<p>U2 tops the 2009's highest-grossing touring artist list</p>

U2 tops the 2009's highest-grossing touring artist list

Credit: AP Photo

U2 named top-grossing touring act in 2009

Is anyone born after 1980 even on the list?

U2’s 360 tour was the top-grossing tour of 2009, according to Billboard.

On only 44 dates, the stadium outing earned a staggering $311,637,730. That was head and shoulders above Madonna, whose tour landed at No. 2 with a none-too-shabby $222,017.248 tallied from 46 shows.
Bruce Springsteen had to work harder for his money (plus his highest ticket price was much lower than U2’s or Madge’s). It took him 72 shows to gross $156,340,910.
Note that with a  few exceptions, it could be 1989 instead of 2009.
Below is the listing of the Top 10 tours. For the entire Top 25, look here
1)     U2, $311,647, 730; attendance: 3,071,290; number of shows: 44
2)     Madonna, $222,017,248; attendance: 2,187,993; number of shows: 46
3)     Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, $156,340,910; attendance: 1,736,926; number of shows: 72
4)     AC/DC, $135,287,350; attendance: 1,583,143; number of shows: 76
5)     Pink, $102,878,271; attendance: 1,550,026; number of shows: 131
6)     Andre Rieu, $95,874,338; attendance: 834,992; number of shows: 112
7)     Britney Spears, $94,813,948; attendance: 1,097,229; number of shows: 70
8)     Billy Joel & Elton John, $90,218,314; attendance: 719,423; number of shows: 32
9)     Tina Turner, $86,732,137; attendance: 822,083; number of shows: 59
10) Coldplay, $84,369,360; attendance: 1,199,862; number of shows: 66
The tally runs from Dec. 6, 2008 through Nov. 21, 2009.


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<p>Taylor Swift's &quot;Fearless&quot;</p>

Taylor Swift's "Fearless"

Credit: Big Machine

Taylor Swift's 'Fearless' is 2009's top seller: Where's Jay-Z? Britney?

How did your favorite acts fare?


No surprise here: Taylor Swift’s “Fearless” is the top selling album of 2009, according to Billboard and Nielsen SoundScan. Like the other titles in the top four, Swift’s album came out at the tale end of 2008, meaning the project had the benefit of a full-year’s worth of sales.
For the first time this decade sellers, two soundtracks cracked the Top 5 sellers of the year. In the main, soundtrack sales have been tanking for the last several years, but the fervent fan based that both the “Twilight” and “Hannah Montana” franchises have created have led to followers needing every affiliated piece of merchandise they can get their hands on.
Taylor Swift
Lady Gaga
Kings Of Leon
Zac Brown Band
NOW 29
Various Artists
Jamie Foxx
Rascal Flatts
Keyshia Cole


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<p>Chris Brown's Qwittering</p>

Chris Brown's Qwittering

Chris Brown cancels his Twitter account after accusing retailers of 'blackballing' 'Graffiti'

Retailers says the title isn't selling


First Miley Cyrus and then Courtney Love. Now, Chris Brown has cancelled his Twitter account.

Brown’s shut down comes after he spent his weekend tweeting about how retailers were deliberately sabotaging his career by “blackballing” his new album, “Graffiti.” The only problem was retailers weren’t, as we reported earlier.  
Monday afternoon, Brown tweeted one last time—for now—signing off with “I wanna thank my fans for all the support. I love y’all. Goodbye!!!,” according to CNN
He had 172,366 followers.
Retailers surveyed by Billboard said they had the title, which was moving slowly. "Not only am I carrying it, I am over carrying it, because it isn't selling," the head of purchasing at one chain told Billboard, adding that “Graffiti” was selling at about 40% of expectations.
Carl Mello from 27-store chain Newbury Comics said his New England-based chain never considered boycotting Brown’s latest, telling Billboard,  “"If we stopped bringing in records from every unsavory character that puts out an album, there would be tumbleweed floating around our stores."
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<p>Alicia Keys, &quot;The Element of Freedom&quot;</p>

Alicia Keys, "The Element of Freedom"

Review: Alicia Keys' 'The Element of Freedom'

Does new effort live up to her esteemable past?

Alicia Keys arrived on the music scene with a certain amount of weight and expectation. She’d been dropped by Columbia and Arista and picked up Clive Davis’s then-nascent J Records. For those who were there for her unveiling at Davis’s pre-Grammy party in the early 2000s, he introduced her with so much expectation and gravitas (as only Davis can) that it seemed like the fate of the music world rested on her slender shoulders. It’s as if she has to be Aretha Franklin, Carole King and Stevie Wonder all rolled into one.

