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Monthly Archives: May 2022

Reflective Silver Offsets This Nike Air Max 97 “Panda”

A lot of milestones are aligning in the year 2022; while the the 35th Anniversary of the Air Max 1 and the Air Trainer 1 currently have your attention, 2022 also marks the 25th Anniversary of the Air Max 97 — one of the most popular Nike shoes of all-time. Original colorway options such as the “Silver Bullet” and “Atlantic Blue” are headed your way this year, but Nike’s got a bevy of new colorway options sprinkled throughout the remainder of the year.

Set to arrive later this year is this simple black and white colorway of the 97, capturing the trendy “Panda” look that dominated the Dunk Low circuit. However, these feature the trademark reflective silver tracks on the upper as well as the tongue, adding high visibility when hit with flash.

A release is expected on later this year; see the official images ahead and stay tuned for updates.

Reflective Silver Offsets This Nike Air Max 97 “Panda”

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Just How Much Did Harry Styles’ Album Earn in One Week?

Vinyl is expensive to manufacture and complicated to ship, even without the long backlogs at pressing plants stretched beyond capacity. To get a sense of why it’s worth it, consider this: Harry Styles’ new Harry’s House album sold $4.49 million worth of vinyl records in its first week in stores in the U.S. alone, according to a Billboard estimate. That revenue came from 182,000 copies – the highest total since Luminate and its predecessor companies began tracking sales in 1991.

In the week ending May 26, Harry’s House album took in an estimated $7.26 million in the U.S., counting the money that retail accounts and digital service providers will pay Styles’ label, Columbia/Sony Music. Of that, vinyl accounted for 61.9% of week one U.S. revenue – at least partly because of a relatively high wholesale price of $24.70 and a list price of $39.98.

Streaming is easier and cheaper for labels than vinyl, which has made it the preferred format. But vinyl and CDs bring in more revenue, especially early on in the lifecycle of a project, which helps reduce the ratio of labels’ fixed costs to revenue. In many cases, vinyl and CD purchases also represent additional revenue, since some fans who buy them will also stream an album in a car or at other times they don’t have access to a turntable or CD player.

In Styles’ case, on-demand streaming was the second biggest format, which will bring in $1.32 million in revenue from on 253.3 million streams, of which 240.4 million were audio on-demand plays. (For estimation purposes, Billboard uses a blended rate of $.0053 for on-demand streams and a blended rate of $0.0038 for video streams since Luminate only counts paid video streams and ad-supported official video streams, but not user generated streams which would bring down the blended rate, but probably brings in additional revenue the album in generating that Billboard is unable to estimate.) The third biggest format was CDs, which had a wholesale price of $9.80 and accounted for $1.12 million from sales of 114,000 copies.

All told, physical music, including cassettes, generated $5.7 million, or 78.7% of the album’s first week revenue. Digital business—streaming plus album and song downloads accounted for nearly $1.55 million, or 21.3% of first week revenue.

Interestingly, sales – of vinyl, CDs, and downloads – provided 81,7% of first-week revenue, even though those formats only accounted for 63.5% of album consumption units, according to Billboard estimates. Which means that although streaming accounted for 36.9% of album consumption units, it only generated 18.3% of revenue. Of course, this is only after a week. At some point, sales will lose strength as compared to streaming, which will continue to generate revenue.

Harry’s House also boosted the consumption of Styles’ other albums, to the tune of an additional 3,000 album consumption units per week in the seven weeks leading to the new album’s debut.

Where did fans buy all of these copies? Looking at sales by store sector, non-traditional (Amazon and other online stores that sell physical products) led the way, accounting for 215,000 copies, or 65% of physical copies. Those numbers include an exclusive green vinyl edition sold by Sony Music’s direct-to-consumer operation. Mass merchants like Target—which had an exclusive yellow vinyl version of the album — sold 69,000 copies or 20.9%. Online stores like iTunes accounted for 24,000 sakes, or 7.3%, while independent stores sold 16,000 copies or 4.8%, and chain stores like FYE and Barnes & Noble selling over 6,000 copies or 2% of physical sales.

