Saturday, November 3, 2012

Move Up the Charts


Internet Radio Bill is About Fairness -- and Money


The language in the debate about the Internet Radio Fairness Act might not be about money, but you can be certain the issue is ultimately about money. The bill would change how the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) determines webcasters' statutory royalty rates for the digital performance of sound recordings. A move to the 801(b) standard is likely to result in different rates.

What people say in this heated debate often detracts from the issues at hand and questions people should be asking. Ultimately people need to ask what are the best rates for the long-term health of the digital music business that allows for innovation while ensuring rights owners and performing artists are compensated for their investments and efforts. This is not an issue of simply raising or lowering royalty rates.
 
Labels and distributors know this is about money. They now have a line item on their budgets for Internet radio. It's part of their budgets. They are not gearing up to fight over the rate-setting standard just because they feel they have a duty to take an obligatory position against the opposing side. Rights owners see Internet radio as a meaningful revenue stream that is only going to grow over time.

"Everyone knows access models are the future," one high-level executive told me recently.
 
Although he often speaks about the need for fairness in standards, Pandora founder Tim Westergren has said this issue is about royalty rates. In June he told Congress the current "disparity in royalties" meant Congress should "level the playing field," or reduce the difference between the higher percent of revenue webcasters pay SoundExchange versus the lower percent of revenue satellite radio and cable radio pay SoundExchange.
 
Westergren believes additional benefits will come from lower rates. In a statement given to Billboard.biz in July, Westergren said fair rates would "drive more innovation in legal music distribution and ensure more artists are fairly compensated" for the performances of their recordings.
 
Clear Channel believes a different approach by the CRB will help grow the market. "Our position is that if the CRB has more info, they can make better decisions and it will benefit everyone concerned because the pie will be bigger," Clear Channel spokesperson Wendy Goldberg says. That means everyone from record labels, artists and consumers will be better off as a result of the CRB adopting the 801(b) standard, she says. Clear Channel has joined Pandora in support of the Internet Radio Fairness Act by joining the Internet Radio Fairness Coalition.
 
It is certainly possible that lower webcasting rates will encourage more companies to enter the webcasting market. And it is possible lower rates will help webcasters invest more heavily and improve their services. But it is difficult -- possibly impossible -- to know exactly what rate that will find the right combination of market entry and revenue generation. Lower rates could very well encourage sub-standard market entrants who were not innovative enough to compete when rates were higher. The marketplace may be worse off having lower rates and more marginal services.
 
But rates cannot be so high that new entry to the market is limited. SoundExchange works with more than 1,800 digital services, according to an August press release. If you look over the list of companies that have filed a notice of use under Section 114 with the Library of Congress, you will see there have been 3,370 companies to do so. That means some of them, such as Imeem and Lala, are now out of business or no longer simulcast. Many on the list are terrestrial broadcasters that simulcast over the web. Far fewer are pure-play webcasters, and fewer still have even the slimmest of hopes of reaching large audiences and actually growing the size of the market. 
 
In addition, changing the royalty rates could have perverse affects on business models. Lower the rates too much and less-than-average business models could achieve profitability. But raise the rates too high and even good business models may be unsustainable.
 
Regardless of the language used, the issue here is ultimately money. The best way to think about the issue is to think about the long-term health of the digital music market. These bills aren't really about raising or lowering statutory royalties by fractions of cents. The issue isn't the alleged greed of either party. The bills are about helping a vital part of the future music business to flourish
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Meek Mill, Rod Stewart Albums Headed for Top 10 on Next Week's Billboard 200 Chart


Meek Mill and pop veteran Rod Stewart are both aiming for top 10 debuts on the Billboard 200 albums chart next week. Industry sources suggest that the former's "Dreams & Nightmares" is on course to sell between 170,000 and 185,000 by the end of the tracking week on Nov. 4. Rockin' Rod, meanwhile, will see his first Christmas album, "Merry Christmas, Baby," launch with around 80,000.

 The new Billboard 200 chart's top 10 will be revealed on the morning of Nov. 7.

Meek Mill will likely arrive in the No. 2 slot, behind Taylor Swift's "Red." The latter is tracking to spend a second week atop the tally, selling more than 300,000. It debuted at No. 1 this past week, selling 1.208 million, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Meek Mill's robust start might have been a bit larger (though not large enough to bump Swift from No. 1) had it not been for Hurricane Sandy. The storm knocked out power and shut down retailers across the Mid-Atlantic States after making landfall in the U.S. on Oct. 29 -- the day before "Dreams & Nightmares" hit stores.

