- Rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine accused Billboard of manipulating its Hot 100 charts to give the No. 1 spot to Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande’s charity single “Stuck With U.”
- His single, “Gooba” debuted at No. 3, but he says thousands of units for “Stuck With U” were illegally purchased through six credit cards at the last minute, allowing the song to take the top spot.
- Grande, Bieber, and their manager Scooter Braun denied the claims, accusing the rapper of miscalculating his numbers and explaining that they released their data late as a strategy.
- Bieber also called out 6ix9ine for only referencing Grande in his criticism, while Braun noted that the real winner is the charity earning profits from “Stuck With U.”
6ix9ine Slams Billboard
Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber defended their No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 Monday after rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine said they had fraudulently climbed their way to the top.
On May 8, the two singers released their collaboration song called “Stuck With U,” meanwhile, 6ix9ine dropped his new single “Gooba.” Fans of both artists have been waiting to see where the songs would fall in their first week on the Billboard charts.
And on Friday, 6ix9ine posted a video to Instagram accusing Billboard of manipulating the streaming numbers. The video shows him scrolling through what he called a “forecast” of the charts sent to him Thursday. That data showed his song at No 2. and “Stuck With U” at No. 5. He also notably only refers to the song as Grande’s, making no mention of Bieber.
Then he says that at the last hour, “Stuck With U” submitted 60,000 more units “out of nowhere,” which sent it to the top of the charts.
He also showed a tweet from Billboard about a limited time signed CD version of “Stuck With U” that was for sale, and he said that Sony and Universal Music asked for an audit of Billboard’s data because they were suspicious of potential manipulation.
6ix9ine Makes Claims of Illegal Unit Purchases
Then on Monday, the public officially learned that “Stuck With U” debuted at No. 1, while “Gooba” landed two spots below at No. 3.
But shortly before the chart reveal, 6ix9ine took to Instagram again to accuse Billboard of lying and being corrupt. “So listen, I want the world to know that Billboard is a lie. You can buy number ones on billboard,” he said.
He went on to claim that his team conducted an investigation into those last-minute 60,000 units, saying: “They purchased half of those things with six credit cards. When we asked where was those six credit cards linked to, Billboard said ‘we can’t disclose that information.’”
He also said that not all of his streams were counted, showing that Billboard only county 31 million streams when it should’ve been 50 million. “Billboard illegally disqualified 20 million streams so it can drop down, and the people who bought the number one, which was stuck with U, can go to No 1.”
He adds that buying No. 1’s is a practice that is unfair to hardworking artists and even shows his YouTube numbers to emphasize just how popular his single actually was in comparison to others. “And if you want to compete with this, this is in one week…this is 184 million and you counted 30 million streams?”
He also posted another video directly addressing Grande, clarifying that his frustrations are with Billboard not her. However, he stressed that they both come from different backgrounds.
He plays an old clip of himself to show how he found success despite growing up under difficult circumstances. Then he showed clips of Grande on acting on Nickelodeon, suggesting her early beginnings were not as hard. “
I speak for the millions of kids who aren’t as fortunate as you,” he added in the caption of the post. “YOU ARE VERY TALENTED AND BEAUTIFUL GOD BLESS YOU. But you will NEVER UNDERSTAND MY PAIN.”
View this post on Instagram
@arianagrande All I’m saying is I worked super hard to make it out of Brooklyn NY. I speak for the millions of kids who aren’t as fortunate as you. The millions who weren’t fortunate to be on T.V.. LIFE is REAL when you’re on welfare LIFE is REAL when you grow up with out a father. You don’t know what that is like. You say for me to be humble …. I don’t think you know what humble is………. YOU ARE VERY TALENTED AND BEAUTIFUL GOD BLESS YOU. But you will NEVER UNDERSTAND MY PAIN 💯
Grande, Bieber, and Braun Respond
So, of course, all of these accusations sparked a ton of conversation online, prompting Grande, Bieber, and their manager Scooter Braun to respond.
In a lengthy post, Grande thanked her fans for the success of the song but noted that numbers have never been the driving force behind anything she does. Then she says she has to address the drama because “this has gone a little too far.”
