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Spotify Gains A Million Users In A Week In India Amidst Legal Dispute

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Spotify pushed operation in India despite dispute from Warner/Chapell

Spotify may have delayed its debut in India, the up and rising market, but it only took them a record six days to gain its first million users.

A Spotify spokesperson declined to comment on how many of those new listeners were paying subscribers rather than users of Spotify’s free ad-based service. The company also won’t say how many users it hopes to attract in India.

It finally launched Wednesday despite legal disputes with music labels.

The initial announcement by Spotify was to expand to India in March 2018, but the global music streaming platform faced delays in signing deals with major record labels.

Moreover, Spotify had a hard time figuring out a way around the nature of India’s music rights marketplace. Scores of local Indian labels and publishers make it challenging to pull all the rights together; there are multiple regional languages to contend with.

It also had issues over the rights to stream songs by the likes of Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran, Cardi B, Bruno Mars, and Coldplay, among others. Music label Warner/Chappell was preventing Spotify from streaming their songs in India.

However, Spotify found a loophole through India’s laws that would allow them to stream songs without the permission of music labels.

Spotify used India’s Copyright Act of 1957. Accurately, in one of its provisions in section 31D, which says “broadcasters,” the company can obtain a license for copyrighted works even if the copyright owner denies use.

This move made Warner/Chappell Music file an injunction with the Bombay High Court to prohibit Spotify from streaming their catalog in their region. At the heart of this is whether or not Spotify falls under the umbrella of “broadcaster” in India’s Copyright Act of 1957. In the act, a “broadcast” is defined as “communication to the public.” Warner/Chappell argues that it only refers to traditional media such as radio and television.

The law was amended six times, but it claims for “broadcasters” remained the same since its passing in 1957. However, as leverage, Spotify uses the memorandum issued by the Indian Copyright Office in 2016 saying that it’s expanding the definition of “broadcast” in 31D, stating that “the provisions of section 31D are not restricted to radio and television broadcasting organizations only, but cover internet broadcasting organizations also.”

It’s unclear why Warner and Spotify have so far been unable to land on a deal — Warner has agreements with other streaming services in India, like freemium music streaming service, JioSaavn. It seems Warner knows Spotify needs to launch in India to grow and is using its power to block that launch to extract some other concessions. What happens next could change how artists, labels, and streaming services work in India for years to come.

Legal fight aside, there are significant revenue consequences for Warner if Spotify prevails. The common voluntary agreements between broadcasters and labels can contain terms that are well beyond the scope of how much is paid out per stream. Sony’s deal with Spotify, for example, also included a cut of ad sales revenue and up to $9 million in additional ad spots. If Spotify can sidestep a direct deal with Warner in India, then Warner potentially loses out, not just on streaming payouts, but on a myriad of alternative revenue streams. And, those other revenue streams are a big deal in emerging markets like India.

In particular, most of India avail their music for free from alternatives like YouTube and the good old-fashioned piracy. Only some Indians have credit cards, and those who pay, don’t pay much.

In India, Spotify’s pricing structure offers a lot more payment flexibility than other markets. The service can cost as little a 99 rupees ($1.39) per month for a one-year plan. But, the service also offers the ability to buy just a single day of access for 13 rupees ($0.18), one week for 39 rupees ($0.55), and one single month for 129 rupees ($1.81), among other plans. A student plan offers up to 50 percent off per month.

Despite its strong start, Spotify has a long way to go if it wants to catch up with big local players like Gaana and JioSaavn. Gaana, backed by Chinese tech giant Tencent, reportedly has over 80 million users in India, while JioSaavn — owned by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani — has access to more than 250 million users of his massive Jio mobile network.

Many of Spotify’s global competitors, including the music streaming services run by Apple, Google, and Amazon also have an established presence in India.

The streaming platform has plenty of other music to offer, however, including a deal with Bollywood’s most prominent record label, T-Series, and it will be hoping to leverage its India presence to shore up its global user base of more than 200 million.

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Aladdin’s ’A Whole New World’ Gets A Revamp

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What we think about aladdin's new version of A Whole New World and how its new singers made a positive impact both for the song and the movie by giving it a modern touch

A new version of Aladdin’s 1992 ’A Whole New World’ OST just dropped on YouTube and for the most part, we’re happy about it!

Disney uploaded the music video Thursday featuring a duet between pop powerhouse, Zayn Malik and rising music star Zhavia Ward.

The Alan Menken-penned famous ballad comes one of many songs that would be available with the rest of the upcoming Aladdin remake’s album.

