TikTok Sale: ByteDance Partners With Oracle

ByteDance has selected Oracle as its partner for a deal to keep TikTok operating in the U.S., a source familiar with the talks confirms to The Hollywood Reporter.

The decision comes as ByteDance has rejected a bid by Microsoft that earlier this summer was seen as the likely option for the company as it looked to avoid a shutdown of the popular social media app amid increased tensions between the U.S. and China. Microsoft confirmed that its bid had been rejected in a statement on its corporate blog on Sunday night. “We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok’s users, while protecting national security interests,” the company wrote. “To do this, we would have made significant changes to ensure the service met the highest standards for security, privacy, online safety, and combatting disinformation, and we made these principles clear in our August statement. We look forward to seeing how the service evolves in these important areas.”

Microsoft was seen as the favorite to move forward in negotiations with ByteDance given its deep pockets, which would have helped it address the security concerns that led President Donald Trump to require the business to be sold if it wanted to continue to operate in the U.S. Walmart had planned to team up with Microsoft on the bid but was not mentioned in the company’s statement.

But ByteDance, facing a short timeline to strike a deal, ultimately felt that Oracle — which has curried favor with Trump — was the best partner to address the security concerns that have plagued the app since it first came to the U.S. in 2018. According to the source, Oracle is being brought on board as a tech partner and not as an outright buyer of TikTok’s U.S. business. It’s unclear whether Oracle will acquire a share in TikTok as a result of the partnership.

Representatives for TikTok and ByteDance declined to comment. A spokesperson for Oracle did not respond to a request for comment.

The news follows an Aug. 6 executive order from Trump that called for TikTok to be banned in the U.S. if ByteDance didn’t sell its American operations. Trump has cited national security concerns as the reason for the ban, arguing that ByteDance could give the Chinese government access to data from its U.S. users. The company was given a mid-September deadline to divest of the business.

TikTok has fought those claims, saying that it stores American user data on serves based out of the U.S. and Singapore. The company also has sued Trump, arguing in its complaint that the ban is “a pretext for furthering the President’s broader campaign of anti-China rhetoric in the run-up to the U.S. election.”

China complicated ByteDance’s ability to strike a deal when, in late August, it issued new export rules that would prevent TikTok from selling the technology that powers the algorithm behind its addictive “For You” feed, which learns about user behavior over time in order to serve up the most relevant videos.

Though the goal of a deal with Oracle is to keep TikTok operating in the U.S., but the Trump administration still has to agree that the new arrangement addresses his concerns about the handling of U.S. user data. Tech analyst Daniel Ives is skeptical. In a Sunday night note, he wrote, “TikTok’s days in the U.S. likely are numbered.”

TikTok first came to the U.S. in August 2018 after ByteDance acquired competitor Musical.ly and merged the two apps. Today, the social video app has 100 million monthly active users in the U.S. and has minted stars out of young creators including Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae. The app has also become a powerful platform for debuting new music and helped popularize Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road.”

The app’s fate in the U.S. is being determined without the company’s newly appointed American CEO. Disney veteran Kevin Mayer, who accepted a job running TikTok in late May, announced his resignation on Aug. 26. Vanessa Pappas, general manager of TikTok in North America, Australia and New Zealand, is serving as the company’s interim CEO.

This article originally appeared in THR.com.

Rolling Stones Crush U.K. Chart Record With ‘Goats Head Soup’

After a tight race, The Rolling Stones finished with another chart crown and a place in the history books.

The legendary British rock band bagged the title in the final hour with their reissue of Goats Head Soup (Polydor), the second time the album has ruled the Official U.K. Albums Chart. On this occasion, Goats Head Soup finished with an advantage of just 800 combined sales over the midweek leader, Declan McKenna’s Zeros.

With their latest chart feat, The Stones become the first band in history to land a No. 1 album across six different decades.

The Rolling Stones now have 13 No. 1 albums, including the 1973 original edition of Goats Head Soup, placing them level with Elvis Presley and Robbie Williams. Only The Beatles have more career No. 1 albums in the U.K., at 16.

