Monthly Archives: June 2016

Former ‘Sabado Gigante’ Host Don Francisco Joins Telemundo


Anna Marie de la Fuente

Don Francisco Cesar Conde
Feb 29, 2016

Don Francisco, former host of Univision’s Saturday night mainstay “Sabado Gigante,” has set a wide-ranging pact with rival Telemundo to serve as a senior news correspondent and to launch a production venture.

Francisco, whose real name is Mario Kreutzberger, moves to Telemundo after ending his variety show last September after 53 uninterrupted years on the air, including 30 years in the U.S. via Univision.

Recruiting Kreutzberger is a coup for Telemundo, which remains in second place to its larger rival in the Spanish-language TV race but has been making inroads. Cesar Conde, chairman of NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises and NBCUniversal International Group, said the multi-year pact is twofold.

The deal includes the launch of a joint production company to develop and produce original content and formats for U.S. Hispanics and international audiences across multiple platforms, and a new role as senior news correspondent.

Kreutzberger, who turned 75 in December, will draw on his decades of experience interviewing world leaders, including President Obama, for a series of sit-down interviews with prominent figures. With the upcoming U.S. presidential elections, the Summer Olympics in Rio and World Cup in 2018, he will have no shortage of major news to cover. (more…)

Art Under Threat: Attacks on artistic freedom in 2015

22 FEB 2016

Freemuse Annual Statistics on Censorship and Attacks on Artistic Freedom in 2015


Artistic freedom is under extreme pressure in far too many countries. The Freemuse annual report summarises censorship and threats on artistic freedom in 2015 in over 70 countries.

In total, Freemuse registered 469 cases of censorship and attacks on artists and violations of their rights in 2015, making it our worst recorded year yet, nearly doubling the number of cases from 2014 with a 98% increase from the year previous, wherein 237 cases were registered.

While at the UN level there have been positive signs of larger attention being paid to the importance of protecting artistic freedom in 2015, sadly the year was dominated by a 20% increase in registered killings, attacks, abductions, imprisonments and threats, and a staggering 224% increase in acts of censorship.

2015 case break down

The disturbing increase can partially be explained by the fact that Freemuse and its collaborating partners have improved their documentation methods and strengthened their networks, as well as the fact that artistic freedom is an issue that is slowly gaining larger attention. However, that change is slow and artistic freedom violations continue to be under-reported in many countries due to lack of awareness, registration, political will and reporting capacity. (more…)

What Can Music Education Learn From Tech Startups


The People’s Music School in Uptown just launched tech pilots with five startups.

– Staff writer

Stephane Collopy (left), strings teacher at The People's Music School, works with a student and Youtopia practice partner. (Courtesy of The People's Music School)

Stephane Collopy (left), strings teacher at The People’s Music School, works with a student and Youtopia practice partner…

A 40 year-old music school in Uptown is taking a tech-forward approach to improving music education.

The People’s Music School, a free music school in Uptown, is partnering with five music tech startups to launch pilot programs that infuse tech into their lessons and classes. In return, the startups will get feedback and data from teachers and students to aid product development. President and artistic director Jennifer Kim Matsuzawa, a former consultant at Bain and accomplished pianist, believes taking a startup and tech approach could improve access and efficiency in music education.

“There is so much tech that is related to music, everything from Guitar Hero to sound engineering equipment,” said Matsuzawa. “Some of the most advanced tech is music related…But nothing has been applied at a broad scale in a school setting.”

Here’s the thing, according to Matsuzawa: learning music is pretty inefficient as it stands today. There are a variety of stakeholders who aren’t always on the same page (a tutor assigns practice to a musician who is held supposedly held accountable by a busy parent). Teachers still often write music quizzes and lessons by hand. Students in group classes struggle to get adequate individual attention. (more…)

The Weird Global Appeal of Heavy Metal


Feb 2016

From Indonesia to Latin America, Russia to Japan, metal is taking hold

By Neil Shah

Today’s “world music” isn’t Peruvian pan flutes or African talking drums. It’s loud guitars, growling vocals and ultrafast “blast” beats. Heavy metal has become the unlikely soundtrack of globalization.