If you’ve watched Aladdin’s live-action trailer a few months back, you would also notice that another famous song from the original, A Friend Like Me also got a modern twist. Mainly, like the rest of the Twitterverse, we were surprised when Genie started to rap!

Apparently, A Friend Like Me wasn’t the only song that Disney decided to give a modern twist. In the newer version of A Whole New World, there are some things that Disney also decided to play with.

In the 1992 version, the dreamy melody was sung by voice actors Brad Kane and Lea Salonga for the original animated version of Aladdin, which peaked at No. 1 in the United States before bagging the Oscar for Best Original Song. Furthermore, the hit classic became the movie’s famous love song that was imprinted on all of its fans’ mind with Jasmine and Aladdin singing on top of a flying carpet, all the while admiring the view. Now that’s certainly a feat any other artist would both be terrified and honored to follow.

”The selection of artists, producer, and tonal direction was critical for the success of updating a classic song like this,” president of Walt Disney Studio’s Music & Soundtracks Mitchell Leib said in a statement. “Zayn’s vocals are like no other and his artistic imprint immediately brought a contemporary and diverse presence.”

Zayn Malik, the former One Direction singer, was personally chosen to sing the male voice in the modern version of A Whole New World. His vocal range easily matches the contemporary vibe of the classic all the while giving it a dynamic that would resemble with today’s pop culture.

Meanwhile, Zhavia Ward was chosen by Zayn to perform the duet with. Zhavia is an up and coming music star who grew her popularity on the famous talent show, ‘The Four’ where judges were famous singers and producers like Dj Khaled.

Zhavia’s presence in The Four was quickly embraced both by the judges and the audience because of her unique vocals. She gives her songs a more reggae-RnB feel that takes you on a drifting journey all the while having the kind of energy that remains upbeat.

We can see hints of Zhavia’s singing style in the newer version of A Whole New World that beautifully compliments Malik’s vocal range where overall revamp the ballad but not wholly that it offsets the purpose and the nostalgia the song comes with. And to complement the whole musical score, there are more lively beats and a few Arabian melodies that Disney added, which is quite tasteful even though they’re veering away from the whole dreamy and romantic vibe of the original.

In terms of the aesthetic feel in the music video, sadly there are no magic carpet rides, but we get to see the beautiful Manhattan night and Central Park’s Bethesda Terrace with Zhavia singing ”unbelievable sights, indescribable feelings…” to the night sky. It’s no classic fairytale, but it’s something we get to appreciate as a modern ballad in a place filled with city lights, which overall compliments the whole idea of updating the classic love song.

There may have been mixed reviews regarding Guy Ritchie’s live adaptation of Aladdin, starting with the black genie where it’s not because he’s black but the genie we all know and love is blue. Now, at least they nailed the famous song that sent lovers cooing each other right.

The duet will be featured in the film’s soundtrack as well as the end credits. We’ll also get to hear more from Aladdin’s soundtrack including “Friend Like Me” performed by Will Smith, who plays Genie, and DJ Khaled. You can preorder the soundtrack here.

Aladdin–starring Will Smith as Genie, Naomi Scott as Jasmine, and Mena Massoud as Aladdin–opens May 24 in theaters.A

Go stream the latest music video and tell us what you think!

Walt Disney | YouTube

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Music

Good Vibes And Tan Lines at Wet Electric

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Wet Electric 2019

2019 marked the 10 year anniversary of Wet Electric and served as a hidden EDM gem in Tempe! The lineup was stacked, the sun was shining, the water was refreshing, and the vibes were set. Big Surf Waterpark set the tone by keeping the main stage in waist deep water, sans waves. The waves were in the form of ravers equipped with bikinis, glitter, board shorts, and inflatable totems. This one-day festival is, arguably, the best way for locals to kick off pool party season!

The wave pool served as a wide open space for groups to dance, sing along, and most importantly splash! Splashy photos, whether slow motion or portrait mode, were the highlight on any social media platform. Aside from the great venue, water slides, jello shot-filled syringes, and decent craft beer lineup the music was the centerpiece.

With headliners such as Benny Benassi, What So Not, and RL Grime there was more than enough variety in music throughout the day. SLUMBERJACK was a fantastic way to get the early afternoon started with bass-heavy music mixed with an occasional hip-hop song. The coveted golden hour was filled with an array of bass, atmospheric, groovy, trap mixes from What So Not. What So Not lived up to his reputation as an EDM innovator. From sunbathing with soundtracks like ‘Cinema’ to classics like ‘Satisfaction’ Wet Electric delivered on dance music bangers.

