More Music Industry Fraud!

Grammy-nominated singer-songwriters Margo Price and Brandi Carlile are a breath of fresh air. Bask in their harmony with this Billboard interview.

"The Fyre Fest Of Crowdfunding"

Musicians have been the subject of grift, fraud, and accounting trickery since the dawn of recorded music. It’s why so many artists found PledgeMusic, a fan crowdsourcing platform, so appealing. Here’s how it works: artists set up a campaign page, say for a new album release, where fans can contribute to the project and receive perks, say exclusive merch, for various levels of contribution. Once the project is complete, PledgeMusic releases the funds to the band. Except PledgeMusic is having trouble with the “release funds to the band” part, which seems like an important step. Simmering complaints about the platform came to a boil this week when multiple acts claimed that the service owes them tens or, in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars. PledgeMusic issued a statement, but the question remains. Why can’t bands access the funds that were specifically held for them?

Influencer Extortion Marketing

Influencer marketing is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and it’s a highly effective way for brands to promote their products or services. So effective in fact that top influencers can pull in $100,000 or more for an endorsement. That level of money and, ahem, influence can lead to perverse incentives. What’s to stop a top influencer from threatening to publicly trash your brand if you don’t pay them? Well, nothing. This exact kind of extortion is now rocking the beauty product influencer community. And it’s far from the only controversy to hit influencer marketing (*cough, Fyre Festival, cough*). The problem is a complete lack of oversight, and the calls to start regulating the industry are growing louder and louder.

Down The Rabbit Hole

Here’s a fun parlor trick: start with the most anodyne, mundane YouTube clip you can find, and see how many clicks it takes for the platform’s recommendation algorithm to serve you hate-filled conspiratorial content straight from the fever swamp. According to BuzzFeed News, it’s nine. YouTube has faced ongoing scrutiny over its lax policing of false, hateful, and conspiratorial content. Some have even argued that the platform is essentially a mass radicalizer. Why does the recommendation algorithm always end up “down the rabbit hole?” A day after BuzzFeed’s report, YouTube issued another statement about its work to improve recommendations.




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This WeekMatt Pennington