With the introduction of on-demand music services that include Spotify, Rhapsody, and YouTube, music streams have gradually become an integral part of the way in which music is listened to and shared. Thanks to the popularity of streaming music, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has just announced the integration of music streams to its Gold & Platinum Program.
Thanks to the newly-announced change, a total of 56 songs received inaugural certifications this week. Among the nearly 60 songs were Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie,” Eminem’s “Love The Way You Lie,” and Ca$h Out “Cashin’ Out.”
“Including music streaming in Gold & Platinum awards marks the continued evolution of the industry’s premier program for recognizing artistic achievement, and it reflects the wide spectrum of ways consumers enjoy music from their favorite bands,” said Cary Sherman, Chairman & CEO, RIAA in a statement. “The music business, along with its incredible array of digital service partners, is offering fans more access to music than ever before. We’re thrilled that our awards will now more fully recognize artists’ commercial success today.”
Launched in the late ‘50s, the RIAA’s Gold & Platinum program was created “to honor artists and create a standard by which to measure the commercial success of a sound recording.”
Lauryn Hill claims she stiffed Uncle Sam on a massive tax bill for the same reason she fell off the map after the ’90s — scary threats to her and her family. Lauryn just filed legal docs asking for mercy before her sentencing later this month, claiming there was a good reason she failed to file tax returns for 2005, ’06 and ’07 … when she earned a total of more than $1.8 million. She already pled guilty and faces several years in prison. According to docs … Lauryn stopped paying taxes “when she withdrew from society at large due to what she perceived as manipulation and very real threats to herself and her family.” She’s not specific about the threats — but it’s a new explanation for her mysterious disappearance from the music scene after her rise to fame in the ’90s. Lauryn previously claimed she went underground to get back in touch with her musical roots. Lauryn’s asking the court to consider a bunch of other factors before her sentencing — including her claim that she can pay off the debt much faster if she’s not behind bars. Lauryn is begging for probation. A judge will be merciful — or not — on April 22.
Atlanta, Georgia rapper Lil Scrappy is the latest former major label hit-maker dealing with financial woes. TMZ.com reports that while Scrappy has a high-profile role on VH1′s “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” series, the former Warner Bros. Records artist owes a booking agency called Heavy Rotation an estimated $108,000.
The 2010 debt has escalated with interest and penalties, and Scrappy, who was formerly affiliated with G-Unit and DTP Records, is now reported to have his VH1 pay garnished to satisfy what he owes.
In late 2010, Scrappy and then live-in-girlfriend Diamond were said to be facing home foreclosure, when documents surfaced to reveal that they were late on rent payments.
Scrappy has appeared on both seasons 1 and 2 of VH1′s reality show.
R&B/Pop star Chris Brown has announced his sixth album. Although there is not yet a release date, the Richmond, Virginia vet will title his 2012 Fortune album, X. The 23 year-old controversial figure’s upcoming album already has at least one high-profile Hip Hop guest, Kendrick Lamar.
The resulting collaboration, reportedly titled “Autumn Leaves” was described by Chris Breezy as “If you’re in your car just riding, it’s perfect. It just feels like a weather record—an emotional record. I feel a certain way when I hear it.” MTV, who conducted the interview, reported the song to have a tempo inspired by a heartbeat. Production on the album has been confirmed by Diplo, as well as former Timbaland protege and fellow V.A. native Danja (f/k/a Danjahandz).
As for the overall title, Chris claims it takes on a number of meanings. “The song and the album title ‘X’ has a couple different meanings,” explained the longtime Sony Records star. “It can refer to an ex-girlfriend, in terms of you always look forward to moving forward from. It’s also about being a reject in a sense. In me being myself, being able to grow up, me not always hanging around the right crowd or doing the right thing all the time—it’s me saying, ‘I’m over it. I’m past the bullsh– now.’”
Fortune was a #1 debut for Chris Brown, selling approximately 135,000 copies upon its June, 2012 release. It was Brown’s second #1.
Two days after an arrest warrant was issued for Atlanta, Georgia rapper Gucci Mane being charged with the assault of a United States soldier and war veteran, another victim is coming forward with additional allegations. According to Atlanta’s WSBTV Channel 2—the same outlet that initially reported the first assault, a fan was punched in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania after approaching Gucci Mane at a concert.
