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Songwriters Protest Spotify In LA: ‘I Just Want to Be Able to Pay My Bills’



Image via Getty/Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto

A group of songwriters led by the organization The 100 Percenters gathered outside of Spotify’s old West Hollywood office Monday afternoon (Feb. 28) to protest the streaming service’s low royalty rates. Dubbed “#WeWroteThat,” the collection of creatives began  congregating around noon while holding signs with phrases like “My time costs money,” “Would you work for free?,” “Spotify is valued at $67 billion — pay artists” and “1 cent per stream.”

Event organizer Tiffany Red — a professional songwriter and founder of The 100 Percenters who has credits on songs performed by Jennifer Hudson, Jason Derulo and more — says the protest at 9200 Sunset Blvd. (a building Spotify previously occupied before moving to its current headquarters in Downtown Los Angeles’ Arts District in 2018) was motivated by a myriad of grievances she has with streaming services and Spotify in particular, including the company’s fight against increasing the royalty rates songwriters and publishers are paid per stream.

Monday’s protest is part of a larger ongoing battle over the royalties paid by services like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and Pandora.  In Oct. 2021, the National Music Publishers’ Association asked the Copyright Royalty Board, which determines the streaming royalty rates for periods of five years, for a 32.4% increase in the headline rate to 20% of a digital service’s revenue for the full five-year term for Phonorecords IV (a period covering 2023-2027). By contrast, Spotify, Pandora and Amazon proposed lower rates for songwriters and publishers in Phono IV than in any year since 2018.

Another major pain point for songwriters is that they’re still being compensated according to the rate set in Phono II (2013-2017) while awaiting a final ruling on an appeal — filed by Spotify, Amazon Music, Pandora and YouTube — of the CRB’s rate hike for Phono III (2018-2022), which would have led to higher payouts.

Other protestors point to Joe Rohan’s more than $200 million deal to host his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, on Spotify exclusively as an impetus for the protest. “They tell us they can’t pay us more and then they go and give a podcaster that much money?” says Bianca “Blush” Atterberry, an artist and songwriter who has written for artists including Demi Lovato, Meghan Trainor and Chris Brown and is also a member of The 100 Percenters board. “If we didn’t exist, making the music, neither would Spotify.”

Rogan’s recent scandals — including the spread of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation and his repeated use of N-word on the podcast — have recently sparked criticism among several prominent musicians. Some, like Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, David Crosby and India Arie, have left platform in protest.

Red says that Arie’s criticism of Spotify’s low royalty payouts specifically was a major factor in spearheading The 100 Percenter’s protest. “When India.Arie started to speak out about how the artists and songwriters are paid, I realized that now the fight against Spotify is coming into everybody’s living rooms, and it’s important for us to get out there and show our face,” says Red.

When asked why The 100 Percenters chose the site of Spotify’s former office, Red replied, “Because we wanted to start where they started. Our next in-person event will be going to where they are now in Downtown.” She points to how the company upgraded from the significantly smaller West Hollywood location to their new sprawling Arts District campus as a sign of the company’s wealth. “They were able to make that move easily and comfortably,” she says.

Rogan and Spotify aside, the #WeWroteThat protest comes down to the fight for better pay for working creatives overall. “I just want to be able to pay my bills. I just want to afford basic expenses. We songwriters struggle every day,” says Kaydence, a songwriter and board member of The 100 Percenters. “I’ve written for some of the biggest artists in the world, like Ariana [Grande] and Beyonce, and it’s still hard.”

“We give our all to make music and then we watch as other people make millions and billions off it,” adds Caso, another professional songwriter who was at the protest. “People see the credits of the song and they think dollar signs, but the reality is different.”


These 7 K-dramas Will Make You Need Deliverance




Korean writers are very popular for their romantic movies, but their horror dramas are so criminally underrated — and to be honest, I get why. The writers wrap them up like nice, funny, bright films And until you find yourself paralysed on your seat, your brain won’t register that you’ve been watching horror. Watch all seven of these at your own risk oh.

All of Us Are Dead (2022)
All of Us Are Dead is not a conventional zombie movie. It is unusually bright for a show with that many gory scenes and multiple jumpscares. It follows a group of secondary school students stuck in school which becomes ground zero for a violent zombie apocalypse.

Every time these kids fight for their lives against the super strong and constantly mutating zombies, your heart will be stuck in your mouth. But that’s what you like, right? Enjoy.

The Cursed (2020) 

The Cursed revolves around a successful IT company called Forest. Usually, rich companies like these in K-drama just means someone is killing all the owners’ enemies like ants. But the chairman of Forest, Jin Jong-Hyun decided to take it up a notch by using diabolical means. Since it’s one day for the thief and another for the owner, naturally, Forest gets involved in a huge case and a reporter,  Im Jin-Hee risks her life to unravel the mystery behind the case.

Goedam (2020) 

Goedam is a Netflix horror anthology series comprising a collection of short dramas, with eight episodes in total.

Each episode follows a new plot with different characters, and they’ll all make you do the sign the cross if you watch them late at night. Careful though, episodes one, two and six may give you heart attacks.

Sweet Home (2020) 

Sweet Home is a sublime balance of horror and thriller. It’s also one of the most popular Korean horror dramas on Netflix. The main character Cha Hyun-soo is a secondary school student who becomes an orphan overnight after his family dies in a car accident. Naturally, he wants to commit suicide and moves to an odd building where he can do that undisturbed, but then strange things start happening among the residents. He somehow finds himself fighting for his life amongst other residents battling humans who have been turned into monsters. It’s survival of the fittest in these streets and a gripping take on the monster genre.

Strangers From Hell (2019) 

The moment a TV series starts in a cheap-ass residential area, you know to expect the worst.

