ENTERTAINMENT NEWS AND CAREER ADVICE

Archive for December, 2011

Last weekend, Kansas City, Missouri rapper, Tech N9ne, performed in Kuwait for troops serving in the USO/Armed Forces and showed that he, too, is a soldier.
According to a recent interview on Sway in the Morning’s Shade 45 Sirius/XM Radio show, Tech N9ne unfortunately fell from a helicopter and broke a rib prior to his performance for the hard working troops currently finishing out their final days of war in the Middle East.
“Don’t ever break, crack, or bruise a rib ’cause breathing hurts! But they gave me percocet so it lessens it a lil bit!” the Kansas City rapper Tweeted from the his Twitter account @TechN9ne.
N9ne performed a series of USO shows for service men and women as part of a week-long USO/Armed Forces Entertainment tour.
The rapper visited six bases in eight days, signing autographs, posing for photos, and giving thanks to his fans serving our country in the Middle East.
“Scruff master tech just landed in dc from Kuwait on the way to kc with a broken rib from fallin out a helicopter! PAIN!” the self-proclaimed “King of Kansas City” told his fans via Twitter.
Earlier this year, the rapper released “All 6’s and 7’s,” which debuted at #4 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums chart and #1 on Billboard’s Indie and Rap Charts.
Tech N9ne averages more than 200 shows a year and has sold more than one million albums since he debuted on the rap scene in 1999.
source: allhiophop.com


David Archuleta is leaving show business to serve his church.

Last night, while performing in Salt Lake City, Utah, the 20-year-old pop singer told his audience that he will stop recording or performing music for two years to become a full-time Mormon missionary.

“It’s not because someone told me that I was supposed to do it, not because I no longer want to do music anymore, but it’s because it’s the feeling that I felt that I need to do next in my life,” Archuleta explained.

Random Notes: Hottest Rock Pictures

As his audience applauded, Archuleta broke into tears, then concluded, “It’s the same feeling that I’ve always tried to follow in my life. It’s the feeling that’s allowed me to have the opportunities I’ve had, the challenges I’ve had to overcome, and the blessings, too. I’ve learned that to trust that feeling. I’m aware that I need to answer when He calls, and that’s the reason that I know I need to do this in my life.”

Archuleta placed second in the 2008 season of American Idol. His third studio album, The Other Side of Down, was released in 2010 on Jive Records.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/david-archuleta-leaves-music-to-become-mormon-missionary-20111220#ixzz1h8NgNhpP


Humor: Man On Train Really Likes The “Ni&&az In Paris” Song



(UPDATED) This guest post comes from Kristin Thomson, of

Recording artists and indie labels: there¹s a movement afoot to change the way that you would receive your digital public performance royalties, and it¹s not a good one, especially for recording artists.

, FMC blogged about the that Sirius/XM was considering doing a direct licensing deal, expressing our serious displeasure with the move.

In recent days, the artist community ‹ including , , ,  and ‹ has been broadcasting the message to their members about the negative consequences of direct licensing deals for digital performance royalties.  We applaud our artist colleagues for urging their members signed to indie labels (or self-released artists) to not accept these direct licensing deals.

We here at FMC wanted to join in the chorus and explain to musicians and labels why the current statutory licensing structure is better for all stakeholders.

1. Direct payments to artists put at risk

Currently, Sirius/XM pays digital public performance royalties to  for the music it plays; SoundExchange then distributes 50 percent of the royalties to the sound recording copyright owner (usually a label) and 45 percent to the featured performer. The non-featured performers receive the remaining 5 percent.

Under the current structure, the money doesn¹t pass through the record labels first; payments to performers are made directly and simultaneously, which means the performer gets his/her money for the digital performances whether they¹ve recouped or not.

If labels start to license to Sirius/XM directly, artists will no longer be paid directly and simultaneously via SoundExchange. Instead, their digital performance royalties would be passed through their label.

FMC has always argued that direct and simultaneous payments to artists is a good thing. We have lots of upstanding label friends, but history is littered with instances of labels not properly accounting to their artists. Direct licensing simply lacks the same level of transparency that¹s available to artists when receiving a check directly from SoundExchange.

Even though it presents a huge logistical challenge to SoundExchange to seek out all the performers who are owedmoney, FMC thinks artists being paid directly is absolutely critical.

