Halsey Launches Fund to Amplify Black Creators’ ‘Art, Voice and Perspective’

Halsey is stepping up her support for the Black Lives Matter movement by launching a special fund to help black creators.

The Black Creators Fund will provide financial support, resources and a platform to black creators, the singer explains in a statement posted to Instagram. “Looking for black creators who want to enrich the world with their work,” she writes, “use #BLACKCREATORSFUND & tag your favorite black creators in the comments.”

Launching Thursday (June 11), the fund will help amplify black artists’ voice and perspective, read a statement.

The initiative is an ongoing one, and it’ll be entirely funded by the Halsey team.

“If you’re an artist, poet, graphic designer, writer, film maker, music producer, journalist, make up artist, or creator of any kind,” reads the launch statement, “we want to see your work and want to help achieve your goals”

The biracial singer-songwriter — her mom is Irish, Italian and Hungarian, her dad African American – has participated in the nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

The “Without Me” singer shared her experiences at those marches on social media. “We were peaceful hands up not moving not breaching the line,” she wrote in one post. “They opened fire of rubber bullets and tear gas multiple times on us. citizens who were not provoking them.”

The U.S. artist said she was hit twice, once by pellets and once by shrapnel. “We were gassed repeatedly for hours.”

In a separate post from earlier this month, she took aim at police for overstepping the mark with protesters. “You think it’s not happening, it’s only the ‘thugs’ and the ‘riots,’ right? The police are keeping you safe right? You’re wrong,” she wrote. “This is happening everywhere. And innocent people exercising their rights to speech and assembly are facing violence and abuse of power.”

Check out details on Halsey’s Black Creators Funding Initiative below.

Will Ferrell & Rachel McAdams Play an Icelandic Music Duo in ‘Eurovision’ Film: Watch the Trailer

Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams are taking on Eurovision in Netflix’s upcoming comedy, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, and the first trailer dropped today (June 11).

The clip shows Ferrell and McAdams, who play Lars and Sigrit of budding Icelandic musical duo Fire Saga as they haphazardly work toward their dreams of winning  of the world’s biggest song competition.

Demi Lovato is also involved in the movie and will perform “In the Mirror,” an original song for the movie’s soundtrack.

The David Dobkin-directed film, which also stars Dan Stevens, Lovato, Pierce Brosnan and more, will be available for streaming on June 26. Watch the trailer, and the hilarious music video for Fire Saga’s “Volcano Man” below.


NMPA Touts Cross-Industry Legislative Cooperation, New Friendship With Peloton & More at Annual Meeting

Kicking off the National Music Publishers’ Association’s annual meeting Wednesday, the organization’s president and CEO David Israelite applauded RIAA chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier for his leadership in pulling together around 65 music trade groups to lobby Congress for CARES Act relief for self-employed music industry workers.

Glazier himself applauded the industry for coming together and noted that in times of tragedy, artists are quick to respond, playing live concerts to raise money for any number of worthy causes. “But sometimes they are not so good at raising money for themselves” in their own time of need, he said.

Israelite also pointed out the industry was forced to respond to California’s AB5 law, which was enacted to try and protect gig economy workers.

That law, however, would have created a hardship for the music industry, which largely consists of non-traditional work arrangements with creators and technicians. “AB5 is another example of what can happen when the music industry comes together,” said Glazier, who applauded musicians and background vocalist unions for helping carve out exceptions in the law for music workers.

Glazier added that he hopes the changes achieved in the California law would “serve as a model for New York and eventually the federal government when they look at this issue.”

The other thing the RIAA is monitoring closely is the situation with the Copyright Office’s Section 512 study. This is an important issue, says Glazier, because when the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was written in the 1990s, it offered immunity to services for copyright infringement claims as long as those services protected against copyright theft by promptly removing or blocking access to pirated content.

“The problem is that it was written for the services that were around at the time,” Glazier said. “So if you look at who was around the negotiating table it was companies like Bell South, MCI, Prodigy, Netscape and AOL. Kids [today] have never heard of these companies.

“[Congress] were really looking at a dial-up world,” he continued. “There was no peer-to-peer, there were no monster search engines, or companies like YouTube and TikTok. Over time, Congress has tried to balance the law so that the technology that has surpassed it can have that balance come back. But it’s still not there. The services should be responsible parts of the ecosystem who can voluntarily protect music, but have refused so far to do so in a way that protects creators.”

