Latest Episodes (click below to listen)

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Eddie Nicholas Debuts his Incredible Do You Wanna Dance LP

Click on the link below to listen + buy the "Do You Wanna Dance LP" today!


Mixtape Sessions and Dekmusique Imprint is proud to present the release of the 16 track digital debut LP from Eddie Nicholas, entitled "Do U Want to Dance?" This magnificent LP is a collection of original and previously unreleased and remixed material from both internationally and locally recognized producers, combining Eddie's vocal talent with elements of Gospel, Jazz, Rock and soul. The "Do You Wanna Dance?" LP includes a little something for everyone to DANCE to.

For bookings, please contact:


Spiritual grounding, family, Carol Tart, Adam Cruz, Glenn Thornton, Rasmir Mantree, Dawn Tallman, Tanja Dixon, Kim Beachum, Anetra Tilley, Carolyn Byrd, Humble family, DJ Hutch, Paul Scott, Ace Mungen, Phillip Ramirez, Karla Brown, Victor Dillard, DC Underground, 95 North, Mijan Owens, Taka Boon, Rob Da Noize Temple, Chris Flowers, ThinkSoul, Sunday Tea Party, Koffee The Floetress, Anthony Smith, Theresa Randolph, Susu Stewart and the Lincoln Park family, Tanya Veltz and the Orange Music Festival, Rudy Turner, Otis and the Trenton House Music Festival, Charles Mitchell and the Weequahic Park House Music Festival, Justin Imperiale, John Crockett, Willy Lubisi, Fale Hood Natives, Clown Dallas, Dario Martino, Callogero Scalia, 3 Kings, Lawrence Kenibrew, Sakaki Nakamura, Jacquelyn Graham, Flora Cruz, Deidre Covington, Anthony Wiggins, Lou Alvarez and the Sol Deep family, BKS1 Radio, Frankie Vibe and WFDU (The House of Inspiration,) Barbara Tucker, Sammy Rock and the Cyberjamz family, The Neighborhood Childcare Center, Harley and Muscle, Josh Milan, Venus Ka, DJ Del, Ron Carroll, Charles McDougald and the Warehouse family, Andre McPherson, Eugene Williams, Jean Sermons, Clay Hollaman, Tony Humphries, Slaag Records, Mantree Records, Mixtape Sessions, Cabana Recordings, Acebeat Music, Strictly Rhythm Records, Dek Musique Imprints, Shani Stephens, Crystal Dinero, Shaheed Shaheed, Rodney Gilbert, John Murray and The CC family, Lee Simmons, Fred Pierce, Ken Terry, Joe Flame, Joe Smith, Abbie Adams, Gladys Pizzaro, Duce Martinez, Richard Thomas (RIP,) Stuart Pearman, Randy Hutchinson (RIP,) Nate Dance, Yorel, Mark Mendoza, CeCe Peniston, Marcia Carr, Deli G, T.O. Sweet, Kevin Hedge and Louie Vega of Roots NYC, WBLS, Eric Livesly, Hassan Love, James Germany, Moncef Belyamani, Tee Mallory, DJ Gabe, DJ Melodious, Lou Gorbea, Danny Krivit, Ali Coleman, Michael Fossati (Spirit of House,) NJPAC, The Italian Music Conference, ADE, WMC. . . and to all of my supporters out there in the dark (in my Nora Desmond voice) thank you! And to all of my Mr. Demille’s out there. . . I’m ready for my close up!


01. Do You Wanna Dance? (Introduction)
Written by Bobby Freeman. Vocals performed by Eddie Nicholas.
Produced by Adam Cruz.
Published by Bobby Freeman Music (BMI) and Clockus Music Co (BMI)

02. Groovin (Mixtape Sessions Album Version)
(E. Nicholas)
Written by Eddie Nicholas.
Produced by Adam Cruz.
Lead vocals performed by Eddie Nicholas.
Background vocals performed by Eddie Nicholas and Adam Cruz.
Mixed at Ebbnflow Studios, Bloomfield, NJ.
Published by D E K MUSIQUE (ASCAP).

