Daily Archives: May 5, 2017

Fyre Festival Organizers Hit With Two More Lawsuits

The organizers of the disastrous Fyre Festival are facing a pair of new lawsuits, bringing the total number of lawsuits against Ja Rule and Billy McFarland to five.

This week, festivalgoers filed three class action lawsuits against the “luxury” music festival, with the first backed by celebrity lawyer Mark Geragos. Two new lawsuits – filed on behalf of a New Jersey festivalgoer and a event management company – have now joined the fray.

According to Pitchfork, the Pennsylvania-based National Event Services (NES), who were hired by Fyre organizers to provide medical services for the festival, filed their lawsuit Thursday in Philadelphia, with NES claiming they suffered damages of $250,000 from the debacle.

The lawsuit – which alleges breach of contract, fraud, and negligence – details the experience of NES employees when they reached the Fyre site in the Bahamas. NES is seeking punitive damages.

NES employees “discovered that the accommodations were uninhabitable, including bug infestation, bloodstained mattresses, and no air conditioning,” and that organizers had failed to secure a medical evacuation helicopter or plane in case of emergency. The island’s medical center was also closed upon arrival April 26th.

“As a result, NES had nowhere to send any patient who may have required emergency care overnight,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit also accuses McFarland and Ja Rule of “falsely misrepresented critical facts” about the festival, including the “capitalization necessary” to conduct a large music festival in the Bahamas; many of the artists and vendors “remained unpaid in the weeks leading up” up Fyre Festival, with Blink-182 ultimately canceling their headlining appearance due to non-payment, the lawsuit alleges.

Ja Rule and McFarland also “embarked on a campaign of incompetence, fraud and deceit in the provision of information not only to Plaintiff, but also to virtually any third-party vendor associated with the 2017 festival as well as the people who had purchased tickets.”

One of those ticket buyers, Andrew Petrozziello, filed his own lawsuit in a New Jersey federal court, with the suit stating that Fyre organizer violated state consumer fraud act and breach of contract.

Although Petrozziello never reached the festival site, he was among the ticket buyers to arrive in Miami only to learn that his flight to the Bahamas was canceled when the festival was postponed after organizers realized they were woefully unprepared. Petrozziello, who paid $1,100 for Fyre tickets, was forced to pay for his own flight home out of pocket.

The lawsuit adds that, despite the promise to refund festivalgoers’ tickets, “to date, no refunds have been issued.”

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Monte Johnston Has Been Recognized as a Lifetime VIP Member of America's Registry Based on His Ongoing Success in the Fields of Auto-Finance, Musical Production and more

Monte Johnston Has Been Recognized as a Lifetime VIP Member of America’s Registry Based on His Ongoing Success in the Fields of Auto-Finance, Musical Production and more.FARMINGDALE, N.Y., May 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Monte Johnson, of Springdale, Arkansas, will be honored by America’s Registry of Outstanding Professionals as a Lifetime VIP Member. This honor is bestowed in recognition of his distinguished contributions and achievements in field of…


Hear TLC's Bubbly, Empowering New Song, 'Haters'

TLC released the catchy R&B song “Haters,” the second single from the duo’s upcoming self-titled album. Over a bubbly beat and synths, T-Boz and Chili trade verses and harmonize on the chorus: “People gon’ say what they say/ We don’t care about that anyway.”

TLC will be their first release since 2002’s 3D. That album was recorded before Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes’ death and released months after the tragedy. After 2002, Chili and T-Boz took a hiatus before pursuing a reality competition called R U the Girl, which gave the show’s winner a chance to record a song with the duo. 

In 2015, the singers made their official return touring with New Kids on the Block. That year, they also launched the successful Kickstarter campaign that funded their new album that’s out on June 30th. 

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Rumble Yard – Formerly Sony Music Originals – To Launch New Slate Of Programming At NewFronts 2017

NEW YORK, May 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Rumble Yard – the original video content division of Sony Music Entertainment formerly known as Sony Music Originals – today announced that YouTube star Kurt Hugo Schneider, music star Grace VanderWaal and iconic TV personality Al Roker will headline…


Rap Sensation Young M.A to Host Local All-Female Lineup at the Ranch

EDMONTON, Alberta, May 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Chart-topping rap artist Young M.A will be performing at The Ranch Roadhouse on Thursday, May 18. 
Hailed as the “arrival of major rap talent” by Stereogum, this Brooklyn MC has been rapping since the age of nine. Her undeniable skills wer…


Watch Future's Chaotic 'Mask Off' Video With Amber Rose

Future and Amber Rose cruise through an anarchic parallel world in the rapper’s new video for “Mask Off,” the single from his recent self-titled LP.

