Monday, March 30, 2015

Tidal, the Spotify killer that Jay Z just launched

Jay Z On Tidal: "[We] Figured This Could Possibly Be the Last Music Format We See In Our Lifetime"

Jay Z doesn’t give many interviews. In conversation, he often pauses mid-sentence, considers, rewinds, slices and reshapes his answer, choosing a more appropriate word or analogy that draws a finer point before revealing it to the interviewer. What’s commonly assumed is a mistrust of the press may just be that unlike his work in the studio or onstage, Jay Z doesn’t ultimately control the final result of an interview, and therefore treads more carefully while giving one.

And yet on the occasion of his recent $56 million purchase of Aspiro, a publicly traded Swedish tech company, and the blockbuster announcement that he is partnering in the venture, in both the spiritual and financial sense of the word, with music’s biggest names -- including giants from the world of hip-hop (Kanye West, Nicki Minaj), R&B (BeyoncĂ©, Rihanna), dance (Madonna, Calvin Harris, Daft Punk), rock (Jack White, Coldplay) and country (Jason Aldean) -- he sat withBillboard a few days before the March 30 announcement in an effort to explain his motives for a purchase that the industry has greeted with a raised eyebrow.

While it would be easy to dismiss the idea that a small company with 500,000 subscribers and a twice-the-price high-definition capability could ever compete on a cursory level with Goliaths like Spotify (60 million subscribers, 15 million of them paid) and the soon-to-relaunch Beats Music, one must consider the possibility that what he’s proposing isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. According to Jay Z, and judging from the #TIDALforALL social media campaign that launched in March 30’s early morning hours, his primary goal is to change a broken compensation system and to bend the accepted limits of what’s offered for streaming, including song snippets, loose ideas and video. And by offering more money he will, in theory, force other streaming companies to follow suit. Much like his music that has occasionally served as a social agitator, Tidal, which is initially a playground for A-list performers, is Jay Z’s way of resetting music’s value proposition. None of the top-tier artists, who all reportedly own an equal share of the company, need the money, which make them the perfect delivery mechanism for his message: that musicians have had enough of streaming’s microscopic payouts and the labels’ helpless shrugs. Whether the industry itself has had enough remains to be seen.

Billboard: When did it first occur to you to get into the streaming business?

Jay Z: A year-and-a-half ago. We saw the movement and how everything was going and figured that this could possibly be the last music format that we see in this lifetime. We didn’t like the direction music was going and thought maybe we could get in and strike an honest blow and if, you know, the very least we did was make people wake up and try to improve the free vs. paid system, and promote fair trade, then it would be a win for us anyway.

Musicians have long complained that streaming has rendered music virtually worthless. It doesn’t sound like you’re solely driven by financial reasons, but also by a desire to reset the value proposition of music.

That’s correct, absolutely, and when I spoke to every single person involved that’s what I said. Music is … imagine your life without music. It’s a very valuable part of your life, and like I said, that’s why we got in this business. It seems to be going the other way. People are not respecting the music, and [are] devaluing it and devaluing what it really means. People really feel like music is free, but will pay $6 for water. You can drink water free out of the tap, and it’s good water. But they’re OK paying for it. It’s just the mind-set right now.

In some ways music is probably closer to priceless than worthless.

Yes. The experiences that I’ve had growing up with music, you know, I couldn’t trade them for any money in the world. Dancing in the living room to enjoy myself. “Enjoy Yourself,” Michael Jackson. Those moments and just that feeling of joy, it’s priceless, like you said.

Someone of your stature can make this case to the other streaming services. Did you try that before you decided to buy in?

Yeah, we talked to every single service and we explored all the options, including creating a white label with a service. But at the end of the day we figured if we’re going to shape this thing the way we see it then we need to have independence. And that became a better proposition for us -- not an easier one, mind you.

The list of your partners is going to surprise quite a few people. How did you get them involved? Was it as simple as going out and saying, “This is our chance to turn the tide against this thing that’s happening”?

