Monthly Archives: March 2015
By Judy Cantor-Navas
February 17, 2015
Los Tigres del Norte
Album from inspirational Disney movie drops as Los Tigres tour the U.S.
The great Norteño musicians and immigration activists Los Tigres del Norte bring some authenticity to the just-released McFarland, USA soundtrack album. Los Tigres’ pan-Latin pride song “América” is featured in the opening credits of the film, which stars Kevin Costner as the coach of a scrappy high school team of cross-country runners in a California farm workers town.
The album dropped Tuesday (Feb. 17) in advance of McFarland‘s theatrical debut on Friday, Feb. 20.
Music from the film includes Juanes‘ previously released single “Juntos (Together),” an upbeat message vehicle with the Colombian star’s familiar rhythmic hook. Tracks from West Coast ’70s crossover band War (“Me and Baby Brother”) and Mongo Santamaría’s 1962 “Watermelon Man” contribute to a grooving barrio vibe that runs through the soundtrack, which is more thematic than it is a faithful recreation of the film’s ’80s time frame.
“América” was the opening track on Los Tigres’ 1986 Gracias!…América…Sin Fronteras, an album that went to No. 1 on Billboard’s Regional Mexican chart and won a Grammy for Best Mexican-American performance.
“From América, I am… The ones from the North say that I’m Latino,” the song says in Spanish. “They don’t want to call me American.” The song goes on to name check Latin American countries, negating the United States’ claim to the name “America.” In 2011, Los Tigres performed the song together with Calle 13 for their MTV Unplugged album.
“Our career is based on telling the stories that our people live,” Los Tigres frontman Jorge Hernández recently told Billboard.
Los Tigres are currently on a national tour, which started in the Northeast and heads to Florida this weekend. The band will later play dates in the Midwest, New Mexico, and Arizona. Los Tigres del Norte’s tour wraps up at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on April 18.
LeBron James Reveals Ambitious Plan to Build Hollywood Empire: “Winning Is the First Thing That Matters”
This story first appeared in the Feb. 20 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
The janitor at the Akron, Ohio, office complex that houses the LeBron James Family Foundation and LRMR, the sports management company headed by the NBA superstar, eyes me warily. We’re in the elevator, though I don’t know what floor I’m supposed to go to. There are signs for medical offices, investment firms, a real estate company. But nothing for the foundation or LRMR. “We took it down,” explains the janitor. “Too many people peeking in the windows.” Having established that I am not an overzealous fan, he presses the button for the third floor. “Down here on your right,” he says, gesturing at the deserted hallway. “Last door.”
I see two impressionistic silk-screen portraits of James hanging in the lobby of a dark, seemingly empty office. More camouflage. When I ring the doorbell (a sign instructs: “press hard”), a cheerful woman emerges from the shadows. “Sorry,” she says, after she unlocks the door. “We like to keep it dark.”
James isn’t even here (I am taking a tour of his office in advance of a meeting with him the next day). But several pairs of his signature Nike sneakers — his deal with the shoe giant nets him $20 million a year — sit in display cases. The nameplate on his desk reads King James. I have been talking to his adviser Adam Mendelsohn about this interview for several months. There have been multiple postponements, not least of which was the delay caused by his return last summer to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a $42.2 million, two-year deal that made global headlines.
Spain’s music industry association Promusicae revealed that the nation’s music market grew about 21% to more than €149.9 million last year. It was the first year since 2001 with an uptick in sales. A large portion of that growth came from streaming services, which contributed €47.2 million in revenue. That streaming figure rose 36.3% from last year.
Spain is one of the few countries that have posted further gains in sales of physical formats (Germany is another). CD sales rose 22% from 2013 with 11.6 million units sold. But Spain’s market is seeing the digital business’ share pull closer to the one held by physical sales; the divide is currently 42% for digital and 58% for physical.
- 9th February 2015
- Editors: Nisha Lilia Diu, Méabh Ritchie
In late 2005, when YouTube was just a few months old, one of its co-founders announced that the site’s users were consuming the equivalent of an entire Blockbuster store each month. Today, 300 hours of video are uploaded to the site every minute. And Blockbuster… Well, kids, Blockbuster was a video rental shop offering films on DVD and VHS. VHS tapes were like giant cassettes. Cassettes were… Oh, never mind.
