<p>Paul McCartney</p>

Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney reveals new details about new album, including guest stars

You can hear a new track... for $50

So it looks like there’s more to the story on Paul McCartney’s new album coming Feb. 7.

Last week we reported that Macca will release a newly-recorded set of  classic love songs from the 1920s- 1940s. Now more details are surfacing: The Beatle's still-untitled album will feature guest appearances from Eric Clapton and Stevie Wonder.

We don’t know if the “still-untitled” part means that the report that the set will be called “My Valentine” were wrong or just premature. Regardless, the track “My Valentine” is available for streaming for 24 hours via www.paulmccartney.com to premium members. It costs $50 to be a premium member, so you won’t be hearing our thoughts on the song here.

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Credit: Peter Kramer

Music Power Rankings: We look back at 2011 with Adele, Lady Gaga and Steve Jobs

A change is gonna come and this past year proved it

In this special edition of Music Power Rankings, we look back at 2011 and highlight our top 10 stories and events. What strikes us as we ponder our choices in the Top 10 is that any way you look at it, this was a watershed year for the music industry in that the old, traditional way of business continues to morph into something new and those who can’t shift with the times or continue to cling to the old way of doing things will fall by the wayside. There’s understandable ongoing concern about how to monetize many of the new ways that music is consumed, but it felt like a little of the joy came back this year after a long, bleak period.

This is the last issue of MPR for a few weeks. We’ll be back in January. Happy Holidays!

1) Adele:
She is the biggest success story of the year...of the last several years, actually. Her sophomore album, “21,” has never fallen out of the Billboard 200’s Top 10 and has sold more than 5 million copies in the U.S. She is on virtually every critics’ best-of-2012 list, and more importantly, she is not some producer’s puppet. She is proof that immense talent can appeal to the masses and the tastemakers alike. When she says she hurts from love’s scars, you believe her 100% and ache along with her.

2) Album sales rebound:
Or at least they don’t drop. For the first time since 2004, album sales have increased over the previous year. There’s no way they’re ever going back to the pre-2000 high and the industry still feels like it’s in free-fall, but for the first time, it feels like maybe we’ve hit the bottom and, through various new business models and strategies, can go forward. (Final figures aren’t in, but through Sept. 31, sales were up 3.3% over 2010, according to Nielsen SoundScan.)

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Michael Buble's Christmas album. Again.</p>
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Michael Buble's Christmas album. Again.

Will Michael Buble's 'Christmas' continue its Billboard 200 reign next week?

Who else surges as holidays sales kick into high gear?

Michael Buble must have been very nice this year as Santa continues filling his stocking with presents. Next week, it may be with as many as 460,000 of them. That’s the number of copies of Buble’s holiday album, “Christmas,” he is expected to sell. That number could propel the title over the 2 million mark in two months.

As Christmas approaches, superstar titles surge and move back up the chart: there are no debuts in the Top 10: it looks like Anthony Hamilton’s superb “Back To Love” will be the highest new entry at No. 14, according to Hits Daily Double.

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<p>Katy Perry</p>

Katy Perry

Credit: AP Photo

Katy Perry's march to No. 1 continues with B.o.B. remix of 'The One That Got Away'

Will it be enough to land her the record-setting sixth No. 1 from 'Teenage Dream?'

Discount single at iTunes? Check. Come up with a new remix? Check. Show up on well-timed, year-end television shows? Check.

Looks like Katy Perry, who hosted “Saturday Night Live” last week and was one of  Barbara Walters’  Most Fascinating People, is on track to make “The One That Got Away” her sixth No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 from “Teenage Dream,” which, as we all know by now, would make her the only artist in pop history to ever do so.

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<p>Paul McCartney</p>

Paul McCartney

Credit: AP Photo

Paul McCartney wants to be your sweetheart on Feb. 7's 'My Valentine'

Romantic set focuses on tunes from the '20s and '40s

Newlywed Paul McCartney has got that lovin’ feeling. On Feb. 7, just in time for Valentine’s Day, Sir Paul will release “My Valentine” on Concord/Hear Music.

The Tommy LiPuma-produced set will contain new McCartney-penned odes, because you never can really have enough silly love songs, as well as songs from the 1920s-1940s that his father loved and a young McCartney heard growing up. “My family, my uncles, everybody sang,” he told a French radio station (via Direct Contact). “And there will be pieces I wrote, but in this style...I worked with Diana Krall, and great jazz musicians like John Clayton. This is an album very tender, very intimate. This is an album you listen to at home after work, with a glass of wine or a cup of tea.”

It will be a big week for McCartney, who will be honored Feb. 10 in Los Angeles as MusiCares Person of the Year, the annual fundraiser produced by The Recording Academy two nights before the Grammys.


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<p>The Chieftans</p>

The Chieftans

Credit: Thechieftans.com

Bon Iver, Decemberists, Civil Wars join the Chieftains for 'Voice of Ages'

Venerated Irish band pairs with indie, Americana and folk artists for new set

The DecemberistsBon Iver, The  Civil Wars, The Low Anthem, Pistol Annies and Carolina Chocolate Drops all join The Chieftains on the legendary Irish outfit’s “Voice of Ages,” out  Feb. 21.

Co-produced by T Bone Burnett, the set also features Punch Brothers, Imelda May, Lisa Hannigan and Paolo Nutini mixing it up on a collection, as well as writing some of the material: The Civil Wars write a song specifically for the project.

