June 2015

Apple Music Launches Today

The long awaited streaming service, Apple Music launches today. The service boasts new features such as Beats 1 Radio with plenty of celebrity curated music shows and Connect, a social media type platform that allows listeners to interact with artists.

Billboard offers their first hand experience with the new app. Find out the trial and error regarding the new service and their verdict here.

Rolling Stone also has their review of the service and lists everything you need to know.

SPIN let’s you know what to expect, what works, what doesn’t work and what may eventually work.

Consequence of Sound has the latest on what exclusive music is available (other than Taylor Swift).

April 2015

Mumford and Sons Criticize Tidal

The newly electric rockers Mumford and Sons were not asked to join Tidal. Even if they had, the band would have turned it down.

Frontman Marcus Mumford explains, “I think smaller bands should get paid more for it. Bigger bands have other ways of making money, so I don’t think you can complain,” he argued. “When they say it’s artist-owned, it’s owned by those rich, wealthy artists…I don’t want to align myself with Spotify, Beats, Tidal, or whatever. We want people to listen to our music in their most comfortable way, and if they’re not up for paying for it, I don’t really care.”

For more on what the band say on Tidal, go here.

Apple Wants Taylor Swift, Florence + The Machine

Taylor Swift pulled her music from Spotify and some of it turned up on Tidal (though 1989 is not available on either). Apple is reportedly pursuing her for exclusive rights to the album. The company also wants Florence + the Machine, whose new album is available next month. Apple is allegedly looking at a dozen other artists to get involved with Beats Music.

There is also a rumor that Apple went after Kanye, offering him $1 million, but he chose to go with Tidal instead.

Click here for more on Apple’s relaunch of Beats Music.

March 2015

The Marvin Gaye Case Fallout Continues

Following the verdict that sides with the family of Marvin Gaye, his children have written an open letter. Frankie, Nona, and Marvin Gaye III released a joint letter stating they wanted to “set the record straight on a few misconceptions echoing through some news and social media platforms about our intentions, our plans, and the so-called ‘larger’ ramifications of this case within the music industry.”

The Gaye family also wants to punish T.I., Universal Music, Interscope Records, and Star Trak Entertainment. They explain “contends that there’s no separating out those who, ‘by virtue of their participation in the creation, manufacture and distribution” of the Williams/Thicke song, infringed the Gaye song, too. In its latest motion, the Gaye family quotes a statement by U.S. District Judge John Kronstadt that appears in agreement with this reasoning: “If the jury finds there’s infringement and if Universal distributed the recording, then according to what I heard [a lawyer for team Williams] say, they would be liable.'”

For more, go here.

Pharrell has finally opened up about the verdict. “The verdict handicaps any creator out there who is making something that might be inspired by something else,” Williams told The Financial Times. “This applies to fashion, music, design… anything. If we lose our freedom to be inspired, we’re going to look up one day and the entertainment industry as we know it will be frozen in litigation. This is about protecting the intellectual rights of people who have ideas.”

Read the rest of Pharrell’s thoughts.


November 2014

Debate Over Music Streaming Heats Up

Much like mp3s, downloading, and Napster before it, music streaming is now being debated by the music industry, artists, and fans. Last week, Taylor Swift abruptly pulled her entire catalog from Spotify. While she is not totally against streaming, she is concerned about fair compensation for everyone involved in the album. Read her stance here.

Swift’s label head, Scott Borchetta, went on Nikki Sixx’s radio show, “Sixx Sense” to plead his case. The Big Machine CEO echoed what Swift said, but also added that they don’t want her fans to “be embarrassed.” In his interview, he says “If this fan went and purchased the record, CD, iTunes, wherever, and then their friends go, ‘Why did you pay for it? It’s free on Spotify.’ We’re being completely disrespectful to that superfan who wants to invest.”

