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Take 5 with violinist, DJ and entrepreneur Jasmin Rhia

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What exactly is art; who defines it; who makes it, and where in Atlanta do poets, thespians, and artists congregate and create? We’ll use this space to catch up with a few for a few…some you may know; others we hope you’ll be pleased to meet their acquaintance.


Jasmin Rhia

My dream side gig is becoming a DJ—I even bought equipment at the onset of COVID-19 to learn and prepare for my new post-pandemic career. The DJ equipment is in my garage collecting dust. 

Unlike me, Jasmin Rhia, who grew up in Atlanta and Orlando, FL, has been a real DJ, violinist, music producer, rapper, and entrepreneur for the last ten years. And when she’s not practicing her art, you may find her hanging out skating at the Old Fourth Ward skatepark or performing between Ponce City Market and the activity field. It was a pleasure getting to know more about her.

When did you fall in love with the violin; how did you know it was meant for you? 

I was 8 when I fell in love with the violin. I remember watching a Missy Elliot video “Hit Em Wit Da Hee,” they had this epic breakdown in the song where four female violinists played. Then, at 10, a classmate showed me her violin after music class; it was love at first sight! It was the first time I had seen the instrument up close, and later that day, I asked my Mom if I could play. I started the following year and went on through college. 

Who is your musical inspiration, and why are they important to you?

I’ve had a few musical inspirations growing up, but the most influential musician was Miri Ben Ari. Seeing her play violin in the “Overnight Celebrity music video with such style and flavor left an everlasting impression on me. I checked out her other videos on YouTube and was amazed at the crowd’s reaction to her Apollo performance. She covered hip-hop songs with a DJ spinning in the back, and I remember getting so hyped! Seeing someone so elegant and talented not having to rely on her sexuality to sell records was an excellent example for me to witness as a young lady.

I checked out your Afrobeat Mix 2023—it’s such a vibe. Your DJ collaborations with your skills as a violinist are ingenious—how did you become a DJ?

That’s so dope! Thank you! I started DJ’ing in high school after my friend gave me a download of her brother’s Virtual DJ program. At this time, I was making mashups of mostly hip-hop & R&B songs and putting them on mixtapes. I didn’t start pursuing DJ’ing professionally until 10 years later. Before that, I mainly was rapping and producing until I hit a roadblock. I refused to fit into the stereotypical, overly sexualized female artist role. I ended up quitting music for a couple years. It wasn’t until visiting a friend in Hawaii for a healing retreat that I became exposed to a different side of music. I was introduced to the independent scene and realized I could do things my way. When I returned to the mainland, I was inspired to play my violin again. I was inspired to start DJ’ing professionally after attending the Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) festival. I eventually put the two together and created a business around performing cover songs for clients interested in hiring unique entertainment for private events!

You describe your recording label, Artists of Morality (AOM), as “using the power of music to spread peace and empowerment.” Share more about the mission of AOM and what you’d like its impact on art and artistry to be.

Our mission with AOM Records is two-fold. We believe all musicians should strive for ownership when working in the music industry. This way, they are in charge of their art and image and can use their talents to positively impact the community. Since music business knowledge is necessary to achieve this, we provide educational resources for musicians interested in pursuing an independent career. Our label also provides musical workshops and private lessons for the youth in our community. Kids must have something enriching to look forward to. As I witnessed early on the positive effects of expressing myself musically, I must pay this experience forward.

What inspired you to begin the “Know Your Worth: A Musical Mental Health Workshop?” How did the events during the last three years influence you?

I created the workshop in 2017 to empower the youth with tools to help them overcome some of the trials and tribulations they may face. I had hit rock bottom a few years before pursuing music in Los Angeles. After moving back with my family, I went through a healing journey that ultimately brought me back from the darkest period of my life. One of the lessons I learned during this journey was the power of words and how our mindset directly affects our well-being. I also knew the music and entertainment I consumed had a huge impact. This inspired me to design a workshop that made learning mental strength entertaining while teaching the youth music production and songwriting. When I read the statistics on depression and anxiety rising in the community since the pandemic, I was shocked. Seeing that many of us have struggled in some shape or form with our mental health these last few years has made this workshop more relevant than ever.

To learn more about Rhia, check her out at aomrecords.co or Jasminrhia.com or on Instagram @itsjasminrhia.  



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Politicians Love Their Music. The Musicians Don’t Always

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GOP presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy courted trouble with the rapper Eminem when he spit an offbeat rendition of “Lose Yourself” in Iowa last month. Like other outraged musicians, Eminem through his representatives sent the campaign a cease-and-desist letter.

Candidates have a long tradition of playing songs at events in an attempt to look cool or to offer hints about their approach or platform. Artists, however, don’t always want to be pulled into campaigns—especially when their politics don’t align. The result can be embarrassing or even lead to a legal spat.

In a 1984 speech during his re-election campaign, Ronald Reagan name-checked Bruce Springsteen, whose working-class anthems had struck a chord. Reagan said the music offered a hopeful message about the American dream.

Springsteen pushed back against that characterization. One of his most famous songs, “Born in the U.S.A.,” released that year, carries a dour message about suffering Vietnam War veterans that belies its cheerful sound.

Political hopefuls typically get a music license for a catalog of songs they can play at campaign events. Similarly, radio station owners, grocery stores and others pay for blanket licenses to use certain songs. Songwriters and music publishers who own copyrights can remove their tracks from a license agreement. Politicians often, but don’t always, listen to those requests. They can invite lawsuits by continuing to use excluded songs.

“This all gets very complicated,” said Marc D. Ostrow, a senior counsel at Romano Law in New York who focuses on the music industry.

The pop-rock band Orleans has been pulled into campaigns that its founder, John Hall, didn’t care for. He said he found out by watching CNN in 2004 that the Bush campaign selected as an anthem “Still the One,” a song he co-wrote for the band.

“The first thing that crossed my mind is, ‘Why didn’t I know about this?’ ” said Hall, who is also a former Democratic congressman from New York.

Hall said Bush’s team complied with a cease-and-desist letter to stop using the song. Bush’s office didn’t return requests for comment.