The Colin Tilley-directed visual combines elements of Mad Max, Suicide Squad and The Purge series as a group of masked marauders rob convenience stores, engage in shootouts and start fires in lawless city streets. Future and Rose drive around surveying the scene, with the femme fatale doing her best to distract the rapper as he navigates the chaos.

The video concludes a fiery confrontation between rioters and S.W.A.T. in the streets as Future performed “Mask Off” from the roof of a Checks Cashed establishment. The “Mask Off” video arrives just one day after the rapper performed the Future track on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Future’s Nobody Safe tour with Migos and A$AP Ferg also kicked off Thursday night in Memphis.

“Mask Off” is the standout cut off Future, which arrived a week before its follow-up HNDRXX. Both albums debuted at Number One on the Billboard 200, making Future the first artist ever to top the album charts in consecutive weeks with different LPs.

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Fans to the Front: How Internet Fandoms Are Gaming the Music Industry

In her Fans to the Front column, Brittany Spanos dives into what’s happening in fan culture on the Internet.

Given the deluge of music soaring at us from all platforms, sometimes artists have to get inventive to reach Number One on the charts. Of course, it’s easy for household names like Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift who have mastered the formula and have the universal appeal to boot. For still-rising acts, viral memes have helped songs like Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles” or Baauer’s “Harlem Shake” to capture the zeitgeist.

Internet-based fandoms are still figuring out the formula, and many are trying to take matters into their own hands, creating grassroots promotional campaigns. Fan accounts that aren’t affiliated officially with the artist go to great lengths to ensure that everyone is on the same page, taking a keen interest in statistics and sales and offering specific instructions on how to maximize streams and change IP addresses for fans who live outside the United States.

People like Pop Crave‘s Will Cosme have been charting the movements of fan Twitter and passionate promotional campaigns initiated via social media for years. The 23-year-old’s own account is a collection of chart data, chart predictions, aggregated news and gossip that has racked up more than 100,000 followers in two years and captured the attention of both fans and major artists who have shared the tweets posted to the account.

For Cosme, the first and best examples of when fan Twitter became an effective promotional tool was with the rise of One Direction and later Fifth Harmony, whose fans and label mimicked the promotional campaigns of Directioners to give the girl group a public boost following The X-Factor.

“[Directioners] were the first fandom to use radio requests as a weapon,” Cosme details, noting the specific organizational tactics that set them apart from other fandoms and also made them effective. “Other fandoms began using the same strategies – Katy fans, Nicki fans, Taylor Swift fans. It wasn’t as well-organized though.”

Still, while One Direction’s albums would top the charts, the boy band had difficulty attaining the elusive Number One spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Gaming the charts is a tricky feat, especially because of how often the formula and ratios for how song streams and purchases are counted shifts in the streaming age. Streaming first became a significant part of the formula in 2012, the year after Spotify launched in America. According to chart analyst and host of Slate’s Hit Parade podcast Chris Molanphy, the addition of YouTube a year later had a much bigger effect given that any video that featured at least 30 seconds of the official recording of a song would count. “Harlem Shake” was the first song to benefit from this, hitting Number One primarily from YouTube views of fan-made dance videos.

Audio streaming now counts for somewhere between 40 and 50 percent of the data that figures into a song appearing on the Hot 100 on any given week, with Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music taking the lead. Radio airplay and digital sales make up the rest of the data for the constantly fluctuating formula.

While there is no correct or typical way to get a song to the top of the charts, fans have become astute students of the business, tinkering with strategies to help the artists they love and see them grow larger with every release. Cosme notes a recent trend of “Shazam attacks” involving the song identification app. Shazam has become an influential part of the industry over the past few years with radio stations using the analytics from the app to curate songs to play while record companies track the same data to predict hits. Fans have found a way to reach the industry on more logical, data-driven terms that can help give their artists more attention from the inside.