Yeah, pretty much. I talked to everyone one on one about music and about what they would like to see in a service, and how would they like this to go. I wanted to know if they were willing to take a chance, since everyone’s names are attached and their reputations, too.
And I just believe as long as we’re on the side of right, and we’re in this for the right reasons, it will work. It’s just a big opportunity for everyone -- not a thing that belongs to any one person. That’s not fair, that’s not a democratic process, and that isn’t the idea behind it.

Isn’t another of your goals to make sure the revenue makes its way down the food chain to content creators?

Definitely. For someone like me, I can go on tour. But what about the people working on the record, the content creators and not just the artists? If they’re not being compensated properly, then I think we’ll lose some writers and producers and people like that who depend on fair trade. Some would probably have to take another job, and I think we’ll lose some great writers in the process. Is it fair? No. If you put in work, everyone else, you go to work you get paid. That’s fair trade. It’s what our country is built on.

I’m just saying the producers and people who work on music are getting left out -- that’s when it starts getting criminal. It’s like you’re working hard and you’re not receiving. In any other business people would be standing before Congress. They have antitrust laws against this kind of behavior. It almost seems like when it applies to music no one really cares who’s cheated. It’s so disorganized; it’s so disconnected from reality.

What made Aspiro the company to help you make this statement? Was it anything to do with the fact that it’s a smaller, foreign company that you could buy more quietly?

That had a bit to do with it. We had to move pretty quietly because we wanted to do it right without interference. But … the service [also] offers high-quality audio and video. Again, we’re talking about respecting the music and respecting the art … and we can’t play around with that, so we need something that’s authentic and honest. That made it pretty attractive pretty quickly, that the sound quality was so high, and I would know, because I’ve personally heard 70 mixes of a single record, you know what I'm saying? So the least I can do is try to present that to the public the way that the artist intended.

Are you going after the high-end audiophile or just people who care enough about music to pay almost twice as much for the service?

We want it to be open to everyone. So yeah, that would be part of it, but the pricing will be tiered, because we want to present it to as many people as possible. But it definitely appeals to people who really care about the music and want to hear it the way it’s intended. And hopefully some day with technology we figure out how to deliver that high-def sound, maybe even in a $9.99 model. Who knows what the future holds.

Do you think video is going to play a big part in separating you from the other streaming services?

That’s certainly a differentiator, and we’ll have high-quality videos and hopefully we’ll see something that we haven’t seen before.

Have you been talking to a phone carriers and audio partners? We’ve heard AT&T and Skullcandy?

We’ve been speaking to a lot of people. To single someone out wouldn’t be fair for them or us.           
So, Tidal launches today. Creatively, what do you hope happens, beginning tomorrow?

Artists come here and start making songs 18 minutes long, or whatever. I know this is going to sound crazy, but maybe they start attempting to make a “Like a Rolling Stone,” you know, a song that doesn’t have a recognizable hook, but is still considered one of the greatest songs of all time, the freedom that this platform will allow art to flourish here. And we’re encouraging people to put it in any format they like. It doesn't have to be three minutes and 30 seconds. What if it’s a minute and 17, what if it’s 11; you know, just break format. What if it’s just four minutes of just music and then you start rapping?

It sounds more like you’re envisioning it as a creative collective, or a salon, where artists can try things out and let the audience decide if that’s a direction they should continue in.

That’s right.

That’s a pretty persuasive sort of pitch to make to an artist. Did the first tier immediately get it, or was there some resistance?

I think there was a bit of nervousness because of how things work: This is something new and unknown. But at the core everyone was super-excited at the idea. Like “Yes, let’s do this. Let’s not only create a place that has great music — let’s protect the future generation of artists.” I think this thing changes the world for them. It makes everything different, you know? Between those things it was like, “We have to do this, we are almost charged in this position to do it.”

