Dozens of Crowd Members Injured and 8 Dead at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival

Erika Goldring / WireImage via

On November 5th, 2021 at NRG Park in Houston, Texas the Astroworld Music Festival was held with Travis Scott as the headlining act. Extremely aggressive pushing, shoving and crowding in this sold-out crowd of roughly 50,000 attendees resulted in 8 dead and dozens injured.

Earlier that day, around 2:00pm, concert-goers entered the festival and hundreds stampeded the safety checkpoints, trampling other attendees.

As hours passed to Scott’s headlining performance, the crowd got larger and more dangerous. One attendee described her experience “like watching a Jenga tower topple. Person after person were sucked down…. You were at the mercy of the wave.” You can read her detailed account of her experience below:

8 victims, ages ranging from 14 to 27, died from the fatal conditions of pushing, shoving, trampling, and lack of air. So far, three concert-goers have filed lawsuits against Astroworld organizers, LiveNation and Travis Scott for negligence and encouraging violence at the event.

According to the Houston Chronicle, this event was one of the deadliest concerts in U.S. history. While covered by major news outlets, much of the information learned about the event is from social media posts. Scott took to Instagram with a video discussing the tragic situation and apologizing to the families of those who lost their lives, anyone injured, and everyone who attended the event. There are also several new reports coming out each day on Scott reimbursing ticket holders, covering funeral costs and other repercussions after the tragic events of November 5th.

After almost two years of social distancing and canceled live events, it is shocking to see this amount of injury and loss in a sea of 50,000 people.

Durney, Ellen. “Travis Scott And Drake Are Being Sued For Negligence And “Encouragement Of Violence” At The Astroworld Festival That Killed At Least 8 People” 8, November 2021. Buzzfeed News,

Guerra, Joey & Barned-Smith, St. John. “At least 8 Dead at Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival”, 7, November 2021. Houston Chronicle.


‘Why Little Mix’s Jesy Nelson Is Accused of Being a Culture Vulture’

In December 2020, Jesy left the group in pursuit of her solo career. Since then she’s been pushing her career as a solo artist. Unfortunately, people are paying much more attention to recent allegations rather than her music. The discussion of her “culture vulture” behavior has been a continuous one as ‘Little Mix’s style evolved. Jesy’s white British identity gives insight to why people were upset at her use of “artistic expression”.

On occasion Jesy is seen wearing grills on her teeth, oversized clothing, colorful wigs, etc. Not to mention, there is a clear difference in skin tone compared to when Nelson first joined ‘Little Mix’ to now.

Recently, rapper Nicki Minaj collaborated on a song with Jesy called ‘Boyz’.  In this music video Jesy is seen wearing oversized jewelry, hair accessories, hair scarves, oversized clothes and timberland boots. Which is typically associated with Black culture. Black artists and black people created this style of fashion and are almost never credited for it.

‘Boyz’ ft. Nicki Minaj is an adaptation of P. Diddy’s ‘Bad Boy For Life’ single in 2001.

But what doesn’t sit right with a few Little Mix members and fans is the slow changing of skin color, to seem more “exotic” looking. These aspects about the music industry are problematic because artist of color who identify and showcase their identity aren’t embraced the same way. They are dismissed as “over the top”, “ghetto”, or ignored as a whole. While artist like Jesy are embraced and celebrated for it.

Hoop earrings, exotic looking nails, Timberland boots, and colorful wigs go deeper than video shoots. There’s a historical pattern of Black people and people of color being robbed of their culture, while other races are able to capitalize from it. Nicki Minaj openly defended Jesy against ‘Little Mix’ member Leigh-Anne Pinnock for accusing Jesy of “Blackfishing”. Which surprised many fans as this is a tactic white artists use to appeal to the “urban” audience. Leigh-Anne Pinnock, who identifies as African-Caribbean, expressed her frustration over her experience with Jesy in the group. She witnessed different variations of her culture appropriating behavior and in opposition of this, she spoke out publicly.

Apple acquires Classical Streaming Service Primephonic

Image Via Apple

Apple has bought the classical music streaming service Primephonic. The company announced in a release on August 30, by the acquisition “Apple Music Classical fans will get a dedicated experience with the best features of Primephonic, including better browsing and search capabilities by composer and by repertoire, detailed displays of classical music metadata, plus new features and benefits”. The acquisition adds more than 75 million songs to Apple Music’s library and Apple is planning to use Primephonic’s data about classical track to improve search capabilities and browsing. Moreover, Apple announced plans to launch a music app next year, which mainly focused on classical music and combines Primephonic’s classical user interface with more added features.  Primephonic said in a statement posted on Monday that in order to reach more classical music listeners worldwide they need to partner with a leading streaming service. The major shareholder of Primephonic Gordon P. Getty concludes “Primephonic and Apple together can realize that mission and take classical to a worldwide audience”. The acquisition is going to help serving classical music especially to those listeners, who listen to other music genres as well.

Primephonic is no longer available for new subscribers and will be taken offline beginning September 7. Current subscribers of Primephonic will receive six months of Apple Music for free.