03. Fall In Love (Justin Imperiale's Album Version)
(E. Nicholas, A. Cruz)
Written by Eddie Nicholas and Adam Cruz.
Produced by Justin Imperiale.
Lead vocals performed by Eddie Nicholas.
Background vocals performed by Eddie Nicholas and Adam Cruz.
Vocals mixed at Ebbnflow Studios, Bloomfield, NJ.
Published by Cabana Global Music (BMI), D E K MUSIQUE (ASCAP) and Mixtape Sessions Music (ASCAP).

04. Hear A Song Sing (Willy Lubisi's Album Version)
(E. Nicholas, A. Cruz)
Written by Eddie Nicholas and Adam Cruz.
Produced by Willy Lubisi.
Mixed by Willy Lubisi, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Published by D E K MUSIQUE (ASCAP) and Mixtape Sessions Music (ASCAP).

05. Missing You (Rasmir Mantree's Album Version)
(E. Nicholas, R. Temple)
Written by Eddie Nicholas and Rob 'Da Noize' Temple.
Produced by Glenn Thornton and Rasmir Mantree.
Lead vocals performed by Eddie Nicholas.
Background vocals performed by Eddie Nicholas and Tanja Dixon.
Published by D E K MUSIQUE (ASCAP) and Fabu's Dream (ASCAP).

06. Was That All It Was (Rasmir Mantree's Album Version)
(J. Butler)
Written by Jerry Butler, Linda Iris Conlon and John L. Usry, Jr.
Produced by Rasmir Mantree.
All music performed by Jalal Johnson.
All vocals performed by Eddie Nicholas.
Published by Jerry Butler (ASCAP), Linda Iris (SOCAN), John Usry (SOCAN) and Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. (BMI).

07. You Left Me (Sterling Void & FatFly's Album Version)
Written by Eddie Nicholas and Glenn Thornton.
Lead vocals performed by Eddie Nicholas.
Background vocals performed by Eddie Nicholas and Dawn Tallman.
Remixes produced by Sterling Void and FatFly.

08. Time Marches On (John Crockett's Album Version)
Written by Harry Dennis and Marshall Jefferson.
Originally produced by Adam Cruz.
Vocals by Eddie Nicholas.
Trumpet solo by Moncef Belyamani.
Conga solo by John Mendoza.
Remix produced by John Crockett.
Published by Sanlar Music (BMI) and Mixtape Sessions Music (ASCAP).

09. Shake (FTL's Album Version)
Lyrics written by Adam Cruz and Eddie Nicholas.
Lead vocals performed by Eddie Nicholas.
Background vocals performed by Eddie Nicholas and Adam Cruz.
Vocals produced by Eddie Nicholas and Adam Cruz in Bloomfield, NJ.
Remix produced by Jeremias Santiago for FTL Music.
Published by Mixtape Sessions Music (ASCAP), D E K MUSIQUE (ASCAP) and Dario Martino (SUISA).

10. Feel This Groove (Clown Dallas' Album Version)
(E. Nicholas)
Written by Eddie Nicholas.
Originally produced by Glenn Thornton at SLAAG Dungeon, Burlington, NJ.
Remix produced by Ayanda Clown Dallas, South Africa.
Lead vocals performed by Eddie Nicholas.
Background vocals performed by Dawn Tallman and Eddie Nicholas.

11. Is There Love? (Mixtape Sessions Album Version)
(E. Nicholas, A. Cruz)
Written by Eddie Nicholas and Adam Cruz.
Produced by Adam Cruz.
Lead vocals performed by Eddie Nicholas.
Background vocals performed by Eddie Nicholas and Adam Cruz.
Mixed at Ebbnflow Studios, Bloomfield, NJ.
Published by D E K MUSIQUE (ASCAP) and Mixtape Sessions Music (ASCAP).

12. I Know A Man (Ace Mungen's Album Version)
(E. Nicholas)
Written by Eddie Nicholas.
Produced by Ace Mungen for Acebeat Music.
Published by D E K MUSIQUE (ASCAP).

