CEO offers even more game to soak up. This time, instead of focusing so much on Straight Outta Compton, the Good Doc gets into what fans really want to know about, the music.
Although his name wasn’t as heavily associated with To Pimp A Butterfly as it was on GKMC, Dre was an executive producer to the album and offers his perspective on the layered project making waves throughout Hip-Hop.
“He put together an amazing album….The whole ratchet thing was fun, but it just didn’t have the substance that I appreciate in music, you know? If you hear it at the club or something, you appreciate it because it’s fun, it’s loud or what have you. But, as far as the substance in Hip-Hop, Kendrick is bringing us back to that.”
Big Boy then proceeds to dig into Dre’s relationship with 50 Cent and the recording process behind Get Rich Or Die Trying.
“50 was incredible when we were in the studio for the first time. We decided I was going to do half of the first album and Eminem would do the other half. My experience working with 50, it was only about seven days in the studio. No more than nine days. I would put up a track, he would write it, spit. Then, ‘Yo, put up another one! Put up another one!’ And, that was it.
The song “In The Club,” I know it was good, but I didn’t know it was going to be that big, you know?”
Of all the numerous quotables though, the best part of the interview might be hearing how hungry Dre is to continue hitting the studio and that his unwavering passion for the craft is what keeps him going.
“It’s like a drug for me. I don’t feel like I’ve made my best record yet. So, I’m chasing that.”
Considering he says “I can’t remember how many songs I recorded this week” later in the clip, his quest is clearly still in full effect. Sounds good to us. Figuratively, of course.