So, you’re an owner and a musician. Are you hoping that the other services will begin to adopt this attitude, or are you content because if they don’t adopt this you’ll have your own point of differentiation?

I think the goals are the same. Like when the tide rises, all the boats rise. That’s the first thing I said to the group was, “If for nothing else, then we just caused people to look inside their organization and say, ‘Yeah, let’s work on this, let’s work on audio, and let’s work on a pay system.’ ” I already see the conversations, I already see how it’s changing -- and it may have changed anyway because that’s just the natural process when things are wrong -- but I think we sped it up already, and we’re not even out yet. I already see the discussions and the scrambling. And we haven’t even begun.

Each first-tier person has equity in the company?


Is it the same equity across the board?

Yes. We’re super-transparent, and I think that’s part of it. We want to be transparent, we want to give people their data; they can see it. If somebody streams your record in Iowa, you see it. No more shell games. Just transparency.
So the founding members all got the same equity, and now we have a second round and everyone gets the same in that one as well, but it’s not as large as the first tier. We want to keep it going. We want to make this thing successful and then create another round and another round. That’s the dream, that’s the utopia. Everyone is sharing in it; everyone is some kind of owner in it in some kind of way. 

What’s been the response from the labels?

I think the labels were a bit suspicious that we were creating a record company. It’s not a record company; if anything, it’s a record store. I have a record company. I don’t want another label. I’m happy with what I’m doing. But some were suspicious. We had talks, like, “Man, you guys also ought to bless this talent. We want you to be involved in this thing as well.” Again, we’re not even against other streaming companies. We want everyone to do well. We just want to carve out our section and let our voice be heard.
So yeah, I think there is a bit of paranoia in the beginning and there may still be, and I think we’ll work through that because it will be a very difficult thing for a label to tell artists when they’re streaming their music everywhere else that they won’t stream it on an artist-owned platform. I don’t see how any label can stand in front of anyone and justify that.

The stature of artists you have aligned with virtually assures that freedom. Are the artists going to provide exclusive tracks or release windows on future work?

Well, it’s up to the artist. You know, there’s a thing now, it’s called the album cycle. You put your single out, promote it, then another single -- I think that now for an artist an album cycle doesn’t have to end. They’re on Instagram and Twitter and all these things, so we’re just talking about ways of extending that album cycle, and it could be anything. What if it’s a video offering tickets to the next concert, or what if it’s audio or video of the recording process? It could be anything. It could be them at home listening to songs that inspire them. Anything they want to offer, you know; just be as creative as possible, that’s the only charge, really. Make it look really good and make everyone that consumes it think, “Man, I got something really great.” Treat the people with respect; make it memorable.

The music industry is obviously cynical. When you came out with your vision, musicians aside, what was the response from the business community?

I think they were receptive but thought that there was no way I could pull it off. You know: “That’s what’s supposed to happen, but no way you’re going to do that.”

Still, today I can’t imagine that [Creative Artists Agency] is not having a meeting with their artists [and saying], “Let’s figure out how to do something together.” But I think it’s so hard to get done. I think it’s so hard because of ego.

I think it just was a moment in time and we felt like, “Yes, this is the thing that if it works we’ll be successful, but if it worked, then the music business will also be successful.” And I think that was so appealing. But the answer was yes, people are like, “That’s what should happen, but you’ll never get it done.”

Is that part of what’s driving you? When was the last time you were the underdog in a fight?

I don’t know; I feel like that all the time. I feel like I’m always pushing envelopes. I feel like I couldn’t get a record deal; I feel like, you know, when Hot 97 [New York] was the big station, I was the first one on Power 105 [New York]. When The Source was the biggest magazine, I was first one on the cover of XXL.  

Twelve months from now, what would be your definition of success with Tidal? It doesn’t sound like it’s a financial benchmark.

If everyone says, “Wow, so many things have changed. This has gotten better. I like what's happening.” If Aloe Blacc and his writers, the guys he wrote with, are not seeing a $4,000 check from 168 million streams.