Borchetta predicts that other artists will follow suit. Country superstar, Jason Aldean, has pulled his new album from Spotify more than a month after it’s release. As of now, the rest of his catalog remains on Spotify. Aldean has offered no explanation for Old Boots, New Dirt being pulled. Read more.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Dickins, Adele’s manager, has come out in support of Spotify. At the Web Summit tech conference, Dickins stated ““Streaming is the future, whether people like it or not. Within five years it will be ubiquitous.”

July 2014

Indie Labels Band Together for “Fair Digital Deals Declaration”

More than 700 indie labels, including Merge, SubPop, and Matador have come together to sign the new “Fair Digital Deal Declaration”. The Worldwide Independent Network (WIN) wants the initiative  “to treat their artists fairly in agreements relating to digital exploitation of artists’ work in recorded music agreements with third parties.”

Today (July 16) is Worldwide Declaration Signing Day. When the companies sign the deal, they agree to these 5 rules:

1. Ensure that artists’ share of download and streaming revenues is clearly explained in recording agreements and royalty statements in reasonable summary form.

2. Account to artists a good-faith pro-rata share of any revenues and other compensation from digital services that stem from the monetization of recordings but are not attributed to specific recordings or performances.

3. Encourage better standards of information from digital services on the usage and monetization of music.

4. Support artists who choose to oppose, including publicly, unauthorized uses of their music.

5. Support the collective position of the global independent record company sector.

For more on the Fair Digital Deals Declaration, go here.

Google Acquires Songza

Google announced they have acquired Songza, a company that offers curated playlists.The service will be used to enhance Google Play Music. At this time, there are no plans to alter Songza. It will be used with both Google Play and YouTube.

Since Apple purchased Beats Electronics, Google has been looking for a deal. The company reportedly offered to purchase Songza for $15 million, though the final figure has not been revealed.

For more on the deal, go here.

June 2014

YouTube Launching Music Show on Sirius XM

YouTube will have it’s own show, “The YouTube 15”, on Sirius XM Hits 1. The weekly show will feature the songs that are getting the most attention on the the video side.

Sirius XM’s President and Chief Content Officer Scott Greenstein released the following statement: “We are excited to work with YouTube on creating ‘The YouTube 15’ and to put a spotlight on the songs and artists emerging out of the world’s largest music video platform. Our nationwide audience tunes to Sirius XM Hits 1 as the home of the best pop music and the first place to play new artists and new music. With ‘The YouTube 15,’ we will take that promise of music discovery even further, delivering songs emerging from YouTube directly into the car and also through the Sirius XM app for smartphones and tablets.”

The first show will air July 11 at 6 PM ET.

For more, click here.

Songwriter Gerry Goffin Dies at 75

Songwriter and ex husband to Carole King, Gerry Goffin has died at 75. He co-wrote seven Number 1 songs and numerous Top 40 hits, including “You’ve Got A Friend”, “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” and (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”.

King released a statement following her first husband’s death: “Gerry Goffin was my first love. He had a profound impact on my life and the rest of the world. Gerry was a good man and a dynamic force, whose words and creative influence will resonate for generations to come. His legacy to me is our two daughters, four grandchildren, and our songs that have touched millions and millions of people, as well as a lifelong friendship. He will be missed by his wonderful wife Michele, his devoted manager, Christine Russell, his five children, and six grandchildren.”

For more on the life of Gerry Goffin, go here.

Casey Kasem Dies at 82

After a public battle for his care, legendary radio host Casey Kasem, died on Sunday. He was 82 years old.

Kasem had been hospitalized for bladder and kidney infections, as well as bed sores. After consulting with Kasem’s doctors and daughter Kerri, who was put in charge of his care, a judge determined last week that continuing to medicate and feed Kasem was causing unnecessary pain.

Tributes to Kasem have been pouring in since yesterday, including Sirius XM continually playing “American Top 40” countdowns, Twitter reactions from musicians and celebrities and Elton John’s tribute during Bonnaroo.

Amazon Prime Launches Music Streaming Service

Your options for streaming music just grew. Amazon’s Prime service, popular for free two day shipping for an annual fee, has added music streaming to the service.

