UK Live Industry Gets Long-Demanded Government-Backed COVID Insurance

LONDON – For more than a year, the U.K. live music industry has been campaigning for a government-backed insurance scheme to help festival and concert promoters get back on their feet. On Thursday (Aug. 5), those calls were finally answered when Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak unveiled a 750 million pounds ($1 billion) insurance scheme covering the cost of festival and concert cancellations resulting from COVID-19.

The “Live Events Reinsurance Scheme” enables event organizers in the United Kingdom to purchase cover for government-enforced cancellations, alongside standard commercial events insurance.

Backed by Lloyd’s market insurers Arch, Beazley, Dale, Hiscox and Munich Re, the insurance be available for a 12-month term beginning sometime in September. (The Exchequer, when contacted by Billboard, was unable to say exactly when the scheme will begin.)

The government says it is one of the only insurance schemes in the world to cover such a wide array of live events and not put a cap on costs claimed per event.

Denis Desmond, chairman of Live Nation U.K. and Ireland, says the government-backed protection is a vital intervention that “offers certainty to artists, concert and festival promoters in the live entertainment market.”

“While the new scheme won’t cover all our risk, this intervention will help protect the industry that we all know and love,” says Phil Bowdery, chairman of the Concert Promoters Association.

The program follows the establishment of similar government-backed insurance schemes in a number of other European markets, including Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, and Denmark. They provide a much-needed safety net for promoters committing non-recoupable upfront costs for future events amid the uncertainty of a pandemic.

“As the economy reopens, I want to do everything I can to help events providers and small businesses plan with confidence right through to next year,” Sunak says in a statement.

In the event of cancellations resulting from coronavirus restrictions, the government will pay between 95% and 100% of costs accrued with insurers paying the remainder. (Promoters and event organizers will need to pay an agreed excess fee, as per standard insurance deals).

While live execs unanimously welcomed the news, some expressed anger that the government didn’t step in sooner to support the country’s struggling live sector in the way it did for the film and TV industries. A 500 million pounds “Film and TV Production Restart Scheme” has been in place since July 2020 and has provided insurance cover to more than 600 independent film and TV productions to date, says the HM Treasury.

“It is devastating that the timings of this scheme could not have been earlier,” says Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association. He points to the large number of U.K. festivals that have been forced to cancel over the past year — many citing the lack of insurance as a determining factor.

According to the Association of Independent Festivals, more than half of all U.K. festivals scheduled to take place in 2021 have been cancelled this year because of the pandemic. Big-name casualties include Glastonbury, BST Hyde Park, Download and Kendal Calling.

Paul Reed, CEO of the Association of Independent Festivals, says the introduction of COVID-19 cancellation insurance was a positive development for the industry. But he cautioned that it doesn’t cover events needing to reduce capacity or cancel due to social distancing restrictions being reintroduced.

Nevertheless, British execs are cautiously optimistic that the tide is now turning for the beleaguered live industry and that better times are ahead.

The U.K. lifted its last remaining COVID-19 restrictions on July 19, opening the door for full-capacity shows, nightclubs, and festivals to return. Latitude Festival, held in Suffolk July 22-25 and headlined by Bastille, Bombay Bicycle Club, Wolf Alice, and The Chemical Brothers, was the first major music event to take place since the end of lockdown. It was attended by around 40,000 people as part of the COVID-19 Events Research Program.

Tentpole events scheduled to take place later this summer include the 185,000-capacity dual-site Reading and Leeds festivals headlined by Liam Gallagher, Stormzy and Post Malone, and the 70,000-capacity Creamfields, which features David Guetta, deadmau5, Alesso and Martin Garrix.

BTS Sales Lead HYBE to 79% Growth

HYBE, home to K-pop stars BTS, overcame a continued touring stoppage and improved its revenue by 79.3% to 278.6 billion KRW ($244.1 million) in the period spanning April 1 to July 1, according to the company’s second quarter earnings report released Thursday (Aug, 5). Operating profit did, however, slip 6.2% to 28.1 billion KRW ($24.5 million).

Sales of the BTS, The Best compilation released June 16 as well as Seventeen’s Your Choice and Tomorrow x Together’s The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE pushed album revenue up 105.4% from the prior-year quarter and 96.2% from the previous quarter.

