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With Veeps, Joel & Benji Madden Want To "Give Power Back To The Artists"

Joel and Benji Madden

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With Veeps, Joel & Benji Madden Want To "Give Power Back To The Artists"

With their direct-to-consumer artist platform, the Madden brothers' digital ticketing service offers V.I.P. experiences with the express intention of "giving power back to the artists, 100% commission-free"

GRAMMYs/Apr 3, 2020 - 01:13 am

As the music industry continues to grapple with the fallout around live event cancelations due to COVID-19/coronavirus, musicians have, in large part, turned to live streaming as a potential salve to make up for lost exposure. Leaning on internet-based distribution is nothing new, of course; musicians and creators of all kinds have been leaning into D.I.Y. models of fan engagement and distribution for decades.

Good Charlotte performers and brothers Joel and Benji Madden—and their company MDDN.co—have had their finger on this particular pulse for a couple of years now, with their direct-to-consumer artist platform, Veeps: an event management tool that provides digital ticketing services for V.I.P. experiences with the express intention of "giving power back to the artists, 100% commission-free." With so many artists turning to live streaming, the Madden brothers are confident that Veeps can be a help—especially its "digital touring" platform, where bands are able to provide unique fan experiences that go beyond an Instagram live.

"Veeps is for live experiences, V.I.P.s, meet and greets, anything in the V.I.P. space," Joel tells the Recording Academy over the phone. "Veeps is the platform that allows artists to be able to operate on their own, commission-free. We saw a need for artists that are new, emerging, developing and independently minded artists who really depend on every dollar of their touring income."



With 350 currently artists using the platform—including plenty of big names like Larkin Poe, I Prevail, Cradle of Filth, and, of course, Good Charlotte—Veeps recently launched the ability to ticket live streams, with bands being able to track sales on an interactive dashboard, manage merch orders, utilize document sales and cash out directly to their bank accounts within 24-48 hours upon show completion. Once bands claim an artist page, creators can determine everything from customization is in their hands, with everything from a personalized logo to a fully custom branding that includes background, picture and video, not to mention a unique URL.

Touting Veeps as a "boutique experience," Joel and Benji take a lot of pride in their creation and its artist-friendly mission. "The secret sauce of it is the people behind [the platform] that are working every day," Joel says. "They love what they do. They love artists. They really are in it because they're fans of music and they're fans of experiencing music. So it is a really, truly special little platform that's especially [handy] in this time where we've been just trying to help people figure out their business solutions. W want to make it count for everyone the most we can.

As for what Joel is doing to get through our ongoing COVID-19/coronavirus quarantine, he's hanging at home with his wife, Nicole Richie, and their kids, who are currently being homeschooled. "Everything around the house we've been doing together as a family," he says. "Playing instruments, playing board games and going for a lot of walks together. We dyed our hair the other night. It's like anything goes. If you got an idea, we're doing it.

"It's a team effort, but this has been nice family time," he continues. "As scary as these times are for everyone—from work to life—we always try to look at everything and find the best in it."

If you wish to support our efforts to assist music professionals in need, learn more about the Recording Academy's and MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund.

If you are a member of the music industry in need of assistance, visit the MusiCares website

Jay-Z And Meek Mill's REFORM Donates Surgical Masks To Vulnerable Prison Population

Meek Mill

Photo: Brian Stukes/Getty Images

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Jay-Z And Meek Mill's REFORM Donates Surgical Masks To Vulnerable Prison Population

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says correctional facilities are particularly vulnerable places for COVID-19 to spread

GRAMMYs/Apr 7, 2020 - 05:01 am

Jay-Z and Meek Mill's criminal justice reform organization REFORM has donated roughly 100,000 surgical masks to correctional facilities including in the states of New York, Tennessee and Mississippi.

The organization said it donated 50,000 masks to New York City's Rikers Island Correctional Facility, 40,000 masks to the Tennessee Department of Correction and 5,000 to Mississippi State Penitentiary. Spin reports that an additional 2,500 masks were sent to a Rikers medical facility. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says correctional facilities are particularly vulnerable places for COVID-19 to spread.  

"Incarcerated/detained persons live, work, eat, study, and recreate within congregate environments, heightening the potential for COVID-19 to spread once introduced," according to the CDC. Other vulnerabilities include the fact that incarcerated people, for the most part, can't leave and, depending on the size of the facility, space for someone to medically isolate could be limited.

"We need to protect vulnerable people behind bars & GET THEM OUT!" REFORM said in a tweet. The organization sees this as a threat to public health and said on its website that it is working with experts and advocates "to develop a set of common-sense recommendations that would make us all SAFER."

They also announced on Twitter that they helped the South Carolina Department of Corrections locate 36,000 masks for their population. 

Across the nation, COVID-19 cases have been popping up in correctional facilities, including North Carolina, Florida and Tennessee

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Dreamville Festival 2020 Is Officially Canceled Due To COVID-19

J. Cole

Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

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Dreamville Festival 2020 Is Officially Canceled Due To COVID-19

The second annual music festival from J. Cole's Dreamville Records squad and friends was first postponed from April until August, and will now have to wait until 2021

GRAMMYs/May 19, 2020 - 02:27 am

Dreamville Festival has announced they are canceling their 2020 event due to public safety concerns caused by coronavirus. The second annual edition of the one-day music fest, hosted by J. Cole and his talent-filled Dreamville Records, was originally slated to take place on April 6 at Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh, N.C., but was rescheduled to Aug. 29 after the pandemic struck the U.S.