Mick Jagger and Co. are enjoying a winning start to September. Last Wednesday (Sept. 9), the Hall of Famers opened the doors to their world-first flagship store, “RS No. 9 Carnaby,” on London’s Carnaby Street.

McKenna was pipped at the post on the Official U.K. Albums Chart, but he still enjoys a personal best with Zeros (Columbia), the most downloaded album of the week.

Zeros easily eclipses the No. 11 best of the 21-year-old English singer’s 2017 debut What Do You Think About The Car?.

Further down the chart, “Caribbean Queen” singer Billy Ocean scores an eighth Top 20 with One World (Sony Music CG), new at No. 14, while English synth-pop duo Hurts bow at No. 21 with Faith (Lento), their fifth studio LP.

U.S. hip-hop artist and singer Big Sean scores a third Top 40 title with Detroit 2 (Def Jam), new at No. 24, while controversial rapper 6ix9ine starts at at No. 27 with his second set Tattletales (Scum Gang).

Over on the Official U.K. Singles Chart, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion claim a second consecutive title with “WAP” (Atlantic).

According to the OCC, the hip-hop hit finishes the chart cycle with 62,000 chart sales, including 8.1 million streams, for a margin of 12,000 chart sales over the second placed single 24kGoldn’s “Mood” (Black Butter) featuring Iann Dior, up two places; while Headie One’s “Ain’t It Different” (Relentless) featuring AJ Tracey and Brit Award winner Stormzy is up 5-3, a new high.

English DJ and producer Paul Woolford impacts the Top 10 for the first time with “Looking For Me” (Looking For Me), his collaboration with Diplo featuring Kareen Lomax. It’s up 12-8.

Finally, Miley Cyrus cracks the Top 10 for the fifth time in her career as “Midnight Sky” (RCA) vaults 17-10. It’s her first stint in the top tier since “Wrecking Ball” hit the summit back in 2013.

Gladys Knight vs. Patti LaBelle in ‘Verzuz’ Battle of Soul Legends: See Billboard’s Scorecard For the Event

Two of the true living legends of popular music squared off live from Philadelphia in the latest installment of Verzuz last night (Sept. 13), in a matchup about as highly anticipated as any NFL game on this season-opening Sunday.

Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle, iconic soul voices, personalities and hitmakers whose careers stretch back to the early ’60s, got together for the most generation-spanning Verzuz yet, to the delight of over half a million fans watching over Instagram Live, and untold more via Apple Music — and for the first time, thousands more via the series’ official YouTube account as well.

“We are so happy to be together,” LaBelle kicked off the event by saying. “We’ve been together for many, many, many years.” The two then recounted their long history together, sharing memories of the various ways their careers had intersected over the years, and expressing plenty of mutual affection — about each other’s musical artistry, as well as about their respective families and even their famous culinary exploits.

The battle was sure to be one of the most memorable yet in the Swizz Beatz- and Timbaland-curated series, and the showdown between the two greats did not disappoint. Here’s how Billboard scored their matchup.

Round 1: Patti LaBelle’s “All Right Now” vs. Gladys Knight and the Pips’ “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me”

Patti goes fairly deep for her leadoff cut, with the high-energy early ’90s cut ‘All Right Now.” (“I only made four videos in my life, and that was one of them!” she comments.) Gladys goes classic, singing over an instrumental of her Pips-backed ’70s Billboard Hot 100 top five hit “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me.” Good start for both, but slight early advantage to Gladys.

WINNER: Gladys Knight

Round 2: Patti LaBelle’s “If You Asked Me To” vs. Gladys Knight and the Pips’ “Make Yours a Happy Home”

“Céline did this after I did!” Patti remarks. Indeed, while Céline Dion went to the Hot 100’s top five in the early ’90s with “If You Asked Me To,” the Philly soul icon reminds why her immaculate 1989 original from the Licence to Kill soundtrack remains definitive, while also explaining the tragic circumstances that impacted her emotional performance in the song’s video. Knight declines to counter with her own Licence to Kill theme, instead going with the Claudine soundtrack jam “Make Yours a Happy Home” — a fine choice, but hard to compete with Patti’s powerhouse performance.