2. Artists and labels are paid more under the current structure

How muchSirius/XM pays SoundExchange is based on a rate set by the Copyright Royalty Board with input from stakeholders, in compliance with federal statute. Currently,Sirius/XM pays 7.5 percent of its gross revenue. The rates are currently set through 2012, after which they will be revisited to cover a period from 2013-2018.

Direct licensing deals means that Sirius/XM might pay a little bit less. While this might generate some savings for Sirius/XM, it¹s clearly not good for labels OR artists.

Then there¹s this. :

“The question arises if the labels will pay the artist half the royalty, or 50 percent, they receive for each time a song is played, or will some labels choose to pay them their artists the regular royalty rate, which typically ranges between 15 percent and20 percent”.

Yep. There¹s also a chance that, under this direct licensing arrangement, performers would see their royalty rates reduced. FMC cannot support such efforts to devalue the price of music.

3. Direct licensing deals leave musicians without a voice

SoundExchange is governed by an  that includes 9 artist reps and 9 label reps. That means that musicians and labels have an equal say in how SoundExchange operates. (Remember, this is an organization that just paidout  in one quarter, so we¹re not talking about chump change.

SoundExchange also has the power to audit licensees like Sirius/XM on behalf of everyone and make sure that they are paying correctly. If labels start to direct license, any errors made by Sirius/XM during playlist reporting would be much harder to discover, and only the biggest labels would have the resources to audit. We are more powerful collectively than we are separately.

If digital performance royalty payments are routed around SoundExchange, artists will lose a voice in the discussions about licensing rates and payments ‹ it¹ll just become a direct negotiation between two parties, and artists will be left out of the conversation completely. FMC was one of the artist-focused organizations that fought hard to ensure equal representation on the SoundExchange board, and artists and labels have benefited greatly from this power-sharing deal.  We cannot support any effort that reduces our value in the stakeholder process.

Here at FMC, we want artists to get the money they¹re owed for the use of their music on any platform. The statutory rate for digital performance plus direct payment via SoundExchange is an important piece of the compensation puzzle for creators. Bypassing it might benefit the bottom lines of major corporations in the short run, but it¹s a dangerous thing for performing artists.

  • If you are a musician, we urge you to tell your labels you¹d oppose any effort to re-direct your digital performance royalties through your label.  In the interest of fairness and transparency, your label should continue to license through SoundExchange.
  • If you are a label, we urge you to look closely at these deals, and remember that the statutory rate-setting process represents an opportunity for labels to work together to get the best rate possible.

The original and expanded post can be .

SOURCE:

http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2011/11/warning-every-musicians-digital-performance-royalties-are-at-risk-1.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+typepad%2FDqMf+%28hypebot%29


Com says that if Driz felt disrespected by the song, then so be it.

After Common took subliminal shots at soft rappers on”Sweet” Drake announced at a concert that if anyone had a problem with him, they should say it to his face. During an interview with 107.5 WGCI’s Tony Sco (via FSD), Com maintained that it wasn’t directed at Drizzy but said that if he felt he was offended, then so be it.

“I made a song that’s definitely a Hip Hop song. In Hip Hop, it’s like stepping in the ring. Rap is a contact sport. So I talked about this cat that’s soft and sweet,” he said. “Drake felt offended and felt it was directed towards him, so he said, ‘Man, say it to my face.’ My thing is, I’ma keep it Hip Hop. Stay on that tip. But if he falls in that category, then so be it. I’m not going to hold my tongue.”

He compared it to Jay-Z’s takedown of Auto-Tune on “DOA” and how T-Pain fell into that category, though it wasn’t directed towards him.

“I look at it like when Jay-Z made ‘D.O.A.’ I don’t think he specifically as like, I’m going to specifically write this about T-Pain. But T-Pain fit in that category, so he might have felt offended. But it’s all Hip Hop. At the end of the day, it’s Hip Hop.”

hiphopdx.com


Don’t let the memory of a past experience hold you back or prevent you from trying again.

Everyone experiences failures. It’s a part of life.

The important thing is to learn from the things that didn’t work out for you. Take a step back from your failed attempts and try to remove your emotions from the situation. I realize how hard this is, but try to look at things analytically.

If the same thing were to happen to someone else, what advice would you give them? When you take a subjective look at the situation, be honest with yourself and ask, Why? What was missing? What could have been done differently?

