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Recent Entertainment articles from Daily Dot

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    We’re seeing Adele in a completely new, kaleidoscope-like light.

    The singer debuted the new music video for “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” at the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday night—her first music video since “Hello”—and it’s a bright and colorful display, as the many different versions of Adele blend and move on top of one another. In a rare turn, Adele shows off some dance moves and creates something trippy and wonderful.

    Her voice still floors us.


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    On April 23 it seemed like everyone on the Internet collectively stopped to gather in front of their TVs (or turn on HBO Now) and watch Lemonade, what we now know to be the latest surprise visual album from Beyoncé.

    It inspired think pieces galore, sent the Beyhive out to try and figure out just who “Becky with the good hair” was, got the academic treatment, and basically guaranteed that we would all listen to Lemonade on repeat for weeks to come. But for Tidal, the music streaming service owned by Beyoncé’s husband Jay Z, it also meant huge gains: After the visual album ended, Tidal was the only place you could stream Lemonade; Beyoncé even tweeted about it—and prior to that, she hadn’t tweeted since 2013.

    With reports that Tidal would be the only place to streamLemonade“in perpetuity” (and at the time, no information on when it would be available to purchase), many fans flocked to Tidal, whether eagerly or in resignation, to sign up for a subscription. If you already used your Tidal free trial (either 30 days or 90 days, depending on when you signed up), it would cost you $9.99 a month for Tidal Premium or $19.99 a month for Lossless High Fidelity sound quality (Tidal HiFi). And if you already paid for services like Spotify Premium or Apple Music, that was another monthly charge.

    And in that regard, Lemonade was a massive success. Tidal received 1.2 million new sign-ups in the first week of the album’s release, up from 3 million back in March; in comparison, Apple Music has 13 million subscribers and Spotify Premium has 30 million. But Tidal’s number includes people who signed up for free trials, and there’s no indication of whether they’ll stay.

    And besides, that window didn’t last long. Sure, Tidal may still be the only place you can stream Lemonade, but Tidal’s exclusive claim on Beyoncé’s album only lasted just over a day: Tidal lost exclusive rights to sell Lemonade at 10pm ET on April 24, and by midnight it would be available on iTunes.

    On the surface, nothing went wrong with Tidal’s release of Lemonade. The music didn’t leak before HBO aired its special that night, and there were no noticeable technical issues, especially considering the flood of fans going online and downloading the app to listen. But in just 27 hours, the conversation went from Tidal’s exclusivity to finally being able to go anywhere but Tidal to get it legally for just a little less than the price of a one-month subscription to Tidal HiFi. In some circles, it went back to being a punchline.

    And what does exclusive even mean when those “exclusives” are available elsewhere in a matter of hours? (Even sooner if you include leaks.)

    Tidal started out as a public Swedish and Norwegian company called Aspiro that offered a variety of services including music streaming in Europe, which Jay Z purchased for $56 million in early 2015. When it relaunched a couple months later, 12 other rock stars including Kanye West, Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Madonna, and Rihanna were announced as co-owners.

    From the start, Tidal pledged to pay artists. In the relaunch, it told the Verge that it would pay double the standard royalty amount musicians receive from competing streaming services. (Which, given how royalties are regularly split among rights holders, is still abysmal.) Along with lossless music for double the price of a Spotify Premium or Apple Music subscription, Tidal promised to offer exclusive music, videos, livestreams, and playlists from some of the industry’s biggest names.

    It was almost immediately met with pushback. Some of it came from fellow artists who criticized Tidal for benefiting the artists who were already rich and successful even without trying to improve streaming royalties. Mumford and Sons guitarist Winston Marshall called the co-owners“new school fucking plutocrats,” while frontman Marcus Mumford and Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard believe Jay Z should’ve focused on smaller artists.

    “If I had been Jay Z, I would have brought out 10 artists that were underground or independent and said, ‘These are the people who are struggling to make a living in today’s music industry. Whereas this competitor streaming site pays this person 15 cents for X amount of streams, that same amount of streams on my site, on Tidal, will pay that artist this much,’” Gibbard told the Daily Beast. “I think they totally blew it by bringing out a bunch of millionaires and billionaires and propping them up onstage and then having them all complain about not being paid.”

    A month after it launched, Jay Z went on Twitter to tell everyone that “Tidal is doing just fine.” Shakeups from the executive team have raised concerns about whether Jay Z would one day leave too. According to a Billboard survey, 71 percent of music executives believe that Tidal will fold within a year.

    A year after launching, Jay Z is planning to sue the former owners of Tidal for exaggerating how many subscribers Tidal had when he bought it. Yesh Music Publishing and American Dollar’s John Emanuele have filed a class-action lawsuit for millions in unpaid royalties and copyright infringement—and it’s far from the only one the company is facing.

    And this isn’t even mentioning the issues with Tidal itself.

    The streaming industry, still somewhat in its early days, is becoming tricky to navigate. Chances are you won’t be able to use just one service to listen to everything you want because of the increasing use of exclusives and exclusions. Spotify has the most users (75 million as of June 2015) and name recognition, but it’s received criticism for how little it pays artists and for not restricting content solely to Premium subscribers. Apple Music, built from Beats Music, got off to a rocky start after briefly planning to not pay any royalties to artists for its first three months. But it now has Taylor Swift making commercials—Apple Music is still the only place you can stream 1989—and exclusive albums from Future, Drake, and Chance the Rapper. Some artists, like Adele, refuse to stream on any platform. And true, Tidal has received exclusive songs, albums, and videos from West, Prince, Rihanna, and of course, Beyoncé.