WINNER: Patti LaBelle

Round 3: Patti LaBelle’s “Stir It Up” vs. Gladys Knight and the Pips’ “Every Beat of My Heart”

“It’s kinda corny but I love it!” Patti admits of her second-best-remembered Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack single. “Stir It Up” is certainly a fun flashback, but not as fun as Gladys going all the way back to the beginning — to 1961, when her group was simply known as The Pips, and they hit the Hot 100’s top 10 for the first of many times to come with the Johnny Otis-penned ballad “Every Beat of My Heart.” Still impossibly smooth nearly 60 years later.

WINNER: Gladys Knight

Round 4: Patti LaBelle’s “When You’ve Been Blessed (Feels Like Heaven)” vs. Gladys Knight and the Pips’ “On and On”

An edited-for-time version of Patti’s early-’90s superballad “When You’ve Been Blessed” throws her for a loop slightly, but she picks it up in time to stun with a cappella vocals over the song’s fade out. Knight dips back into the Claudine soundtrack with the supremely funky “On & On,” written (like the whole OST) by the similarly legendary Curtis Mayfield. “We gotta [keep going],” Knight comments after. “Long as he keeps giving us the breath, the love, the spirit, and the talent!”

WINNER: Gladys Knight

Round 5: Patti LaBelle’s “If You Don’t Know Me By Now (Live)” vs. Gladys Knight’s “Licence to Kill”

After it was originally written for her group Labelle — they never recorded it, and it became a massive hit for fellow Philly stars Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes — Patti made the all-timer ballad “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” her own during her live show in the 1980s. Here, Patti and Gladys both harmonize gorgeously over the live recording of the former’s rendition, one of the evening’s most goosebump-inducing moments. Gladys chooses now to pull out her Bond theme, and it still sounds mighty, but she’s already helped secure this round for Patti.

WINNER: Patti LaBelle

Round 6: Patti LaBelle’s ‘My Love, Sweet Love” vs. Gladys Knight and the Pips’ “Midnight Train to Georgia”

While the blockbuster Waiting to Exhale soundtrack was largely a showcase for the biggest R&B stars of the ’90s, it made room for some of the original legends, as well — including Patti’s stirring ballad “My Love, Sweet Love,” which Patti ends by shouting out the song and soundtrack’s musical architect, fellow Verzuz alum Babyface. The feed briefly cuts out from there, and when it returns, Gladys Knight is already midway through belting her signature hit with the Pips, “Midnight Train to Georgia.” Frustrating to have the moment compromised, though any amount of “Midnight Train to Georgia” is still impossible to argue with.

WINNER: Gladys Knight

Round 7: Patti LaBelle’s “Love, Need and Want You” vs. Gladys Knight’s “Someone to Watch Over Me”

“That’s not my right song!… Put my right song on the teleprompter!” It’s not quite “Where are my background singers?” but it’s still a classic Patti moment as she sings her way through a Verzuz technical snafu, with Gladys even pitching in backing vocals on her beloved (and oft-revived) early ’80s ballad “Love, Need and Want You.” Gladys responds with her sublime spin on the George and Ira Gershwin vocal standard “Someone to Watch Over Me,” but the round’s been decided.

WINNER: Patti LaBelle

Round 8: Patti LaBelle’s “Right Kind of Lover” vs. Gladys Knight and the Pips’ “Friendship Train”

Still no lyrics on the teleprompter for Patti as her 1994 hit “Right Kind of Lover” plays, so it’s just vibing for her and Gladys on this one — which is fine, since the Beverly Hills Cop III soundtrack single still sounds impressively fresh. Then, it’s time for the two to get on board with Gladys’ topical “Friendship Train” from a half-century ago, a piercing Norman Whitfield production which Gladys rightly points out is “still [true] for today.”

