New Report Exposes Alleged Concert Ticket Scheme Orchestrated by Fyre Festival Organizer

When reports started coming out about the doomed Fyre Festival, which was originally billed as a “luxury” music festival and advertised by the likes of Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid and which promised performances from Pusha T, Desiigner, Lil Yachty, Blink-182, and more, it became clear the whole thing had sounded too good to be true.

Billy McFarland, one of the masterminds behind the catastrophic festival and the owner of Fyre Media, has been hit with several lawsuits, arrested and charged with fraud, and been forced to place Fyre Festival LLC under involuntary bankruptcy. But Fyre Media is not the only company McFarland owned. He is also the CEO of Magnises, a company he founded prior to Fyre Media, that functioned as a members-only concierge service. However, documents acquired by VICE News suggest McFarland has been mismanaging that company’s finances, too, by running what appeared to be a complicated concert ticket scheme.

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One of the benefits that Magnises offered its members was discounted concert and event tickets. But credit card records suggest that McFarland was buying the tickets from third-party distributors like Ticketmaster, StubHub, and Vivid Seats and then selling them to Magnises members at a significant loss.

Moreover, McFarland used a Fyre Media corporate credit card to pay for many of the Magnises tickets, effectively ensuring that both companies suffered similar financial woes even though they were entirely different entities. McFarland allegedly charged his Fyre Media American Express credit card for more than $1 million worth of tickets in just four months.

The records also show that other Fyre Media company credit cards were issued to at least nine employees including co-founder Ja Rule and Grant Margolin, the music festival’s marketing director. But the charges on those cards “appear reasonably related to the Fyre Media business,” according to VICE. It's the charges on McFarland’s card that raise the most eyebrows, since that’s where more than $1 million worth of Ticketmaster, StubHub, and Vivid Seats tickets were charged.

The problem for McFarland is that Fyre Media was conceived as an app for people to book artists for private events. It never claimed to sell tickets for concerts and events. Magnises did.

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Former employees and Magnises members claim that McFarland would advertise and sell tickets to events he did not already have tickets to. And when the event dates arrived, McFarland would either cancel the reservations or provide tickets purchased through third-party organizations.

For example, Magnises advertised tickets to a series of Adele concerts in September 2016. A former employee told VICE McFarland did not possess the tickets he advertised and the whole situation sounds like it was a total clusterfuck.

“What happened with Adele was that we found out that Billy wasn’t going through a source in Live Nation at all, because for that concert, there were no e-tickets available; the whole thing was all ticket stubs,” the anonymous former employee told VICE. “We had to go and meet with these brokers who act as third-party buyers around MSG. And we’re spending the whole time running around the city trying to get them together and figure out how many they have and who’s going to go in which section.”

What’s more, McFarland was apparently buying the tickets on the same day as the performances. McFarland’s credit card records show more than $150,000 worth of StubHub, Vivid Seats, Fan Exchange, and My Ticket Tracker charges on September 19, 20, 22, 23, 25 and 26, the exact days Adele was performing at Madison Square Garden. There were no ticket charges on September 21 and 24, when she did not perform.

A similar situation happened when Magnises offered members $250 tickets for Hamilton. McFarland’s Fyre Media American Express records have charges totaling almost $30,000 labeled with Vivid Seats and Hamilton. The cheapest transaction with this label is $1,401.30, which means McFarland was operating on at least a $1,200 loss per ticket for this Hamilton deal through Magnises.

Finally, McFarland’s company offered discounted floor tickets to Kanye West’s Saint Pablo Tour in June 2016 at $275 each, about $100 less than the median resale ticket price. As should be expected by now, McFarland’s credit card records show more than $10,000 worth of Ticketmaster charges on the first night the Saint Pablo Tour arrived in New York City, September 5, 2016, also at Madison Square Garden.

All of this appears as though it's going to make life even more difficult for McFarland. Outside of the headache he's dealing with due to the Fyre Festival issues, he's also going to have to explain why it appears he was running a ticket scheme in the months leading up to that debacle.

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Mayweather Promotions CEO Disputes Reports About Ticket Sales for Mayweather/McGregor Fight

In late July, a report came out indicating that ticket sales for the Aug. 26 fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas weren’t exactly going according to plan. Many people expected the fight to sell out rather quickly, but according to the report, there were still thousands of tickets available for it, which seemed to suggest that the promoters for the fight might have issues getting top dollar for them.

But Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe spoke out about the reported slow ticket sales for the fight on Thursday during Mayweather’s open media session at his gym in Las Vegas, and he said that he’s not worried at all. Contrary to what has been reported, Ellerbe said that the fight is currently on pace to break the record for the highest boxing gate ever.

“Right now, we have over $60 million in the box office,” Ellerbe said. “And you tell me, what part of that remotely looks like ticket sales are slow. This isn’t a damn Rolling Stones concert. That’s the only thing that sells out in seconds. When you are talking about tickets going from $500 to $10,000, that’s an expensive ticket. So you have every CEO from every major company. You know, guys, it takes time to plan and get it together.”

Ellerbe also talked about some of the VIPs who have expressed interest in attending the fight:

Additionally, Mayweather echoed what Ellerbe told reporters before his workout on Thursday and said that he believes his fight with McGregor is ultimately going to sell out as we move closer to fight night. Mayweather is also doing his part to continue to promote the fight. Here he is interrupting a live shot on ESPN’s SportsCenter on Thursday to tell people to watch the fight:

ESPN is reporting that, if you want a ticket, they’re not difficult to find right now. There are reportedly still thousands of them available on the Ticketmaster website, and there are also plenty of them available through ticket resale sites like Vivid Seats and StubHub. They’re not cheap, though. Vivid Seats, for example, is reporting that the average ticket sold on its site is going for more than $3,600.

To set a new record for a boxing gate, the Mayweather/McGregor fight would need to eclipse the $72.2 million mark. That’s how much money Mayweather’s fight against Manny Pacquiao brought in back in May 2015.

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Tidal Nabs New CEO, Their Fourth in Over Two Years

Variety reports that former Kobalt Music Group president Richard Sanders has been named as the new CEO of Tidal. Sanders becomes the fourth person in just over two years to hold the position in the Jay Z-owned streaming service. 

Former Tidal CEO, Jeff Toig, left the company earlier this year. Toig offered some stability after the streaming service kept dealing with one shakeup after another. 

Even though Toig's departure came shortly after Sprint purchased a 33 percent stake in Tidal, which was worth a reported $200 million, the company was never able to close the paid subscribers gap on its competitors Spotify and Apple Music. Sanders comes to Tidal after serving as president of global marketing for Sony Music and executive for RCA and Arista Records, in addition to his most recent job at Kobalt which he left in May.

If Tidal wants to have a long, sustainable future, it all starts at the top with its leadership. The company cannot continue to go through a carousel of sorts where one person comes on for a short amount of time before making way for the next hire. Luckily, the methodical rollout of content related to Jay Z's latest album 4:44 has kept people coming back for more. However, all that will eventually come to an end, and Sanders will need to find a way to right Toig's wrongs. If he fails, Tidal may be in line for yet another change sooner than expected. 

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‘Get Out’ Is the Most Profitable Movie of 2017

In news that is neither shocking nor hard to believe, Jordan Peele's Get Out is a dope movie that has made a ton of money. According to a new report by The Wrap, Get Out is officially the most profitable movie of the year, raking in a whopping $217 million in profits and a 630 percent return on investment (ROI). 

The team behind Get Out can count this latest accomplishment as one of many, including its near-perfect 99% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and its status as the highest-grossing original screenplay debut, an honor that Get Out swiped from The Blair Witch Project.

Here’s the breakdown: the film grossed $252 million (!!!) worldwide. It cost $4.5 million to make, plus an estimated $30 million marketing budget, which brings us to the $217 million profit. This means Peele is looking at a major yield for his indie, socially conscious horror flick, with his 630 percent ROI ranking as the highest of the year, so far. 

M. Night Shyamalan’s Split comes in second; it cost $9 million to make and made $277 million worldwide at the box office, meaning its ROI is a cool 610 percent. The most interesting tidbit here is the fact that Split came out of the same production house as Get Out: Blumhouse Productions. With the successes of these two films alone, Jason Blum, founder and CEO of Blumhouse, is proving his business strategy of combining potentially “risky” scripts with tight budgets can work out well for all parties involved. (It probably doesn’t hurt that Get Out was also just a great movie.)

To provide a frame of reference, the Emma Watson-led Beauty and the Beast remake from Disney is still technically the highest-grossing movie of the year, since it made $1.26 billion worldwide at the box office. However, it hasn’t been as profitable as Get Out or Split, since it cost $160 million to make, pulling its ROI much lower to around 400 percent.