Hall said people shouldn’t assume they can just take an artist’s music.

“A number of people could have asked and we might’ve said yes, but President George W. was not at that time one of those people,” Hall said.

This summer’s hit song “Rich Men North of Richmond,” which enthralled many on the right with its lines about selfish politicians and overweight people on welfare, showed up in a question at last month’s Republican presidential debate. Afterward, the musician, Oliver Anthony, posted a video saying his song was being weaponized and that the track was about political figures such as the candidates.

Most of the high-profile music conflicts have involved GOP candidates. In one instance involving a Democrat, Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign agreed to stop playing a song by the R&B duo Sam & Dave at singer Sam Moore’s request. Moore later performed for the Obamas.

Democratic candidates have generally had more support from the music industry. Stevie Wonder, for example, appeared at Obama campaign events. The singer-songwriter Rachel Platten gave her blessing for Hillary Clinton to adopt “Fight Song” as her 2016 anthem.

Platten said, “For a song that I wrote to mean so much to so many men and women of all ages, nationalities and faith is a blessing that is not lost on me.”

Ramaswamy, 38, won’t get another chance on the campaign trail to flex his youthful bona fides with a song by Eminem, born Marshall Mathers, one of the best-known rappers of his generation. Eminem asked Broadcast Music Inc., a performance-rights company representing him, to remove his music from its list of songs approved for Ramaswamy’s campaign. BMI is one of the two main U.S. companies handling music-licensing disputes. The company declined to comment.

“Vivek just got on the stage and cut loose. To the American people’s chagrin, we will have to leave the rapping to the real Slim Shady,” said Tricia McLaughlin, a spokeswoman for Ramaswamy, referring to a nickname for Eminem.

A spokesman for Eminem said, “The letter speaks for itself.”

Former President Donald Trump has received a truckful of similar letters from music stars including Aerosmith and the Rolling Stones. Trump played Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” at rallies even after the British singer publicly objected.

Neil Young, the “Rockin’ in the Free World” singer, sued Trump’s campaign in 2020 for playing his songs at political rallies, years after protesting that Trump used his music without permission. The lawsuit was dismissed later that year.

George W. Bush, John McCain and Mike Huckabee also received cease-and-desist letters during their presidential campaigns.

“You have taken something of mine and used it to promote ideas to which I am opposed,” Tom Scholz of the rock band Boston wrote in a 2008 letter to Huckabee. Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, ended his GOP presidential campaign soon after, resolving the dispute.

If candidates use unlicensed songs at political events, they would be violating copyright law. They may do it anyway.

Like Young, artists on occasion sue politicians for using their music. Singer-songwriter Jackson Browne won a settlement in 2009 from McCain. Charlie Crist settled with David Byrne of the Talking Heads and posted a video in 2011 apologizing to him for using his song without permission during his Senate campaign.

Representatives for the artists and politicians in this article either declined to comment or didn’t return requests for comment.

Hall, of the group Orleans, said he learned four years after the Bush episode that the McCain campaign also used his song at an event. At Hall’s request, the Republican didn’t use the song again.

“Some people go, ‘Cool, you’re getting more publicity,’ ” Hall said. “They don’t understand how hard you worked on the song, how hard you worked on the record and how precious it is to an artist.”

Write to Alyssa Lukpat at alyssa.lukpat@wsj.com

Politicians Love Their Music. The Musicians Don’t Always Love Them Back.

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Politicians Love Their Music. The Musicians Don’t Always Love Them Back.

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When the Pink Floyd school chorus sued for royalties

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When the Pink Floyd school chorus sued for royalties

(Credits: Far Out / Alamy)

Music

In 2004, some 25 years after belting out the lyrics to Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick In The Wall’, the London schoolchildren who featured in the iconic song lodged a claim for unpaid music royalties. The ensuing drama led to a lot of fans thinking the band themselves had been sued, which was almost fitting for the song about school kids rebelling.

Released in 1979 for The Wall album, the song’s anthemic quality made it one of Pink Floyd’s most popular hits. Written by founder Roger Waters across three parts, ‘Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2’ was meant to be satirical. When discussing the track, he explained to Mojo that the all-boys grammar school he attended in the 1950s was highly controlling, but the teachers were weak, which only encouraged bad behaviour. “The song is meant to be a rebellion against errant government, against people who have power over you, who are wrong,” he said.

On the suggestion of producer Bob Ezrin, the song featured young children singing in the chorus. The band’s management took the idea to Alun Renshaw, the head of music at Islington Green School, who was thrilled at the prospect. When he took it to headteacher Margaret Maden, he made a point of not showing her the lyrics and soon got to work on weeks-long rehearsals with a group of 23 children, all aged between 13 and 14.

The song and the schoolkid’s cries of, “We don’t need no education / We don’t need no thought control, No dark sarcasm in the classroom / Teachers leave them kids alone” was an instant classic. But once confronted by the lyrics, Maden banned the children who sang on it from appearing in the video. It was reported the school was given a £1,000 payment in compensation for their vocals, as well as a platinum record, but royalties were never discussed.

“At the time,” explained Renshaw, “We didn’t think of it in terms of money, more of the experience.” But one shrewd party who did think of the money was a royalties agent named Peter Rowan, who in 2004 filed a £6,000 claim on behalf of the students. Headteacher Maden had inadvertently made his job tracing the students quite tricky, given they were banned from making appearances on the radio or for the video.

But as MTV revealed, Rowan found one of the participating singers, Peter Thorpe, on the website Friends Reunited. Others he managed to track down weren’t at all interested in the claim. Thorpe, however, was.

“We were just taken to the studios, and it was great fun,” he said. “I didn’t realise royalties were owed and I’m very glad to be in a position to claim them”. In the end, just five of the 23 children pursued a payment from the Performing Artists’ Media Rights Association. It was a pretty paltry sum of £300, in a money-grabbing exercise that put quite a dampener on the brilliant experience the children involved got to have.

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Possible BMI Sale Shows Value of Global Collective

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Since the end of August, there have been reports that BMI is in advanced talks to sell itself to the private equity firm New Mountain Capital. A deal has yet to be signed but the possibility has raised concerns among songwriters about what it will mean for the collective management sector if one of its largest organizations becomes a business owned by private equity.