And Keys has delivered: In her relatively short career, she has won 12 Grammys and is seen as A Very Serious Artist, who manages to straddle commercial viability and connect with the mainstream.  
On “The Element of Freedom,” her fourth studio album, Keys continues to develop her piano-based oeuvre that blends pop, R&B and a sense of importance. This is further enforced by the fact that the set opens with a spoken-word intro. This usually means the artist feels the need to make a pronouncement prefacing the music to let us all know something big is about to happen and attention must be paid.Hear it here.

Much of “Freedom” is awash in a heavy production that sounds straight from the ‘80s (this much be coming back, we’ve noticed it a lot of albums lately). There are heavy kick drums, lots of echo and, a certain mid-tempo rock feel: (think Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” and you get the drift). Keys uses that on a number of tunes, including “Love is Blind” and the irresistible “Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart.” It also works to strong effect on “Wait Till You See My Smile,” about having the last word to your naysayers, even though the production threatens to overshadow her vocals.

First single, “Doesn’t Mean Anything,” is the kind of mid-tempo, “if I don’t have you” kind of song that Keys can write in her sleep by now (and, in fact, this sounds like about four previous Keys hits), but is redeemed by her open, plaintive delivery. A logical single candidate is the mesmerizing “Unthinkable,” featuring Drake (although the handclaps should get billing over Drake as they’re much more present than he is).

There’s the feeling that Keys puts way too much pressure on herself to deliver a masterpiece every time. That’s a great goal, but sometimes you wish she’s just have fun with a track. And lo and behold she does with “Put It in a Love Song,” a duet with Beyonce (whose sum is much lesser than its two parts. How could it be otherwise), but is fun and joyous nonetheless.  The set also includes "Empire State of Mind (Part ll)" with Jay Z, a follow-up to their fabulously successful "Empire State of Mind" from his album, "The Blueprint 3."

The subject matter is love, love and more love. Sometimes, it’s unconditional, such as on “That’s How Strong My Love Is,” a beautiful piano-driven ballad where she compares the durability of her love to a “ship in a storm” or a “mountain standing tall.” Then there’s love as a drug—and not a good one at that. On “Love is a Disease,” she finds that the very thing she counted on to be her cure ultimately makes her sicker. Melodically, it’s a fairly plodding track, but when she sings that when her lover leaves, “if feels like my whole world goes with you,” you believe her every word. Rarely has she sounded so vulnerable. Things get no better for our heroine on “Like the Sea,” where she compared falling in love to drowning.

But ultimately for Keys, love is epic. On “Distance and Time,” Keys gets her Diane Warren on and delivers a power ballad that would be perfect as the end title song for an old-school blockbuster like “Pearl Harbor.” It has that massive, take-over-the-world feel.

“Freedom” could use a few more up-tempo tracks, but Keys shows with this set that for her— and for most of us— love makes the world go round or brings it to a complete halt.

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<p>M.I.A. rocked the Coachella Valley Arts &amp; Music Festival this year</p>

M.I.A. rocked the Coachella Valley Arts & Music Festival this year

Credit: AP Photo

Coachella sets 2010 dates; headliner rumor-mill begins

Layaway and pre-sale start today

The 2019 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival will be held April 16-18. No acts yet, but if you want to take it on faith that the line-up will be worth checking out (and we would, if we were you), a pre-sale and layaway plan starts today.
Held at the Empiro Polo Grounds in Indio, Calif., the festival offers three days of fantastic alternative, rock and dance music. If you’re a music fan, you can’t really go wrong with attending Coachella because if you don’t like who’s playing on one stage, there will likely be someone else you adore on another—or some new musical discovery to be had.
Tickets for the event are $269. Changes this year include people will now be able to bring their cars next to their camping spots (instead of hauling their gear).
If you’re interested, follow the fun “rumors” thread on the Coachella website, but be aware that “rumor” is code for “wishlist” in this case.


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<p>Alicia Keys</p>

Alicia Keys

New music releases this week: Alicia Keys, Robin Thicke, Kylie Minogue

The 'Avatar' soundtrack also hits stores


Years ago, there were no significant album releases after Thanksgiving. That’s obviously no longer the case.
This week alone brings new titles from Alicia Keys, Robin Thicke and Kylie Minogue as well as the “Avatar” soundtrack.
Animal Collective, “Fall Be Kind” (Domino): Art rockers started the year with the most critically acclaimed and popular album of their career with “Merriweather Post Pavilion.” Just in time for the holidays, they give their fans a little end-of-the year present with this five-track EP that includes samples from both Zamfir, the pan flute master, and the Grateful Dead. Is there anyone else who can get away with that?