Desperate for a job, Yoon Jong-woo moves to Seoul from the comfort of his home in the countryside. He soon realises that he can’t afford to live in Seoul, so he moves to Goshiwon. The amenities and living conditions of the building he chooses are horrible, but he tries to endure till he gets a job.

Even worse than the building are his neighbours, each with their own secrets and eccentric behaviours. Across the 10 episodes, we learn exactly what those secrets are. Strangers From Hell isn’t scary, but the psychological thriller will leave you on the edge of your seat. Stay alert while watching this; nothing will prepare you for the end.

Kingdom (2019) 

For fans of dramas set in the Joseon era, you’d be amused to see how Kingdom weaves historical drama elements with a zombie apocalypse.

This drama follows Lee Chang, the crown prince, who discovers the outbreak of a mysterious disease. He goes on a mission to find the royal physician who might know something about the outbreak. But instead, he finds someone who worked alongside the royal physician.

The tension in this drama comes from watching people fight for their lives in an era with medieval weaponry.

Nightmare High (2016) 

Set in a private high school in Korea, Nightmare Highrevolves around several unexplained incidents that occur after Han Bong-goo, the new homeroom teacher, shows up.

Usually, a teacher is a nightmare because they’re giving too many assignments, but this man chooses a different way to terrorise his students, bringing all their nightmares to life, and kids begin to go missing. But no one notices until the class president points it out. The most unsettling experience for me was seeing a group of high school students obediently listen to a teacher. In what world is it possible to have such control over teenagers?

You may also like: The 7 K Drama Shows That Should Be On Your Watchlist 

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Amber Heard resurfaces for the first time since her Johnny Depp legal catastrophe




Amber Heard resurfaced in Spain after having last been seen in Israel weeks ago.

Amber Heard has resurfaced in Spain after having gone MIA for a few months.

The “Aquaman” actress and her 1-year-old daughter, Oonagh Paige, were photographed in Palma de Mallorca on Friday while spending time with her girlfriend, Bianca Butti.

In multiple photos, Heard can be seen playing with her daughter on a swing set, walking with her and a group of friends and enjoying the European city.

It’s unclear how long she will be staying in Europe.

Heard, 36, looked happy surrounded by friends and her daughter, whom she welcomed via surrogate in July 2021, despite losing to Johnny Depp in their defamation trial in June. As a result, Heard owes her ex-husband millions of dollars.

In total, the jury ruled that the “Danish Girl” actress had to pay the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star, 59, $10 million in compensatory damages plus $350,000 in punitive damages. But after the counter-lawsuit she filed, in which Depp was ordered to pay $2 million, and the state of Virginia’s cap on damages, Heard was left to pay $5 million — money she says she does not have.

She since has asked the judge to toss the jury’s verdict.

Amber Heard carrying her daughter, Oonagh, with her back to the camera.

Seemingly to help pay her debts, Heard quietly sold her California desert compound for $1.05 million in an off-market deal.

Johnny Depp grinning with his hands in a prayer pose in front of his mouth. Getting Images

Heard owes Depp millions of dollars

The lack of funds hasn’t stopped Heard from spending a chunk of the summer in the Hamptons and then jetting off to Israel, where she was seen vacationing with pal Eve Barlow — a woman barred from the courtroom during the trial — and Oonagh.

As Page Six exclusively reported, the judge ejected Barlow from the highly publicized Depp-Heard trial in April for “live-tweeting, texting and posting information” while sitting in the front row, which is usually reserved for legal counsel.

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Watch actors playing Johnny Depp and Amber Heard testify about ‘insane, humiliating’ trial in movie re-creation




Amber Heard‘s emotional return to the witness stand is recreated in a preview clip of Hot Take: The Depp/Heard Trial.

Megan Davis portrays the Aquaman actress in director Sara Lohman’s retelling of the defamation trial, which concluded four months ago in Johnny Depp’s favor. In a teaser shared by Tubi ahead of the movie’s Friday premiere (above), Davis’s Heard recounts the agony of having to relive her trauma during the trial, interspersed with clips of actor Mark Hapka’s own recreation of Depp’s testimony.

Hot Take: The Depp/Heard Trial


“I have the right to tell the truth,” Davis says. “I have the right to say what happened to me. I hope I get my voice back. It’s all that I want.” Hapka’s Depp later adds, “This has not been easy for any of us. No matter what happens, I did tell the truth and I have spoken up [on] what I’ve been carrying on my back for six years.” The clip also features a peek at Melissa Marty as Depp’s lawyer, Camille Vasquez, and Mary Carrig as Heard’s attorney, Elaine Bredehoft.

EW has reached out to reps for Depp and Heard for comment on the film.

Per EW’s first look at the trailer earlier this weekHot Take will feature familiar touchstones from the trial, including Depp’s courtroom doodles, the intense scrutiny of Heard on social media, and references to James Franco, who was famously included on Heard’s witness list but never called to testify. Brittany Clemons, Angie Day, Marianne C. Wunch, Hannah Pillemer, and Fernando Szew executive produced, while Autumn Federici and Kristifor Cvijetic also produced.

Hot Take: The Depp/Heard Trial


Following a six-week trial in June, a seven-person jury determined that Heard intentionally and maliciously defamed Depp when she wrote a 2018 Washington Post op-ed identifying herself as a public figure representing domestic abuse. Heard’s team filed to appeal the verdict in July after a motion for a mistrial was denied.

A spokesperson for Depp said in response, “The jury listened to the extensive evidence presented during the six-week trial and came to a clear and unanimous verdict that the defendant herself defamed Mr. Depp in multiple instances. We remain confident in our case and that this verdict will stand.”

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