In my opinion, the acquisition is an important step for Apple to expand its monopoly position in Media. In the last years, Apple acquired dozens of companies to improve expertise in particular areas. In the music area, some of the largest and highest profile acquisitions have been music service Beats for $3 billion in 2014 or Shazam, the music-identification service in 2017. By adding and promoting specific music genres, the company presents Apple Music as a multifaceted service, where every user can enjoy their unique taste in music. Moreover, with the addition of classical music, Apple tries to diversify their listeners, and convince the older audience in particular, to use Apple Music.

Spotify use During Pandemic has Soared

Spotify usage has completely been derailed from the usual statistics. Obviously, spotify usage in cars have dropped because of the Stay-at-Home order. But Spotify usage at home on T.V. or game consoles have soared, reaching an increase of over 50% of usual number.

From their data, Spotify has found that everyday usage seems like a weekend. In the mornings, people are constantly streaming music on the apps that would often only happen more on the weekends.

More Spotify usage has been happening around their family during cooking, chores, family time, and relaxing at home with their numbers doubling. Spotify descriptions such as “chill” or “instrumental” have also seen an increase. This is most likely because an ambient sound is looked for while performing activities with the family.

More US consumers are seen to be using music as a stress reliever according to surveys. Spotify is proud of the fact that they are able to continue providing service with little disruption during this time of chaos.

Opposite of Spotify usage in the US, Italy and Spain has seen a decrease in streams.

People cancelling their subscriptions have said there reason for cancelling was due to the pandemic. They were also said to have renew their subscriptions when economic balance is restored.

Spotify has reached 130 million paid subscriptions, which is above forecasted numbers. But ad-supported revenue has been below forecasted numbers as a result of Covid-19.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, said the company is in better position because the company relies less on revenue derived from advertisements.

Spotify has also began investing more into podcasts which has seen a tremendous leap this year, especially due to the Coronavirus.

Apple Music Gives Back to Independent Labels Hit by Covid-19

Record labels are also being hit hard by the Coronavirus crisis.  Physical sales are essentially decimated.  Live events are not happening so licensing income from public performance plays and sync use has fallen.  Labels which participate in their artists’ live income are obviously seeing that revenue reduced to zero as well.

Many labels are also postponing album releases due to the fear of a soft marketplace.  Apple music will announce later today, they will be funding $50 million to independent labels and distributors who meet a minimum quarterly threshold of $10,000 in Apple Music earnings.  This means Apple Music is hoping these independent labels will pay their artists to keep things in operation during these hard times.

Apple has also seen a surge of subscribers since the beginning of this pandemic, despite streaming volumes on all audio services dipping.  This means the money is going more directly to independent labels for their license of music rights.

Company-wide, Apple has been trying to help those in in need.  Tim Cook, CEO of Apple announced he will be donating $20 million to mask production and shipping. 

Cancel Culture–Harmful or Effective in Holding Our Fellow Celebrities Accountable?


For those who aren’t as familiar with what cancel culture is, canceling and cancel culture have to do with the removal of support for public figures in response to their objectionable behavior or opinions (which can include boycotts or refusal to promote their work.)

In late 2018, comedian Kevin Hart publicly stated he would be hosting the 2019 Oscars; an announcement that triggered intense public scrutiny regarding homophobic jokes and tweets he had previously put forth. While the backlash against Hart came from many different directions, a majority derived from the social media platform, Twitter. Although ‘cancel culture’ is not a new phenomenon, it is evident that it was brought to the forefront of American pop culture after Hart’s “canceling,” and has continued since.

With this idea of “canceling” in mind, the question many have is whether or not canceling is harmful or effective in holding these celebrities and public figures accountable.

Last night during the Oscars, Joaquin Phoenix gave a discursive speech in which he both criticized “cancel” culture and advocated for social justice while accepting the Oscar for best actor for his performance in “The Joker.” In his speech he said,

“I have been a scoundrel all my life, I’ve been selfish. I’ve been cruel at times, hard to work with, and I’m grateful that so many of you in this room have given me a second chance,” Phoenix said. “I think that’s when we’re at our best: when we support each other. Not when we cancel each other out for our past mistakes, but when we help each other to grow. When we educate each other; when we guide each other to redemption.”

Like Joaquin, many believe that cancel culture is merely harmful to society and those individuals being “canceled,” but, according to the article on Daily Toreador, many also feel that it’s unfair that celebrities can seemingly “get away” with hurting other people or making damaging and harmful statements, even after being canceled for a little while. At the same time, however, it is both concerning and detrimental that as a society, we perpetuate a culture of simply canceling someone instead of encouraging them to be better and holding them accountable in a constructive way (similar to what Joaquin said.)

I think we can all agree that public outrage against celebrities is expected and sometimes even justified in some cases, but is it possible that sometimes cancel culture can go too far? What do you think?



TikTok Launches New Music Streaming Service

The logo of TikTok, a short-form video-sharing app that has proved wildly popular in 2018 and 2019

TikTok’s parent company ByteDance is trialing a new music streaming app called Resso to rival Apple Music and Spotify. This new app is being trialed in India and Indonesia, two markets that are potentially untapped by the American companies. While this app has been trialed for 6 months, it was only recently revealed that it was TikTok’s parent company was actually the owner.