WINNER: Gladys Knight

Round 9: Patti LaBelle’s “Over the Rainbow” vs. Gladys Knight and the Pips’ “Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)” 

Patti punctuates the high-note climax of her fan-favorite rendition of The Wizard of Oz standard “Over the Rainbow” by kicking off her shoes and leaping out of her seat. (“Ooh, my knee is hurting!” she proclaims afterwards, with both ladies cracking up.) Gladys offers a message of political hopefulness, before the the cool breeze of the opening bars of “Neither One of Us” comes blowing through the set, and Gladys loses herself singing along to one of her all-time greatest hits, eventually getting out of her seat as well. Can’t choose against either of these.

WINNER: Tie

Round 10: Patti LaBelle’s “Somebody Loves You Baby (You Know Who It Is)” vs. Gladys Knight and the Pips’ “You’re Number One (In My Book)”

“This is my number one favorite of yours!” Gladys proclaims as the opening piano riff from Patti’s early-’90s show-stopper “Somebody Loves You Baby” twinkles from the speakers — with the latter’s gigantic vocals, both on record and live from the Verzuz studio, making it clear why. Speaking of number ones, though, here comes Gladys with the silky 1983 R&B top five hit “You’re Number One (In My Book).” An underrated one, but even Gladys would probably give this round to her competitor.

WINNER: Patti LaBelle

Round 11: Patti LaBelle’s “Kiss Away the Pain” vs. Gladys Knight and the Pips’ “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination” 

Both singers go back to a couple respective sweet spots — Patti with a single from her Billboard 200-topping Winner in You album, and Gladys with a single from her early-’70s run of four consecutive Hot 100 top five hits. Slight edge to Gladys and the Pips and their simply incomparable 1973-1974 groove.

WINNER: Gladys Knight

Round 12: Patti LaBelle’s “New Attitude” / “On My Own” (with Michael McDonald) vs. Gladys Knight and the Pips’ “Midnight Train to Georgia” (Encore)

A little formatting strangeness here, as Patti squeezes in two stone ’80s classics (including her other Beverly Hills Cop smash) for the price of one, while Gladys responds by running back an instrumental version of “Midnight Train to Georgia” for her to sing over. Good to get  “Georgia” more in full after Gladys’ first play of it was interrupted by IG outages, but no question that this round goes to Patti’s one-two punch.

WINNER: Patti LaBelle

Round 13: Patti LaBelle’s “New Day” / “Feels Like Another One” (feat. Big Daddy Kane) / “ABCs” / “Lady Marmalade” (w/ Labelle) vs. Gladys Knight’s “Love Overboard” 

Patti’s DJ is now in free-associative medley mode, mixing in her 2004 Hot 100 hit “New Day” with her slamming ’90s hit “Feels Like Another One,” her appearance singing the alphabet on Sesame Street, and her timeless No. 1 hit with eponymous ’70s group Labelle, “Lady Marmalade.” Patti seems as confused as anyone as to what’s happening with the musical rapid-fire, but she rolls with it, explaining that her group “didn’t know what” the French chorus of “Lady Marmalade” meant when they originally recorded it — “we just knew it sounded like a hit.” Gladys responds with a sole song in her late-’80s smash “Love Overboard,” and it sounds phenomenal. A little too weird to even score this one, really, but since we gave Patti the last one, we’ll give this one to Gladys for simply going 1 for 1.

WINNER: Gladys Knight

Round 14: Patti LaBelle’s “You Are My Friend” / “If Only You Knew” vs. Gladys Knight, Dionne Warwick, Elton John & Stevie Wonder’s ‘That’s What Friends Are For” 

“Gladys, this is dedicated to you,” Patti intros one of her signature numbers, “You Are My Friend,” from her 1977 self-titled debut solo LP. Her sound mix is still a little low — “What y’all doin’ over there? Y’all in the corner doin’ something over there,” she asks offscreen before the song begins — but she provides the live vocals to fill it out, then does the same with her 1983 gem “If Only You Knew,” her first solo No. 1 on the R&B Songs chart. Should be impossible to beat that combo, but then Gladys Knight brings none other than legendary peer Dionne Warwick out of the shadows to help out on Hot 100-topping ’80s charity single “That’s What Friends Are For,” with the three ladies harmonizing together at center stage. The entire round makes for a beautiful tribute to friendship in general.

