All posts by Moderator

Here Are the Powerful Ladies on Taylor Swift’s International Women’s Day Playlist

Taylor Swift unveiled a new all-female playlist to commemorate International Women’s Day on Saturday (March 7) featuring everyone from Selena Gomez and Haim, to Halsey and Grimes.

“In honor of International Women’s Day, I changed out my @AppleMusic playlist to songs I’m loving right now by female artists and bands,” the superstar tweeted alongside the playlist. “Let’s all celebrate together by honoring the women in our lives and the women out there pushing things forward.”

Several of the acts included took to social media to thank Swift for promoting their music. “Wow yeah so @taylorswift13’s playlist certifiably rocks and everybody on it is incredible okay anyway very glad to be included goodbye,” tweeted MUNA, while Oh Wonder wrote, “Thanks for including us Taylor!!” and Marina retweeted the playlist with a white heart emoji.

Check out Swift’s girl power-fueled playlist (and some of the best reactions) below.

K-Pop Star Chung Ha Signs With ICM Partners: Exclusive

South Korean singer Chung Ha, also known as Chungha, has signed with ICM Partners for global representation, excluding Asia.

The 24-year-old K-pop star, who grew up in Texas and was a member of girl group I.O.I. prior to launching her own successful career, has seen major hits since the release of 2017’s “Why Don’t You Know.” She released “Everybody Has” late last month, following a recent collaboration with Rich Brian in October.

Chung Ha rose to fame through her appearance on television show Produce 101, which led to her inclusion in I.O.I. She has since released several EPs and singles, and proven immensely popular, winning many accolades in South Korea and beyond. Last year’s “Snapping” was named one of Billboard’s Top 25 K-pop songs of 2019.

“Chung Ha is a superstar in every sense; as a vocalist, performer, songwriter and choreographer,” says ICM Partners vice president of concerts Jon Pleeter. “She will be well represented at ICM Partners across multiple verticals, and we’re beyond thrilled to bring her to the world stage to perform for her fans around the globe.”

ICM Partners is joined by South Korean company KAMP Global in this partnership; KAMP recently hosted a K-pop festival in Singapore. Chung Ha is currently represented by MNH Entertainment in South Korea.

Chung Ha is among many K-pop acts who recently have signed partnerships with American companies to expand their careers, including girl group TWICE, which signed last month with Republic Records.

Nicki Minaj’s Husband Facing Federal Charges For Failing to Register As Sex Offender

While the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office announced on Friday (Mar. 6) that it was dropping charges against Nicki Minaj’s husband Kenneth Petty for failing to register as a sex offender, that does not mean he is in the clear. Department of Justice officials revealed that Petty is still facing federal charges for the same failure to register as a sex offender offense.

According to a grand jury indictment, Petty, who was convicted of attempted rape in the first degree in 1995 in New York, was charged Feb. 25 with failure to register as a sex offender, a requirement under the 2006 Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).

LADA spokesperson Greg Risling tells Billboard they dropped their charges against Petty due to the fact that he faced identical federal charges.

After being taken into custody, Petty pleaded not guilty to the charges on Mar. 4 and was released on $100,000 bond. His case is set for a jury trial on April 28.

The 41-year-old served four years in prison after he was convicted of attempted rape in the first degree 25 years ago, according to the indictment obtained by Billboard. After his conviction, Petty was then ordered to register as a sex offender in the state of New York, where he was convicted, but failed to re-register when he moved to California in 2019, as required under the 2006 Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), according to the federal indictment against him. He now faces up to 10 years in prison — the statutory maximum — if convicted of the felony charge.

According to TMZ, who first reported the news, Petty was arrested at a traffic stop in Beverly Hills in November, when police discovered he was not registered as a sex offender in California. He was later released on a $20,000 bond.

Minaj announced on the Aug. 12 episode of her Queen Radio show that she had filed for a marriage license with Petty, but the “Barbie Dreams” rapper confirmed they tied the knot in October.

‘American Idol’ Recap: Couple Kat Luna & Alejandro Garrido Highlight Busy Auditions Night

The penultimate American Idol auditions episode of the season opens with a strategically planned announcement of Katy Perry’s pregnancy — or, as Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie tease, the soon-to-be arrival of a “fourth judge.” How sweet.

With that out of the way, the contestants come fast, furious and full of backstories. That said, there are so many wannabe-Idols this time around that many get relegated to montages.

For instance, there’s high school student Makayla Phillips, 17, from Temecula, California, smooth crooner Devon Alexander, 22, from Sonora, California and dental school student Daniel La Rota, 24, from Birmingham, Alabama. They all make it through, but we can’t leave out Oahu, Hawaii’s Lou Dawg, 23, who has absolutely no idea who Lionel, Katy and Luke are, nor can he remember their names. Despite almost winning over the three of them with his original Jack Johnson-esque guitar-pop number, it’s a no for the clueless surfer. Bummer, dude.

