Category Archives: Media Sectors

Media Sectors on Modern Media Mix

Data Mining, Pedophiles & Demonetization, Oh My! YouTube and Children’s Privacy

YouTube, a video sharing site took, the Internet by storm with its unique platform. Little did anyone know that the site would face many issues in its future. Troubles and controversies have plagued the site in recent years. From the infamous “Adpocalypes” to the spread of Nazi propaganda, YouTube seems like it will never catch a break. It doesn’t help that recently the company was taken to court over its issues with children’s privacy.

Google and YouTube were fined $170 million for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, when the Federal Trade Commission of New York determined that site violated the act by collecting children’s information and using it to sell targeted ads towards children. The New York Attorney General, Letitia James, stated, “Google and YouTube knowingly and illegally monitored, tracked, and served targeted ads to young children just to keep advertising dollars rolling in. These companies put children at risk and abused their power, which is why we are imposing major reforms to their practices and making them pay one of the largest settlements for a privacy matter in U.S. history.” Some believe that YouTube will not change much when it comes to advertising, but they appear to be making some changes.

In order to address the issue of their ads targeting childres, YouTube has changed its algorithm for collecting data to prevent children’s data from being collected. YouTube is also making changes specifically on children’s content channels by removing comments and notifications.

Protecting children from targeted ads is not the only issue that YouTube must deal with when it comes to children’s privacy. Another big and frightening problem would be the child predators that lurk in the comment sections of children’s videos.

Access to the internet is easier than ever for children. Through this, there are many children and family channels on YouTube. While these channels remain on the more innocent side, YouTube’s algorithm can turn these videos into a predator’s paradise. The recommendation algorithm seems to be muddied when it comes to children’s content. A researcher at Harvard, Jonas Kaiser, found that one does not have to search for children’s content to be recommended children’s content. One could find themselves looking at semi-erotic videos of women, followed by recommended videos of children in limited clothing or in vulnerable positions. Predators having access to this content have led these videos’ comment sections to be a cesspool of sexually explicit messages.

The grotesque messages in comment sections has lead YouTube to remove commenting from children’s videos. YouTube has also been reworking their recommendation algorithm, to block this pathway for predators.

While targeted ads and online predators are issues that should be taken care of, YouTube’s responses to these issues has not been well-received by some YouTubers. There are many content creators that have YouTube as their full-time job. The changes that YouTube has made in regard to children’s content could possibly be detrimental to these creators that rely on it as their only source of revenue. Melissa Hunter, the CEO of Family Video Network, an agency that works with children and family content creators stated, “People who I deal with at YouTube feel horrible that the creators are the ones who are going to be hurt by this.” Removing ads, comments, and notifications, makes creators lose a lot of money within the first 24 hours of an upload. This window of time is when the most interaction occurs with videos, so losing items that help boosts a video’s viewing count reduces the amount of revenue it will generate.         

Some YouTubers are wondering if they will be hit with these stipulations, even if their channel is not directly geared towards children. KreekCraft, a gaming channel on YouTube is one of the many that are concerned about the future of their channels. He stated, “It’s kind of like they’re killing video game content, the top three games on YouTube right now are Fortnite, Minecraft, and Roblox, which are generally non-violent and child-centric games, especially Roblox. Now, we can’t make videos on more mature video games because they’ll get demonetized, but if we make videos on child-friendly games, they’re also now going to get demonetized. What do we do?” Instead of worrying over possible demonetization, some creators are posting their content on different sites, and gamers are moving to Twitch, a streaming site that is popular in video game streams.

So, YouTube is in between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, they have to comply with the law and protect children, and on the other, they need to appease their creators. Right now, YouTube is focused on saving themselves and the creators are taking the brunt of the force. However, YouTube can find a way to appease both sides.

What can YouTube do? For starters, they can keep commenting and notifications on creator’s videos, these items are not advertisements, and help creators earn revenue. It’s not as though YouTube would be breaking the law by keeping commenting and notifications on these videos. Now, as stated earlier, some comment sections are rampant in sexually explicit messages. Instead of removing entire comment sections, YouTube should improve the systems that delete inappropriate comments that already exist. Instead of relying on a program to make decisions, they could have real life individuals determine what is inappropriate.

YouTube has come a long way from its beginnings and will continue to push boundaries in the future. As a company that relies on its community to create content, there will always be mishaps of some sort. YouTube is working to improve itself, and hopefully, they’ll keep their word on it.