Label sources say that since two of Meek Mill's strongest sales markets are in the mid-Atlantic (New York City and his home town of Philadelphia), his album's sales were affected by the storm. However, the extent of that impact isn't yet known. We'll know how much the album sold in those regions on Nov. 7, once SoundScan releases its latest weekly sales data.

For an example of Meek Mill's popularity in New York City and Philadelphia, we can look to the sales of his most recent top 10 single on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, "Amen." The cut has sold 336,000 downloads, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Of that figure, 60,000 (18%) were bought in New York and Philadelphia. The cities amount to the first and second-largest markets for the track, selling 12% and 6% of its downloads, respectively.

Switching gears to Stewart, the pop icon will see his first holiday effort, "Merry Christmas, Baby," easily arrive in the top 10 next week with around 80,000 sold. A chunk of that figure will be from by sales generated from HSN, which will contribute upwards of 28,000 CDs to the set's first week. Stewart appeared on HSN on Oct. 26 and the shopping network is offering the set with an eight-song bonus disc.

If "Merry Christmas, Baby" bows in the top 10, it will mark his 16th top 10 release. Though Stewart has been charting albums since 1969, a full seven of those top 10s have come since 2002, when Stewart began releasing his successful American Songbook covers albums. Those seven releases, issued between 2002 and 2010, all reached the top five on the Billboard 200 and have sold 10.6 million in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.

On Nielsen SoundScan's Building chart (below), Swift's "Red" and Meek Mill's "Dreams" lead the tally at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively. The Building tally is a precursor to the final Billboard 200 ranking -- reflecting the first four days (Monday through Thursday) of SoundScan's tracking week as reported by six major merchants.

As for the rest of the Building chart's top 10: Kendrick Lamar's " 'good kid, m.A.A.d city" is No. 3, Jason Aldean's "Night Train" is No. 4 and Stewart's "Merry Christmas, Baby" is No. 5. Toby Keith's new "Hope on the Rocks" is in the sixth position, while Mumford & Sons' "Babel" is No. 7, followed by Neil Young with Crazy Horse's new "Psychedelic Pill" at No. 8. Flyleaf's new release "New Horizons" is at No. 9, while Tony Bennett's "Viva Duets" is at No. 10.
Nielsen SoundScan Building Chart
RankLW
BB 200
ArtistTitle
11Taylor Swift"Red"
2NEWMeek Mill"Dreams & Nightmares"
32Kendrick Lamar"Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City"
43Jason Aldean"Night Train"
5NEWRod Stewart"Merry Christmas, Baby"
6NEWToby Keith"Hope on the Rocks"
74Mumford & Sons"Babel"
8NEWNeil Young & Crazy Horse"Psychedelic Pill"
9NEWFlyleaf"New Horizons"
105Tony Bennett"Viva Duets"
The Building Chart reflects the first four days (Monday through Thursday) of SoundScan's tracking week (which ends Sunday) as reported by six major merchants: iTunes, Trans World Entertainment, Best Buy, Starbucks, Target and Anderson Merchandisers. Billboard estimates that they make up about 85% of all U.S. album sales.

Clear Channel Parent Posts Improved Third-Quarter Results


CC Media Holdings, the parent company of radio giant Clear Channel Communications, on Friday reported slightly higher first-quarter revenue and a narrowed loss.

The company's revenue rose two percent to $1.59 billion. Media and entertainment revenue grew one percent driven by three percent growth in radio revenue amid increased national advertising, which posted a seven percent jump, as well as digital radio services and the iHeartRadio Music Festival.


CC Media's loss of $39 million was down from a year-ago loss of $67 million thanks to the higher revenue and lower depreciation and amortization expenses. Operating income before depreciation, amortization and non-cash compensation expense, a metric that focuses mainly on the results from operations, was up minimally from $479 million to $480 million.  

"We are continuing to deliver solid results in a difficult economy, while investing in our digital future and growing the value we provide to our marketing partners with bold, new offerings across multiple platforms," said CEO Bob Pittman said. "Increased revenues from major national advertisers drove improved performance at media & entertainment in the quarter. The successful return of the iHeartRadio Music Festival drew record audiences and attracted a diverse array of major brand sponsors."


Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker called the financials "a bit messy" due to various special items and circumstances. "Radio revenue was up 3 percent, but this includes a lot of different pieces, so we are unsure as to how the true radio ad sales did in the quarter ," she said.