Such a move would take BMI in a new direction, away from the traditional model – based on non-profit and transparent operations—of the CISAC community. For CISAC and our global network of 227 Collective Management Organisations (CMOs, or societies), however, it also highlights the strength and value to creators of the global collective rights management system. The collective management model has been successful for over a century, remaining faithful to its core principles, while transforming and adapting to keep pace with the rapidly changing business environment.

BMI will stay connected to this community. In anticipation of the new direction it has taken in the last year, it has moved from being a full CISAC member to a CISAC “client,” a new category that was established in 2020 to accommodate the new types of rights management entities — including SESAC, Soundreef and Nextone – which have emerged.

Clients make up a very small group of “for-profit” entities that differ from the overwhelming majority of CISAC members, which operate on a non-profit basis. Clients are not subject to all of the traditional transparency and business rules that full CISAC members abide by, but still have access to CISAC’s systems and data exchanges that help the global music market function

By accepting for-profit entities as clients, CISAC maintains its inclusiveness and diversity, while not compromising on the core conditions of membership.

It is those core membership conditions which provide the unique value of the global network. Full members, such as ASCAP in the US, PRS for Music in the UK or GEMA in Germany, are required to meet key fundamental rules:

  • to operate on a non-profit basis or be controlled by their affiliates
  • to respect CISAC’s global standards of governance and professional rules
  • to be fully transparent in their financial reporting and share information with the rest of the CISAC members

As a global confederation, CISAC respects individual creators’ decisions on whom they entrust their rights to. It equally respects members and clients’ decisions on how they manage creators’ rights. The global song rights market is changing rapidly, with growing competition between different types of royalty collection bodies at a time when the cost pressures of managing digital collections and distributions has never been greater.

These changes are inevitable and they are good, if they have the end of result of better serving the creators who are at the center of our business.

In this transforming landscape, the vast majority of CISAC’s member societies remain non-profit entities which abide by all CISAC rules. Full CISAC members work only for creators and rightsholders, not shareholders. Their transparency obligations ensure high levels of integrity and best practice across the network. Creators and rightsholders, not financiers and investors, are assured a controlling role in their decision-making. Creators sit on our societies’ Boards of Directors. You’d be hard pressed to find other entities in the music industry which have music creators as their Board members.

The global collective management system gives creators a strong, united voice to lobby for creator-friendly legislation, develop modern systems for data exchange, adopt best practices and maximize collections and distributions. From helping to turn around failing markets such as Greece, Turkey and India to negotiating the best deals with music users, this community continues to play an indispensable role for creators and publishers worldwide.

Our sector remains the only part of the music industry that puts the creator front and centre of everything it does. While more commercial ventures may be tested in our fast-evolving market, the fact remains that the collective management system is the most robust, reliable and fit-for-purpose model in serving creators.

Gadi Oron is the director general of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), a Paris-based rights organization.

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How Record Labels Won the Battle Are Losing the War –

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September marks the 20th anniversary of the RIAA launching litigation against consumers in a bid to extinguish — or at least dampen — the flames of peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing. The consumer litigation was part of a multi-pronged effort that targeted internet service providers, the P2P providers like Napster and Limewire and music fans. In early 2003, nearly 40% of internet users in the United States had used a P2P service to download music, or an estimated 54 million individuals. Upon the RIAA’s announcement of consumer suits, parents began asking their children what they were doing with those stacks of blank CDs; coverage of the pending litigation stifled file sharing before the first notice was filed.

Much has been written about the P2P era, but one thing is for sure: The vast majority of downloaders knew it was illegal. If there was any uncertainty in consumer’s minds, the RIAA litigation helped to clear it up. Perhaps that is the greatest legacy of the consumer litigation, which ended in 2008. The actual law was contested for some time, with arguments about technological innovation and the promotion of that technology for purposes of copyright infringement.

By the 10th anniversary of the consumer litigation in 2013, the record labels had largely won the battle against P2P file sharing. After settlement of the Limewire copyright infringement case in May 2011, the number of people using the remaining services rapidly fell in the United States, and by 2013 had dropped 60% from the peak in 2003. Litigation was one of many contributing factors. The P2P file sharing experience was awful for users, fraught with spoofed files, pop-ups, malware, incomplete and incorrect files, and other maladies. iTunes downloads revived the singles era by offering $.99 tracks. Pandora had been at the top of app store charts for several years, and Spotify was gaining momentum. By 2013, half the U.S. internet using population was streaming, and a handful were beginning to pay for subscriptions. The RIAA moved on to other battles, notably the YouTube “Value Gap.”

As the 20th anniversary of the consumer suits approaches, there has been a stunning reversal in progress in the war to limit consumer access to unlicensed music. An estimated 55 million people in the U.S. acquired or accessed “free” music files in the past year, according to MusicWatch research — the same amount as in 2003. What went wrong? There is an abundance of apps and sites that permit consumers to obtain unlicensed music. Apps that permit YouTube stream-ripping are widely available. Mobile apps available with “free downloads” frequently contain unlicensed content. The very social platforms that the industry relies on to promote artists also harbor unlicensed content. Unlike in the P2P era, the law is clear when it comes to these forms of copyright infringement and licensing requirements, though the DMCA still provides a shield to services that rely on content uploaded by fans.

The problem is the consumer. The teenager who knew that they were committing piracy while downloading In Utero from Limewire is now an adult. Today, they can be easily confused. Their Google music searches may include content that infringes on copyright. Same for the app store on their phone. The recent spate of Taylor Swift Eras tour livestreams on TikTok, while technically the same as a stream-rip of “Cruel Summer,” does not register the same in fans eyes. On top of the unlicensed content, MusicWatch studies indicate 20 million streamers are sharing logins to music streaming services.

The industry has not been silent. The RIAA has litigated against stream-rippers. Mixtape app Spinrilla was successfully sued for infringement and shut down in May. Sony and Universal just sued the Internet Archive for copyright infringement. And as an alternative, streaming companies offer family plans, which raise ARPU and blunt the impact of unauthorized account sharing.