-Jasmine Aquino

The Ugly Truth Behind the Wish App

Wish App, an e-commerce site has become infamously known across the Internet. The platform has gained popularity for its odd listings and too-good-to-be-true prices. But does the Internet really know what goes on behind the scenes in order to provide a $15 smartphone?

Wish App was founded in 2010 by Piotr Szulczewsk, and Danny Zhang. The company is based in San Francisco, United States. The peculiar platform can be accessed worldwide, and roughly 95% of the marketplace sellers it hosts are located in China. The company initially began as an app in which users would create “Wish Lists” for desired products. Wish would then direct the users to merchants. However, in 2013, Wish became an e-commerce site, asking the merchants to host products directly on the site. It is now very similar to its leading competitors: Amazon and Alibaba.

A huge aspect of the Wish App that has garnered attention is its use of advertisements. With hamster leashes and phallic objects plastered all over social media, no wonder people check Wish out. Why are they so weird? One primary reason is Facebook and its algorithms. 

Facebook’s algorithm seems to favor peculiar and disturbing items. This is due to the idea that the stranger the item, the more curiosity begins to spike in a consumer, resulting in them clicking the ad, thus directing them to Wish. A recent Facebook development allows for the entire Wish marketplace to be uploaded to Facebook. So, rather than Facebook advertising car accessories to people who like cars, and dog food to those with dogs, Facebook shows everyone…anything. And the more people click on a certain ad, the more it will be spread.

The Wish App also requires one to create an account on the website before having the ability to view its items. Once you’ve done so, Wish has access to your email, IP address, and other information, allowing for further advertising.

Once you’ve entered the site, you’ll see that the products are noticeably cheap. Wish sells wedding dresses, bikes, computers, and more for under $100. But how is this possible? Unlike Amazon, the company does not have brick-and-mortar stores or warehouses where the products are held. Therefore, Wish App does not have the need to hire factory workers itself, and leaves the creation and shipment almost entirely up to the manufacturers. This is not the only reason Wish is so cheap, in fact, it gets pretty dark.

In China, labor laws do exist, one of the laws being the fact that one must be 16 in order to be employed. However, with the increasing need for mass production in the country, this law is often overlooked by factories. An appalling number of children work extreme hours with very little pay. They are baited with promises of money for family, school, and food.

Unfortunately, even with exhausting days and working through the night, they receive so little that the promises are rarely fulfilled.  It has been estimated that roughly 10 million children (ages between five and fourteen) across China work in these factories, working up to 16 hours a day. The working conditions are so poor, that hundreds of children end up dying from fumes and chemicals. If they survive, they are often left with a multitude of physical and mental damages including the loss of limbs, eyesight, and lung diseases. So much to endure for wages of $1 a day, or less. 

All of this for what? The majority of items from Wish have such poor quality they are often returned or tossed out. If one was pleased with what they purchased, they would be one of the lucky few. According to Highya.com, Wish App has barely a two-star rating with over 900 reviews. The reviews claim the e-commerce site is a “scam” with “repulsive customer service.” 

Wish App has come under fire for its scam-like business model and false advertising. A common criticism of the Wish App is its thievery. This includes massive amounts of counterfeit goods. The manufacturers will steal images, claim they sell those for a large discount, and the item arrives broken and full of illegal chemicals. The act of selling counterfeit goods is illegal in many locations, but due to the laws in China, it is very difficult to press charges against the companies. And Wish avoids being to blame, as it is simply a “marketplace.”

The act of purchasing from the Wish App unfortunately supports the selling of counterfeit goods and encourages the companies to continue with child labor and strenuous hours. Due to this, many social media influencers have been bombarded by negative feedback and disapproval by their fans for promoting the application. Let this be a reminder that not everything is as good as it seems.

-Kelsi DeBrower

The Tangled Web of Sony and Disney: Spider-Man’s Past, Present, and Future in the MCU

Like every superhero origin story, the Disney-Sony deal to share the Spider-Man franchise is full of ups, downs, twists, and turns. From a shocking withdrawal from the MCU to a triumphant surprise return, late August through late September was quite a ride for Spider-Man fans. The stage was set for the Disney and Sony conflict all the way back in 1998.

The Origin Story

1998 was a low year for the comics industry as a whole, and Marvel Studios was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. In a last-ditch effort to stay afloat, Marvel divvied up and sold the film rights to several major characters and franchises to Fox, Sony, and Universal.

