<p>Lady Gaga</p>

Lady Gaga

Credit: AP Photo

What Lady Gaga's falling 'Born This Way' sales numbers tell us

Why is it sinking like a stone?

Is Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” a quickly sinking bomb?  In its first week, it sold more than 1.1 million copies in the U.S. alone, but by week four, its numbers have dropped to 66,000. This week it drops to No. 4 on the Billboard 200 with total sales of 1.45 million (Worldwide, it has reached 5 million copies, the singer tweeted yesterday).

By contrast, Adele’s “21,” after selling 352,000 in its first week, keeps steadily chugging along. It quickly replaced “Born This Way” back at the top spot and has spent 10 weeks at No. 1. In its 17 weeks on the Billboard 200, it has sold more than 2 million copies and has never dropped below No. 3.

How do we even measure this stuff anymore anyway in the age of iTunes? I’m not so sure, but I can’t believe that Interscope executives are dancing with delight over Lady Gaga’s steeply falling weekly album numbers, especially given the near 24/7 perpetual motion promotion machine. If this were 2001 instead of 2011, “Born This Way” would likely still be selling 250,000-300,000/week at this stage. But that was before digital downloading and just at the start of album sales diving precipitously.

The numbers do tell us a few things:

*The initial rush and excitement very quickly fell off at a staggering rate for “Born This Way.” After months of build-up and leaking tracks, it’s possible that fans are simply experiencing Lady Gaga fatigue or her biggest fans snap up anything in the first week and her moderate followers don’t feel moved to purchase.

*The Amazon promotion
that offered the entire album for 99 cents for two days of the first week was great for fans, but was a gimmick. Lady Gaga would have still had an amazing first week—more than 700,000 copies sold—without the Amazon promotion. But the 1.1 million will forever have an asterisk by it since Interscope achieved the numbers by practically giving it away (we’re quite sure the label would have done that if Nielsen SoundScan counted giveways, but it doesn’t).

*Radio still matters
. Yes, listenership is down and more and more people discover music through the internet and from friends, but a radio hit is still important for massive sales to reach the widest possible audience.  For example, Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” has been No. 1 on the Hot 100 for seven weeks. That’s not only because it’s receiving Top 40 airplay: the song is a cross-format smash at rock and AC as well. First single “Born This Way” debuted at No. 1, but second single “Judas” never ignited at radio and third single, “The Edge of Glory” is doing well, but isn’t burning up the chart.  It is No. 6 with a bullet this week on the Billboard Hot 100, bolstered, sadly, by the death of Clarence Clemons, who appears on the track and video.

*We have to look at the full picture.  Yes, album sales have slowed to a trickle of what they were, but the digital downloads have already surpassed the 5 million mark in the U.S. alone. There are some people who feel that iTunes ruined the albums market. Others believe it simply has allowed consumers to purchase in a way that works for them. To me, it’s a bit of both. By the numbers: “Born This Way,” 2.94 million; “The Edge of Glory,” 996,000; “Judas,” 720,000; “You and I,” 124,000  (downloads of other songs on the album get the tally up to 5,098,000).

So how’s the scorecard look?  I’d say mixed. We can no longer look at album sales in a vacuum to gauge a project’s success. On the plus side, there is plenty that Interscope can tout to signal excitement, including the album and single resoundingly debuting at No. 1. Her “Fame Monster” tour was one of the highest grossing tours of the years and she has gone from club act to arena headliner in remarkably short time. On the downside, it seems almost impossible that someone could work as hard as Lady Gaga has (she has an inhuman work ethic) and that can only translate to 66,000 people feeling moved to purchase her album this week. Her fame far eclipses her buying audience at this point. The challenge for her label is how to convert all the looky-loos to consumers.

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<p>Katy Perry</p>

Katy Perry

Credit: AP Photo

Katy Perry, Bad Meets Evil and Shania Twain all make huge Hot 100 moves

Does Adele make it seven weeks atop Billboard's singles chart?

