Business

Amazon probes report workers deleted bad reviews for cash

Amazon is investigating reports that employees have offered to disclose private sales data and delete negative consumer reviews in exchange for cash. An Amazon spokesperson told ABC News on Monday that the company launched an internal probe in light of a report in The Wall Street Journal that claimed employees may have sold data and accepted bribes from independent merchants. Such practices are in violation of the company’s policy and employees and merchants could face criminal and/or legal penalties if caught, according to the spokesperson. “We are conducting a thorough investigation of these claims,” Amazon said. “We hold our employees to a high ethical standard and anyone in violation of our code faces discipline, including termination and potential legal and criminal penalties.” Some e...

Music Modernization Act Faces Verbal Vote In Senate Monday, But One ‘No’ Could Be Fatal

The music industry powers that be must be confident that they have the votes they need because sources tell Billboard that the Music Modernization Act is planned to be hotlined in the Senate tomorrow afternoon. Hotlining is a process implemented when the leaders feel that there is the potential for legislation to be passed unanimously by verbal vote. Hotlined bills are generally noncontroversial, technical bills that rarely makes the mainstream newspapers that cover politics.  However, if one Senator doesn’t vote yes, then the legislation could be stalled and would then have to go to the floor for debate; and where other things could happen to waylay the legislation including amendments and possibly packaging it with another unpopular piece of legislation that could kill the music industry...

Florence likely to expose gaps in flood insurance

The number of Americans with flood insurance is on the rise, yet Hurricane Florence is likely to make it painfully clear that too many homeowners in the Carolinas and other vulnerable regions remain unprotected. . An analysis of federal flood insurance records by The Associated Press found there were roughly 5.1 million active flood insurance policies in the U.S. as of July 31, up from 4.94 million a year earlier. The Carolinas had modest gains — a 2.5 percent increase in South Carolina and a 3.5 percent increase in North Carolina. But large gaps in coverage remain. South Carolina is the second-highest insured state for flooding, with roughly 65 percent of properties in flood hazard areas insured. But in North Carolina, where forecasters say the storm might bring the most destructive round...

Donald Glover Fires Back at Glassnote in Childish Gambino Royalties Row

The artist’s dispute with his former label centers on non-interactive streaming royalties. Donald Glover says the indie label he signed with early in his music career owes him streaming royalties and has been miscalculating costs in breach of their licensing agreement, according to a countersuit filed Friday. Glassnote Entertainment Group fired first in July, asking the court to declare it is owed performance royalties from non-interactive streaming sites like Spotify and SiriusXM. The indie label says it has paid Glover $8 million in royalties since 2011 and it expects to pay him another $2 million this fall. That revenue excludes non-interactive streaming royalties, which are funneled through SoundExchange pursuant to federal copyright law. Glassnote says it is the copyright owner ...

Jon Platt Exiting Warner/Chappell Music For Top Role At Sony/ATV

Jon Platt will be leaving his position as chairman and CEO of Warner/Chappell Music Publishing, according to internal memos obtained by Billboard. The longtime publishing executive took over the top job at W/C in October 2015 after serving as president of creative North America for the company since 2012. According to the memos, Platt will be leaving before the end of the calendar year, with an announcement on his next move forthcoming. But sources close to the situation tell Billboard that his next move could be taking the reins at Sony/ATV, the top publishing company in the music business, which has been headed by Martin Bandier for years. Reps for Sony/ATV didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. “Warner/Chappell is a very different company than the one he joined...

Coalition Of Music Makers Launches In UK To Push For ‘Fair, Transparent’ Industry

“The current climate around the economics of streaming has been hampered by outdated laws,” says patron Imogen Heap. A new umbrella trade body has launched in the U.K. to “fight for the rights” of songwriters, artists, music managers and producers. Called the UK Council of Music Makers (CMM), the association brings together British trade groups The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA), the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC), Music Managers Forum (MMF), The Music Producers Guild (MPG) and Musicians’ Union (MU) to collectively campaign on behalf of creators.  Its first motion has been to commend yesterday’s EU Copyright Directive vote, which saw the European Parliament pass controversial reforms to copyright law, including the requir...

