Sessi’s “2C” Surpasses One Million Streams Mark on Spotify

Sessi has a million reasons to smile…

Following its release in March, the Puerto Rican and Cuban American singer’s single “2C” has surpassed the one million streams mark on Spotify, becoming the emerging artist’s first single to join the millions club.

Sessi

The track was produced by Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum producer Gavriel “Vein” Rafael.

“The dream is free, but the hustle is sold separately,” Sessi tells Billboard. “Hitting a million streams is a major milestone for me. As an emerging artist, and ‘2C’ being only my third single, it means my hustle and talent is not going unnoticed. I’m thankful to God, my team, and my supporters for never giving up on me.”

Daddy Yankee’s “Con Calma” Surpasses One Billion Streams on Spotify

Daddy Yankee has another billion reasons to smile…

This week, the 45-year-old Puerto Rican reggaeton icon surpassed more than one billion streams on Spotify with his 2019 Snow-assisted hit single “Con Calma.”

Daddy Yankee

According to a press statement, Daddy Yankee is the “only Latin artist to tally over one billion Spotify streams on three tracks.”

He previously surpassed the one billion streams mark with “Despacito” with Luis Fonsi and “Despacito (Remix)” featuring Justin Bieber.

“Con Calma,” which is an energetic, bilingual remake of Snow’s 1992 hit “Informer,” peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart dated May 4, 2019, where it reigned for 14 consecutive weeks.

https://twitter.com/daddy_yankee/status/1430648878961922048

Ozuna Teams Up with “Call of Duty” Mobile Game for Large Scale Partnership

Ozuna is answering the call (of duty)…

The 29-year-old Puerto Rican singer has become the first artist to score a large-scale partnership with the Call of Duty mobile game.

Ozuna

Ozuna’s partnership with Call of Duty: Mobile includes an official skin (an outfit for player avatars) and other in-game content, timed to the release of the game’s seventh season, “Elite of the Elite,” out August 25.

That day, he’s also releasing an original song, titled “A La Buena El Mejor,” to serve as the season’s official theme. While the first-person shooter game has collaborated with musicians in the past, it has never signed up an artist to a partnership this extensive.

Call of Duty: Elite of the Elite, Ozuna

“It’s a dream opportunity for my brand, for my name, to step up my career,” Ozuna tells Billboard. “I want to do something different for the culture.”

The collaboration gives Ozuna access to the vast audience of players on Call of Duty: Mobile, which launched in October 2019 and has since crossed 500 million worldwide downloads. Ozuna says that the game’s global reach is an exposure opportunity not just for his music, but for reggaeton and Latin music as a whole. “A La Buena El Mejor” is sung entirely in Spanish.

“My music culture goes up, reggaeton goes up,” thanks to the partnership, he says. “Call of Duty is an opportunity for my culture.”

Call of Duty: Mobile vice president of product and GM Matt Lewis adds that the partnership allows for the “cross-pollination” of fanbases, helping Ozuna’s fans discover the game just as much as it helps players discover Ozuna. The fact that Ozuna is already a frequent Call of Duty player sealed the deal.

“When we learned that Ozuna was a player, we thought this would be a great opportunity to celebrate that,” Lewis says. “[He] didn’t just want to give players the basics. He wanted to go deep with this collaboration and provide an experience for the players.”

Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey Network to Begin Streaming on the Roku Channel

Robert Rodriguez is livin’ a new stream

The 53-year-old Mexican American filmmaker’s El Rey Network, which is making a rare transition from cable television to free streaming, has set a deal for crucial real estate on the Roku Channel.

Robert Rodriguez

Starting tomorrow, the network founded by Rodriguez will start streaming as a 24-7 linear offering on the Roku Channel, one of more than 190 on the free outlet.