Unlike 2003, however, the industry isn’t paying much attention to the infringing consumer. And why should it? There hasn’t been a collapse in revenues as was experienced during the aughts. Most infringing consumers are active streamers and many pay for a subscription — and a vinyl record or two. There’s not much reason to target music fans. But that doesn’t mean that more shouldn’t be done to educate consumers and further protect the rights of artists and copyright holders.

Russ Crupnick is the principal at market research firm MusicWatch.

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Are Gangs Laundering Money On Digital Services? – Billboard

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In 2022, George White spoke about streaming fraud during a panel at the annual Music Biz conference in Nashville. Few music industry executives were willing to discuss the problem publicly at the time. This made several comments from White — who serves as vp of music licensing/head of publishing for SiriusXM and Pandora — all the more head-turning: This type of fraud, which usually involves the use of bots or stolen accounts to generate fake plays for audio, often resembled “a criminal enterprise,” White said. 

“Aggressive foreign nationals may well be responsible for generating royalties and funding” through streaming fraud, White added later. “Is it funding drug operations? Is it funding terrorism abroad? Who knows?”

At the conference, White’s “aggressive foreign nationals” line drew laughs from the crowd. But it appears less funny now: Svenska Dagbladet published an article this week indicating that Swedish law enforcement believes that gangs use streaming platforms to launder money related to their criminal activities. 

“Spotify has become an ATM for them,” an anonymous officer told the paper. “There is a direct connection to the gangs and therefore also to the deadly violence.” (“We have no evidence that money laundering occurred via Spotify,” a spokesperson for the streamer told Svenska Dagbladet.)

The paper also spoke with criminals who detailed the alleged money laundering scheme. Those sources said the gangs take money earned via illicit means and convert it into Bitcoin. They then use that currency to buy fake streams for artists they’re connected to. The royalties they subsequently collect from streaming services — while the article focuses on Spotify, this sort of fraud is an industry-wide issue that impacts all the streaming platforms — come out clean. 

The links between streaming fraud and “criminal enterprise” have been brought up outside of industry panels at SXSW and Music Biz. John Phelan, director of the International Confederation of Music Publishers, declared bluntly in 2020 that “there is a black market for pay-for-play.” 

In 2022, Brazilian authorities launched a sweeping operation to shut down sites that sold bot-generated streams. Although those sites were based in Brazil, the stream-juicing took place in Russia and Russian hackers helped with the efforts, according to Paulo Rosa, president of Pro-Música, Brazil’s trade organization for record labels and an IFPI affiliate.

“Digital music today is a fairly soft target for sophisticated and even relatively unsophisticated bad actors,” Morgan Hayduk, founder/co-CEO of Beatdapp, explained earlier this year. (Beatdapp, based in Vancouver, builds fraud detection software for labels, distributors and streaming services all over the world.) “They leverage the same tools used for other types of online fraud, like stolen account credentials and bots, to extract revenues from a large and growing online industry.” Beatdapp estimates that up to 10% of all streams may be fraudulent. 

This year, the U.S. music industry started to publicly call for better fraud mitigation efforts, name-checking the problem on earnings calls with financial analysts. On Wednesday, when Deezer announced plans to roll out a new streaming model in partnership with Universal Music Group, “tackling fraud” was one of four key pillars. Deezer promised “continuing to drive an updated, and stricter, proprietary fraud detection system, removing incentives for bad actors, and protecting streaming royalties for artists.”

“All the major DSPs are pretty active and pretty open to listening and engaging on the topic,” a senior executive told Billboard earlier this year. “Having strong technology controls, rules, and policies in place, and adding consequences when you violate those, are incredibly important components.” 

Svenska Dagbladet‘s report will presumably add a new layer of urgency for those hoping to minimize streaming fraud. But it can be hard to tell what, if any, progress is being made. The biggest streaming services share little to no information about the level of fraudulent activities on their platforms. 

The Centre National de la Musique (CNM), an organization that operates under France’s Ministry of Culture, published a report in January investigating the amount of streaming fraud in the French music industry. But Apple Music, YouTube and Amazon did not share data about fraud on their platforms. Deezer has been unusually transparent about its efforts to fight fraud relative to its peers; its executives have said that 7% of daily streams are identified as fake. 

A Spotify spokesperson told Svenska Dagbladet that “less than one percent of all streams on Spotify have been determined to be tampered with,” but added, “In order not to make it easier for someone trying to manipulate the system, we do not share details about specific methods.”

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Unlocking digital delight: Solana influence in

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The cinema and television industry has seen a significant upheaval due to contemporary technological breakthroughs, which have fundamentally altered how consumers interact with online material. The Solana stands out among other fascinating technical developments as a leading pioneer. It is a remarkable finding because of its incredible speed and exquisite design. Solana is opening up many prospects through its innovative technologies, including quick transaction processing, the expansion of non-fungible marketplaces, and its innovative use of smart contracts. Explore this article to learn how Solana’s innovative technology changes the entertainment sector.

Solana’s Lightning-Speed Transactions 

Solana has harnessed the power of cutting-edge technology known as Tower Byzantine Fault Tolerance (BFT) to pursue unheard-of speed and scalability. Tower BFT is a fundamental development in consensus techniques that distinguishes Solana from other blockchain systems by enabling it to achieve high throughput and low latency. Solana is perfect for high-frequency applications and decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols because its novel methodology enables it to execute transactions quickly and precisely.

Tower BFT offers benefits beyond dependability and speed. Even in the face of hostile nodes, its capacity to withstand Byzantine faults assures the security and stability of the network. This adaptability is essential for preserving trust and supporting a decentralized environment where users can freely connect and conduct business without middlemen.

The Solana blockchain confirms the transactions fairly immediately. Users won’t have to wait much longer or lose out on possibilities because of its fast processing times. It makes it possible to broadcast material more smoothly, with less latency and buffering. Every in-game purchase, transaction, or activity happens without a hitch in online gaming, making the experience immersive and hassle-free. Whether you love games, movies, or music, Solana’s lightning-fast transactions are revolutionizing how you interact with entertainment online. 