Spider-Man and his related characters were bought by Sony, with the stipulation that a movie must be made every 5.75 years, or the rights would revert back to Marvel. Marvel retained the film rights for the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, etc., because at the time, they weren’t popular and were worth almost nothing.

Fast forward several years to the 2009 Disney acquisition of Marvel/Marvel Studios and subsequent birth of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Kevin Feige’s gamble of taking the relatively unknown characters that Marvel had the rights to and giving them feature films had paid off enormously, taking the company from the verge of bankruptcy to one that was pulling in millions and billions every year. Despite the advantage of owning one of the most popular superheroes of all time, Sony was having mixed success.

The first two installments of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man franchise were enormously successful, only to have the third flop. The Amazing Spider-Man series struggled to gain footing, the third being scraped altogether. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 had the additional problem of being sandwiched between Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy in theaters.

The Team-Up

After the infamous Sony hack of 2014, it was revealed that Sony and Disney executives had been in contact discussing potential ways for Spider-Man to join the main Marvel Cinematic Universe. The talks had begun in October of 2014, a few short months after the Amazing Spider-Man 2 had a lackluster debut. The deal was publicly announced on February 9th, 2015. It consisted of three solo movies and three additional appearances in the MCU.

In this deal, Sony would put up 100% of the funding for the solo movies and would get the final creative say during production. In return, they would net 95% of the profits. They also got a portion of the profits for movies where Spider-Man appeared but was not the lead. Disney would receive 5% of the first-dollar gross on the film and all the merchandising rights. They also got additional money if the film reached certain box office milestones.

It was a mutually beneficial deal for both Sony and Disney: Sony got to play in the MCU sandbox (and jump on the profit train), while Disney got access to one of the most popular superheroes of all time.

The Big Battle

After seeing Spider-Man: Far From Home rake in over $1 billion at the box office, Marvel and Sony sat down to renegotiate the terms of their deal. Disney wanted to put up 50% of the financing for the next Spider-Man film and receive 50% of the profits in return. Sony unsurprisingly said no. Spider-Man is by far raking in the most money of Sony’s current projects, and they were understandably reluctant to let any of that go. Neither side was willing to budge. On August 30, 2019 it was announced that negotiations had failed completely and that Spider-Man was out of the MCU.

The public outcry was enormous. Fans and even stars and directors of other Marvel movies lobbied the companies to return to negotiations. Avengers: Endgame co-director Joe Russo commented that the split was a “tragic mistake”. Sony issued a statement via Twitter in response, noting that they were “disappointed,” but respected Disney’s decision (Sony’s full statement)

Behind the scenes, Spider-Man himself Tom Holland was making appeals to both Sony film chairman Tom Rothman and Disney chairman/CEO Bob Iger according to The Hollywood Reporter. He was being employed by both studios for different projects at the time.  

Unexpected Victory

After nearly a month of mourning by fans, shocking news broke just after 8am on September 27th. Disney and Sony had quietly returned to the negotiations table in previous days and announced a new deal that would keep Spider-Man in the MCU for at least two more movies: one solo film, and one additional appearance. The specific financial aspects of the deal were not publicly revealed (Disney and Sony joint statement)

“I am thrilled that Spidey’s journey in the MCU will continue, and I and all of us at Marvel Studios are very excited that we get to keep working on it.” said Kevin Feige (Marvel Studios)

“I could not be happier we will all be working together as we see where his journey goes. This has been a winning partnership for the studios, the franchise and the fans and I’m overjoyed it will continue.” Added Amy Pascal (Pascal Pictures/Sony).  

The companies both highlighted that the outcry from fans on social media was a huge factor in returning to the negotiations table, along with Tom Holland’s behind-the-scenes diplomacy.

What do you think? Are you disappointed the independent Sony Spider-Man Universe has essentially been scrapped now that he’s returning to the MCU? Are you hoping to see more Spider-Man characters make the jump into the big universe? Let us know in the comments below!

-Hannah Butler

The Unaffordable iPhone 11

The iPhone 11, which was released on September 20th, 2019, and is the newest piece of Apple technology. Of course, like every new addition of the iPhone series, it is just different enough from the last phone to be called new, and the price has only gotten higher. 

How much is this year’s model? At its fall 2019 event, Apple released the price of the new iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max. If you haven’t already heard about the price for the latest smartphone, you may be in for a surprise. Hold onto your wallets folks.

