The American Music Awards 2013 was held last Sunday at Nokia Theater and it was very easy figuring out who are the real w9inners were.

“This is about the fans tonight,” Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds said as the band collected for favorite alternative rock artist.

Winners naming Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake and One Direction who brought home several  trophies during the night knew whom they owed it to.

 

It was the fans that received the most impassioned gratitude amongst pop stars, there were even no academy thanked but still label brass and glam squads got shout outs and of course God was acknowledge.

 

Award buddies such as the American Music Awards, the MTV Video Music Awards and the Billboard Music Awards to rely on the public to choose the night’s winners as a counter to the prestigious industry inclusiveness of the Grammys, this has a long been tradition for the awards shows.

 

Apiece of the declared telecasts has morphed into painfully unsurprising ordeal in the past years.

 

While it is still driven by the fans, shows aspiring to grip the age of social engagement have incorporated digital social engagement — Tweeter, YouTube/Veve views, Facebook — to dictate nominations — and winners.

 

And as a result the process has taken away what’s left of the element of surprise.

 

The madness that rang out among the audience at just the announcement of names like that of One Direction, Timberlake, Miley Cyrus and Swift, hurriedly predicted the night.

 

Taking home four trophies was Swift winning big.  Timberlake and One Direction both performed and also awarded multiple wins.  Every appearance they drove panic to the teenage girls in the audience.

 

The boys of One Direction fawned over those fans who probably spent hours logging their votes online and through Twitter, and on Sunday they were rewarded but Swift, Rihanna and Miley Cyrus were their heroines while Timberlake still pulled heartstrings.

 

But finally that rampant fandom sucks the joy out of these shindigs.

 

“I cannot thank you enough. This validates that if you voted for this that we are heartbroken the same way and we fall in love the same way and we are happy the same way,” Swift said as she won artist of the year. “If you decided on something as wonderful as this, we are pretty much in this together, aren’t we?” Well played.

Another sign of how musicians are finding new ways to push, sell and promote their music, Jay-Z partnered with Samsung for his new album, “Magna Carta Holy Grail”.  Jay-Z, a multiplatinum performer who famously rapped “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man”, continues to leverage his enduring popularity into a successful brand.

On July 4, just three days before the album’s official release date, Jay-Z will give his new album to 1 million users of Galaxy mobile phones.  During the three-minute commercial in the NBA Finals, the 43-year-old broke the news about his twelfth album

Details about the Samsung-Jay-Z deal, announced Sunday, weren’t made public as both parties did not allow interviews.

While music industry is at a time when album sales are low and the digital market has taken the lead in the music industry, Jay-Z’s partnership is just another way of artists’ promotions.

President of the National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) Jim Donio said top level acts like Jay-Z and Taylor Swift have the power to launch new albums in spectacular ways with various partners.

“For an artist whose album release is an event in itself … they carry with them a much wider profile in the marketplace that they speak to, so their audience and all the things that they do affords these unique opportunities,” he said.

Taylor Swift, one of the top sellers in music, had her second platinum-debut week with “Red” last year. Her partnerships for the album included Target, Walgreens and Papa John’s (you could order a pizza and a Swift album at the same time).

“Even if you didn’t purchase the CD, her face was still on the pizza box,” Donio said.

Jay-Z’s latest partnership is one of his many business deals. Roc Nation agency, the one who manage Jay-Z’s agency as well as Rihanna, Shakira and other musicians, recently expanded into the sports world, and he now is helping the careers of New York Yankee Robinson Cano, New York Jets rookie Geno Smith and others.  Jay-Z has launched fashion lines, has a string of 40/40 nightclubs, was also the president of Def Jam and owned part of 1 percent of the Brooklyn Nets.

Samsung likely partnered with him on his new album because Jay-Z is still a consistent hit maker and a superstar who transcends music.  Samsung has chipped away at Apple’s share of the mobile market with its Galaxy phones, and companies are depending more on music to attract new customers.

Will the 1 million downloads count toward first-week sales of the album, giving it elite status of debuting with platinum sales, an accomplishment few artists have achieved? That was one of the many questions about the Samsung deal still unanswered.  Billboard tracks album sales and chart information for the industry.  They did not return emails seeking comment.  Samsung apparently bought the albums though it’s uncertain what the price-point was.

Monday, Jay-Z made it clear what he felt the trade publication should do.