The service costs $99 a year for music, movie, and TV streaming and of course free two-day shipping. Because it added music streaming to the program, it already has a large number of subscribers, though an exact figure has not been released.

Amazon Prime offers over a million songs by thousands of artists. Amazon has mostly catalog titles, while independent labels could have music offered after it had been released for six months. Users have the option of streaming or downloading the music. Another feature is no advertising during playback.

For more on the new service, go here.

Judge Allows End-of-Life Measures to Resume for Casey Kasem

A judge has granted Casey Kasem’s daughter, Kerri, to move forward with end-of-life measures. This means that she can allow doctors to withhold treatment, food, and water from the ailing DJ. The judge agreed that continuing his care will only cause Kasem more pain and be harmful for him.

Go here for the latest on the ruling.

Judge Orders Hold on End-of-Life Measures of Casey Kasem

As Casey Kasem’s health continues to deteriorate, his family is still battling in court. On Monday, a judge ordered that Kasem continue to be fed, hydrated, and medicated while a court-appointed attorney evaluates his health.

Kasem’s daughter, Kerri, has been consulting with his doctors and believes that her father is nearing the end of his life. She believes that the medical treatment along with eating and drinking are painful for her father. The decision was made to end all treatment along with food and water.

The legendary DJ’s wife, Jean, reportedly caused a scene in the courthouse. She was seen in the hallways screaming for them not to kill her husband.

For more on yesterday’s ruling, go here.

Chinese Democracy Sequel Already Recorded

In an interview with Revolver, Axl Rose says that part of the Chinese Democracy sequel has been recorded.

“We recorded a lot of things before Chinese was out,” Rose says. “We’ve worked more on some of those things and we’ve written a few new things. But basically, we have what I call kind of the second half of Chinese. That’s already recorded. And then we have a remix album made of the songs from Chinese. That’s been done for a while, too. But after Vegas [Guns N’ Roses is performing a residency at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino that runs through June 7], we’re going to start looking very seriously at what we’re doing in that regard.”

Chinese Democracy was released in 2008.

Beastie Boys Will Not Tour or Make New Music

During their trial against Monster Energy Drink, the Beastie Boys’ Mike D implied that there will be no more touring or new music because of Adam Yauch’s death.

In court last week, Diamond stated,“We have not been able to tour since MCA, Adam Yauch, died. We can’t make new music.”

Go here for more on the Beastie Boys lawsuit against Monster Energy Drink.

Casey Kasem Hospitalized

The Casey Kasem saga continues with Kerri Kasem having her legendary father hospitalized on Sunday. The DJ reportedly is suffering from a bladder infection, lung infection, and bed sores.

Kasem’s hospitalization comes after a dramatic scene at Kasem’s home. His wife, Jean, reportedly threw raw hamburger meat at Kerri after not allowing EMT’s to enter the home & assess Casey’s condition. Jean cites a Bible passage as her reason for throwing the meat at Kerri. “”In the name of King David, I threw a piece of raw meat into the street in exchange for my husband to the wild rabid dogs,” she told NBC News.

Kasem is currently under the care of Kerri after a judge put in charge of his care temporarily.

May 2014

Beats Lowers Yearly Subscription Fee

Details of what to expect from the acquisition of Beats by Apple are starting to emerge.It’s been announced that they will lower their yearly subscription fee from $119. 98 to $99.99. It will still cost $9.99 for monthly subscription fees, which is standard among other streaming platforms.

The Hollywood Reporter  thinks the Apple partnership has allowed the start of a price war with other streaming services. Apple takes 30 percent of in-app purchases from most streaming services, so Beats previous in-app purchases of year-long subscriptions were costing them approximately $36 per customer. Now that they’ve teamed up, that fee ostensibly goes away, making in-app purchases far more affordable for Beats than for their competitors (SPIN ).

Apple Acquires Beats

After weeks of speculation, Apple finally purchased Beats for $3 billion dollars. The deal includes both Beats Electronics and Beats Music. Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre will have roles with Apple. Iovine will exit Interscope Geffen A&M and be replaced by Fueled By Ramen founder, John Janick. IGA’s parent company, Universal Music Group, will also lose Iovine, but will receive about $500 million dollars from investments it made in Beats.