With touring at a standstill, album sales accounted for 38.4% of HYBE’s total revenue in the quarter — a far higher proportion of revenue than a normal year. (In 2019, concerts accounted for 32.5% of total revenue to albums’ 18.4%.) Now, with live music’s immediate future still uncertain, HYBE is considering holding “hybrid” concerts that would mix in-person and live-streaming experiences, although company executives did not elaborate on their exact substance or timing.

But HYBE — which changed its name from Big Hit Entertainment in March — depends less on BTS’ touring business after it purchased Ithaca Holdings, the Scooter Braun-led conglomerate, in April. Ithaca Holdings contains SB Projects, the artist management home of Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, and Big Machine Label Group. Ithaca’s results after May 6 helped drive a 76.9% increase — 9.4 billion KRW, or $8.2 million — from the previous quarter in HYBE’s “ads, performances and management” category.

HYBE diversifies its business with its online social platform, WeVerse, which attracted 5.3 monthly average users, up 9% from 4.9 million MAUs in the previous quarter and 3.5 million from Q2 2020. The group BlackPink was responsible for 1 million new MAUs in Q2 2021. The company expects WeVerse MAUs “to increase considerably” after integrating with V Live, a streaming platform HYBE will acquire following the approval of Korea’s Fair Trade Commission in May.

Album sales increased 105.4% year over year to 107 billion KRW ($93.7 million) and 96.2% from the previous quarter. Tomorrow x Together’s album The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE sold 780,000 copies, a 55% increase from its previous album, and the highest ever sales total for a third-year K-pop group, according to HYBE. A repackaged version of The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE also sold 390,000 pre-orders that will count toward Q3 sales when they ship.

HYBE’s slate of upcoming titles includes the debut of a multinational boy band in late 2021 or early 2022 that will be released through HYBE Japan. In the second half of 2022, HYBE’s Source Music Group will debut a new girl group and its joint venture with Universal Music Group will produce a new boy band that will showcase “K-pop’s full production system encompassing not just music but performance, fashion, video and fan communication,” CEO Park Ji-won said during the earnings call.

HYBE has transformed itself since its IPO on the Korean Exchange in October 2020. In July, HYBE named Park Ji-won its CEO, replacing founder Bang Si-Hyuk, who remains as chairman of the board. Yoon Seok-jun and Braun lead HYBE America, for which Jaesang Lee moved to the U.S. to be the chief operations officer. Braun continues to lead Ithaca Holdings.

On Tuesday, news broke that HYBE has bid against Kakao Entertainment and CJ ENM for a nearly 20% share of Korean entertainment company SM Entertainment, a hybrid business that combines record label, talent agency, concert production and music production businesses. SM Entertainment’s largest shareholder, founder Lee Soo-man, is selling his stake at a $2.2 billion valuation.

In March, HYBE changed its name from Big Hit Entertainment and restructured itself into three segments: Big Hit Music houses the labels BELIFT Lab, Source Music, PLEDIS Entertainment and KOZ Entertainment; HYBE IP and HYBE 360 encompass HYBE Edu and Superb; and WeVerse is HYBE’s social media platform

The below metrics are provided in Korean won (KRW) and converted at 1,141.61 won to $1.

Financial metrics:

  • Revenue: 278.6 billion KRW ($244.1 million) in Q2 2021 — up 79.3% from 155.4 billion KRW ($136.1 million) in Q2 2020; up 56.2% from 178.3 billion KRW ($156.2 million) in Q1 2021.
  • Operating profit: 28 billion KRW ($24.5 million) in Q2 2021 — down 6.2% from 29.9 billion KRW ($26.2 million) in Q2 2020; up 23% from 22.8 billion KRW ($19.9 million) in Q1 2021.
  • Net profit: 20.8 billion KRW ($18.3 million) in Q2 2021, up 9.9% from 19 billion KRW ($16.6 million) in Q2 2020; down 8.5% from 22.8 billion ($19.9 million) in Q1 2021.