Credit: Flipboard.com

The iPhone 11 starts at $699 dollars, which isn’t that bad considering that the iPhone X was $999 at its release. But then it jumps considerably in price for the iPhone 11 Pro. Then another $100 dollars for the 11 Pro Max. And for the Samsung type, the Galaxy S10 isn’t any cheaper. Starting at $899 you won’t be saving any money by switching. As you can see, there is a steady increase in the price of each new smartphone. Although Apple is taking trade-ins of older models to lower the cost, how can the majority of people afford what has become such a necessity. 

Credit: Flipboard.com

Are the new features worth the price? The camera on the iPhone 11 now has a wide and ultra-wide lens, which gives the ability to crop and zoom after the photo is taken. It also has a night mode for taking pictures in the dark. The video quality is slightly improved and you can take 4k video at 60 fps as well as slo-mo video. It’s powered by Apple’s new A13 Bionic chip, which Apple claims that it’s their fastest processor yet. The battery life is supposed to last an hour longer than the previous iPhone XS. Last but not least, the iPhone 11 comes in six different colors: black, red, white, purple, yellow, and green. 

The main difference between the 11 and the 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max is the triple camera system. But why is the new iPhone so expensive just because it has a better camera? To finish off this blog post, we’ll talk about what really makes each new iPhone so expensive. 

There are a few different reasons to explain the high prices and why they’re increasing. One of those reasons is that Apple designs and engineers the hardware and software for each new phone. Creating this software takes a lot of resources, which raises the price. Also, Apple creates and controls the entire user experience, which is constantly changing. Another reason is that Apple continues to position each new iPhone as a high-end product, which is what allows them to reap much higher profit margins on each phone than its competitors.

Finally, the metals and resources that it takes to make each and every iPhone are expensive. Apple has to get these resources from all around the world. The iPhone requires complex components like gyroscopes, accelerometers, multi-touch sensors, Gorilla Glass, and incredibly compact and powerful A-series processors. Manufacturing these iPhones is no simple task either. It costs Apple hundreds of dollars to make each phone in the factory. Below is a link to a video tour of Apple’s factory and the process it takes to make each phone. 

Considering the process it takes to create a device that fits into your pocket and runs faster than any computer for a fraction of the price of one, maybe it makes sense that it’s cost is in the quadruple digits. But it also makes you wonder if we’re being overcharged hundreds of dollars for our iPhones. In today’s world, everyone needs a smartphone, so it wouldn’t be crazy for Apple to profit off of our need. I mean at this rate who knows how much we’ll be paying for an iPhone in the 2020’s! My question to end on is: Do you think we’re getting duped into paying hundreds of more dollars for our phones than they are actually worth?

-Aaron True

Are Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass Killing the Mobile Gaming Industry or Helping It?

How many times have you downloaded a super fun game only to find out you need to pump your precious time and money into it to excel? How often do you hear about a popular game on the apple store that spams its users with an endless number of ads?

Games like these are called Gacha Games. In these “Freemium” or “Pay-to-play” games, players spend virtual currency to receive game items which usually results in a competitive advantage. Spending real money to obtain this currency is a quick and easy way to acquire it. 

Some would argue that Gacha Games are ruining the mobile gaming experience, which is a reason why Apple and Google recently introduced their new mobile gaming streaming services: Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass. 

Apple Arcade

Apple Arcade is a mobile gaming subscription service launched by Apple on September 19th, 2019. Apple Arcade is available on Apple iPhones, iPads, Macbook computers and even Apple TV. Subscribers pay one monthly fee for access to dozens of exclusive games with no ads or in-app purchases. Users can play online or offline with up to 6 family members. 

Google Play Pass

Google also announced a mobile gaming subscription platform called Google Play Pass as a competitor to Apple Arcade. It is similar to Apple Arcade in that it requires a subscription with a monthly fee and access to games with no ads or in-app purchases. 

The key difference is that Google Play Pass games aren’t exclusive to the subscription service, unlike Apple Arcade. Games that don’t subscribe to Google Play Pass still have the option to buy and play these games. The subscription also allows you to unlock in-app purchases and expansion packs that would normally be an additional cost to gamers. 