Indonesia is a metal hotbed: Its president, Joko Widodo, wears Metallica and Napalm Death T-shirts. Metal scenes flourish in Latin America, Eastern Europe, Russia and Scandinavia. China got an early seeding of metal 25 years ago when U.S. record companies dumped unsold CDs there. In a male-dominated genre, Russian band Arkona is fronted by singer Maria Arkhipova. Language barriers are less significant in the metal world, which is all about the sound, an often dissonant drone not grounded in any one musical tradition.

The explosion of local bands around the world tends to track rising living standards and Internet use. Making loud music is expensive: You need electric guitars, amplifiers, speakers, music venues and more leisure time.

“When economic development happens, metal scenes appear. They’re like mushrooms after the rain,” says Roy Doron, an African history professor at Winston-Salem State University.

Record labels are paying more attention now. At Nuclear Blast Records, one of metal’s biggest independent labels, global retail sales rose last year to 2.53 million albums, up from 2.25 million in 2014 and 1.84 million in 2013. In the late 1990s and 2000s, Nuclear Blast made a bet on bands with a potential to sell well globally, such as Norway’s Dimmu Borgir and California veterans Exodus, says Gerardo Martinez, U.S. manager for Nuclear Blast. Since he joined the company in 2003, payroll has doubled to 200 employees in five offices including Germany and Brazil.

NORWAY | Mayhem in Jakarta in 2015

In late August, Sony Music Entertainment bought Century Media Records, a leading metal and hard rock label, for an undisclosed sum. Universal Music Group last month bought metal label Candlelight. Aside from record sales and concert tickets, merchandise is a big part of metal culture—especially T-shirts. (more…)

More Americans using smartphones for getting directions, streaming TV

Pew Research Center
BY Americans increasingly use smartphones for more than voice calls, textingJust as the internet has changed the way people communicate, work and learn, mobile technology has changed when, where and how consumers access information and entertainment. And smartphone use that goes beyond routine calls and text messages does not appear to be slowing, according to a Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults conducted in July 2015.

The percentage of smartphone owners who say they have ever used their phone to watch movies or TV through a paid subscription service like Netflix or Hulu Plus has doubled in recent years – increasing from 15% in 2012 to 33% in 2015.

Among the smartphone activities measured, getting location-based information is the most universal task. Nine-in-ten smartphone owners use their phone to get directions, recommendations or other information related to their location, up from 74% in 2013.

The share of smartphone users who report using their device to listen to online radio or a music service, such as Pandora or Spotify, or participate in video calls or chats has also increased by double digits in recent years. (2015 was the first year in which we surveyed about using a mobile device to buy a product online or get sports scores and analysis.)

Unlike other mobile activities, location-based services appeal to smartphone owners of all agesYounger adults are especially likely to reach for their phone for something other than calling and texting. Getting location-based information is the one activity measured that is common across all age groups, however.

Listening to music and shopping on the go are especially popular among smartphone owners ages 18 to 29: 87% have listened to an online radio or music service on their phone, compared with 41% of those 50 and over, and 73% have shopped online through their mobile device, versus 44% of older users.

Activities that are less prevalent but not uncommon among smartphone owners include video calling or chatting; getting sports scores or analysis; and watching movies or TV through a paid subscription service. Again, younger adults are especially likely to use their mobile device for all of these activities. For example, 52% of 18- to 29-year-old smartphone owners have ever used their phone to watch movies or TV shows through a paid subscription service, compared with 36% of 30- to 49-year-olds and only 13% of those 50 and older.

These differences speak to a broader pattern of younger Americans’ adoption of and engagement with technology. Younger adults are more likely than older adults to own a smartphone, to be constantly online and to rely on their smartphone for internet access.

Photo of Monica Anderson

is a research analyst focusing on internet, science and technology at Pew Research Center.