Revenue streams metrics:

  • Albums: 107 billion KRW ($93.7 million) in Q2 2021 — up 105.4% from 52.1 billion KRW ($45.6 million) in Q2 2020; up 96.2% from 54.5 billion KRW ($47.7 million) in Q1 2021.
  • Concerts: 0 KRW in Q2 2021 — down 100% from 1.4 billion ($1.2 million) KRW in Q2 2020; even with Q1 2021.
  • Ads, performances and management: 21.6 billion KRW ($18.9 million) in Q2 2021 — up 96.5% from 11 billion KRW ($9.6 million) in Q2 2020; up 76.9% from 12.2 billion KRW ($10.7 million) in Q1 2021.
  • Merchandise and licensing: 50.1 billion KRW ($43.9 million) in Q2 2021 — down 12.5% from 57.2 billion KRW ($50.1 million) in Q2 2020; down 22.7% from 64.8 billion KRW ($56.7 million) in Q1 2021.
  • Content: 91.3 billion KRW ($80 million) in Q2 2021 — up 236.9% from 27.1 million KRW ($23.7 million) in Q2 2020; up 145.6% from 37.2 billion KRW ($32.6 million) in Q1 2021.
  • Fan clubs and other: 8.6 billion KRW ($7.5 million) in Q2 2021 — up 29.8% from 6.6 billion KRW ($5.8 million) in Q2 2020, down 10.8% from 9.6 billion KRW ($8.4 million) in Q1 2021.

Additional information from the earnings call:

  • BTS 2021 Muster Sowoozoo, an online fan meeting to celebrate the 8th anniversary of the first BTS album, attracted 1.33 million viewers from 195 countries over two days.
  • Nine artists joined the WeVerse platform in Q2. In Q1 WeVerse had 18 artists.
  • HYBE expects to release a new game in early- or mid-2022 that was developed by an in-house team.

Stock market:

  • Market capitalization on August 5, 2021: $11.66 trillion KRW ($10.2 billion).
  • Year-to-date change in HYBE’s share price: 88.8%

Hear Alessia Cara’s New Song ‘Feel You Now’ in ‘Blade Runner: Black Lotus’ Opening Sequence

On Thursday (Aug. 5), Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Alessia Cara previewed her new song “Feel You Now” via the title sequence for the animated TV series Blade Runner: Black Lotus.

Crunchyroll and Adult Swim will launch the series later this year, which follows a young woman named Elle who wakes up in Los Angeles 2032 with no memories but with all the willpower to seek revenge on the people who wronged her as well as find her own identity.

“This little light I found/ Take it in and breathe it out/ A little drum that’s beating loud/ In my chest I hear the sound,” Cara whispers over a mysterious, heart-thumping melody that suddenly morphs into a percussion-driven electro-pop beat. “I can feel you now/ I can feel you now/ I can feel, I can feel you now.”

Cara and producer Michael Hodges co-wrote “Feel You Now,” which soundtracks Blade Runner: Black Lotus’ opening title sequence. The song will be released this fall via ASG/10:22 PM/Def Jam Recordings.

“I am so thrilled to be part of this show in any way, but I’m especially thrilled to have been able to write this song for it,” Cara says in an official statement. “To think that I made something that will be consistently attached to a show as legendary and innovative as this one feels super fulfilling. I wrote it with Michael Hodges remotely over the course of the pandemic, which is why the lyrics to ‘feel you now’ feel so striking to us. It’s not only about Elle searching for an existential understanding of what it means to be human, but also the trials we’ve all been put through in the last year and how much we relied on human connection and feeling to get us through. Michael and I both felt like it struck the right nerve in us and we’re so glad the Blade Runner team was on the same wavelength.”

Adds Hodges: “The song felt like a breath of fresh air mixed with a little hope of feeling connected again to people. Although we understand Blade Runner at its deepest levels and the nostalgia it encompasses, Alessia and my collaborators on this (co-writers Kayla Morrison, Gerald Trottman & Ghian Wright) all felt like the message of this song really connected to our current state of mind and Elle’s as well. We all need connection.”

Listen to “Feel You Now” below.

How Emmy-Nominated Docs on Britney Spears, Billie Eilish & More Artists Question the Burden of Celebrity

The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears is not your typical music documentary, especially given that its subject did not participate in the FX/Hulu film. But it is no doubt one of the most-talked-about docs of the year, with Spears’ controversial conservatorship taking center stage. While Framing Britney Spears does follow the singer’s rise to fame as a teenage pop star and the endless media scrutiny that had an impact on her mental health, it is less a biography than it is a piece of media criticism — and it also works as activism, elevating the conspiracy-theory-loaded #FreeBritney movement into the mainstream and ultimately bringing greater attention to Spears’ efforts to break away from her conservatorship.