    But unlike the other platforms’ exclusives, a vast portion of Tidal’s have been plagued with a range of issues that still continue more than a year after its launch. The Yeezy season 3 livestream was ripe with technical errors and glitches. Anti was leaked by Tidal itself just before it was set to debut. Tidal claimed that Apple Music blocked a planned Drake livestream; Drake later said it was his decision to pull the plug. Tidal also couldn’t handle the traffic coming in from a new Madonna music video. At one point, Cash Money, Lil Wayne’s label, sued Tidal for claiming exclusive rights to Lil Wayne’s music, but nothing was ever filed.

    The Life of Pablo, the newest album from West that spent six weeks exclusively on Tidal before heading to Spotify, has presented its own set of problems. At the time—in the pre-Lemonade era of the Internet, that is—The Life of Pablo was seen as the big thing that would finally save Tidal. The exclusive window was meant to only last one week. It went for six—but not before West claimed it would only ever be available on Tidal.

    Now Tidal and West are being sued in California for deceptive advertising and gaining subscribers under false pretenses.

    And of course, as everything from The Life of Pablo to Anti and Beyoncé and Minaj’s “Feeling Yourself” music video has shown, content will leak almost instantly. Some of the people downloading torrents may support artists and want to see them get paid more, but they refuse to pay for Tidal to do it.

    The exclusive window seems to be closing. While Lil Wayne can keep his album strictly on Tidal indefinitely, even Beyoncé—arguably one of the biggest artists in the world, a co-owner of Tidal, and the spouse of the person running the show—will only do restrict access for 27 hours. Others, such as Twenty88 and Prince, will exclusively stream on Tidal for an amount of time while simultaneously offering it to purchase on iTunes.

    Some artists still may keep their music off places like Spotify, but the overall goal for artists is accessibility, not brand loyalty. And that’s probably not good for Tidal, which launched promising exclusives. Those boosts might help them in the present, but there’s no telling how many people will stay once those exclusives disappear (or the trial subscription runs out).

    But the next time you see a Tidal exclusive surface online and you still have your trial handy? Maybe wait a few days to see if it pops up elsewhere before using it.


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    Chance the Rapper's new mixtape Coloring Book is the first streaming-only release to chart on the Billboard 200. 

    The album was released as an Apple Music exclusive on May 13 and also appeared on mixtape platform DatPiff, where it existed for 11 hours before being pulled, allegedly for being an unauthorized version. But not before it saw 141,000 downloads. However, DatPiff does not report its streams to Nielsen. 

    Billboard reports that the album debuted at No. 8 on the chart with 38,000 equivalent album units, which equates to 57.3 million streams—most of them from Apple Music. 

    Chance's album just barely holds that title, though. Last month, Kanye West's The Life of Pablolanded at No. 1 on the chart based almost exclusively on streaming, and continues to see 99.93 percent of units generated form streams. Chance's verse on West's "Ultralight Beam" is self-aware: "He said let's do a good-ass job with Chance three/I hear you gotta sell it to snatch the Grammy." The rapper has focused on staying independent in a rapidly shifting digital landscape. He told the Wall Street Journal last fall: 

    A song is a song. It’s for people to sing. There’s not supposed to be somebody above it, dictating where it goes, when it gets released, what percentage you get of it. I think there is a breakdown coming. People will start to understand that there’s no need for the middle man.

    This past weekend, Chance invited fans in Chicago to his Magnificent Coloring World, a listening party that included a bounce house and carnival games. 

    Coloring Book is exclusive to Apple Music until May 27. 

    H/T Billboard 


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    In collaboration with the Daily Dot, international YouTube superstar iJustine details her early days: from her first video—about instant oatmeal—to cultivating a following of 2.8 million subscribers.

    For 10 years Justine Ezarik has created YouTube content under the iJustine moniker, and now we finally get to know the motivation behind her early film choices in a new video.

    Like Scorsese and Spielberg, Ezarik takes us on a journey through her early YouTube days with a director's commentary that sheds light on the artistic choices of works like the Oatmeal Project and Have You Seen My Stylus.

    Ezarik illuminates key aspects of the videos, from explaining what a stylus or a palm pilot even is for the millennial audience, and how having an apple thrown at her head was a prediction of the rise of Apple a year later. 

    OK, so she might be exaggerating a bit, but her sense of humor is why Ezarik has been a fixture in the digital video community for a decade. We can't wait to see what director's commentary looks like in another 10 years.


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    Ah, young adulthood. The time in a young man's life when he starts to wisen up and get a little perspective on his existence thus far. 

    In Justin Bieber's case, this means realizing that award shows are more about business and advertising than celebrating the arts, and it's giving him a lot of feelings. 

    In an Instagram post Monday, the pop star explored those feelings in a lengthy caption paired with a soothing photo of a castle and some sheep. As Bieber wrote:

    No disrespect to anybody at any of the shows or the people running it. Nothing but love for you guys and your support. But I don't feel good when I'm there nor after. I try to think of it as a celebration but can't help feeling like people are rating and grading my performance. A lot of people in the audience there to be seem worried [sic] about how much camera time they will get or who they can network with.
    Considering his Instagram went up after Sunday's Billboard Music Awards, where Bieber performed his songs "Sorry" and "Company," it's safe to assume that this post was at least partly inspired by the evening. He continued: 
    When I'm doing a regular show I feel they are there for the right reasons and to strictly have a good time! But these award shows seem so hollow. I get the premise is to award people for their accomplishments, but is it really? ... I just think to myself if I'm living my purpose I want the reward to be fulfillment... When I do get these awards the temptation of putting my worth in what I do is so hard to fight!!!I am privileged and honored to be recognized by my peers in but in these settings I can't feel the recognition. There's an authenticity missing that I crave! 

