Culture Feature

This Haunts Me: JD and the Straight Shot vs. the NY Knicks

Owner James L. Dolan's cringey vanity project may be one of the biggest obstacles to the Nicks's success.

Once upon a time the New York Knicks were considered a real basketball team.

Led by Hall-of-Famer Patrick Ewing from the late '80s to the year 2000, the team was a genuine rival for the likes of the '90s Chicago Bulls, making 13 consecutive playoff appearances and making it to the NBA Finals in 1994 and 1999.

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The Highest Paid People in Entertainment

These stars are pulling in millions of dollars per Instagram post.

Working in the arts is a tricky business.

While many artists struggle to stay afloat, the entertainment industry is arguably driven by the elusive promise that someday, you too could make it big. Of course, "big breaks" are largely dependent upon luck and connections. Just how much money are folks in the entertainment industry raking in?

According to Forbes, the top 10 highest paid musicians span genres and eras. 2019 saw Taylor Swift remain far and away the wealthiest musician in the world, followed closely by rival Kanye West. It also saw Beyoncé and Jay-Z amass exactly the same number of millions in the same year (some Illuminati sh*t if I've ever seen it).

  1. Taylor Swift: $185 Million
  2. Kanye West: $150 Million
  3. Ed Sheeran: $110 Million
  4. The Eagles: $100 Million
  5. Elton John: $84 Million
  6. Jay-Z: $81 Million
  7. Beyoncé Knowles: $81 Million
  8. Drake: $75 Million
  9. Sean Combs: $70 Million
  10. Metallica: $68 Million

As for actors, the top 10 list includes only men—and their salaries are significantly lower than what the top 10 highest paid musicians are raking in. Most of these stars have been in the entertainment industry for a while, and the majority have starred in at least one major franchise.

  1. Dwayne the Rock Johnson: $65 Million
  2. Robert Downey Jr.: $62 Million
  3. Jackie Chan: $55 Million
  4. Matt Damon: $55 Million
  5. Johnny Depp: $48 Million
  6. Vin Diesel: $47 Million
  7. Tom Cruise: $40 Million
  8. Leonardo DiCaprio: $39 Million
  9. Amitabh Bachchan: $33.5 Million
  10. Shahrukh Khan: $33 Million

Not all of the highest-paid entertainers are actors or musicians. Here are a few more miscellaneous super-rich stars:

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo, $109 Million
  2. Neymar, $105 Million
  3. Dr. Phil, $95 Million
  4. Canelo Alvarez, $94 Million
  5. Roger Federer, $93.4 Million
  6. J. K. Rowling, $92 Million
  7. Ellen DeGeneres, $80.5 Million
  8. Tiger Woods, $63.9 Million
  9. Gordon Ramsay, $63 Million

When we start talking about influencers and social media stars, things get a bit more complex, because social media stars make their living in a variety of (often unreported) manners. Still, if you're looking to make a killing on social media, becoming a YouTube gaming maestro or fitness blogger (or marrying into the Kardashian clan) might be the way to go. In no particular order, here are some of the Internet's highest paid influencers:

  1. Kylie Jenner: $170 million, reportedly takes home one million dollars per sponsored post
  2. Evan Fong, aka VanossGaming: $18 Million
  3. Kayla Itsines: $17 Million
  4. DanTDM, YouTube gaming star: $16.5 Million
  5. PewDiePie: $12.5 Million
  6. Mark Fischbach: $12.5 Million
  7. Jake Paul: $12 million
  8. Kim Kardashian: $720,000 per sponsored post
  9. Selena Gomez: $550,000 per sponsored post
  10. Lily Singh: $10.5 Million

Does this fill you with an irrational rage? Are you thinking right now that a lot of these people aren't that talented—or maybe they are talented, but you know so many people who are just as talented and hard-working as these folks and yet struggle to find their next meal or pay their rent? Does it bother you to think about how much just a fraction of these stars' wealth could do for your family, or any humanitarian cause? How, if we glorified kindness and equality rather than ostentatious wealth-hoarding, the world could be a totally different place?

The answer, my friend, is to become a democratic socialist and preferably vote Bernie in 2020, or at least support policies and organizations that tax the rich and prevent some people from literally bathing in wealth while others struggle to make it day to day. What, where did you think this was going?

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Popdust Presents

Caroline Jones Answers the Entire Magic Box

The country star answered every single question.

Caroline Jones, an electrifying guitarist, with a country-pop style reminiscent of early Miranda Lambert, recently co-produced her first album, Bare Feet, with Grammy and Academy Award-winning producer Ric Wake. The album, featuring the song, "Tough Guys," which spent six weeks at #1 on's 12 Pack Countdown, got Jones mentioned in Rolling Stone as one of their "10 Country Artists You Need to Know." The magazine called her "an ambitious, entrepreneurial guitar heroine primed to bring back the pop-country glory of the Nineties." Following tours with Jimmy Buffett and the Eagles, Zac Brown Band and OneRepublic, and Tim McGraw & Faith Hill, Jones decided to polish off her busy 2018 with at trip to the Popdust offices.

Popdust Presents | Caroline Jones

Caroline Jones started her performance with "Chasin' Me," a sultry classic-country song about a persistent suitor eventually winning her affection. Then, bringing some Christmas spirit to the Popdust offices, she sang an ethereal edition of "The First Noel."

Caroline Jones "Chasin' Me"

Caroline Jones "The First Noel"

Finally, Caroline refused to be intimidated by the formidable magic box. She tore through every question without hesitation, only stopping to ask who Chef Boyardee is. She admitted that she's pretty tired of golden retrievers, teletubbies are scary, and that she'd kiss Post Malone but only if she fell in love with him first.