The online video behemoth has become the world’s third most-visited website, after Google and Facebook. According to Jawed Karim, he and two of his PayPal colleagues, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, launched the site after becoming frustrated that they couldn’t find footage of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami and, er, Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” at the Super Bowl the same year.
This high-and-low ethos is baked into YouTube’s culture. It’s been lauded for promoting democracy and reenergising education, while being disparaged for its endless cat videos and nasty user comments.
What is beyond debate is YouTube’s influence (spotted by a far-sighted Google in 2006, when it bought the site for $1.65 billion). Almost anyone can upload almost anything to YouTube, for free, and be in with a chance of reaching its one billion monthly users – whether they’re activists, terrorists, politicians or pop stars (or just the proud owner of a “mutant giant spider dog”). It has changed our world.
The 40-year old MP for Witney scrapes plates into a bin, while his wife helps their children get ready for school in their handsome kitchen.
“Watch out BBC, ITV, Channel 4. We’re the new competition. We’re a bit wobbly, but this is one of the ways we want to communicate with people properly,” says David Cameron. It is October 2006 and WebCameron, a new YouTube channel, is born. (more…)
February 6, 2015
Fresh Off the Boat” is finally here, and even though I’ve been privileged to watch it develop for months, seeing it actually air on TV has been a mind-bending, time-twisting experience — one that I, that many of us, have been waiting a lifetime to arrive.
Because even the rise of the Internet hasn’t changed the unique role of television as a validator of social inclusion. The images and ideas and, yes, people that are represented on primetime are a part of our cultural fabric — they are weekly guests in homes across America, sparking conversation, demanding engagement.
And for Asian Americans, we who struggle with a history of being seen as eternal foreigners, this absence from the small screen is like another Exclusion Act, condemning us to be forever in the dark, outside looking in.
This is me, that time, 31 years ago: Sitting in the dark in a theater crowded with fellow adolescents, watching “Sixteen Candles,” a movie my friends swore was going to be hilarious. It stars a pouty redheaded girl and it’s about how she’s being ignored on her 16th birthday because her soon-to-be-married older sister is getting all the attention.
I don’t really get why she’s upset; the day she’s having is pretty much every day of my life. And then, without warning, he pops up — pops down — on-screen, his buttoned-up bowl-cut appearance punctuated by the resounding clang of a gong: “Whatsa happening, hot stuff?” The audience roars at his chopstick accent and manic antics, at his ridiculous name, Long Duk Dong. I sink down in my seat, ears hot, eyes stinging. My friends don’t notice. They’re too busy laughing.
This is me, that time, 21 years ago: Sitting in the dark again, this time facing a small screen, my body tense with anticipation for a show that my Asian American peers and I hope will be an antidote to a decade of Long Duk Dongs, of Hollywood images that marginalize us, make us comic relief and cannon fodder for heroes of another color. The catch: I’m not watching this show as a viewer but as a reviewer, as newly minted TV critic. (more…)
TV | By Matt Donnelly on February 9, 2015
Ted Sarandos talks streaming to the island country and company’s new global outlook
Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos spoke out Monday evening about the streaming service expanding into Cuba, a deal that was announced earlier in the day.
“Now they just have to get the Internet,” Sarandos said at a panel titled “The New Era of TV,” hosted on the Sony Pictures lot in Culver City, California, by Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Art.
Sarandos wasn’t joking. Watchdog group Freedom House estimated that only 15% of homes in Cuba had Internet access as of 2012. A Google study also revealed that the functional Internet in the island nation is the Western hemisphere’s slowest.
Content available in the region will align with its current offerings in the Caribbean, the Netflix announcement noted. Expanding into a country like Cuba, then, is more of a symbolic move. (more…)
Telenovela fans have a new destination: Pongalo, which means “Play it” in Spanish. Available both on the Web and on mobile devices (iOS andAndroid), its beta version boasts a catalogue of 50,000 hours of Spanish-language television, film and children’s content, which viewers can stream for free with ads.
Most of this catalogue comes from Venezuelan content powerhouse RCTV (Radio Caracas Televisión), which is owned by the family of Jorge Granier, director of RCTV International and CEO of Pongalo’s parent company Latin Everywhere.
As some of you may remember, Latin Everywhere was formed in October through the merger of Granier’s former company GoTV and another company called Latin Anywhere, whose founder Rich Hull is now executive chairman of the new entity.