Tokenizing Entertainment Assets 

The concept of tokenizing physical assets is rewriting the rules of ownership, investment, and market accessibility. With Solana, the potential to tokenize various facets of the entertainment industry comes to life.

Solana’s groundbreaking technology paves the way for the seamless tokenization of entertainment assets, revolutionizing how we interact with digital content. With Solana, the potential to tokenize various facets of the entertainment industry comes to life. Digital collectibles, virtual goods, and unique experiences can now be represented as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the Solana blockchain.

Imagine owning a rare scene from your favorite movie, a one-of-a-kind concert recording, or exclusive in-game items, all securely stored as NFTs. Solana’s high-speed and low-cost transactions ensure that fans and collectors worldwide can easily create, trade, and enjoy these assets. The possibilities for artists, creators, and content producers are endless, as they can now monetize their work directly through tokenized assets on Solana’s cutting-edge blockchain.

NFT Marketplaces and Digital Collectibles 

Solana’s influence includes the ecology of the NFT marketplace and goes well beyond tokenization. NFT markets flourish on Solana’s blockchain, enabling the production, sale, and trading of digital items with unparalleled efficiency. By minting their NFTs with low transaction costs, artists and producers may more easily enter this developing market.

Solana breathes fresh life into digital treasures by enabling blazing-fast transaction times and a decentralized system that allows creators to retain ownership over their works. Collectors profit from a seamless experience that makes finding, purchasing, and exchanging NFTs simple. Because of Solana’s dedication to scalability, NFT markets can meet the rising demand for distinctive digital assets while minimizing their negative environmental effects.

Decentralized Content Distribution 

Content producers and distributors gain a lot from Solana’s decentralized structure. It encourages a progression in creating, disseminating, and consuming entertainment material.

Furthermore, it eliminates the need for middlemen like record labels, recording studios, and online streaming services. 

 Creators are now able to communicate directly with their audiences because of decentralization. They may now keep a bigger portion of their earnings thanks to this. 

This supports up-and-coming artists and independent innovators who sometimes struggle to obtain just compensation in established entertainment industries.

Another major benefit of Solana’s blockchain is the transparent and unbreakable smart contracts. Creators can quickly and fairly get royalties and compensation by using smart contracts. Because of the trust built by this level of transparency and the certainty that the value of their work is safeguarded, more creators use digital platforms.

With real-time streaming, gaming, and interactive experiences for content distribution, Solana’s speed and scalability let startups and smaller organizations compete in the entertainment market. Additionally, it eliminates latency and buffering problems that may reduce user interest. This improves the viewing experience and creates new options for immersive and interactive entertainment material.

Gaming and In-Game Economies 

Solana’s emergence has revolutionized gaming and in-game economies, offering players unprecedented opportunities for engagement and ownership.

The best Solana gambling sites have played a pivotal role in transforming gaming experiences and in-game economies by providing a high-speed, low-cost blockchain platform. This technology enables decentralized applications (DApps) that seamlessly empower gamers to trade, buy, and sell in-game assets. Solana’s fast transaction speeds and scalability ensure players can interact with these assets in real-time, creating a dynamic and immersive gaming environment.

Integrating blockchain technology has enhanced gameplay and item ownership by introducing transparency and security. Players can now truly own their in-game assets as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the Solana blockchain, granting them full control and provable scarcity. This increases the value of in-game objects and enables cross-game interoperability, giving players more flexibility and value.

A new age of player-driven economies has begun due to the integration blockchain and Solana technologies into the gaming industry, allowing players to monetize their abilities and investments like never before.

As part of this ecosystem, Sol Gambling exemplifies the fusion of gaming and blockchain for exciting, innovative experiences.

Leveraging Smart Contracts for Entertainment 

Solana’s robust support for smart contracts has ushered in a new era of innovation in entertainment. Smart contracts are self-executing agreements with the terms of the contract directly written into code. When applied to entertainment, this technology offers numerous benefits and opportunities.

Firstly, Solana’s lightning-fast transaction speeds and low fees make it ideal for creating decentralized entertainment applications that require instant interactions. This enables real-time gaming experiences, interactive live streaming, and event ticketing without the frustrating delays or high transaction costs associated with other blockchain platforms.

Furthermore, smart contracts on Solana enhance security and transparency in the entertainment industry. They ensure that content creators, artists, and performers are fairly compensated through automated revenue-sharing mechanisms. This trustless system reduces the risk of disputes and allows creators to focus on their craft while knowing they will receive their due share of the profits.

Innovative entertainment applications powered by Solana’s smart contracts are not limited to gaming and content distribution; they extend to virtual concerts, digital art marketplaces, and even decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) for community-driven content creation. Solana’s support for smart contracts empowers developers to push the boundaries of entertainment, creating more immersive, equitable, and dynamic experiences for audiences worldwide.

Challenges and Scalability 

Solana has drawn much attention for its scalability because of its high throughput and low latency. However, it has scalability and network congestion issues like any other blockchain.

Growing Demand: The popularity of Solana has led to increased demand for its network, which can sometimes result in congestion during periods of high activity. This congestion can lead to slower transaction confirmations and higher fees, affecting user experience.

Resource Intensive: Running a Solana node can be resource-intensive, making it difficult for smaller validators to participate in securing the network. This centralization risk can impact the overall decentralization and security of the network.

The Solana development team continuously optimizes the Solana protocol to increase its scalability. This includes improvements to the consensus algorithm, node software, and network architecture to handle more transactions and smart contract executions efficiently. Solana is exploring Layer 2 scaling solutions to alleviate congestion and reduce fees. These solutions, like Serum’s Solana-powered decentralized exchange, provide faster and cheaper transactions while still benefiting from the security of the mainnet.

Efforts are being made to encourage a more diverse set of validators to join the network. This can distribute the load more evenly and reduce centralization risks. The Solana community actively contributes to solving scalability challenges. Developers are encouraged to create applications that optimize gas consumption and reduce strain on the network.

Future Innovations and Possibilities 

Solana’s influence on the entertainment industry is poised for remarkable evolution. It may change how we interact with digital information altogether. One key development may be creating decentralized, player-owned virtual worlds where games, social interactions, and digital art fluidly combine.