“My fans bought the song. JUSTIN’S fans bought the song. OUR fans bought this song.(never more than four copies each, AS THE RULES STATE). they are ride or die motherfuckers and i thank god every day that i have them in my life.”
She continued, “i know. sales count for more than streams. u can not discredit this as hard as u try. to anybody that is displeased with their placement on the chart this week or who is spending their time racking their brain thinking of as many ways as they can to discredit hardworking women (and only the women for some reason…..), i ask u to take a moment to humble yourself. be grateful you’re even here. that people want to listen to u at all. it’s a blessed position to be in. i’ve had a lot of “almost number ones” in my career and i never said a goddamn thing because I FEEL GRATEFUL TO EVEN BE HERE. TO WANT TO BE HEARD AT ALL …. and you should feel that way too.”
View this post on Instagram
thank u to everybody who supported this song, this cause and made this happen. we love uuuuu so much. 🤍 there’s so much to celebrate today. 🤍 however, i would like to say a few things. anyone who knows me or has followed me for a while knows that numbers aren’t the driving force in anything i do. i’m grateful to sing. grateful to have people who want to listen. grateful to even be here at all. i didn’t have a number one for the first five years of my career and it didn’t upset me at all because from the bottom of my heart, music is everything to me. my fans are everything to me. i promise i couldn’t ask for another fucking thing. so with this celebration today, i would like to address a few things which i don’t usually do (i don’t give my energy to drama or strange accusations normally but this has gone a little too far)…my fans bought the song. JUSTIN’S fans bought the song. OUR fans bought this song (never more than four copies each, AS THE RULES STATE). they are ride or die motherfuckers and i thank god every day that i have them in my life. not just when they fight for us to win (even when i ask them not to as i did this week) but because they’re some of the greatest people i know. sales count for more than streams. u can not discredit this as hard as u try. to anybody that is displeased with their placement on the chart this week or who is spending their time racking their brain thinking of as many ways as they can to discredit hardworking women (and only the women for some reason…..), i ask u to take a moment to humble yourself. be grateful you’re even here. that people want to listen to u at all. it’s a blessed position to be in. i’ve had a lot of “almost number ones” in my career and i never said a goddamn thing because I FEEL GRATEFUL TO EVEN BE HERE. TO WANT TO BE HEARD AT ALL …. and you should feel that way too. congratulations to all my talented ass peers in the top ten this week. even number 3. 🥰 and thank u to @billboard for this honor. and thank u to everybody who helped us raise a lot of money for a very important cause this week. love u all a lot.
Bieber followed that up with an Instagram story saying that 6ix9ine is counting his global streams in his records when Billboard only looks at domestic streams. He says the 60,000 units were reported late because they chose not to disclose their numbers until the end of the week.
“That’s called strategy,” he explained.
Bieber also called the claim about 30,000 units being purchased on six credit cards a lie. “Nielson company checks this and founds all our sales were legit because our fans are amazing and bought them. Don’t discredit our fan base with false info.”
Finally, he adds, “This is my song with Ariana Grande and I’m honored to work with her to help raise money for a great cause. If you’re gonna say her name make sure you say mine because it’s our song.”
Braun also posted a statement to his Instagram reiterating the same points, and as far as the investigation that 6ix9ine claimed other labels had called for, Braun said: “Yes there was an investigation this week but it was into a video that had 6 times the amount of paid bot activity than the normal video. That video was not ours.”
Braun closed by saying that the ultimate winner is the First Responders Children’s Foundation, where all net proceeds from the track will be donated to fund scholarships for children of frontline workers.
Some viewed this as a reference to the rumors that 6ix9ine used bots to improve his YouTube numbers.
It’s unclear if 6ix9ine was aware of their responses, but shortly after, he posted a photo of himself with six credit cards and the caption: “Don’t worry we’re going #1 next time #billboard.”
Billboard Responds With Article
It stressed that streaming numbers and other data that is publicly visible does not reflect the volume that is included in Billboard’s calculations.