Framing Britney Spears is one of four music docs in the Emmy race this year. But while its format sets it apart from its fellow music-focused nominees, all four titles examine the nature of fame and celebrity while striving to find the human beings behind the pop stars we hold in such high esteem.

HBO’s Tina is at least the fourth examination of Tina Turner’s life story (following her 1986 memoir I, Tina, the 1993 biopic What’s Love Got to Do With It and 2019’s Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, now up for 12 Tony Awards and set to reopen on Broadway in October). But the film does not simply rehash Turner’s story. Rather, it offers her own definitive take of the abuse she experienced while married to musical partner Ike Turner by way of examining, decades after she left him and embarked on a solo career, how the trauma of that abuse still affects her today.

Turner’s comeback is one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most impressive successes, a feat that Tina underscores as it recounts her struggles to make it on her own following her split from Ike. While Tina reiterates that it’s impossible to talk about Turner’s success as a singer without recognizing her former husband’s influence on her career, it also brings a new perspective on what it means to be a survivor. Although Turner’s divorce was finalized in 1978 — and Ike Turner died in 2007 — her identity will always be linked to that of her ex-husband’s. That Ike casts such a large shadow over her life (she reveals that even today, at age 81, merely discussing him can invoke nightmares) says much of the demand for her as a public figure. As we admire her for the obstacles she overcame, we unintentionally force her to experience them in perpetuity.

HBO’s The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart is another film about reflection. Director Frank Marshall follows brothers Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb as they achieve early success as a folk group before finding the sound that would make them one of the best-selling acts of all time. But as the documentary suggests, the brothers’ personal relationships with one another were not always as harmonious as their singing voices; what could have been your average sibling squabbles were only heightened by fame and success. The ego clashes that took place within the studio would linger long after the recording sessions ended.

But it’s at the start of the film that Barry, the last remaining survivor, admits that his own memory is one-sided; he tells the story of the Bee Gees — and the Gibb family — from his perspective, knowing that his brothers aren’t around to offer their versions. In that sense, the film feels more like a peek into the Gibb archives than it does a traditional music doc. It follows a familiar narrative trajectory — they find incredible success, only to see their sound fall out of favor following the public backlash against disco’s mainstream ubiquity ­— but Marshall’s doc does more for the Gibb brothers than reframe their position as one of pop music’s most important and influential groups. It insists the brothers never got their due as artists but places more importance on the family bond that brought their talents together.

If these three docs are about looking back, then Apple TV+’s Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry is about looking forward. Director R.J. Cutler had the great foresight to follow the now-19-year-old singer, who in 2019 made her debut with the chart-topping album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? when she was just 17. The World’s a Little Blurry follows Eilish as she records the album with her brother, Finneas, in their bedrooms at their parents’ house in Los Angeles, seemingly aware that she’s on the cusp of superstardom.

Like How Can You Mend a Broken Heart, the Eilish doc also serves as a family portrait with the singer’s brother and parents featured significantly; while Finneas serves as her co-songwriter and producer, her parents are compassionate role models as they prepare her — and themselves — for her overwhelming success at a young age.

The film also depicts Eilish’s relationship with celebrity as her star rises. Her backstage meetings with Katy Perry (who offers unsolicited advice to the young singer) and Justin Bieber (on whom she still harbors an intense teenage crush) show both sides of Eilish’s public persona: one that is too cool for school (literally — the homeschooled teenager exudes an impressive maturity), the other refreshingly candid about her emotions and vulnerabilities.

Eilish’s self-awareness gives the sense that the cautionary tales at the center of Framing Britney Spears, Tina and How Can You Mend a Broken Heart may have already influenced young celebrities today. While Eilish is still at the beginning of her career (her sophomore album, Happier Than Ever, dropped July 30), The World’s a Little Blurry offers a glimmer of hope that Eilish will not have to repeat the mistakes of her pop forebears. And hopefully we as consumers also will learn that our pop icons are human, too, no matter how otherworldly their celebrity status makes them appear.

This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.

The Kid LAROI’s Album Took a Full Year to Top the Billboard 200: What Other Albums Have Taken That Long?

As previously reported, The Kid LAROI’s F*ck Love finally reaches No. 1 on the Billboard 200, a year and two weeks after its release. F*ck Love is just the 14th album to take a full year to reach No. 1 since the Billboard 200 began publishing on a weekly basis in March 1956.