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Bad Bunny’s 25 Best Songs: Critics’ Picks

Picking the 25 best Bad Bunny songs isn’t an easy task, but we’ve stepped up to the challenge.

Since releasing his debut album X100PRE in 2018, which then cemented him as a bona fide trap and reggaeton artist, El Conejo Malo has kept fans on the edge of their seats as he’s branched out to experiment with other sounds such as dembow, mambo, indie-pop and rock-alternative. His ability to oscillate between genres — at times in one single song — is what makes him one of the most fascinating artists today.

Five albums later, the 28-year-old Grammy-winning artist has a wide-ranging catalog of songs that define a generation, creating new anthems such as the empowering “Yo Perreo Sola,” the club-ready, chart-topping hit “Dákiti,” and the feel-good track “Estamos Bien,” which are just three of the 25 songs that round out Billboard‘s best Bad Bunny songs list.

Most recently, the Puerto Rican hitmaker released his highly anticipated new studio album Un Verano Sin Ti just in time for the summer. The set is packed with back-to-back hits such as “Moscow Mule,” “Después de la Playa” and “Titi Me Preguntó.” Bunny’s 23-track set debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200Top Latin Albums and Latin Rhythm Albums charts (dated May 21). Plus, every song from the album landed on the Hot Latin Songs chart, and 22 of those songs also debuted on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100.

From the Drake-assisted “Mía” to “Safaera,” “Maldita Pobreza” and “La Romana,” check out the 25 songs we think are Bad Bunny’s best tracks so far (in no specific order).

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Here’s How You Can Watch the New Sex Pistols Miniseries for Free

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Pistol, a biographical FX miniseries about the punk revolution that birthed the Sex Pistols, is now available on Hulu. All six episodes in the series, created by Craig Pierce, landed on the streaming platform on Tuesday (May 31).

The show is based on the memoir Lonely Boy: Tales From a Sex Pistol from Sex Pistols guitarist and founding member Steve Jones. Toby Wallace plays Jones in the series and stars alongside Anson Boon as Johnny Rotten, Louis Partridge as Sid Vicious, Jacob Slater as Paul Cook and Christian Lee as Glen Matlock.

Also included in the cast are Dylan Llewellyn as Wall Nightingale, Maisie Williams as Pamela Rooke a.k.a “Jordan,” Emma Appleton as Sid Vicious’s girlfriend Nancy Spungen, Sydney Chandler as singer-songwriter Chrissie Hynde, Talulah Riley as designer Vivienne Westwood, Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Pistols’ former manager Malcolm McLaren, and Alexander Arnold as Jamie Reid, the artist who designed the cover art for the British rock band’s sole studio album Never Mind the Bullocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols.

According to FX, Pistol shares the story of a “band of spotty, noisy, working-class kids with ‘no future’ who shook the boring, corrupt establishment to its core, threatened to bring down the government and changed music and culture forever.”

Keep reading for details on how to go about watching the series for free.

How to Watch Pistol on Hulu for Free

Every episode of Pistol is streaming exclusively on Hulu. Don’t have Hulu? Join today and stream for free for the first month. This limited deal won’t last forever, so if you’ve been curious about Hulu, now’s the time to sign up!

Stream Pistol plus tons of other programs available on Hulu including exclusive movies and shows such as Pam & Tommy, How I Met Your Father, Nine Perfect Strangers, Only Murders in the Building, The Handmaid’s Tale, Dopesick, The Valet, Candy, Look at Me: XXXTentacion, Conversations With Friends, Fresh, Shoresy and The Kardashians as well as FX shows such as Snowfall and Mayans airing on Hulu a day after they debut on the cable network.

Click the link below to get started. Once you land on the Hulu page click “sign up now” to join directly through the log-in link or click the green Hulu logo on the top left-hand corner to be taken to the Hulu homepage.