13. Ghumbah (3 Kings' Album Version)
Written by Adam Cruz.
Remix produced by 3 Kings, South Africa.
Lead vocals performed by Eddie Nicholas.
Background vocals performed by Eddie Nicholas and Adam Cruz.
Published by Mixtape Sessions Music (ASCAP).

14. U Can Do Anything (Lawrence and Sakaki's Album Version)
(E. Nicholas)
Written by Eddie Nicholas.
Produced by Lawrence Kenibrew and Sakaki Nakamura.
Published by D E K MUSIQUE (ASCAP).

15. Groovin (Harley & Muscle's Album Version)
(E. Nicholas)
Written by Eddie Nicholas.
Produced by Harley & Muscle, Milan, Italy.
All vocals performed by Eddie Nicholas.
Published by D E K MUSIQUE (ASCAP).

16. This Must Be Love (Hood Natives' Album Version)
(E. Nicholas, A. Cruz)
Written by Eddie Nicholas and Adam Cruz.
Produced by Fale Hood Natives, South Africa.
Lead vocals performed by Eddie Nicholas.
Background vocals performed by Eddie Nicholas and Adam Cruz.
Published by D E K MUSIQUE (ASCAP) and Mixtape Sessions Music (ASCAP).

Mastered by Adam Cruz at EbbnFlow Studios in Bloomfield, NJ.

Cover art design by Adam Cruz.
Executive Produced by Eddie Nicholas and Adam Cruz.

©2017 Mixtape Sessions Music, LLC / Dekmusique Imprint. All Rights Reserved.
Distributed by The Cruz Music Group, a Division of Mixtape Sessions Music, LLC.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

FCC Repeals Net Neutrality Rules

Written by Cecilia Kang — WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission voted on Thursday to dismantle landmark rules regulating the businesses that connect consumers to the internet, granting broadband companies power to potentially reshape Americans’ online experiences.

The agency scrapped so-called net neutrality regulations that prohibited broadband providers from blocking websites or charging for higher-quality service or certain content. The federal government will also no longer regulate high-speed internet delivery as if it were a utility, like phone services.

The action reversed the agency’s 2015 decision, during the Obama administration, to better protect Americans as they have migrated to the internet for most communications.

Ajit Pai, the chairman of the commission, said the rollback of the rules would eventually help consumers because broadband providers like AT&T and Comcast could offer people a wider variety of service options. Mr. Pai was joined in the 3-to-2 vote by his two fellow Republican commissioners.

“We are helping consumers and promoting competition,” Mr. Pai said before the vote. “Broadband providers will have more incentive to build networks, especially to underserved areas.”

The discarding of net neutrality regulations is the most significant and controversial action by the F.C.C. under Mr. Pai. In his first 11 months as chairman, he has lifted media ownership limits, eased caps on how much broadband providers can charge business customers and cut back on a low-income broadband program that was slated to be expanded to nationwide carriers.

His plan, first outlined early this year, set off a flurry of opposition. Critics of the changes say consumers may have more difficulty finding content online and that start-ups will have to pay to reach consumers. In the last week, there have been hundreds of protests across the country, and many websites have encouraged users to speak up against the repeal. Some groups have said they planned to file a lawsuit challenging the change.

“I dissent, because I am among the millions outraged,” said Mignon Clyburn, one of the two Democratic commissioners who voted against the action. “Outraged, because the F.C.C. pulls its own teeth, abdicating responsibility to protect the nation’s broadband consumers.”

During Mr. Pai’s speech before the vote, security guards entered the meeting room at the F.C.C. and told everyone to evacuate the room. They did not offer details but demanded that attendees leave until the room was cleared. Commissioners were ushered out a separate back door. The hearing restarted a short time later.

Despite all the uproar, it is unclear how much will change for internet users. The rules were essentially a protective measure, largely meant to prevent telecom companies from favoring some sites over others. And major telecom companies have promised consumers that their experiences online would not change.

