No one in music was happy this week, or so it seemed, as the best of intentions blew up in several faces in the industry. BTS fans claimed segregation, Taylor Swift fans screamed collusion, and A$AP Rocky fans lashed out at the Swedes over their decision to prosecute the street-brawling rapper.
Meanwhile, a few multi-million dollar deals were brewing, making the complaints seem like teapot tempests.
This week in music:
ROCKING THE VOTE: Perhaps forgetting that Democrats AND Republicans buy tickets, two music industry executives are planning to hold 46 concerts in key swing states to help the Democratic presidential nominee win in 2020. The series, “46 For 46,” was conceived by former music managers Kyle Frenette and Christopher Moon. The campaign is paid for by the bpoliticalPAC and has already enlisted Nathaniel Rateliff, Lissie, Bon Iver, Dashboard Confessional, Sylvan Esso, and Patty Griffin.
AI MUSIC MOVES FORWARD: Music made by artificial intelligence got a boost this week, as Jukedeck, a UK startup with technology that aims to create music, was acquired by TikTok, owned by China’s byteDance. Jukedeck had raised £2.5 million, largely from Cambridge Innovation Capital, but also included investors Parkwalk Advisors, Backed VC and Playfair Capital.
VIVENDI KICKS THE TIRES: Vivendi has hired some investment banks to sell a minority interest in its Universal Music Group, the world’s biggest music company. But a strong earnings report this week has some thinking that the company may be merely feeling out the market rather than earnestly looking to sell.
SWEDES DECIDE TO PROSECUTE: Rapper A$AP Rocky received some bad news this week. Despite efforts by President Donald Trump to have the Swedish government go easy on him – with Trump personal guarantee attached – the prosecutors in the Scandanavian country have decided to move forward on assault charges stemming from a street brawl in Stockholm. A$AP could face up to six years in prison if convicted of the charges.
BTS FANS UPSET: Hell hath no fury like a K-Pop fan scorned. The MTV Video Music Awards added a new K-Pop category this year, but fans of boy band BTS feel it ghettoizes their faves and segregates them from competing with other top pop groups. The BTS Army is using the hashtag #VMAsRacist to denote their displeasure. BTS received four nominations for the VMAs, but none in the top categories like Artist of the Year.
TAYLOR SWIFT FANS UPSET, TOO: The Swifties were up in arms this week when news broke that Democrat presidential candidate Kamala Harris held a fundraiser at Taylor Swift arch-rival Scooter Braun’s home in Brentwood, Calif. Katy Perry, who recently settled a feud with Swift, was one of the more prominent attendees, along with Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato.