FBI document warns conspiracy theories are a new domestic terrorism threat


The FBI for the first time has identified fringe conspiracy theories as a domestic terrorist threat, according to a previously unpublicized document obtained by Yahoo News.

The FBI intelligence bulletin from the bureau’s Phoenix field office, dated May 30, 2019, describes “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists,” as a growing threat, and notes that it is the first such report to do so. It lists a number of arrests, including some that haven’t been publicized, related to violent incidents motivated by fringe beliefs.

The document specifically mentions QAnon, a shadowy network that believes in a deep state conspiracy against President Trump, and Pizzagate, the theory that a pedophile ring including Clinton associates was being run out of the basement of a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant (which didn’t actually have a basement).

“The FBI assesses these conspiracy theories very likely will emerge, spread, and evolve in the modern information marketplace, occasionally driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts,” the document states. It also goes on to say the FBI believes conspiracy theory-driven extremists are likely to increase during the 2020 presidential election cycle.

FBI designates Pizzagate and QAnon conspiracy-based theories as domestic threats. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Michael E. Miller/The Washington Post via Getty Images, Matt Rourke/AP, AP)

The FBI said another factor driving the intensity of this threat is “the uncovering of real conspiracies or cover-ups involving illegal, harmful, or unconstitutional activities by government officials or leading political figures.” The FBI does not specify which political leaders or which cover-ups it was referring to.

President Trump is mentioned by name briefly in the latest FBI document, which notes that the origins of QAnon is the conspiratorial belief that “Q,” allegedly a government official, “posts classified information online to reveal a covert effort, led by President Trump, to dismantle a conspiracy involving ‘deep state’ actors and global elites allegedly engaged in an international child sex trafficking ring.”

This recent intelligence bulletin comes as the FBI is facing pressure to explain who it considers an extremist, and how the government prosecutes domestic terrorists. In recent weeks the FBI director has addressed domestic terrorism multiple times but did not publicly mention this new conspiracy theorist threat.

The FBI is already under fire for its approach to domestic extremism. In a contentious hearing last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee, FBI Director Christopher Wray faced criticism from Democrats who said the bureau was not focusing enough on white supremacist violence. “The term ‘white supremacist,’ ‘white nationalist’ is not included in your statement to the committee when you talk about threats to America,” Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., said. “There is a reference to racism, which I think probably was meant to include that, but nothing more specific.”

Wray told lawmakers the FBI had done away with separate categories for black identity extremists and white supremacists, and said the bureau was instead now focusing on “racially motivated” violence. But he added, “I will say that a majority of the domestic terrorism cases that we’ve investigated are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence.”

The FBI had faced mounting criticism for the term “black identity extremists,” after its use was revealed by Foreign Policy Magazine In 2017. Critics pointed out that the term was an FBI invention based solely on race, since no group or even any specific individuals actually identify as black identity extremists.

In May, Michael C. McGarrity, the FBI’s assistant director of the counterterrorism division, told Congressthe bureau now “classifies domestic terrorism threats into four main categories: racially motivated violent extremism, anti-government/anti-authority extremism, animal rights/environmental extremism, and abortion extremism,” a term the bureau uses to classify both pro-choice and anti-abortion extremists.

The new focus on conspiracy theorists appears to fall under the broader category of anti-government extremism. “This is the first FBI product examining the threat from conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists and provides a baseline for future intelligence products,” the document states.

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. (Photo: Liu Jie/Xinhua via Getty)
FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

The new category is different in that it focuses not on racial motivations, but on violence based specifically on beliefs that, in the words of the FBI document, “attempt to explain events or circumstances as the result of a group of actors working in secret to benefit themselves at the expense of others” and are “usually at odds with official or prevailing explanations of events.”

The FBI acknowledges conspiracy theory-driven violence is not new, but says it’s gotten worse with advances in technology combined with an increasingly partisan political landscape in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election. “The advent of the Internet and social media has enabled promoters of conspiracy theories to produce and share greater volumes of material via online platforms that larger audiences of consumers can quickly and easily access,” the document says.

The bulletin says it is intended to provide guidance and “inform discussions within law enforcement as they relate to potentially harmful conspiracy theories and domestic extremism.”

The FBI Phoenix field office referred Yahoo News to the bureau’s national press office, which provided a written statement.

“While our standard practice is to not comment on specific intelligence products, the FBI routinely shares information with our law enforcement partners in order to assist in protecting the communities they serve,” the FBI said.