Click here to read more from this article's source.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Give to the 22nd Annual Jersey Cares Coats Drive through Wed Dec 13, 2017

Give to the 22nd Annual Jersey Cares

November 1 through December 13

For drop-off locations, more information, or to make a financial contribution visit

Have you checked out our podcasts? Subscribe and listen for FREE :)

Written by Adam Cruz — Haven't check out all of our episodes of the Freedom Radio Hour and the Mixtape Sessions Master Class? You're in luck! All of our episodes are available for your listening pleasure for FREE! Subscribe below!

Subscribe FREE to the Freedom Radio Hour podcasts on iTunes at:

The Freedom Radio Hour has established itself as THE most comprehensive music business news show with topics covering music streaming, copyright, publishing, royalties and more. The Freedom Radio Hour is your #1 source for the latest scoop in the music industry.

The Freedom Radio Hour is a weekly DJ mix and talk radio program hosted by DJ Adam Cruz and Eddie Nicholas. The show features a fresh DJ mix and a 15-minute informative talk segment, covering music business news and trends from around the globe. The program airs on FM radio on Capital Radio 91.6FM The Heartbeat of Sudan and on the web at:

In addition to the launch of the new season, The Freedom Radio Hour premiers its beta version mobile app. Music business news and trends from around the world, including breaking news, music business minute, video episodes, DJ mixes and much more can be accessed through the Freedom Radio Hour App. The continued development of this new segment calls for feedback from those who access the show through the app as developers work to improve functionality to maximum efficiency and enjoyment

Download the app to mobile devices!

Android users:

iPhone users:

Listen to the show at:


About Adam Cruz:
As a DJ, Adam spins an energetic blend of Jazz, Funk, Latin, and soulful Dance music. As a virtuoso, Eddie brings a fantastic spin to the program, based on his experiences as a recording artist, performer and host. When they're not hard at work promoting their partners or their projects, Adam and Eddie continue to build a solid base of loyal listeners, broadcasting their weekly "Freedom Radio Hour" and "Mixtape Sessions Master Class" shows live on Capital Radio 91.6FM The Heartbeat of Sudan and on the web at: For more information, visit:, and

For press inquiries and for bookings, contact:

About Eddie Nicholas:
Eddie Nicholas is an incredible vocalist, stage performer and event promoter. Since his 1995 break out hit “You Make Me Carry On” on Strictly Rhythm was released, Eddie has performed all over the world. When he’s not performing, Eddie can be seen co-hosting many annual music festivals including the Lincoln Park Music Festival, the Trenton House Music Festival and the Orange Park House Music Festival, just to name a few. For 2017, Eddie is finalizing songs for his debut “Do You Wanna Dance?” LP.

For more information, visit: and for bookings, contact:

Subscribe FREE to the Mixtape Sessions Master Class podcasts on iTunes at:

Every week, Adam Cruz hosts the Mixtape Sessions Master Class, a tasty yet tasteful radio program, featuring an energetic blend of Jazz, Funk, Latin, and soulful Dance music. The Mixtape Sessions Master Class broadcasts weekly Fridays at 2pm EST and 11pm Sudan Time in Africa on Capital RADIO FM 91.6 The Heartbeat of Sudan and on the web at:

On this week's episode, host DJ Adam Cruz features fantastic music from Tuxedo, Breakbot, CLASSIXX, Jesse Kivel, Holy Ghost!, Calvin Harris, Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry, BIG SEAN, DāM-FunK, Flea, Computer Jay, Mndsgn, SHIGETO, Kaleena Zanders, Sango, Xavier Omär and Kaytranada!

Visit Adam Cruz and Mixtape Sessions on the web at: for more of this fantastic music!

Apple Music's Jimmy Iovine Talks Streaming, Netflix & Artists

Written by Colin Stutz — It's been three and a half years since Jimmy Iovine left his role as CEO of Interscope Geffen A&M to run Apple Music, but that doesn't keep him from thinking about the problems facing labels today -- or the rest of the industry for that matter.