Then, after the three ladies offer one more powerhouse performance together — of their early-’90s superteam cover of Karyn White’s “Superwoman” — Dionne bids them adieu, and then Patti and Gladys call it a night themselves. It’s the first time since the official Verzuz format was set in the early days that a match doesn’t go 20 full rounds, but the performances with Dionne would be impossible to follow anyway, and no one watching could say they didn’t more than get their money’s worth already.

WINNER: Tie

BONUS ROUNDS

Wider Catalog: Tie

The two ladies pretty much split the difference chronologically — Gladys reached back earlier in her discography, while Patti was comfortable pulling from more recent material — and both showed the full range of what made their respective catalogs singular.

Biggest Snub: Gladys Knight and the Pips’ “If I Were Your Woman” (Point: Patti LaBelle)

Maybe we would’ve heard it if the match had gone 20 rounds, but not getting to hear Gladys’ lush, heart-rending early ’70s ballad — which Patti specifically shouted out as one of her favorites before the match — was a rare disappointment on the evening.

Best Banter: Tie

Can’t possibly separate the two here, as their easygoing dynamic with one another and with their respective songs being played wouldn’t have worked without the over-half-century-long rapport they’d built together.

Biggest K.O.: Patti LaBelle

Even though it was the start of the evening going off the rails a little structurally, that back-to-back of “New Attitude” and “On My Own” from Patti was such an overwhelming and joyous mid-’80s rush that anyone watching would’ve gladly looked the other way on the rules being bent a little.

People’s Champ: Tie

Again, this was easily the most evenly split and positively vibed Verzuz since at least Erykah Badu and Jill Scott — to the point where it didn’t even seem like anyone watching in the comments or on social media was bothering to play favorites or keep score between them. Appropriate, then, that this should be the first Verzuz battle we’ve scored here at Billboard to not end with either participant as a clear winner.

FINAL SCORE: 7-7-5, Tie 

TikTok Sale: ByteDance Rejects Microsoft Bid

ByteDance has rejected Microsoft’s bid for the U.S. operations of TikTok, a move that leaves Oracle as the likely partner for a deal to keep the popular social media app operating amid increased tensions between the U.S. and China.

“We are confident our proposal would have been good for TikTok’s users, while protecting national security interests,” Microsoft wrote in a statement on its corporate blog. “To do this, we would have made significant changes to ensure the service met the highest standards for security, privacy, online safety, and combatting disinformation, and we made these principles clear in our August statement. We look forward to seeing how the service evolves in these important areas.”

Microsoft was seen as the favorite to move forward in negotiations with ByteDance given its deep pockets, which would have helped it address the security concerns that led President Donald Trump to require the business to be sold if it wanted to continue to operate in the U.S. Walmart had planned to team up with Microsoft on the bid but was not mentioned in the company’s statement.

As the clock counts down to ByteDance’s deadline to strike a deal that will appease Trump, several outlets are reporting that Beijing-based tech company is moving forward with Oracle as its preferred partner. According to the Wall Street Journal, the cloud services business will not outright buy TikTok’s U.S. business. Instead, it will be announced as a “trusted tech partner.”

Representatives for TikTok and Oracle did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The news follows an Aug. 6 executive order from Trump that called for TikTok to be banned in the U.S. if ByteDance didn’t sell its American operations. Trump has cited national security concerns as the reason for the ban, arguing that ByteDance could give the Chinese government access to data from its U.S. users. The company was given a mid-September deadline to divest of the business.

TikTok has fought those claims, saying that it stores American user data on serves based out of the U.S. and Singapore. The company also has sued Trump, arguing in its complaint that the ban is “a pretext for furthering the President’s broader campaign of anti-China rhetoric in the run-up to the U.S. election.”