Hulu Subscription

$6.99/month after free 30-day trial

Hulu’s most popular membership plan is the standard, ad-supported package which is $6.99 a month (or $69.99 a year) to stream thousands of episodes of TV and movies in the Hulu library. The ad-free plan is $12.99 a month ($129.99 a year) for everything in the cheaper package but you also get to download programs and stream them offline.

Want more savings? Bundle Hulu with Disney+ and ESPN+ for $13.99 a month. There is also an option to add Disney+ for $2.99 a month and additional channels like Starz and HBO Max for an extra fee.

If you prefer live television, try Hulu + Live TV for $69.99 a month and get instant access to over 75 live channels in addition to everything on Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN+.

Hulu subscribers can create up to six profiles under one account. Additionally, users can stream from up to two different screen at once and from any device including a smart TV, laptop or notebook.

Click here for a full rundown of music-related content that you can watch exclusively on Hulu.

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Engineer Nickie Jon Pabon on Helping Jack Harlow Sound Like a Superstar From the Studio to the Stage

On “Like a Blade of Grass” from Jack Harlow’s latest album, Come Home the Kids Miss You, he raps, “Some of these girls in the mix more than engineers.” But no one’s more in the mix than Harlow’s longtime engineer Nickie Jon Pabón, who chuckles at the “nutty ass line.”

“Some people aren’t going to understand that, but he did it for the people that do,” he tells Billboard over Zoom during rehearsals for Harlow’s performance at Forecastle Festival in his Louisville, Ky. hometown over the weekend.

Describing himself as the “creative backbone for everybody in the room,” Pabón earned writing/production credits and mixed half of Come Home The Kids Miss You, Harlow’s sophomore album that was released on May 6, 2022, via Generation Now/Atlantic Records. The set debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and reached No. 2 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and Top Rap Albums tallies.

They’re impressive marks for Harlow, who, just within the last few years, ascended from a glasses-wearing MC with boy-next-door charm and quirky raps to a superstar who’s had smart collaborations, sharper bars and, of course, is “still out here gettin’ cuter.” Releasing an album in between hip-hop heavyweights Future and Kendrick Lamar sounds daunting, but one of the album’s executive producers Rogét Chahayed stated in a previous Complex interview that “it’s the echelon that Jack deserves to be standing in.”

The 24-year-old rapper finally reached the upper echelon of the Billboard Hot 100 as the lead artist with the LP’s second single “First Class,” which samples Fergie’s 2006 No. 1 smash “Glamorous.” The single has been No. 1 for three nonconsecutive weeks – all while Harry Styles’ five-week No. 1 “As It Was” stayed at No. 2 (now back to No. 1 in the week ending June 4) and Bad Bunny and Kendrick Lamar were dotting the Hot 100 with multiple songs from their chart-topping projects, Un Verano Sin Ti and Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers, respectively. The future White Men Can’t Jump star is playing in the big leagues, and his teammates have long believed in his ability to do so while envisioning how much bigger he’ll become.

And with Pabón doubling as Harlow’s live audio specialist, he enjoys the rare perk of being able to see the songs he sat down and worked for hours and hours on finally come to life during the rapper’s performances. Growing up in Atlanta with Puerto Rican parents, he always imagined himself singing on stage and fantasizing over being backstage ever since he was nine. Now, at 26, “I’m on the same stage off to the side, right behind that speaker, but I’m up there with Jack and I can see the audience grow and catch that energy,” he says. “It’s like, ‘Of course, I want to do this.’”

Billboard caught up with Pabón to discuss the making of Come Home the Kids Miss You, the significance of a subtle nod in the studio, and the family unit supporting Harlow from the studio to the stage.

How did you begin working with Generation Now?

I started going to audio engineering school because I wanted to learn how to record myself. I graduated [from SAE Institute Atlanta], and I ended up starting to record other people, and noticed a passion for being able to help somebody and give them a perspective that they didn’t have. While in school, I was interning at Means Street Studios, which was DJ Drama and Don Cannon and Lake Sheezy’s studio, for about six months – the whole working security at the door, cleaning, everything.