Over a dinner recently at NeueHouse Hollywood in Los Angeles with Iovine and Allen Hughes, who directed the four-part documentary series, The Defiant Ones -- which focuses on storied careers of Iovine and Dr Dre., his partner in developing Beats Electronics -- a handful of journalists lobbed questions at and shared their thoughts with the iconic exec. The event was focused on the documentary's digital release last week and via Blu Ray on Tuesday, but subjects roamed often into the esoteric.

"No one's expressing how they feel," said Iovine, lamenting a lack of outspoken musicians willing to take a righteous stand. "People are telling us to dance, they're telling us to love, they're telling us to have sex ... but most people aren't talking about how we feel."

When Iovine turned his focus from labels to music-based tech in 2014, he left behind a legacy as the most successful head of a major label for the last 25 years. His rise to the top of the industry is chronicled in The Defiant Ones: from linking up as an engineer with Bruce Springsteen and John Lennon in the early 1970s, to producing Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Stevie Nicks and U2, to co-founding Interscope in 1990, where he signed Tupac Shakur, Nine Inch Nails, No Doubt, Marilyn Manson, Eminem and others. Meanwhile, Dre's story is told in a parallel narrative, until their lives became entwined with Dre's Aftermath Records imprint and, later, the Beats by Dre headphone brand that became Beats Electronic and Beats Music, all of which were sold to Apple for $3 billion in 2014. Iovine and Hughes were sure to clarify in conversation that the Defiant Ones title was not intended to refer to Iovine (though a case could certainly be made for his own defiance) but for the varying artists he worked with, many of whom appear in interviews during the documentary.

"When I was making the film, no bullshit, it was like a love note to something that never will be again," said Hughes after the conversation turned to social media and how un-"rockstar" frequent, revealing posts can feel.

"What an old man thinks, is like how there's a 13-or 14-year-old kid who's gonna see this thing and say, 'I want some of that,'" added Iovine, who's 64. "He's going to see Pac and Eminem and Bruce Springsteen and say, 'I want some of that.'"

Iovine continued, looking back on lessons learned since his early days working out of the control room in recording studios: "What I learned as a kid is in music, or any art, by far the most important thing happening at that moment is on that side of the glass. So I want Dre to be Dre, Pac to be Pac, Manson to be Manson, Trent to be Trent, Gwen to be Gwen, Mary J. Blige to be Mary J. Blige, I see it that way. There's nothing original about me, there's everything original about them. That's why I can't be in the record business right now, because there's not enough of that. So why do I want to do that?"

Conversation turned to Iovine's own sector of the industry and the folly of placing too much faith in tech -- particularly if you're a label.

"The streaming services have a bad situation, there's no margins, they're not making any money," he said. "Amazon sells Prime; Apple sells telephones and iPads; Spotify, they're going to have to figure out a way to get that audience to buy something else. If tomorrow morning [Amazon CEO] Jeff Bezos wakes up and says, 'You know what? I heard the word "$7.99" I don't know what it means, and someone says, 'Why don't we try $7.99 for music?' Woah, guess what happens?"

The short answer is it would rattle the entire streaming business ecosystem and probably most of all the industry-leading Spotify, which nine years after launching is still unable to turn a profit.

"The streaming business is not a great business," he continued. "It's fine with the big companies: Amazon, Apple, Google... Of course it's a small piece of their business, very cool, but Spotify is the only standalone, right? So they have to figure out a way to show the road to making this a real business."

Getting into the weeds, Iovine went on to point out labels' inevitable hardships over royalties derived from back catalogs amidst this new landscape. As rights for older catalog albums hit their contract reversion dates, it will be hard for labels to negotiate the type of splits they formerly took for granted. Likewise, on newer releases, artists are entering contract discussions with the leverage of millions of fans behind them already and getting better deals than ever before, he said, pounding his fist on the table to accent his point. "That's a great thing but what I'm saying is that everybody has got an issue ... the problem is not solved yet, the solution is not there. And I could poke holes in any of it, because I live it. And some of these things have got to be dealt with."