    In case you want to see his entire message. 

    With great wokeness comes great responsibility. But Bieber, oddly enough, seems up for the challenge. 


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    Back in college, I watched The Bachelor religiously. My roommates and I would talk about the contestants, pick our favorites, and guess how long each relationship would last. When I graduated, and went into the real world, I forgot about my pal Chris Harrison and his media empire. But right around the time Twitter became a thing, I rediscovered my lost love.

    This is not a coincidence. If you are on Twitter Monday nights, your feed is most likely full of #TheBachelor, #TheBachelorette, or #BachelorInParadise content—depending on the time of year. Bachelor fans flock to Twitter to make jokes, comment on the contestants, or make fun of Chris Harrison when he promises for the millionth time that this is the “most shocking season ever.”

    Bachelor Twitter is the best Twitter. It is, after all, where I met one of my closest friends, who later turned into my podcasting partner. (Our podcast is, of course, about The Bachelor.)

    Social media plays a huge role in the show, and while it never ends up with the final rose, it is always in the hearts of the fans. Every season, I scour the Web to find the contestants on social media. What happens if one of them slips up and shares a spoiler? Do they have incriminating posts? It's a vital companion to an era wherein just watching a favorite TV series is not enough. With the new season premiering tonight, I've compiled this handy list of JoJo Fletcher’s bachelors—and where to find them on social media.


    Alex Woytkim 

    Alex is a laid-back marine who once saved a man from a burning car by ripping the door off. I like his chances. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

    Ali Zahiri

    Ali is a bartender who is afraid of bugs and will do anything for love. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram.

    Brandon Howell

    According to Brandon's official ABC bio, he is a humble hipster with a great sense of humor. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook

    Chad Johnson

    Chad loves The Notebook and says his greatest achievement to date is being born handsome. Well, then. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

    Chase McNary

    Chase once went sky-diving on a date, so he should be pretty game for any date that JoJo plans. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook

    Christian Bishop

    Christian loves The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and The Matrix. His mom is his best friend. If it doesn't work out for him and JoJo, Christian, call me. You can find him Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

    Coley Knust

    Coley once had a girl try to move in with him after a week of dating, so he is used to relationships moving fast. That will serve him well on The Bachelorette. You can find him on Instagram

    Derek Peth

    Derek is afraid of fluffy kittens. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. You can find him on YouTube.

    Daniel Maguire

    Daniel is a male model who is not romantic. Not sure how that will work out for him with JoJo. You can find him on Facebook and Instagram

    Evan Bass

    Evan is an erectile dysfunction expert who doesn't like girls with chipped nail polish... You can find him on Facebook and Instagram.

    Grant Kemp

    Grant has saved a life and loved the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. He does not like listening to girls talk about Harry Potter. I am torn about Grant. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram

    Jake

    Jake is a landscape architect who wishes he could fly so he didn't have to deal with L.A. traffic. I have searched everywhere for Jake on social media, but he seems to be laying low. 

    James Fuertes

    James left his job as a chiropractor to pursue his dream of owning a boxing gym. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

    James S.

    James S. (there are three dudes named "James" this season) is the contestant that I am most excited about. On his official bio, his job is "Bachelor Superfan." Me too, James! For a superfan, he is impossible to find on social media. How can you be a superfan if you don't tweet??

    James Taylor

    James Taylor is, what else, a singer. He loves cold beer and making girls smile. You can find him on Instagram

    Jonathan Hamilton

    Jonathan is a technical sales rep who doesn't like vegetables and thinks gluten allergies are not real. You can find him on Facebook and Instagram.

    Jordan Rodgers

    The wildest thing Jordan has ever done in the bedroom? "Try to hang a TV on the wall without directions or a stud finder." Clearly, he has a great sense of humor. Oh, and his is NFL star Aaron Rodgers's brother, so holidays at his house are guaranteed to be a good time. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

    Luke Pell

    Luke is a war veteran who will do anything for love and loves to get the party started. You can find him on Twitter

    Nick Benvenutti

    Nick is an electrical engineer whose favorite magazine is Ducks Unlimited. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

    Nick Sharp

    Nick is an Eagle scout who likes The Sandlot and dislikes scary cheeses. Does blue cheese count as scary? Because I hate that stuff. You can find him on Instagram

    Peter Medina

    Peter was once a "sk8er boi" who wishes he could live in the Mesozoic era, so he could see dinosaurs. You can find him on Facebook and Instagram

    Robby Hayes

    Robby is a former competitive swimmer who loves dressing up for dates. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram

    Sal DeJulio

    Sal is an operations manager who egged a teacher's house when he was in high school. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

    Vinny Ventiera

    Vinny is a barber who doesn't have tattoos because he is afraid of his mom. He once had frosted tips like Justin Timberlake. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.

    Wells Adams

    Wells is a radio DJ who has done a shark dive, but refuses to get a cat. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.

    Will Haduch

    Will is a civil engineer who's favorite dance move is called “Bernie-ing.” It is loosely based on the '80s classic Weekend at Bernie’s. I hope he busts this move out this season. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram


    After taking a look at these guys on social media, I think I have my favorites. Will they get roses? If they don't, maybe we'll get some epic meltdowns on Twitter. A girl can dream. 