Instead, the article says “each data provider provides a post-audit number to Billboard and Nielsen Music/MRC Data — excluding streams that do not meet long-standing charting parameters, such as U.S.-based-only plays, minimum play length, excessive plays and lack of user verification.”
It noted that the YouTube video count the rapper pointed to is for global plays, without any other auditing filters. It also stressed that the “forecast” 6ix9ine reviewed did not come from Billboard, however, it said that those with access to sales, streaming, and radio data often create their own chart models.
The article attributed the sales spike for “Stuck With U” to the fact that signed versions of the single were put up for sale on Grande and Bieber’s websites on the last tracking day. Several physical formats and digital download bundles were also available throughout the week.
Meanwhile, 6ix9ine, released a non-signed CD single/digital download on his website the last day of tracking.
And as far as his claims about the six credit cards, the article said: “Billboard and Nielsen Music/MRC Data conducts audits on all sales reported with access to purchase-level detail, and works with data partners to recognize excessive bulk purchases and remove those units from the final sales total. All titles this week, as in every week, were put under the same scrutiny.
In response 6ix9ine’s claims that Billboard would not “disclose” information about data when asked, it said that Billboard was open about all information pertaining to “Gooba,” but it could not provide “granular detail on a title to anyone but its content owner.”
Finally, Billboard stood by its data, saying “Overall Stuck With U” drew 28.1 million U.S. streams, 26.3 million in radio airplay audience, and 108,000 sold in the tracking week. Gooba” had 55.3 million U.S. streams, 172,000 in radio airplay audience and 24,000 sold.”
Doja Cat Addresses Accusations of Past Racist Behavior
- #DojaCatIsOverParty trended on Twitter over the weekend as circulating clips appeared to show the singer visiting allegedly racist chat rooms.
- Twitter users accused Doja Cat of being anti-black and also resurfaced an old song of hers called “Dindu Nuffin,” which is a racist slur used to belittle black victims of police brutality.
- She responded on Instagram Sunday, saying that while she was in chat rooms she should not have been in, she was never part of any racist dialogue.
- Doja Cat also claimed that she wrote the controversial song about her own personal experiences in an attempt to reclaim the phrase but understands now that she should not have used the term in her music.
- After fans said they did not find her apology to be sincere, she explained her side of the story again on an Instagram Live.
Doja Cat Apologizes
Singer Doja Cat apologized after videos of her in allegedly racist chat rooms circulated on Twitter, prompting #DojaCatIsOverParty to trend throughout the weekend.
The clips of Amalaratna Zandile Dlamini, better known as Doja Cat, first made their way onto Twitter on Friday. Fans say those chat rooms were for white supremacists, and that while in those rooms Doja Cat said the n-word, joked along with racist behavior, and made anti-black sentiments.
In addition to fans sharing those videos, many also talked about an old song Doja Cat wrote in 2015 called “Dindu Nuffin.” That phrase is a racial slur used to belittle black victims of police brutality. Doja Cat first issued her apology on Sunday night on Instagram.
“I’ve used public chat rooms to socialize since I was a child,” she wrote in the post. “I shouldn’t have been on some of those chat room sites, but I personally have never been involved in any racist conversations. I’m sorry to everyone that I offended.”
The singer also added that half of her family is from South Africa and that she is proud of where she comes from. She also addressed the controversial song, which some people claimed was written in response to the death of Sandra Bland. Doja Cat, however, said it was actually written with the intent to reclaim the phrase based on her relationship with it.
“It was in no way tied to anything outside of my own personal experience,” she explained. “It was written in response to people who often used that term to hurt me. I made an attempt to flip its meaning, but recognize that it was a bad decision to use the term in my music.”
“I understand my influence and impact and I’m taking this all very seriously,” she added.
Doja’s Instagram Live
After receiving backlash for that apology, with some finding it insincere, Doja Cat did an Instagram Live to further address the concerns. She admitted that her post, like many public apologies, was carefully crafted by her and her team. She went live so she could clear the air in her own words in real time.
During the livestream, she showed that she had actually pre-recorded a bunch of apologies to share, but ultimately decided not to post them because they were obviously too diplomatic and did not feel genuine.