He continued, getting increasingly worked up, "Technology's position in life, to me, is like medicine. It's like science: see a problem, fix it. Don't think about what it does to anything else. The atom bomb: 'Oh we're gonna split an atom.' They weren't saying, like, 'People in Hiroshima are gonna die,' you know? The record industry doesn't know where technology is gonna go. In the past, technology has helped them. I'll give you a chain of events: The album, changed the business; cassette, 8-track, changed the business; CD, exploded the business; what was the next thing? Mp3 -- cut the business in half. So that can happen at any time. No one knows. Everyone still has to figure out their role, where they fit."

Iovine said that the business is "100 percent" overly optimistic about where things are headed. But it's not the price point that's the problem for streaming services. It's the free alternatives that are undermining the system in a way film and television streaming platforms are not forced to manage. He pointed to Netflix as a prime example, spending $6 billion on original content in 2017, while charging customers $9.99 or $11.99 for unlimited access to its unique offerings -- including TV and film they exclusively license. Meanwhile in contrast, by and large, all music digital streaming platforms offer the same material.

"So Netflix has all that original stuff and it's $11.99," he said. "Music, everybody has everything, plus the free tiers, every song is on YouTube, so how can they charge $11.99 to a consumer? I'm like, no. I'm gonna buy this and get the music for free.... It's a massive problem."

Even if it was solved, could that price point work?

"I don't know," Iovine replied. "I think if it was big enough, it could cost less. Put yourself in Kansas without a job and YouTube is free, Pandora is free, Spotify is free.... If there's a restaurant down the street with the exact same food as this restaurant that's on a mountain with a view, only this one's for free, a lot of people are gonna eat there. They'll use paper towels, they don't give a shit about napkins."

"These are issues that the record industry has to deal with and I don't know if they're dealing with it," he added matter-of-factly. "It's not my job."

Not anymore, at least.

Click here to read more from this article's source.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Join us on Sat Jan 27 for New Jersey Drive: An Art, Music & Community Service Drive - Bloomfield!

New Jersey Drive: An Art, Music & Community Service Drive

Saturday, January 27, 2018

donate a coat to someone in need

Food and Refreshments provided (+BYO)

Afro Brazilian Cultural Center of New Jersey
(2 doors down from the iHop)

554 Bloomfield Avenue
Bloomfield, NJ 07003

(exit 148 off the Parkway)

music by Adam Cruz, Duce Martinez and friends
playing old school hip hop, classic dancehall and other party rock anthems!

This event is by New Jersey creatives for New Jersey creatives! Meet, mingle and network with New Jersey artists!

Can't join us?

You can still participate in the coats drive by donating a coat to:

Are you a New Jersey creative and would like to be included in our next booklet and artist promotions cycle?

- Send a high resolution (large size) of your logo or photo
- A short bio
- Web link
- Don't forget to plug your latest project!
Cost is $40 (includes complimentary admission)
Deadline is Monday, January 15, 2018

facebook invite here

Monday, November 27, 2017

Check out How Spotify Uses Big Data, AI And Machine Learning To Drive Business Success

Written by Bernard Marr — Spotify, the largest on-demand music service in the world, has a history of pushing technological boundaries and using big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning to drive success. The digital music company with more than 100 million users has been busy this year enhancing its service and tech capabilities through several acquisitions. Industry watch dogs predict the company will launch an IPO in 2018.

Data: Powerful By-product of Streaming Music

When you have tens of millions of people listening to music every minute of the day, you have access to an extraordinary amount of intel that includes what songs get the most play time, to where listeners are tuning in from and even what device they are using to access the service. There’s no doubt Spotify is a data-driven company and it uses the data in every part of the organization to drive decisions. As the service continues to acquire data points, it’s using that information to train the algorithms and machines to listen to music and extrapolate insights that impact its business and the experience of listeners.

One example is the Discover Weekly feature on Spotify that reached 40 million people in its first year. Every user gets a personalized playlist every week from Spotify of music that they have not heard before on the service, but that will be something the listener is expected to enjoy—a modern-day version of a best friend creating a personalized mix tape.