These immersive metaverses could revolutionize how we experience entertainment.

Furthermore, Solana’s integration with non-fungible tokens (NFTs) might lead to a surge in tokenized content ownership. Artists, musicians, and creators could directly sell and monetize their work, eliminating intermediaries. This shift could democratize the industry, allowing emerging talents to flourish.

Partnerships with major entertainment giants are on the horizon. Collaborations with studios, streaming platforms, and content creators could position Solana as a dominant force in content distribution. Such partnerships may also drive innovations in dynamic pricing models, personalization, and content recommendation systems.

Additionally, cross-chain interoperability with other blockchain ecosystems could open doors to new possibilities. This would facilitate seamless asset transfers and interactions, expanding the scope of content creation and consumption.

Conclusion 

In the dynamic realm of digital entertainment, Solana emerges as a potent catalyst for profound transformation. With its robust scalability, intelligent contract capabilities, and lightning-fast performance, Solana can redefine how we produce, enjoy, and engage with entertainment. As Solana persists in its journey of innovation and collaboration, it encourages creators and presents audiences with unparalleled experiences, reshaping the essence of entertainment in the digital era. The horizon is boundless with opportunities, and Solana stands firmly at the vanguard of this exhilarating revolution.

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Marc Anthony Gets Hollywood Walk of Fame Star After

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On Thursday, the most successful tropical Latin singer in history will be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

With his first hit, a reworking of Juan Gabriel’s “Hasta Que Te Conocí” in 1993, the then-24-year-old Marc Anthony became an international superstar, transforming salsa into something more personal — highly dramatic and intensely passionate — and remaking Latin pop music in the process.

The numbers are remarkable: a career concert gross of around half a billion dollars, 105 No. 1 hits on a variety of Billboard charts, dozens of RIAA gold and platinum certifications, 8 billion YouTube plays, two Grammys, six Latin Grammys and more prizes and awards than there is space to name in this article.

Today, after 30 years at the top, his powerful, soaring voice remains a phenomenon. His longtime producer Sergio George says he always knew that Anthony was a once-in-a-generation talent. “From the first record, I knew!” he tells Variety. “I told him, ‘The sky’s the limit.’”

“The reason he’s where he’s at is he visualizes it,” he continues. “The power of the mind? The vision? He has it.”

Marc Anthony wowed crowds on his 2023 “Viviendo Tour.”
Getty Images

Born Marco Antonio Muñíz in El Barrio (East Harlem in New York City) to Puerto Rican parents, he was named by his musician father Felipe for the stellar Mexican vocalist of the same name. Anthony remembers singing along with his dad at the age of three. “I stuttered all my life,” he told Tracy Smith in a 2016 interview for “CBS This Morning,” “but when I sang, I didn’t stutter. And that was my preferred way of communicating.”

He grew up at 102nd Street and Third Avenue in a neighborhood known for music, which fell into two main streams: a Latin-soul mixture that came together naturally on the streets of his barrio, and the retro-Cuban salsa boom that exploded during the ’70s of his childhood. There were romantic songs, and there was English-language pop in its many flavors. “Everybody played their own music out the window,”
he recalled.

Anthony had been a busy session singer before he released his first single, “Rebel,” in 1988, singing in English in the dance genre known as freestyle. Anglicizing his name professionally to avoid confusion with his still-active namesake, he was particularly associated with the house-music visionary Todd Terry and the Masters at Work team of Little Louie Vega, with whom he opened for Tito Puente at Madison Square Garden in 1992, and Kenny “Dope” González.

He hadn’t planned on a career as a Spanish-language singer. “I never thought in a million years that it would be salsa or Spanish in any way, shape, or form,” he told Billboard’s Leila Cobo. For one thing, although he’d grown up hearing Spanish, he didn’t speak it well. But when he teamed up with George, who was at the time the house producer for Ralph Mercado’s RMM label, his fledgling career hit a reset, and he got his Spanish together, fast. The team’s second album, “Todo a Su Tiempo” (1995) took them two years of work and generated seven No. 1 singles on Billboard’s Tropical Songs chart. The third album, “Contra la Corriente” (1997), was the first-ever salsa album to enter the Billboard 200 album chart, but that understates its impact on Latin music.

Together with George, Anthony created a new pop-salsa style that quickly dominated the charts and inspired countless imitators. At first, he told Smith, his dream was simply “to get out of the neighborhood.” Suddenly it happened, and he found himself singing for large audiences in multiple Spanish-speaking countries. He became a major player in the internationalization of Spanish-language music, ultimately relocating from his native New York to Miami.

The vastness of the international Spanish-speaking market, underserved by the mainstream U.S. music business, came as a revelation to him. Although his two biggest U.S. charting singles were in English (“You Sang to Me,” and “I Need to Know,” from his self-titled 1999 fourth album), he remained focused on that larger Spanish-speaking world as a career objective. Eleven of his 13 albums are in Spanish.

In 2015, after years of informally mentoring younger artists in the business of Latin music, together with music biz veteran Michel Vega, he founded Magnus Media, a company focused on representing Latinos in music and sports. Among its holdings are Magnus Music, the label that now releases Anthony’s albums. Magnus’ publishing division has young songwriters under contract; they give him first look, so he has plenty of material to choose from when he goes to record. “I’m surrounded by artists who write for me,” Anthony said in a 2022 EPK promoting his most recent album, the Grammy-winning “Pa’llá Voy.” “They write with my voice in mind, with my inflections in mind.”

When it’s time to record, “the approach is the same as it was 30 years ago,” says George. “It’s nuts! When we go into the studio, we don’t know what we’re going to do. There’s no pre-production, nothing! He has a basic song demo, done in a ballad form. We know that it’s gonna be successful but we don’t know how. You would think that these two guys [Sergio and Marc] are under all the pressure in the world, but we go in completely unprepared.”

Together with the musicians, they build up the music on the spot, with a live, spontaneous feel that sets it apart from the pre-programmed sound that has become the norm across many segments.