200 Million Trendsetters: China’s Millennials are Shaping the Global Economy

Go to the profile of GGV Capital
GGV Capital Jan 14, 2016

By Hans Tung and Jixun Foo

China has about 200 million people aged 15–24, compared to about 40 million Americans in the same age group. Some 277 million[1] of China’s young people are already online — and they’re the most mobile-connected generation in history.

We recently analyzed just how mobile-crazy and tech-savvy China’s youth are — and what their behaviors mean for global companies trying to sell them products and services. We poured over data about young people aged 15–24 in China and uncovered some surprising things about their wants, behaviors, and viewpoints, especially in comparison to their parents. The findings should interest startups and established companies in every sector — from tech and entertainment, to automotive, education, finance, restaurants, and retail — as they seek ways to engage this massive demographic.

First, we found that China’s young people spend a crazy amount of time online each week — an average of 27 hours.[2] That’s compared to 21.7 hours a week American millennials spend online. And the vast majority of Chinese millennials use their mobile phones to access the Internet, instead of laptops or tablets. Half of Chinese millennials check their phones at least every 15 minutes.[3] So the first rule of thumb when trying to reach China’s millennials? Be mobile first — forget the PC.

But Chinese youth aren’t just screen addicts. They’re a unique consumer market with three distinct characteristics: they’re open to trying all manner of mobile apps; they embrace the homebody, or “zhai”, culture and thus spend lots of time online; and, because they spend so much time online, have a far more global outlook and desire to travel than older generations. (The global mindset may seem typical of young people in Western countries, but it’s new in China, where previous generations lived in a far more insular country.) So the second rule of thumb when trying to connect with Chinese millennials is to keep their unique behavior — mobile, open-minded, and global, yet homebodies at heart — in mind.

Mobile Minded (more…)

David Bowie: Invisible New Yorker

JANUARY 16, 2016

About 10 years ago, the playwright John Guare got a call asking if he wanted to meet David Bowie to discuss a theater project.

As Mr. Guare remembered it, Mr. Bowie was “in a very dark place” (it was shortly after he had had a heart attack onstage in Berlin), and a mutual friend, the English producer Robert Fox, was trying to coax him back to a creative life. Mr. Guare immediately said yes.

He and Mr. Bowie met at each other’s homes in New York to throw around ideas, and sometimes they went out. “We would take walks around the East Village,” Mr. Guare said. “And I was always praying somebody would run into us so I could say, ‘Do you know my friend David Bowie?’”

It never happened.

Mr. Guare was at first puzzled and then amazed at how Mr. Bowie — the stage creature, the persona, the guy he saw command an audience at Radio City Music Hall in 1973 with his spiky orange hair and snow-white tan — could walk the city streets unrecognized.

“He traveled with this cloak of invisibility — nobody saw him,” Mr. Guare said. “He just eradicated himself.”

People often forgot, but up until his death, on Sunday at age 69, Mr. Bowie was a New Yorker. He said so himself, emphatically. “I’m a New Yorker!” he declared to SOMA magazine in 2003, after he’d been here a decade.

He and his Somali-born wife, Iman, who is a model fluent in five languages, spent almost their entire marriage, more than 20 years, as residents of the city. Anyone will tell you they were one of New York’s most glamorous, graceful couples, made all the more so by the dignified and private way they lived.

And though Mr. Bowie was enormously wealthy, he wasn’t one of those rich guys who kept an apartment in the city, along with a portfolio of global real estate holdings, and flew in. Aside from a mountain retreat in Ulster County, N.Y., his Manhattan apartment was his only home.

You may not have considered all this because Mr. Bowie was an apparition in the city, rarely glimpsed. You heard it mentioned that he lived here. Somewhere downtown, someone thought. But seeing him out? Good luck.