Spotify for Artists

In an effort to make its mountains of data available to musicians and their managers, Spotify just launched the Spotify for Artists app that provides mobile access to analytics—everything from which playlists are generating new fans to how many streams they are getting overall. Think Google Analytics for musicians. It was originally launched in a web version earlier this year, but the mobile app allows musicians to access the info from the tour bus and the geographic streaming data can be instrumental to musicians and their teams to plan tours more effectively. Artists also have more control over their presence on Spotify including selecting the “artist’s pick,” and they can update their bios and post playlists.

This is just the latest initiative from Spotify to make a concerted effort to empower artists and make them less skeptical of the company. Fans First is another Spotify program that uses data to find an artist’s most passionate fans and target them with special offers.

Click here to read more from this article's source.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Join us on Dec 2 for New Jersey Drive: an art, music, & coats+blankets drive - Bloomfield

new jersey drive:
an art, music & coats+blankets drive

saturday december 2 nine to one am
afro brazilian cultural center of nj
554 bloomfield ave, bloomfield, nj
this event costs 10 dollars to get in

brought to you by
music by adam cruz & duce martinez
playing new jersey house music only
sound provided by bnb productions

this event is by nj artists for nj artists!
network with other new jersey creatives!

facebook invite here

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Justice Department charges Iranian man for HBO hacking allegations

Written by Colin Lecher — The Justice Department announced today that it has charged an Iranian man with this year’s hack of HBO, a high-profile security breach that led to the early release of TV episodes and scripts.

In an indictment, prosecutors allege that Behzad Mesri gained server access to HBO by hijacking employees’ accounts. With that access, according to the indictment, Mesri stole unaired episodes of shows like Ballers and Curb Your Enthusiasm, as well as scripts for other shows, including Game of Thrones. Financial documents and logins for social media accounts were also taken.

When he had the data, prosecutors allege, Mesri reached out to HBO and demanded about $5.5 million — and later $6 million — in bitcoin as a ransom for the stolen data. Mesri, who prosecutors claim has worked as a hacker for the Iranian military, faces charges of computer fraud, wire fraud, identity theft, and extortion.

The charges are the latest chapter in an embarrassing story for HBO. In August, as the hack was unfolding, the company reportedly offered a $250,000 “bug bounty” payment to the hacker, although it’s unclear whether it actually intended to pay the ransom.

“Because Mesri is in Iran, we are unfortunately unable to arrest him today,” acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Joon Kim said during a press conference livestream today.

“While Mesri remains at large, there will be some real consequences for him,” Kim continued. “For the rest of his life, and he’s a relatively young man, he will never be able to travel outside of Iran without fear of being arrested and brought here to face these charges.”

Click here to read more from this article's source.

Private Investors Are Buying Up Royalties

Written by Andy Hermann — Like a lot of independent artists, Mickey Shiloh was struggling to make ends meet. An L.A.-based professional songwriter now focused on launching her solo career, she had run up a lot of credit card debt on various expenses — promotion, Facebook ads, forming her own LLC (called Michaela, after her full first name). At one point, she even wrote herself a personal check for $20,000, trying to manifest the money she needed into existence.

Despite having numerous songwriting credits with such top-tier artists as Janet Jackson, Pitbull and Britney Spears, the royalties on her back catalog were netting her only about $2,000 a year. "I was in a really terrible publishing deal," says the 25-year-old San Mateo native, who signed with producer Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins and his wife when she was just 17. "And that’s not a reflection on them," she is quick to note. "I learned a lot of great things from Darkchild and I always consider him a great mentor." But for songwriters who started their careers in the mid-2000s, when the industry as a whole was struggling with declining revenues, her situation is not uncommon. "It was just the business [at the time] was not good."

Having been through the industry wringer, Shiloh was naturally skeptical when a colleague told her about Royalty Exchange, a company that enables songwriters to auction off portions of their back catalogs to private investors, often for ample sums. “I was automatically like, this is not real. This is a scam," she says. But after researching the company and concluding that it sounded legit, she decided to give it a shot. After a three-day auction, her back catalog sold for $20,500 — the equivalent, as she puts it, of a 10-year advance on future royalties.