For a developing artist, failed attempts are often the norm rather than the exception. In Canada, the first thing that jumps to mind is funding and grant application rejections from our government’s cultural organizations (FACTOR, BC Music, Alberta Music, SaskMusic, Manitoba Music, etc.). It can be a real drag to find out that your application was rejected. Especially after you spent so much time creating the “perfect” marketing plan… and you even printed it on pretty paper too!

There’s no lack of things to get you down when you live the life of an artist. Heartbreaking and frustrating things surround you (if you let them). Let downs such as your songs being rejected by radio programmers, promoters not accepting your band to play in their venue, being denied a slot on a festival, agents turning you down, managers saying you’re not ready for them, and of course… empty venues.

But… now you’re going to hate me for saying this, but it’s true: everything happens for a reason. Seriously. So what can you do about it? Well, here’s an idea, analyze that shit!

The world isn’t out to get you.

There’s a reason why each and every one of these things has happened, you owe it to yourself to figure out why.

Perhaps, now brace yourself, perhaps someone else’s song is better than yours. Or perhaps another song is more suitable to that radio station’s demographic? Or perhaps the production on your track isn’t up to par with commercial radio standards? Perhaps you don’t have enough touring experience to get that opening slot on that tour. Perhaps you haven’t done anything special to set yourself apart from the rest of the bands out there. Perhaps you have no fan base. Perhaps you’ve done zero marketing to grow your audience.

All of these potential reasons for your failed attempts should create an automatic Action Plan for you. Once you pinpoint what it is that’s holding you back, attack that shit and fix it! You owe it to your dreams to do everything you can to create the opportunities that await you.

Don’t let your past dictate your future.

Take control of your future, take control of Now. Throw away the tissue box, roll up your sleeves… and let’s get to work!

Need more inspiration on this topic? Here’s some of my favourite quotes on this subject:

“I’ve come to believe that all my past failure and frustration were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy.”
—Tony Robbins

“The line between failure and success is so fine that we scarcely know when we pass it: so fine that we are often on the line and do not know it.”
—Elbert Hubbard

“Like success, failure is many things to many people. With Positive Mental Attitude, failure is a learning experience, a rung on the ladder, a plateau at which to get your thoughts in order and prepare to try again.”
—W. Clement Stone

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
—Winston Churchill

Now get out there and kick your past in the ass!
—Brian Thompson




Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing.

Thomas Jefferson


Article: Maya Angelou Expressing Disappointment With Common Using The N-Word.

The Pulitzer Prize-nominated poet expressed disappointment in the Chicago emcee’s use of the controversial word.

One of the most highly-touted collaborations on Common’s The Dreamer, The Believer is “The Dreamer,” which features a poem written and recited by Maya Angelou.

On the same song, Commons lyrics include use of the N-word: “Told my nigga [Kanye West] I’m ’bout to win the Grammys now” and “Niggas with no heart, I’m the pacemaker.”

Though Common’s use of the controversial word is well-known to the Hip Hop community, Angelou claims she never knew Common used it. Now, she voicing her displeasure.

“I had no idea that Common was using the piece we had done together on [a track] in which he also used the ‘N’ word numerous times,” she said, according to the New York Post.

Angelou called the word “vulgar and dangerous” to the black community.

“I’m surprised and disappointed,” she continued. “I don’t know why he chose to do that. I had never heard him use that [word] before. I admired him so because he wasn’t singing the line of least resistance.”

Common, however, says that he’s spoken with Angelou about his use of the word, saying that they agreed to disagree.

“She knows I do use the word,” he explained. “She knows that’s part of me.”

“I told her what ‘The Dreamer’ was about and what I wanted to get across to people,” he added, while admitting he didn’t specifically tell Angelou that the song would feature the word. “I wanted young people to hear this and feel like they could really accomplish their dreams.”

source: hiphopdx.com



Indie Mixtapes: The Kid Daytona Interlude 2


Can you clamp down on piracy, without clamping down on free speech and internet freedoms?  In a recent letter sent to Representative Howard Berman (D-California), Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton offered her strong support for anti-piracy measures, while underscoring that “internet freedoms” and “intellectual property protections” are “mutually consistent“.

Berman is a co-sponsor of the tough Stop Online Theft Act, the strongest anti-piracy bill yet.  The letter, stamped October 25th, was shared with Digital Music News on Friday morning.

SOURCE:

http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/permalink/2011/111104clinton


Music Video: Lloyd ft. Trey Songz Young Jeezy “Be The One”


Interview: Exclusive Interview With Action Bronson.