Still, Billboard and various streaming companies have ways of targeting any listening behavior that may seem fraudulent from their perspective. Molanphy recalls how record companies in the Nineties would attempt to buy out certain record stores of albums by their artists to boost sales, but if Billboard noticed unusual activity at specific stores, they would disregard that data altogether. The same goes for streaming, and services like Spotify have also taken note.

“We have multiple fraud-detection measures in place,” a Spotify spokesperson tells Rolling Stone. “The Spotify Content Operations team regularly monitors consumption on the service to look for fraud and any possible fraudulent activity is investigated and dealt with immediately.”

Fan accounts are careful to instruct their followers and friends about how to avoid looking fraudulent, but even with the careful strategizing, it’s debatable on how effective these measures could be. To reach Number One, an artist must capture mainstream attention from outside their core fan base. Still, the influence of such campaigns is something to watch, even if their long-term effect on the business and how record companies work with – and for – fans in the future is still to be seen. 

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Carly Simon Plays 'Lost Verse' from 'You're So Vain' for First Time

While the subject of Carly Simon‘s scathing “You’re So Vain” remains one of music’s greatest mysteries, the singer has revealed her never-before-heard fourth verse to the 1972 single that could shine more light on the unknown target.

During an interview with BBC, Simon premiered the “lost” verse, which the singer had written while composing the song but ultimately omitted from the final version. “This is a verse that I haven’t ever sung,” Simon said. “I wrote it a while ago on a pad, but it never made it into the song.”

“A friend of yours revealed to me that you’d loved me all the time / Kept it secret from your wives / You believed it was no crime,” Simon sang, pausing at moments to recall the forgotten verse.

“You called me once to ask me things / I couldn’t quite divine / Maybe that’s why I have tried to dismiss you, tried to dismiss you / And you’re so vain.”

Over the past 45 years, Simon has been steadfast in her refusal to disclose who “You’re So Vain” is about, but it’s likely a composite of different men the singer-songwriter encountered.

In 2015, Simon divulged in a People interview that the song’s second verse – “Oh, you had me several years ago / When I was still naïve / Well, you said that we made such a pretty pair / And that you would never leave” – was about her experience with actor Warren Beatty. 

However, although one verse has been solved, the adulterer of this newly uncovered verse only deepens the mystery.

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Bob Weir on Dead & Company's Summer Tour, Legendary 1977 Shows

Bob Weir‘s busy spring is turning into a busy summer. Fresh from a solo tour (which included jamming on Lady Gaga’s “Million Reasons” with Phish’s Trey Anastasio), the founding Grateful Dead guitarist is preparing for his third extended run with Dead & Company. Featuring Dead drummers Billy Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, the band once again features John Mayer in the role of late lead guitarist Jerry Garcia. When Rolling Stone reaches Weir – who appeared in April with Mayer and Dave Chapelle at their Controlled Danger tour at San Francisco’s Fillmore – he is getting ready for a casual evening of jamming with Phil Lesh at the Dead bassist’s San Rafael hangout, Terrapin Crossroads. He’s set to begin tech rehearsals the following day with Dead drummers Billy Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart, and longtime keyboardist Jeff Chimenti.

And, as always, there is a new Grateful Dead archival release out now: Get Shown the Light, a four-show live box set built around the band’s beloved May 8th, 1977, performance at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Recorded from the audience by Dead taper Jerry Moore and enthusiastically circulated, his was the first version of the concert to make it into the Deadhead community. In the Eighties, a high-quality soundboard tape from the band’s official engineer, Betty Cantor-Jackson, emerged from a stash of master reels auctioned off from a derelict storage locker. The latter tape, now reacquired and properly released by the Dead, cemented the show as Deadhead legend for its brightly inspired jams on “Scarlet Begonias”/”Fire on the Mountain,” “Not Fade Away,” and “Morning Dew,” especially. It is also a show that Weir has little memory of, though he’s not averse to trying.

Following the band’s spring 1977 tour, drummer Mickey Hart’s car accident forced the cancellation of the band’s summer plans. It was the last summer the band would be absent from the road until Garcia’s death in 1995, and Weir has headed out every summer since. Dead & Company are still deciding which Dead songs to dust off for the tour, which runs from May 27th in Las Vegas to July 1st at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, but Weir is most excited about a mysterious “new wrinkle we want to iron in.”