They did their job, they worked, they done it. The people loved it, the people consumed it. Where’d it go? People didn’t pay or stream Aloe Blacc’s music for it to turn into vapor and go into the air. Where is it? 

If in 12 months everyone is having that discussion and a dialogue, and everyone is understanding that streaming’s not a bad thing, I’m happy. Let’s embrace what’s coming up next. When the biggest distributor of downloads says they’re going to start a streaming company, I mean, I don’t know what more you need to know that it’s the next format. 

You have a long-standing relationship with Jimmy Iovine. Have you been in contact with him since the news has started trickling out?

Yeah, of course. My thing with Jimmy is, “Listen, Jimmy; you’re Jimmy Iovine, and you’re Apple, and truthfully, you're great. You guys are going to do great things with Beats, but … you know, I don’t have to lose in order for you guys to win, and 
let’s just remember that.” Again, I’m not angry. I actually told him, 

“Yo, you should be helping me. This is for the artist. These are people that you supported your whole life. You know, this is good.”

Have you heard the rumor that he’s trying to lure people from your first-tier group by offering them more money upfront?

I think that’s just his competitive nature, and I don’t know if he’s looking at the bigger picture: That it’s not about me and it’s not about him; it’s about the future of the music business.

When you were starting your career, if streaming was the pre-eminent revenue vehicle for recorded music, would you have still pursued music?

Maybe. But I think that the people that work behind the scenes maybe wouldn’t have.

Can you say definitively that they are going to make more money from Tidal than Spotify?

It’s not me against Spotify, but for us, you know, just the idea of the way we came into it, with everyone having equity, will open the dialogue — whether it be with the labels, the publishers or whoever,

I think it’s those sorts of conversations that need to be had, and again, not by forcing anyone to do it. We're not forcing anyone to do anything, we're just introducing ideas, and I don't know, maybe someone else comes up with the idea. Maybe someone from the label comes up with the idea, maybe a lawyer; someone finds a bunch of different things that we think will work.
Will artists make more money? Even if it means less profit for our bottom line, absolutely. That’s easy for us. We can do that. Less profit for our bottom line, more money for the artist; fantastic. Let’s do that today.

What Kendrick Lamar, Drake, and Kanye West Say About the Black Experience in America

If you think about it long enough, the American Dream is not for the black man. The idea that a certain set of traits will bring you power and bounty, or the belief that you simply pull the resources off of what is essentially a shoelace to achieve greatness could not possibly include the black man. The very essence of being black is rooted in the idea that you cannot even get down with that shit. You can't live in a white supremacist country and believe the ultimate dream is for the systematically oppressed—it just don't add up. This point could be said to be the very theory of hip-hop itself: We are not you and we want to be us.

In this year where the black experience faces possibly its most vital conversations for a generation, many lament the lack of reflection in popular black music. While some rappers are lauded for their "consciousness"—a term that rings excessively hollow in 2015—others are seen as unconcerned or downright delusional. In this first quarter of the year Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, and Drake serve as three points in a triangle, connected but facing separate trajectories.

They're often presented as rivals in a beef that has yet to grow any legs or worse, as fake friends just keeping enemies close. They are trotted out as banners for entire categories of folks, some at their urging but oft more as slander. What's usually missed is that together they present a trifecta of the current black male experience in America. In a time where we accuse each other daily of all sorts of dubious motives toward the movement, these three men serve as a narrative of not just where we're are but how much we have left to figure out.