In its statement, the FBI also said it can “never initiate an investigation based solely on First Amendment protected activity. As with all of our investigations, the FBI can never monitor a website or a social media platform without probable cause.”

The Department of Homeland Security, which has also been involved in monitoring domestic extremism, did not return or acknowledge emails and phone requests for comment.

While not all conspiracy theories are deadly, those identified in the FBI’s 15-page report led to either attempted or successfully carried-out violent attacks. For example, the Pizzagate conspiracy led a 28-year-old man to invade a Washington, D.C., restaurant to rescue the children he believed were being kept there, and fire an assault-style weapon inside.

Edgar Maddison Welch, 28 of Salisbury, N.C., surrenders to police in Washington in 2016. Welch, a man who police said was inspired by false internet rumors dubbed Pizzagate to fire an assault weapon inside a Washington pizzeria, pleaded guilty in 2017 to two charges. (Photo: Sathi Soma via AP)
Edgar Maddison Welch, 28 of Salisbury, N.C., surrenders to police in Washington in 2016. Welch, a man who police said was inspired by false internet rumors dubbed Pizzagate to fire an assault weapon inside a Washington pizzeria, pleaded guilty in 2017 to two charges.

The FBI document also cites an unnamed California man who was arrested on Dec. 19, 2018, after being found with what appeared to be bomb-making materials in his car. The man allegedly was planning “blow up a satanic temple monument” in the Capitol rotunda in Springfield, Ill., to “make Americans aware of Pizzagate and the New World Order, who were dismantling society,” the document says.

Historian David Garrow, the author of a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Martin Luther King Jr. who has worked extensively with FBI archives, raised doubts to Yahoo News about the memo. He says the FBI’s default assumption is that violence is motivated by ideological beliefs rather than mental illness. “The guy who shot up the pizza place in D.C.: Do we think of him as a right-wing activist, or insane?” Garrow asked.

Garrow was similarly critical of the FBI’s use of the term “black identity extremists” and related attempts to ascribe incidents like the 2016 shooting of six police officers in Baton Rouge, La., to black radicalism. He said the shooter, Gavin Long, had a history of mental health problems. “The bureau’s presumption — the mindset — is to see ideological motives where most of the rest of us see individual nuttiness,” he said.

Identifying conspiracy theories as a threat could be a political lightning rod, since President Trump has been accused of promulgating some of them, with his frequent references to a deep state and his praise in 2015 for Alex Jones, who runs the conspiracy site InfoWars. While the FBI intelligence bulletin does not mention Jones or InfoWars by name, it does mention some of the conspiracy theories frequently associated with the far-right radio host, in particular the concept of the New World Order.

Jones claimed the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, in which 26 children were killed, was a hoax, a false flag operation intended as a pretext for the government to seize or outlaw firearms. The families of a number of victims have sued Jones for defamation, saying his conspiracy-mongering contributed to death threats and online abuse they have received.

While Trump has never endorsed Sandy Hook denialism, he was almost up until the 2016 election the most high-profile promoter of the birther conspiracy that claimed former President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. He later dropped his claim, and deflected criticism by pointing the finger at Hillary Clinton. He said her campaign had given birth to the conspiracy, and Trump “finished it.”

There is no evidence that Clinton started the birther conspiracy.

Then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump states that he believes President Barack Obama was born in the United States. (Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images)
Then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump states that he believes President Barack Obama was born in the United States.

Joe Uscinski, an associate professor of political science at the University of Miami, whose work on conspiracy theories is cited in the intelligence bulletin, said there’s no data suggesting conspiracy theories are any more widespread now than in the past. “There is absolutely no evidence that people are more conspiratorial now,” says Uscinski, after Yahoo News described the bulletin to him. “They may be, but there is not strong evidence showing this.”

It’s not that people are becoming more conspiratorial, says Uscinski, but conspiracies are simply getting more media attention.

“We are looking back at the past with very rosy hindsight to forget our beliefs, pre-internet, in JFK [assassination] conspiracy theories and Red scares. My gosh, we have conspiracy theories about the king [of England] written into the Declaration of Independence,” he said, referencing claims that the king was planning to establish tyranny over the American colonies.

It’s not that conspiracy theorists are growing in number, Uscinski argues, but that media coverage of those conspiracies has grown. “For most of the last 50 years, 60 to 80 percent of the country believe in some form of JFK conspiracy theory,” he said. “They’re obviously not all extremist.”