Let’s see how these two services stack up with each other:

Apple Arcade Google Play Pass
Content 100 Exclusive Games 251 Non-exclusive Games and Apps 
Cost $4.99/Month $4.99/Month
Compatible Devices iOS Devices Android & Google
Devices
My streaming service comparison Netflix Apple Music

Both services are $5 per month, but as you can see Google Play Pass doesn’t just offer games like Apple Arcade, it offers all different apps like health, productivity, fitness, and many others. Also, they boast 150 more content than Apple Arcade. 

Apple is taking more risks though by putting $500 Million into development and taking a risk by signing contracts with game developers and making their content exclusive to the subscription. Which Google is not doing. 

If I had to compare these to other streaming services, I would compare Apple Arcade with Netflix because it offers a plethora of exclusive games and original content like Netflix does with television and movies. 

Google Play Pass is more like Apple Music because it offers content that you can pay for separately for if you want, but it’s cheaper in a bundle. 

How does this affect the mobile gaming industry?

Developers of mobile apps and games will be impacted in several ways since Google and Apple are introducing such innovative services. These services are going to affect independent game developers negatively. Giant mobile games like “Candy Crush” and “Clash of Clans” will retain their dedicated users but the gaming industry is already a very tough market to penetrate for small developers. These developers rely on ads and in-app purchases to make their money, but when Apple and Google offer hundreds of games at the same price, it devalues premium games forcing small developers to join the service, or die. 

Now it is not all that bad for developers who do choose to join these services. Since consumers expect free games, developers have been forced to sacrifice the quality of their games by integrating ads and in-app purchases. These subscriptions now put the focus back on high-quality games that consumers don’t need to pay a premium for to excel. 

Consumers are the biggest winners with the introduction of Arcade and Play Pass. These games will remove the barrier to success that most mobile “Pay-to-Play” games have. Each of the top 50 grossing apps on the app store offers in-app purchases which usually unlocks certain features or gives gamers a competitive advantage. These streaming services eliminate all in-app purchases giving everyone a level playing field. 

This subscription also offers way more premium content at a much lower price. Lots of console games are $50 to $60 and mobile games sometimes require you to spend even more into them, these services offer you hundreds of games at a bargain rate of $5 a month. 

Do you think Apple Arcade and Google Play Pass will kill the mobile gaming industry? Or does it give consumers the content they’ve been wanting for years? Give me your opinions in the comments!

-Dylan Parker

Don’t Put YouTube Influencers on the Backburner of Your Marketing Strategies

The term “influencer” may be pretentious to some, but to others on social media, these are the people that followers and subscribers look up to, resonate with and follow step by step. These influencers are the people companies need to look towards when wanting to expand their marketing opportunities. But Why?

First, we have to look at what YouTube traffic looks like. On average 300 hours of video per hour online overall. Additionally, 33% of all time spent online is spent watching videos. YouTube as a platform has more than a billion active users and they offer their website in 76 different languages which accounts for 95% of the world’s population.

Sometimes the who is more important than the why. When I use the term influencer in this context I’m referring to a YouTube influencer which is someone who builds a substantial following on the video platform of YouTube, thereby helping to set trends and provide information for others looking to purchase a specific product or service.

Many millennials will openly say that these influencers understand them better than anyone around them and that they trust these people. These are two things a company should take into consideration when they want a product marketed to a certain niche audience.

These influencers are genuine and use their creative skills to incorporate a friendly approach to promoting an item. Many will say they love and use a certain product and they will also only work with brands that truly resonate with their values and a product they would back up 100%.  This is what subscribers want to see. The Huff Post writes that subscribers want the influencers they watch to be sometimes irreverent. Irreverence is interesting, because it drives credibility. Within the YouTube community if an influencer normally ridicules many things, when they like a certain product the subscribers know that they mean what they are promoting.

Many of these marketing campaigns have been proven to reach millions of subscribers in only a couple days if not a few hours. Influencers such as Shane Dawson, who was known for uploading content about conspiracy theories has now become what some would say the ‘psychologist of Youtube.’ He has now started creating content which mirrors docu-series like content and this is doing well amongst his subscribers.

Recently, he started a new series with beauty guru and entrepreneur Jeffree Star who combined have 38.9 million subscribers.

In this series his first video was sponsored by Honey  which is an online browser extension which scans the internet for coupons on thousands of stores and applies them at checkout for instant savings. He dedicated the first 50 seconds to a slick true-to-his-style edit in which he promoted Honey and gave a code to which people can click on to get the browser extension on their browsers. On that video in one day he got 10 million views and in five days was up to 20 million views. Then the second part of series received 14 million views in 2 days. Working with top YouTubers like him get the company the amount of eyes and clicks they were expecting.

