Feb 2, 2022 • 6M

🗞️ Young And Angry

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This Week: Neil Young and Joe Rogan clash, Fans sue Universal Pictures, and Pennsylvania's voting laws. Plus, a Stormy Daniels update, and the social media boom.

🎸 Young And Angry

Spotify erased more than $2 billion in market capitalization this week after legendary musician Neil Young gave the music streaming service an ultimatum: either he goes, or podcast host Joe Rogan goes. Young was protesting Rogan's misinformation about COVID, but Spotify didn't seem to care—siding with the megastar podcaster.

  • Young cited Rogan in saying that "Spotify has recently become a very damaging force via its public misinformation and lies about COVID,” according to Variety

  • Rogan reportedly signed a $100 million contract to stream his show exclusively on Spotify.

  • Singer-Songwriter Joni Mitchell has joined Young in pulling her music from the streamer.

A Public Apology

In response to the very public scuffle, Joe Rogan has issued an apology to Spotify, Young, and Mitchell. “I want to thank Spotify for being so supportive during this time and I’m very sorry that this is happening to them and that they’re taking so much heat from it,” Rogan said, reports CNBC. He further defended his show by saying he has never tried to spread misinformation, he just wants to "talk to people."

The Verdict

Much like Facebook before it, Spotify is claiming itself a neutral platform that doesn't censor content. That being said, investing $100 million to secure exclusivity on your top-performing podcast is pretty tacit approval.

🎞️ A Case for Yesterday

Call it the case of the disappearing actress: Conor Woulfe, of Maryland, and Peter Michael Rosza, of San Diego, are suing Universal Pictures over claims that actress Ana de Armas was advertised in the trailer for the film "Yesterday" only to not appear in the film itself. Because they "did not receive a movie with any appearance of Ana de Armas at all, such consumers were not provided with any value for their rental or purchase," the lawsuit says.

  • According to Variety, de Armas was supposed to appear in the film but the scenes have been removed. As the film's screenwriter adds, she was cut as viewers did not respond well to her character pulling the protagonist away from his main love interest.

  • Ultimately, an appeals court has dismissed the case, having reviewed the trailer and finding every clip in the trailer to be present in the film.

Not The First

If such a case seems so frivolous as to be wholly unique, think again. In 2011, Sarah Deming filed a lawsuit against the film "Drive", notes Vanity Fair. Deming claimed the trailer and film did not align thematically, moreover, she claimed the film was antisemitic. The case stayed in the courts for seven years before finally being dismissed.

The Verdict

If your argument is that a trailer deceived you about a 90 minute film and that you wasted your time, spending years trying to win back the few dollars you paid for the film is a much bigger waste of many more people's time.

⚖️ Restricting The Vote

Pennsylvania's landmark voting law, Act 77, passed by a bipartisan effort in 2019, has been deemed unconstitutional by a state court. The law, which among other things, created permanent mail-in voting in the state, was challenged by Republican lawmakers in 2021.

Following the court's decision, the state immediately filed an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, allowing the law to stay in effect until the appeals process has completed.

The 2020 Plot

As a swing state, Pennsylvania played a key role in the Trump administration's efforts to delegitimize the 2020 election and overturn the results. According to the New York Times, Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri challenged the Pennsylvania electors during the official count on January 6, 2021, claiming that the state’s lawmakers had passed Act 77 “irregardless of what the Pennsylvania Constitution said.”

The Verdict

As new federal voting rights laws flounder in the Senate due to the filibuster, states are left to determine it much on their own. Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania and elsewhere will continue to fight for more restrictive voting laws, with little recourse for voters themselves.  

📤 What Else We're Forwarding

Star Force: A growing number of attorneys are offering their services to social media influencers who are frequently courted by big brands, says Law.com. A major factor the influencers and their representation face? Urgency to sign contracts in such a fast-paced field with so much competition by new stars.

Stormy Defense: Stormy Daniels and her former attorney Michael Avenatti had a heated exchange in court this week, notes the New York Times, at one point discussing poltergeists and "dark entities". Avenatti is accused of stealing some $300,000 from Daniels.

🎧 Music We’re Working To

Today we’re listening to Ludovico Einaudi, an Italian pianist and composer. Trained at the prestigious Conservatorio in Milan, his compositions have been featured in Academy Award winning films, Nomadland and The Father. He released studio album Nightbook in 2009, representing a distinct change from his previous works by incorporating synthesized sounds to the usually solo piano. Einaudi describes this album as “a night time landscape,” where “anything may happen.”

Nightbook - Ludovico Einaudi (70m, no vocals)
Apple Music / Spotify / YouTube Music / Amazon Music

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✌🏽 Raad