Like countless other events that were set to take place this year, it will now have to wait until 2021. Dreamville says all 2020 ticket holders will be receive refunds soon.

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"After much deliberation and careful monitoring of the current situation, we have decided to cancel Dreamville Festival 2020. Although we originally hoped it would be possible to bring you the festival this August, the ongoing uncertainty regarding the COVID-19 pandemic has made this timeline no longer possible. This decision has been extremely difficult to make, but the safety of our fans, artists, and staff is always our top priority, and nothing will ever take precedence over your well-being," the organizers wrote in a statement shared across their social channels and on the fest's website.

The message also shared details on refunds, noting that all tickets purchased online will automatically be refunded to the original payment method, beginning this week. Fans who bought physical tickets from official points of purchase can request a refund here.

"Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate this. Please stay safe, healthy, and sane so we can reunite with you in 2021," the statement added.

Watch: J.I.D Talks Lollapalooza Debut, Working With J. Cole & Dreamville, New Music & More

According to Pitchfork, the debut Dreamville fest also faced unforeseen setbacks; it was originally set for Sept. 15, 2018 at Dorothea Dix Park but was pushed to April 6, 2019, due to Hurricane Florence. The 2019 event featured performances from Dreamville head Cole and labelmates J.I.D, BAS and Ari Lennox, as well as SZA, Big Sean, 21 Savage, 6LACK, Rapsody, Nelly and other heavy-hitters in hip-hop and R&B.

No artists have been revealed yet for the second edition of the fest.

The Dreamville squad earned their first two collective GRAMMY nominations at the most recent 62nd GRAMMY Awards; for Best Rap Album for the collaborative Revenge Of The Dreamers III and Best Rap Performance for one of its singles, "Down Bad." Cole earned a total of five nods, including for his work on that project, and took him his first GRAMMY win for his feature on 21 Savage's "A Lot."

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Houseparty’s "In The House": Katy Perry, John Legend, Alicia Keys + More

Katy Perry

Photo: Getty Images/Getty Images

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Houseparty’s "In The House": Katy Perry, John Legend, Alicia Keys + More

The three-day livestream event taking place this weekend (May 15-17) will allow users to view performances and segments while chatting with friends in realtime

GRAMMYs/May 15, 2020 - 12:46 am

Houseparty, the face-to-face social video app, is bringing a star-studded lineup of performances, workouts and cooking lessons to its users, including appearances by Katy Perry, John Legend, Snoop Dogg, Alicia Keys and more than 40 other celebrities. The event, "In The House," will take place over the course of three days, beginning this weekend on Friday, May 15 and running through Sunday, May 17.

Per Rolling Stone, the event’s programming will see a live performance of Perry’s unreleased track “Daisies,” slated to be released on Friday, May 15, in addition to sets by Legend, Chvrches and others. The program will also feature special cooking lessons on unique recipes provided by Snoop Dogg, 2 Chainz and Zooey Deschanel. Alicia Keys will also host a karaoke session and lead a 30 minute at-home workout. The full lineup and event schedule are available here.

Read More: How To Use Music Techniques To Prepare Healthy Food

The three-day event will allow those who tune in to enjoy free performances from the comfort of their homes, and they’ll be able to chat and interact with friends via the app all in real time. In a statement to Variety discussing the program, Houseparty CEO and co-founder Sima Sistani said “We are bringing back appointment viewing… to capture that feeling of sitting on the couch for that special show with your family or friends on a Friday night.”

Houseparty is available to download for free on iOS and Android devices, as well as online where users can tune in to stream the live event. Each segment will air again 12 hours following its original stream for those who may have missed the original broadcasts.

John Legend Performs “Nothing Compares 2 U”

Apple Music Launches $50 Million COVID-19 Royalty Fund For Indie Labels

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Apple Music Launches $50 Million COVID-19 Royalty Fund For Indie Labels

The streaming giant is looking to create stability via advanced payments for independent labels and artists during times of uncertainty

GRAMMYs/Apr 9, 2020 - 12:18 am

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to propose a ripple effect of financial woes and future questions for artists, musicians and the music industry altogether, Apple Music is taking major strides to offer a semblance of relief.

On Tuesday, the streaming platform officially announced the launch of a $50 million advance royalty fund, set in place to ensure that independent labels and their artists can continue operating and getting paid during this time.

In a letter issued to various independent labels, obtained by Rolling Stone, the streaming giant wrote "These are difficult times for the music industry globally. Livelihoods are at risk, with multiple sources of income that our industry relies on vanishing overnight. Apple has a deep, decades-long history with music, and we are proud to be in close partnership with the best labels and artists in the world. We want to help."

The statement continues, "Today Apple Music is announcing the creation of a $50 million-plus fund available as advances on future royalties to independent labels, to help them pay artists and maintain operations."

According to stipulations, labels with existing distribution deals on the platform who are earning a minimum of $10,000 in Apple Music royalties quarterly are eligible for royalty advances. To receive an advance, labels will need to accept the agreement and be under Apple Music’s latest distribution deal by a May 8, 11:59 p.m. PDT deadline.

In recent events, social distancing and quarantining measures have caused a series of tour and festival cancellations, music release pushbacks and streaming activity has effectively declined. With its new initiative, Apple Music looks to support often overlooked independent artists and labels whose wellbeing doesn’t necessarily depend on the security of major label or industry backing. Advanced royalty payments will help sustain stability for those artists, even while things are rocky.

For more information on how you can directly support musicians and artist communities during the COVID-19 crisis, visit MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund and consider donating here.

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