These types of partnerships are common among highly ranked YouTubers and are proven to bring in the audiences a YouTuber and brand may be targeting. A recent study found that not only will 60% of 13-24 year olds say they would try a product due to a YouTuber recommending it. But this was linked to yet another study conducted by Google in which they state that many of the more popular topics discussed on YouTube whether it be a large or medium sized business see that their social media is always the first online path to purchase. Meaning when a YouTuber provides links or codes to a product their promoting it has a higher possibility of getting that foot traffic on those social media sites which in turn can lead to sales.

Another great example of this is PewDiePie who is a Swedish comedian and gamer-commentator. On YouTube PewDiePie has 101 million subscribers and 23 billion video views, making him the second-most subscribed to creator. Earlier this year he partnered with G Fuel which is an energy drink company that is targeted more towards the gaming audiences and has been a big hit with the PewDiePie audience, even getting enough attention that a subscriber can now get PewDiePie/G Fuel merchandise. This merch includes PewDiePie Shaker starter kits that come with a shaker bottles and a variety of single serve energy powders or the shaker cup can be purchased separately.

When looking at these type of partnerships and analyzing the numbers someone could easily see why some companies are not waiting any longer to hop on this YouTube influencer train. There are so many different audiences on YouTube and a brand can easily find a well-known influencer that fits their company values that they can work with. Although some may think that only top influencers like the examples provided could obtain new customers to a product that’s not always the case. There are millions of smaller channels that also reach a relatively large number of users which can also work in a company’s favor.

If you’re a company looking to partner with YouTubers to boost your social media presence and online traffic take a look at websites and posts like this one to better understand how to find a YouTube influencer that fits you and your company values.

-Chelsea Beas

The Grammys are Becoming Irrelevant: What can the Music Industry do to Fix That?

There was a time when the Grammy Awards was the pinnacle of musical recognition. All of the country’s biggest artists coming together for a night where the lives of many would be changed forever. A night where music lovers would tune in to watch memorizing performances and their favorite artists win music’s most prestigious awards. Now, it’s safe to say that the Grammys do not hold that kind of significance, both to musicians and fans alike. How could this be? 

Problem: Voting System

One potential reason could be that the voting system has been under heavy scrutiny for years, and people are fed up with it.  It’s clear that the voting system centers around giving the awards to artists who sit at the top of the charts and sell the most records, even though the Grammy’s claim to consider talent and originality more than anything else. Year after year, artists like Pitbull or Cardi B are winning over more talented, distinguished artists in the industry. Fans take notice to this, and it hurts the Grammys’ credibility.

It’s also been said that the people behind the voting process aren’t necessarily the most experienced in the music business. According to an article by Vox, those who apply to become a Grammy voter must fit into only one of four listed criteria provided on the application. This could make a myriad of different personnel eligible to be a Grammy voter, which again takes a jab at the credibility of the award process. How are we supposed to know if the people voting really should be doing so? Learn more about how the voting process is tainted here.

Problem: Lack of Diversity

Another problem dogging the Grammys is the lack of diversity within their nomination lists. In 2017, only one female performer was given an award on air, with only 10 female winners in total. This follows a trend from previous awards shows in the past, with males earning a majority of the awards and nominations. 

Hip-hop, recently taking over rock as the most popular music genre in the world, still doesn’t get its due recognition by the Grammys. In 2019, there was a massive uptick in hip-hop artist nominations and winners, but one year of recognition doesn’t make up for the years of discrimination that hip-hop faced in the past. Some of hip-hop’s biggest names, including Drake and Kendrick Lamar, refused to perform at this year’s show. Although the artists themselves didn’t comment on why they refused to perform, it can be speculated that they did not want to support a show that has continually written their genre off by not including it in the most serious awards of the night. An article by NPR  also mentions how Childish Gambino was asked to perform his latest hit single “This is America” but declined, with his producer citing how Gambino did not want to tarnish the message of the song by performing it on a show whose producers are the exact people the song is calling out.

As a result of these issues, the viewership of the Grammys has cut in half since 2012:

So, what can be done to change the tide?

Solution: Quality over Quantity

It’s seems simple at this point: completely dismantle the current voting system and bring in professionals from the industry with no agendas (for example, if they’re an executive from a major recording label, to not vote for an artist from their label strictly for the potential growth in popularity/sales) that are knowledgeable in the business and whom fit more than just one given piece of criteria. Proving to artists and audiences that the Grammys give a hoot about their voting process by working to make it legitimate will assuredly help in the revival of the show’s relevancy.