She first addressed accusations of self-hate. She claimed that yes, sometimes she has been frustrated with her physical appearance, like her hair, but that does not mean she hates herself. She said she loves herself and everything about her, and regrets ever sharing negative thoughts on social media.
She then addressed her controversial old song, and the term she used in it.
“It shouldn’t be used. Period,” she said. ” I’m going to start with, I’m very sorry to anybody who has taken offense, to anybody who I have hurt, who I have hurt using this term.”
She also said she thinks that at its core, it is just a very bad song. She denied that the song was in any way related to Sandra Bland.
Doja Cat next addressed what happened in those chat rooms, which she claims were in no way for white supremacists.
“There are racist people who come in and out of the chat. They’re there. They happen and then they’re banned,” she explained.
Doja Cat said that like anywhere on the internet, racist people pop in and cause problems, and that maybe on TinyChat, it’s more common because there is less regulation. She claimed that as a mod herself, she has kicked people promoting this behavior out of chats. She maintained the chats she was in were not for white supremacists.
Regarding her use of the n-word in one of the videos, Doja Cat said she was drunk and not thinking at all. She said it had nothing to do with race-play, like some people had suggested. She also called out people who said she only dates white men, explaining that who she is attracted to and who she dates is none of their business.
She closed her video by telling her fans she loved them and apologizing to them once more.
“I’m not perfect. But at the end of the day, I shouldn’t be doing dumb shit,” she said.
Old Clips Resurface
The clips that allegedly show Doja Cat in what many initially deemed racist chat rooms have been shared by multiple users and were a discussion thread on the messaging platform Lipstick Alley. Though that thread has now been deleted, one person wrote Doja Cat would joke along as people in the rooms made racist remarks.
Some videos just show her in the chat room, surrounded mainly by white men. In many, she talks about sexual acts. In one, she says the n-word. Many of the people in the room laugh in response. Some users said she stripped during these chats in front of allegedly racist men.
People on Twitter also accused Doja Cat of being anti-black. Some made claims that the singer only dates white men. Others pointed to a tweet Doja Cat has deleted that said “thinking about being Black can make any sensible person depressed.”
“Like just think about it wouldn’t being White make soo much more sense,” the tweet continued. “Life would have value.”
Because of this, many called out the singer’s behavior, saying things like, “that girl needs help.”
Many were not pleased with her first apology, which is likely what prompted the second. #OnlyKlans became a top trending topic on Monday morning, with many using it to further call out Doja Cat’s past actions.
“Define ‘taking seriously’ @DojaCat,” another Twitter user wrote. “typing up a few words is not a sincere apology… Stop hiding behind a fucking screen.”
See what others are saying: (Complex) (Vulture) (The Independent)
Many Fans Are Disappointed With John Krasinski for Selling ‘Some Good News’
- Fans of John Krasinski have been loving his YouTube web series “Some Good News,” which was intended to spread joy during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Days after Krasinski announced he was taking a break from the show, news broke that he had sold the series to ViacomCBS for an undisclosed amount and will no longer be its host.
- While some have congratulated him on the deal, plenty of fans are unhappy, refusing to watch a more corporate-backed show without him hosting.
- Others called him a sellout for profiting off a show that was intended to be positive light during hard times.
Update May 26, 2020 – John Krasinski has since stated that reports about the show moving to CBS All Access are incorrect. He did not explicitly confirm where the show is expected to air.
What is SGN?
John Krasinki reached a deal to sell his massively successful YouTube series “Some Good News” to ViacomCBS, but fans online seem to have mixed feelings about it.
Krasinski started the short-lived YouTube show in March as a way to highlight feel-good stories and spread joy during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It was an instant hit, with the channel earning over 2.5 million subscribers in two months and racking up over 71,000,000 total views with just 14 videos.
The actor self-financed and produced the weekly show from his own home, reaching out to his audience for stories and ideas. Eventually, corporate sponsors began to show him support that allowed him to conduct surprise giveaways. For instance, he once partnered with AT&T to provide nurses and doctors with free wireless service for three months, and also provided a group of Boston healthcare workers with Red Sox tickets for life,
Krasinski even made headlines for using the show to host reunions for The Office and Hamilton casts, as well as host a virtual high school prom and graduation that featured big names like the Jonas Brothers, Billie Eilish, Steven Speilberg, and Oprah.
