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Music Streaming Platforms Share Initiatives To Keep The Tunes Rolling

As concerts and tours have been canceled, music streaming services have presented ways artists can still make a profit.

As artists continue to provide livestreams from the comfort of their homes or studios, music streaming services are looking to support musicians monetarily with new initiatives. While streaming can be a point of steady income for artists (noting different platforms’ usage by consumers might be at an all-time high since more people are socially distancing at home), platforms like TIDAL, Spotify, YouTube Music, Pandora, and Bandcamp are rolling out creative initiatives to help artists still make a profit.

Here’s what a few entities are doing to put both the artist and consumer first.

From Latin to R&B, TIDAL launched its “At Home with TIDAL” Livestream Series on Wednesday (March 25) to provide a free experience to streamers. By reaching back into its digital archives, the streaming platform will feature 12-hour daily livestreams of previous performances from Beyonce, Daddy Yankee, Jorja Smith, JAY-Z, H.E.R., Rihanna, Rosalia, Jennifer Lopez, Lizzo, and many more.

Each day will highlight a different genre, beginning with Latin on March 25 and ending on Sunday (March 29) with an R&B lineup.

On March 20, the streaming giant introduced the series by streaming past festivals like the Dreamville Fest, Made In America, and other concerts that featured Alicia Keys, Ari Lennox, Nicki Minaj, Pusha T and more.

On Wednesday (March 25), Spotify announced a COVID-19 Music Relief project that’ll support music organizations like PRS Foundation, MusiCares, and Help Musicians to provide a connection to musicians in financial need. According to a statement, “Spotify has engaged partners across the industry to discuss how we can support artists and the creative community who have been deeply impacted by the effects of the virus.”

An outlet to allow artists to set up fundraisers on their Spotify profile page that'll allow fans to share donations is also being implemented by the streaming service. “This will give artists on Spotify the ability to link out to a verified funding page for themselves, for another artist in need, or for a separate initiative of their choice. (This feature will, of course, be optional for artists to leverage; no changes will be made to profile pages unless the artist chooses to participate, and Spotify will not take a cut of any contributions.)” a statement on the brand’s website reads.

Taking it outside of music organizations, Spotify donated to the CDC Foundation Response Fund and WHO’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund to support medical staff with essentials needed to prevent the spread of the virus, and deliver essential items to those quarantined at home.

YouTube Music
In addition to its donation to the MusiCares Coronavirus Relief Fund, YouTube Music launched a StayHome #WithMe hub where viewers can assemble videos from livestreams and other forms of original content. Those found on the service’s “Jam With Me” playlist already feature J Balvin, Major Lazer and more.

Playlists to ease in a new way of life as thousands work from home or attend classes online was also established by the service.

Earlier this month, Bandcamp decided to cancel revenue shares for one day to help musicians maintain a source of income since tours and other obligations have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Tech Crunch, by Bandcamp waiving those shares artists were able to rake in $4.3 million in sales, ultimately allowing musicians and labels to hold onto 100 percent of the revenue to continue musical efforts in this time of social distancing. This included the sale of music and merchandise that accompany’s an artist’s brand.

Although Triller isn’t a traditional music streaming service, it's partly responsible for boosting the popularity of certain songs through various dance challenges, similar to Tik Tok. To step into this temporary stage of experiencing music in a new way, Triller will launch a digital music festival titled Co-Trilla Quarantine Sessions. The artist/band lineup will be revealed later this month while a launch date of April 10-12 is in place.

“The Coronavirus has had a significant impact around the world, and we want to do our part to help those in need, while providing a safe environment for people to escape and enjoy some great entertainment,” said Mike Lu, Triller's CEO, in an email statement. “The Co-Trilla Quarantine Sessions’ are our way of delivering premium entertainment, featuring some of today’s most notable artists, to everyone in the safety of their homes, while giving users an opportunity to help those in need.”

There will also be a donate function for users to share funds for those in need and others battling on the frontlines against COVID-19.

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Jay Z Is Allegedly In Talks To Sell Tidal

TIDAL could be shopping around for a new owner.

Square Inc., the mobile payment app led by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, might end up acquiring TIDAL, according to Bloomberg. Dorsey and Jay Z have reportedly discussed a possible sale, but it is unclear if the alleged negotiations will actually result in an acquisition.

The rumored sale may have something to do with why Jay put his discography back to Spotify for his  50th birthday last year.

Hov acquired TIDAL for $56 million from Norwegian company, Aspiro, in 2015. The subscription-based music streaming company has been touted as a better option for artists in that it offers higher royalties than competitors like Spotify and Apple Music.

The company has however been accused of not paying artists, and settled an $84 million class action lawsuit last year amid claims of “fraudulently” persuading customers to subscribe by claiming that Kanye West’s Life of Pablo album was an exclusive release.