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    Twentieth Century Fox is making Snapchat history twice over in its promotional campaign for X-Men: Apocalypse.

    The company has purchased all nine of the ephemeral-messaging app's coveted selfie lense slots, meaning that, for 24 hours on May 23, fans can Magneto- or Mystique-ify themselves within the app instead of wearing puppy ears or puking a rainbow.

    But Fox didn't just make selfie lenses. It's also partnering with Snapchat to become the first company to offer tickets through the app's Discover tab.

    People, BuzzFeed, Food Network, Vox, Vice, and the Wall Street Journal are all running ads that give users the option to swipe up and purchase X-Men: Apocalypse tickets from either Fandango or MovieTickets.com. This first-of-a-kind offering could mark a new trend in promoted ticketing if it's successful.

    On Twitter, marketing and advertising enthusiasts seem pretty supportive of the idea, but few normal people are tweeting about it yet.

    H/T Variety


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    BY GEOFF WEISS

    Alongside additional programming in popular video categories like beauty and gaming, this year’s VidCon event is slated to showcase more content than ever before from Hollywood film studios.

    For the first time, exhibitors will include 20th Century Fox, Netflix, and Warner Bros., according to a report in The New York Times, while returning participants include Universal Pictures, Lionsgate, and DreamWorks Animation. Warner Bros. is “planning an elaborate stunt” for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a prequel to Harry Potter—as its fandom heavily intersects with the YouTube community. It will also promote Lights Out, a thriller that started out as a YouTube short.

    Additionally, Universal will screen The Secret Life of Pets and DreamWorks will promote Trolls, which features the voices of prominent YouTubers Kandee Johnson, Ricky Dillon, GloZell Green, and Meg DeAngelis.

    And it’s not only studios that will be storming VidCon, reports the Times, which likens VidCon to “a younger version of Comic-Con International.” Joining the plethora of digital stars in attendance will be Hollywood celebrities like Emma Roberts, who is set to promote her upcoming Lionsgate thriller Nerve.

    “Even if I wanted to fight against it, it would be like bailing out the Titanic,” VidCon co-founder Hank Green told the Times. “The overlap is great, in part because it’s important for studios to understand video fans and creators, both the culture and the excitement. That will hopefully lead to fewer studio efforts in this area that are inauthentic and gross.”

    Though Hollywood is slated to be out at VidCon in full force this year, many players in traditional entertainment have had a presence at VidCon—which is expected to host 30,000 guests from June 23-25—for years. For instance, television networks like Nickelodeon, NBC, and HGTV were early adopters, per the Times, and DreamWorks Animation’s Jeffrey Katzenberg delivered the event’s keynote address in 2014.


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    It’s 11pm on a Friday, and there’s a palpable buzz in the air in the sold-out Bell House, a performance space in Brooklyn. Three middle-aged dudes take the stage to thunderous applause, chanting, and a standing ovation. “Holy shit, there’s a lot of people here,” says Bryan Johnson, one third of Tell 'Em Steve-Dave!, when he walks out.

    No, it’s not the reunion show for a beloved rock group—this is a live taping of the weekly podcast featuring Johnson, Walt Flanagan, and Brian Quinn (also of the Impractical Jokers TV show) as part of the annual NYC PodFest. And, as it turns out, this is the group’s first live show in five years.

    The show has a simple premise: three longtime friends tell some stories, make some shameless jabs at each other, and just simply shoot the shit. But that familiarity, combined with some wit and pop culture wisdom, is what has brought them thousands of listeners (and live events like this one) that make Johnson, Flanagan, Quinn, and their guests feel like superstars.

    "Their friendship seems so genuine. It reminds me of my friendships," says showgoer Nick Crist, clad in Tell ‘Em Steve-Dave! apparel, on why he’s a regular listener. "It reminds me of the bullshit that we talk about at home. I miss those friendships, because I don’t have those friendships as easily accessible as I used to just because you get older, you have work, and all of that kind of stuff. It’s refreshing to listen to people that are longtime friends."

    A festival based on love of stories and culture

    Jeremy Wein founded NYC PodFest as an extension of his love of podcasts in 2013. This year’s 21 selections depict the diverse assortment of popular shows: from a podcast dissecting why a critically disliked film is actually so bad (The Flop House) and one featuring a famous standup comedian interviewing old Hollywood talent (Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast) to sex, feminist, and Broadway-themed shows.

    "What’s really cool about podcasting is that, except for a few handful of things, almost anyone can start one and do one. It can be about literally anything. Any niche topic," said Wein. "It’s almost like new-school guerrilla radio in a sense. There’s not really gatekeepers. It’s way easier to start a podcast as opposed to, like, 'I’m going to go create a TV series on Fox.'"

    A legendary standup comedian turned podcaster

    Gottfried probably isn’t someone you’d expect to have a podcast. "It just seemed like one of those things," he said. "I started doing it, and, to my shock, it became successful and I got a lot of listeners."

    Called Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast, the show features interviews with older Hollywood talent like Artie Lange and Roger Corman. "There’s a lot of people over the years that I’ve wanted to talk to, but I wouldn’t just call them," said Gottfried. "I wouldn’t find out their number and call them. That would just be kind of weird and creepy. But now I have a podcast, I can actually sit and have a discussion with them."

    While Gottfried’s been working as an entertainer for decades, he noted that being an interviewer is a different sort of beast. "I like the idea of being able to just be the guest and say, 'Gee, this interviewer’s an idiot,'" he said. "Now I realize that I’m the idiot on the other side of the mic."