After eight episodes, Krasinski announced Monday that he would be taking a break from the show. In the post, he shared a link to Sunday’s show, which many understood to be his final episode.
By Thursday, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news of his deal with ViacomCBS.
Details of the Sale
The deal reportedly came after a massive bidding war over the series, with the winning amount left undisclosed.
Now the Hollywood Reporter says ViacomCBS plans to broadcast the show across its soon-to-be rebranded streaming platform, CBA All Access, before moving it over to a wider audience through some of the company’s other brands. As far as production, the series will be produced via Comedy Central Productions.
Unfortunately for many fans, Krasinski will no longer be a host of the show. Instead, he will carry on as an executive producer and is expected to have some sort of on-air presence. A new host will be announced at a later date.
“Could not be more excited and proud to be partnering with CBS/Viacom to be able to bring Some Good News to so many more people!” Krasinski said in a statement Thursday.
“From the first episode, our goal was to create a news show dedicated entirely to good news. Never did I expect to be joining the ranks of such a historic news organization as CBS.”
He followed up with a tweet Friday morning expressing excitement about the show living on.
The Hollywood Reporter noted that Krasinski initially resisted the urge to sell the series, despite a ton of interest from broadcast networks and streaming services after the first episode alone.
However, Krasinski already has a relationship with ViacomCBS since it owns Paramount Television, which produces his Amazon show “Jack Ryan.” Krasinski also wrote, directed, and starred in the film “A Quiet Place” for Paramount Pictures, and “A Quiet Place Part II” is scheduled to be released in September.
Responses to the news have been varied. Many viewers have expressed support for the move and thanked Krasinski for the joy his show brought them.
Congratulations on this opportunity to continue sharing @somegoodnews with the world to create positivity on days where people feel hopeless! These videos always gave me something to smile about and am glad to see there’ll be more coming! #SomeGoodNews #SGN— HollyBear (@Rocky1916) May 22, 2020
Still, there are plenty of fans who are disappointed and frustrated by the move. Some went so far as to accuse him of being a sellout and trying to profit off something that was marketing as a sincere attempt to bring light during dark times. Others were sad to see the show become more corporate and refused to watch without him as the host.
We liked that it was not part of the system. It’s own underground low budget thing. Made it honest. Now…… not a good look that you cashed it in. Still got love tho.— joshcanady (@joshcanady) May 22, 2020
this makes me feel like you’re a sellout. was this a money move? i really don’t understand. your show could have just inspired them to share good news, not take what you started. it was easier to access SGN, not this network.— Kelsey Ray (@kelssray) May 22, 2020
If it’s not hosted by John I send it back— Luke (@painted_pup) May 22, 2020
Others expressed concern about the show potentially being less accessible since it was previously free to watch on YouTube.
This is actually really frustrating to see an uplifting show like this go behind a paywall so millionaires and billionaires can make even more money— Joe Traupman (@TraupmanJ) May 22, 2020
It appears that SGN has caught wind of those concerns because it has been responding to fans on Twitter promising to make the show as accessible as possible.
There have been a handful of fans defending Krasinski, understanding the deal as a good business decision, but others wonder if this will leave a bad taste in some people’s mouths or cause some to question his intentions behind the series.
For now it will be interesting to see how the move actually impacts the SGN and if the series will still be valuable without Krasinski as a host.
See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (Fox News) (Mashable)
Kendall Jenner Agrees to Pay $90K Settlement for Promoting Fyre Festival
Photo by Taylor Hill
- Kendall Jenner will pay $90,000 for her part in promoting the failed Fyre Festival in 2017.
- According to the lawsuit filed against her, she was paid $275,000 for an Instagram post, which was not properly labeled as a promotion and intentionally led people to believe Kanye West would be a festival performer.
- The incident highlights just how influential the Kardashian/Jenner family is, especially on Instagram where they earn some of the highest amounts for sponsored posts.
