Magazine article Variety

Figure Skaters Spin to New Tunes

Magazine article Variety

Figure Skaters Spin to New Tunes

Article excerpt

O ver the past two decades, the popularity of ice skating has waned. But this Olympic season, a pair of pop-culture phenomena may change that, with one of them impacting the music industry.

The first, of course, is awards-season bait "I, Tonya," a reminder of skating's dramatic heyday. The second is Jimmy Ma, a relative unknown, soundtracking his nimble U.S. Figure Skating Championships routine to DJ Snake and Lil Jon's "Turn Down for What." "I became an internet meme in three days," says Ma, who's previously skated to Eminem.

Lil Jon learned of the homage to his track through Twitter. "I was like, 'WTF is this?' So I watched, and I was like, 'This is really cool. I never seen anyone figure skate to hip-hop!'"

That's because the International Skating Union, which governs the sport, didn't allow lyrics in skating programs until just after the 2014 Olympic Games. That makes Pyeongchang a testing ground.

What does it mean for recording artists? Footage of Ma's Jan. 4 routine went viral, accruing at least 680,000 views across several YouTube channels and trending on social media. It was great publicity for DJ Snake and Lil Jon. But with "Turn Down for What" clocking only roughly 30% more streams the first day it went viral, the exposure didn't yield much in the way of royalties.

The Olympics, by contrast, draw massive global audiences - 2.1 billion fans reportedly tuned in to the Sochi games four years ago. "There's an exception to the copyright act that allows for music to be reproduced at live events without a sync license," says Steve Winogradsky, a veteran music attorney and author of "Music Publishing: The Complete Guide. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.