Action Bronson has literally exploded on the scene over the past couple years and has been working hard to make sure you know his name. With the release of Dr. Lecter earlier this year, the acclaimed chef turned emcee has been getting a lot of attention from the Hip Hop world. And on November 22nd,Bronsonelli and Statik Selektah released Well Done, their first collaborative effort and Action’s sophomore album.

Related: Statik Selektah ft.  Action Bronson, Bun B, Termanology “Never a Dull Moment”

Action took some time out of his busy schedule to chop it up with us about the new project, his upcoming projects, what you should eat while listening to Well Done, and much more.

JeremiahWhat’s good Bronsonelli?! I checked out Well Done and I also read somewhere that you and Statik Selektah just went in to make a track and ended up making a whole album. How did that all come about?

Action Bronson: Well first off, did you like the album?

JeremiahDope project. You and Statik Selektah were meant to make music together. Exactly the type of Hip Hop I love. It is Hip Hop in its rawest form.

Action Bronson: Is it too Hip Hop?

JeremiahNah man, it’s just right. I’ve been a fan of this since the 80’s and everything is just right.  Your delivery, rhymes and stories are dope and Statik’s production is, as always, on point. It’s refreshing.

Action Bronson: All right man, good, I’m glad. Yeah man, so Statik had hollered at me through Twitter. Twitter is the best thing in the world. He told me to come through…he was doing that track with  Termanology, “The Money Is Reality,” so we did that and I guess he liked it so he wanted to work on some more shit.  We were just going to do a little EP, just a couple songs, [but] it just turned into something else man. We just kept going.

Jeremiah: I just saw that you’re getting ready to drop a project with Alchemist next.

Action Bronson: Yeah, I just landed last night from…I was at his house for seven or eight days and we finished the whole album.

JeremiahDid you guys decide on a name for the project yet?

Action Bronson: Nah, we haven’t figured out the name yet. (Laughs) I put on Twitter that we needed a name and I got some pretty interesting ones. (Laughs)

JeremiahYeah I saw that. I sent you a couple. One was Meatloaf Management.

(Both Laugh)

Action Bronson: Meatloaf Management… that’s a pretty good one.

JeremiahThen I said you should get Oh No and Roc Marciano on there and call it Grene Peppers.

Action Bronson: (Laughs) Grene Peppers… I like that. I’m going to have Roc on one of the joints.

JeremiahAlthough you have a couple projects out already you are still looked at as a relative newcomer to this shit. How do you explain, or what do you think is the reason for your seemingly overnight success?

Action Bronson:  That’s the thing, I don’t know if it was really overnight cause I’ve been at it for two and a half years. There [are] people that just have one video and they’re out of here, you know. I feel like I’ve been paying some dues. I’ve performed in front of fucking seven people before. I’ve done that shit…I’ve done the fucking circuit.

At the end of the day I’m appreciative. I don’t know why people are liking my shit… I guess it’s because nobody is really doing it like I’m doing it right now. It is what it is you know. People can look at it anyway they want. Either they like it or they don’t.

JeremiahBesides the producers, what would you say is the biggest difference between Dr. Lecter and Well Done, even in your writing or your thought process of the project?

Action Bronson: One thing with Dr. Lecter is I was trying to prove a point. There were some things going on in my life that I was [I don’t know] I was generating all that anger that had built up for a long time and let it all out in that one project. To me, that shit is just a chapter in history.

Well Done is another chapter in history because I wrote that shit when I was laid up with a broken leg so there were a lot of different angles for that one. I feel like everyone looks at your second album more than your first one to see if you can match it or surpass it. So that was the task…just trying to give the people the best delivery and best performance I can.

JeremiahAnd what would you say is the biggest difference between working with Tommy Mas, Statik Selektah, and The Alchemist?

Action Bronson: Shit, Tommy Mas is a perfectionist. He likes to take his time on things. He is not just gonna make beats for you on the fly. Statik will be there all night long fucking drunk, smoking weed with me just making beat after beat after beat. ALC… all we do is fucking smoke weed and fucking just laugh and make beats, that’s it. That’s how it goes.

It was all different experiences you know. The album with Tommy Mas… we took about six months with it… it was over time. The Statik album was a different situation ‘cause of the broken leg. I was recovering…I was angry you know. The Alchemist album was just a week of debauchery and just good weather on the beach…like how can you be mad? I can’t beat that right there.