That turned into me getting my first session, [which] was [Lil] Uzi [Vert]. Uzi was recording there at the time, his family was in town and his cousin wanted to record. The managers knew I was in school for it, so they just wanted to see how I could handle that light work first. From there, it turned into me starting to get sessions for the studio and a lot of label sessions as well. I got thrown into the fire quick because one of my first sessions was Cardi B during the whole “Bodak Yellow” thing. Sean Garrett was in the room, The-Dream was in the room. It was J. White producing.

What helped me is that artistic background. I’ve recorded in the studio myself before, like singing, and I know immediately the things that I wouldn’t like that an engineer would do. Or things that would throw me off my vibe, or what an engineer could do to help me lose myself more in the music and not be so focused on reminding him that he’s recording a song, but to remind him that he’s capturing a performance.

When did your journey with Jack start?

Jack got signed maybe a year into me actually working as an engineer. It’s funny because he had two engineers before me and loved them. And for this particular day, they weren’t available and he was kind of being reluctant to trying a third engineer at the studio. But we ended up getting in the room and I let him know how I felt about him. I said, “Man, I’m not here to kiss ass. I just want to let you know, bro, you have the makings to be a Billboard No. 1 artist.” I swear, this is one of the first things I said. I just had that genuine belief in him. It didn’t take a rocket scientist – I could see the vision. So we started working and we haven’t stopped working since.

“First Class” spent three nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100. When you were in the studio making that song, at what point did you think, “Yeah, this one’s different. This one’s about to go up?”

I would say Jack definitely did. The rest of us loved it for what it was, not necessarily thinking, “Oh man, this is going to be crazy.” We were more so looking at each other and saying, “Hey, we love this song.” But I think he was the one that really spearheaded the decision of making it a single in the first place. Once we saw how passionate he was, we knew this was going to make him happy as an artist. I don’t think that we saw it coming, at least from the producers and other creators, but I’ll give credit where credit is due — and Jack definitely knew that it was going to do.

From a technical standpoint, the way Fergie’s “Glamorous” sample is cut in the chorus – “I been a (G), throw up the (L), sex in the (A.M.)” – how meticulous do you have to be with the mixing for it to sound like one, smooth track versus two songs coming together?

That’s the dynamic that I share with Angel Lopez and Rogét Chahayed, who are the executive producers on the album. We just have that connection where it’s easy for us to communicate. Angel will chop the sample up and he’ll give it to me and he knows that I know what pocket to put it in. He knows that I know how to EQ it. And if there’s something he needs to remind me of, or a perspective that he has, he comes up to me and taps me on the shoulder and says, “Hey.” And then we throw it on. I look back and say, “What do you think if we do this?” And he’s like, “Oh yeah, try it.” And we look at each other like, “Oh my God!”

It’s not a one-man team. It’s definitely a combination of us back there, feeding off of each other, dancing with each other while we’re making the music. It’s not just me being in my own little corner. I’m looking back at them, so if I’m looking and I see that he’s kind of looking at me, I give him a quick little look [Nods] like, “Yes” and then I go back to being in my world. And that dance is just what’s important, so that he can feel like he’s not just in the room by himself with the pressure, and he knows that he has creative support next to him.

There were heavy-hitting guests on the album: Pharrell, Drake, Lil Wayne, Justin Timberlake. How many of those verses were recorded while Jack was in the room versus sent over digitally? And how does the mixing process differ when you have the vocals sent in?

I would say all of them except for one were in person. These are the artists that are at the top of the game that genuinely, when Jack walks in the room, they love him. It’s not just, “We’re getting on what’s hot.” The music is one thing, but the conversations and the relationships are what’s really, really important. Jack would meet the guys face to face. When Jack went over to Turks with Drake, that’s what makes it so genuine. It was like, “Jack brought a song where he was getting his shit off. I love it. How can I hop on?”

Ideally, you’d like to have a conversation with either the other artist or the artist’s engineer and not go into it blindsided. You open the conversation up, like, “Are these vocals about how you guys want him to sound?” And then you start opening up dialogue: “Oh no, you can treat them. Do what you want to do with them,” or, “Oh yeah, this is kind of about where we want them.” It’s very much about not just people sending me stuff and I’m tucked off in a dark corner somewhere – I want to be in the face of the people that recorded whatever I didn’t record, and that we at least talk.