The Copyright Office study took five years and points out flaws in the system and the need to rebalance it, Glazier said, adding, “We are hopeful that this [study] will help push a successful, responsible, and accountable ecosystem going forward.”

As the interview wound down, Israelite noted “songwriters and music publishers really have a true friend in [Glazier] and your team at the RIAA.”

Next up, NMPA executive vp and general counsel Danielle Aguire interviewed the Mechanical Licensing Collective CEO Kris Ahrend. In building the new organization, Ahrend said he is instilling a number of objectives, noting the MLC is a service organization that will also fulfill the transparency mandate written into the law and “pay creators accurately.”

Ahrend noted that in building the organization, the management team has had to think a lot about diversity since songwriters themselves are incredibly diverse and the MLC needs to be able to communicate with them effectively.

He added the new company has expanded from two employees to just about 20 staffers, and soon it hopes to be able to roll out portals so that creators and copyright owners can double check to ensure that songs in the database have the correct metadata.

By opening its headquarters in Nashville, Ahrend said he hopes to have an impact on “how we define Music City.” He said, “It’s not just the home of the hits that people hear, but also the place from which people will be paid.”

Moving along, Ross Golan, one of two songwriter NMPA board members, addressed how songwriters are adapting to writing during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has eliminated in-person sessions and replaced them with remote ones. For one, he says it makes the sessions more efficient because people don’t enjoy socializing on Zoom like they do in person. But it took some adjusting in order to write that way, he added.

“It will be interesting in two years from now if people have completely adjusted the way they write because of how advanced some of the technology is becoming,’ Golan said.

For those who were unaware of how fitness company Peloton integrates music into its platform as a new licensee — or, as Israelite described it, an “exciting new source of revenue for songwriters and publishers” — Peloton vp of music partnerships Gwen Riley was on hand to explain. Saying that “music is integral to our brand,” which currently boasts 2.6 million members, she continued, ”Our job is to create the soundtrack for what can be the most physical part of their day. The onus is on us to educate about the music we add” to the company’s workouts.

As the meeting was winding down, Nielsen Music/MRC Data senior vp of analytics, insights and research David Bakula gave a detailed presentation about the studies the division has done on music listeners during the pandemic. For information on those studies, see here, here, here and here.

In closing out his segment, Bakula turned to the live space, saying it will be hard to predict when that comes back. “The majority of fans look like they are six months away from being ready to go back to shows — and that’s even with a whole lot of things to keep them safe like temperature checks, hand sanitizers, and not too many people in the bathroom at the same time,” Bakula said. “All of these different things are going to be critical before we are comfortable in going back to shows. In the meantime, I think live streams have really created a place in our consumption where you are going to see it maybe not as a replacement for live shows but as a supplement and a way to get artists connected to their fans.”

Following the presentation of the NMPA’s Icon Award to Garth Brooks, the meeting came to an end. Brooks, who praised his manager and publisher Bob Doyle, a member of the NMPA board, as someone who loves music and songwriters more than anybody, also thanked the NMPA for the role they play in “standing up for songwriters” in Washington D.C.

“We are the seed.” Brooks said, “but we need to be the most protected or there is no plant.”

Coachella Announces 2021 Dates After Cancellation News

Following news Wednesday Coachella and Stagecoach festivals’ October dates were canceled by county health officials, promoter Goldenvoice announced new dates on Thursday (June 11) in 2021 for the Indio, California, events.

Now Coachella is being planned for April 9-11 and April 16-18, 2021, Stagecoach is scheduled for April 23-25, 2021.

Coachella’s 2020 edition was previously scheduled to take place April 10-12 and April 17-19 with headliners Travis Scott, Frank Ocean and Rage Against the Machine. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was then pushed back to the weekends of Oct. 9-11 and Oct. 16-18 and Stagecoach was moved to Oct. 23-25.

“A year without Coachella and Stagecoach is hard for us to comprehend, but we have every intention of returning in 2021,” Goldenvoice said in a statement. “We look forward to sharing our new lineups and more information. We can’t wait to be together in the desert again when it is safe.”

All 2020 passes will be honored in 2021 and pass holders will receive emails by Monday with instructions on how to proceed for new tickets or refunds.