I also have an album with my man Party Supplies. We made that in about a month…just working every other day or something like that. Also, I have an album with Harry Fraud, so there are a lot of things on deck. I just keep on working, keep on pushing you know.

For full interview go to:


Industry Tips and Advice: Five Effective SEO Strategies to Optimize Your Business Blog

BY AJ Kumar

So you’ve started a business blog, providing authoritative insights about the latest news and most pressing issues in your industry. With such great content, your blog should be raising your company’s profile and generating more customers. That is, of course, if anyone is actually reading it.

The trouble with blogging is that having great content isn’t always enough. You also have to keep search engine optimization in mind, and make your blog attractive to the biggest search engines to drive real traffic.

Here are five tips to help you optimize your business blog for search:

1. Conduct keyword research.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make with your business blog is to fail to include appropriate keywords in your posts. Every post is an opportunity to get noticed by search engines for a new set of keywords.

What makes a good keyword? Ideally, your blog posts should focus on long-tail keywords, such as “Sony Cybershot digital camera” or “Barack Obama action figure.” Good keywords should generate a small, but well-targeted amount of search traffic, including at least 500 exact match searches each month. They also shouldn’t be too common and too competitive with more popular blogs and websites.

To determine whether a keyword has too much competition, first install a free browser toolbar — such as SEOBook’s SEO for Firefox plugin — that displays information about each site in the Google results pages whenever you search for your target keyword. Then take a look at the latest Google Top 10 results for your target word or phrase. If you see a lot of highly-ranked sites with many backlinks pointing to each page, your chosen keyword might be too competitive.

2. Build quality backlinks.
Backlinks play a crucial role in search by acting as “votes of confidence” for every page on your website. If you have plenty of high quality, relevant sites linking back to your page, it shows the search engines that your blog is also high quality.

To improve your rank in search engine results, consider making guest posts on relevant sites and participating in industry forums. This can result in links back to your site, which will ultimately boost your search rank.

3. Encourage social sharing.
Social signals, such as the number of times your content is shared on Facebook or the number of links back to your site from Twitter, play a role in how sites are prioritized in search engine results. That means social networking must figure into your blog strategy.

Related: Do’s and Don’t's of Social Networking

For maximum impact, maintain an active presence on the social networking sites that are popular with your readers and provide tools on your site to help them share your content. For tips on how to write posts that get noticed and that people want to share, check out Copyblogger’s resources on headline formulas.

4. Improve your site structure.
The navigation structure of your business blog plays a critical role in how it is indexed and crawled by the search engines. So, it’s vital that you incorporate these best practices:

• Use a “shallow” navigation structure that enables every page to be reached within three clicks.

• Add internal links on every page, referring users to other parts of your site. This improves the user experience by helping expose readers to more content and increases the search engines’ ability to reach every page on your site.

• Remove duplicate content from your website. When pages on your site have the same content, there’s a risk that search engines will display only one page of such content in their results. To increase the number of pages that show up in the search results, rewrite any duplicate content to make the pages distinct from each other.

5. Think long term.
Following these tips for your business blog will take time. If you haven’t paid attention to search engine optimization until now, you aren’t going to revise all of your posts to target the best keywords, become a social media butterfly and restructure your website’s navigation structure in a single day.

But that’s okay. If you make ongoing optimization a long-term priority for your blog, you’ll soon see a payoff in the amount of free traffic coming from the search engines.


Quote Of The Day

I must govern the clock, not be governed by it.

Golda Meir


New Music: PaceWon Produced By balti “I Want Love”


Articles: Afeni Shakur Davis On HipHop and The Occupy Movement.