    Nostalgia reigns supreme

    With storytelling often comes an air of nostalgia. On Friday night, Kevin Allison’s Risk! podcast hosted a show featuring stories from The State, a ’90s comedy troupe which developed an MTV sketch comedy show—some of those cast members were cast in Wet Hot American Summer (including Janeane Garofalo, who spoke, and Michael Showalter).

    At a sold-out show on Sunday evening, Gottfried reminisced with guest Dick Cavett about the talk show host’s early days working on The Tonight Show, his time on the short-lived Jerry Lewis Show (a "catastrophe," he said), and working with legends like Groucho Marx.

    Mouth Time with Reductress showed that nostalgia can also have its quirky side. On the satirical show, two young magazine editors, Quenn and Div, looked back on their past: Segments of the show included "Things that give us literal chills" and the ’90s (including a bit about how Anne Geddes only photographs babies while they’re laying on fruits and vegetables).

    Highbrow laughter

    One particularly poignant show was the live debut of Think Again—A Big Think Podcast, which featured a one-woman show from Tony-winning playwright Sarah Jones. In response to questions about economics and globalization, the actress gave spot on responses from the point-of-view (and voice) of a grandmother figure, a rapper, an over-the-top feminist, and a Native American. Notably, the podcast typically doesn’t have such a theatrical slant to it.

    A do-it-yourself ethos

    PodFest, which drew nearly 1,600 attendees this year, hosted the bulk of its programming at Cake Shop, a grungy basement rock club located in New York City’s Lower East Side. 

    "I like the idea of that CBGB punk feel—to come to Cake Shop and go into the basement and see Gilbert Gottfried and Dick Cavett," said Wein. "There’s graffiti on the walls and band stickers and stuff. You’re seeing these conversations where you really wouldn’t expect to see them. I really like that we kind of have that DIY indie punk aesthetic to our festival."

    In that spirit, PodFest NYC hosts big names and lesser-known talent through an open-submission process. And even the more niche podcasts foster dedicated listeners. 

    "It’s just that quality of being a part of their lives," said Stephanie Ellis, a mother of two from near New Paltz, New York on why she listens to comedy talk show Keith and the Girl every day."“I just appreciate their perspective on things—sometimes, I’ll agree with Chemda, sometimes I’ll agree with Keith. You feel like you know them."


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    Vanilla Ice gave a surprise performance at the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows premiere event, but the "Ninja Rap" he performed is not the one his fans know and love.

    The rapper's iconic appearance in 1991's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze included a performance of the "Ninja Rap," featuring the lines "go ninja, go ninja, go," and some very early-90s style dancing and lyrics.

    At the Madison Square Garden event Sunday, Ice performed "Ninja Rap 2," a track released in 2005 that is more hardcore and features lines like "When I'm in the club people show me some love/I've got the mic on tight like OJ wears his gloves" and references the Insane Clown Posse

    The performance at the premiere had little to do with the original "Ninja Rap," except for referencing the "go ninja, go ninja, go" refrain and that he had some classic turtles on stage with him.

    If there's ever been a moment that defines mixed message nostalgia, this is it.

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows hits theater June 3.

    H/T Uproxx


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    Six years ago, Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes, clearly ignorant of Netflix and the harbinger of things to come, was quoted in the New York Times as saying, "It’s a little bit like, is the Albanian army going to take over the world? I don’t think so."

    But that army was already advancing, taking posts with a stealth wireless connection, as Time Warner slogged through the broadcast cable mud. In the fall, Netflix will have won another battle when the streaming service becomes the "exclusive pay TV home" for Disney and its subsidiaries, including Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm titles. 

    A savvy deal, with fortuitous timing, reached with Disney in 2012 will finally commence in September. As the Verge writes:

    [Netflix] will be allowed to stream all Disney films—including Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm titles—in the same window that they'd typically be made available to HBO, Starz, and other paid TV networks. That's still after the Blu-ray and digital releases, but it's much, much sooner than the long and often unpredictable wait that Netflix customers had to put up with before. All Disney films released theatrically in 2016 and beyond are included in the agreement, for which Netflix is reportedly paying hundreds of millions per year.

    The Los Angeles Times in 2012 reported "Netflix could ultimately pay more than $300 million annually for Disney movies." But Netflix is flush with cash, as demonstrated last year in picking up a $60 million tab for Brad Pitt’s upcoming vehicle, the satirical war film War Machine.

    Not only will the deal keep cable outlets like HBO off the first run schedule (at minimum), Netflix will have exclusive streaming rights. While the Pixar and Lucasfilms titles would be boons, even individually, the real get is exclusive access to the Marvel franchise, especially as the brand’s comic-based films continue its surge in both quantity and quality.

    Ultimately, all of this means Netflix’s ongoing ascent—it's already the leader in paid streaming and packed with high-quality, original programming—will catch a significant boost, further distancing itself from competitors, like Amazon Prime and Hulu, at least for the deal’s three-year duration.

    Looking ahead, Marvel releases X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27.

    The lineup continues to heat up in November when Benedict Cumberbatch stars in Doctor Strange. A final Wolverine movie, another Guardians of the Galaxy, a Thor release, and a probable reboot of the Spider-Man franchise is on the schedule for 2017. Though previewed in the critically acclaimed Captain America: Civil War, the much-anticipated Black Panther is actually slated for a 2018 release.