Others we see fly by quickly include 22-year-old Oregon phlebotomist Emma Kate, Phoenix chalk artist Marcus Tinsley (who brings a pig with him) and Chase Jericho, 28, who is accompanied by the world’s sassiest violinist.

Mosean Wilson

The first noteworthy hopeful of the evening, who we likely have a fair chance of seeing again as things move forward, is Mosean from Springfield, Missouri. The 23 year old had the misfortune of being the one to find his dead father two years ago, after he’d died from a drug overdose. With a child of his own to care for, Mosean is determined to lift himself out of his life circumstances and find a path to success.

All of his emotion pours through as he sings his original blues number, “Slipped Away.” Luke and Katy tell Mosean that he has “it,” and they want to invest in pushing him along in the competition. “Your talent is your way out of all this madness,” Lionel promises him. And with that, Mosean is off to La La Land.

Kat Luna & Alejandro Garrido

Kat is 19 and from Miami. She’s joined at the hip, not to mention heart, by her 26-year-old boyfriend Space Cowboy aka Alejandro Garrido aka Alejandro Cortez, from Pembroke Pines, Florida. Seriously, he can’t seem to settle on one name… but it doesn’t matter, because the tattoo-sleeved church-crooning cowboy is so damn good looking, I want to eat my remote control, no matter what he’s called.

By the way, remember the actual artist, Space Cowboy, of Lady Gaga “Starstruck” fame? And Gaga’s 2010 hit single “Alejandro”? Well, in keeping with the theme, Kat and Alejandro do a joint audition with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s Oscar-winning A Star Is Born duet “Shallow.” Katy winds up comparing Kat to Dua Lipa, while Lionel tells the two of them, “I’ve never seen two people compliment each other so well.” The cute couple is of course on their way to Hollywood.

Sophia Wackerman

Sophia’s parents were both musicians. The 20 year old’s mom, Naomi Star, passed away a few years back and used to sing backup for the Moody Blues and Belinda Carlisle.

Sophia channels all the feelings from her loss into her rendition of Bishop Briggs’ “Water,” which she belts out while playing piano. Luke and Katy note the singer’s professional tone, with the latter saying her mother would be proud. Lionel tells Sophia she has several things working in her favor. Needless to say, we’ll be seeing her again this season.

Jimmy Levy

Miami native Jimmy is 21 and comes from a long line of psychics. “I see dead people,” he proclaims, sans irony, ahead of his nerve-wracked, wobbly audition with Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game.” Katy thankfully stops him mid-song and asks him to do something a cappella. He goes with a Tori Kelly tune, which turns his fortune around in the eyes of the judges. 

Luke and Lionel are a firm yes. Katy says yes, also, but warns that Jimmy will need a lot of work. Incidentally, the contestant tells the camera that his mother saw him snagging a ticket in a vision, seven years prior. Spooky.

Olivia Ximines

Sixteen-year-old high school student Olivia is cute as a button and brings her entire dance squad along as support. She knocks Tori Kelly’s “Language” out of the park, which causes Katy to declare, “You are a delight. You have such a joy and positivity around you.“

Honestly, Olivia has one of the best voices we’ve heard so far this season. Given her dance background, she hopefully won’t get swallowed up during the dreaded Hollywood round. 

Marna Michele

Costa Mesa, California secretary Maria, 27, is wheelchair-bound due to a disability that leaves her muscles too weak for her body to properly use. That ain’t stopping this spirited singer, though. Marna zooms right in and wins Lionel, Katy and Luke over with her bubbly personality. She then gives a solid take on Lady Gaga’s ballad “Million Reasons.”

Luke compliments Marna’s incredible range and tells her she just needs to have a bit more cry in her voice. Katy then proceeds to coach her through a quick vocal lesson, before the 27 year old is handed her golden ticket.

The rest

Another singer filled with personality is Compton, California’s Tavia Smith, 29, who rolls in with her “girl-tarist” Terry. Though the pair have personality in abundance, Tavia’s lack of experience singing in public unfortunately shows through during her audition with Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.” The judges tell “T & T” to go gig around as a duo and get more practice.

Things go much better for Zack Dobbins, an 18-year-old from West Virginia who plays guitar and has an old-soul voice reminiscent of Kurt Cobain. Likewise, 26-year-old Ren Patrick triumphs with her emotional version of Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own.” She explains that her ex, who she was with for eight years, made her feel worthless, and Katy even encountered the two of them at a party in Los Angeles, where the pop star apparently quipped to Ren, “Ugh, girl — dump him.” And that she finally did. 

Lionel tells Ren, “As my grandmother used to say, the best form of revenge is success.” On that note, Ren sails on through to the next round.