Adele makes it a lucky 7 as “Rolling in the Deep”  stays at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for its 7th frame, but will Katy Perry spoil the party?

Perry is going for her fifth No. 1 from her album, “Teenage Dream” and it looks like nothing is going to stand in her way. “Last Friday Night (TGIF),” leaps from 31 to No. 4. As it gains both airplay and single sales momentum, it could leap to the top spot.  Who does she push out of the No. 4 slot? Herself. Former chart topper “E.T.” featuring Kanye West slips from 4-5.

Hanging at the same slot as last week,  Pitbull’s “Give Me Everything” featuring Ne-Yo, Afro Jack and Nayer is No. 2, while LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock is No. 3, according to Billboard.  Also holding steady is Lady Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory” at No. 6.

Elsewhere in the Top 10, Jason Aldena’s “Dirt Road Anthem” climbs two spots 9-7, while Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” similarly moves up two, 10-8.  Bruno Mars’ “The Lazy Song” winds down four spots, 5-9, while Lupe Fiasco slides up one to No. 10 with “The Show Goes On.”

In other news, Jennifer Lopez’s “On the Floor” featuring Pitbull finally falls out of the Top 10 at 16 weeks as it moves 7-12.

The biggest entry on the chart belongs to Bad Meets Evil (i.e. Eminem and Royce da 5’9), whose “Lighters” featuring Bruno Mars rockets onto the Hot 100 at No. 16.  The duo’s album, “Hell: The Sequel,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 this week.

Also, a big welcome back to Shania Twain. “Today Is Your Day,” which enters the Hot 100 at No. 66, is her first appearance on the chart since 2005.

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Adele returns to North America with more concert dates

British singer makes up postponed dates and adds shows

After canceling a number of June tour dates due to laryngitis, Adele has rescheduled those shows plus thrown in six more.

The dates will take place in two shifts: August and October, starting  Aug. 9 at Vancouver217;s Orpheum Theater.

Adele’s “21,” which drops to No xx this week, has spent 10 weeks atop the BIllboard 200 album chart and has sold more than 2 million copies since its February release making it the top seller of 2011. First single, “Rolling in the Deep”  is No. 1 for the 7th week on the Billboard Hot 100.  Though she is only 23, Adele has spent more time in the top spot in her native UK than any other female artist in history, according to her label.

August 9          Vancouver, BC            Orpheum Theatre*         
August 11        Troutdale, Or               Edgefield**
August 12        Seattle, WA                 Paramount Theatre*
August 14        Berkeley, CA               The Greek Theatre*
August 15        Los Angeles, CA         The Greek Theatre*
August 17        Los Angeles, CA         The Palladium*
August 18        San Diego, CA            Open Air Theater***
August 20        Las Vegas, NV            The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas****
August 21        Salt Lake City, UT       Gallivan Center**
August 24        Saint Paul, MN            Theater at Xcel Energy Center**
October 7        Atlantic City, NJ           Borgata Spa & Resort****
October 8        Durham, NC                Durham Performing Arts Center****
October 10      Nashville, TN               Ryman Auditorium*
October 11      Asheville, NC               Thomas Wolfe Auditorium*
October 13      Orlando, FL                 Hard Rock Live****
October 14      Miami, FL                    Waterfront Theater at American Airlines Arena****
October 16      Atlanta, GA                  Fox Theatre***
October 18      Spring, TX                   Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion****
October 19      Austin, TX                    Frank Erwin Center***
October 21      Grand Prairie, TX        Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie**

*All original tickets honored
**Venue change, original tickets honored
***Venue change, check with point of purchase for ticket information
****Newly added show


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Watch: Enrique Iglesias, Lil Wayne and Usher in 'Dirty Dancer'

Watch: Enrique Iglesias, Lil Wayne and Usher in 'Dirty Dancer'

Can't you just guess what it's about with that title?

So as I’m watching the video for Enrique Iglesias’s “Dirty Dancer” featuring Usher and Lil Wayne, I’m thinking, as I watch one more stripper spread her legs, “Hmmm. I wonder if she waxes or shaves?” I don’t think this is the reaction he was going for.