“I haven’t ever been so humiliated in my life and disrespected,” the victim, who asked only to be called TJ, told WSBTV on Monday (March 25). “He punched me on the left side of my face, right here in the jaw, knocking off my glasses.” The victim claims that the altercation at Philly’s Club Onyx caused him a chipped tooth and swelling of the face. The fan said that Gucci’s entourage prevented him from properly defending himself.
At present, Gucci Mane has yet to turn himself into police. This the latest in a long history of legal troubles for the 1017 Brick Squad leader, who’s been a longtime Warner Bros. Records artist throughout multiple incarcerations for battery and aggravated assault convictions in 2005 and 2011. This second assault report also follows a month where Gucci apparently kicked star protege and album collaborator Waka Flocka Flame out of his Brick Squad organization via Twitter. A label rep later said that Gucci’s account was “hacked.”
After months of controversy surrounding Snoop Lion’s religious conversion and name change, it looks like his documentary Reincarnated has finally secured a release.
According to a recent press release, Reincarnated has received a limited theatrical release beginning this March 15. The film, which is a joint production between VICE Films and Snoop’s own Snoopadelic Films, will debut in six cities across the country, including New York and Los Angeles.
Reincarnated documents the Long Beach, California rapper’s decision to join the Rastafari movement and the recording of his upcoming reggae album of the same name. The film was also officially selected to screen at the renowned Toronto International Film Festival.
Most recently, Bob Marley and the Wailers member Bunny Wailer criticized Snoop’s film and questioned the sincerity of his religious conversion. Despite Wailer’s criticism, Bob Marley’s son Rohan Marley defended Snoop and welcomed him to the movement.
A complete list of the cities in which the film will premiere, as well as Reincarnated’s official trailer, can be found below.
Sunshine Cinemas – New York City
Laemmle Monica and City Walk – Los Angeles
Opera Plaza – San Francisco
Century – Chicago
Midtown Art Cinema – Atlanta
O Cinema – Miami
Despite patching things up after this year’s Summer Jam fiasco, it looks like Nicki Minaj is at odds with Hot 97 once again. Now, in a recent interview with Cipha Sounds and Rosenberg, Hot 97′s program director Ebro says Nicki told him she doesn’t want the station playing anymore of her music.
Ebro explained that the most recent tiff with Minaj began after he said that Rosenberg’s comments ruined her career when her rap-heavy Pink Friday Roman Reloaded: The Re-Up only moved 36,000 units upon its release. According to Ebro, the YMCMB starlet called him from overseas, insulted him and demanded he never play her music on air again.
“I said, ‘Rosenberg ruined Nicki Minaj’s career’ – evidence suggests based on this Re-Up release, the things [Rosenberg] said about her being pop and selling out and making that pop music came back to haunt her,” he said. “Now, she puts six rap records on this album and it didn’t sell…I get the phone call, the international number pops up, I answer the call, it’s my friend Nicki Minaj, who then starts to proclaim how I’m fake. She used every woman’s stab she could – ‘I thought you were a man, you’re a cornball, I thought we were friends, you’re fake, everyone told me you were fake’…I said, ‘Nicki, I’m helping you. I’m keeping you in the Hip Hop conversation. This Hip Hop thing’s a competition; you’re either ringing, or you’re not, and just like I said yesterday, i love you, boo and I’ll dust you off and make sure this thing is popping off again.’ And she goes, ‘Don’t ever play my music again’…of course we are [still playing Nicki Minaj], I love Nicki Minaj.”
Nas previously had a problem with federal property taxes, owing approximately $6 million in unpaid debt. Now, the State of Georgia has another bone to pick with him, this time for $1 million.
According to TMZ, the State of Georgia has filed legal documents looking to collect $1,083,435 from Nas for the years 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010. The Georgia Department of Revenue is commanding Live Nation to garnish wages made from Nas’ current tour with Lauryn Hill in an effort to garnish his wages.
A representative for Nas says that the matter has been settled, but the GDR’s case is still open and they’re looking to recoup the money.
The U.S. government previously took a similar approach for Nas’ federal taxes, claiming that he owed approximately $6 million. The IRS filed documents in Georgia to garnish his wages through BMI and ASCAP until his debt was settled.