The Chieftains will kick off a tour in conjunction with the release on Feb. 17  in Santa Barbara, which will culminate in their annual St. Patrick’s Day show in New York. This year’s St. Paddy’s show will also serve as a 50th anniversary celebration.

The band has a long history of collaborating with musicians from all different genres, and has recorded in the past with Mark Knopfler, Tom Jones, Ziggy Marley, Jackson Browne, Madonna, Sting, Elvis Costello, Mick Jagger and dozens more.


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<p>Adam Lambert</p>

Adam Lambert

Adam Lambert sets date for second post-'AI' album, 'Trespassing'

Listen to the new single, 'Better Than I Know Myself'

It looks like Adam Lambert held out on all his Glamberts! On Wednesday, he tweeted the album cover for new single, “Better Than I Know Myself” and a 30-second snippet of the song, but left out the big news: the release date for his second, post-”American Idol” album, “Trespassing.”

The set will come out March 20 on 19 Entertainment/RCA.  Fans who pre-order the album on Dec. 20, will get an instant, free download of “Better Than I Know Myself,” which goes on sales next Tuesday.  (Even though we're still in 2011, March 20 is starting to look like a major release date: both The Shins and Madonna announce this week that they will also release albums in "late March").

[More after the jump...]

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Listen: Adam Lambert's new single 'Better Than I Know Myself'
Credit: RCA

Listen: Adam Lambert's new single 'Better Than I Know Myself'

When is the full song coming?

So it's only a snippet but long-suffering Adam Lambert fans finally got a tease of what's coming next from their favorite "American Idol" contestant.

There have been a lot of fits and starts to get us to this point, many of which have been chronicled by Lambert for his little Glamberts in exhaustive detail via Twitter.

But today, we got a 30-second (okay, 27-second) tidbit of "Better Than I Know Myself," the first single from Lambert's second album. The full single will be available on Dec. 20-- Happy Holidays From Adam-- and the full album, "Trespassing," is expected in 2012.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Rihanna performs at a concert in Budapest, Hungary earlier this month.</p>

Rihanna performs at a concert in Budapest, Hungary earlier this month.

Credit: AP Photo/MTI, Balazs Mohai

Does Rihanna hold off a surging Katy Perry on this week's Billboard Hot 100?

Who does she beat if she can stay at No. 1 one more week?

Rihanna's "We Found Love" finds its way to a seventh week atop Billboard's Hot 100, but can the singer fend off a surge by Katy Perry

Perry's "The One That Got Away" soars 9-4 on this week's chart, in part due to a 69-cent sale price on the single, as well as a small gain in radio play.

But back to Rihanna. If "We Found Love," featuring Calvin Harris can last at least one more week at No. 1, it will hold the record for the most weeks at No. 1 in 2011, besting Adele's "Rolling In the Deep," with which it is currently tied. Additionally, should "We Found Love" make it another week at the top, it will become Rihanna's longest chart-topping single: Both "Umbrella" and Eminem's "Love The Way You Lie," which featured Rihanna were also No. 1 for seven weeks.

As we chart watchers know by now, "We Found Love's" hold on No. 1 means that LMFAO's "Sexy and I Know It" stays locked out of the top spot once again and spends its sixth week at No. 2, according to Billboard.  Similarly, Bruno Mars' "It Will Rain" hangs out at No. 3 for another week, while Flo Rida's "Good Feeling" stays at No. 5.

Jay-Z and Kanye West's "Ni**as In Paris" skips two places to No. 6, Adele's "Someone Like You" falls one spot to No. 6, Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger" featuring Christina Aguilera drops the farthest in the Top 10, sliding from No. 4-8, while David Guetta's "Without You" featuring Usher moves No. 7-9.

Closing out the Top 10 is T-Pain's "5 O'Clock" featuring Wiz Khalifa and Lily Alen, which inches up one spot. That's good enough to give Allen her first TOp 10 hit, Khalifa his fourth and T-Pain his 15th as both a lead and featured artist.

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<p>Madonna arrives at a special screening of her film &quot;W.E.&quot;&nbsp;in New York City earlier this month.</p>

Madonna arrives at a special screening of her film "W.E." in New York City earlier this month.

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

UPDATED: The Top 5 Interscope artists Madonna should duet with

New album out in March, single in late January

Are Madonna and her new label home Interscope a good fit?  Can she and Lady Gaga exist on the same roster?  As rumored for several weeks, the Material Girl  has signed with  Jimmy Iovine’s label followed the end of her 25-year career on Warner Bros. (first through Seymour Stein’s Sire Records).

Today, both the New York Post and Billboard  report confirmation of the deal from unnamed sources. The Post says it is a 3-album deal, the first of which will be her 2012 album. Additionally, Madonna has her already existing multi-facted pact with Live Nation that includes touring and merchandise. The deal with Interscope will be a licensing deal through her Live Nation pact.

We'll get to the five duet partners in a second, but first our thoughts on the deal.

So does this make sense? Yes and no.  Madonna is so iconic, in some ways we’re surprised that she felt the need to sign another major label deal. Surely, she could self release her albums.

[More after the jump...]

Of course she could, but if you look at the legions of artists, veteran and still blooming, who release their own albums, most of them are not relying on radio play. As legendary as Ms. Ciccone is, to really sell albums (and downloads) and, most importantly, to prove her relevancy as a contemporary artist, she has to have her new songs on radio. That’s why we’re seeing her record with the likes of Nicki Minaj. And to achieve major success on pop radio, you still need to be on a major label.

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