Launched in 2013 as a result of the agreement reached by Comcast and NBCUniversal with regulators yielding new commitments to diverse programming options, El Rey targeted young, English-speaking Latino viewers. It wound down its nearly decade-long run on traditional pay-TV at the end of 2020, having peaked at 40 million households. While other channels have gone dark on cable and returned as digital properties, El Rey is one of the first to attempt such a shift during the streaming era.

The Roku Channel, which has 40,000 on-demand film and television titles in addition to its linear offerings, reaches households with 70 million people. Since launching in 2017, it has become a leading home for free, ad-supported streaming, ranking as the No. 6 overall streaming site in a June Nielsen gauge of household reach. In the spring, Roku Channel launched an original programming banner, whose initial slate includes Quibi titles acquired last January.

With recent data suggesting that 60% of Hispanic viewers regularly stream free, ad-supported services, several other programmers have jumped into the fray. Pluto and Tubi have launched Spanish-language efforts and Univision (initially an investor in the El Rey network) just launched PrendeTV. But El Rey’s backers see little overlap in their streaming effort, which trades as the network always has on Rodriguez’s personal tastes and eclectic resume as the director of an eclectic roster of films from Spy Kids to From Dusk Till Dawn to Sin City.

El Rey does not plan an initial investment in original programming, with its 150 hours of originals almost entirely consisting of previously produced fare. The Roku Channel will be the exclusive first AVOD destination for Rodriguez’s feature film Red 11, which had a festival circuit run. Rebel Without a Crew: The Robert Rodriguez Film School will be another exclusive, starting in the first quarter of 2022. Other shows from El Rey include The Director’s Chair, featuring conversations between Rodriguez and guests like John Carpenter and Quentin Tarantino; and Cutting Crew, which is centered at a barbershop outside of Philadelphia; and El Rey Nation, a geek-fandom panel series.

Roku VP of Programming Rob Holmes told Deadline in an interview that the arrangement would give El Rey access to “millions of engaged streamers.” In the streaming world, he added, networks need to do four things well: deliver compelling programming; create a compelling user experience; acquire and retain users; and then monetize those users. Most programmers are comfortable with only the first of the four, he said.

“You’ve seen huge investments from big folks like Disney,” he said, “but there are many people who aren’t prepared to do those other three things. Recognizing that, they can be very successful at doing that first thing, which they’ve always been good at. …. They can rely on the Roku Channel to bring these other three capabilities and do it at a really big scale.”

Cinedigm, a specialist in streaming, joined forces with El Rey to take its network into the digital realm and refine the user experience. Unlike many other cable networks during the 2010s, El Rey never built an authenticated TV Everywhere app.

John Fogelman, CEO of FactoryMade Ventures and a co-founder of El Rey, told Deadline Rodriguez had been envisioning a leap to streaming since at least 2020. The environment “feels much more right” than cable, he said, but “it just wasn’t available when we started.”

Fogelman said El Rey will aim to use Roku as the foundation for other streaming deals with other providers. The economics of digital distribution are different from traditional pay-TV, where programmers get a dual revenue stream via carriage fees and advertising. Streaming channels take part in a revenue share from both distribution and ads, but the margins are slimmer and the tech platforms control most of the viewership data. Along with the technical challenges involved in taking a channel from cable to streaming, Fogelman said the whole experience was tantamount to “ripping off the Band-Aid.”

Based on initial feedback through various channels, he said, viewers are grateful to have a chance to keep tuning in. “That beat-up crown that Robert designed” in the El Rey logo, Fogelman said, “really means a lot to a lot of people.”

Ashley Hovey, Director of AVOD, The Roku Channel, said El Rey fits the Roku business model and the realities of streaming. Nine out of 10 U.S. Hispanic households are now streaming in the U.S., she said, making it “clear there is a growing demand for engaging, high quality Latinx entertainment. El Rey is changing the programming world in an exciting way that speaks to the future of audience discovery and engagement.”

Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” Music Video Joins Billion Views Club on YouTube

Cardi B is makin’ bodak moves…

The official music video for the 28-year-old half-Dominican American rap superstar’s breakthrough single “Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)” has surpassed the 1 billion views mark on YouTube.

