The inner workings of the music industry are likely lost to a layman. Consider the stakes alone. Despite what some artists claim to feel about sales, first-week numbers stand as a point of interest for myriad reasons. Strong sales might be the difference between a sizeable album budget and a permanent place on the shelf. Of course, DJ Khaled has already established himself as a viable commercial presence, even after falling behind Tyler, The Creator's Igor.
By now, we're all well aware of the basic story beats. Despite "not being in the bundling business," DJ Khaled found himself lamenting a bundle-deal gone awry, after Billboard deemed his energy-drink packaging deal had "crossed a line by encouraging unauthorized bulk sales." Now, with reports of brewing lawsuits and an uncharacteristically bitter Khaled, Sony Music has found itself playing peacekeeper between Epic Records and Columbia Records. Variety came through with a deep dive report on the situation, explaining that Sony, the parent company to both Epic and Columbia, have been placed in an increasingly awkward position.
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Apparently, much of the animosity stems from the vast fortune spent on creating Father Of Asahd, with a reported budget of $5 million. For the most part, much of said budget went to securing features from Post Malone, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, SZA, Travis Scott, and many more. As Khaled's label Epic poured oodles of ducats into the project, Khaled expected his investment to pay off in the long-run. While we've already heard details of a notorious "temper tantrum," Variety shines a further light on the situation, explaining that a livid Khaled "berated Epic staffers for several hours," before doing the same at the Roc Nation offices.
From the sound of it, Epic chairman Sylvia Rhone received the brunt of the tongue lashing. While accounts of his tone and demeanor differ from hostile and threatening to "passionate and concerned," Variety claims that Sony Music wasn't entirely pleased with the otherwise affable mogul. Still, perhaps we oughta sympathize with the man, who was simultaneously made and undone by the bundle; after all, Tyler's bundling counted, while his were disqualified. If there's a silver lining in all of this, perhaps "Bundlegate" will shine a light on how dubious the practice really is. Good art will always speak for itself, and not even the most caffeinated energy drink can change that.