A big blessing in and of itself was FaceTiming Justin Timberlake on release night and him looking at me and saying, “Thank you guys for taking care of my vocals and taking care of the environment, the beat, how everything was mixed.” He was singing our praises. Justin Timberlake is my favorite artist of all time. I kept it real short and sweet, I told him, “Hey bro, I have to say it: You’re my idol.” When I tell you that I sang and that I danced, it was because I grew up watching *NSYNC. These dudes, they were kids that looked like me. And I was able to communicate that to him. I was able to tell him that Justified changed my life when I was six years old. I told that to my parents.

That’s the blessing of all of this – is getting in front of your idols and sharing that look. Timbaland came into the room a couple of times, and we would be working on stuff, and he would look at me and be like [Nods] and I would look back at him. And he’d go over to Angel, our producer that came up under Timbaland, and say, “He’s a young Jimmy,” referring to Jimmy Douglass, which was his engineer. That’s what you live for. Those are the moments that are fulfilling.

I noticed a lot of beat switches on this album. Why were those important to embed in the album’s DNA?

Jack loves the element of surprise. And it happens different ways: Maybe you make two songs on two different nights, and then the light bulb comes on and you’re like, “Hold on, what about this with this?” Or maybe you create with the intention of switching it up at some point. There’s no rules to it.

Since you always give credit to Jack where it’s due, I saw him do that for you on his Instagram Story where he wrote next to a picture of you two, “Thank you to my brother for taking us to the finish line and ensuring that I sound pristine. Such an important person in this process.” What does “taking us to the finish line” look like when you were wrapping up Come Home The Kids Miss You?

There are so many roles, and so many tasks that need to be completed. A big thing is making sure that the mixes translate, like we feel them in the headphones how we felt them in the studio. Part of it is what I was telling you about, where I will look back at Angel and he’d be looking at me and just that creative process in and of itself, trying to provide energy to a group of people that might be a little bit more depleted. I went through that myself, but he knows how much I care and he knows that there isn’t anything I want more than this. And not only that — I know that the harder that I go, the brighter that he shines.

It’s essentially not breaking down, finding a solution to everything. If I need to find inspiration somehow some way, then I need to search for that inspiration somehow some way, whether that’s taking a walk or playing basketball, but changing up the routine so that I feel refreshed. There would be days where we would do a show and then go to the studio afterwards, so I’m taking care of his show, doing his in-ears, working all the music and then we finish, I set down and then get Ubered straight to the studio to set up the microphone and then go do another four, five, six hours, however long we can last. Mind you, it’s already late, it’s probably already 12 a.m. So yeah, it’s a lot, but anytime that I feel like that, I just remind myself, “Man, I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else right now.”

Considering you’re also Jack’s live audio specialist, what was it like to help bring Jack’s debut album That’s What They All Say to life during the Creme de la Creme Tour?

That’s my first time ever going on tour. I didn’t know if it was really something I could do, especially being so grounded at the studio at Means Street for three years straight working. But once the pandemic hit and outside closed down, I was taking care of Jack’s stuff and there were some songs that it was just me and him in the room. And then now, it’s in front of everybody. You go back and you think about those little details of when we said, “Oh let’s try this here. Let’s try this there.” And then [there are] those moments you remember when you hear them. It’s just a constant reminder of not just making good songs, but of our experience making them.

What are you looking forward to the most during the Come Home the Kids Miss You Tour?

We’re doing bigger venues and that’s always cool, but my biggest thing about the live shows is the relationship that I have with everybody on the tour. It’s not just me learning what I can about the live shows from them, but just being with them. Somehow, we got the sickest 12-to-14-man crew that was with us for the Creme de la Creme Tour, and they’re all still here. I go in the bus and I just see [production manager and front-of-house Anthony] Cotton there and I can already tell I’m just gonna go crack a joke with him.