Alicia Keys, “The Element of Freedom” (MBK/J): R&B/pop singer’s fourth album takes the listener on an emotional journey that shows both Keys’ strengths and vulnerabilities, including, according to an interview with Billboard, her battle with depression. Plus, there’s a duet with Beyonce and part two of her massive hit with Jay-Z, “Empire State of Mind.” Read review here.

Julian Lennon/James Scott Cook, “Lucy” (theRevolution): After an 11-year hiatus, Lennon eases back into the recording process with this EP, named after childhood friend,  Lucy Vodden, the inspiration for the Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” who recently died of lupus. James Scott Cook is the first artist signed to theRevolution, a label co-founded by Lennon.

Kylie Minogue, “Kylie: Live in New York” (Astrelwerks): Minogue’s third live set was recorded earlier this year at New York’s Hammersmith Ballroom at the conclusion of her North American tour.

Robin Thicke, “Sex Therapy: The Session” (Star Trak/Interscope): Thicke crosses over from sensual to full on sexy with his fourth studio album that includes appearances from Snoop Dogg, Jay Z, Kid Cudi, Estelle and the Game.  God knows he’s got the smoky, sex-drenched voice to deliver a song like “Make U Love Me” or “It’s in the Mornin’.”

Various Artists, “Avatar” (Atlantic): We don’t normally include film soundtracks, but most movies aren’t “Avatar.” Along with James Horner’s score, you get the Leona Lewis-warbled theme, “I See You,” which wants with all its heart to be the new “My Heart Will Go On.”

Phil Vassar, “Traveling Circus” (Universal South): One of country’s top songwriters releases his fifth studio album. While his career hasn’t reached the heights of those he’s penned songs for (Tim McGraw and Alan Jackson, to name two), he’s always a good listen.


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<p>&nbsp;Susan Boyle</p>

 Susan Boyle

Credit: AP

Susan Boyle's 'Dream' Continues. How do Chris Brown's opening sales look?

Is 'Graffiti' a winner or a loser on next week's chart?


The Susan Boyle phenomenon continues. After topping the charts for two weeks, she’s going for a third. Look for “I Dreamed a Dream” to sell up to a staggering 675,000 copies this week as lots of folks are clearly stuffing Boyle into their Christmas stocking.
She has a handy lead over the top-themed holiday collection, Andrea Bocelli’s “My Christmas,” which continues to soar. It will sell around 400,000 unit this week, predicts Hits Daily Double. It is far and away the smash Christmas album of the season. No other title has even comes close to “My Christmas,” which will surpass the 1.5 million mark this week. For example, Sugarland’s “Green & Gold” has sold around 150,000, while Bob Dylan’s much-discussed first ever Christmas album, “Christmas in the Heart” is at around 95,000. (If we want to be generous and count Sting’s “On a Winter’s Night” as holiday title, it’s worth noting that it has surpassed 300,000).
Back to what you’re likely to see on next Wednesday’s album chart: Of the newcomers, “Glee’s” second soundtrack will be the top new entry with around 140,000 copies sold. (The first “Glee” collection, released a few weeks ago, is still hanging tough and will probably be in the top 12 or so).
So how does Chris Brown’s “Graffiti” look? Not so hot. The title will be lucky to eek out 100,000 in sales. If anyone’s comparing notes, Rihanna’s “Rated R” sold 180,000   units in its opening frame a few weeks ago. Rapper Gucci Mane will likely also debut in the Top 10 with sales of around 90,000.


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<p>&nbsp;Mariah Carey</p>

 Mariah Carey

Credit: NBC`

Mariah Carey starts first tour in three years on Jan. 2

Is the 'Imperfect Angel' coming to your town?