Having done two full tours with Dead & Company over the past two years, how do you hope to keep things fresh?
We still probably need to spend a little time together riding on the bus between shows and listening to stuff that we played, and just stuff in general. One of the things that the Grateful Dead did, way back when, was we spent a lot of time just turning each other on to music. If somebody was listening to something that really caught their ear, they’d make sure that everybody else in the band heard it and that came home for us in innumerable ways. And the opportunity avails itself for us between gigs. When were on tour, everybody goes to their own bus, but we should probably all hop on the same bus and spend an hour or so on the road listening to … stuff.

Are there any songs you’re especially excited to explore with John Mayer this summer?
Yes, but that’s always going to be the case. But this new wrinkle, which I’m not at liberty to try to attempt to describe because I really won’t know what we’re looking at until a few days into it at least … that’s what’s got me going right now. The premise that we’re working with is that when most people go to a show, they’re not really watching what’s going on onstage. They may be watching what’s on the screen. But when the songs are playing in their mind’s eye, they’re actually watching a movie. They’re watching the movie the song the character in the song is delivering. They’re watching a movie on the big screen in their head. We’re going to try to play to that.

What older songs have you found unexpected new wrinkles in?
Mayer particularly loves “Althea.” Now, we had a good time with “Althea” back when Jerry was around, but [Mayer’s] fascination for the song exceeds mine. But, standing right next to him when we’re playing it, I’m getting a bit more a shower of sparks when we play the song that takes it to another level.

It seems like Mayer’s really a student of older Dead recordings. Does he ask you about older shows?
Oh, yeah, he bugs me about that stuff all the time.

Do you ever end up listening to older recordings?
Not very often, but in rehearsal, and sometimes during soundchecks, if we want a reference point arrangement-wise we often do that. My model for how to work this material is for everybody to be fluent with the most recent iteration of the tune that we did until 1995 [when Jerry Garcia died]. “Eyes of the World,” for instance. I think that people should go back and listen to earlier versions, but we like people to hear where it was when we left it when we were playing with Jerry. And [tell them that] as soon as they do that, to not do that again. As soon as they can do that, usually in the rehearsal or in soundcheck, then the song is free to go wherever it wants.

What do you remember about that spring ’77 tour and the Cornell show?
For me it was just another tour. I remember feeling like we were hot back when were doing it. But, for instance, that Cornell show that that people talk about, I can’t remember that specifically. It didn’t stand out for me on that tour. The whole tour was like that for me. I think that show became notable because there was a particularly good audience tape made of it. And that got around. I think it was the quality of the recording was good and the guy’s location was excellent. And whoever it was that made that recording made every attempt to get it out there so that people could hear it. [Laughs] And he was wildly successful at that. So it became a very famous show for us. But at the time it was just another show, and the whole tour was pretty much the same quality for me.

Part of the lore is that the reason that ’77 tour was so tight is because you’d just recorded Terrapin Station with [Fleetwood Mac producer] Keith Olsen and he thought you were too loose and cracked the whip to make you practice.
I’m not sure that he cracked the whip so much as it being apparent when we were working with [him], just getting across to him what the songs were about, that we had to tighten them up. At the same time, we spent a lot of time – more than we normally did – in rehearsal, getting the songs ready. And so the upshot of all that is were playing a lot. As I recall, we didn’t even finish the record before we hit the road again.

How much of the Deadhead culture did you notice emerging around that tour?
It began to dawn on us that people were regarding this as more than another band, that there was something else happening that was sort of overlooked. That was right around the time we had to deal with tapers, for instance. We’d just signed with Arista, the record company. Arista was freaking about the phenomenon of tapers showing up at our shows. They were insisting that we put an end to this. And we just didn’t want to do that. We didn’t feel comfortable doing that, so we didn’t. [Laughs] And through simple benign neglect we get credit for inventing viral marketing.

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Greenspoon Marder Files Lawsuit Against Organizers of Fyre Festival

MIAMI, May 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Greenspoon Marder today filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida on behalf of all ticket purchasers defrauded and wronged by the organizers of Fyre Festival – an exclusive music festival on a private…