China complicated ByteDance’s ability to strike a deal when, in late August, it issued new export rules that would prevent TikTok from selling the technology that powers the algorithm behind its addictive “For You” feed, which learns about user behavior over time in order to serve up the most relevant videos.

TikTok first came to the U.S. in August 2018 after ByteDance acquired competitor Musical.ly and merged the two apps. Today, the social video app has 100 million monthly active users in the U.S. and has minted stars out of young creators including Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae. The app has also become a powerful platform for debuting new music and helped popularize Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road.”

The app’s fate in the U.S. is being determined without the company’s newly appointed American CEO. Disney veteran Kevin Mayer, who accepted a job running TikTok in late May, announced his resignation on Aug. 26. Vanessa Pappas, general manager of TikTok in North America, Australia and New Zealand, is serving as the company’s interim CEO.

More to come.

This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.

Jennifer Lopez Makes It Rain With Her ‘Hustlers’-Themed ‘WAP’ TikTok Challenge

Jennifer Lopez is celebrating the one-year anniversary of Hustlers “WAP”-style.

The superstar marked the occasion with a sizzling mashup of co-star Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s latest hit and her dance scenes from the movie, in which she portrayed the stripper and ringleader Ramona. From the looks of the edit, “WAP” could have fit right in with the film.

“#WAPchallenge: Ramona Edition,” J. Lo wrote Sunday night (Sept. 13) on Twitter, where she shared a link to her TikTok.

Lopez is one of many, many “WAP” enthusiasts to put a spin on the viral dance challenge. (In case you’ve been missing them, check out this list of 12 of the best.)

Watch J. Lo’s “WAP” challenge below.

@jloCelebrating ONE YEAR of ##Hustlers! ✨ ##Ramona ##WAP ##WAPchallenge♬ WAP(feat. Megan Thee Stallion) – Cardi B

Lil Nas X Seems to Be Teasing New Songs: See the List

Earlier this week, Lil Nas X said new music is imminent, and now it looks like he’s getting ready to deliver.

“gonna start back releasing music soon the old town road money running out,” he’d tweeted on Thursday (Sept. 10).

By Sunday, he’d casually posted a page of what could be song titles — since one of the items on the list is “Call Me By Your Name,” a clip fans first heard from him in July — on Instagram.

He seemingly confirmed that guess when he retweeted a post indicating the list “reveals part of his track list” for his upcoming album.

“Call Me By Your Name” is joined by potential song titles “Titanic,” “One of Me” and “Don’t Want It” on Lil Nas X’s list. Most of the page’s text is hidden, so he’s leaving a little bit of mystery on the table.

Take a look at his Instagram Stories, or check it out in the screenshot below, to get a hint of what might be in the works.

Mariah Carey Says Breonna Taylor’s ‘Killing Hurts Especially Bad Right Now’

Mariah Carey, wearing a T-shirt with the demand to “arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor,” is reminding her fans to stay vigilant in the fight against racial injustice.

In a social media message posted on Sunday (Sept. 13), the back of the singer’s shirt shows Taylor’s face and the words “say her name.” The singer also shared a picture in remembrance of Taylor, who was fatally shot by police in Louisville, Ky., in March.

It’s been six months since #BreonnaTaylor, a frontline medical worker was killed by police in a ‘no-knock’ raid targeting the WRONG apartment,” Carey posted, sharing a message from the Instagram account @wearepushblack. “Medical workers like her save lives every day – but police violence claims Black lives at nearly the same pace.”

“Her killing hurts especially bad right now. Now, more than ever we have to stay connected and vigilant,” the caption reads.

Carey then recommended following PushBlack “to read more about her story and for daily doses of inspiring #BlackHistory stories to keep us going.”

PushBlack is a Black-led non-profit organization with the mission of raising up Black voices.  The organization educates with Black history stories, fights for criminal justice reform and runs voting campaigns.

See Carey’s post and photos on Instagram.