No one in the music business was asking “Where’s the beef?” this week. It was right out in the open, as Taylor Swift/Big Machine, Lizzo vs. Postmates, and Sharon Osbourne vs. Bob Lefsetz squared off against each other over various issues.
Using the power of social media to shame, make a point, and generally launch missiles against their foes, the parties lobbed accusations against each other, with various fans and observers choosing sides in the disputes.
This week in music:
NPR NOTES SONGS ABOUT HATING THE BIZ: In a week where disputes dominated the music business, NPR put together a list of songs that were about hating the business side of the music business. Who knew that legal entanglements had a beat and could be danced to?
TAYLOR SWIFTLY J’ACCUSE: This week saw yet another confrontation between Taylor Swift and her former record label, Big Machine. She claimed that the label wouldn’t allow her to perform her past songs on the American Music Awards and wouldn’t license them to Netflix for an upcoming documentary on her career. The label claimed she owes them money, and asked for “a direct and honest conversation. When that happens, you will see there is nothing but respect, kindness, and support waiting for you on the other side. To date, not one of the invitations to speak with us and work through this has been accepted.” Swift’s defenders include Selena Gomez and Irving Azoff. For the label, Justin Bieber has offered his support.
OZZY, OZZY IN FREE: Sharon Osbourne has gotten into a back-and-forth with newsletter publisher and former Variety columnist Bob Lefsetz over his opinion on the news Ozzy Osbourne single. He leaked an email that she sent him complaining that “As for Ozzy and Black Sabbath, you don’t understand the music, you don’t understand the culture and now are only writing about Ozzy now to try and be hip because you’ve heard his new album is going to be a landmark album for him.” Lefsetz got personal in his reply, calling her a “self-hating meeskite” and getting personal on her husband’s past.
YOUTUBE DOWNERS: More than 80 videos that YouTube believes are potentially inciting gang violence have been removed from the service in the past six months. The majority are drill music videos, a style of trap music originating in Chicago’s south side and defined by dark, violent, nihilistic lyrics and trap beats.
LIZZO SUED OVER LOBSTER DELIVERY: A food delivery person is suing artist Lizzo for slamming her on Twitter. Documents filed Friday in US District Court of Central California claim that Tiffany Wells suffered after Lizzo accused her of stealing a Postmates order.The suit claims Wells delivered a Postmates order from a Massachusetts lobster restaurant to the Revere Hotel in Boston on the evening in September, but was unable to contact the customer. An outraged Lizzo tweeted Wells’s name and Postmates photo, claiming, “Hey @Postmates this girl Tiffany W. stole my food she lucky I don’t fight no more.”
STAX REVIVAL: Craft Recordings has unveiled The Memphis Masters—a limited video series celebrating various albums from the iconic Stax Records label, showcasing its enduring musical legacy, as well as its influence on Memphis, TN. Created in partnership with Memphis Record Pressing and Memphis Tourism, and directed by Andrew Trent Fleming of TheFilmJerk Media, the multi-part series was shot in several locations around the city—also known as the home of blues, soul and rock ’n’ roll—including such historic landmarks as Sam Phillips Recording Service, Royal Studios and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music Interviews include interviews with Stax legends like Steve Cropper, Big Star’s Jody Stephens, James Alexander (the Bar-Kays) and Booker T. Jones, plus longtime label publicist Deanie Parker and songwriter Bettye Crutcher, who share their memories from the label’s heyday. The episodes are available on YouTube.
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