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U.S. “looking at” banning TikTok

On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the U.S. is “looking at” banning TikTok and other Chinese social media apps over national security concerns. After India and Australia banned the app, the U.S. is considering to follow suite.

During an interview with Fox News Laura Ingraham, Pompeo said “we’re certainly looking at it” when it comes to banning TikTok and other Chinese apps. “With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too, Laura, I don’t want to get out in front of the President, but it’s something we’re looking at.”

Pompeo said he doesn’t recommend downloading the app unless “you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”

A spokesperson for TikTok denied Pompeo’s comments in a statement to CBS News saying, “TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S. We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”

TikTok’s policies said the app collects user data such as IP addresses, location and information about devices. The company said it stores data from American users in the U.S. TikTok has repeatedly denied it works with China and said they are not influenced by any foreign government, however TikTok is owned by a Chinese company and would still have to comply with Chinese laws.

TikTok is the most downloaded App on the Apple App Store and is the 9th most popular social media app.

Artists to Take Pay Cuts With Live Nation’s 2021 Plans

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the music industry has been amongst the many industries to take a big hit. With many shows canceled worldwide for the foreseen future, companies such as Live Nation, AEG and Ticketmaster have faced huge financial losses. With reports predicting that large scale live events won’t resume until the latter part of 2021, Live Nation is already planning for when that time arrives.

In May, Live Nation furloughed over 2000 North American employees as part of its cost-reduction plans. Its partner company Ticketmaster has also faced various financial troubles since the pandemic began. Now, Live Nation is reportedly telling its partner companies to prepare to make various changes next year. Included in this new reported memo is a financial penalty artists will face if shows are canceled.

In the reported memo, the company plans to shift most of the financial burden to artists. Live Nation wants to decrease the monetary guarantees promised to artists before an event by 20 percent. The company states that if a concert is canceled due to low ticket sales, it will give artists 25 percent of the guarantee. This is opposed to the 100 percent that promoters are currently expected to pay.

Live Nation’s anticipated 2021 policies also include changes to artists’ payment terms, streaming requirements, billing, merchandise, airfare and more. The full reported memo is available to read below.

The global pandemic has changed the world in recent months and with it the dynamics of the music industry. We are in unprecedented times and must adequately account for the shift in market demand. [As well as] the exponential rise of certain costs and the overall increase of uncertainty that materially affects our mission. In order for us to move forward, we must make certain changes to our agreements with the artists. 

Artist Guarantees: Artist guarantees will be adjusted downward 20% from 2020 levels.

Ticket Prices: Ticket prices are set by the promoter, at the promoter’s sole discretion. And are subject to change.

Payment Terms: Artists will receive a deposit of 10% one month before the festival, contingent on an executed agreement and fulfillment of marketing responsibilities. The balance, minus standard deductions for taxes and production costs, will be paid after the performance.

Minimum Marketing Requirements: All artists will be required to assist in marketing of the festival through minimum social media posting requirements outlined in artist offer.

Streaming requirements: All artists will be required to allow their performance to be filmed by the festival. For use in a live television broadcast, a live webcast, on-demand streaming, and/or live satellite radio broadcast.

Billing: All decisions regarding “festival billing” are at the sole discretion of the promoter.

Merchandise: Purchaser will retain 30 % of Artist merchandise sales. And send 70% to the artist within two weeks following the Festival.

Airfare and Accommodations: These expenses will be the responsibility of the artist.

Sponsorship: The promoter controls all sponsorship at the festival without any restrictions. And artists may not promote brands onstage or in its productions.

Radius Clause: Violation of a radius clause without the festival’s prior authorization in writing will, at the festival’s sole discretion, result in either a reduction of the artist fee or the removal of the artist from the event, with any pre-event deposits returned to the festival immediately.

Insurance: The artist is required to maintain its own cancellation insurance as the promoter is not responsible for the artist fee in the event of a cancellation of the festival due to weather or a force majeure.

Cancellation by Artist: If an artist cancels its performance in breach of the agreement, the artist will pay the promoter two times the artist’s fee.

Cancellation Due to Poor Sales. If a show is canceled due to poor ticket sales, the artist will receive 25% of the guarantee.

Force Majeure: If the artist’s performance is canceled due to an event of force majeure – including a pandemic similar to Covid-19 – the promoter will not pay the artist its fee. The artist is responsible for obtaining any cancellation insurance for its performance.

Inability to Use Full Capacity of the Venue: If the promoter (either because of orders of the venue or any governmental entity) is not permitted to use the full capacity of the venue, then the promoter may terminate the agreement. And artist will refund any money previously paid.

We are fully aware of the significance of these changes. And we did not make these changes without serious consideration. We appreciate you – and all artists – understanding the need for us to make these changes in order to allow the festival business to continue not only for the artists and the producers, but also for the fans.

 

Florida 2020 Voter Registration Deadlines

The 2020 election is approaching on November 3, 2020, and in the current climate of America, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re registered to vote. (It takes two minutes to register online, and you can do so right here.)

“Florida is a huge swing state, and our margin of victory is so slim that we often go into recounts, just as we saw in 2018, so it’s important that if you have an opinion you exercise your constitutional right to vote by registering and then participating in the elections,” said Dustin Chase, Communications Director.

Here is everything you need to know about the 2020 presidential preference primary, primary and general elections.