Kendall’s Role in the Fyre Festival
Kendall Jenner has agreed to settle a lawsuit levied against her for her part in promoting the 2017 Fyre Festival.
That event, as you probably know by now, is notorious for being a total disaster. It promised a glamorous weekend in the Bahamas, calling it the “cultural experience of the decade.” Ticket packages ranged from $1,200 to over $100,000 and were supposed to give guests access to luxurious accommodations, gourmet food, and musical performances by acts like Migos and Blink 182.
Of course, none of that actually happened, and what we actually saw were stranded festival-goers eating sad cheese sandwiches in FEMA tents.
Anyway, as far as how Jenner is related to all of this, she was actually one of the biggest names promoting the event on social media. Then, in August of 2019, she was sued in New York’s U.S. Bankruptcy Court by Gregory Messer — the trustee recovering money and assets for creditors who did business with the festival.
According to court documents, Jenner was paid $275,000 to post about the festival on her Instagram in January of 2017. That since-deleted post was captioned: “So hyped to announced my G.O.O.D. Music Family as the first headliners for @fyrefestival…Use my promo code KJONFYRE for the next 24 hours to get on the list for the artists and talents afterparty on Fyre Cay.”
The lawsuit accused Jenner of intentionally leading the public to believe that Kanye West, who founded the G.O.O.D. music label, was set to perform at the event. “This conduct demonstrates a clear lack of good faith on Jenner’s part,” the suit stated.
It also noted that she did not properly specify that her post was a paid promotion, which caused her to receive a warning from the Federal Trade Commission.
Now, as part of a settlement agreement, Jenner will pay $90,000 for her role in promoting the event, less than half of what she earned for the post itself. She hasn’t made an official statement about the settlement, but she did talk about her involvement with the event in March of last year.
In an interview with The New York Times, she said: “You get reached out to by people to, whether it be to promote or help or whatever, and you never know how these things are going to turn out, sometimes it’s a risk.”
“I definitely do as much research as I can, but sometimes there isn’t much research you can do because it’s a starting brand and you kind of have to have faith in it and hope it will work out the way people say it will.”
Jenner isn’t the only one who was hit with a lawsuit for connections to the festival. Claims were also filed against celebrities like Emily Ratajkowski, Migo, Pusha T, Blink-182, and Lil Yatchy.
As far as the brains behind the whole operation, Fyre Media founder Billy McFarland is currently serving out a 6-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to wire fraud. He was also ordered to repay the $26 million he defrauded from investors.
The Kardashian/ Jenner Influence
The fact that Jenner was paid over a quarter-million dollars for a single Instagram post really highlights just how powerful the Kardashian/Jenner influence is. We see it all the time with their massively successful brands, but just to give you an understanding of how much their Instagram posts matter, take a look at Kylie Jenner’s recent influence on the sneaker market.
Footwear News reported that, the younger Jenner sister posted just four images to her Instagram this year that showed her wearing various pairs of Nike SB Dunks. According to the sneaker reseller Stockx, each time she wore a pair, the resale prices climbed by 30% to 50% while sales volume at least doubled, and in some cases, quadrupled.
Last weekend for instance, she posted a photo in a pair of sneakers that debuted in 2008. Those had been reselling for about $700, but prices rose to $1,100 about 48 hours after her post. On top of that, six pairs were sold within those same 48 hours, which is more sales than the sneaker had seen in the previous two months combined.
The site believes the “speed and magnitude” of increased demand for shoes she wears is attributable to “her power as an influencer and market mover.”
To be fair, Kylie is the highest earner of her family at the moment. She also topped Hopper HQ’s Instagram Rich List last year, with the site estimating that a sponsored post from Kylie costs about $1.2 million.
But her family members weren’t too far behind, with Kim Kardashian at the #3 spot, Kendall at #13, and Khloe Kardashian at #14. According to that site’s estimate, a sponsored post from Kendall, who was also the highest-paid model of 2018, would cost around $611,000. Though the prices are steep, it shows that the responses for each post must be high enough for brands to consider these sponsorships a profitable move.