On an earnings conference call, management lauded the continued growth of the listenership for digital radio offer iHeartRadio. Total listening hours are up over 100 percent, but 95 percent of the company's listening continues to happen on traditional radio, they said.

"Building on its groundbreaking agreement earlier this year with Big Machine Label Group, over the past two months, the company signed partnerships with two more independent record labels, Glassnote Entertainment Group and Naxos, highlighting that market-based solutions are the right business model to enhance the future growth of digital radio and benefit both artists and listeners," CC Media also said.

On the call, the company said it keeps talking to labels, but provided no further details.

Must-See: Watch a Sneak Peek of Nicki Minaj's New E! Series


This Sunday, the first episode of Nicki Minaj's My Truth series will air on the E! network. For 21 days, the American Idol judge and pop darling granted cameras unlimited access to her life as she made appearances, attended rehearsals and conducted business. The rapper, who's re-releasing her sophomore album Roman's Revenge - The Re-Up on November 19, says she rarely gets the chance to set the record straight.

Will you be tuning in this Sunday at 10:30 p.m. to see what Minaj has to say?

Rihanna Offers $250 Deluxe Version of ‘Unapologetic’


Rihanna wants fans to shell out $250 for a deluxe version of her upcoming seventh studio albumUnapologetic, according to the Huffington Post. The “Diamond Executive Platinum Box” includes a slew of goodies from the pop singer including collectible vinyls, a t-shirt, a 2GB flash drive, a 40-page notebook with personal handwritten notes, a View Master (remember those?) with photos journeying her style evolution, and plenty more.
Luckily, diamonds are also included in the box in the form of a limited edition diamond bracelet. It is also rumored that Rih-Rih purchased diamond bracelets for all tour VIPS, according to the Digital Spy.
A more moderately priced version of the package will be available for $79 with limited swag.
Unapologetic is out Nov. 16; the deluxe boxes hit shelves Dec. 11.
Would you spend that much cash on a deluxe album?

Black Unemployment Rises, Last Jobs Report Before Election


WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added 171,000 jobs in October and hiring was stronger over the previous two months than first thought, pointing to a slowly improving jobs picture that could enhance President Barack Obama’s re-election chances. The unemployment rate inched up to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent in September as more workers resumed job hunts.
Black unemployment rose from 13.4 to 14.3 percent and African-American teen joblessness rose to a dramatic high of 40.5 percent.
Since July, the economy has created an average of 173,000 jobs a month, up from 67,000 a month from April through June.
Still, Obama will face voters in Tuesday’s election with the highest unemployment rate of any incumbent since President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The rate ticked up because more Americans without jobs started looking for work. The government only counts people as unemployed if they are actively searching.
Investors were pleased by the news. The Dow Jones industrial average futures were flat before it came out at 8:30 a.m. EDT (1230 GMT), and within minutes they were up 30 points.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note climbed to 1.77 percent from 1.72 percent, a sign that investors were moving money out of bonds and into stocks.
Most of the details in the report were positive. The government revised the jobs figures to show that 84,000 more jobs were added than previously estimated.
The gains in October were widespread across most industries. And the percentage of Americans working or looking for work rose for the second straight month.
The economy has added jobs for 25 straight months. There are now 580,000 more jobs than when Obama took office.
But there were also signs of the economy’s ongoing weakness. Average hourly pay dipped a penny to $23.58. And the number of unemployed increased 170,000 to 12.3 million.
The department said Hurricane Sandy had no noticeable impact on the report.
The economy has picked up a bit in recent weeks, mostly on the strength of consumers. Americans are more confident and buying more big-ticket items, like cars and appliances. Auto companies reported steady sales gains last month despite losing three days of business to the storm in heavily populated areas of the Northeast.
Yet businesses remain nervous about the economy’s future course. Many are concerned that Congress will fail to reach a budget deal before January. If lawmakers can’t strike an agreement, sharp tax increases and spending cuts will take effect next year and possibly trigger another recession.
American companies are also nervous about the economic outlook overseas. Europe’s financial crisis has pushed much of that region into recession and cut into U.S. exports and corporate profits.

Scott Seviour Named Epic Records' EVP Marketing and Artist Development

Epic Records has named Scott Seviourexecutive vice president of marketing and artist development. 