For more on what this deal means, go here.

Metallica’s ‘Black Album’ Reaches New Milestone

Metallica’s self-titled album, known as the “Black Album”, has reached 16 million in sales. The album was released in 1991 and continues to be Nielsen SoundScan’s best-selling album since it began.

Last week, the album sold 3,000 copies bringing the total to 16,002,000. Only the “Black Album” and Shania Twain’s “Come On Over” have more than 15 million copies sold in the SoundScan era, which began in 1991.

Go here for more.

Billboard Launches Twitter Real-Time Charts

If you want up-to-the-minute chart information, Billboard is helping you out. They’ve teamed with Twitter to bring you the interactive Trending 140.

According to Billboard, the chart is “an up to the minute ranking of songs shared in the U.S., measured by acceleration over the past hour. This chart can be filtered to present a real-time view of the most shared track in the U.S. over the past 24 hours, with a weekly summary presented as the Billboard Twitter Top Tracks chart on Billboard.com and in print in Billboard.”

Go here for more on how the Trending 140 works.

Chad Smith, Will Ferrell Drum Battle Finally Happened

After months of back and forth between Will Ferrell and his doppelganger, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer, Chad Smith, their drum battle finally happened. The pair sat down with host Jimmy Fallon on the set of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” to discuss their rivalry.

Watch the drum off and see who walked away with the giant golden cowbell.

Destiny’s Child Reunites for One Track

Destiny Child has reunited for a track on Michelle Williams’ solo album, Journey to Freedom“Say Yes” is a remix of a Nigerian gospel song, “When Jesus Says Yes”.
A video has reportedly been shot to accompany the single.

This marks the third time the group has reunited since disbanding in 2006.

Spotify Reveals 10 Million Paid Subscribers Milestone

Spotify revealed that they reached the milestone of having 10 million paid subscribers globally. In March 2013, the largest streaming music company announced that they had reached 6 million paid subscribers.

Spotify made their mobile version free in December, spurring the growth. 80% of users sign up for the service via mobile devices.

For more on what Spotify’s growth means, go here.

Go Behind-the-Scenes With Michael Jackson’s Hologram

If you weren’t slightly uncomfortable or creeped out by the Michael Jackson hologram performance at the Billboard Music Awards, see how they were able to pull it off.

The performance of “Slave to the Music” took five months to create. The hologram was joined onstage by 16 dancers and a five-piece band.

Watch for yourself.

Beyonce, Jay Z, & Solange Release Joint Statement

A few days after a hotel video surfaced of Solange physically attacking Jay Z, the trio have broken their silence.

“As a result of the public release of the elevator security footage from Monday, May 5th, there has been a great deal of speculation about what triggered the unfortunate incident. But the most important thing is that our family has worked through it,” an exclusive statement to The Associated Press read Thursday. “Jay and Solange each assume their share of responsibility for what has occurred. They both acknowledge their role in this private matter that has played out in the public. They both have apologized to each other and we have moved forward as a united family.”

“The reports of Solange being intoxicated or displaying erratic behavior throughout that evening are simply false,” the statement continued. “At the end of the day families have problems and we’re no different. We love each other and above all we are family. We’ve put this behind us and hope everyone else will do the same.”

The hotel employee that sold the video to TMZ for $250,000 has been fired.

Casey Kasem Located in Washington

Three days after a judge ordered an investigation into his whereabouts, Casey Kasem has been located in Washington State. He is said to be in good condition and his wife, Jean, was with him.

His daughter, Kerri Kasem, was appointed as his temporary conservator on Monday. She filed a missing persons report just hours before the legendary DJ was found. Kerri & her siblings are in the process of having their father brought back to Los Angeles.

Kasem, 82, suffers from Lewy Body Disease and has been in poor health for several years.

Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake Music Video Premieres

The music video for Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake’s single “Love Never Felt So Good” has premiered. No hologram version of MJ appears, just archived footage from some of his other music videos.