The Magic Box Interview with Caroline Jones

For more from Caroline Jones, follow her on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

Brooke Ivey Johnson is a Brooklyn based writer, playwright, and human woman. To read more of her work visit her blog or follow her twitter @BrookeIJohnson.

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"Happiness... starts inside," Travis Marsh discovers in his aptly titled new single, "Happiness."

The video for the song offers a fun, metaphorical take on feeling like an alien (or in this case, an astronaut) in everyday circumstances. Marsh, seen here dressed as the trophy from the MTV Music Video Awards, searches everywhere around LA for happiness before seemingly discovering it within himself after taking off his helmet. This journey is summarized at the end by a well chosen quote from Denis Waitley: "Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude."

Marsh is a native Los Angeles based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer whose musical journey began at the age of 10 when he received a guitar at Christmas. His taste in music is highly eclectic - equal parts folk, rock, and pop - yet all rooted in music-rich legacy and landscape of Southern California.

Songwriting seems to have become a passion for Marsh only a few years later in life. Many of those songs stayed with him as his musical sensibilities took shape, as Marsh describes: "I've been writing songs since I was about 14. These songs would [later] be released, in one form or another, on an album I released on iTunes when I was 18."

feeling happy

At that time, the Laurel Canyon scene of the 70's had a massive impact on shaping Travis' music taste: "My favorite music growing up was the Cali-Country / Laurel Canyon scene. Artists like the Eagles, Jackson Browne, and others helped spark my interest in strong sensory-based lyrics tied to classic country and folk story telling."

It only makes sense that the music of Travis Marsh echoes the tradition of the songwriting troubadour, of Jackson Browne and Joni Mitchell, but also deals in the smooth aesthetics of a pop connoisseur. The culmination of working in these seemingly polar opposite styles has arrived in the form of a string of new singles. With smooth production handled by producers D. Brooks Exclusive and Smitty Soul, these are the songs that bring out the Jekyll and Hyde qualities of Marsh's discography.

After recently living in Nashville for a couple of years, performing in various Country groups, Travis was ready to come home. Nashville had run its musical course for Travis, and his life – musical and otherwise – needed reimagining. After wrapping up a tour in 2015 with Country artist Joel Crouse, Travis eventually returned to his native Los Angeles, where he set out to focus on a new solo direction. This time around, Travis wanted to take his early love for the songsmiths of Laurel Canyon, and add a dose of sun-bleached California pop melody.

By blurring the lines between rock, folk, country, and pop, Travis is charting exciting new musical territory that captures perfectly the Jekyll and Hyde spirit of Los Angeles and Southern California. The result of this newfound hybrid sound has made itself apparent in a handful of infectious singles that will be released in the coming months, including his collaboration with Chicago rapper G-Herbo on his single "Lay Me Down."

Follow Travis Marsh on Facebook | Spotify | Instagram | Twitter |

Brent Butler is a NYC-based rapper, producer, and guitarist. He is a regular contributor to Popdust and host of Popdust Presents. Follow Brent on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Soundcloud | and check out his debut solo EP, | L I L A C |

Top Stories

The Eagles Soar Past Michael Jackson

38 X Platinum, 'Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975' Tops 'Thriller'

Here's a real “Thriller" for ya… Michael Jackson's chart-topping album now plays second fiddle to the Eagles' Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975.

Now certified 38x platinum (meaning the album has been sold or streamed 38 million times according to the Recording Industry Association of America {RIAA}), the compilation album has surpassed 1983's Thriller's 33x platinum status. The best-selling album of all time proves the power of the Eagles is still flying high, and their songs since the seventies still rock on as the rockers themselves continue to make music together.

The popular album, released in 1976, includes hits such as "Witchy Woman" and "Best of My Love." As per People, "The L.A. based band was formed in the early '70s, and they quickly became figureheads for the new brigade of country-tinged singer-songwriters. They had an unparalleled string of hits in the first half of the decade, including 'Peaceful Easy Feeling,' and 'Take It Easy,'— all of which were (also) featured on the record-breaking greatest hits collection."

Is it fair that a "Greatest Hits" album can compare to a standalone in terms of which is "better?" Then again, so many of Jackson's songs are greatest hits in their own right, particularly those on the unforgettable Thriller album. Think "Billie Jean," "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)," "Beat It," "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'," "Human Nature," and naturally, "Thriller," to name some of the selections. Those would all be featured on a "Best Of" anyhow. And sales are sales, so the Eagles are deserving of the honor. Not to mention, they also snagged the #3 spot with their Hotel California album, at 26x platinum. Between streams and sales, the Eagles have honestly earned their top and third spots.

"We are grateful for our families, our management, our crew, the people at radio and, most of all, the loyal fans who have stuck with us through the ups and downs of 46 years. It's been quite a ride," Don Henley said in a statement. And they're still riding the wave.

According to Independent, "To measure album sales in a world of streaming and downloads, the RIAA adopted a new method of tallying streams in 2013 - which considers 1,500 streams of an album or 10 song downloads the equivalent to an album sale." Keeping up with the times and keeping tabs on what's hot.

In 1998, The Eagles were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, in the category of "Performers." They also received the Kennedy Center Honor in '16, the same year band member Glenn Frey passed away at the age of 67.,

Will the Eagles ever be surpassed? Time will tell. 'Till then, they'll "Take it to the Limit."

Melissa A. Kay is a New York-based writer, editor, and content strategist. Follow her work on Popdust as well as sites including TopDust, Chase Bank, P&G,, The Richest, GearBrain, The Journiest, Bella, TrueSelf, Better Homes & Gardens, AMC Daycare, and more.

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