Election Dates & Deadlines

2020 Primary Election*

Deadline to register or change party: July 20

Early Voting: August 3 – 16, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Election Day: August 18, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

2020 General Election*

Deadline to register: October 5

Early Voting: October 19 – November 1, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Election Day: November 3, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

How to register to vote

To register, change your party affiliation or check your registration status, you can go to the state’s official online site at RegisterToVoteFlorida.gov.

Paper voter registration forms can also be downloaded from the state’s Division of Elections website (https://dos.myflorida.com/elections/for-voters/voter-registration/register-to-vote-or-update-your-information/) or from local county supervisor of elections websites.

You can also register in person at county supervisor of elections offices, driver’s license offices, public libraries or other voter registration agencies. (https://dos.myflorida.com/elections/for-voters/voter-registration/national-voter-registration-act/)

2021 Recording Academy Grammys Changes

Last Wednesday in a press release, The Recording Academy has announced some changes to a few of their categories in Rap, Latin and R&B genres as well as ‘Best New Artist’ nomination eligibility. The Recording Academy has changed the name of “Best Urban Contemporary Album” to “Best Progressive R&B Album.” They have also changed the “Best Rap/Sung Performance” category to “Best Melodic Rap Performance.”

Rename the category “Best Urban Contemporary Album” to “Best Progressive R&B Album”

For albums containing at least 51% playing time of newly recorded progressive vocal tracks derivative of R&B. This category is intended for artists whose music includes the more progressive elements of R&B and may include samples and elements of hip-hop, rap, dance, and electronic music. It may also incorporate production elements found in pop, euro-pop, country, rock, folk and alternative.

Changing “Urban Contemporary Album”, comes just days after Republic Records announced they will be dropping the term “Urban”.

Change the name of “Best Rap/Sung Performance” to “Best Melodic Rap Performance”

This category is intended for performances that use the delivery of rap and melody over modern production. This performance requires a strong and clear presence of melody combined with rap cadence, and is inclusive of dialects, lyrics or performance elements from non-rap genres including R&B, rock, country, electronic or more. The production may include traditional elements of rap or elements characteristic of the aforementioned non-rap genres. Both the song and melody should be considered to fit these criteria to be accepted in this category.

“Best New Artists”, the highly anticipated and critiqued category also received a new upgrade. The Academy dropped the rule that an artist may have released no more than 30 tracks prior to the start of the current eligibility year.

Best New Artist Field – Eligibility 

Remove the upper limit rule and rely on the expertise of the Core and Genre Screening Committees to make the determination as to whether or not an artist had attained prominence in a prior year.

  • Minimum releases to meet eligibility:  five singles/tracks or one album
  • While there will be no specified maximum number of releases, the screening committees will be charged with determining whether the artist had attained a breakthrough or prominence prior to the eligibility year. Such a determination would result in disqualification.
  • An artist may not enter into this category more than three times, including as a performing member of an established group.

With the new “screening committees” the category will be even more subjective since each prospective artist’s eligibility will be open to interpretation. It remains to be seen which artists will benefit from the screening committee’s judgements, and which will be disqualified.

Additional changes approved by the board:

  • The Latin pop album Grammy has expanded and been renamed to best Latin pop or urban album, while the best Latin rock, urban or alternative album will now be called best Latin rock or alternative album.

What do you think of these changes? And what else should the academy do to promote fairness in their awards process?

5 Organizations You Can Support in Miami: Where you can donate and support

The protests against systematic oppressions and the recent fight for justice for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade have mobilized millions across the world to take action toward dismantling both the police system and ideologies and policies engraved into American culture. This action in different forms, including protesting, supporting local businesses, educating and donating.

For those seeking additional ways to advocate for antiracist policies, police accountability, and racial justice, we’ve compiled a guide to brief list of local MIA organizations that are advocating against institutional racism and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. While this list is not complete, these resources hopefully can serve as a starting point to help New Yorkers navigate as allied communities during this time.

If you want to donate to or learn more about each organization, click on a name.

(F)EMPOWER MIA

(F)empower is an artist collective and movement to empower femmes. (F)empower is meant to make an impact by not only creating events for young women, but giving them the tools and spaces to prosper from the shared experiences the collective.

MIAMI DREAM DEFENDERS

The Dream Defenders was founded in April 2012 after the tragic killing of 17-year old Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. That Spring, young Black, Latinx, and Arab youth marched from Daytona Beach Florida to Sanford Florida where Trayvon Martin was killed. With that fire in their bellies, they then went back to their communities and campuses to organize. Dream Defenders is a multiracial group of young people who are organizing to build power in our communities to advance a new vision we have for the state.

LETT LAW FIRM

Lett Law Firm is offering FREE legal services for misdemeanors, and a reduced fee for felonies, to protesters.

COMMUNITY JUSTICE PROJECT

The Community Justice Project (CJP) provides legal support to community and worker organizations fighting for racial and economic justice in Miami’s low-income communities.

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NEW FLORIDA MAJORITY

NewFM works daily to create an inclusive multiracial, multilingual and multicultural movement that seeks to unite people across economic, racial, religious and gender lines through a shared love of a democracy that serves all. They aim to center federal, state and local legislative conversations and policies around those who have been historically kept at the margins, disengaged with civic institutions and convinced that their participation doesn’t matter.