    H/T The Verge


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    Last week, Candace Payne took the world by storm by filming her utter joy at unboxing and wearing a roaring Chewbacca mask. Since then, she’s broken a Facebook Live record and received a bunch of free stuff from Kohl’s, and she's now making the talk-show rounds with a little help from a new friend.

    Because sure, donning a Chewbacca mask is totally something James Corden would do in the name of television and a viral video, but who would have thought we’d see J.J. Abrams put one on just as eagerly?

    Payne later told Corden about the whirlwind experience of going viral, while Corden showed the moment when Payne met Abrams and received a heartwarming message from Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew. After calling her an inspiration, he had an even bigger surprise for her.

    Pure and utter joy.


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    There’s a subscription service for just about every aspect of your life now. From your wardrobe and whiskey to your razors and condoms, you can outsource even your most personal needs.  

    Since January of last year, VNYL has been curating record collections for its subscribers, sending monthly shipments of hand-picked LPs. The company has been gaining significant momentum lately. It just opened a boutique storefront at the Woodland Hotel in Santa Barbara, California, in conjunction with Kimpton Hotels, and it turned heads earlier this month with the unveiling of TRNTBL, the world’s first wireless record player.

    But despite the recent success, reviews of VNYL’s shipments have been mixed at best. Curious, I decided to see if a startup could really find my next favorite record.


    VNYL essentially updates the concept of a subscription music service for the Internet era. The business model borrows from those BMG deals of the ’90s: You know, the ones found in junk mail and glossy magazines offering “12 CDs for for the price of 1,” followed by one new release at list price per month.

    The difference with VNYL is that it uses social data points to hone in on your interests, and your monthly LPs are ultimately hand-selected by VNYL’s staff. Customers can choose to have either one or three new records sent per month, for $22 or $39, respectively (shipping included), with slightly discounted rates for three- and 12-month commitments. You can sync your Spotify, Facebook, SoundCloud, and Discogs accounts, essentially allowing the staff to thumb through your record collection and see what you’re listening to in real time.

    In setting up my profile, I was first asked to choose a “vibe” from one of six hashtags that no one on Twitter would actually consider tweeting: #SundayFunday, #Cooking, #Prom. Two of the options weren’t even vibes; they were just offers for two random albums, Autolux’s new electro-thriller Pussy’s Dead or the Fugees’ classic The Score.

    #GameNight, with its accompanying Spotify playlist of the Black Keys, Gang of Four, the Ramones, and Black Sabbath, among others, looked ideal. There was even some overlap with some of the artists I referenced on VNYL’s accompanying questionnaire:

    • How many vinyl albums do you currently own? 101-200
    • What traditional genres are you interested in? Indie, metal, blues, rock, soul/funk
    • Favorite artists or albums, not just recent favorites but those classics you grew up with? Roky Erickson, Father John Misty, the Stooges, Willie Nelson, Boris, LCD Soundsystem
    • What music—artists, albums, genres—SHOULD NOT be in your VNYL shipment? Top 40, pop country  


    With all of that info to work from, there’s little left to chance. Or so you would think.


    When VNYL launched last year, after raising $36,000 via Kickstarter, the feedback was the startup equivalent of a severely scratched record.

    The problem, in part, stemmed from the company’s initial pitch as the “Netflix for vinyl”—the idea being that if customers didn’t like the records they received, they could swap them out for different selections. Doing so, however, would have actually violated a portion of U.S. copyright law called the first-sale doctrine, which, as Stereogum explained shortly after VNYL’s launch, makes it illegal to lease, rent, or lend records for commercial purposes.

    That wouldn’t have been as noticeable of a problem if people actually wanted to keep the records they received, but the general consensus seemed to be that people were getting bargain-bin records, the kind you find in abundance at Goodwills and estate sales—and they couldn’t find any info online about how to return the records.  

    “I am highly dissatisfied with what I was sent,” Bill LaMonaca wrote in April of last year on VNYL’s Kickstarter page. “All three were complete losers, and there was no real variety. And I’m not sure how you categorize the records—I would not call Steppenwolf a ‘Lazy Saturday’ listen, nor would I classify Uriah Heep as ‘Dinner Music.’”

    VNYL backer Rafael Macho commented on Kickstarter April 21: “Hello Vnyl, how do I return the records I don’t want? I can’t find on your website any info… nor there was a Netflix-like envelope with the last shipment. There is no help or contact info on your website. Seriously?”

    An email exchange between VNYL founder Nick Alt and a disgruntled subscriber, shared with Stereogum, ended with this scathing critique:  “If you looked at my Discogs and thought that Jefferson Airplane, Dan Fogelberg, and ENGLAND DAN AND JOHN FORD COLEY were albums I would like, you need to re-assess your business, dude, because it’s not working. I’m not giving those records to anyone, I’m sending them back to you and I don’t even give a shit if you give me my money back. Go pawn that shit off on someone else.”

    Surely things have improved in the last year, right?


    I received my first VNYL shipment last month, as part of a free one-month trial for the purposes of this article. It looked something like this:

    I landed Dinosaur Jr.’s 2007 comeback LP, Beyond—a surprisingly solid album by reunion-record standards, though I much prefer 2009’s Farm and the band’s back catalog; Cape Dory, the 2011 dream-pop debut by Tennis; and a throwaway record by Elliot Moss that sounds like Pura Filter James Blake.

    All things considered, those three wouldn’t be a bad deal for $39, but I found the logic puzzling. I had encouraged VNYL to be adventurous with its selections, but only Dinosaur Jr. really fit the intended vibe. The accompanying note said that one and Tennis were selected because I had tracks by them on my annual best-of playlists on Spotify, but if I wanted those records, which I obviously heard, it’s safe to assume that I would’ve picked them up by now.