“Love Never Felt So Good” was originally recorded by Jackson in 1983. The solo version as well as the version featuring Timberlake appear on Jackson’s new album, Xscape.

Neil Young & Jack White Perform, Record, and Press Record Live

Last night, Neil Young & Jack White performed on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Their performance was also recorded and pressed live on air. A Voice-O-Graph from the 1940s was used. Watch Young & White describe how it works.

See the performance and recording of “Crazy”.

Video Surfaces of Solange Knowles Physically Attacking Jay Z

TMZ (no surprise) has obtained video of Solange Knowles, singer and sister of Beyonce, physically attacking Jay Z in an elevator following last week’s Met Gala. The video appears to show Solange hitting Jay Z before a security guard tries to restrain her. She continues kicking towards Jay Z, who says something, but does not physically retaliate. Beyonce appears to remain calm and does not get involved.

There is no word on what started the altercation. Camps for all three artist have been silent thus far.

Apple Close to Buying Beats Electronics

Apple is reportedly closing in on a deal to make Dr. Dre a billionaire. If the deal goes through and Apple acquires Beats Electronics, it will be sold for $3.2 billion dollars.

For more on what this deal means and Pusha T’s thoughts, go here.

A Hard Girls’ Night

Wax Audio has created a mash up of The Beatles’ ” A Hard Day’s Night” with “Girls, Girls, Girls” by Motley Crue.

Here’s the result.

Cher Contributes to Wu-Tang Clan’s New Album

Cher is featured on two tracks on the upcoming Wu-Tang Clan album her rep confirms. One on track, she sings “Wu-Tang, baby. They rock the world,” at the end. Her parts were recorded separately from the group.

“Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” will only have one copy released and sold. It will be played at various exhibitions, galleries, and festivals before it’s eventual sale.


Hunter Hayes Attempting to Break the Guinness World Records

Hunter Hayes will attempt to break the Guinness World Records title for most concerts played in a 24 hour period. The attempt is to bring attention to his new album “Storyline”, which is out today and will also benefit Feeding America.

On May 9, Hayes is scheduled to play 10 gigs across multiple cities along the East coast. The first performance will be at 8 AM on “Good Morning America”. The final performance is scheduled for 5 AM on May 10 in Philadelphia.

Go here for more.

Will Cassettes Make A Comeback?

Sony has created a cassette tape that can hold 148 GB per square inch. That is equal to 64,750,000 songs. For comparison, the Library of Congress’ entire catalog is equal to 10 TB total. This new cassette can hold 18.5 versions of the Library of Congress.

The tape will eventually be available for commercial sale, but Sony has not indicated when that will be.

For more, click here.

April 2014

Michael Jackson’s New Single is a Duet with Justin Timberlake

The new single from Michael Jackson’s upcoming album, “Xscape” has been released. “Love Never Felt So Good” is a duet with Justin Timberlake. Timberlake posted the track via his Instagram. The song debuted at the inaugural I Heart Music Awards last night, but with Usher instead of Timberlake.

Jackson originally recorded the song in 1983. “Xscape” will be available on May 27.

Mariah Carey Announces New Album

In a video clip, Mariah Carey announces the name of her album and its meaning. “Me. I Am Mariah…the Elusive Chanteuse” will be released on May 27. The album
contains 18 tracks.

Go here for more, including the track listing.

Pharrell Reveals “Happy” Originally Record By Cee-Lo

In an interview with Howard Stern, Pharrell says that Cee-Lo recorded the ubiquitous hit, “Happy”. “The powers that be, at the time, did not see it fit for him,” explains Pharrell.

For more, including Cee-Lo’s response to the song’s success, go here.

“A Hard Day’s Night” Returns to Theaters

For it’s 50th anniversary, The Beatles’ iconic “A Hard Day’s Night” will make its return to theaters. More than 50 cities across the country will show the film over the Fourth of July weekend.

Go here for more on the film.