In his new role, based out of Sony Music's New York headquarters, Seviour will oversee all of Epic's marketing efforts as well as brand partnerships, public relations, video Production, creative and digital departments. He'll report to COOMark Shimmel. The label is run by veteran music business executive and X Factor judge L.A. Reid. 

Said Seviour in an announcement of his appointment: "The environment that L.A. is creating for our roster of artists and executives is unmatched in the industry, and I am really honored to be part of the Epic team. It is truly the time to #BeEpic." 

Angelica Cob-Baehler had previously held the evp of marketing position. She was let go from the label in August, a casualty of "senior management reassessment," a spokesperson said at the time. 

Seviour arrives from Sony-owned RCA Music Group, where his title was svp, artist development, and before that Clive Davis' J Records, where he was a founding employee. He has also worked at ABC's Good Morning America, where he served as the show's Entertainment Producer, and The Walt Disney Company as director, talent development and music programming for the Disney Channel.

ACCUSER: CEE LO DRUGGED ME



The details are starting to surface in the sexual harassment case against Cee Lo Green, and they are getting ugly. TMZ claims that the accuser taped Green admitting to giving her ecstasy before having sex with her. The woman claims she met Green for a drink at a Los Angeles hotel, and woke up the next morning naked in his home with no memory of the night before.
Green has denied the allegations thus far, but TMZ claims the tape revels Green was aware of drugging the alleged victim, and that he apologized multiple times when confronted.

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Warner Music Nashville Team Celebrates CMA Wins With Faith Hill, John Esposito, More


wmgn
The mood was definitely celebratory at Warner Music Nashville's post- CMA Awards bash held at the company's headquarters on Music Row. The evening's big winner was Blake Shelton, who took home trophies for entertainer and male vocalist and shared song of the year honors for "Over You," which he co-wrote with wife, Miranda Lambert. New Artist winnerHunter Hayes celebrated his first CMA honor with Warner Music Nashville president/CEO John Esposito, senior VP of A&R Scott Hendricks, senior VP of promotion Chris Stacey and WMN labelmates Faith HillThe FarmJohn OatesBrett Eldredge and Jana Kramer.


Among the other revelers hanging out at the late night bash were Grand Ole Opry star Bill Anderson, country newcomer Sarah Darling and singer/songwriter Dave Barnes, who penned Shelton's hit "God Gave Me You."

The WMN bash was one of the last events in what has been a marathon week of parties, press conferences and awards shows (all three PROs, ASCAP, BMI and SESAC also threw galas earlier in the week). "What I like about CMA [week] is the free food," legendary songwriter Bob DiPiero told Billboard after welcoming Anderson to the party with a bear hug. "There's free food everywhere. Everywhere you go, there's different kinds of free food. The only problem with the free food is it's little free food so you have to eat a lot of these little free foods in order for it to be a regular food, so that's what I don't like about the CMAs. It's a love/hate thing with the food."


On a more serious note, DiPiero said he was both pleased and a bit surprised by Shelton's win in the entertainer category. "I was surprised about Blake winning entertainer of the year, not because he's not talented or deserving, but we have Taylor Swift who is like a juggernaut right now, eating up the charts and sucking all the air out of radio because she's Taylor Swift. But tonight it was TV trumps touring and radio," DiPiero said of Shelton's turn on NBC's The Voice. "Like Blake said he hasn't been touring, but he's working his you-know-what off. He's just in the face of the public and that's good for country music."

Salma Hayek wears $1 million earrings


Salma Hayek (Getty)Talk about looking like a million bucks! Salma Hayek attended the LACMA 2012 Art + Film Gala over the weekend wearing a pair of Harry Winston sapphire earrings that cost a whopping $1 million. Plus, Harper Beckham looked adorable while cheering on her dad during an LA Galaxy soccer game Sunday in Los Angeles, and we're taking a look at some of last week's wackiest ensembles that might just have you saying, "What Were They Thinking!?"