“If 1 Million records get SOLD and billboard doesn’t report it, did it happen? Ha,” Jay-Z tweeted, adding: “Platinum!!!”

Donio said he thinks more deals like Samsung-Jay-Z are on the horizon.

“The record labels that are putting out the music and partnering with a variety of types of commerce outlets are going to look at just anything and everything that may work with that particular artist and that particular album release,” he said

Last Monday, U.S. magistrate judge sentenced Grammy-winning hip hop artist Lauryn Hill to three months in prison, three months in home confinement and a $60,000 fine for federal tax evasion. 

 

Last year Lauryn Hill pleaded guilty to three counts of failing to file tax returns on more than $1.8 million of income between 2005 and 2007 and faced up to three years in prison.

 

Hill has credited her failure to pay taxes to years of pressure she practiced as a recording star all at the same time with raising six children, causing her to go underground and shut away from the public eye.

 

On the eve of her scheduled sentencing, Hill paid $504,000 in back taxes to the Internal Revenue Service and another $420,000 to the state of New Jersey, her attorney told the court. She still owes another $285,000 in interest and penalties.

 

“When the government is asking for 36 months and the judge gives three months, I think the judge gave a fair and reasonable sentence,” Hill’s attorney Nathan Hochman told reporters.

 

Thirty months to the maximum of 36 months was asked by the prosecutors for a sentence.

 

Hill’s lack of a criminal record, her six children and her repayment of the back taxes as mitigating factors in the sentence, cited U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo.

 

Hill, native of South Orange, New Jersey, must report on or before July 8.  Her attorney asked the court to assign her a facility close to home.  Part of one year of supervised probation is the three months of home confinement following the prison stay.

 

Hill told the court she pulled away from society because her life was in crisis, received veiled threats and was blacklisted because she did not conform to the norms of the music industry.

 

“I was being perceived as a cash cow, not a person,” Hill said.

 

Just this Friday, a new single by Hill, her first in several years, called “Neurotic Society,” was posted on iTunes.

 

“Here is a link to a piece that I was ‘required’ to release immediately, by virtue of the impending legal deadline,” her Tumblr social media page said on Saturday.

 

She signed a new contract with Sony Worldwide Entertainment and was working on her first album of new material in more than a decade, her lawyers attest.

 

Hill’s seminal 1998 solo album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” won the singer five Grammy awards.  She was a former member of the Fugees rap trio.

Last Saturday, Rock musician Jack White celebrated Record Store Day by giving customers a opportunity to record their own voices on vinyl on a vintage machine at his record shop near downtown Nashville.

Voice-O-Graph, a record booth from 1947 was used by White, who has embraced vinyl over digital both as an artist and as the head of Third Man Records in Nashville to treat their costumers.

“We’ll have the record booth open and available for people to come in, sing a song and get a copy of it on record,” Third Man Records executive Ben Blackwell said in an interview on Wednesday.

“It’s a refurbished 1947 Voice-O-Graph record booth,” Blackwell said. “As far as we can tell, it will be the only functioning record booth open to the public in the world.”

Every third Saturday of each April Record Store Day is marked internationally that aims to encourage people to visit independent record stores.

Third Man Records will be staging in-house performances by some of the music label’s artists adding up to the recording booth in the store’s “Novelties Lounge”.

Blackwell said record booths were popular in the 1940s and 1950s and could be found in public places, like train stations, along with photo booths.

“They were used as a way to record an audio postcard and send it to someone you love or to go in and sing a little song so you can hear what your voice sounds like,” he said.

The Voice-O-Graph is about the size of a telephone booth. The idea is fans will pay a fee to produce their own record.

“Just think of it as a blank vinyl record and when you are singing, it is making the grooves into the record,” Blackwell said.

White’s Third Man Records has been recognized for experimenting with vinyl, having in the previous few months added a record lathe that allows live acts performing in the Blue Room. The Blue Room is the company concert venue, to be recorded directly to discs.

The contemporary music fan has “never been faced with the technology to put their voice and their thoughts on a record” and take it home Blackwell said.

“Jack has been looking for a long time for one of these machines,” Blackwell said. “After years and years and years he finally crossed paths with one. It was a no-brainer to get it up and running for our Novelties Lounge.”

The booth will remain after Record Store Day, and he expects it to be a popular attraction to the store, which sells exclusively Third Man recordings – albums by various artists as well as by White and his three group configurations: The White Stripes, Dead Weather and The Raconteurs Blackwell added.

Pirates are not just hunting oceans’ floor but also the music industry.  There’s still no way she can pay record companies the $222,000 judgment she owes said the Minnesota woman at the center of a long-running court fight over the unauthorized downloading of copyrighted music after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear her appeal Monday.

The justices did not give remark on their decision.  The amount was excessive argued by the attorneys of Jammie Thomas-Rasset, of Brainerd.

 

In the early to mid-2000s, the music industry filed thousands of lawsuits in opposition to people it charged of downloading music without authorization and without paying for it.  Most of these cases were settled for about $3,500 apiece.  Only two defendants refused to pay and went to trial one of them is Thomas-Rasset while the other was former Boston University student Joel Tenenbaum.  The later also lost and was ordered to pay $675,000.

 

 

Back in 2006, the initial case was file against Thomas-Rasset.  Ever since the case was filed has gone through three trials and several appeals.  According to the evidences presented by the industry, Thomas-Rasset made available over 1,700 songs to other computer uses via the file-sharing service Kazaa, though the lawsuit targeted only 24 songs.

 

“I’m assuming that since they declined to hear the case it’s probably done at this point,” she said. But she also said she needed to consult with her attorneys to determine what happens next.

 

Thomas-Rasset at the age of 35 and who works for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe tribal government, maintained her claim that as she has all along can’t afford to pay.

 

“There’s no way that they can collect,” she said. “Right now, I get energy assistance because I have four kids. It’s just the one income. My husband isn’t working. It’s not possible for them to collect even if they wanted to. I have no assets.”

 

She became a grandmother in June, Thomas-Rasset added.

 

She refused both times when the Recording Industry Association of America offered to settle for $5,000 when it first sued, and offered to settle for a $25,000 donation to a charity for music industry people in need after her second trial.

 

“We appreciate the Court’s decision and are pleased that the legal case is finally over,” the trade group said in a statement. “We’ve been willing to settle this case from day one and remain willing to do so.”

 

Kiwi Camara, of Houston, Thomas-Rasset’s attorney, uttered displeasure in the result but oblique in an email that the legal options may still carry out.  He noted that Tenenbaum’s case will still live before the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.  Tenenbaum is still demanding the size of the judgment against him.  His attorneys, including Camara, dispute that it’s “grossly disproportionate” to his offense.

Kanye West’s series of concerts in Atlantic City last December 30, 2012 came to be a surprise for everyone.  Every night he managed to surprise everyone, on the first night he played dress-up, second night he ranted.  But the third and final night was the night he shocked everyone, he declared that he is a father-to-be.  This was the first time we ever saw him with a genuine happiness on his face, he couldn’t take that smile off.

 

At 35, Kanye is as excited as a kid on his Christmas presents.  During a freestyle of “Lost in the World” he revealed that Kim kardashan, 32, will going to be his “baby’s mama.”

 

Kanye was really happy when he heard about the news.  “He’s known this for some time now,” according to reliable source.  “You don’t even know how f**king excited this [guy] is about being a father.”  So blackmail is not a question here because he is genuinely happy.

 

Kanye was overcome with emotion when Kim told him the good news, the source added.

 

The sorce also revealed, “He’s like really on one right now and I don’t know if I should say this, but [Kanye] was crying when Kim told him she was knocked up.”

 

The source also adds, “I heard he got on his knees in front of Kim, she rubbed his head while he was crying and he was kissing her stomach. Guess he was overwhelmed at that point and couldn’t believe he’s about to be a father.”

 

This is all maybe because Kanye in fact grew up without his father by his side.  His parents got divorced and Kanye and his mother moved to Chicago when he was 3.  He will only go and see his father on Christmas, spring break and summer.  He considers his father as his everything although most of the time his mother was his everything.  He once said to an interview, “It gets to the point that when you go to high school and you wasn’t out in the streets like that, and you ain’t have no father figure, or you wasn’t around your father all the time, who you gonna act like? You gonna act like your mother. … And then everybody in high school be like, “Yo, you actin’ like a f–. Dog, you gay?” And I used to deal with that when I was in high school.”  Maybe this is exactly his reason why he is excited to become a dad.