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Ann Coulter Gets Dragged For Complaining About Her Seat on a Delta Flight

If you've never had the misfortune of being subjected to Ann Coulter's way of thinking, consider yourself fortunate. The professional attention seeker has made a living off of saying ridiculous, hateful shit for shock value, under the guise of being a “conservative commentator,” and has even beefed with the king of shock rap himself, Eminem.

On Saturday, she had a different sort of complaint in mind than the usual riffs on immigration and forcing people to be Christian. Coulter registered a complaint that you may think would be sort of universal—she attacked an airline for what she felt was unfair treatment. In a lengthy rant from her Twitter page, Coulter whined about being bumped from her seat on a Delta flight, documenting the occasion with what she claimed was photo evidence.

On the surface, there's a real gripe to be had on Coulter's behalf, and no one likes to be inconvenienced when they fly. In recent months, we've even seen some passengers get outright assaulted because of issues on their flight.

But in Coulter's case, her past stances—and really, a lot of her “political” ideology is just thinly-veiled bigotry—came back to bite her. After listening to the pundit preach for years about personal responsibility and the free market to excuse a lot more insidious B.S., Twitter had a field day contrasting her stated beliefs with her complaint-fest.

If we're being honest, it is past time for us as a society to get Coulter out the paint. Unfortunately, she's pretty entrenched in her lane, and television producers like to use her insane comments to drive a full day of programming when she really antes up on the prejudice.

Knowing this, you have to savor the moments like these when she's faced with her own hypocrisy. Nobody deserves to get bumped from their seat because of their view on taxes, but the only real justice here would be Coulter's hateful ass flying in cargo storage. 

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Jay Z Shares ‘4:44’ Album Trailer and Previews New Song “Adnis”

Jay Z's 4:44 is still shrouded in mystery right now, but with the more time that passes, the more it seems like we're getting a full-fledged project. In a new commercial promoting the partnership between Sprint and Tidal, Hova dropped off some bars from a new song, “Adnis,” fueling speculation that an album is coming.

We didn't know much about 4:44 before now, aside from it having a June 30 release date, and Jay looked like he was really trying to drag this thing out until the bitter end. Half a minute worth of bars? Come on, Jay!

At midnight, Sprint and Tidal confirmed our suspicions: A new Jay Z album is on the way.

If you go to Sprint.com and page through the links promoting their new partnership with Tidal, you end up finding this message for new and existing Sprint customers who can take advantage of a complimentary six-month trial of Tidal.

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Image via Sprint

“Today is an exciting day to be a Sprint customer,” said Marcelo Claure, Sprint president and CEO, per a press release. “Jay Z is a global icon and we’re giving customers an incredible opportunity to be among the first to experience his new album 4:44. Our loyal, existing customers, and customers who switch to Sprint, can experience the album exclusively, plus access a complimentary six-month trial of TIDAL HiFi, giving them access to content they can’t get anywhere else.”

This is a pretty drastic departure from the mysterious, unexplained 4:44 ads that popped up around around New York City, with the hype now transforming into a full-blown campaign for a 4:44 album.

This leaves us with a lot less mystery left to solve, and now we can focus on what Jay Z has to offer as a rapper at age 47. Maybe he's not able to reach the heights he did on classics like The Blueprint, but there's a recipe for success if Jay wants to reassert himself. The father of three didn't get inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on a whim, and hopefully there are still some classic bars waiting to be unleashed. And if this report from Los Angeles-based writer/director/producer Christopher Black is to be believed, the production for the project should be on point:

If we're lucky, we'll get the full “Adnis” song soon enough, and now we know 4:44 the album will be ours in late June. You can catch the video of the new spot up top, and see if you can find any more clues about 4:44 in the 30-second clip.

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Joe Budden and DJ Akademiks Discuss Meek Mill Listening to Drake’s “Back to Back”

On today's Everyday Struggle, Joe Budden, DJ Akademiks, and Nadeska dive into the new Bryson Tiller album and determine whether it lived up to the hype. Later, the crew break down Partynextdoor's supposed shots at culture vultures over the weekend and who he may have been shooting at. The team also look at Tidal losing its third CEO in 22 months and try to figure out exactly why Meek Mill has been listening to Drake's “Back to Back” diss song. To wrap, the crew share NBA Finals predictions and cover some 2 Chainz and Migos quick hits. 