The Occupy Wall Street & Together Movement is a reflection of the increasing anger and implosion of the working class in a “profit by any means necessary” driven capitalist system.
Capitalism on its own merit is not the problem. The way it’s approached in America is. There is a dichotomy at play, though. Consumers want products at low prices, and producers manufacture goods in other countries with lower wages to achieve the desired consumer prices.
Somehow, it is easy for some to ignore inequity in pay and unsafe working conditions if it takes place outside of the United States.
The consequence of outsourcing jobs outside of the U.S. to increase profit is that jobs shrink in America, especially in the manufacturing sector. In a recession, more jobs in multiple sectors dry up, affecting almost everyone except for those in the sectors that create new technology or for corporate executives. They actually get richer.
The result is that more workers feel the frustration of finding adequate work, something many in the African-American community have experienced for generations.
What is the real price of all of those inexpensive goods and high profits?
What would a device like a smartphone cost if it were manufactured 100 percent in America?
This problem is nothing new.
There has been anger with the growing gaps between the rich and those trying to get by day-to-day since the founding of this country.
I know firsthand the results of vast inequity in America. That is what I fought against in the Black Panther Party.
When the schools in New York shut down in the 60s, I was angry. I helped organize my community on behalf of my nephews and other children in our community.
I stood up for what was right, and I remained angry.
That anger led me into a tailwind of substance abuse.
Anger has consequences.
It leads to more harm than the original source of the anger. My family was devastated when violence killed my son in 1996. Although my loss was painful, I did not get resort to anger or violence.
Over the past 15 years, I have channeled my pain into the work of the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation. In the spirit of Tupac’s legacy, we established the Foundation to provide opportunities for young people to express themselves creatively, to teach conflict resolution, to improve communities, and to provide an institution that brings people together.
The Foundation has been different things for different people at different times. For some, the Foundation is a source of strength; for others, it’s a place of empowerment. The Foundation is a place of comfort to those grieving the loss of a loved one killed by violence, we increase awareness and prevention of suicide, and we offer acceptance of others regardless of their sexual orientation or background.
We honor and learn from our seniors, and we mentor young women. We honor fathers, and those who have rebounded from substance and other abuse. We empower our community with resources, and provide jobs and opportunities for single mothers, young people, and for those just trying to get by.
The Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation and those that we have helped have long been “The 99%.”
The Occupy Movement has successfully organized people across the globe that share the frustration of the negative results from inequity in the U.S. capitalist system that has existed since I can remember.
But, for the movement to be effective, especially for those involved from the Hip-Hop community, the movement must not ride the waves of anger into waves of violence, but into action.
Community action that helps those most vulnerable in their community – children, young girls, and seniors – is the best defense.
For instance, imagine the impact of thousands around the world flooding shelters to help those most vulnerable in their communities.
Being part of The 99% is nothing new, especially for the African-American community.
Don’t scoundrel this opportunity to leverage the impact of the thousands that have organized. These opportunities do not come often.
When this organizing moment is a glimpse in the history books, will your only accomplishment be a T-Shirt that reads “We are the 99%?”
In Solidarity,
Afeni Shakur-Davis
source:allhiphop.com


Humor: “Occupy Monopoly”


Synchronization Rights:

The permission needed to record songs, music or lyrics in films or other visual media. Under this license you can play the music yourself (provided you don’t rewrite the words or “alter the “fundamental character of the music” – see parody).

NOTE: If you are playing music from a sound recording, you will probably require Master Rights.


Do you know Karen Kline? I do. And so do a lot of people in the music industry. She used to be a really good friend of mine. For a minute, I was in love with her, even though I knew the relationship could never last. Karen’s known and loved throughout the world of music, video and radio. She’s a jetsetter and she’s known for being reliable and dependable.
And Karen Kline has this incredible ability to be in many different places at the exact same time.
This Saturday morning, like many Saturdays for years, a truck will show up to the homes of many people in the music industry and Karen will be delivered right to their front door.
I met Karen while I was staying at the Hotel George in Washington D.C. (I’d heard of Karen for years but we’d never been formally introduced). It was 1999 and I had just been hired as the Program Director at BET, the fast growing entertainment channel. BET was then being broadcasted into over 48 million homes and my job would be deciding what videos would be played on the channel.
By this time, music videos had surpassed radio as the place to break a record. And the record labels were nervous. Was I going to change the format? Cut down the number of videos played? Pick and choose what kind of videos I would allow to be played? The answers were yes, yes and yes. But no one knew that yet.
It didn’t matter. My friends at the major record labels were not going to take any chances.
During my first week at BET, I set up the playlist, deciding which videos would be played and how often. I cut the playlist, from four hundred titles to a mere eighty. Some industry executives were elated; some were furious. The next weekend, a FedEx truck pulled up to the Hotel George with two packages for me.
Both packages were exactly the same, five thousand dollars in each, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and tucked inside the FedEx envelopes. No return address; no instructions, just the name Karen Kline, a fictional woman that I loved like she was flesh and blood.