“Imperfect Angel” Mariah Carey kicks off an eight-week tour Jan. 2. It will be her first outing since 2006’s “Adventures of Mimi” outing.
The dates, which go on sale to the general public on Dec. 19, follow her Dec. 31 show at New York’s Madison Square Garden, which still has tickets available.  Opening will be the awfully-named RydazNrtist, a group signed to Nick Cannon’s NCredible Entertainment. Hmmmm. Wonder how they got that gig?
A few thoughts: It’s very late to be announcing a tour that starts in three weeks, especially when many people may have already spent their disposable income on Christmas presents.  For example, Taylor Swift’s tickets for her shows Spring shows have already been on sale for months. Secondly, the venues reveal, for the most part, much smaller facilities than Carey has played in the past. For example, she’s playing the Tower Theater outside of Philadelphia, which has a capacity of slightly more than 3,000. In Chicago, she’s playing the 3,600-seat Chicago Theater. She’s left room in her schedule for multiples at each venue, however. In other cities, such as Toronto, she’s playing the Air Canada Centre, which has a capacity of 19,800 (although the facility has a scaled-down theatre mode). The smaller venues may be an economic reality, but they also seem like a great place to see and hear Carey, as opposed to a cavernous arena.
Below are the tour dates:
Jan.      2                Atlantic City, NJ         Borgata –
            15-16          Mashantucket, CT      MGM Grand Theatre @Foxwoods          
            19              Atlanta, GA               Fox Theatre
            21               Hollywood, FL           Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
            25              Detroit, MI                  Fox Theatre
            27              Washington, DC         DAR Constitution Hall
            30              Boston, MA                Wang Theatre
Feb.     1                Philadelphia, PA         Tower
            4                Montreal, Que.            Bell Centre
            6                Ottawa, Ont.               Scotiabank Place                                             9               Toronto, Ont.              Air Canada Centre
            10              Columbus, OH          Schottenstein Center
            13              Chicago, IL                 Chicago Theatre                                               16             Minneapolis, MN     Northrop Auditorium
            18              Dallas, TX                   Nokia Theatre
            20              Phoenix, AZ                Dodge Theatre
            23              Los Angeles, CA        Gibson Theater
            26              Oakland, CA               Oracle Arena                                                     27               Las Vegas, NV            The Pearl Concert Theater


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<p>Jeff Bridges at the Los Angeles premiere of &quot;Crazy Heart.&quot;</p>

Jeff Bridges at the Los Angeles premiere of "Crazy Heart."

Credit: AP Photo/Dan Steinberg

The Jeff Bridges Interview: The 'Crazy Heart' star talks music, marriage and mortality

Plus: Tackling John Wayne's performance in a remake of 'True Grit'

Mention Jeff Bridges to almost anyone and they immediately can reference their favorite Bridges’ character, whether it’s the innocent alien in “Starman,” the burnt-out DJ in “The Fisher King,” the mediocre jazz musician in “The Fabulous Baker Boys,” the valiant president in “The Contender” or the now iconic Dude from “The Big Lebowski.”
With “Crazy Heart,” Bridges has added another unforgettable character to his remarkable 40-year career. In the film, out Dec. 16, he plays Bad Blake, a once-successful country singer who’s traveled thousands of miles down dark, bad roads. At the bottom of a downward slide, he drives from gig to gig in his old, beat-up Suburban, a shadow of his former self, but the music is all he has. Bridges so completely inhabits the role and received so much acclaim as the movie played the festival circuit, the decision was made to move up the release date in time for Bridges to be in Oscar contention. If nominated, it will be his fifth acting nod.

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<p>Mary J. Blige joins the newly relaunched Lilith Fair</p>

Mary J. Blige joins the newly relaunched Lilith Fair

Mary J. Blige, Sheryl Crow, Sugarland, Erykah Badu lined up for Lilith Fair

Co-founder Sarah McLachlan returns while newbies like Ke$ha, Colbie Caillat abound

Lilith Fair will offer something old and something new, as the returning female-leaning festival announces its initial slate of performers for this summer’s tour.

Lilith co-founder Sarah McLachlan plus Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris, Indigo Girls, Erykah Badu and Tegan and Sara are among the returning alumni from Lilith Fairs past.
Newcomers on the rotating bill include Mary J. Blige, Colbie Caillat, Ke$ha, Miranda Lambert, Corrine Bailey Rae, A Fine Frenzy, Chairlift, Jill Scott, Sugarland, Brandi Carlile, Sara Bareilles, Zee Avi and the Weepies.
For more info go to www.lilithfair.com
Here are the first round of cities the tour will hit—dates to be announced.
o    Atlanta, GA 
o    Boston, MA
o    Calgary, AB
o    Chicago, IL
o    Dallas, TX
o    Denver, CO
o    London, UK
o    Los Angeles, CA
o    Minneapolis, MN
o    Montreal, QC
o    New York, NY
o    Philadelphia, PA
o    Portland, OR
o    Seattle, WA
o    San Francisco, CA
o    Toronto, ON
o    Vancouver, BC
o    Washington, DC
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