Jack’s so busy and he does so much, but he still takes the time when he can and says, “Hey, let’s go out on a walk in the city. Let’s go bowling in the city.” And we sit down in those moments, and there might be a bunch of people, but we’ll sit down next to each other and we’ll just say, “Man, you remember four years ago when I said that thing in the studio where I believed in you so much? I believed in you and you believed in me, bro.”

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Nadal wins third set to lead Djokovic 2-1 in Paris quarter-final

PARIS — Rafa Nadal broke world number one Novak Djokovic’s serve twice to win the third set 6-2 and take a 2-1 lead in their French Open quarter-final on Tuesday. Reigning champion Djokovic of Serbia rallied from a double break down and a 3-0 deficit to win the second set 6-4 after Nadal won the […]

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New Off-White x Nike Air Force 1 Mid In “Green” Appears With Cactus Logo

Despite passing away in November 2021, Virgil Abloh continues being present in the sneaker space. In addition to driving countless sales on the after-market thanks to his Off-White sneaker collaborations, the late Illinois-native is further expanding NIKE, Inc.’s design language.

Recently, a green-colored Air Force 1 Mid appeared with typical Off-White details: zip-ties, contrasting tabs at the profile swooshes and “deconstructed” builds. The upcoming pair resembles the ultra-exclusive low-top Air Force 1 pairs that Abloh prepped for both the Brooklyn Museum and Louis Vuitton before passing. Although the latest Off-White Nikes feature some of Abloh’s signature touches, they also don a previously-unseen cactus-like logo at the lateral heel. It’s unlikely that the creative director employed the succulent for his footwear given how important that figure is for Travis Scott, but the resemblance is compelling. The shoes’ morphed sole unit exposes a Air Max unit, building on the thought process behind the original “The Ten” collection that debuted in 2017.

Enjoy a first-look at the pair ahead, courtesy of Instagram account @horhead_sales, as you wait for official Nike SNKRS details as the year continues.

For more from under the NIKE, Inc. umbrella, check out all upcoming Air Jordan 4 releases.

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The Air Jordan 1 Hi 85 “Black/White” Expected To Release February 2023

Thanks to new colorways like the “University Blue” and “Georgetown,” the Air Jordan 1 has been able to maintain its chokehold on sneaker culture. And come later this 2022, the brand’s grip will only grow tighter, as the “Chicago” is making a comeback this Holiday Season. 2023, too, will welcome even more classics, with 1985’s “Black/White” colorway set to return for the first time in years.

Brought back by way of the upgraded Air Jordan 1 85, the “Black/White” is currently slated for a February 2023 arrival. The pair incorporates blacks across its overlays — dressing both the check and adjacent paneling — and white across much of its foundation. Midsoles, laces, Wings logos, and the base are all clad in the light neutral, rounding out a likely faithful homage to one of the simplest colorways in the silhouette’s original catalog.

Though no images of the 2023 Retro have been shared just yet, you can enjoy a look at the 1985 pair right here. As mentioned above, the “Black/White” will be returning February 2023; more information will be added here as it surfaced.

If you like these, check out the entire Jordan Retro Spring 2023 Preview.

Air Jordan 1 Hi 85 “Black/White”
Release Date: February 2023

Info via @sneakerfiles

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Universal Music Group Gets First Credit Ratings Since Going Public

Universal Music Group received two strong ratings by credit ratings agencies on Tuesday (May 31), the company’s first as a standalone company since spinning off from Vivendi last September.

Moody’s Investors Service gave UMG a Prime-2 short-term credit rating and a Baa1 long term credit rating with stable outlook. Moody’s defines its P-2 rating has having “a strong ability to repay short-term obligations.” Baa is Moody’ fourth-highest long-term rating behind Aaa, Aa and A and denotes “medium-grade and subject to moderate credit risk.”

S&P Global Ratings assigned UMG an A-2 short term credit rating and BBB long term credit rating with stable outlook. A-2, S&P’s second-highest short-term credit rating, means the company has a “satisfactory” capacity to meet its financial commitments. S&P defines BBB as having “adequate capacity to meet financial commitments, but more subject to adverse economic conditions” than AAA, AA and A long-term ratings.