    VNYL has a real opportunity to provide that same experience remotely.

    Those LPs are a clear step up from the dust-bin albums VNYL was shipping just a year ago, but I can’t shake the feeling that what I really got was thoughtfully curated overstock. And given the relatively low subscription cost, which includes shipping, that’s really the only way the business model makes sense. I just bought two records today that I hoped would be in my package—White Denim’s Stiff and Explosions in the Sky’s The Wilderness—and it cost me $54. The only way that VNYL could afford to include new releases would be to do significant volume, and if that were the case, it would be difficult for VNYL to add a more personal touch.

    Of course, VNYL could become a loss leader for TRNTBL, an easy entry point for its high-end vinyl record player, but even if it doesn’t, I still think there’s a tremendous opportunity for VNYL. Record store employees get a bad wrap. We picture Jack Black in High Fidelity—the dismissive clerk who actually makes you feel worse every time you visit the store—or the sort of “I was there when” hipster canonized in LCD Soundsystem’s “Losing My Edge.”  

    But that’s never been my experience, no matter where I’ve been: Jackpot Records in Portland, Oregon; Amoeba in San Francisco; or even the Sub Pop store in the Seattle airport. I’ve bought countless LPs based solely on “employee’s picks,” and there have been multiple times when I’ve asked clerks I trust, especially at End of an Ear, a specialty shop in Austin, Texas, to pick out things they think I’d like.

    VNYL has a real opportunity to provide that same experience remotely, especially for people who live in small towns, potentially hours away from a decent record store. In particular, I was encouraged by the way VNYL uses the messaging platform Slack to create a makeshift community online. The company has Slack rooms, or channels, devoted to trading tips on record storage and recent finds, swapping stories from concerts, and sharing what you’re currently listening to. You’ll find most of VNYL’s team in Slack, including CEO Nick Alt, hanging out and contributing to the larger conversations. It’s clear they’re passionate about music and the service they provide, and that real-time effort goes a long way to ease concerns and the occasional disappointment.

    Other online music retailers like Amazon might offer relevant titles based on your buying history, but that’s a cold, calculated transaction. It will never surprise or delight the way that a service like VNYL could. Like most great bands, VNYL just needs more time to hone its sound and vision. 


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    Drake is the sports fan who shows up to the arena and immediately spends 20 minutes crafting the perfect Instagram post. 

    To wit, his Toronto Raptors (the prodigal rap son hails from Canada) defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday night to even the Eastern Conference Finals at two games apiece. Until then, Drake had been suspiciously absent from the series—mostly because it didn't look good for the Raptors. 

    But with a win in his corner, the half-a-billion-streams rapper and apparent Top Golf enthusiast took to social media and dropped three celebratory pics—each shaming Cleveland players.

    NBA giant LeBron James:

    Streaky shooter Channing Frye got it too, with one particularly awful pun:
    And then, of course, the little fella Kyrie Irving:

    The Champagne Papi's trash-talking leaves much to be desired, sure, but he deserves a hand-clap emoji for timing.


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    Donald Trump is well within reach of the presidential nomination—whether the Republican party likes it or not—and now he has the perfect anthem.

    Baracksdubs, as the name indicates, mostly edits clips of President Obama speaking to make him sing and rap some of today’s top hits. But with the 2016 presidential election in full swing, he’s now set his sights on Trump, making the Donald sing DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win.” And it’s a hell of an ego-stroker.

    Though the lyrics haven’t changed, we wouldn’t be surprised if Trump started playing his version since the number of musicians forbidding Trump to play their music at rallies will probably only grow.


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    There is really no point treading lightly here: Seeing Other Peoplea webseries written by and starring Brooke Van Poppelen (truTV's Hack My Life, Comedy Central) and Giulia Rozzi (The Jim Gaffigan Show, Chelsea Lately) isn't very good. 

    It is almost intriguing just how disjointed something so short can be. Confused itself by what we're supposed to find funny, it jumps around tonally—frequently interrupted by animations that often serve only to recap (in a five-minute episode) what just occurred. All this while pivoting an entire series off a premise that would've been played for a single tired laugh in a '90s sitcom.

    That premise is this—one of two couples, who have hung out together for four years, decides to "break up" with the other. You can no doubt foresee the structural reasons for providing this scenario; it allows a cavalcade of weird characters to be trotted out as each, now separated, couple looks to make new friends. 

    Likewise you will also understand why this sort of this setup would never be allowed to fill more than five minutes of that aforementioned '90s sitcom. Because once the brief amusement surrounding the contrived substitution of a couple in the place ordinarily reserved for a single person subsides, the viewer is left with a bunch of characters who don't behave like normal people. Which is fine, of course, but you can't expect to easily extract pedestrian relationship gags when the landscape has been shifted.

    It's all a bit sad. Because those animations—by Patrick Hosmer, who also features—actually look pretty swell, and there is undeniable enthusiasm. 

    But it is a misstep. An attempt to stretch out a comedically finite scenario with little thought as to the effect it would have on the rest of the series. As such it is off the mark, and for both their sakes and futures in comedy, you kind of hope the creators now realize that as well.


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    Bill Cosby has been ordered to stand trial in a 12-year-old sex-assault case.

    The comedian arrived Tuesday at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania, after Judge Elizabeth McHugh decided there was enough evidence for him to stand trial in the case of Andrea Constand—a former manager of the Temple University's women's basketball team who alleges Cosby drugged and assaulted her at his Philadelphia home in 2004. 