Conspiracy theories, including Russia’s role in creating and promoting them, attracted widespread attention during the 2016 presidential election when they crossed over from Internet chat groups to mainstream news coverage. Yahoo new’s ” conspiracyland ” podcast recently revealed that Russia’s foreign intelligence service was the origin of a hoax report that tied the murder of Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee staffer, to Hillary Clinton.

Washington police believe that Rich was killed in a botched robbery, and there is no proof that his murder had any political connections.

Mary Rich, the mother of slain DNC staffer Seth Rich, at a press conference. (Photo: Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Mary Rich, the mother of slain DNC staffer Seth Rich, at a press conference.

Among the violent conspiracy theories cited in the May FBI document is one involving a man who thought Transportation Security Administration agents were part of a New World Order. Another focused on the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), a government-funded facility in Alaska that has been linked to everything from death beams to mind control. The two men arrested in connection with HAARP were “stockpiling weapons, ammunition and other tactical gear in preparation to attack” the facility, believing it was being used “to control the weather and prevent humans from talking to God.”

Nate Snyder, who served as a Department of Homeland Security counterterrorism official during the Obama administration, said that the FBI appears to be applying the same radicalization analysis it employs against foreign terrorism, like the Islamic State group, which has recruited followers in the United States.

“The domestic violent extremists cited in the bulletin are using the same playbook that groups like ISIS and al-Qaida have used to inspire, recruit and carry out attacks,” said Snyder, after reviewing a copy of the bulletin provided by Yahoo News. “You put out a bulletin and say this is the content they’re looking at — and it’s some guy saying he’s a religious cleric or philosopher — and then you look at the content, videos on YouTube, etc., that they are pushing and show how people in the U.S. might be radicalized by that content.”

Though the FBI document focuses on ideological motivations, FBI Director Wray, in his testimony last week, asserted that the FBI is concerned only with violence, not people’s beliefs. The FBI doesn’t “investigate ideology, no matter how repugnant,” he told lawmakers. “We investigate violence. And any extremist ideology, when it turns to violence, we are all over it. … In the first three quarters of this year, we’ve had more domestic terrorism arrests than the prior year, and it’s about the same number of arrests as we have on the international terrorism side.”

Yet the proliferation of the extremist categories concerns Michael German, a former FBI agent and now a fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty & National Security program. “It’s part of the radicalization theory the FBI has promoted despite empirical studies that show it’s bogus,” he said.

German says this new category is a continuing part of FBI overreach. “They like the radicalization theory because it justifies mass surveillance,” he said. “If we know everyone who will do harm is coming from this particular community, mass surveillance is important. We keep broadening the number of communities we include in extremist categories.”

For Garrow, the historian, the FBI’s expansive definition has its roots in bureau paranoia that dates back decades. “I think it’s their starting point,” he said. “This goes all the way back to the Hoover era without question. They see ideology as a central motivating factor in human life, and they don’t see mental health issues as a major factor.”

Yet trying to label a specific belief system as prone to violence is problematic, he said.

“I don’t think most of us would do a good job in predicting what sort of wacky information could lead someone to violence, or not lead anyone to violence,” Garrow said. “Pizzagate would be a great example of that.”

Trump supporters displaying QAnon posters appeared at one of President Trump's Make America Great Again rallies in 2018. (Photo: Thomas O'Neill/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Trump supporters displaying QAnon posters appeared at one of President Trump’s Make America Great Again rallies in 2018.

While Trump may not be supportive of labeling a group like QAnon, which sees him as a hero, as extremist, he’s in favor of broadening the number of organizations that are labeled as violent extremists, at least on the left. On Saturday, President Trump tweeted Antifa, a far-left movement opposed to what it considers fascism, should be labeled a terrorist organization.

Snyder, the former Homeland Security official, agrees that conspiracy theories may in fact inspire violence and be a threat, but questions what the government is going to do about it.

He notes that at the Department of Homeland Security, “nearly all, if not all, the intelligence analysts focusing on domestic extremist groups” were eliminated under the Trump administration. “There is no one there doing this,” he said.

50 Cent Thinks ‘Power’ Emmy Snub is ‘Racial’


50-Cent is not exactly known for his humility, but even a typically quiet executive producer might feel a bit wronged if their massive hit show repeatedly came up empty at the Emmys. In a recent panel in front of the Television Critics Association, the Power head said that he felt that race was behind his show’s lack of award recognition.  