 

Although Kardashian’s family was as excited as Kanye, latter’s family reacted negatively.  Kim’s family even tweeted about her pregnancy with Kanye.

Kanye’s family was the first ones to learn about Kim’s pregnancy and let us just say that they did not react like Kim’s family.  Tony Williams, Kanye’s cousin, said that Kanye’s baby announcement wasn’t met with champagne showers by his family.

He said that when Kanye spilled the news when he flew in the day after Christmas without Kim, they were quite and shocked.

The family did not respond so Kanye had to ask Tony for his reaction and he said, “You are 35 years old.  You have to have a kid eventually.”

But eventually the family came around and said that they are all really excited for him and Kim.    Yes, excited but shocked.

 

As we all know Kim is still technically married to Kris Humphries, so marriage was still not in the way for the two.  And blackmail is out of the question because the couple looks happy in their situation.

 

They have been quite about it.  And the family did not ask about it too according to Tony that is because Kanye did not say anything about it.

There is no doubt that Psy’s “Gangnam Style” has taken over the world, it is a Phenomenon!  It has been topping the hit charts of every country.  Psy’s quirky dance moves and the songs upbeat music make the whole world addicted to the song.  Although the song is in Korean it is so catchy with its sing-a-long chorus making the whole world sing and dance to it.

 

In a span of merely few weeks, Psy (real name Park Jae-Sang), a chubby 34-year-old, made everyone a Gangnam Stylists.  South Korean singer   has become an overnight international sensation with his bizarre-but-amazing ‘Gangnam Style’ clip, in which he does a “horse dance” in toilets, saunas, elevators, carparks and even a horse stable.  The catchy tune, an endearing, if hopelessly draft, dance became an overnight viral sensation.  Instead of feeling aggrieved at his rapid, effortless rise, appearances on the US TV chatshow circuit and myriad copycat routines, they must thank Psybecause he shoved open the door for other Korean pop artists hoping to make it to US market as well.

 

Gangnam Style breaks Guiness world book of records, when this viral song smashed a world record, it became the most popular video in YouTube history.  The singer was presented with a certificate by Guinness World Records in London on Thursday for the achievement.

 

Singer even signed with Justine Bieber’s manager.  Racking up nearly 48 million Youtube streams Psy beats up Justine Bieber’s “As Long as You Love me”   to number 1 on the US iTunes chart, and spawning internet cover versions and flash mobs, this surprise Korean singer because he didn’t think that the song would be a smash.  English speaking listeners handled the song very passionately even though the lyrics contain only one English line “Hey, sexy lady!”

 

Gangnam is a hipster district in South Korea’s capital city, Seoul.  Here is part of the song translated in English:  “Girls, your big brother is Gangnam Style”.
A girl who looks quiet but plays when she plays
A girl who puts her hair down when the right time comes
A girl who covers herself but is more sexy than a girl who bares it all
A sensible girl like that

I’m a guy
A guy who seems calm but plays when he plays
A guy who goes completely crazy when the right time comes
A guy who has bulging ideas rather than muscles
That kind of guy

Very sensible indeed, far from what the video is portraying.  Psy said that his goal in the video is to look uncool and he achieved it.  But the message is quite poetic and very sane.  Some accuse Kpop as shallow in content.  This has proved that they aren’t.  Everyone is singing and dancing to Gangnam Style like crazy.  He may achieve looking uncool but sure he is one of the hottest in the world today!

 

Not that it’s any big surprise but, as of Sept. 6, it’s official: Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” is the song of the summer of 2012. Billboard tracked overall performances on the Hot 100 since June 9, and the infectious pop song landed at No. 1, ahead of Maroon 5′s “Payphone” and Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to know.” And the summer-song charting doesn’t stop there. The definitive International Source also provides a top-1o summer songs list that goes back to 1985 and a top 30 songs about the season.

Part of the reason is that summer is tied to the history of rock music, says Larry Starr, a professor of music history at the University of Washington and co-author of the book American Popular Music: From Minstrelsy to MTV.

 

“It became much more of a thing with the advent of rock and roll and in the 1950s and the development of an enormous teen audience for record buying, for whom the summer was a vacation period,” he says. “With that target of the market, you get all sorts of records that are addressed to school kids.”