    Portions of Constand's 2005 police statement were read in court, and it alleges Cosby gave her three pills that rendered her unable to speak or stand and then assaulted her. He has maintained the encounter was consensual. Last December, a warrant was issued for Cosby. With the statute of limitations running out on the Constand case in January, he was instead charge with aggravated indecent assault. 

    Cosby has been accused by more than 50 women of sexual assault. While there have been rumors of accusations against Cosby for decades, a 2014 standup set by comedian Hannibal Buress, in which he called Cosby a rapist, renewed the conversation on social media, and more allegations came to light. It was in the wave of allegations that prosecutors reopened Constand's case last summer. 

    Lisa Bloom, the attorney for Janice Dickinson, one of the women who has accused Cosby of assault, tweeted out a statement Tuesday. 

    Constand's original case was settled out of court in 2006, but the Associated Press released excerpts from a 2005 deposition in which Cosby admits that he often gave quaaludes to young women he wanted to have sex with and illustrates a disturbingly similar pattern with women, some of whom later accused him of assault. In one portion, Cosby relates that when he was filming a sitcom, an agency would send "five or six" models to him each week, one of whom was as young as 17. 

    Cosby has waived the right to a formal arraignment, according to the AP. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison. A date has not been set for trial. 

    H/T Houston Chronicle


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    The world's first streaming opera is here, and there are no Viking helmets involved! 

    It's called Vireo, and it's about mansplaining throughout history. Seriously. It will be broken up into 12 mini-episodes that will roll out one-by-one until the spring of 2017.

    The project is the result of years of planning from singer and classical composer Lisa Bielawa, who was first inspired by the subject matter at grad school in the 1990s. 

    “I encountered this rash of young girls caught up in these stories involving various men and communities of men who were fascinated by their visionary experiences,” Bielawa told L.A. Weekly. “It was so weird to find this phenomenon rearticulated over and over again throughout history.”

    Now, Bielawa is the artist in residence at the Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana, California, and her vision is becoming a reality. 

    “I’m interested in how people will consume it,” she said. “Each [10- to 13-minute] episode is so rich. In a way, watching the entire thing is like eating 12 pieces of chocolate torte cake. I’m not sure if binge-watching is the best way to experience it. But I love the fact that it is in this format that allows people to decide how they want to see it.”

    Two episodes are available to stream now, and more will be coming. 

    H/T L.A. Weekly


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    Sir Paul McCartney openly defended Kanye West’s gratuitous use of the n-word when the former Beatle spoke to BBC Radio 4 Mastertapes host John Wilson.

    The legendary musician, who collaborated with West on “All Day,” expounded on the younger man's ability to flip seemingly nothing into a powerful track, discussed the predictable condemnation of West's use of the divisive word in the track, and addressed Oprah’s noseturning. Watch the segment below.

    After learning of and accepting Ye’s request to work with him, McCartney played a few chords, none of which he thought would turn into anything. But later, he said, “I get this track back, a thing called ‘All Day.’ [He's] taken my melody and he's made it seriously urban, which is funny because the lyrics use the N-word—a lot! ‘How long have you been at the mall? All day, n-word.’”

    “People like Oprah, who are a little conservative about that stuff, she says, ‘You shouldn't do it, even black people shouldn't use that word,’” McCartney continued. “I said, ‘Yeah, but it's Kanye!’ And he's talking about an urban generation that uses that word in a completely different way. It's the context. So I was actually pleased with it.”

    The BBC will broadcast McCartney's full interview at 10am EST on May 28.

    Oprah has a history of frustration with the vernacular of hip-hop music, which does sometimes include sensitive language like the n-word. She and Jay-Z clashed over the issue on her show.

    In the videos below, Oprah discusses the subject with Russell Simmons, music executive Kevin Liles, rapper/living legend Common, and civil-right leader Ben Chavis.

    The thing is, people remember when you criticize things you’ve chosen not to understand.



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    The Buffalo Bills kicked off their offseason team activities on Tuesday, practicing for the first time since the end of the 2015 season as the squad searches for a starting quarterback and a potential playoff berth for the first time since 1999.

    But before the Bills took the field, the organization sent out an email to the reporters who cover the team informing them of the new media policy for the 2016 season.

    OK, that all seems fine. It's nice to know the team appreciates the media—as a former NFL reporter, I'm on board with an organization that's on board with me. So, what does the policy actually say?

    OK, that's bad. It makes sense that football coaches, who happen to be some of the most paranoid people on earth, don't want specific plays or specific personnel groupings to be public knowledge. Most NFL reporters understand that and are careful not to give away confidential information that an opponent could use to its advantage.

    But not tweeting about whether a quarterback is intercepted or whether a cornerback was burned by a receiver, well, that's ridiculous. And that was an opinion shared by many after the Bills released their policy.

    Luckily, the reporters weren't deterred from tweeting their observations during the practice. Some were simply cryptic about what was happening. Warning: Math will be involved.  

    But some reporters completely ignored the policy changes altogether.

    The policy was even confusing for at least one Bills offensive lineman.

    And don't blame head coach Rex Ryan. Apparently, he knows nothing about it. Apparently.

    Ultimately, the Pro Football Writers Association—which works as an advocate for writers covering NFL teams—will get involved, and the Bills probably will back down from this policy. Otherwise, perhaps not as many people will pay attention. 

    But in a league where the Bills are considered one of the worst-run organizations, perhaps that's not such a terrible thing for the franchise.



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