“I’d like to say it’s racial. That’s the easy way to get out of things. I just think (voters) overlook it,” he said after the show once again failed to earn a single Emmy nod.

Power features a largely black cast and two black executive producers. The discrepancy between it and other premium cable hits was on full display in this year’s Emmy nominations. While Game of Thrones pulled in a record 32 nominations for its largely disappointing final season, Power got a goose egg. This snub was in spite of the fact that Fif’s series is the second most-viewed show on pay cable behind Thrones.

50 Cent said that the voters being late to his TV show is just more of the same. 

“People at awards ceremonies have always been late to my projects…This project, the content is the same material that I use for my music, and I didn’t receive the best new artist (award when I had) the largest debuting hip-hop album,” he said.

The typically chatty 50 hopes to let success be his noise, saying that in a post-Thronesworld, Power will be undeniable.  

“I’m just going to make the numbers so high, in viewership, that they’ll be saying we (messed) up again,” he said.

Nas Admits Prince Declined To Record With Him Because He Didn’t Own His Masters


NEW YORK, NY – The late Prince is one of the few artists who passed on the chance to collaborate with Nas, something the Queensbridge Hip Hop legend admitted during a recent Drink Champs interview. Apparently, Prince would only work with artists who owned their masters — and Nas did not.

“I sought him, because he came to my I Am… release party,” Nas says at the 48:55-minute mark. “I pulled a N.O.R.E. move, I said, ‘Yo, look man, let’s do this. Let’s do this song.’ And he was like, ‘Do you own your masters?

“But he blew my shit, because I was like, ‘I don’t. And I’m far from it, ’cause I owe this label like four, five albums.’ So I was like, ‘Damn.’”

Nas didn’t walk away completely empty handed. He says Prince taught him something that night.

“He dropped a jewel, he kind of helped me see the future and he was like, ‘When you own your masters, give me a ring,’” he explains. “But we kicked it a few times. We got cool, he was seriously a very cool dude to me. He invited me onstage to perform.

“I think everybody wanted to work with him, so the pressure that he had from everybody… He turned Michael Jackson down! The pressure he had from people who wanted to work with him was crazy.”

N.O.R.E., D.J. EFN and Nas also got into Lost Tapes 2, the making of the 1994 classic Illmatic and the potential for a Lost Tapes 3 and 4.

According to a press release, REVOLT, TIDAL and Mass Appeal will present exclusive Drink Champs content across all of their platforms, beginning with podcast episodes premiering August 13 exclusively on TIDAL.

DJ Khaled Becomes Apple Music’s 1st Artist-In-Residence


D.j. Khaled can add a new gig to his résumé. Apple Music named the music mogul as its first artist-in-residence.

Khaled celebrated his Apple residency via Instagram, sharing a promotional video of himself at work.ADVERTISING

“Bless up @applemusic for making me the very first artist-in-residence ever for @applemusic,” he wrote in the caption. “This means imma taking over the biggest playlists on the platform every month!”

He added, “Also the goal is to break new artists in the process. All record labels and artists, hit me up. This month, we gon start with Office DJ and then I might hit y’all wit a Gymflow playlist vibe next month. #WETHEBEST Go check out office dj play list now this what I’m listing to in my office right now .”

According to Apple Music, Khaled will craft one playlist during every month of his residency. The We The Best Music Group founder will be working with their team to create and executive produce special editions of the streaming service’s top playlists, including the popular It’s Lit!!! and Gymflow.

Khaled’s residency kicked off the launch of his first playlist, Office DJ Khaled. The collection is his own version of Apple Music’s Office DJ.

Check it out here.

Spinderella Suing Salt-N-Pepa For Unpaid Royalties


When Salt-N-Pepa announced they were going on the road with New Kids On The Block for their The Mixtape Tour earlier this year, Spinderella was quick to point out she wasn’t included. In fact, she revealed Salt and Pepa sent her packing with a “termination” email.

Now, the group’s longtime DJ is reportedly suing the other two members for unpaid royalties.

According to TMZ, the bad blood started to boil in 1999 with The Best Of Salt-N-Pepaalbum. The suit says she was to receive a third of the royalties for the record and was promised she’d be getting $125,000 by phone. But she says she was never paid.

The suit also claims Spinderella was excluded from a VH1 show based on Salt-N-Pepa’s rise to stardom. Despite the occasional guest spot, she says she received way less than one-third. Spin also says she wasn’t paid for their 2018 Billboard Music Awards appearance.