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<p>Kurt Cobain</p>

Kurt Cobain

20th anniversary edition of Nirvana's 'Nevermind' includes 4 discs

September set will include previously unreleased material

The 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s “Nevermind” will be commemorated with a deluxe edition.

Out Sept. 20,  the special issue will include 4 CDs and 1 DVD. in addition to the full “Nevermind” album, it will contain previously unreleased recordings, rarities, b-sides, BBC radio appearances, alternative mixes, some live recordings and a never-before released concert.

Similar to Pearl Jam’s 20th anniversary, there will be other events throughout the year.

“Nevermind,” which reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and at its height was selling around 300,000 copies per week,  started off slowly, but soon took off thanks to the popularity of “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” It was the Kurt Cobain-led group’s first record for major label DGC after leaving Sub Pop and has gone on to sell 30 million copies worldwide.

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<p>Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera</p>

Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera's 'Move Like Jagger'

Do 'The Voice' mentors make beautiful music together?

Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera make great music together on “Moves Like Jagger,” even though we doubt they were ever within 100 feet of each other.

The electro-pop track from the two “Voice” coaches--billed as Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera is a fun, funky summer blast. The lyrics are nonsensical, like  “take me by the tongue and I’ll know you/kiss my til you’re drunk and I’ll show you all the moves like Jagger,” but it doesn’t matter.  Mick Jagger must be loving these song shout-outs. As you know, he was also namechecked in Ke$ha's "Tik Tok." Not bad for a 67-year old grandpa.

“Featuring Aguilera” is right since she doesn’t even come in until two minutes and change for the third verse. They rift off each other a little at the end, but there’s no sense that they were even in the studio at the same time. Regardless, it’s light as a feather with a fun whistle intro and refrain.

If we were “Voice” mentors, we’d so pick them for our team.

Now we’re just waiting for the Cee-Lo/Blake Shelton duet.

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Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Drake's new tune 'Trust Issues'

What's he bummed about now?

Drake has trust issues. See, he’s looking for love, but but he’s been burned by so many “bitches,” that he’s feeling a little wary on his new track, “Trust Issues.” You know what's a bitch? Fame.

The slow groove opens with a Drake singing his lines from DJ Khaled’s “I’m On One” in a langerous, quite lovely, fashion, despite some of the harsh words.

It’s the third new tune the Canadian songwriter has posted recently on his website, October's Very Own, following May’s “Dreams Money Can Buy” and “Marvin’s Room” earlier this month.

Drake’s got a sleepy voice that serves the track well,  and he is equally adept at singing as rapping, but he just seems downright grumpy. Between this track and “Over,” it all just seems a bit overwhelming for him. As he raps here, “You can look me in my eyes and see I ain’t myself" and then confesses "I hate myself." That's after he's blasted other folks for not appearing as they seem anymore.

Drake, who received the Hal David Starlight award at the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame last week in recognition of his burgeoning talent, is supposed to drop his new album, “Take Care,” in October. An official single is reportedly coming in July.


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What does Grammy's new 10-year pact with CBS mean for you?

What does Grammy's new 10-year pact with CBS mean for you?

Plus, when are the 2012 Grammy Awards?

Get ready for more Justin Bieber and less Yo Yo Ma.The Grammy Awards and CBS have signed a pact to keep the music awards show on the Eye network for another 10 years, as well as create a new series of two-hour Grammy related specials.

So what does this mean and how did it happen? After a few years of flagging ratings, the Grammys rebounded mightily recently 2011. This year’s February broadcast drew 26.7 million viewers, the show’s largest audience since 2000. It also had its highest ratings in the 18-34 demographic--the holy grail-- since 2004.

It’s a laudable feat and showcases more of what’s in store. As a way to boost ratings, the broadcast has focused heavily on featuring the top pop names. If it can’t find a way to give them a performance slot based on a nomination, such as Lady Gaga’s egg-citing entry this year, it finds a way to shoe-horn them in via catch-all tributes. For example, Christina Aguilera and Jennifer Hudson both found a warbling spot in the Aretha Franklin salute. We can see more of that and more pairings of often non-sensical bedfellows to up the name quotient.

