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wedgwood READING List

December 2017

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MUSIC INDUSTRY

Are There More Chance the Rappers On the Way?

“Steve Stoute, former president of Interscope Records has just launched a new venture called UnitedMasters that is challenging the traditional record label model. It’s what’s known in the music business as an artist services company, a firm that aims to let musicians control their careers in areas like distribution, analytics, and brand partnerships, all while letting them retain rights over their master recordings. The venture is being funded by $70 million from Google parent company Alphabet, Andreesen Horowitz, 21st Century Fox, and Floodgate, and UnitedMasters will operate as a partner with Stoute’s other company, ad agency Translation LLC.”

Lil Peep Emerging Voice of American Youth, Dies In Apparent Overdose

Chances are you never heard of Lil Peep, but teens and people under the age of 21 made him a music and Youtube superstar. The rapper’s lyrics detailed his struggle with depression and glorified drug abuse. In what appears to be a cry for help, the 21-year old’s body and face were covered in provocative tattoos, including a large, crudely drawn anarchy symbol on his left cheek. Art can be beautiful, but art can also reflect the darkest parts of culture. The fact that millions of kids and young adults identified with Lil Peep should be a wake-up call to us all. 

Has Pop Music Failed Us

“In the past decade, critics and listeners have embraced mainstream pop music—from Beyoncé, to Katy Perry, to Kanye West, to yes, Taylor Swift—as a genre worthy of serious thought and debate. Was 2017 just a disappointing year for pop music? Or has the poptimism bubble burst?”

Taylor Swift’s ‘Reputation’ Sells 1.2 Million Copies in Its First Week

“In addition to an easy Billboard No. 1 — Nielsen said “Reputation” sold more than the rest of this week’s Billboard 200 chart combined — this marks the best opening week for any album this year, topping Drake’s “More Life” (OVO/Republic). It also makes “Reputation,” right off the bat, the biggest-selling release of 2017 over Ed Sheeran’s “÷” (Atlantic). The platinum-selling week for “Reputation” is also the first since Adele’s “25,” which had three million-plus sales weeks in late 2015.”


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FILM & TV

Annapurna Moves Toward Bond 25 With New MGM Distribution Deal

“When Annapurna Pictures moved into distribution, Hollywood viewed the move as bold but bizarre. In a market where indies struggle to survive, it was a strange time to reinvent a dying economic model. Now after several costly, high-profile failures, Annapurna and MGM will work together to distribute their films theatrically in the U.S.”

FCC Relaxes Media Ownership Rules in Contentious Vote

“The media ownership regulations of 2017 should match the media marketplace of 2017,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said. He said the agency was “dragging the broadcast rules into the digital age.” Pai added that the changes are needed, given current consumer habits, as people get their news not just from local stations, but from websites, podcasts, and social media.”

Justice Department Says Not So Fast to AT&T’s Time Warner Bid

“Until recently, AT&T’s pending $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner seemed destined to close by the end of the year. However, earlier this month tensions between the Justice Department and executives at the two companies spilled out into the open. Now it seems possible that the Justice Department and AT&T will end up battling each other in court. The ongoing negotiations have also demonstrated how the Trump administration may regulate big-ticket mergers and acquisitions, representing the first major test for the government’s antitrust strategy.”


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MEDIA

Tim Cook: Social Media Is Dividing Us  

“I don’t believe the big issue are ads from foreign governments. I believe that’s like .1 percent of the issue,” Cook says. “The bigger issue is that some of these tools are used to divide people, to manipulate people, to get fake news to people in broad numbers so as to influence their thinking. This to me is the No. 1 through 10 issue.”

Facebook Finally Does Something About Hoax News

“Facebook, Google, Twitter and several media outlets including The Washington Post plan to begin using "Trust Indicators" to help assure users of the reliability of their content and combat fabricated stories.

Rupi Kaur Reinvents Poetry for the Social Media Generation

“Ms. Kaur’s success is singular, but it is also a reflection of the times. Poetry is in the midst of a renaissance and is being driven by a clutch of young, digitally-savvy “Instapoets”, so-called for their ability to package their work into concise, shareable posts. Taylor Knott Gregson, a best-selling poet, boasts nearly 600,000 followers on Instagram, where he posts verse scrawled on scraps of paper or printed using a typewriter. R.M. Drake—who counts Ludacris, Nicki Minaj and the Kardashian clan as fans—has a following equal to that of Ms Kaur.”

How the Rhythm of Poetry Gave Him New Life

“His poems about love and abuse are at once tragic and hypnotic. He writes of ‘cancerous’ people and habits, of the pain of being ‘submerged with fists’ and of ‘dancing around the flames.”