Spin is reportedly most upset about what she learned from SoundExchange, a company that collects and distributes royalties to artists. She was told Salt and Pepa have been paid over $600,000 in royalties in the last 10 years and Spin insists she didn’t receive a dime.

Spinderella is suing for trademark infringement, fraud and breach of contract.

When she explained her absence from the NKOTB tour in May, Spin pointed out her name was still included in promotional items.

“Despite my participation in promoting the tour and being highly publicized as one of the acts, in January 2019 I received a ‘termination’ email from #SaltnPepa excluding me from performances with the group,” she wrote on Instagram. “It was my expectation, after making that decision, that they would also take responsibility for sharing the news with the public and other affected parties. It has been months now with no mention.”



Who hasn’t sat in front of the TV on a Saturday morning… dressed in your favorite pajamas… equipped with a big old bowl of your favorite cereal… watching cartoons?

That has always been the drill. You did it. Your momma did it. Depending on your age, your momma’s momma did. However, recent testing has proved that one of our favorite and most sacred past-times could actually kill us.  Many of the cereals marketed to children have been contaminated with a controversial weed killer called glyphosate.

The Environmental Working Group has presented research saying that 17 of the some of the most popular breakfast foods contain high levels of the this weed killer. Out of the batch, Cheerios and Nature Valley products had some of the highest levels.

The acceptable levels is about 160 parts per billion, but in testing cereals, breakfast bars and granolas, scientists show that various products already on the market have surpassed these numbers.

Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch had 833 parts per billion. Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal had 729 parts per billion. Nature Valley “Maple Brown Sugar” Crunchy granola bars had 566 parts per billion. Nature Valley Granola Cups, Almond Butter brand had 529 parts per billion

Why is this so important?

These levels have been classified by the International Agency for Research on Canceras “probably carcinogenic to humans.”

Technically, these levels are high but not exceed the legal limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency. In fact according to Reuters, just this past weekU.S. District Judge Robert Scola in Miami, FL has dismissed a classed action against the cereal giant, General Mills that distributes Cheerios regarding the traces of weedkiller glyphosate in her cereal. The grounds of the dismissal? The plaintiff, Mounira Doss of Broward County, failed to present evidence that she was harmed by the poison so sick.

Dr. Sebi tried to tell us that the government is in on it.

Be that as it were, the concerns of EWG are the long-term effects that glyphosate may have on people, particularly children who have been exposed “during early life.”

How One Generation Was Single-Handedly Able To Kill The Music Industry


The old music industry is dead. We’re standing in the ruins of a business built on private jets, Cristal, $18 CDs and million-dollar recording budgets.

We’re in the midst of the greatest music industry disruption of the past 100 years. A fundamental shift has occurred — a shift that Millennials are driving.

For the first time, record sales aren’t enough to make an artist’s career, and they certainly aren’t enough to ensure success. The old music industry clung desperately to sales to survive, but that model is long gone.

Even superstars have it tough. Pitbull — despite having 50 million Facebook fans and nearly 170 million YouTube plays — has sold less than 10 million albums in his entire career. This is the reality of the new music industry, which is built off of liquid attention, not record sales.

Why? Well, the answer lies with us ,  the Millennials. We’ve taken over the music industry by controlling the two things that matter most:


The music industry is just like any other big business: It follows cash. Over the past two decades, music has suffered through the CD bubble, torrents, Napster, iTunes (with Apple taking a 30 percent cut of everything) and now, the ubiquity of streaming services, which reduces sales below the already rock-bottom level.

The music industry has been rocked by new trends and over the past few years, has succumbed to a state of near free-fall. It’s clutching whatever few straws are left in an attempt to salvage profit from the remains of its broken business models.

As music becomes more and more entrenched in the digital realm, Millennials have emerged as the dominant consumers. More importantly, we dominate the most promising emerging market for music: mobile devices. We use music, media and entertainment apps more than 75 percent more and social sharing apps about 20 percent more frequently than any other age group.

In a nutshell, Millennials consume the most music and tell the greatest number of people about it. While it’s obvious that consumption is important, why is it so important that we share what we listen to?

The old music industry had a banner metric of artist success: album sales. For years, album sales have been declining and the growth of singles and streaming services have accelerated the trend.