Cardi B, ELLE, September Issue

It’s an impressive accomplishment for Cardi B given the video cost only $15,000 to produce, according to the Grammy-winning rapper.

“Bodak Yellow” is Cardi B’s third video to log at least a billion views on YouTube, if we’re including guest spots: She first achieved the feat as the featured artist on Maroon 5‘s “Girls Like You” video, and then again in 2019 when her Bad Bunny and J Balvin collaboration “I Like It” joined the 1 billion views club on YouTube. All three songs previously topped the Billboard Hot 100.

Most recently, Cardi B slid into the top 15 of the Hot 100 via her featured verse on Normani‘s “Wild Side.” Normani stole the show in the music video for Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion‘s “WAP,” and Cardi returned the favor by hopping on Normani’s Aaliyah-tipping “Wild Side” and appearing in the video, which boasts chains and killer choreography.

Carmelo Anthony Launching “What’s In Your Glass?” Podcast

Carmelo Anthony is expanding his creative empire…

The 37-year-old Puerto Rican professional basketball player and NBA All-Star is moving into the world of podcasting.

Carmelo Anthony

The former New York Knicks star and his content company Creative 7 have teamed up with Audacy-owned Cadence13 to launch the What’s In Your Glass? podcast.

Anthony, who is in the top ten of all time scorers in the league, is adapting the wine-focused YouTube series into audio form.

On the series, which will launch on July 22 and be available across podcast platforms and on YouTube, he’ll talk wine with the likes of Mark Cuban, Andra Day, Shaka King, T-Pain, and JJ Redick.

He’ll talk to guests from the worlds of sports, wine, business, entertainment, music, politics, and more over a glass or two as well as spearhead in-depth conversations about the timely issues facing our society including social justice.

Anthony is at the forefront of a growing wine movement in the NBA, widely considered the unofficial wine ambassador to the league and responsible for increasing the interest of the likes of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Paul during a 2015 boat trip.

“I’m excited to be working with Cadence13 to bring back What’s In Your Glass? in a brand new format and introduce it to the world of audio,” said Anthony. “We have some incredible conversations lined up, so I can’t wait for listeners to pour a glass and join us each week as we talk about life, current events, and of course, all-things wine.”

“We’re thrilled to partner with world-class athlete, and a leading voice for social justice, Carmelo Anthony as he continues to achieve greatness on and off the court,” added Chris Corcoran, Chief Content Officer. “As he explores his passion for wine and more, we couldn’t be more excited to welcome Carmelo to the Cadence13 family and listen to these conversations.”

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/whats-in-your-glass/id1576873726

Lionel Messi Photo with Copa America Trophy Now Most-Liked Sports Photo on Instagram 

Lionel Messi is the new IG sports image king…

An Instagram photo of the 34-year-old Argentine professional footballer holding the Copa America trophy following Argentina’s win over Brazil has become the most liked sports photo on the social media platform, surpassing a record 20 million likes.

Lionel Messi  

Messi celebrated his first major title with Argentina as the Albiceleste lifted the Copa America trophy after a 1-0 win over Brazil at the Maracana Stadium on July 10.

Messi posted the picture with the caption: “What a beautiful madness! This is unbelievable! Thank you, God! We are the champions!”

The post broke the previous record of 19.8 million likes that was held by Cristiano Ronaldo after he paid tribute to Diego Maradona following his death.

Ronaldo shared a black and white photograph of himself with Maradona and wrote: “Today I’m saying goodbye to a friend and the world is saying goodbye to an eternal genius. One of the best of all-time. An unparalleled magician. He leaves too soon, but he leaves a legacy without limits and an emptiness that will never be filled. Rest in peace, ace. You will never be forgotten.”

Messi, a six-time Ballon d’Or winner, was voted the top player of the Copa America after his four goals and five assists in the competition.