Jay Z, Beyonce Confirm Joint Tour Rumors

Over the last week or so, rumors began to swirl that Jay Z would tour with his wife, Beyonce. The “On The Run” tour has been announced as a 16 city tour that will cover the US and Canada. The tour kicks off June 25 in Miami and closes August 5 in San Francisco. Tickets go on sale to the public on May 1.

For tour dates, click here.

January 2012

January 2012 News Grammys to honor Glen Campbell The Grammys have announced their plans to give the Lifetime Achievement award to the “Rhinestone Cowboy” Glen Campbell.  Campbell, currently battling Alzheimer’s, has won five Grammys. He will perform with The Band Perry and Blake Shelton (both whom are nominated for Grammys). Tune in Sunday, Feburary 12 at 8 PM on CBS.   Springsteen announces tour dates The Boss is back on the road starting in March. His tour opens in Atlanta and ends in Jersey. Below are the dates on the first leg of the tour. March 18 – Atlanta, GA March 19 – Greensboro, NC March 23 – Tampa, FL March 26 – Boston, MA March 28 – Philadelphia, PA March 29 – Philadelphia, PA April 1 – Washington, DC April 3 – East Rutherford, NJ April 4 – East Rutherford, NJ April 6 – New York, NY April 9 – New York, NY April 12 – Detroit, MI April 13 – Buffalo, NY April 16 – Albany, NY April 17 – Cleveland, OH April 24 – San Jose, CA April 26 – Los Angeles, CA April 29 – New Orleans, LA (New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival) May 2 – Newark, NJ The Grammys add more performers Coldplay will perform with Rhianna on “Princess in China” from their latest album Mylo Xyloto. Paul McCartney will also be performing. The Grammys air Sunday, Feb. 12 at 8 PM on CBS. Etta James passes away After a lengthy battle with dementia and leukemia, music legend Etta James passed away on Friday. She was 73. James was seen by many as a pioneer in the music industry. She won four Grammys, as well as 17 Blues Music Awards. In 1993, she received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Though she had many hits such as “All I Could Do Is Cry”, “A Sunday Kind of Love” and “I Just Want to Make Love to You”, her signature song will always be “At Last”. Here is one of her last live performances from 2009: At Last on Dancing with the Stars   The Boss releases a new single Bruce Springsteen has released “We Take Care of Our Own” from his forthcoming CD, Wrecking Ball on March 6. You can listen to it now. The Grammys get a host LL Cool J will be the award show’s first host in seven years. No stranger to the awards show, LL has two Grammys and has hosted Grammy Nominations Concert Live! — Countdown to Music’s Biggest Night since 2008. The awards show will air on Sunday, February 12 at 8 PM on CBS. For a list of performers announced so far, see our last entry. Friday the 13th Music News ~Music’s biggest night is shaping up to have great performances.  Bruno Mars, Nicki Minaj, The Foo Fighters, Taylor Swift and a duet by Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson have been scheduled to perform so far. Tune in to the Grammys on Sunday, Feb. 12. ~John Mayer has announced that he will be playing SXSW.  He will be performing at Stubb’s BBQ on Saturday, March 17. Mayer recently had throat surgery to remove a granuloma from his vocal cord. The SXSW performance will be his third since undergoing surgery in October. ~Clear Channel Radio has announced that they are now Clear Channel Media & Entertainment. The rebranding came about to encompass I Heart Radio and the I Heart Radio Music Festival, as well as other ventures.   SPIN Magazine moving reviews online Embracing technology, SPIN Magazine will now post its reviews on Twitter (@SPINReviews) and on their website, www.spin.com. They will no longer be printing them in each issue. To find out more, go here. 2011 albums sales strongest in seven years Nielsen reports that while physical album sales were down, digital album sales were up. According to Billboard, album sales grew 1.4 percent (326.2 million units to 330.6 million units) last year. Adele’s monster album, 21 no doubt influenced this number as it was #1 for 15 weeks. It was the top selling album for all of 2011. Also on a positive note, vinyl sales were also up from 2.8 million to 3.9 million. Oh happy day.