As we’ve transitioned into a digital music economy, new measures of success have emerged. A new generation of artists has hit the scene and they thrive on attention rather than units of music they sell.

The attention has become just as valuable as our likelihood to purchase, as it leads to festival and performance attendance, merchandising sales and other sources of revenue. However, we still won’t buy your music.

Brands know this, too. Companies like GUESS, Red Bull and Steve Madden will pour more than $1.34 billion into sponsoring music venues, festivals and tours this year.

Over a billion dollars will be spent for the opportunity to build customer relationships and brand equity with digital natives. In contrast, the top 10 highest-earning electronic artists last year cumulatively made just over $240 million  —  less than 20 percent of what brands will spend in 2014 to capture Millennials’ attention.

What brands understand is that music is an important part of Millennials’ identity. It’s more than entertainment for us. The music we listen to can be as important as how we dress and influences who our friends are.

Going to festivals and shows is an expression of identity. Brands know that if they can identify with a DJ like Skrillex and his dedicated fan base, they’ll have more than just the consumer’s brief attention. The brand will become part of the fans’ lifestyle.

That’s why Steve Madden is teaming up with up-and-coming female DJs to attract Millennials.

The end result is that the music industry and the big brands are both chasing the new generation of artists; artists who can capture, retain and monetize attention — instead of album sales — and who can keep Millennials interested.


All that’s required to make a modern record is a computer and a piece of affordable recording software. One of the most powerful professional DAWs (a digital audio workstation, used to produce music) is Logic Pro from Apple, which costs only $200.

Inside the DAW are virtual instruments like pianos, synthesizers and drums, as well as all the necessary tools to edit and produce audio.

Most of the equipment required to create music has been absorbed into the DAW, while the software continues to get easier and easier to use. The end result is that artists can create music more quickly, more efficiently and less expensively than at any other time in history.

Gotye created his song “Somebody That I Used to Know” in his parents’ house near Melbourne, Australia. The self-produced track reached number one on more than 23 national charts and charted inside the top 10 in more than 30 countries around the world. By the end of 2012, the song became the best-selling song of that year with 11.8 million copies sold, ranking it among the best-selling digital singles of all time.

A young Dutch producer named Martin Garrix reached the top of the charts in more than 10 countries with his smash hit, “Animals,” which he produced and released at 17 years old. The song hit number one on Beatport, making Garrix the youngest person ever to receive the honor.

Millennials, who can simply record after class or work, are mostly familiar with this technology, but our open-source attitude toward learning is much more important.

Search “How to use Logic Pro” in YouTube and you’ll find thousands of free tutorials. Sites like Reddit have entire communities with tens of thousands of members who are dedicated to learning about music production.

Technology is cheap and high-quality learning resources are free. As the result, artists have massively successful records without having set foot in a recording studio.


It goes without saying that music discovery and music production go hand in hand. However, just as technology has enabled easy music production for young, emerging artists, it has also provided them with a way to reach fans all over the world.

There are the classic success stories like Justin Bieber and Lana Del Rey, of course, but below the YouTube empire rests an entire culture of Millennials who are discovering music online.

Platforms like SoundCloud have more than 250 million active users each month and Millennials discover their music predominately through these digital platforms. Incidentally, when digital natives produce new music, they release it first on the digital platforms.

This is how Millennials are playing both sides of the field: They’re creating more music than ever and releasing it onto platforms where their peers go to discover music.

The music industry middleman has been cut out and a back-and-forth conversation replaced it. Of course, huge stars like Katy Perry still dominate sales, but Millennials are eroding that model with a new, grassroots discovery model.


Powerhouse songwriting and production teams back dominant artists like Rihanna, Taylor Swift and Katy Perry. These production teams are one of the main drivers that keep the superstar artists on top. Working in teams allows these writers to churn out tons of highly listenable pop tracks.

Now, Millennials are breaking down this final barrier, too.

Services like FindMySong are connecting independent musicians so they can form their own dominant songwriting and production teams. The FindMySong model takes advantage of the fact that there are more independent musicians than ever before who want a piece of the major artist success without the major label strings.

With cheap recording technology and an effective way to distribute the music, these independents team up online to rival major labels.

You have the power now. What are you going to do with it? For the first time in its long history, the American music business is firmly in the hands of the artists and the consumers. You have the ability to lead the industry wherever you want it to go.