Is this necessarily a bad thing? For purists, of course it is. But the simple fact is when the Grammys tried to give as much time to jazz and classical genres, the roar of viewers changing channels was deafening.  In the press room, we used to talk about the dead zone, which was the portion of the show, usually in the last half, that featured a classical salute, possibly jazz, and maybe a Latin number, and the NARAS chairman’s speech. Who knew we’d long for those days? It’s always been a near impossible mission: to try to highlight as many of the different genres as possible in the broadcast to attempt to show that best Native American recording is just as important as Album of the Year. That may be true in some utopian world, but on the Grammy broadcast, just as in Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” some animals are more equal than other.

As you may recall, the Grammys also streamlined the voting process this year by cutting more than 30 categories and combining niche musical genres that used to have their own home. These genres weren’t generally represented on the television show anyway, but now they will be forever banished to the pre-show telecast.

CBS has been the home of the Grammys since 1973, the extension is not that surprising. The agreement also includes the Grammy Nominations Concert Live!! (the Grammys’ exclamation points, not mine). That is the one-hour  primetime concert/nominations show that happens in late December (or early January) to announce nominees in key categories and throw in some performances. This year will mark its fourth year.

We’re intrigued to know what the two-hour series of Grammy specials will be but aren’t totally surprised by that. A number of award shows have been spinning off ancillary programming. For example, April’s  Academy of Country Music Awards now feature an additional two-hour themed special that airs in May that tapes the night after the ACMs. The Country Music Assn.’s Fan Fest spins its four nights of concerts into an ABC TV special.

The 2012 Grammy Awards will air live on Feb. 12.

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<p>&quot;Planet Pit&quot;</p>
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"Planet Pit"

Album Review: Pitbull takes on the world with 'Planet Pit'

Cuban-American rapper aims to win you one beat at a time

It’s understandable that Pitbull, who calls his new album “Planet Pit,” would think it’s his world and the rest of us just live here. In addition to his massive hit “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho),”  he’s been the go-to guest of choice for artist after artist, including Enrique Iglesias on his comeback track, “I Like It”; Usher’s “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love,” and Jennifer Lopez’s “On the Floor.”

Now with his sixth studio album, and first since last year’s Spanish-language “Armando,” the Cuban-American rapper has made a non-stop party set that is chock-full of potential hits. Though primarily in English, “Planet Pit,” out June 21,  compellingly draws upon Latin and Island beats to prove Pit’s point that he’s worldwide.  It’s not just wish fulfillment that he wants to go from “Mr. 305,” (the area code for his Miami hometown) to “Mr Worldwide,” as he frequently calls himself.

What works exceedingly well for Pitbull —not that it’s a new concept— is blending his gruff raps, which he often delivers with tantalizing speed — with silky vocals. It’s a winning combo on the jubilant “Rain Over Me” (not to ever be confused with the Who classic, “Reign O’er Me”) featuring Marc Anthony’s oh-so-velvety tones or on current single and summer hit  “Give Me Everything”  with Ne-Yo crooning persuasive lines from “the world might end so sleep with me now” school.  Throw in his melange of Latin rhythms, best displayed on electro-pop track “Shake Senora” featuring T-Pain and Sean Paul) and Pitbull’s distinctive freestyle and it’s a formula that escapes monotony despite a certain amount of repetition.

Pitbull  has the rapper’s usual swagger— though he’s not afraid to throw his vulnerable side on “Took My Love” featuring Red Foo, Vein and David Rush.  He’s never mean or misogynistic. Nothing lyrically here would warrant anything courser than a PG-13, but it never feels like he held back to give the tunes a broader appeal.