Solution: More Women, Hip-Hop Nominations/Victories

This should be done not to simply coerce the nay-sayers of the show- it should instead be done to be in line with the changing culture of the music industry, one that has continually recognized women and hip-hop artists as premiere musical creators that are creating some of the best music available today. To give the Grammys some credit, hip-hop and female nominations were at its highest in some time at the 2019 awards, but this doesn’t erase the decades of segregation that these demographics have been subject too, and therefore makes the case that more than this has to be done to change the tide.

What other issues do you think the Grammys are dealing with? In what other ways do you think the Grammys could improve? Let me know!

-Brandon Lynch

Should I Stay or Should I Go? 6ix9ine’s Trial and What It Means for his Future Music

Daniel Hernandez, otherwise known as 6ix9ine, is a rapper that was born and raised in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The New York-based rapper didn’t grow to fame until his first single “GUMMO” was released in 2017. From that point on, 6ix9ine’s career rapidly progressed to new heights. What was once an underground secret became an overnight sensation.

6ix9ine was quickly known for his outlandish statements, videos, and appearances on social media. With 6ix9ine’s growing popularity, however, he also gained the scrutiny of the government and public eye.

Before 6ix9ine’s most recent trial, he had run-ins with the law. There were a few occasions where 6ix9ine was arrested on assault charges. However, it wasn’t until 2018 that 6ix9ine and other members of the Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods were arrested for racketeering, narcotics distribution, and other federal offences.

Facing a potential sentence of 47 years in federal prison, 6ix9ine decided to cooperate with the federal government in order to obtain a deal. To reduce his sentence, 6ix9ine agreed to testify against fellow Nine Trey members Anthony “Harv” Ellison and Aljermiah “Nuke” Mack in a trial that would take place over several weeks.

On September 16th, 2019, the trail began. Over the course of the trial, 6ix9ine had testified that Anthony Ellison had robbed and kidnapped him in July of the previous year. 6ix9ine also claimed that Aljermiah Mack had previously dealt heroine cut with fentanyl and MDMA over the course of several months.

It was also stated during the trial that Anthony was once a part of 6ix9ine’s security detail and was heavily affiliated with the Nine Trey gang and the series of crimes they committed. Aljermiah oversaw the production/distribution of narcotics in Nine Trey. By the end of the trial, both defendants (Anthony and Aljermiah) were convicted and currently await sentencing by the end of this year.

In addition to his testimony, 6ix9ine was required to plead guilty to all charges and crimes committed, including previous crimes. He also had to renounce his affiliation with the Nine Trey Bloods and not commit any further crimes. If the federal government decides that 6ix9ine has fully cooperated, they may give him 5K1 letter to give to the judge. If all goes well, he might get his sentence dropped all the way down to a “time-served” sentence which is simply a sentence that he has already served while awaiting trial.

After everything aforementioned, 6ix9ine quietly awaits his sentencing in federal prison. Some sources claim that the sentencing won’t take place until January of 2020, but 6ix9ine’s attorney believes that they will move the sentencing date to December of this year.

In the meantime, the biggest decision that 6ix9ine must make is whether he will go into Witness Protection or not once he is released from prison. Regardless of his choice, 6ix9ine will be a walking target due to the Bloods wanting revenge for his testimony during the trial and betraying Nine Trey.

Most believe that the smartest thing for 6ix9ine would be to go into hiding through Witness Protection and start a new life. However, in recent articles, it is stated that 6ix9ine wishes to continue making music after prison and may not go into Witness Protection. Instead, he always plans to have 24/7 security protection with him.

Though 6ix9ine’s plans may be a death wish, others seem optimistic about 6ix9ine’s situation. Irv Gotti, head of the record label Murder Inc., said in a recent interview that he thinks 6ix9ine will be okay because society has become more tolerant of snitches in the current generation. Though 6ix9ine’s future may be nebulous, if he can make music again, Irv believes that the people will more than likely overlook his label of being a “rat” if he continues to produce hits.

What do you think? Should 6ix9ine go into Witness Protection or continue making music? Is society as lenient on snitches as Irv claims, or is it solely based on the success of 6ix9ine’s music post-incarceration?

-Xavier Pestana