Announcing the October dates’ cancellation on Wednesday, Riverside Public Health Officer Dr. Cameron Kaiser cited California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s four-step outline for re-opening the state as the reasoning behind the decision, noting music festivals are not permitted to reopen until an effective treatment for the virus is widely available. Coachella and Stagecoach’s 2021 editions are still dependent on local and state government decrees and sources told Billboard earlier this week that the AEG-owned Goldenvoice was determining whether to slate the two-weekend, 125,000-capacity Coachella at likely a limited-capacity return in April 2021 or stage a higher-capacity comeback in October 2021.

Goldenvoice has not announced any plans to hold the event with less people.

This will be the first year since 2000 that Coachella has not occurred. The festival previously took a gap year break after its 1999 debut and its 2001 return.

On Monday, Goldenvoice parent AEG announced it would be laying off 15% of its workforce, furloughing over 100 employees across several divisions and instituting 20-50% pay cuts due to the ongoing COVID-19 downturn that has devastated the live events industry. “It is clear now that live events with fans will not resume for many months and likely not until sometime in 2021,” AEG chief executive Dan Beckerman wrote in a note to employees in advance of the layoffs.

See the Full Schedule for Billboard & The Hollywood Reporter’s Pride Summit and Pride Prom

Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter announced today (June 11) the full programming details for the second annual Pride Summit and Prom, which will be held on Saturday (June 13) and feature a number of panels, tutorials, performances, conversations and more, leading up to the first-ever virtual Pride Prom.

The day-long online event kicks off at 12:30 p.m. ET with some opening remarks and a meditation led by Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Patrisse Cullors. Leading up to the 7 p.m. prom, fans will see performances and hear discussions with influential LGBTQ artists in the industry. Wilson Cruz, Jessica Hargrave and Ryan White – the team behind Apple TV+’s Visible: Out on Television – will participate in a panel discussion on LGBTQ representation in TV and film. Todrick Hall and Pose screenwriter and producer Steven Canals will engage in an intimate conversation about their journeys as queer black men rising in their respective fields.

Plus, Abby McEnany and Lilly Wachowski are confirmed for a rare conversation; and Boy George will share stories (preview his discussion here).

When the evening comes and it’s time to head to prom, Chris Appleton, George Kotsiopoulos and Patrick Starrr will help viewers get glammed up. Shea Diamond will then take over as emcee, and Hall will be crowned King and Queen of the Genderless Prom court,  embracing the Gender Non-Conforming (GNC) movement. To top it all off, Tituss Burgess will provide his newly released single “Dance M.F.”

That only scratches the surface of the celebrities featured in the jam-packed event. See the full schedule and programming details below, and tune in on June 13 here.

Schedule and programming details include:

12:30 PM ET Opening remarks and meditation with Patrisse Cullors – Black Lives Matter Co-Founder
1:00 PM ET Performance by Shea Diamond
1:15 PM ET A conversation with the cast and director of the Apple TV+ documentary series “Visible: Out on Television.” Moderated by Tre’vell Anderson. Presented by Apple
1:45 PM ET Performance by Rex Rebel
2:00 PM ET An unfiltered conversation with Boy George (moderated by Billboard’s Taylor Mims)
2:30 PM ET Performance by Madame Gandhi
2:45 PM ET A personal conversation with Lena Waithe & Jonica Gibbs
3:15 PM ET Performance by Trixie Mattel. Presented by Mercedes
3:30 PM ET A conversation with Todrick Hall & Steven Canals. Presented by Wells Fargo
4:00 PM ET A conversation with Lilly Wachowski & Abby McEnany. Presented by Wells Fargo
4:45 PM ET Pride Prom prep with Chris Appleton
5:15 PM ET Pride Prom prep with Patrick Starrr
5:45 PM ET Pride Prom prep with George Kotsiopoulos
7:00 PM ET Pride Prom with MC Shea Diamond and DJ Tracy Young 

*Note, schedule is subject to change 

Additional new Pride Prom appearances include ALOK, Chella Man, DJ Tracy Young, George Kotsiopoulos, House of Xclusive Lanvin, Randy Rainbow and Shamir.

Previously announced appearances include Anne-Marie, Big Freedia, Billy Porter, Bob The Drag Queen, Brandi Carlile, Caitlyn Jenner, Carlie Hanson, Carson Kressley, Cheyenne Jackson, Chris Appleton, Cyndi Lauper, Debbie Gibson, Erika Jayne, Hayley Kiyoko, Indigo Girls, Jillian Mercado, Jonica T. Gibbs, Justin Tranter, Kalen Allen, Kat Cunning, L Devine, Lance Bass,  Lauren Jauregui, Lena Waithe, Madame Gandhi, Margaret Cho, Mary Lambert, Nico Tortorella, Noah Cyrus, Pabllo Vittar, Patrick Starrr, Pentatonix, Perfume Genius, Rex Rebel, Shea Diamond, Soko, Tiffany, Todrick Hall, Tove Lo and Wilson Cruz.