Lady Gaga: Adele Is Bigger Than I Am, Both in Size and Confidence


Adele, Lady GagaJeff Kravitz/FilmMagic; Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Well, nobody was talking about it!
Lady Gaga, who has made no bones about the fact that she's gained some weight this year, wondered aloud in an interview with Stylist UK why no one ever mentions Adele's bigger-than-your-average-stick-figure size.
"When I heard [her weight gain] was on the news, where they talk about wars, the economy crashing and the election—I just thought, ‘This is f---king ridiculous.' I mean, what kind of example is that to a young girl sitting at home?" Gaga said.
Video Thumbnail: Michael Nouri Charged With Domestic ViolenceMichael Nouri Charged With Domestic Violence
Video Thumbnail: Leonardo DiCaprio and Erin Heatherton SplitLeonardo DiCaprio and Erin Heatherton Split
Video Thumbnail: Robert Pattinson Plots RevengeRobert Pattinson Plots Revenge
"I thought, Well, I don't really care if they think I'm fat,' because, quite honestly, I did gain about 30 pounds," theBorn This Way artist continued.
"Adele is bigger than me, how come nobody says anything about it? She's so wonderful and I think her confidence is something I have to match. She has set the bar very high for a lot of women. I need to be a confident woman and just say politically active things when I can that are helpful to young people."
On the flip side, Gaga just got the Internet chattering about her recent weight loss by going as "Princess High the Cannabis Queen" for Halloween.
Or, more simply, she was topless weed.
But even though that look was perfectly flattering, she insisted to Stylist UK that nudity is still where it's at for her.
"That is most me—when I'm sighing out the whole day into a warm bath," Gaga said. "So I guess what I'm saying is when I'm wearing the bathtub. The bathtub outfit."

NEWS/NCIS Star Michael Nouri Arrested on Suspicion of Domestic Violence


Michael Nouri may have a mess of his own to mop up.
The NCIS and Damages star was arrested yesterday on suspicion of domestic violence after police were called to a residence and found him and a woman who claimed she had been roughed up by the 66-year-old actor.
According to the Beverly Hills Police Department, the 911 call came at around 5:30 p.m. and, uppon arrival, officers determined a domestic violence incident had occurred.
Nouri was booked on suspicion of of battery against a person in a dating relationship, false mprisonment and obstruct use of a wireless device, which, according to police, means he allegedly tried to prevent the woman from using the phone to call for help.
He was released from custody after posting $50,000 bail. A court date has been set for Nov. 30.
Nouri, who was Jennifer Beals' suitor in Flashdance back in the day, is best known these days as Israeli intelligence director Eli David on NCIS and as Glenn Close's philandering ex-husband on Damages.

Chris Brown’s lawyer orders him to keep quiet after he interrupts during court hearing

Chris Brown is always opening his mouth and getting himself in trouble, and during a court appearance on Thursday, he almost did it once again. The "Don't Wake Me Up" singer was before a judge in Los Angeles to check in on his progress with his probation (for beating Rihanna in 2009) when his attorney Mark Geragos was asked a question regarding his client's upcoming tour schedule — and Brown piped up. "Hello," he said, raising his hand. "Don't talk!" shot back Geragos. "I don't dance, you don't talk." Luckily, the hot-tempered Brown took the jab well and laughed.

Brown, 23, will be doing plenty of talking in his November 3 MTV documentary, "This Is How I Made It." In it, he reveals what it was like trying to win back the public after pleading guilty to beating his then-girlfriend, with whom he has since rekindled the flame. "It's one of my most humbling experiences," Brown shares. "I can't hate people for making judgment on me or making a decision of liking me or not liking me. All I can do is try to be better as a person, and I'm good with knowing everything isn't always going to be perfect."
Actually, it's pretty far from perfect. Not only has he been playing Rihanna and his ex-girlfriend Karrueche Tran against each other as he very publicly flip flops between the two, but Brown ignited even more ire when he dressed as a terrorist for Halloween. Although the singer was blasted by both fans and the media for the offensive costume choice, his mother came to her son's defense.
"Halloween is for fun, nothing more than just fun," tweeted Joyce Hawkins, who in 2007 reportedlygot into such a loud fight with her son at a Miami hotel that police were called and Brown was ultimately ordered to leave after he destroyed the room. "Get a life please. So does this mean when we dress our kids as Satan we glorifying him or (is) it just out of fun???? ... Keep smiling angel."
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    2012 CMA Awards Best & Worst: Taylor Swift Kennedy Jokes, Miranda & Blake, Winners & More