Drake’s ‘Flip the Switch’ Challenge Explained

In case you’re wondering why people are flipping their light switches to Drake’s 2018 single “Nonstop,” it’s because there’s a new challenge brewing on TikTok. 

The hilarious “Flip The Switch” challenge finds people playing off Drake’s “I just flip the switch” lyric by creating fun-filled videos, which include dancing, swapping clothes, and acting a downright fool at — you guessed it — the flip of a switch. 

Last week, the hashtag #FlipTheSwitch began buzzing on social media, causing a frenzy amongst fans. Over the weekend, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren joined in on the fun when she and Saturday Night Live star Kate McKinnon attempted the latest internet craze. 

From the onset, Warren had her phone in-hand while McKinnon — who suited up as the former presidential hopeful for an SNL skit — began dancing to the popular Drake tune in front of a mirror. Shortly after Drake’s lyrics kicked in, and the lights switched back on, it was the 70-year-old politician’s turn to flex her best dance moves. 

The latest celebrity duo to take on the challenge head-on is Jennifer Lopez and her beau Alex Rodriguez. On Sunday (Mar. 8), A-Rod and Lopez stood in front of a mirror while the singer was dancing to “Nonstop.” Once Drake’s “I just flipped the switch” lyric entered, the lights went off, and A-Rod — who was earlier holding the phone with his suit on — switched clothes with his soon-to-be wife and began dancing in her dress and with her earrings. With the light already back on, at this point, J-Lo was recording A-Rod while sporting his hefty suit jacket and sunglasses. 

Take a look at some of the challenges below and find a friend to give it a try.  

Led Zeppelin Wins Latest ‘Stairway to Heaven’ Copyright Fight

Led Zeppelin has once again prevailed in a long-running copyright dispute over whether the U.K. rock band infringed Spirit’s “Taurus” to create “Stairway to Heaven.”

On Monday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court’s decision of no copyright infringement after a jury in 2016 handed Led Zeppelin a win. Today’s decision comes after the appellate court voted to re-do the trial only to have larger issues re-examined en banc, meaning before a wider panel of judges.

A 54-page decision (read here) will likely become a new standard in copyright infringement cases and may be presented to the Supreme Court. Among other aspects of the decision, the Ninth Circuit determines it was not in error that the jury didn’t get to hear the “Taurus” sound recording at trial. Furthermore, the appeals court elects to ditch the “inverse ratio rule,” meaning the higher the degree of access to a work, the lower the bar for proving substantial similarity.

Michael Skidmore, the Trustee for deceased Spirit songwriter Randy Wolfe, sued the band in May 2014. Wolfe’s “Taurus” instrumental was authored before federal law covered sound recordings. Under the 1909 Copyright Act, authors obtained copyright by making deposits of their work with the U.S. Copyright Office. Before trial, the judge determined this meant that the sheet music was protected and that the jury shouldn’t hear unprotectable music elements in the sound recording.

In June 2019, a pair of Ninth Circuit judges decided that  while the scope of protection for an unpublished musical work is defined by what was deposited with the Copyright Office, it was nevertheless an error to not allow the jury to hear the “Taurus” sound recording because it could have been used by plaintiff to demonstrate Led Zeppelin’s access to the song. Additionally, the prior decision held that the jury was improperly instructed about unprotectable music elements and improperly instructed on originality.

Neither side was entirely happy with the appellate court’s initial conclusion. The heir of Wolfe (also known as Randy California) sought reconsideration on the determination that the scope of the song’s copyright was solely determined by what was deposited with the U.S. Copyright Office while Led Zeppelin argued that the correction of any errors would have led to the same jury result. Once the Ninth Circuit decided to rehear the case, it gained importance because among other things, it set different copyright standards for older works and led to some arguing that only those with classical music training — i.e. could notate music — would gain the benefit of protection. Even the Trump Administration weighed in on the dispute.

“The world of copyright protection for music changed dramatically during the twentieth century and those changes dictate our analysis here,” writes M. Margaret McKeown in the majority en banc opinion.

“Although Skidmore offers a host of reasons why adherence to the statute complicates proof in copyright cases, these arguments cannot overcome the statutory requirements,” later continues the opinion, soon adding, “Skidmore also complains that restricting protection to the deposit copy disadvantages musicians who do not read music because it can be time consuming and expensive to make an accurate deposit copy. Apparently, that was not a problem here, as Wolfe’s work was transcribed for the sheet music deposit. Digital transcription and other technological advances undercut this argument, not to mention that for decades now, sound recordings have been accepted as the deposit copy. Finally, Skidmore offers conjecture about what might happen if a deposit copy were lost or destroyed. We need not play this ‘what if’ guessing game because the statute is clear and unambiguous.”

This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.