Minimum Gauge: Comeuppance arrives for both Fyre Festival founder and rare Wu-Tang album owner

Punchable-faced Martin Shkreli and Fyre Festival's Billy McFarland make everyone happy for once; Spotify and a vodka company show you the ratio of women vs. men in your music listening; Jack White goes digital because Chris Rock told him no one cares.

Mar 12, 2018 at 5:02 pm

HOT: This Week in Karma

Billy McFarland, who created the Fyre Festival the expensive “luxury” music fest in the Bahamas that crashed and burned spectacularly before its inaugural/swan song event last spring (with slated performers like Major Lazer and blink-182) has been ordered by a federal court to repay $26 million to the event’s investors. He still faces up to 10 years in prison (sentencing is in June). Meanwhile, punchable-faced entrepreneur Martin Shkreli who got his start in public douchebaggery by jacking up the price of a previously affordable AIDS drug by 5,000 percent cried as he was sentenced to seven years in prison for securities fraud. The news was gleefully conveyed by every outlet that could remotely justify reporting on it. That includes music outlets, because of Shkreli’s collection of impossibly rare (and astronomically expensive) items like a $2 million one-off Wu-Tang Clan album and unreleased Lil Wayne music.

WARM: Spotify Shaming Tool

Timed to International Women’s Day, Spotify teamed up with a booze company to launch a weird but enlightening tool that tells you the ratio of male vs. female creators of the music you listen to. The tackily named “Smirnoff Equalizer” also includes an “Equalized Playlist” of favorite songs (or tracks you might like) that allows users to adjust that ratio to hear more women or more men (for artists that identify as non-binary, the algorithm includes them “if they match your listening habits”). Despite the crass branding, it’s a well-intentioned experiment that is mildly shaming, but also potentially illuminating for users, especially in light of the Grammy president’s controversial comments about how women need to “step up” if they want more recognition.

COLD: Rock Changes White

Jack White has reportedly abandoned his devout analog-only approach to recording and embraced digital tools for his forthcoming album. White told Rolling Stone that part of the reason for his shift from tedious old-school techniques to contemporary technology like ProTools (which he once called “cheating”) was a comment by comedian Chris Rock, who White says told him “nobody cares” how the music was recorded.