    The 46th Annual Country Music Association Awards was the usual blend of all-star concert event, glitzy red carpet affair and tight-knit family potluck.
    Hosted yet again by Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley (or Ma and Pa of the CMAs, at this point), the Nashville-based country music kudosfest was jam-packed with tunes and good vibes from start to finish.
    But while there were plenty of laughs, it's not like three hours could go by without someawkward moments. We're taking the liberty of chronicling the most memorable bits, for better or worse, in addition to offering up the complete list of winners, as they're announced. Here's what's goin' down:
    Country-Strong Opening Act: As he launched into "The Only Way I Know," Jason Aldeankicked off the show by dedicating the 2012 CMA Awards to New York, New Jersey and "all our friends on the East Coast" affected by the massive storm that battered the area this week. And because the only thing better than one country superstar jamming is more of the same, he was promptly joined onstage by current heartthrobs Luke Bryan and Eric Church, the latter the night's leading nominee, with five.
    Most Awkward Monologue Joke: While discussing all the big sports trades (Tim Tebow to the Jets, Peyton Manning to the Broncos, etc.) Paisley joked that the biggest shuffle was the Kennedy family trading Arnold Schwarzenegger for Taylor Swift. "What?! Why don't I ever hear about these things? I'm the last one to know!" protested a mock-mortified Paisley after Underwood informed him that Swift and Conor Kennedy had broken up. Cue the too-long play on "We Are Never, Ever Getting Back Together."
    Biggest Missed Opportunity: The camera didn't pan to Swift to see her reaction! Boo!
    Most Laborious Joke: The hosts assembled a bunch of hot nurses and a rather elderly doctor to "induce" Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles, whose first child is due in about three weeks. No one feared for Nettles' safety, but...it was a little creepy.
    Video Thumbnail: Blake Shelton’s Touching CMAs SpeechBlake Shelton and Miranda Lambert get emotional as they accept an award for Song of the Year at the 2012 CMAs.
    Most Emotional Moment: Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton shared the songwriters' Song of the Year honor for "Over You." "I lost my brother in a car wreck when I was 14 years old and, later in life, when I decided I wanted to be a country singer, my dad always told me, 'Son, you should write a song about your brother,'" Shelton said as Lambert teared up beside him. "I lost my dad in January and it's so amazing to to me that, tonight, even after he's gone, he's still right! I just needed the right person to write this song with, and the right person to sing it." He said, turning to his wife, "I love you so much, baby."  
    Most Randomly Charming Moment: Paisley picking the theme song to The Andy Griffith Show on his guitar in tribute to the late actor, who died this year.
    Sweet Mama-Bear Moment: Underwood took great pride in introducing the first-ever CMA Awards performance from her tour mate, 21-year-old Hunter Hayes. The fresh-faced hottie, also tonight's winner for New Artist of the Year, sang "Wanted"—and the screaming gals in the audience returned the favor. (Too bad he forgot to thank Underwood in his speech, oops.)
    Most Gracious Speech: In accepting for Female Vocalist of the Year, Lambert gave an individualized shout-out to every gal she beat out to win: For Swift: "I've been listening toRed all week, it's freakin' awesome." For Underwood: "At rehearsal, I heard her sing 'Blown Away' three times, and it blew me away." For Kelly Clarkson: "I sang with her in Colorado and I just wanted to crawl into a hole and die." For Martina McBride: "I grew up with her records and to try to even hit one note that she ever sang, it's impossible."
    Best Shout-Out to Jesus: Little Big Town really went to town in thanking the Lord for their Vocal Group of the Year Award. 
    Video Thumbnail: Most Thanked Person at 2012 CMAsLittle Big Town walks away with the Vocal Group of the Year award while singing their praises to Jesus! See their short and sweet acceptance.
    Bestest Best of the Night: The music, as always! From Aldean, Church and Bryan's opening number to Lambert's fiery "Fastest Girl in Town" to Zac Brown Band's tearjerker rendition of "I Saw Goodbye in Her Eyes" to the Band Perry's foot-stomping "Better Dig Two," it's hard to beat a country show for consistency of performance quality throughout. Paisley's "Southern Comfort Zone," backed by a massive gospel choir, was also pretty awesome, not least because he started with a few acoustic bars of "Empire State of Mind," another nod to the devastation back East.
    Best Tribute: Well, there was really only one, to Willie Nelson, receipient of the inaugural Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award. But it would have been the best, no matter what. While Lady Antebellum did a find job with "You Were Always on My Mind" and Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and Mickey Raphael, you couldn't really top Nelson warbling "On the Road Again." Better yet: His acceptance was short and sweet. "This is a great award and I appreciate it very much. Thank you, CMA. Thank you, Nashville. I love all of you out there, thank you, I appreciate it."
    Best Double-Take: Blake Shelton, when he was named Entertainer of the Year. Even his wife gave him a "so what are you waitin' for?!" wide-eyed look as he just sat there after his name was called. "You can tell this time I really didn't think I was gonna win...I'm still Willie'd out here!" he exclaimed.
    Here's the complete list of winners from the 46th Annual CMA Awards:
    Entertainer of the Year: Blake Shelton
    Album of the Year: 
    Chief, Eric Church
    Female Vocalist of the Year: 
    Miranda Lambert
    Male Vocalist of the Year: 
    Blake Shelton
    Vocal Group of the Year: 
    Little Big Town
    Single of the Year: "Pontoon," Little Big Town
    Song of the Year: "Over You," Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert (songwriters)
    Musical Event of the Year: 
    "Feel Like a Rock Star," Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw
    Musician of the Year: 
    Mac McAnally
    Music Video of the Year: 
    "Red Solo Cup," Toby Keith
    New Artist of the Year: 
    Hunter Hayes
    (Originally published Nov. 1, 2012, at 6:20 p.m. PT)