His songs tend to be movie-like dramatic monologues, so it’s not surprising that he’s an accomplished actor. “Marc’s a photographer, a painter, an actor. He’s an artist beyond music,” says Carlos Pérez, director of many Anthony music videos. “On set, he’s always a pleasure because he looks at things from a completely different point of view than most artists. He understands camera position, lighting and how it all impacts the character’s emotions.”

Anthony, who also made music with Jennifer Lopez when they were married, brings the same intense focus to the craft of acting that he does to singing, as per his emotive starring role in Paul Simon’s “The Capeman” (1998) on Broadway, with Rubén Blades and Ednita Nazario as co-stars. His film work includes “El Cantante” (2006), in which he played the tragic title role of salsa legend Héctor Lavoe, who died the year Anthony’s first album was released. Most recently, he appeared in “In the Heights” (2021), as well as earlier roles in “Man on Fire” (2004, appearing opposite Denzel Washington), “In the Time of Butterflies” (2001), “Bringing Out the Dead” (1999) and a small but moving part in critical favorite “Big Night” (1996).

MAN ON FIRE, Mickey Rourke, Marc Anthony, 2004, TM & Copyright (c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved.
©20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett C

As a philanthropist, he co-founded, with his longtime friend and colleague Henry Cárdenas, the Maestro Cares Foundation. Maestro built its first orphanage, Niños de Cristo, in La Romana, Dominican Republic, in 2014, followed by children’s homes in Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico and other countries in Latin America. In 2017, working with Magnus, he created Somos Una Voz, an alliance of artists and athletes to help provide humanitarian relief to areas affected by natural disasters.

Founder’s Award winner Anthony at the 20th Annual ASCAP Latin Music Awards in 2012
Hernandez/PictureGroup

Yet the foundation of it all is his music — and that voice.

“He will go down as one of the greatest artists of all time, period, regardless of genre,” George concludes. “He’s there already. There’s no one like him.”

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Train Receives SoundExchange Hall Of Fame Award @

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New York, NY (Top40 Charts) SoundExchange, the premier music tech organization powering the future of music, announced today that GRAMMY-winning rock band Train has been honored with a SoundExchange Hall of Fame Award recognizing their massive hit single “Hey, Soul Sister” as one of the most streamed tracks in SoundExchange’s 20-year history.
“Train took the music industry by storm in 1998 and have proven themselves as consistent hitmakers ever since,” said Michael Huppe, President and CEO of SoundExchange. “‘Hey, Soul Sister’ is an enduring and instantly recognizable singalong classic. SoundExchange is thrilled to honor this legendary group and their continuing success.”

Huppe presented Train lead singer Pat Monahan with the band’s SoundExchange Hall of Fame Award prior to their recent performance at the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Train is a multi-GRAMMY and Billboard Award-winning band from San Francisco that has had 14 songs on Billboard’s Hot 100 list since the release of their debut self-titled album. Train’s climb to the top began in 1994, as the original five-member band tenaciously built a loyal hometown following leading up to their debut album released by Columbia in 1998. The tumbling wordplay of “Meet Virginia” gave them their first unlikely radio hit, and 2001’s Drops of Jupiter broke them to multi-platinum status thanks to the double GRAMMY Award-winning title song that spent 10 months in the Top 40. It has also been certified seven-times platinum in the U.S., and earned the 2001 GRAMMY Award for Best Rock Song. The group won another GRAMMY Award in 2011 for their global hit “Hey, Soul Sister” from their multi-platinum album Save Me, San Francisco. “Hey, Soul Sister” was the No. 1 best-selling smash and most downloaded single of 2010, achieved RIAA Diamond status in 2021 and now 11-times platinum, and in 2022 surpassed one billion streams on Spotify. Train has sold more than 10 million albums and 30 million tracks worldwide, with multiple platinum and gold citations, including three GRAMMY Awards, two Billboard Music Awards, and dozens of other honors. They’ve had 12 albums on the Billboard 200 albums chart with their 2014 Bulletproof Picasso reaching No. 4 in 2012 and 2017’s a girl a bottle a boat debuting at No. 8. “Play That Song,” the lead single from a girl a bottle a boat, went platinum in four countries including the U.S., hit Top 5 on the US iTunes chart, Top 10 at Hot AC radio, and charted at Adult Top 40. Train’s highly anticipated 11th studio album, AM Gold, was released on May 20, 2022.

Train front man, Pat Monahan, partakes in other ventures outside of music, including his award-winning wine portfolio, Save Me, San Francisco Wine Co, which was created in 2011 and has sold over 10 million bottles and won over 100 medals. Proceeds from his wine business support Family House, a San Francisco charity that supports families of children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. Monahan has appeared on television and in film with credits that include the 2021 Hallmark Channel original movie, Christmas in Tahoe, inspired by Train’s album of the same name, which he executive produced and starred, Dr. Ken, 90210, CBS’s Hawaii Five-0 and Magnum P.I., The Voice, American Idol, and The Bachelor.



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UMG And Deezer To Launch The First Comprehensive

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New York, NY (Top40 Charts) Santa Monica & Paris, September 06, 2023 – Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment, and Deezer, one of the largest independent music streaming platforms, today announced the launch of an artist-centric streaming model, designed to better reward the artists, and the music that fans value the most. Deezer will launch the model in France, Q4 2023 with additional markets to follow.

The two companies developed the new model together as part of their previously announced collaboration, using their respective deep data analysis to develop an economic model that better reflects the true value of artist-fan relationships.

The collaboration to launch an artist-centric model is driven by the companies’ recognition that the current music streaming model needs to be re-imagined. While streaming has been the most significant technology advancement in music in many years, a flood of uploads with no meaningful engagement, including non-artist noise content, has necessitated reassessment of the approach that platforms, labels, and artists take to foster a thriving music ecosystem.

