Music evokes many emotions in people, and never was that more evident than in this week’s music news.
In Hong Kong, the street protests have adopted a new anthem to fuel passions, while on the domestic front, President Donald Trump managed to get into a dust-up with the Prince estate. He also found time to put down “little” Bruce Springsteen and let the world know that he didn’t need any music superstars to appear at his rallies in order to draw a crowd (perhaps disappointing Lee Greenwood and Toby Keith).
This week in music:
THE PRINCE AND THE PRESIDENT: Prince’s estate was miffed at President Donald Trump this week for playing Purple Rain at his Minneapolis rally. Trump’s attorneys previously promised that they would not use Prince’s music in connection with the campaign activities. It was unlikely that Trump had anything to do with the music selection at the rally, and no permission is needed for performance of any song, as long as the proper performance royalties are paid. Trump has run into several issues with his music selections from liberal non-supporters.
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STEPHEN SWID PASSES: His name is probably not familiar to most consumers, but Stephen Swid was a giant in the music industry. He died this week in Manhattan at age 78 Swid was the “S” in SBK Records, which produced million-selling albums by Vanilla Ice, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and others. But it was his acumen in music publishing that had the biggest impact. He first entered the music business by buying CBS Songs, home to classics like Over The Rainbow and New York, New York for $125 million, one of the biggest deals in music industry history. He flipped it two years later to Thorn-EMI for $337 million, then the highest price for a music publishing business. Swid then acquired music performance rights business SESAC for $15 million, transforming it into a billion-dollar company thanks to his business savvy.
HONG KONG THEME SONG: The street protests in Hong Kong have spawned its own anthem, Glory to Hong Kong, which has helped fuel passions for demonstrators opposed to the region’s government. The protesters had earlier used the hymn Sing Hallelujah to the Lord and then the anthemic Do You Hear The People Sing? From Les Misérables. The hymn-like anthem is the product of an anonymous composer identified only as Thomas dgs yhl, and spread virally after an online posting. Online collaborators have since created a video using protest footage.
BLACK CROWES TO REUNITE? The music industry is buzzing that one of the most popular bands of the 1990s may be considering a tour. The Black Crowes were a force in that decade, producing hits like Remedy and She Talks to Angels. which today evoke teenage nostalgia among a swath of Gen X fans. The band eventually imploded, as brothers Chris and Rich Robinson couldn’t manage to get along. But now that the 30th anniversary of the band’s debut album is a year out, there’s talk that they may get back together in celebration with a possible Live Nation tour for 2020.
PRESIDENT TRUMP DOESN’T NEED BRUCE OR BEYONCE: At his Minnesota rally, President Donald Trump crowed that he didn’t need the lure of big-time musicians to draw a crowd. “I didn’t need Beyoncé and Jay-Z, I didn’t need little Bruce Springsteen,” Trump said at the rally. All of the aforementioned were Hillary Clinton supporters during his losing 2016 campaign. Trump noted that after Springsteen performed, many of those who attended the Clinton rallies would leave, “And she’s still speaking in front of the same lousy crowd.”