Starr points to the 1958 Eddie Cochran classic “Summertime Blues”—which happens to be the first song, chronologically, on that Billboard top-30 of the genre—as one of the earliest examples of such a song: music about summer vacation and how you want to spend it.

But at this point it’s very possible that there’s no special something that says “summer” about a song. Starr conjectures that the category of beach-specific music—about the beach and for the beach, preferably by people on or near or named after the beach—may be responsible for the upbeat nature of the ideal summer song but notes that the sub-genre doesn’t really exist anymore. Now that summer music is something set apart, the lyrics didn’t have to mention the season by name. “Call Me Maybe” takes place on a “hot night,” but that’s as far as it goes.

Starr also says that another component of the summer song’s history is access to record stores, and when in the year high-schoolers have money, time and proximity to music, which doesn’t really matter anymore either. “In the age of the Internet, that’s irrelevant,” he says. “It would have been a consideration in the days when you had to go to a record store.” (Christmas has its own thing going on too, but that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of eggnog.) When access to music is an all-the-time thing, any season could theoretically have its own pop anthem—and if it’s all just a matter of timing, we should be able to guess what the “song of the fall” could be.

The latest from the American Idol judge-hunting drama: Mariah Carey is reportedly upset when she found out that producers are seriously considering Nicki Minaj as another judge. Though it was in no way final, Carey must have been annoyed if she really was led to believe that she will be the only female judge in the panel.

nicki minaj

mariah carey

Now, Minaj could be the big gamble Idol is willing to take in order to regain its former popularity — though if this would not work, let this be a warning that the show will definitely take a plunge and be a total train wreck.

Adding fuel to the fire is Carey’s controversial tweet weeks ago saying:“@AmericanIdol What’s going on? need the info!! What about this combo? : ) if we could ever get him to do it!” Along with the message was an attached photo of Carey with Lenny Kravitz, obviously suggesting him as a possible co-judge.

So far, only Carey has been confirmed in signing the judging contract with Idol but with speculations that there will be four judges this season, and Randy Jackson’s exit, producers have 3 more slots to fill.

Another rumored possible Idol judge is revealed to be Kanye West, with reports claiming that producers are in negotiations with the rapper. However, West seemed to be unsure as he does not think it’s his cup of tea. At any rate, it was revealed that he was offered the same annual salary as Carey.

Meanwhile, Randy Jackson has also been confirmed to be leaving the judging panel, possibly for a mentor post. This leaves the show with an all-new judge lineup, with others speculating there could be 4 judges this coming season.

Other rumored celebrities being considered to judge Idol are Enrique Iglesias, Adam Lambert, Keith Urban, Nick Jonas, Brad Paisley and Pharrell Williams.

American Idol is only several months away from its 12th season but the final set of judges is still given to much speculation. And for the producers, it will be challenging to steer an old franchise back to its glory days, especially after it has lost 23% in ratings on its last run.

American Idol judge Steven Tyler announced that he won’t be back for another season of the show.

 

The 64-year old rock icon and frontman of Aerosmith said that his exit after two seasons of judging in the show is because he think “it’s time to bring rock back”.

 

Tyler said in a statement, “After some long … hard … thoughts … I’ve decided it’s time for me to let go of my mistress ‘American Idol’ before she boils my rabbit.”

 

He explained that his departure from the show is to allow him to focus more on his band, Aerosmith, which has been around for 40 years. His decision makes sense as their band is expected to come out with a new album this fall and also set to go on tour.

 

“I strayed from my first love, Aerosmith, and I’m back — but instead of begging on my hands and knees, I got two fists in the air and I’m kicking the door open with my band.”

 

Though it is interesting to note that at the start of his judging gig in American Idol, he said on Black Hawk Mines of his bandmates’ reaction, “At first, they were jealous because they heard it through the press and not from me. But four months ago they were looking for another lead singer.”

 

Tyler’s departure is just one of the changes awaiting the next season as co-judge Jennifer Lopez is still undecided about staying.

 

Since the latest season wrapped up with the smallest ratings, there has been many speculations as to what changes will be done by Fox for the next season — and who will remain as Idol judges. The singing reality show has its sharpest decline in ratings last season, which was 30% or 21 million viewers compared to its peak in 2003 with 38 million, sending warning signals on the network.

 

Looks like the only sure thing about the Idol series is its host, Ryan Seacrest, who renewed his contract for 2 years for USD 15 million.