The platform’s infrastructure is provided by content streaming startup Inmoo, a company Latin Everywhere acquired last month. One of its main roles will be to enable Pongalo’s presence on multiple devices, which will be crucial if it wants to reach its goal to become the ‘Hulu for Hispanics.’
According to Nielsen, 60 percent of all US Hispanic households own an Internet-enabled smartphone, compared to just 43 percent for the general population. (more…)
February 2, 2015
At a rented theatre on a Saturday night in Seoul, 20 self-conscious young talents stand awkwardly, some of them in tears, in front of hundreds of cheering friends and relatives.
All have been working towards this moment for years, before passing through preliminary auditions staged by JYP Entertainment, one of South Korea’s biggest music production companies. Then came six weeks of intensive training for this climactic performance, after which only three are handed the bouquets that signify the offer of a training contract.
“I’ve been working so hard for five years, and now I’ve finally made it,” Kim Byung-kwan tells the audience, clutching the flowers and visibly overwhelmed after being named champion of the evening.
The stakes are high for these young hopefuls, who have the opportunity to become superstars not only in South Korea but across Asia, and increasingly beyond. Psy’s 2012 rap hit Gangnam Style — so popular that it recently forced YouTube to recalibrate its counting system for video views — is only one example of the growing clout of South Korean popular music, which hauled in revenues of Won4.4tn ($4.1bn) in 2013, according to the Korea Creative Content Agency.
With its slickly choreographed videos and addictively energetic sound, K-pop commands obsessive followings across Southeast Asia, China and Japan, and has established firm beachheads in Europe, the US and Latin America. Its international success, along with that of the country’s melodramatic soap operas, reflects the glamorous image of a country that has gone from one of Asia’s poorest states to one of its richest in two generations. (more…)
Title II, a provision in the country’s 81-year-old telecommunications law, could be used to tighten regulations on the telecom and cable industries. Here’s why they’re not happy about it.
by Roger Cheng and Ben Fox Rubin
February 2, 2015
Heavy-handed. Archaic. Disastrous.
Those are just some of the ways critics describe Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, which lets the Federal Communications Commission set rates and ensure equal access to traditional phone service.
As the FCC gets ready to propose new rules governing the Internet, the broadband industry — the cable, wireless and telecommunications companies providing Internet service in the United States — is using even more colorful epithets to describe Title II. That’s because the FCC, led by Chairman Tom Wheeler and backed by President Barack Obama, wants the broadband industry to abide by the same rules governing old-style telephone utilities. To do that, broadband will have to be governed by Title II.
This month, the FCC will try to redefine what broadband is, how it’s delivered and whether all Internet traffic gets equal treatment. That concept of equal treatment — which means preventing broadband providers from favoring certain kinds of content — has been dubbed Net neutrality or the open Internet. (more…)
February 2nd, 2015 by Stuart Dredge
Recently, we ran some analysis of the monthly YouTube charts published on industry site Tubefilter, which use data from analytics firm OpenSlate. That gave us an idea of the most popular music channels on YouTube in 2014, but now the site haspublished a top 250 for the year, digging a bit further into the longer tail.
The headline stat is that music accounted for 62 of the top 250 channels ranked by annual views in 2014, with 43 of those falling under the Vevo banner. As we noted before, Katy Perry was the top music channel in third place overall, while Shakira, Spinnin’ Records and Enrique Iglesias all made it into the top 10 overall.
Music taking just under a quarter of the top 250 may sound a little low, considering its importance to YouTube as a category. That’s partly a reflection of the cyclical nature of music channel viewing though: channels are quiet when artists are recording, and the big ones have sharp peaks around new video releases – at least until the artist has a sizeable enough back catalogue to keep the views rolling in even when they’re inactive.
Otherwise, when the figures are totted up annually, many artists slip back compared to the steadyu (and building, if they’re good) viewing for vloggers and gamers on YouTube. Hence Taylor Swift in 21st place overall, although she was comfortably inside the top five towards the end of 2014.
Also notable: the low ranking for some of the traditional stars of social/digital media: Justin Bieber had the 43rd most popular YouTube channel in 2014 – admittedly a quiet year for him musically – while Lady Gaga was 158th and Britney Spears 203rd.
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