Here are all 14 of these albums, ranked by the length of time each took from their release date until the Billboard issue date in which they first reached No. 1. We also show how many weeks the album had appeared on the Billboard 200 at the point it reached the top spot for the first time.

1. Prince, The Very Best of Prince

How long: 14 years, nine months and one week

Released: July 31, 2001

Reached No. 1: May 7, 2016 (in its 40th chart week)

Reason for Surge: Prince’s death from an accidental fentanyl overdose on April 21, 2016, boosted sales of his catalog. Prince had two other albums in the top 10 on the May 7 chart: the Purple Rain soundtrack (which he recorded with The Revolution) at No. 2 and The Hits/The B-Sides at No. 6. Six Prince songs re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 that week, including “Purple Rain” at No. 17 and “When Doves Cry” at No. 20.

2. Roberta Flack, First Take

How long: two years, 10 months and one week

Released: June 20, 1969

Reached No. 1: April 29, 1972 (in its 12th chart week)

Reason for Surge: Flack’s smash single “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” which was then in its third week at No. 1 on the Hot 100, boosted sales of Flack’s debut album, which included the hypnotic ballad. “Face,” which was featured in the popular Clint Eastwood film Play Misty for Me, spent a total of six weeks on top. It won Grammys for record and song of the year at the 1973 ceremony.

3. Jim Croce, You Don’t Mess Around With Jim

How long: approx. one year and nine months

Released: April 1972

Reached No. 1: Jan. 12, 1974 (in its 47th chart week)

Reason for Surge: Croce’s death in a plane crash on Sept. 20, 1973, boosted his record sales. The almost eerily reflective ballad “Time in a Bottle” had spent the two weeks leading up to Jan. 12 at No. 1 on the Hot 100. It was the album’s third top 20 hit, following the title song and “Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels).” Unlike, say, Prince, Croce was still a (relative) newcomer when he died. He had landed his first No. 1 hit on the Hot 100 (“Bad, Bad Leroy Brown”) just two months previously.

4. Movie soundtrack, O Brother, Where Art Thou?

How long: one year, three months and three weeks

Released: Dec. 5, 2000

Reached No. 1: March 23, 2002 (in its 63rd chart week)

Reason for Surge: The soundtrack won four Grammys, including album of the year, at the 44th annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 27, 2002. An ensemble of artists who performed on the album, including Ralph Stanley, Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch and the Soggy Bottom Boys, gave TV viewers a taste of the album. O Brother was the third film soundtrack to win album of the year, following the Bee Gees-led Saturday Night Fever and the Whitney Houston-paced The Bodyguard.

5. Paula Abdul, Forever Your Girl

How long: one year, three months and and two weeks

Released: June 21, 1988

Reached No. 1: Oct. 7, 1989 (in its 64th chart week)

Reason for Surge: Abdul won four Moonmen (as they were called in those less enlightened times) at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sept. 6, 1989. That tied Madonna for most awards for the night. Abdul also performed a medley of her hits. “(It’s Just) The Way That You Love Me” jumped into the top 40 on the Hot 100 on the Oct. 7 chart, on its way to a No. 3 peak. The album’s first three hits, “Straight Up,” the title track and “Cold Hearted,” all made No. 1 — as would the album’s fifth hit, “Opposites Attract” (with The Wild Pair). For a time, Abdul rivaled Madonna and Janet Jackson as the hottest female singer in contemporary pop.

6. No Doubt, Tragic Kingdom

How long: one year, two months and two weeks

Released: October 10, 1995

Reached No. 1: Dec. 21, 1996 (in its 49th chart week)

Reason for Surge: The irresistible “Don’t Speak” was in its third week at No. 1 on the Radio Songs chart. The song, which was the first non-single to top that chart, would remain on top for 16 weeks. “Don’t Speak” went on to receive a Grammy nod for song of the year at the 1998 ceremony.

7. Fleetwood Mac, Fleetwood Mac

How long: one year, one month and three weeks

Released: July 11, 1975

Reached No. 1: Sept. 4, 1976 (in its 58th week)

Reason for Surge: “Say You Love Me” jumped to No. 13 on the Sept. 4 Hot 100 (on its way to a No. 11 peak). It was the third song from the album to crack the top 20, following “Over My Head” and “Rhiannon (Will You Ever Win).” Fleetwood Mac interrupted Peter Frampton’s run at No. 1 with his blockbuster Frampton Comes Alive! The two superstar acts had co-headlined a “Day on the Green” outdoor concert at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in California on April 25.