"Now tell me that's not manifestation!" Shiloh declares, recalling the check for $20,000 she had written to herself just a few weeks earlier. "It was like I got a $500 signing bonus," she jokes.

Royalty Exchange was founded in 2011 as a sort of auction house for copyright holders, particularly in music. Although it completed some high-profile auctions early on, selling off the rights to everything from Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise" to the catalog of Disney composer Frank Churchill, it struggled to raise enough capital to stay afloat — likely because the music industry as a whole, at the time, was not seen as a smart investment.

But since relaunching under new ownership and management in March 2016, Royalty Exchange seems to have found its footing. The "world’s first online marketplace for buying and selling royalties," as the Denver-based company now describes itself, has completed "about 200 deals" since the relaunch, according to president/chief financial officer Jeff Schneider, and claims to have an active pool of more than 22,000 investors looking for a chance to buy up the rights to a potentially lucrative song or catalog.

Though the songs being put on the auction block are often familiar (a 25 percent songwriter's share of Barry White's "You're the First, the Last, My Everything," for example, sold in July 2016 for $73,000), the names of the actual rights holders are not. Schneider describes them as the "ecosystem" surrounding the artists whose names are attached to the hits — behind-the-scenes people, including professional songwriters like Shiloh as well as managers, producers, studio musicians and independent labels and music publishers, who don't have the luxury of leveraging their fame to pay the bills.

"If [the big-name artists] needed capital today, they can go on tour; they could sign a new publishing deal with an advance," Schneider explains. "We’re servicing a lot of the people who don’t necessarily have all those same financial options available to them.”

Some rights holders, like Shiloh, opt to sell off their entire back catalog. Others may choose to auction off only a percentage of their royalties, or sell some songs and hold on to others. “We provide songwriters a flexible solution," Schneider says.

The goal, according to the company's director of communications, Antony Bruno, is to "make music royalties an investible asset." And his company's auction model, he argues, is only the beginning. "We’re at the early stages of it, but eventually this could be an asset class where millions, even a billion dollars of capital could be deployed ... which would really change the way music in general is financed.”

Hearing song catalogs described as an "asset class" can be a little unnerving — and historically, selling off or otherwise rescinding the rights to one's catalog has generally been viewed as a mistake. The music industry is littered with tales of artists, from George Clinton to John Fogerty, who signed away rights to their publishing and lived to regret it. But Schneider argues that such stories are largely relics of an old music industry, which companies like Royalty Exchange aim to supplant. “If you look at who those buyers were [in the past], they were usually the labels or the publishers," he notes. "These rights holders — songwriters, producers — had no other viable option. What we do is, by bringing competition into marketplace, we make sure that the songwriter gets the fair and best deal that’s available in the market."

Songwriters and other rights holders choose to sell for any number of reasons, Bruno says. Many, like Shiloh, are looking to pay down some debt and invest in other areas of their career, like new recording equipment or promotion for their latest music. (Shiloh, among other things, spent some of the money on a music video.) In the case of some independent labels and publishers, he says, they may use the money to invest in the software needed to track royalties for all the catalog they own or manage on behalf of their artists — a process that, in the age of streaming, has become increasingly complex.

Occasionally, rights holders turn to Royalty Exchange simply to cut the cord from that complexity. One songwriter, after a successful auction, sent Bruno a photo of the keyboard on which he composes his music. "It was covered in paperwork," Bruno says. "It was literally a visual example of, ‘This paperwork is getting in the way of my creating music.'”

That was partly the motivation for Shiloh, as well — a clean break with her songwriter-for-hire past, so she can focus on her future as a truly independent, DIY artist. “I’m just really happy that a company like Royalty Exchange exists and it enables artists like me and songwriters that have a dense back catalog to just sell it off," says Shiloh, who now claims to make more than $100,000 a year through Sound Better, a sort of Task Rabbit for music industry professionals. "Because the new industry is on the way and it’s not gonna matter in 10 years."

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