The Argentina captain is expected to sign a new contract with Barcelona soon.

Maluma’s “Borro Cassette” Enters YouTube’s Billion Views Club

It’s Lucky No. 7 for Maluma

The 27-year-old Colombian singer/songwriter’s “Borro Cassette” has crossed the one billion views mark on YouTube, scoring Maluma his seventh entry in the Billion Views Club.

Maluma x Quay

Released in 2015, the track was part of Maluma’s chart-topping Pretty Boy, Dirty Boy album, which peaked at No. 1 on BillboardTop Latin Albums Chart dated November 20, 2015. “Borro Cassette” spent 40 weeks on the Hot Latin Songs chart, peaking at No. 3.

Other Maluma songs that have entered the billion views club include “Sin Contrato,” “Corazón,” “El Perdedor” and “Felices Los 4.”

News of his seventh entry in the billion views club comes as the “Hawái” singer has sparked confusion among his fans after feuding on Twitter with reality TV personality Scott Disick, who appears in Maluma’s new music video for his latest single “Sobrio.”

Gael Garcia Bernal to Portray Salvador Dali in New Podcast “Playboy Interview”

Gael Garcia Bernal’s art is about to imitate art life…

The 42-year-old Mexican actor and producer is joining a slew of stars who’ll portray famous figures across history in a new podcast series from Playboy and Audio Up.

Gael García Bernal

The two companies are launching Playboy Interview, an audio series that features teleplay-style re-enactments of the most iconic Playboy interview conversations.

In addition to Garcia Bernal, other stars set to take part in the program are Rosanna ArquetteTaye DiggsMaya Hawke, Shea Whigham, Michael Shannon, Kevin Corrigan and Gina Gershon.

The series, which is set to debut in September, will see Arquette voice feminist pioneer Betty Friedan, Diggs will portray Muhammad Ali, Garcia Bernal plays Salvador Dali, Shannon is Tennessee Williams, Shea Whigham is John Wayne, Maya Hawke is Helen Gurley Brown, Kevin Corrigan is Frank Sinatra and Gina Gershon is Oriana Fallaci.

The first two episodes will feature “conversations” with Friedan and Ali.

The series is based on the classic Playboy Interview, which started in 1962 with Alex Haley’s conversation with Miles Davis and has run for more than 500 interviews including the likes of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Fidel Castro, Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Steve Jobs, Whoopi Goldberg and Maya Angelou.

“Working on the Playboy Interview was an incredible experience,” said Maya Hawke, who also portrays Ayn Rand in the second season, which is likely to launch in early 2022. “I got the rare opportunity to portray two of history’s most influential, controversial, and complicated women. I was allowed to inhabit the characters rather than being asked to impersonate them, which left me thinking about their respective perspectives for weeks after. And I felt inspired. Even if I don’t agree with them about everything, or anything – their strength, persistence, and insistence on being exactly who they are has reminded me to be exactly who I am.”

“Playboy is culturally iconic for many reasons, but their in-depth interviews and journalistic integrity is a large part of what has made the publication so cool,” said Gina Gershon. “I was so happy to work on a project that celebrates Playboy’s historic interviews with so many incredible individuals. I’ve always been fascinated by Oriana Fallaci, and was so excited to be able to take part in bringing her interviews to life. It was so much fun to explore this remarkable woman and share her point of view with the world.”

“We couldn’t be more excited to unveil the first season of the Playboy Interview podcast,” added Rachel Webber, Chief Brand Officer at PLBY Group and producer of the series. “Audio is the perfect format for these intimate and revealing conversations. Each brilliant performance by this incredible cast gives you chills, making you feel like you’re right there in the room as history unfolds.”

“This podcast is the culmination of a personal journey for me having spent seven years as Playboy’s editorial director,” added Audio Up’s Chief Creative Officer Jimmy Jellinek, who adapted, produced and directed all 10 episodes of season one. “Thanks to the explosion of audio as a medium, today we’re able to reintroduce these incredible conversations to a new generation. I have long thought the Playboy Interview would lend itself perfectly to formats off the page. In my wildest dreams I didn’t anticipate that something this magical would be the result.”