The second annual Pride Prom and Summit proudly supports The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people.

Still Mixing It Up While Clubs Are Closed: Galantis, Louis the Child, Low Steppa & More Stay-at-Home DJ Picks

With clubs closed across the country and Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart on hiatus, we’re asking reporting club DJs what they’ve been listening to lately, while at home, of course.

This week, we spoke with Chicago DJ Dante The Don; North Jersey’s Tony Gia; and Wilmington, Delaware’s Ting.

Dante The Don
Dante The Don (real name Dante Deiana) has been reveling in Louis The Child, Quinn XCII and Chelsea Cutler’s “Little Things.” “I love these guys,” Dante tells Billboard. “Great dudes, from Chicago. I’ve loved seeing their rise. I’m also obsessed with Chelsea Cutler’s voice, and I love the jazz feel of the drops in this song. Great summertime vibes.” “Things” reached No. 14 on the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart in April.

Dante, who would normally be DJing by day at Wrigley Field for Chicago Cubs home games and by night in club residencies at the city’s Tao, Bounce and Liqr Box (and regularly traveling to clubs in Austin, Boston and Cleveland), has also been into MIMO’s “Skin,” featuring Siena Bella. “My boy MIMO is heating up,” Dante raves. “Such a great tune from him and fellow Clevelander Siena Bella.”

Additionally, Dante, who produces weekend mix shows aired on Pitbull’s Globalization channel on SiriusXM and WKSC (103.5 Kiss FM) Chicago, is digging Galantis’ “I Fly,” featuring Faouzia. The DJ gushes, “This song is perfection. It has that sound like it’s destined to fly up the charts and be on everybody’s Spotify this summer. Such a great feel-good song.” “Fly” hit No. 29 on Hot Dance/Electronic Songs in May.

Tony Gia
Tony Gia (short for Franjieh) has been partying with PS1’s “Fake Friends,” featuring Alex Hosking. “A track like this needed to be made,” Gia tells Billboard. “I’m a sucker for the big piano melody and feel-good drop. PS1 provides a cool summer anthem paired with a unique message that is really relatable. I mean, who doesn’t have fake friends?”

Gia, who’d normally be playing at such Northern New Jersey venues as Birch in Hoboken, 46 Lounge in Totowa and BarCode in Elizabeth, among others, as well as various venues in neighboring states, has also been listening to BeatBreaker’s “I Love You.” “This one has hopeful lyrics, seductive vocals and a powerful drop,” Gia says. “I love this track, so I guess the name does stick! BeatBreaker says, ‘Always spread love, even in tough times,’ and that’s just what this record has done these past few months.”

Additionally, Gia, nationally syndicated on Hollywood Hamilton’s Remix Top 30 Countdown mix show, shares his love for Kastra and Modern Machines’ “Issues,” featuring Bianca Linta. “At first, the lyrics definitely caught me off-guard,” Gia says. “As I listened, I discovered a super-catchy hook that leads into a groovy drop. Also, I’m pretty sure this song was secretly written by my ex-girlfriend …”

Ting (full name Ting Azarcon) has been enjoying the extended mix of UK DJ/producer Low Steppa’s “Wanna Show You,” featuring Reigns. “I love this track,” Ting tells Billboard. “It’s a fun piano house track, so uplifting to the spirit, something many of us need right now.”

Ting, who would usually be playing at Crimson Moon in Wilmington, Delaware, and Jocks in Philadelphia, has additionally been jamming to Shapeshifters’ “Second Chance,” featuring Kimberly Davis. “Funky disco house is back,” Ting beams. “Shapeshifters have outdone themselves again.”

The track rose 42-32 in its second week on the Dance Club Songs chart dated March 28, the last frame before the chart as suspended.

Ting, who hosts a podcast, has also been liking the extended mix of Martin Ikin’s “I’ll Be,” featuring Malika. “This track has an awesome piano hook,” Ting muses. “It supplements Malika’s vocals and culminates in a groovy bassline hook. You can’t help but jive to this funky vocal tech house track.”