Despite a star-studded 2015 launch event attended by West, Beyoncé, J. Cole, Usher, Rihanna, Madonna, Nicki Minaj and more, TIDAL has had a rocky few years — especially when it comes to corporate leadership. The company went through four CEO’s in two years, the most recent of which, Richard Sanders, was appointed to run TIDAL in 2017.

That year, Sprint purchased a 33% stake in TIDAL for $200 million.

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Ashanti And Keyshia Cole Sign On For Verzuz Battle

Season 2 of Verzuz is already off to a good start. Ashanti and Keyshia Cole are next in line for a Verzuz battle, it was confirmed on Friday (Dec. 4).

The R&B stars will go up against each other for a “celebration of women empowerment” next Saturday, Dec. 12. The “Legendary Ladies Night” will be streamed on IG Live and Apple Music.

Yeah, it’s official! The paperwork is IN 🚨🚨 It’s a legendary Ladies Night on Saturday, December 12th with @Ashanti and @KeyshiaCole.

Which Libra you got?!

Saturday, December 12th, 5PM PT / 8PM ET. Watch on our IG or in HD on @AppleMusic.

Drinks by @Ciroc Merch by @NTWRKLIVE pic.twitter.com/UCWJvaEl0y

— Verzuz (@verzuzonline) December 4, 2020

Both multi-platinum selling singers have impressive stats. Ashanti’s catalog of solo hits include “Foolish,” “Rock wit U,” “Rain On Me,” “Happy,” and “Baby.” On the collaborative tip, the Grammy winner joined Ja Rule on singles like, “What’s Love?” and “Always on Time.”

She was also featured on Lloyd’s debut single “Southside,” “Into You” by Fabolous, and “Body on Me” with Nelly. And she of course wrote songs for Jennifer Lopez and more.

Cole’s breakout single, “I Changed My Mind,” dropped in 2004 and her career took off from there. The Oakland native boasts a slew of classic R&B singles like “(I Just Want It) To Be Over,” “I Should Have Cheated,” “Let It Go,” “I Remember,” “Heaven Sent,” “Love,” and “Trust.” As a featured artist, Cole appeared on Sean Paul’s “(When You Gonna) Give It Up to Me,” Young Jeezy’s “Dreaming,” and Diddy’s 2006 single “Last Night,” to name a few.

Although they’re technically going up against each other for Verzuz, there’s no beef between the two artists who previously collaborated for the title track off Cole’s 2012 album, Woman to Woman.

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Casanova Wanted By FBI In Connection With Racketeering Case

Rapper Casanova is wanted by federal investigators in connection with a sweeping indictment charging 18 alleged members of the Untouchable Gorilla Stone Nation Gang with various racketeering, murder, drugs, guns, and fraud offenses, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday (Dec. 1).

The FBI New York tweeted a photo of Casanova and encouraged anyone with information on his whereabouts to contact the bureau. “We are still looking for Caswell Senior, aka Casanova, in connection with this case.”

The 34-year-old rapper is named in the indictment which was unsealed in a White Plains federal court Tuesday. Casanova is the only one out of 18 defendants who has yet to be arrested, the indictment states.

He faces single cont of conspiracy to commit racketeering, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

“As alleged in the Indictment, members of Gorilla Stone committed terrible acts of violence, trafficked in narcotics, and even engaged in brazen fraud by exploiting benefits programs meant to provide assistance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said. “Because of that, communities across the Southern District – from Poughkeepsie to Peekskill to New York City – suffered.”

“Most shocking, as alleged in the indictment, a minor was murdered in furtherance of the gang’s activities,” continued Strauss. “Because of the extraordinary work of our law enforcement partners, the defendants now face federal charges for their crimes.”

The indictment outlines a string of crimes that took place between Jan. 2018 and Sept. 2020.

Alleged gang member Brandon “Stacks” Soto has been charged in connection with the murder of a 15-year-old victim in Poughkeepsie, New York, in September.

In July, Stephen “Chino” Hugh allegedly shot at rival gang members in New Rochelle to allegedly “maintain and increase his position” in the gang’s “racketeering enterprise.” A month earlier, suspects Naya “Baby”Austin, Dezon “Blakk” Washington, and Jordan “Flow” Ingram committed armed robbery of a rival drug dealer, the indictment alleges.

Austin and another suspect, Shanay “Easy” Outlaw, were also charged with filing fraudulent documents to receive COVID-19 related unemployment benefits

The indictment goes on to allege that Brinae “Luxury” Thornton shot a rival gang member in Brooklyn in 2018 in an attempt to “maintain and increase her position” in the gang. That year, another alleged gang member, Robert “Blakk Rob” Woods, supposedly slashed a victim in the face.

Also named in the indictment were Dwight “Dick Wolf” Reid, Christopher “Beagle” Erskine, Walter “Shells” Luster, Deshawn “Don” Thomas, Brandon “Untouchable Dot” Nieves, Ahmed “Ammo” Walker, Isaiah “Zay” Santos, and Robert “Trouble” Sligh, all of whom have been arrested and accused of being members of Gorilla Stone.

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