Kendrick’s newest, To Pimp a Butterfly, is a mad scientist's experiment of a therapy session. Previously Kendrick has always presented himself as an insular “revolutionary”—I put this in quotes as it is more of what he presents rather than how he may actually think of himself. Kendrick’s previous music seems almost instructional and though it is rooted in personal experience, there is always an air of condescension. It’s not that he himself is egotistic but rather his conviction gives off a sense of moral superiority.
But this is not the same K-Dot from the m.A.A.d city. This is a black man who is dealing with all sorts of people (of course, yes, white people!) for the first time and realizing he might not have all the answers. It’s the smart black kid just arrived on the white college campus effect—a newer, maader city, if you will. good kid, m.A.A.d city was about home, but now he's stepped out of the comfort zone on the great pursuit of success and like all of us, he's realizing he doesn't have all the answers. It seems to be a huge cause of turmoil for him as he screams at himself (and us) about being hypocrites and how hard it is to love ourselves.

Normally, when Kendrick is yelling on his records you feel like he's yelling at you to wake you up. A friend once called him a gospel rapper and it's fitting. He believes in his sermons and like all good pastors he works out his demons as a guidance for his congregation. The issue with being a pastor is that feeling of intelligence, that slight condescension that makes you assume the role of teacher to your students. (Let's not forget that GKMC ends with all the gangsters turning to God!) TPAB presents Kendrick not as teacher but as student who has found out that school is not just about facts but rather an education in thinking. It’s a place many people of color find themselves when they’ve followed the rules and find the game to be rigged. Kendrick is unsure about what he will believe, but he clearly believes the solution is within his blackness. 

In many ways Drake is Kendrick’s antithesis. He grew up a half-Jewish black kid in Canada. He was the black character on Degrassi, playing basketball and checking white boys who then shot him in the back—a metaphor that still gives me chuckles. Still, the most standard (read: tired as fuck) sleight against Drake is that he is a wimp. Not only that but the "proof" all lies in his inability to meet a "real nigga" standard that's really just code for saying that his blackness is diluted. We’ve spent so much time calling Drake a bitch that even white girls feel OK describing him as such. When in a discussion about a clip where Drake expresses disappointment over his mother bringing him the wrong kind of deli sandwich, a white woman informed me that this proved that Drake was, indeed, a fraud. She intimated that he was a whiny little Jewish boy talking back to his mother, citing her own background as expertise while she casually tossed his blackness out the window. I wondered, and eventually asked, where she, as a person who would never experience blackness, found the ground to even question his and claim ownership over any part of him. She wasn’t the only one but what exactly was she (and all the others) pointing out besides the fact that he wasn’t “bad” enough to be a real (read: thug ass) black man? Because he was upset over a sandwich order? I immediately thought of how many times I’d watched dudes in the hood yell at Akh for forgetting they hate tomatoes. But these kind of nonsensical arguments are always there for Drake.

People point to where he grew up and create stories of a middle class upbringing despite him repeatedly speaking on supporting his single, chronically ill mother as a teen and borrowing his aunt and uncle’s car to fake stunt. Subsequently, with each project and verse that Drake drops these days his anger is more palpable and his attitude more aggressive. It’s a progression into hypermasculinity as an affirmation of his blackness, his realness. When he spits, “I used to get teased for being black/Now I’m here, and I’m not black enough” on “You & The 6” it strikes so hard. One could recall when he spoke about being teased for being black and Jewish as a child in the race issue of Vibe, a fact his childhood peers found scientifically impossible. On Nothing Was the Same and If You're Reading This It's Too Late, he often discusses his relationship with his father and by proxy, his Southern American heritage, his Black American Dad story. The intention seems to be to remind us that he is equally as American as he is a Canadian, as he is black and as he is Jewish, equal parts “opposing” things. It’s a lot to constantly deal with as a black man, but isn’t that the story of our very existence as people of color? Constantly having to prove we are human and also black, all at once. Racism is real, but race is performative and nobody proves that better than Aubrey. His foray into presenting himself as hard seems less and less about fronting and more about retaliation for the erasure of his experience. It’s no wonder he linked up with Kanye: a man who has grown tired of trying to please one group and rather focuses on influencing all through his own story.

Kanye is the standout of the trifecta. He is, for lack of a better metaphor, the Father of the Holy Trinity, but honestly he’s more like the Holy Ghost. By the time ’Ye started on his meteoric rise to success he was already an adult. (He was 27 when College Dropout dropped—K-Dot is 27 now and Drake, 28—and his influence on their generation of rap can’t be understated.) He was also raised closer to middle class than them both. His very understanding of the world is a generation ahead of them, but also Kanye’s day to day surpassed Drizzy/K-Dot’s success in 2015 before either of them even had a platform. It’s also safe to say that Kanye—despite having occupied some part of both their skins—is coming from a different place. Kanye is now a black man living in the utmost elitist world and trying to define his blackness now that poverty is no longer the jump-off point. White supremacy hinges on the assumption that your non-whiteness indicates a lack of...well, everything! Many were enraged by his comments about racism being a distraction, but there’s something to consider. Kanye is a black rockstar, recognized not just in rap but in culture, art, and fashion. When you are dealing with the 1 percent, with the highest level of elitism, you realize both it’s all just racism transformed once you can’t just be dismissed for being poor.
His wild example of being protected by his doormen and driver is not just mindless rich people talk, it is his very reality. He acknowledges their existence in a way the white people he's interacting with never would! He’s rich, famous, and his existence is put in danger every day. His not-yet-2-year-old daughter’s face is already an international meme/icon, and people literally try to tackle his wife. They're not just his "help," they are the gatekeepers of a celebrity/rich person's most vital asset in this time: access. I don't need to tell you that rich white people do not think of their servants with such regard.

Still, many accuse him of forgetting the man who made "Jesus Walks" but this is the evolution of that man. He is in a world where race is barely even uttered not because of acceptance but “propriety” and lack of black people in the room to even speak to it. Rich people don’t just accept you bringing up race. They shame your attempts with claims of rudeness and admonishments of being crass. You don’t have to be called a “nigger” at a fashion party, you can simply be called “uncouth”—both achieve the same STFU. The conversation isn’t even allowed a space because the cost of inclusion requires you be a respectable or silent other. Kanye exists to be crass, to be rude, to be loud because the world he lives in demands the utmost silence and placating of his experience for the privilege of luxury. (Just look at his BFF/Big Brother!) A world that has no need for basic racism because classism and elitism covers it for them—even a black celebrity billionaire like Oprah can be questioned by some loser about her finances. Even in success blacks find themselves stereotyped as gold-wearing, ostentatious "new slaves." A world that Kanye will now spend more of his life living in than he did being "normal" back in Chicago. A world that he will raise his daughter in. It’s important to remember that Kanye doesn’t have the answers. He is also a man sorting it out and just like Kendrick has misspoke and Drake has been questionable as a dude, he too should be allowed to figure it out while he yells. We've been quiet long enough.

These three men are conflicted, headstrong and ambitious. They are all angry, just as we “regular” POC are as well. All are experiencing money changing not just their lives but their very blackness; all aggressively fighting back on assumptions made of them. It’s a story of our time told in parts, and they represent not just what you already know about black folks but what has yet to be discovered because we have never experienced true individuality. We are all stuck in imposed solidarity that while it provides support in many cases can also be stifling, especially when “your own turn against you.” But rather than seeing it as such we should look at all three and see inspiration to weave our own stories, our own beliefs. We harm ourselves by judging their blackness and pitting them against each other on a scale of “realness,” rather than presenting the idea that the blackness experience is multifaceted and then calling them out. We are not one brick stone wall weathering the storm—we all got issues. (It also begs pointing out that our obsession with them regularly allows us to leave out black women like Nicki Minaj who tell a better story from an even deeper place of erasure!)

We all want to achieve greatness, and we’ve all been knocked on our ass about what we believe. The narrative is bigger than white supremacist theory; it is about the power to finally speak on what we see. To argue with each other and respect that we as people of color are not one but rather an “all” and we are all trying to figure it out for ourselves. It’s no coincidence that all three of these dudes promote ideas of knowing, trusting, believing in, defending, and loving yourself above all else. It is the only thing we have learned about black survival in this country: Nobody knows our story better than us but a life is lived by one, even if felt by all.
Judnick Mayard is a writer living in New York City. Follow her @Judnikki

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Yung Nate releases G-Day Prod By Gambit

Yung Nate was one of the few artist that was highlighted as someone to watch in the year 2014 and beyond. Today we have an updates on what Nate has been up to. Yung Nate "The Great" has been working hard on delivering music of the highest quality and in Spring 2015 he will be releasing the fruits of his labor in the form of an album called "Illuminate". 

With promotion getting ready to hit a fever pitch, including flyers, listening parties, appearances, shows etc, etc this would all be for naught if there wasn't dope music being made. With that being said G-Day serves as a vanguard to the album and its produced by super producer Gambit.

G-day sounds like soulful desperation, and it's feel is enhanced by the weight and reality of Nate's words as he poetically rhymes about the harshness of the hood and the callous behaviors reinforced by providing for ones family. "Zoning just trying to get away"...there's a lot of dope metaphors and similes in this one and the smooth production has us looking forward for the release of Illuminate.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Netflix Brings Chris Tucker Out of Hiding for His First Ever Stand-Up Special

Netflix really doesn't want you to leave your screens. The video streaming service even went to the ends of the earth to find comedian Chris Tucker and bring him out of hiding for his first full-length stand-up comedy special.

Chris Tucker Live will air on the site July 10, The Hollywood Reporter announced today, and will dabble in everything from his experiences during childhood to his success in Hollywood. 

"Chris Tucker is a true global movie star and a one-of-a-kind talent whose remarkable energy, delivery and original style make him one of the funniest comedians of our time," said Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer. "We cannot wait to share his distinct and hilarious voice with our members across the globe."

Chris Tucker joins a list of comedians who have specials on Netflix including Aziz Ansari, Kevin Hart, Katt Williams and Chelsea Handler, among others. It's nice to have you back, Chris.

Childish Gambino Wins Big At MTV’s Woodie Awards

Rapper Childish Gambino was the big winner at the mtvU Woodie Awards on Friday, taking home two trophies at the Austin, Texas award show.
The MC/actor, real name Donald Glover, was honoured with the Best Video prize for his hit Sober at the ceremony, which celebrates music popular with U.S. college students.

Gambino was also handed the Woodie for Next Level Performance, which fetes an artist who finds new ways to reach audiences, after creating an app which allowed concertgoers to send messages that would be displayed on the stage during his Deep Web tour, in support of his Grammy-nominated album, Because The Internet.
The top prize of the night, for Woodie of the Year, went to producer/electronic musician Porter Robinson, who beat out the likes of Sam Smith, Charli XCX and J. Cole for the award.

Other winners included Taylor Swift, who earned a Cover Woodie for her version of Vance Joy’s Riptide, rapper Hoodie Allen and Ed Sheeran, whose collaboration on All About It won the pair a Co-Sign Woodie, and Fall Out Boy, who became the first inductees into the Hall of Wood for their career achievements.
The Centuries rockers also took the stage to perform a medley of their hits, while other artists including Big Sean, Years & Years and James Bay also entertained the crowd with live sets.

The annual award show, which takes place during the South By Southwest festival, was hosted by fun. star Jack Antonoff.


Justin Bieber and Kendall Jenner Will Appear in 'Vogue' Together

Last month, we got word that Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, and actor Ansel Elgort were going to be featured in a Vogue spread shot by famed photography Mario Testino. And although we were pretty excited about the star-studded cast, we’ve now confirmed there was a fourth participating celebrity: Justin Bieber.

The 21-year-old singer/Calvin Klein model nabbed a few photos in the April issue’s "Meet Hollywood’s New Brat Pack" feature. He is shown posing by the pool with Kendall in one image, and getting close and personal with her in another.