“We are pleased that, in the inaugural ratings since our public listing, the rating agencies have recognised our strong credit attributes,” Boyd Muir, UMG’s CFO and president of operations, said in a statement. “Both agencies highlighted our leadership in the music industry, best-in-class catalogue, recurring and well-diversified revenue streams and low leverage as key drivers of these solid ratings. The Baa1/BBB rating assignment is another positive recognition in our early days as a stand-alone publicly listed company.”

Both Moody’s and S&P believe UMG will post a mid-single-digit growth rate in the coming two years (S&P forecasts 6% to 8% annual revenue growth). Both agencies based their rating on the growth coming from increased consumer adoption of on-demand streaming platforms and new licensing opportunities in social media, fitness and gaming. S&P highlighted the opportunities for digital expansion in countries such as France, Japan and Germany, where physical sales are relatively high, and gains from higher prices for music subscription services in mature markets.

But the agencies also highlighted risks in the music business and UMG’s corporate structure. S&P believes UMG “lacks diversification,” especially compared to video content companies such as Disney. “The group’s exclusive music focus suggests it is exposed to the music industry’s continued evolution and technological changes, as well as changing customer preferences.” Similarly, Moody’s took into account risks related to evolving technologies “which in the past have prevented the company from monetizing its content,” although it does not foresee such a disruption in the near future. S&P analysts also weighed the risk of potential changes within the industry or mandated by legislation that would give artists a greater share of revenue, slowing UMG’s growth and squeezing its margins.

UMG had 2.6 billion euros of borrowings, including 1.45 billion euro in drawn revolving credit facilities and 1 billion-euro term loan that were used to repay borrowings from former parent company Vivendi, according to its 2021 annual report. With 585 million euros of cash and cash equivalents, UMG’s net debt was 2 billion euros. In 2021, UMG had revenue of 8.5 billion euros and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 1.69 billion euros. The company calculated its debt-to-EBITDA ratio as 1.2 on Dec. 31, 2021, according to its 2021 annual report.

Ratings agencies focus on the amount of cash a company has to maintain its debt. Likewise, lenders typically set limits on the amount of debt a company can take. UMG’s revolving credit facility and term loan both require a financial net debt to EBITDA ratio of 4.0 or lower, according to UMG’s 2021 annual report. Both Moody’s and S&P believe UMG will maintain a debt-to-earnings ratio below 2.0. S&P believes that number could decrease to 1.0 by 2024 but could increase if UMG uses debt for catalog purchases or increases shareholder remuneration through larger-than-planned dividends or share buybacks.

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TWICE’s Nayeon Is Teaming Up With Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall for Solo Album Track

Nayeon of TWICE is gearing up to release her first-ever solo mini album — and it’s stacked with a list of can’t-miss collaborations, including a track with a Little Mix member.

On Tuesday (May 31), the K-pop singer unveiled the track list for her forthcoming mini album titled IM NAYEON, which will contain a total of six tracks: lead single “Pop!,” “No Problem” with Felix of Stray Kids, “Love Countdown” with South Korean rapper and singer Wonstein,”All or Nothing,” “Happy Birthday,” “노을만 예쁘다 (Only the Sunset is Pretty)” and “Candyfloss,” partially composed by Jade Thirlwall of Little Mix.

This isn’t the first time that Nayeon has worked with Thirlwall, though. While promoting Taste of Love, TWICE’s 10th EP, the girls revealed on the Zach Sang Show in 2021 that they were “very honored” that Thirwall contributed to the songwriting process for “First Time.” Member Dahyun also revealed that Little Mix was a large part of their early days.

“Actually when we were trainees, we covered a lot of songs by Little Mix,” Dahyun said at the time. “I actually listened to a lot of songs by Little Mix growing up.”

