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Media Beat: November 09, 2020 | FYIMusicNews – FYI Music News

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A quote for the day

“My experience teaches me this, men and nations do act wisely when they have exhausted all the other possibilities.” – Israeli diplomat and politician Abba Eban

Bruce Allen’s Reality Check: Crazy US Election continues

Joe Biden and the lure of gridlock

They were popping virtual champagne bubbles on virtual Wall Street, for reasons that are worth investigating.

The New York Times reports that “drug companies, health insurers and giant technology firms” were among the biggest beneficiaries of a rally on the S&P 500. Why? Because they’ve tended to benefit from a federal government that can’t actually do anything. And since the other main feature of Tuesday’s U.S. elections is that the Republicans seem likely to hold the Senate, Biden policies that would specifically make life difficult for drug companies, health insurers and giant technology firms are likely to get nowhere.

This is excellent news if you think the biggest problem in the United States is insufficient corporate profit, and less fantastic news if you are preoccupied with pretty much any other problem in the United States. – Paul Wells, Maclean’s

Bob Hoffman, The Ad Contrarian: Drinking the Clorox

Dear Democratic Party,

First, congratulations. Our new President will be a massive improvement on the current Bedwetter-In-Chief.

Next, I hate to be a pain in the ass, but you know me… If I were you, I’d take the presidential win more as a repudiation of Trump than an endorsement of your policies.

After the euphoria clears, I think you’re going to realize that you screwed up this election bigly. It’s hard to fathom why your party’s showing in House, Senate and state elections was so weak. You had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and blew it.

If you can’t slam dunk an election in which you are facing a corrupt, fatuous, and incompetent incumbent; when a quarter of a million citizens have died from a disease that is raging out of control; when tens of millions are unemployed; when a very popular national health program is under threat of being dismantled; when the President of the United States pays hush money to porn “stars”…something is very, very wrong.

Let’s let an advertising and marketing blogweasel tell us what that is.

If you listened to the talking heads in both politics and media, you know that your party had a very big advantage on what were ostensibly “the issues.” But here’s the thing — for many voters, issues are less compelling than culture.

The culture of the Democratic Party has been drifting further and further away from the cultural values of your traditional constituency — what you call “working people.” Somehow you seem to have gotten the cockamamie idea that “working people” and college students are the same thing. Culturally, working people are largely traditionalists and are mostly middle-of-the-roaders. Many may be politically liberal, but culturally conservative.

They want safe neighbourhoods; they do not want junkies crapping in their streets; they do not want drugs sold openly on street corners; they do not want to defund police departments; they do not want statues of George Washington torn down.

I know, I know… neither do you. But you need to take a good hard look at Rolling Stone’s old “Perception/Reality” campaign.

Willie Brown, former Democratic Mayor of San Francisco, and an astute political observer had this to say: “The election results (were) indicative of a much redder landscape than they expected…It’s clear that the Democratic Party has lost its way…We have to stop telling voters what they should do, and instead start listening to what voters want us to do. Democrats, and that includes me, have become the elites. And we will keep disappointing ourselves in elections unless we rethink what we are doing.”

Bottom line: If you allow the victory over an undignified and irresponsible President and a fawning, clownish Republican leadership to mask the fact that you are on the wrong track, you are in trouble. You came within an inch of nominating Bernie Sanders. Can you imagine the outcome?

RIP

Canadian-American television personality Alex Trebek, the host of game show Jeopardy! since its 1984 debut in syndication, has died of pancreatic cancer. He was 80. His last day in the studio was Oct. 29.  There is no immediate plan to appoint a successor to the show.

Trebek became a naturalized United States citizen in 1998. He received the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host seven times for his work on Jeopardy!.

Trebek spent more than a decade at the CBC, beginning in Ottawa in 1960. He then moved on to Toronto, hosting the youth-oriented Music Hop and Pick and Choose, among other shows.

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Britney Spears calls recent documentaries about her ‘hypocritical’

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Pop singer Britney Spears spoke out on Tuesday about recent documentaries about her life and career, calling them “hypocritical” because they rehash her personal problems while criticizing the media for reporting them the first time.

Walt Disney Co’s FX network and The New York Times released “Framing Britney Spears” in February. The documentary examined the singer’s meteoric rise to fame as a teenager, the ensuing media scrutiny and her widely publicized breakdown.And this month, the BBC released “The Battle for Britney: Fans, Cash and a Conservatorship” in Britain. It will debut in the United States and Canada starting May 11 via the BBC Select streaming service.

In an Instagram post, Spears did not name either documentary but said “so many documentaries about me this year with other people’s takes on my life.”

“These documentaries are so hypocritical … they criticize the media and then do the same thing,” she added.

In March, Spears said she cried for two weeks after watching part of “Framing Britney Spears”.

The BBC said in a statement on Tuesday that its documentary “explores the complexities surrounding conservatorship with care and sensitivity.”

“It does not take sides and features a wide range of contributors,” the statement added.

A New York Times spokesperson declined to comment.

Spears, who shot to fame in 1998 with the hit “Baby One More Time,” is in a court battle seeking to replace her father as her conservator. He was appointed to the role in 2008 after she was hospitalized for psychiatric treatment.

Her fans have shown their support on social media under the hashtags #We’reSorryBritney and #FreeBritney. Spears is scheduled to speak to a Los Angeles court in June.

In her Instagram post, which included a video of herself dancing, Spears said that “although I’ve had some pretty tough times in my life … I’ve had waaaayyyy more amazing times in my life and unfortunately my friends … I think the world is more interested in the negative.”