On “Come N Go,” produced by Dr. Luke and Benny Bianco and Max Martin, he gets to the point: “Mama, you’re the internet and I’m looking for a download,” if you get his drift and we’re sure you do. The robotic track sounds like a less-frenetic Black Eyed Peas tune--and that’s a good thing.

“Pause,” with its electro beat, Latin drums, and ... pauses.... is irresistible.  Who can help but smile at  Pitbull, on the only song that doesn’t feature guest, delivers some proclamations as “I’m such a dirty dog/ My teeth will unsnap your bra.”

Pitbull keeps the mood light throughout with the exception of the touching, autobiographical “Castle in the Sand.” It’s a  mid-tempo tale, propelled by a rat-a-tat military beat, about making it despite daunting odds (thanks to his mama) and surrounded by a haunting refrain delivered by Kelly Rowland. In a rare switch, the story rather than the beats drives this tune.

Not everything works: mid-tempo “International Love,” featuring Chris Brown, is a call-out to the girls of the world and what makes each one special.  While fine, it doesn’t have the undeniability of the club bangers and sounds rote, especially on repeat listenings.

But that’s a small quibble for an album that is meant to help make good times great by providing a soundtrack that will provoke a smile and a memory every time the song plays. That’s something the whole world wants.

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Pitbull, Bon Iver and Justin Moore lead June 21 new album release slate

'Weird Al' returns, as does Jill Scott

It’s the calm before the storm. Next week we’ll get new sets from Beyonce, David Cook and Selena Gomez.  But this week still has its share of delights, including fresh releases from Pit Bull, Bon Iver, LMFAO, Justin Moore and Jill Scott.

Michael Bolton, “Gems: The Duets Collection” (Sony Legacy):  Following his hilarious Lonely Island digital short, “Jack Sparrow,” Bolton tackles such tunes as “Pride (In the Name of Love)” and “Fields of Gold” with such duet partners as Chris Botti, Delta Goodrem, the late Eva Cassidy and Seal.

Bon Iver, “Bon Iver” (Jagjaguwar):
Recorded in a cabin in Wisconsin, Bon Iver, led by Justin Vernon, releases its long-awaited follow up to 2008’s “For Emma, Forever Ago.” Read review here.

Gomez, “Whatever’s On Your Mind” (ATO):
The indie group-- and past Mercury Prize winner-- produces itself for the first time in 10 years for its seventh studio album, which Tom Gray declares isn’t the least bit “stuffy.”

LMFAO, “Sorry for Party Rocking” (Party Rock/will.i.am/Cherrytree/Interscope): Pair who brought up the summer’s electropop tune, “Party Rock Anthem” gets lots of help from buddies like Busta Rhymes, will.i.am, GoonRock and Lauren Bennett. Keep the champagne flowing.

Justin Moore, “Outlaws Like Me” (The Valory Music Co.):
Following his three top 20 hits from his self-titled debut, this budding country star seems set to keep hitting new marks. First single, “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away,” is already in the top 10.

OK Go, “180/365” (Paracadute):
Quartet releases its first live album. Unless there are treadmills and rescue dogs involved, we’ll keep watching the videos instead (although we fully admit that OK Go’s really clever songs get overlooked by their awesome videos).

Pitbull, “Planet Pit” (Mr. 305/Polo Grounds Music/J):
Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” is keeping first single, “Give Me Everything” out of the top spot on the Hot 100, but that’s okay. There’s plenty more where that came from that will could reach No. 1 from this set, including duets with Marc Anthony, Chris Brown, T-Pain, Kelly Rowland and more. Plus, he guests on everyone else’s records anyway, so he’s always on the chart.

Jill Scott, “The Light of the Sun”  (Blues Babe/Warner Bros.):
Following some legal disputes with her former label, breakthrough acting roles and the birth of her first child, Grammy-winning soul singer returns with her fourth album and first since 2007’s “So In Love.” She’s joined by Eve and Anthony Hamilton, among others.

“Weird Al” Yankovic, “Alpocalypse” (Volcano/RCA): The master of the parody returns with his first album in awhile. Opening track, “Perform This Way,” is a take off on Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.”

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