This Week In Music: Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Badshah By The Numbers

Ed Sheeran

There’s an old saying in the record business about albums – it shipped platinum and returned gold. Which is all a way of saying that the music industry’s numbers that are sometimes thrown about on sales, online views and tickets should be taken with a grain of salt.

This week in music:

KATY DID, SAYS JURY – A federal jury ruled that Katy Perry and her song collaborators stole six notes from a Christian rapper’s track. Marcus Gray, aka Flame, claimed Perry et. al took the sequence of six even quarter notes from his track Joyful Noise, released in 2009, for her 2013 mega-hit Dark Horse. Listen to both and make up your own mind: the two songs can be found here and here.

HOORAY FOR BOLLYWOOD? NOT SO FAST – Indian rapper Badshah this week broke a record on YouTube for his video “Paagal,” which was seen 75 million times in one day, eclipsing a mark set by Korean boy band BTS last April. But YouTube isn’t acknowledging it, even as it trumpeted records from Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande and BTS. It seems Badshah and his representatives had purchased advertisements from Google and YouTube that embedded the video or directed fans to it. It’s a common practice, but Badshah took it further than the others, creating doubts about the popularity of any clip. Badshah, unknown in the west, is claiming a double standard. “We worked hard for this, promoted it worldwide,” Badshah said on Instagram. “I don’t want people abroad to see India like it’s shown in a film like ‘Slumdog Millionaire.’ We are at par with the world. And it’s our time to shine.”

WOODSTOCK 50 A NO-GO:  Plans to stage a 50th anniversary Woodstock ended this week. Organizational and planning problems, ironically by the original team behind Woodstock, caused a number of acts to drop out. Leading to the decision. It would have happened Aug. 16-18, the same weekend as the original, but in Columbia, Maryland instead of Bethel, NY. Bad news for promoters: the acts were already paid, leading to a request for a donation of 10% of the fees to charity.

TAYLOR PLAYS CENTRAL PARK – Joining a pantheon that includes Simon & Garfunkel, Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross and Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift announced plans for a concert in New York’s Central Park on Aug. 22. Her performance is scheduled the day before her new album, “Lover,” is set to drop. The record for a Central Park appearance is believed to be Brooks’s 750,000. Will Swift make a run at that?

A$AP SPRUNG – Rapper A$AP Rocky was released from a Swedish jail this week and is back in the United States awaiting a verdict in his assault trial. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of my fans, friends and anyone across the globe who supported me during these last few weeks,” he wrote on Instagram. His trial is over, but he still faces a final verdict, expected by Aug. 14. Prosecutors have allegedly asked for a six-month sentence. President Donald Trump has been in his corner, requesting leniency from Sweden. Could an extradition request be denied?

ED SHEERAN HIGHEST-GROSSING TOUR – Ed Sheeran has set the all-time record for highest-grossing concert tour. Pollstar forecasts the total gross to this point of $736.7 million will top the previous record of $735.4 million set by U2 in 2011. Of course, he’s been on the road 893 days to U2’s 760. No word on the ticket price differences between the two tours were provided. Sheeran’s Divide Tour launched on Mar. 16, 2017 and will end Aug. 26.



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