ByteDance has had a lot of success with their app TikTok accumulating 500 million users since its launch in 2016. Resso has 27,000 users which is clearly a huge difference. Despite this difference, ByteDance is finding new ways to integrate TikTok mechanics into this new app. One feature included is swiping to skip a song, a feature very familiar on TikTok as users scroll through videos. The app is also a lot more communal, making it easier to share, comment, and create gifs using certain songs on the platform. The company has been rumored to be talking with the major music labels like Sony Music, Warner Music, and NBCUniversal to bring as many songs as possible when it drops in the US.

This article is interesting because the  company is looking into untapped markets internationally. In addition to that, I wonder how this will affect music streaming. TikTok is a very fast paced platform where people consume 15 seconds of content until the video is over, which makes me wonder if music will be the same way. I find that apps like TikTok lower attention spans for consuming content, and I wonder of this will make music more interesting in the beginning to ensure people listen to the entire song. Either way, the effects of this new competitor will be interesting.


Rewound: The App That Can Turn Your I-Phone into an I-Pod Classic

Rewound is a basic music player app that can be found in the App Store of Apple. This app incorporates customization skins that can visually convert an I-Phone into an I-Pod classic.

Part of what makes the app so great is that it synchronizes with an Apple Music library, and includes haptic feedback, which allows it to not only look like an iPod, but sound like one too.  Rewound’s developer, Louis Anslow of Rethought agency, took a year to create the app, of which he claims to have made it with the intent of insinuating some I-Pod nostalgia. Rewound only suports Apple music most, but Anslow claims that it should be able to support Spotify in the future.

“It is an experimental project exploring the blurring lines between the digital and physical world, Edgeless displays with haptic feedback can become any device you wish. Rewound lets users morph their iPhone into a retro 2000s era MP3 player — whatever brand or model they preferred.”

I think apps like this one are great as they can be used to educate and inform of older technology products. For instance, younger individuals who have never used an I-Pod classic, could use this to experience the interface of an apple product which came before their I-Phones.


Image result for spotify logo

Spotify’s metadata allows the platform to draw conclusions about the music of the year, and the decade as 2020 approaches. Called the “Wrapped List”, the data driven summary reveals the artists and music that has defined 2019, and from there, the most streamed music from 2010 to now.

Post Malone has taken the cake for the most-streamed artist of the year, upon the release of his latest album and contribution to the song “Sunflower,” which was released for the Into the Spiderverse movie. Billie Eilish is the second-most-streamed artist of the year, upon her release of her Grammy-nominated album titled “When We Fall Asleep Where Do We Go?”, which was streamed over 6 billion times.

Other noteworthy artists include Drake, who was the top-streamed artist of the decade, and Ariana Grande is the top-streamed female artist of the decade. Camila Cabello and Sean Mendes’s “Senorita” was the top streamed song of the year, and Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” was the most streamed song of the decade.

This derived data shows media companies and the music industry trends over time, as well as the artists that are up and coming. It is also thanks to the data algorithm you are able to review your personal statistics of your own profile, allowing you to learn about your own listening patterns as the decade went on, and what you enjoyed most this year.

Amazon Steps Up The Game: Free Music Streaming Service With Ads Now Available


Image Source: Amazon

The music streaming industry has long been dominated by the three companies Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. Since its creation, Amazon Prime Music was only available for use by the companies Prime members. In a move that many media researchers believe is to step up the game against Spotify and Apple, Amazon is now offering its music streaming service for free to anyone (none-prime members) who download the application on IOS/Android devices, Fire TV, and online.

Of course like its competitors, the free download and use of the music streaming service comes with advertisements in order to continue to listen to music.  The service will be available to anyone in the U.S., U.K. and Germany and offers the same 2-million song catalog as Prime Music, with the exception of Prime Music being ad-free for users that are subscription members to the companies services.

Interestingly enough, Spotify’s stock price dropped almost 5% following Amazon’s announcement of their free music streaming service intended to take in more users to compete against Spotify’s astonishing 140 million users a month.

“Expansion of the free-with-ads Amazon service will expose more consumers to Amazon’s music, who can then be promoted to join Prime to get the ad-free Amazon Music free — or to upgrade to Amazon’s more premium music services” (Lukovitz).

With the addition of the add-supported Amazon Music service to its lineup, the company now offers four different versions of music streaming with Prime Music, Amazon Music Unlimited (50 million song catalog) and Amazon Music HD which features its largest catalog and quality music streaming.

Many believe this expansion of the free-with-ads service will expose more people to Amazon, which in turn will lead to the promotion of these consumers to become a prime member for ad-free music or maybe even taking it a step further to the Unlimited or HD service.

I believe that the music streaming service is only becoming more popular with many of these media giants targeting their members with subscription based services in order to gain revenue and customer loyalty which is essential in today’s digital world. All three of these leading music streaming services constantly are looking for an upper hand to their competitors, and Amazon appears to have just moved towards leveling the playing field.