    Halle Berry stuns in jaw-dropping leather frock

    Halley Berry rocked a figure-hugging leather and sheer dress at the Moscow premiere of her flick "Cloud Atlas" on Thursday. Check out some of the other looks she sported while promoting this movie around the world! Which do you like best? Plus, Sharon Stone may have taken the term "bag lady" literally when she attended the Lupus L.A. Hollywood Bag Lady Luncheon on Thursday, and we're taking a look at our favorite celeb TwitPics of the week. 

    Friday, November 2, 2012

    Adam White, Universal International VP and Billboard Vet, Retires

    Universal Music Group International announced today that VP of communications Adam White is to retire after 10 years with the company. White, 64, joined Universal in 2002 from Billboard, where he had been international editor-in-chief, based in London. In his earlier tenure with Billboard, from 1978 to 1985, he was based in New York, rising to managing editor and then editor-in-chief.

    White had a long and widely-respected career in journalism on both sides of the Atlantic before moving to Universal, first writing for such publications as New Musical Express, Disc, Melody Maker and the British trade publication Music Week. He moved on to editorial posts at Music Week, Radio & Records and Billboard, eventually becoming Billboard's international editor in chief in 1989, a post he held until he joined Universal. He wrote "The Billboard Book of Gold & Platinum Records" and co-authored "The Billboard Book of No. 1 Rhythm & Blues Hits" with Fred Bronson. He also wrote liner notes for many albums and scored a Grammy nomination for his notes to "Heaven Must Have Sent You: the Holland/Dozier/Holland Story."

    "Adam has made significant contributions to our changing business, and we will all miss him," Hole said in a statement. "He is respected and trusted by all the journalists, artists, artist managers and UMG staff that he has encountered during his time here, and he leaves Universal Music with our appreciation."

    At Universal, he initially reported to UMI chairman and CEO Jorgen Larsen, who retired in 2005, then to Larsen's successors Lucian Grainge and current COO of UMGI, Max Hole.

    White will depart Universal at Christmas, but his successor, with immediate effect, is Caryn Tomlinson, who becomes senior VP, corporate communications, reporting to Hole and New York-based UMG communications chief Peter Lofrumento. Tomlinson has been senior VP, artist relations, global at EMI Music since 2006; she joined the company in 2002 after a seven-year stint at EMI Music Publishing, where she was PR director for the U.K. and Europe. In her new role, she will be responsible for all of UMGI's internal and external corporate communications and media relations.

    Halle Berry's Secrets to a Hot Body


    This time of year, it becomes more difficult to keep those unwanted pounds off with so many holiday goodies around. For inspiration, InStyle magazine asked Halle Berry how the actress and mother stays fit while maintaining such a busy lifestyle.
    In the interview, the Cloud Atlas star said she's not a huge fan of working out but she sticks toa set schedule. "I work with [personal trainer] Nat Bardonnet three times a week, an hour at a time," said Berry. "I do cardio, very light weights and exercises that use a lot of my own body weight."

    The Oscar-winner says she's done trying to obtain the ideal body; it's more about staying healthy. "I just try to keep everything lean and toned—the days of trying to get a body are done. I don't really like exercising, but I like the people I work out with. I need somebody to show up and plan it. If I don't have that, I'll find a million other things to do."

    Berry made headlines in the past for her health troubles—specifically her struggle to keep her diabetes under control. She tells the fashion magazine that she's a Whole Foods shopper and she pays particular attention to the ingredients in everything. "Products will claim to be good for you, but when you look at the ingredients, they're loaded with sugar," said Berry.