There was a much groovier, synthesized,  deep house haven at the RB Deep stage. Cut to Bruno Furlan and his infectious grooves and incredible energy! Leaving this stage was tough because the RB Deep lineup was full force bringing house and techno to life! There was a rich palette of dirty dancey, funky, creative and bass-heavy tracks at this stage. Much of my afternoon was spent deeply submerged in this house music haven. Hopefully, this grows to a much larger stage setting!

Relentless beats/RB Deep diligently changed artists and kept everyone dancing whether it was in the wave pool or in the shade! The lineup was well curated and toggling between stages was relatively easy. This allowed the crowds to focus solely on enjoying the sun and wavy beats.

It’s exciting that a one day festival, like Wet Electric, has a strong tenure! Wet Electric stands out most because the crowd size is not overbearing and this made it easier, not only to move around, but feel the crowd energy. Cheers to many more Wet Electric and Tempe!

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Music

BTS, EXO, Cardi B; Top Nomination List 2019 Billboard Music Awards

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BTS Billboard Music Awards 2019

Another breakthrough moment for ARMY and Kpop fans, in general, as more boy bands from South Korea dominate the Western markets for this year’s Billboard Music Awards on May 1 in Las Vegas.

The nominations list is out, and it is no surprise that we see names of some of the biggest K-pop bands. Big Hit Entertainment’s BTS, also known as ‘Bangtan Boys’ garnered two nominations; the Top Duo/Group, and Top Social Artist.

The boys will be facing artists such as Imagine Dragons, Panic! At The Disco, and Maroon 5 for the Top Duo/Group category. Meanwhile, in the Top Social Artist choice, BTS will be going head to head with a mix of Western artists like Ariana Grande, Louis Tomlinson, and other well-known K-pop bands such as SM Entertainment’s EXO And JYP Entertainment’s GOT7.

It is evident that the Top Social Artist award is particularly the special category among any other categories in the awards show. It is one of the few fan-voted categories in the Billboard Music Awards, and this means that avid fans have the power to name the winner depending on the total number of votes.

BTS won this award last year and took home the crown, but this time is going to be a hard competition for the boy band and their ARMY fans. Ariana Grande is a big name in the music industry and has a lot of fanbase in different parts of the world, not to mention that her music album attracts millions of fans this year.

But the K-pop fever is also something that Westerners should not take advantage of. In fact, this is not the first time that an artist coming from South Korea is nominated for the Billboard Music Awards’ categories, nor the first a Kpop music celebrity took home a trophy.

Nobody forgets Psy’s viral Gangnam Style who took the world by storm and won an award for ‘Top Streaming Song’ in 2013, making him the first K-pop artist to win an award.  That same year, PSY was nominated in a total of five categories including ‘Top New Artist’ ‘Top Rap Artist’ and ‘Top Dance Song.’

Aside from the Kpop bands, another worthy artist who leads all the nominees is Cardi B. The I Like It rapper is nominated 21 times in 18 categories. The hip-hop star is competing against herself in three categories, more than anyone else this year such as Top Hot 100 Song, Top Selling Song, and Top Collaboration. This set of awards mirror how female artists like Cardi B are setting a record in the music industry, especially in the field of rap music.

Following Cardi B are Drake and Post Malone, with each having 17 nominations. Travis Scott is up for 12 awards, and XXXTentacion is up for 10.

Among the famous nominees are Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, both are up for the chart achievement award, the top soundtrack for A Star is Born, as well as, top selling for Shallow.While Gaga is being nominated separately for top song sales artist.

Bazzi, Juice Wrld, Lil Baby, Dua Lipa, and Ella Mai will compete for one of the major awards such as the Top New Artist and Top Artist. For the Female Top Artist, Cardi B will compete against another hitting star Ariana Grande, Halsey, Ella Mai, and Taylor Swift. While the Top Male Artist is composed of Drake, Post Malone, Travis Scott, Ed Sheeran, and XXXTentacion.

Other significant awards that artists wish to achieve are; Top Billboard 200 Artist, Top Hot 100 Artist, Top Radio Songs Artist, Top Touring Artist, Top R&B Artist, Top R&B Male and Female Artist, Top Rap Artist, Top Rap Female and Male Artist, Top Rap Tour, Top Country Artist, Top Country Male and Female Artist, wherein Cardi B’s name appeared several times in almost every category.

For the complete list of awards and categories, you can visit the online site of Billboard Music Awards 2019 which can also be viewed on its Facebook page.

This year awarding is a much-awaited event since there will be two fan-voted categories – the top social artist and chart achievement. Kelly Clarkson will host the 2019 Billboard Music Awards from the MGM Garden Arena in Las Vegas, and it will be broadcasted at 8 pm via ET on NBC.

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