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to start $2 billion charitable fund

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos says he will start a $2 billion charitable fund to help homeless families and open new preschools in low-income neighborhoods. Bezos, whose stake in Amazon is worth about $160 billion, says the he’ll call it the Bezos Day One Fund. An Amazon.com Inc. spokeswoman said the $2 billion will all come from Bezos. Bezos made the announcement Thursday in a tweet and a post on his Instagram account.

Longtime Warner Music Executive Benedict Lökes Stepping Down

After 22 years at Warner Music, 16 of them as director of corporate communications in Central Europe, Benedict Lökes has decided to leave the company at the end of the month. Neither party offered a reason for the decision. His decision was accepted by Bernd Dopp, chairman and CEO of Warner Music Central Europe: “I have to accept his decision, but regret that we lose a so very competently and best-networked communication expert. With him, Warner Music also loses a great popular figure of our house and one of the most important personalities in our business. On behalf of all colleagues, I thank Benedikt and wish him good luck and success for his further professional future.” Lökes added: “I thank Bernd Dopp for his trust and the freedom he gave me in our work. I thank the ...

GM recalls over 1M pickups, SUVs for power steering problem

General Motors is recalling more than a million big pickup trucks and SUVs in the U.S. because the power-assisted steering can briefly shut down. The recall covers certain 2015 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups as well as Chevy Tahoe and Suburban SUVs. Also affected are 2015 Cadillac Escalade and GMC Yukon SUVs. GM says the power steering can fail momentarily during a voltage drop and suddenly return, mainly during low-speed turns. A failure would increase the risk of a crash. The company didn’t mention any crashes in documents filed with the government. Dealers will update the power steering software at no cost to owners. No date has been set for the recall to begin. GM recalled 2014 model year trucks last year for the same problem.

One Sony Act Gets Nearly $1M in Mail As Labels Share Their Spotify Stock Profits

At the end of August, classic-rock band Santana received a rare and unexpected gift from Sony Music, the group’s longtime label: a $150,000 check. “It’s welcome money, that’s for sure — now I’ll have to figure out how to allocate that,” says Tim Jorstad, the band’s accountant, who has spent the past few weeks sorting out similar payments to his other clients like The Doobie Brothers and Journey. Santana’s check was modest compared with what Peter Paterno, attorney for Metallica, Dr. Dre, Pharrell Williams and others, says some of his clients have found in their mailboxes. One of his artists received “a shocking amount of money” in early September — almost seven figures — “and it’s not anybody you woul...

Departing CBS chief Les Moonves could get $100M, latest in giant golden parachutes

One of the country’s most powerful media executives, Les Moonves, stepped down as CEO of CBS amid allegations of sexual harassment and assault, but he could get a payout of $100 million. The possible huge severance payment, which is dependent on the outcome of an investigation of allegations against Moonves, continues a trend of departing CEOs often getting giant golden parachutes. Moonves exited CBS on Sunday after six new allegations of sexual harassment and assault were published by The New Yorker and one by Vanity Fair. These followed The New Yorker’s reporting last month on six other sexual misconduct allegations against the CEO. Moonves acknowledged to The New Yorker that three of the alleged sexual encounters happened but said they were consensual: “The appalling accusat...

Paid Music Streaming Subscribers Surpass 50 Million In U.S., But There’s a Twist: Exclusive

An estimated 51 million people in the U.S. are now paying monthly subscriptions for music streaming services — nearly double the number of subscribers at the end of 2016, according to research by MusicWatch that was provided exclusively to Billboard. The new milestone underscores the sustained popularity of Spotify, Apple Music and other paid streaming services — which collectively generated 65 percent of recorded-music revenue in the U.S. in 2017, according to the RIAA, and is currently fueling the domestic music industry’s fourth consecutive year of growth after nearly 20 years of decline. MusicWatch last reported 26 million subscribers to on-demand streaming services in 2016, which was already a 150 percent increase from the year prior. But there’s a twist: an estimated 20 m...