    How Floyd Mayweather & 50 Cent Went From BFFs To Enemies




    In mid July, about three weeks before Floyd Mayweather was to be released from jail for domestic abuse, 50 Cent applied to get a boxing promoters license in Nevada: This was the birth of TMT promotions. The moniker TMT (which stands for The Money Team) was one that Floyd Mayweather birthed, so it was assumed that TMT would promote Floyd and a number of other well-known boxers the company snatched up, including Yuriorkis Gamboa, Billy Dib and Andre Dirrell.
    If you thought that, you would be wrong.
    Last night, despite the fact that Floyd was seen rocking the hat recently, TMT was officially put to rest with these tweets:
    "TMT IS OVER the money team is no longer a team. So it SMS promotions that’s it thats all.SMSaudio"
    "I’m no longer apart or down with TMT promotions. SMSaudio. If anyone wants a money team jacket I’m selling mine for a dollar. The nap back hat comes with it. That’s a fare price. SMSaudio"
    "I move the fighters to SMSpromotion cause the other half of the money team .Didnt put up there$MONEY$.SMSaudio. Get your TMT sweat suit NOW!! For just $7.99 on line No shipping and handling.SMSaudio"
    Along with the promotional company, it seems like their friendship, which has been one of the more notable ones, is shattered.
    So what happened?
    The story hasn’t been fully told yet, all we are left with is a trail of clues.
    Scroll down and read as we try to piece together what happened between Floyd and 50.    
    Who knew?
    That was everyone’s reaction when we first saw rapper 50 Cent kicking it with Floyd Mayweather in 2006, during the buildup to the mega fight between Mayweather and Oscar De La Hoya. The friendship was best projected during HBO’s 24/7, where the two can be see clowning around (50 even walked Floyd out to the ring fight night.)
    From there, the two seemed irreplaceable. They seemed to do everything together, from appearing on the cover of XXL to sh*tting on Rick Ross. The problems between the two are mostly recent. However, one thing that stood out was a fistfight they had back in 2008. It involved money that 50 claims that Floyd owed him. The fight seemed to be squashed right away.
    Then in the summer of 2012, Floyd heads to jail for domestic abuse. If you saw the 24/7 coverage leading up to Floyd’s fight with Miguel Cotto, then you would think all was good between the two, who were yucking it up throughout. Like we mentioned before, while Floyd was in jail, 50 started up TMT and gathered a number of boxers. Things seem so good between them that 50 picked up Floyd from jail when he was released. 
    Miss Jackson. 
    That's Floyd Mayweather's fiancĂ©e and she is in the middle of all of this. Around the time Floyd came home, rumors about an affair between 50 Cent and Miss Jackson started spreading rapidly. As you can see, at the Freelancers premiere a couple of months ago, things were a little awkward, to say the least. 
    About a month later, news came out that 50 was doing some kind of business with Manny Pacquiao, the rival boxer of Floyd Mayweather. Some speculated that this was in regards to a potential megafight between Floyd and Manny, but this seems unlikely, considering that Floyd is nowhere in the picture throughout this time. In an interview with Power 105, 50 still seemed like he could make the megafight happen, even though he was throwing some shade at his BFF in the process.  
    In an interview with Rickey Smiley, 50 Cent continues to hint that all isn’t good in Floyd land:
    "[The issues between us] really comes from … everybody around him is waiting on the next time he feels generous. And I have a lot [of money], so I don't wait for nobody," the rapper said in the interview. "I'll go do what I gotta do. I don't have to sit around and wait for the next time he feels like giving somebody something."
    Floyd responds to 50, but he takes the high road and he tries to keep the peace. In an interview with FightHype, which has a good relationship with the fighter, Floyd talked about any kind of beef, saying:
    "It's not that we're beefin'. You gotta realize, 50, he travels a lot and he has other stuff. He's got his headphones, he has his energy drink, you know, he makes appearances overseas, so he's very busy, and I'm making a lot of appearances, so a lot of times, two people may not always be on the same page, but that don't mean it's a hate-hate relationship. Everybody wants to see me and 50 bump heads."
    The most damning piece of evidence of why the relationship between the two went sour came on a report in FightHype put up on October 12. The story details how Tommy Summers, a friend of 50 Cent, wanted Floyd to cut ties with the boxer's advisor, Al Hayman, who has been with Floyd with years. FightHype was able to get physical evidence, which included a letter. It seems that in the end, Floyd had to choose between Al Hayman and 50 Cent and Tommy Summers, and he chose Al Hayman.