In addition to revealing the track list for IM NAYEONthe K-pop singer also shared the first snippet of “Pop!” via TWICE’s TikTok account. “Pop! Pop! Pop!/ You want it/ Pop! Pop! Pop!/ I want you,” Nayeon sings on the upbeat track.

IM NAYEON is set to arrive June 24 at 1 p.m. KST/midnight ET. See the track list for the mini album and hear the first snippet of “Pop!” below.


@twice_tiktok_official NAYEON The 1st Mini Album”IM NAYEON”Lead Track ‘POP!’ SNIPPET #TWICE #트와스#NAYEON #나연 #IM_NAYEON ♬ POP! – NAYEON

NAYEON The 1st Mini Album


Lead Track – ‘POP!’

Release on
2022.06.24 FRI 1PM KST/0AM EST

📌”IM NAYEON” Pre-save & Pre-order #TWICE #트와이스#NAYEON #나연 #IM_NAYEON

— TWICE (@JYPETWICE) May 30, 2022

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‘Running Up That Hill’ & Beyond: Which Song From ‘Stranger Things’ Is Your Favorite? Vote!

The penultimate season of Stranger Things premiered Friday, and it’s got everyone listening to “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” by Kate Bush.

If you’ve already binged all seven super-size episodes, you know why the British art rock legend’s 1985 single plays such a pivotal role in the story. But if not, don’t worry — we’re not about to spoil anything for you.

However, without giving anything away, the song’s sudden spike in popularity got us thinking about the tracks Stranger Things has employed across its 32 episodes and counting. And now we want to know: Which soundtrack moment is your favorite?

From its premiere in the summer of 2016, Stranger Things has had a multitude of hits from the ’80s in its arsenal as the kids of the fictional Hawkins, Indiana, tussle with monsters from the Upside Down — starting with Toto‘s hallmark “Africa” in the very first episode.

Everything from “Can’t Fight This Feeling” by REO Speedwagon to Don McLean‘s “American Pie” (from 1971, but really a timeless classic) have soundtracked crucial moments in past seasons. Other songs like Peter Gabriel‘s “Heroes” and The Clash‘s “Should I Stay or Should I Go” have been used multiple times over the course of the series, often tied to specific characters in the Stranger Things universe. (Seriously, can you even hear Mick Jones & co.’s 1981’s Combat Rock-era single and not think about Noah Schnapp’s Will Byers?)

“Running Up That Hill” may be the sci-fi thriller’s biggest and best needle drop yet, though, with the song posting a truly remarkable 8,700% increase in global streams and even bigger 9,900% increase in U.S. streams in the wake of season 4 hitting the streamer.

Vote in Billboard‘s Stranger Things poll below.

Take Our Poll

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‘BTS Radio’ Breaks Record for Biggest Show of 2022 on Apple Music

BTS launched their new Apple Music weekly limited series on Saturday (May 28), and within days, the show is already breaking records.

Apple Music revealed on Tuesday (May 31) via Twitter that the superstar group “broke the record for biggest show of the year with their debut episode of #BTSRadio on Apple Music 1.”

#BTSARMY you did it! 💜@BTS_twt broke the record for biggest show of the year with their debut episode of #BTSRadio on Apple Music 1. #BTS_Proof #BTS

— Apple Music (@AppleMusic) May 29, 2022

The three-episode limited BTS Radio: Past & Present series will air weekly, leading up to the release of the band’s new anthology album Proof, which arrives on June 10. The episodes will be available on-demand to Apple Music subscribers, and will feature the Grammy award-nominated band as they take listeners on their quest to stardom while sharing stories and songs that helped shaped them.

The first episode gave listeners an inside look into songs including “Intro: The Most Beautiful Moment in Life,” “Epilogue: Young Forever,” “I Need U,” “No More Dream” and “We Are Bulletproof, Pt. 2.”

“Just like the title of the song, I think it demonstrates the ambitious spirit we had when we debuted. I just wanted to listen to it again,” J-Hope said of “We Are Bulletproof, Pt. 2,” with Jungkook adding, “I chose this song because it really represents our group’s identity and I think we really threw everything we had into this song.”

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