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by David Gregorio)

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Grammy organizers change rules after allegations of corruption

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The organizers of music’s Grammy Awards on Friday announced an end to the so-called “secret” committees that have led to allegations that the highest honors in the industry are open to rigging.

The Recording Academy said that nominations for the next Grammy Awards in January 2022 will be selected by all of its more than 11,000 voting members, instead of by committees of 15-30 industry experts whose names were not revealed.

The Academy was slammed last year when Canadian artist The Weeknd got zero Grammy nominations, even though his critically acclaimed album “After Hours” was one of the biggest sellers of 2020.

The Weeknd, in a Twitter post last November, said “The Grammys remain corrupt. You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency.”

The Recording Academy said in a statement on Friday that the changes were significant and were made “to ensure that the Grammy Awards rules and guidelines are transparent and equitable.”

Allegations that the Grammy nominations process is tainted were made in a legal complaint filed in early 2019 by the former chief executive of the Recording Academy, Deborah Dugan.

At the time, the Academy dismissed as “categorically false, misleading and wrong” Dugan’s claims that its members pushed artists they have relationships with. Dugan was later fired.

American pop star Halsey, also shut out of the 2021 Grammys, last year called the nominations process “elusive” and said she was “hoping for more transparency or reform.”

Former One Direction singer Zayn Malik called in March for an end to “secret committees.”

“I’m keeping the pressure on & fighting for transparency & inclusion. We need to make sure we are honoring and celebrating ‘creative excellence’ of ALL,” Malik tweeted hours ahead of the 2021 Grammy Awards ceremony.

The Recording Academy on Friday also said it was adding two new Grammy categories – for best global music performance, and best Latin urban music album – bringing to 86 the total number of Grammy Awards each year.

 

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by David Gregorio)

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Movie theaters face uncertain future

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By Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Maryo Mogannam snuck into the Empire theater in San Francisco with his older cousins to watch “Animal House” when he was 14. He watched most of the James Bond movies at the historic art house and took his wife there on some of their first dates.

The cinema, which had been showing movies since the silent film era, served notice in February that it was permanently closing because of the impact of COVID-19. The marquee is now blank, and cardboard and paper cover the box office window.

“It’s kind of like losing a friend,” said Mogannam, now 57, who owns a retail shipping outlet near the theater, which had been renamed the CineArts at the Empire.

As vaccinated Americans emerge from their homes, they also may find their neighborhood theater is not there to greet them.

An eight-cinema chain in New England said it will not reopen. The same fate hit a Houston art house beloved by director Richard Linklater and, in a shock to Hollywood, more than 300 screens run by Los Angeles-based Pacific Theatres. That includes the Cinerama Dome, a landmark that hosted several red-carpet movie premieres.

Following a year of closures, theaters face deferred rent bills plus media companies’ focus on drawing customers to streaming services. Up to one-fourth of the roughly 40,000 screens in the United States could disappear in the next few years, Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said.

The National Association of Theatre Owners rejects that estimate, spokesman Patrick Corcoran said, noting that similar dire warnings accompanying the advent of television and the switch to digital screens never came to pass.

Hollywood filmmakers want cinemas to thrive.

“It’s the only place where the art dominates,” said “Avatar” director James Cameron. “When you watch something on streaming, the other people in the room with you are welcome to interject, to pause to go to the bathroom, to text.”

At theaters, “we literally make a pact with ourselves to go and spend two to three hours in a focused enjoyment of the art.”

“For 300 people to laugh and cry at the same time, strangers, not just your family in your house, that’s a very powerful thing,” said Chloe Zhao, Oscar-nominated director of best picture nominee “Nomadland.”

At the Academy Awards on Sunday, the movie industry will “make a case for why cinema matters,” producer Stacey Sher said. While acknowledging the hardship of the pandemic, “we also have to fight for cinema and our love of it and the way it has gotten us through things,” she said.

About 58% of theaters have reopened in the United States and Canada, most restricted to 50% capacity or less. The biggest operators – AMC, Cinemark and Cineworld – make up roughly half the overall market.

Industry leaders project optimism, forecasting a big rebound after restrictions ease and studios unleash new blockbusters.

Coming attractions include a new Bond adventure, the ninth “Fast & Furious” film, a “Top Gun” sequel and several Marvel superhero movies.

“Avatar 2,” Cameron’s follow-up to the highest-grossing film of all time, is set to debut in December 2022. Some box office analysts predict 2022 ticket sales will hit a record.

Supporters point to late March release “Godzilla vs. Kong,” which brought in roughly $48.5 million at U.S. and Canadian box offices over its first five days, even though audiences could stream it on HBO Max.

“That was a big win for the entire industry,” said Rich Daughtridge, president and chief executive of Warehouse Cinemas in Frederick, Maryland.

But near- and long-term challenges loom, particularly for smaller cinemas.

Theaters are negotiating with landlords over back rent. A federal aid program was delayed due to technical problems.

Plus, media companies are bringing movies to homes sooner. Executives say streaming is their priority, pouring billions into programming made to watch in living rooms as they compete with Netflix Inc.

Most at risk are theaters with one or two screens, Wedbush Securities’ Pachter said. He said his best guess is between 5,000 and 10,000 screens could go permanently dark in coming years.

“I think we’ll see a gradual decline in the number of screens,” Pachter said, “just like we’ve seen a gradual decline in the number of mom-and-pop grocery stores and bookstores.”

 

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Additional reporting by Rollo Ross in Los Angeles, Alicia Powell in New York and Nathan Frandino in San Francisco; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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