It’s called payola. And it’s as old as recorded music itself. Even the very word tells you how far it goes back. Payola is a contraction between the words “pay” and “Victrola,” the old-school phonograph that was used to spin the very first records.
Payola is firmly embedded in the music industry, deep in the grooves like tracks on a vinyl record. It’s been going on for so long that it’s hard to believe that people are still getting away with it. But they are. I know I did.
And it wasn’t just money. When I was working at BET, I was still coming up to New York City every weekend for my job as a DJ on WBLS. Every Friday, various record labels would fly me up to New York, usually first class, and put me up at the best hotels. Knick tickets, pricey restaurants, whatever I wanted—I would have because I was in a position of power. I had control. And if you were a record label executive, you needed to make sure I was happy.
Almost everybody in this industry takes money. If they have the power to put a song on the radio or a video on television, they’ve been offered money to do it—and they’ve taken it. Maybe it’s only been once or twice. But they’ve done it.
I turned down payola for years. I really did. But it’s impossible to turn down ten thousand dollars in cash when you know you’re going to play the song anyway and it’s from a friend you’ve known for twenty years. There’s just no way to turn that down.
So, I’m putting that out there right now. I’m guilty. I’ve taken money. And I’m not ashamed to admit it. But I’ve never been anyone’s slave. Legally, I could go to jail or maybe not. I think I could win my case. I’ve taken money. But I’ve never played a song or a video I didn’t like. I know I still have to live with my demons. And maybe I’ll have to pay the price for it. But I’m not alone. And my relationship with Karen Kline was a one-night-stand compared to how she’s operating today. Karen Kline is not just visiting people on Saturday mornings anymore. She’s married—to corporate America. And she’s bringing in more money than anyone could ever fit inside a FedEx envelope.

SAME SONG is an explosive look at the corruption that is running rampant throughout the music industry. From the desperate promotion departments at major record labels who will do anything to get their acts on the radio and on video to the greedy program directors who take cash, gifts and other luxuries, SAME SONG will explore how corruption is rearing its ugly head once again.
SAME SONG also examines “legal payola” and how corporations are now the major beneficiaries of under-the-table payments and pay-to-play.
With the Telecommunications Act of 1996, consolidation would forever change the music industry. It was a bill that was originally designed to stimulate the economy by loosening up the rules for selling goods on the Internet. But inadvertently, it gave license for communications companies like Clear Channel to start buying up radio stations like penny candy.
Before long, seven companies owned 70% of the radio stations in the United States. There were very few individual owners who could determine what would be played. This meant smaller, corporate-influenced radio playlists. There would be less variety and more of the same artists, over and over again. These new stations were like funnels and the only records that would make it through were the ones with the cash to push them out. If the record labels wanted to hear their acts on the radio, they would have to fall in line—and cough up major bucks.
The same would happen in video as well. When Bob Johnson sold BET to Viacom for three billion dollars, it meant that MTV now owned it’s only major competitor. And getting your video on either channel would now cost you thousands.
SAME SONG is about how the digital age in the mid-90s exposed radio stations that frequently lied about how often they were playing the songs they were being paid by record labels to play; it’s about how the golden age of the trained broadcaster was soon replaced with interns, DJs and mixers who, for years, had been silent in the booth. SAME SONG explores how radio has become one of the few media outlets where salaries have plunged as profits have skyrocketed. And SAME SONG will break down the shake-ups that will be happening very shortly. Much like Alan Freed’s payola trials in the 50s, and the pay-for-play scandals involving music men like Clive Davis in the 70s, the music industry is on the cusp of another huge investigation and many of the major players in the music industry may find themselves unemployed, at best and possibly, in prison.
And in many ways, SAME SONG is my story. Since 1976, when the busing riots in Boston sent me scrambling into the radio station at WRBB at Northeastern University, the music industry has been my life. During my very first stint in radio, I was Paul “Pure Love” Porter from midnight to three AM and I fell in love with the medium of radio and the impact I had on my community.
Radio introduced me to women. Radio introduced me to cocaine. Radio introduced me to some of my best friends. And radio killed some of them too. SAME SONG is a ride through my whirlwind of media jobs, working for and with some of the most colorful, well-known and scandalous players in the music industry.
I know that radio and video are influential in shaping young minds. And my experiences have changed my outlook. “Morality is not an option” is now my mantra. And there are people out there who won’t buy it. They’ll think I’m writing this book for revenge or just to make a buck. That’s fine. I can live with that. I can’t live with what’s become of the music industry. I’m partly responsible for bringing it to the depths it’s sunk to today. But I can also be responsible for exposing the ugliness and peeling back the layers for everyone to see.



Quote Of The Day

A nation devoid of art and artists cannot have a full existence.


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