Trump’s obsession with the royals and their golden lifestyle dates back decades


As President Donald Trump and his family trooped into Buckingham Palace for a state banquet with Queen Elizabeth II on Monday night, royal watchers, palace protocol chiefs and journalists were on the alert. Consider, even before Trump landed, he had labeled Meghan Markle “nasty” and the London mayor “a stone cold loser.”

For Trump, however, this royal dinner was clearly more than the usual state visit, as the New York Times pointed out on Tuesday. While Trump has worked hard to build his life into a glittering, eponymous brand, there has long been a royal-specific yearning in the Trump family. What is less known is that this desire arguably dates back to Trump’s mother, an immigrant maid who came to America almost 100 years ago and bequeathed to her fourth child the notion that all that glitters really is gold.

While Trump has worked hard to build his life into a glittering, eponymous brand, there has long been a royal-specific yearning in the Trump family.

Unlike his mother’s origins, Trump’s obsession with the royals — the human epitome of his old go-to word, “classy” — is hardly a secret. Besides all the gold T’s and his gilded Versailles triplex in Trump Tower, there’s the family crest that Trump essentially stole from the socialite who built Mar-a-Lago, modifying it to remove the word “Integritas” but keeping the three rampant lions.

Indeed, Trump has a long history of seeking royal stardust. In 1981, he made up a story about Prince Charles and Princess Diana planning to shell out $5 million for a Trump Tower condo. In 1994, he claimed that Prince Charles and Princess Diana had sent in $50,000 checks to become charter members of the Florida Mar-a-Lago club, a Trumpian whopper that a palace spokesman sniffed was “complete nonsense.” Trump even tried (and failed) to date post-divorce Diana, who reportedly said he gave her “the creeps.” Prince Charles reportedly declined an invitation to Trump’s 2005 wedding to Melania.

Pundits like historian Doug Brinkley have blamed Trump’s obsession on his autocratic political bent — he wanted to be “King Donald.” Or simply a penchant for outrageous marketing strategies. But the true source is likely a far more personal inheritance: A Trump family secret is that his mother worked as a maid in the household of steel magnate Andrew Carnegie.

Mary Anne McLeod was the 10th child of a fisherman, born into muck boots and peat smoke on a remote Scottish island. She grew up in a two-room cottage and probably got no more than an eighth-grade education before she left the Isle of Lewis in the 1920s, following older sisters who had nestled into a community of nannies, butlers and maids from the British Isles who worked for the robber barons of New York.

Trump has long claimed his mother came to America on a holiday. But the truth can be found in the 1930 U.S. Census, where McLeod is listed at the bottom of a lengthy retinue of butlers, footmen, chauffeurs, cooks and maids working for Louise Carnegie.

It’s not clear how long McLeod held that position, because the Trump family has never acknowledged it. But in 1936, she married Fred Trump, Donald’s father, and moved to Queens. As Fred Trump got richer, Mary Anne modeled herself as a Queens Louise Carnegie — dressing in furs, her blonde hair coiffed into a now-familiar confection, as she was reportedly chauffeured in a Rolls Royce to, some stories say, collect the change from the laundromats at her husband’s growing middle-class apartment building empire.

Mary Anne’s affinity for royal pomp was so deep that she reportedly couldn’t be dragged away from the television set during the coronation of Queen Elizabeth.

Mary Anne’s affinity for royal pomp was so deep that she reportedly couldn’t be dragged away from the television set during the coronation of Queen Elizabeth, even as her thrifty German husband and her even thriftier German mother-in-law scorned her for it.

Donald seems to have inherited that yearning whole — along with his father’s scorn when he moved to Manhattan and put up his glass tower. Trump admits in “The Art of the Deal” that Fred Trump told him that Trump Tower could have been built of cheaper brick for pennies on the dollar.

Late in life, Mary Anne Trump finally did get to spend a small fortune decorating her own mini-palace in one of the Trump Tower condos. But, according to a family member who spoke to me for my book, she never spent a night in it, because her husband, by then enfeebled and suffering from Alzheimer’s, wouldn’t or couldn’t live there.

Donald Trump’s abiding sense of being an outsider is also likely owed to his mother — the girl looking in at the castle window in Scotland, the teen maid peeking down a polished banister into the candle-lit Carnegie dining hall. Donald, born and raised in an outer borough, was rich — but not to the Manhattan manner born.