8. New Kids on the Block, Hangin’ Tough

How long: one year and one month

Released: Aug. 12, 1988

Reached No. 1: Sept. 9, 1989 (in its 55th chart week)

Reason for Surge: The title track from the boy band’s sophomore album hit No. 1 on that week’s Hot 100. It was the album’s second No. 1 hit, following “I’ll Be Loving You (Forever).” Two other songs from the album — “Please Don’t Go Girl” and “You Got It (The Right Stuff)” — had made the top 10, as would “Cover Girl,” which was the top new entry on the Sept. 16 Hot 100.

9. Whitney Houston, Whitney Houston

How long: one year and three weeks

Released: Feb. 14, 1985

Reached No. 1: March 8, 1986 (in its 50th chart week)

Reason for Surge: Houston made a huge impression at the 28th annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 25, 1986. Her sublime recording of “Saving All My Love for You” won for best pop vocal performance, female. (Making it even sweeter: Her cousin, Dionne Warwick, presented the award.) Houston also performed the torchy ballad on the show. Her impact was so strong that she later won an Emmy for her Grammy show appearance, the first time anything like that had ever happened. Also, “How Will I Know,” the third smash single from the album, was still going strong on the Hot 100 (at No. 3) a few weeks after reaching No. 1.

10. Bonnie Raitt, Nick of Time

How long: one year and two weeks

Released: March 21, 1989

Reached No. 1: April 7, 1990 (in its 52nd chart week)

Reason for Surge: Raitt won her first four Grammys, including album of the year, at the 32nd annual Grammy Awards on Feb. 21, 1990. The ceremony, at which she performed “Thing Called Love,” made her a star overnight — after nearly 20 years of often admired but rarely celebrated work. A track from the album, “Have a Heart,” climbed to No. 49 on the Hot 100 on the April 15 chart, higher than Raitt had ever been to that point.

11. Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction

How long: one year and two weeks

Released: July 21, 1987

Reached No. 1:  Aug. 6, 1988 (in its 50th chart week)

Reason for Surge: “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” the album’s classic single, had caught fire on the Hot 100. It sprinted from No. 25 to No. 18 on the chart dated Aug. 6, and would reach No. 1 five weeks later. Rock bands were notably hot at the time. The No. 1 albums just before Appetite were Def Leppard’s Hysteria and Van Halen’s OU812.

12. The Kid LAROI, F*ck Love

How long: one year and two weeks

Released: July 24, 2020

Reached No. 1:  Aug. 7, 2021 (in its 53rd chart week)

Reason for Surge: F*ck Love was reissued with seven additional tracks on July 23 and reissued again with six additional tracks on July 27, bringing the track list to a whopping 35. (All those streams add up.) The new additions include “Stay,” a collab with Justin Bieber, which is No. 4 on this week’s Hot 100 (after climbing as high as No. 3).

13. Live, Throwing Copper

How long: one year and one week

Released: April 26, 1994

Reached No. 1:  May 6, 1995 (in its 52nd chart week)

Reason for Surge: “Lightning Crashes” was in its seventh week at No. 1 on Mainstream Rock Tracks. The song spent a total of 10 weeks on top, the most by any song that year. It also topped the Modern Rock chart for nine weeks and climbed as high as No. 12 on the Radio Songs chart.

14. Vangelis, Chariots of Fire soundtrack

How long:  approx. one year

Released: April 1981

Reached No. 1: April 17, 1982 (in its 27th chart week)

Reason for Surge: The film won four Oscars, including best picture and best original score for Vangelis, at the 54th annual Academy Awards on March 29, 1982. Vangelis’ title theme was holding at No. 3 on the Hot 100. Three weeks later, it reached No. 1, dislodging Joan Jett & the Blackhearts’ monster hit “I Love Rock N’ Roll.” Vangelis’ single was nominated for record of the year at the 1983 Grammy ceremony.

Here Are All the Decoded ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’ Bonus Tracks

Taylor Swift puzzled her fans Thursday (Aug. 5) when she dropped a ton of clues about what’s to come on Red (Taylor’s Version), but now they’ve successfully unlocked the vault.