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Uber Was Identifying and Tagging Your iPhone Even After You Deleted Their App

Uber's ability to track your location is a big part of how they're able to provide speedy pick-ups for customers around the world. But according to a new report from the New York Times, they may have stepped over the line in their pursuit of expansion.

The chief executive officer of Uber, Travis Kalanick, was profiled in a story about a tumultuous time for the ride-sharing app. In an effort to shine a light on the difficulties facing Kalanick, the Times revealed a stunning detail: Uber was identifying and tagging iPhone users even after they deleted their app, which forced Apple CEO Tim Cook to step in.

For months, Mr. Kalanick had pulled a fast one on Apple by directing his employees to help camouflage the ride-hailing app from Apple’s engineers. The reason? So Apple would not find out that Uber had been secretly identifying and tagging iPhones even after its app had been deleted and the devices erased — a fraud detection maneuver that violated Apple’s privacy guidelines.

But Apple was on to the deception, and when Mr. Kalanick arrived at the midafternoon meeting sporting his favorite pair of bright red sneakers and hot-pink socks, Mr. Cook was prepared. “So, I’ve heard you’ve been breaking some of our rules,” Mr. Cook said in his calm, Southern tone. Stop the trickery, Mr. Cook then demanded, or Uber’s app would be kicked out of Apple’s App Store.

Though there's an understanding amongst younger tech users that your privacy is being compromised on a daily basis, this is an extraordinary overreach on Uber's part. Not only was Uber using their app to violate the privacy of their users, it was doing so intentionally and deceptively, in an effort to get around Apple's policy on the matter.

The practice is just one of several ruthless decisions made by Uber under Kalanick's authority. Uber didn't become a global phenomenon by accident, and several unsavory practices were implemented in order to kneecap their competitors and dodge regulations that affected other players in the transportation industry. In places around the world where Uber service was deemed illegal, drivers were instructed to use an app called Greyball, which effectively allowed them to evade law enforcement by disguising the locations of cars and drivers.

Not everyone was so focused on the invasion of privacy from Uber, and some readers had a little fun at Kalanick's expense:

It should be noted The New York Times originally printed their story with the word “tracking” in place of the phrase “identifying and tagging”. In response to the controversy stemming from the initial story, Uber provided Complex with the following statement:

We absolutely do not track individual users or their location if they’ve deleted the app. As the New York Times story notes towards the very end, this is a typical way to prevent fraudsters from loading Uber onto a stolen phone, putting in a stolen credit card, taking an expensive ride and then wiping the phone—over and over again. Similar techniques are also used for detecting and blocking suspicious logins to protect our users' accounts. Being able to recognize known bad actors when they try to get back onto our network is an important security measure for both Uber and our users. 

Uber's overarching policy was perhaps best described by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who described Kalanick with a brief quote.

“Travis’s biggest strength is that he will run through a wall to accomplish his goals,” said Cuban. “Travis’s biggest weakness is that he will run through a wall to accomplish his goals. That’s the best way to describe him.” 

Kalanick was previously under fire for being part of President Trump's advisory council. He has since resigned from the position after a social media campaign to delete the ride-sharing app was launched.

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Snapchat’s Spectacles Are Now Available Online

Snapchat, now Snap Inc., has just made their Spectacles available online. Previously, the devices were exclusively sold at randomly placed Snapbots, essentially posh vending machines.

Now, you don’t have to stand in line for hours to grab a pair, just head to Spectacles.com and select your color of choice. This maneuver comes just weeks before Snap’s initial public offering on NASDAQ, doubtlessly as part of a plan to enhance the company’s look for investors. Additionally, Snap’s CEO has openly positioned the company as a “camera company,” which is markedly different than most people’s understanding of it as a messaging app.

Check out the reveal video below!

Source: Ad Week

This article was first published on Your EDM.
Source: Snapchat’s Spectacles Are Now Available Online

Apple Censored Dillon Francis… He’s Salty [Video]

If you’ve been following Dillon Francis for any length of time, you know he speaks his mind. Whether it be berating Gerald (rest in pieces), screaming at the RIAA, or commentating on the ridiculousness of The Bachelor, Dillon always has something to say.

Now, the moombah-don has a fresh sticker pack in the App Store, which you can grab here for free. Unfortunately, Apple has censored a couple of Dillon’s graphics, and he’s not happy about it. Cue the reaction video below and his attempt to send Apple’s CEO a letter from his lawyer further down.

Photo: Rukes

This article was first published on Your EDM.
Source: Apple Censored Dillon Francis… He’s Salty [Video]