Trump’s children, however, were born to rich celebrities in Manhattan — and in America, that means they can play at being royal issue. Ivanka writes in her first book, “The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life,” that her last name is synonymous with class and luxury. Via Instagram, she assiduously curated her family’s arrival in the White House to look like the Camelot of the Kennedys. Meanwhile, her nickname inside the White House was at least initially a pejorative “princess royal,” according to Vanity Fair.

Many American political families would have celebrated the remarkable ancestral story of a royals-struck maid from the British Isles who gave birth to a son who became president of the United States — and who walked into Buckingham Palace Monday to present that woman’s grandchildren to the Queen of England.

But not the Trump clan. For one thing, to admit that they are living out the culmination of that immigrant woman’s dream would be to acknowledge the possibilities that America offers to other men and women.

Beastie Boys Celebrates 25th Anniversary Of “Ill Communication” With Mini-Documentary


Beastie Boys fourth Hip Hop album, 1994’s Ill Communication, turns 25 on Friday (May 31).

To commemorate the occasion, the surviving members of the iconic New York rap outfit – Mike “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “King Ad-Rock” Horvitz — have unleashed a 14-minute documentary on their career and the making of the album.

The doc includes interviews with Mike D and Ad-Rock conducted by Amazon Music’s Nathan Brackett at the 2019 SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas earlier this year.

It also features archival footage and commentary from collaborators Mario Caldato Jr. and “Money” Mark Nishita.

Ill Communication debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart upon its release and has since been certified triple platinum by the RIAA. It served as the trio’s second No. 1 album, following 1986’s License To Ill.

Contributions to the project came from Money Mark, Eric Bobo and Amery “AWOL” Smith, Q-Tip and Biz Markie.

The video for “Sabotage,” one of the album’s lead singles, was nominated for Video of the Year, Best Group Video, Breakthrough Video, Best Direction in a Video, and Viewer’s Choice at the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards. However, it lost all five categories, prompting the late Adam “MCA” Yauch to crash Michael Stipe’s acceptance speech as his Nathanial Hornblower alter ego.

Parish Smith Confirms EPMD Is “3 Or 4 Songs Deep” Into 1st Album In 11 Years


NEW YORK, NY – EPMD is back in business. After seven albums and over 30 years of pumping out authentic, boom bap Hip Hop, Parish Smith and Erick Sermon have announced its first album in 11 years.

Smith confirmed the news and revealed they’ve thrown three titles in the ring — All BusinessMajor Business and Big Business. The iconic duo has recently returned from a trip to Africa, where Smith says they performed after being commissioned by the African government. Now that they’re back in the States, it’s — yep! — business as usual.ADVERTISING

“The demand from the Hip Hop community, the previous dope shows we did like at The Apollo and the trip to Africa really made us want to do the album,” Smith says. “It’s just time. Everything just comes back around. Like ‘Business As Usual,’ we gots to give the people what they want.

“It’s more or less being out in Hip hop and listening to what people are seeing. They want a real album like Strictly BusinessUnfinished BusinessBusiness As Usual or Business Never Personal.”

When asked if he and Sermon are on the same page, he says, “Yes, we are really on a good page. It’s less about us and more about what the fans already did for us. Not many people have a career that span over 32 years.

“You have to put yourself aside and listen to what the people are saying. If shows are sold out and they’re wanting more, then it all makes sense.”

Production-wise, Sermon and Smith are going to handle a lot of it on their own, but they’re open to working with other capable beatsmiths.

“Naturally me and E is going to do the production,” he explains. “Also, we’re open-minded to great producers who grew up on us and have the respect for us to help us out on the production.

“It’s great that we’re good producers, but when you have fans that went on to have a tremendous amount of success and grew up on you, that person is going to hand you a monster track and that’s dope. The pressures not all on you.”

Smith says they started working on the album roughly two months ago and are three or four songs deep into the project.

“I already dropped my vocals,” he says. “Now, we’re getting back into it. There’s been a little adjustment after Africa. Without us rushing, if we can’t get it out this year, it’s a 2020 situation. The beauty for us now is Hip Hop seems to be doing a full circle. So many people are into hearing that 90s music and 90s sound.”

The forthcoming album will serve as the follow-up to 2008’s We Mean Business. The two New Yorkers kicked off their storied career with the 1988 classic, Strictly Business. Despite many breakups and makeups, they’ve continued to tour over the past three decades.

Sermon has also embarked on several business endeavors as well, including Def Rugs. He dropped his latest solo album, Vernia, last month.

DJ Scratch, who joined the duo around 1989 for EPMD’s second album, officially left in 2017