“We’ve paired the greatest conversations of the 20th century with the greatest actors of the 21st. Audio Up is in the business of pushing the boundaries of audio entertainment and this project exemplifies that mission in every way,” said Audio Up founder and Chief Executive Officer Jared Gutstadt.

J Balvin Lands Two Singles on Spotify’s “Billions Club” Playlist

J Balvin is officially in special company…

Spotify has launched its “Billions Club” playlist to highlight the music of the members of its Billion Streams Club, including two of the 36-year-old Colombian singer/songwriter’s most iconic singles.

J Balvin

According to Spotify, the new playlist — which currently features more than 150 songs — highlights the megahits that have surpassed the one billion streams mark. Included on the new playlist are J Balvin’s “Mi Gente” with Willy William and his collaboration with Cardi B and Bad Bunny, “I Like It.”

In all Cardi B has three singles on the playlist. Along with “I Like It,” the other singles are “Girls Like You” with Maroon 5, and “Taki Taki,” her collaboration with Selena Gomez, Ozuna and DJ Snake.

Selena Gomez has three singles. Along with “Taki Taki,” her other singles on the playlist include “We Don’t Talk Anymore” with Charlie Puth, and “It Ain’t Me” with Kygo.

Bruno Mars has three singles on the playlist “That’s What I Like” and “Just the Way You Are,” as well as “Uptown Funk” with Mark Ronson.

Other Latin artists appearing on the playlist include Karol G, Danny Ocean, Fifth Harmony, Camila Cabello and Luis Fonsi.

“Spotify has long celebrated artist milestones and we wanted to find a unique way to honor the artists and songs fans can’t stop listening to,” Ashley Graver, Global Head of Creative Artist Partnerships, tells Billboard. “The Billions Club playlist is a natural evolution of the plaques you have seen from multiple artists, and we are excited to give fans a one-stop destination to enjoy some of the most streamed songs in the world.”

Also in celebration of the newly rounded up collection of songs, Spotify created a video sharing how various artists have reveled when learning of the milestone and receiving their One Billion Streams plaque from the streamer.

Prior to the launch of the “Billions Club” playlist, some artists have marked hitting the billion streams achievement by doing more than just showing off their shiny new plaques on social media. Several have literally eaten off the platter-shaped badge of honor: Halsey dug into some Cheetos and candy, Joe Jonas dined on some McDonald’s, and Quavo ate some scrambled eggs and waffles with plenty of syrup, for example. (See Billboard’s gallery.)

Spotify has been busy this year launching new features beyond the just announced “Billions Club” playlist.

In April, the streaming service started adding some livestream events to artist pages, and in late May, partnered with Driift for tickets to a virtual concert series.

Cardi B, “I Like It,” featuring Bad Bunny & J Balvin
Cardi B, “Girls Like Me,” with Maroon 5
Bruno Mars, “That’s What I Like”
Bruno Mars, “Just the Way You Are”
Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk,” with Mark Ronson
Fifth Harmony, “Work From Home,” featuring Ty Dolla $ign
Karol G, “Tusa,” featuring Nicki Minaj
Selena Gomez, “We Don’t Talk Anymore,” with Charlie Puth
Selena Gomez, “Taki Taki,” with DJ Snake, Cardi B & Ozuna
Selena Gomez, “It Ain’t Me,” with Kygo
Camila Cabello, “Senorita,” with Shawn Mendes
Camila Cabello, “Havana,” featuring Young Thug
Luis Fonsi, “Despacito – Remix,” with Daddy Yankee & Justin Bieber
Luis Fonsi, “Despacity,” with Daddy Yankee
J Balvin, “Mi Gente,” with Willy William
Danny Ocean, “Me Rehuso”