The pop superstar dropped a cryptic 30-second video teaser on her socials, in which a series of 13-letter word jumbles floated out of a gilded vault. The Swiftie sleuths put on their burgundy velvet thinking caps, quickly got to work, and figured out the nine bonus tracks that will make up the upcoming re-recorded 30-track version of Red, which is due Nov. 19.

Billboard recently confirmed that the heart-wrenching song “Ronan,” chronicling a child’s battle with cancer, will be featured, which is spelled out in the latest puzzle. Swift’s fans also correctly guessed that Phoebe Bridgers would be one of the collaborators, as she appears on “Nothing New.” Here’s something that might also come as nothing new: Ed Sheeran, who’s also featured on the re-recorded “Everything Has Changed” track, linked back up with Swift on the bonus track “Run.” “Taylor’s got a few surprises in store for you, I’ll say that,” Sheeran teased in an interview back in June.

The last (and also commonly guessed) collaborator featured on the re-recorded set is Chris Stapleton, who appears on “I Bet You Think About Me.”

Other tracks that were originally meant for Red but ended up being handed off to other acts — “Better Man” (to Little Big Town in 2017) and “Babe” (to Sugarland in 2018) — will find their way back home on Red (Taylor’s Version). And yes, we will finally be able to listen to the full 10-minute version of her critically acclaimed record “All Too Well,” which she teased on Instagram  at the time of announcing her next re-recorded LP in June.

The nine bonus tracks of Red (Taylor’s Version) are as follows, in the order they appear on the track list:

21. “Ronan”
22. “Better Man”
23. “Nothing New,” featuring Phoebe Bridgers
24. “Babe”
25. “Message in a Bottle”
26. “I Bet You Think About Me,” featuring Chris Stapleton
27. “Forever Winter”
28. “Run,” featuring Ed Sheeran
29. “The Very First Night”
30. “All Too Well” 10-minute version

Kanye West’s 2005 Interview About Hip-Hop Homophobia Resurfaces After DaBaby Controversy

A Kanye West interview from more than 15 years ago has resurfaced following the backlash to DaBaby ‘s homophobic comments at Rolling Loud Miami last month.

In the August 2005 interview with MTV News’ Sway Calloway, the 22-time Grammy-winner passionately defends the LGBTQ+ community and calls out discrimination in the hip-hop industry. In the video, West also revealed that in high school, people would often use the word “gay” as an insult and frequently asked if he was gay, which made him feel “homophobic, because I was like damn, why does everybody else walk like this and I walk like this?”

West continued in the interview: “If you see something and you don’t want to be that because there’s such a negative connotation towards it, you try to separate yourself from it so much that it made me homophobic by the time I was through with high school.”

But for West, despite societal influences that impacted his opinion as a teen, he later had a change of heart after learning that his loved one was gay. “I remember my cousin told me that another one of my cousins was gay, and at that point was the turning point where I was like, ‘Yo, this is my cousin, I love him. I’ve been discriminating against gays. Do I discriminate against my cousin?’ And then everything starts to click,” he said.

West went on to tell Sway with a smile that his cousin brought his partner to join the family for their Thanksgiving festivities.

“Hip-hop seemed like it was about fighting for your rights in the beginning and about speaking your mind and about breaking down barriers,” West explained. “… But everybody in hip-hop discriminates against gay people. To me, that’s one of the standards of hip-hop … Matter of fact, the exact opposite word of ‘hip-hop’ I think is ‘gay.'”

West then called out his contemporaries and made a call to action, urging them to be more inclusive. “Me speaking for my entire culture and me looking at my rappers out there, hip-hoppers discriminate against gay people. … I wanted to come on TV to just tell my rappers, tell my friends like, ‘Yo, stop it, fam.’ Seriously, that’s really discrimination. To me, that’s exactly what they used to do to Black people. I’m just telling people to stop all that.”

Since the video resurfaced, a number of social media users have expressed their support for West, saying that they wish more platforms would highlight his positive contributions to the industry, culture and beyond.

The resurfaced video comes after DaBaby issued a second apology on Monday for his Rolling Loud remarks, saying he was sorry to the LGBTQ community for his homophobic rant, during which he made inaccurate and hurtful comments about HIV, AIDS and queer people. Throughout the week, the rapper has been dropped from six music festivals, including LollapaloozaGovernors BallAustin City Limits, Music Midtown and more.

Watch a clip from West’s 2005 interview below: