Demi Lovato is the latest artist to be slapped with accusations of lifting from someone else's work -- and to get sued for it. More than nine months after indie noise-pop duo Sleigh Bells publicly called out the pop singer over alleged similarities between a track from her latest album and one of its own, the band has turned to court. In the complaint filed Monday in California federal court, Sleigh Bells accuse Lovato and her collaborators of lifting material from "Infinity Guitars" -- a single off the band's critically acclaimed 2010 debut, "Treats" -- to create "Stars," which appears on the deluxe edition of Lovato's most recent album, "Confident." "A comparison of the two songs reveals that, at the very least, the combination of the hand claps and bass drum, structured as 3 quarter beats and a rest, with the bass drum providing a counter-rhythm to the hand claps, is at least substantially similar in both works," stated the complaint. The complaint, which was obtained by The Times, alleges that the similarities between the two tracks "transcend the realm of coincidence."
NBCUniversal has completed its 3.8-billion acquisition of DreamWorks Animation, a blockbuster deal that alters the face of Hollywood and accelerates the pace of consolidation in the media industry. Monday was the final day that DreamWorks' shares traded on the Nasdaq stock exchange, according to a regulatory filing. Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief executive of the boutique studio behind such animated hits as "Kung Fu Panda" and "Shrek," officially segued into a new role as a consultant to Comcast Corp., which is the parent company of NBCUniversal. Another Jeff is in charge: Jeff Shell, chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group. Shell now will oversee DreamWorks Animation, which becomes part of his business unit that includes movie studio Universal Pictures, online ticket service Fandango and NBCUniversal Brand Development.
Frank Ocean has released "Blonde," his second album in as many days, turning the enigmatic R&B crooner's comeback into both a test of endurance and an ambitious reworking of the album release. After weeks of rumors, the singer on Saturday released "Blonde," the official follow-up to his heralded, Grammy-winning 2012 major-label debut, "Channel Orange." The 17-track LP is available exclusively to Apple Music streaming subscribers, with one exception: Copies of the work accompanied a free print publication titled "Boys Don't Cry" at pop-up shops in cities including New York, Chicago, London and Los Angeles (on Fairfax Avenue). Dozens of pop music heavyweights are credited on the album including Andre 3000, Beyoncé, James Blake, Jamie XX, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Malay, Om'Mas Keith, Tyler the Creator, Rick Rubin and Pharrell Williams. David Bowie, Elliott Smith and the Beatles are also credited as contributors, though it is unclear if Ocean is crediting samples or if he got his hands on unreleased recordings.
Jim Gianopulos, the veteran chief of the 20th Century Fox film studio, is stepping down sooner than expected to make way for his replacement, Stacey Snider. Snider, whose elevation was announced in June, will take over as chairman and chief executive of 20th Century Fox Film on Sept. 1. She had originally been expected to assume Gianopulos' duties in June 2017 after his current contract expires. The transition comes as 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch and Executive Chairman Lachlan Murdoch move to put their stamp on the studio. "We are fortunate to have Stacey with us to lead the studio into its next chapter and are confident we will see great success under her headship," the Murdoch brothers said in a statement on Tuesday.
So much about Frank Ocean's gripping new album, "Blonde," seems to put it in line with recent high-profile records by Beyoncé, Rihanna and Kanye West, from its short-notice release to its limited availability to its expansive roster of collaborators. Push beyond the branding strategy, though, and actually listen to "Blonde" -- which appeared in physical form Saturday at pop-up shops in four cities and can now be streamed or downloaded only through iTunes and Apple Music -- and you quickly realize how different the R&B singer's project is from "Lemonade," "Anti" and "The Life of Pablo." Where those earlier albums seemed to take in as much of pop music as possible -- to use every sound and texture at the disposal of today's Internet-equipped creator -- "Blonde" is rigorously contained, almost ascetic in its clean-lined minimalism. One song is even called "Self Control." Many of the 17 tracks feature Ocean's sturdy but yearning voice over acoustic or undistorted electric guitar; others add keyboards, strings or programmed beats but avoid the layered density that defines virtually everything on the radio -- and that's despite a crowded credits list that includes Beyoncé, West, Kendrick Lamar, Rick Rubin, Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead and the Beatles (from whom Ocean borrows a bit of "Here, There and Everywhere" at the end of his "White Ferrari").