Based on Deezer’s in-depth data analysis the following key enhancements are being integrated into the new artist-centric model:

• Focusing on artists – Deezer will attribute a double boost to what they define as “professional artists” – those who have a minimum of 1,000 streams per month by a minimum of 500 unique listeners – in order to more fairly reward them for the quality and engagement they bring to the platforms and fans;

• Rewarding engaging content – additionally assigning a double boost for songs that fans actively engage with, reducing the economic influence of algorithmic programming;

• Demonetizing non-artist noise audio – Deezer is planning to replace non-artist noise content with its own content in the functional music space, and this won’t be included in the royalty pool; and

• Tackling fraud – continuing to drive an updated, and stricter, proprietary fraud detection system, removing incentives for bad actors, and protecting streaming royalties for artists.

Moreover, the size of the catalog available on digital platforms has exploded in recent years. Deezer’s catalog grew from 90 to over 200 million pieces of content in the past two years alone. As part of the artist-centric model, Deezer intends to apply a stricter provider policy to ensure quality and a better user experience. This includes steps to limit non-artist noise content.

“This is the most ambitious change to the economic model since the creation of music streaming and a change that will support the creation of high-quality content in the years to come,” said Jeronimo Folgueira, CEO of Deezer. “At Deezer we always put music first, providing a high-quality experience for fans and championing fairness in the industry. We are now embracing a necessary change, to better reflect the value of each piece of content and eliminate all wrong incentives, to protect and support artists. There is no other industry where all content is valued the same, and it should be obvious to everyone that the sound of rain or a washing machine is not as valuable as a song from your favourite artist streamed in HiFi.”

“The goal of the artist centric model is to mitigate dynamics that risk drowning music in a sea of noise and to ensure we are better supporting and rewarding artists at all stages of their careers whether they have 1000 fans or 100 thousand or 100 million. With this multi-faceted approach, music by artists that attracts and engages fans will receive weighting that better recognizes its value, and the fraud and gaming, which serves only to deprive artists their due compensation, will be aggressively addressed,” said Michael Nash, UMG’s EVP and Chief Digital Officer.

He continued, “Embracing the commonly shared objectives we highlighted at the outset of this chapter in our partnership, together we’ll maintain a flexible and adaptive approach. As the ever-evolving music landscape continues its rapid transformation, UMG and Deezer will rigorously address the impact of these changes as we incorporate new insights from data analysis, and fine-tune the model, as appropriate.”

Olivier Nusse, CEO of Universal Music France, said, “After extensive engagement with Deezer throughout 2023, we are very proud to be pioneers in France in the highly anticipated roll out of their version of the Artist Centric model. This comprehensive initiative will much more effectively value fan engagement and active streaming of music created by artists.”

Highlights from Preliminary Work:

No surprise: fans listen to music by the artists they love

-Deezer’s data analysis showed that fans mostly consume music from the artists they love and show little interest in music from hobbyists or functional music.

-Content clutter is degrading the fan experience and impeding discovery of artists.

-For example, 97% of all uploaders on the Deezer platform generated only 2% of the total streams. Whereas only 2% of all uploaders—those artists attracting a consistent fanbase—had more than 1,000 monthly unique listeners.

Reward the artists that attract and retain subscribers

-In designing a fairer allocation of revenue, Deezer seeks to provide greater incentives to those artists who drive valuable engagement on the platform:

-A double boost will be given to all artists who have a minimum of 1,000 streams per month by a minimum of 500 unique listeners.

-Deezer’s data shows that these artists can come from a wide spectrum—from DIY to indie to major label. By examining user behavior over the initial period immediately after they subscribe to Deezer, and then looking at that same user’s behavior in the first month after joining, conclusions can be drawn regarding which artists drove them to subscribe and which artists kept them engaged on the platform.

-Data indicates that the artists listened to by new subscribers in their first month may drive as much as 25% to 30% of user’s streams over the first two years of their activity on the service.

-To reward artists that fans engage with, Deezer will boost the value of their streams that drive engagement on the platform.

Addressing fraud, system gaming and undue influence

-By continuing to improve safeguards to prevent fraud, system gaming and undue influence, revenue in the artist pool is likely to increase. Deezer’s data showed that this could be done in a variety of ways including:

-Fully deploying and further developing Deezer’s proprietary fraud detection system to optimize the removal of manipulated streams.

-Deezer’s best-in-class algorithm identified approximately 7% of streams as fraudulent in 2022: this algorithm uses machine learning at the user level to identify financial fraud (fake accounts, payment fraud), and potential system-gaming behaviors.

Removing “noise” content from royalty pool

-Streams tagged as “noise” represented approximately 2% of streams on the platform.

-Deezer’s intention is to replace non-artist noise content on the platform with its own content in the functional music space, which will not be accounted for in the royalty pool.

Integrating additional artist-centric components to benefit both artists and fans

-The partnership construct will enable data-based adjustments to optimize model performance and establish the foundation for introduction of future elements such as ARPU enhancements, including super fan monetization.

Other elements of the partnership

Universal will collaborate with Deezer on the development of Deezer’s fraud detection tools and AI detection, and intends to experiment with new technology and label services from Deezer.

Deezer is one of the largest independent music streaming platforms in the world, with more than 200 million pieces of content available in 180 countries, providing access to lossless HiFi audio, innovative recommendation technology and industry defining features. As the home of music, Deezer brings artists and fans together on a scalable and global platform, to unlock the full potential of music through technology. Founded in 2007 in Paris, Deezer is now a global company with a team of over 600 people based in France, Germany, UK, Brazil, and the US, all brought together by their passion for music, technology and innovation. Deezer is listed on the Professional Segment of Euronext Paris (Ticker: DEEZR. ISIN: FR001400AYG6) and is also part of the newly-created Euronext Tech Leaders segment, dedicated to European high-growth tech companies, and its associated index.

At Universal Music Group, we exist to shape culture through the power of artistry. UMG is the world leader in music-based entertainment, with a broad array of businesses engaged in recorded music, music publishing, merchandising and audiovisual content. Featuring the most comprehensive catalogue of recordings and songs across every musical genre, UMG identifies and develops artists and produces and distributes the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful music in the world. Committed to artistry, innovation and entrepreneurship, UMG fosters the development of services, platforms and business models in order to broaden artistic and commercial opportunities for our artists and create new experiences for fans. For more information on Universal Music Group visit www.universalmusic.com.



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