The true true size of Africa


RE-Post June-2016
Nov 10th 2010

LAST month Kai Krause, a computer-graphics guru, caused a stir with a map entitled “The True Size of Africa”, which showed the outlines of other countries crammed into the outline of the African continent. His aim was to make “a small contribution in the fight against rampant Immappancy”—in particular, the fact that most people do not realise how much the ubiquitous Mercator projection distorts the relative sizes of countries.

A sphere cannot be represented on a flat plane without distortion, which means all map projections distort in one way or another. Some projections show areas accurately but distort distances or scales, for example; others preserve the shapes of countries but misrepresent their areas. You can read all the gory details on Wikipedia.

Gerardus Mercator’s projection, published in 1569, was immediately useful because it depicts a line of constant bearing as a straight line, which is handy for marine navigation. The drawback is that it distorts the shapes and areas of large land masses, and the distortion gets progressively worse as you get closer to the poles. (Africa looks about the same size as Greenland under the Mercator projection, for example, even though it is in fact 14 times bigger.) This was not a big problem for 16th-century sailors, of course, and the Mercator projection remains popular to this day.

In Mr Krause’s map (above) he seems to have used the shapes of the countries from a Mercator projection, but has scaled up the outline of Africa, without changing its shape, to show the appropriate area. An alternative and arguably more rigorous approach would be to repeat the exercise using an “equal area” projection that shows the countries’ areas correctly while minimising shape distortion. These two properties are the hardest to balance when showing the whole world on one map. I decided to rework Mr Krause’s map usingGall’s Stereographic Cylindrical Projection (1855) with two standard parallels at 45°N and 45°S. Distortions are still evident at the poles, but for most countries shape is maintained, and their areas are shown correctly. As you can see (below), the results are distinct from Mr Krause’s map. But however you look at it, his point is a good one: Africa is much bigger than it looks on most maps.

FORBES / Media & Entertainment

Zack O’Malley Greenburg ,


I cover the business of music, media & entertainment.

The top-earning woman in the music business has been cashing in on a massive world tour, a constant stream of hit singles and a string of endorsements with a slew of major companies, while occasionally throwing thinly veiled barbs at her chief rival.

Sounds like Taylor Swift—but, in fact, it’s her frequent competitor, Katy Perry. Largely because of her Prismatic World Tour, which is now winding down, Perry pulled in $135 million this year. She grossed more than $2 million per city over the course of 126 shows in our scoring period, and added to her total through deals with Coty, Claire’s and Covergirl.

“I am proud of my position as a boss, as a person that runs my own company,” Perry told FORBES for our Celebrity 100 cover story this past summer. “I’m an entrepreneur. … I don’t want to shy away from it. I actually want to kind of grab it by its balls.”

Sft has also been having quite the year, claiming the No. 2 spot with $80 million. More than a year after the launch of 1989—the top release of 2014 with over 3.6 million copies sold—her latest single, “Wildest Dreams,” has ascended to the top of the charts, boosted by a music video with Scott Eastwood. But it was the beginning of her epic 1989 World Tour that placed her so close to the top of this list.

Chinese Online Giant Alibaba to Buy Youku Tudou Streaming Site


International Correspondent@LeoBarraclough

alibaba logo


NOVEMBER 6, 2015

LONDON — Jack Ma’s Chinese e-commerce group Alibaba Group is to acquire Youku Tudou, one of China’s two largest streaming video operators. The merger will give Alibaba access to more than half a billion online video users.

Alibaba currently owns 18.3% of Youku Tudou. The shareholders of Youku Tudou will receive $27.60 per share. Victor Koo will remain as Youku Tudou’s CEO and chairman following the deal’s completion. Youku Tudou will no longer be listed on the New York Stock Exchange after the merger.

“We believe this combination with Alibaba maximizes value for Youku Tudou shareholders and significantly benefits our customers, users and team,” Koo said.

“We are eager to work with Alibaba to grow our multi-screen entertainment and media ecosystem. We are confident that we will strengthen our market position, and further accelerate our growth through the integration of our advertising and consumer businesses with Alibaba’s platform and Alipay services.”