<p>Britney Spears</p>

Britney Spears

Britney Spears officially unveils Smurfs' song, 'Ooh La La,' talks William Orbit and new album

Also, what's the latest on her Vegas residency?

Britney Spears has revealed more details about her eighth studio album, including her plans to enter the studio with William Orbit next week. Orbit is best known for his work with Madonna on “Ray of Light.”

[More after the jump...]


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<p>Jay-Z has made a deal with Samsung</p>

Jay-Z has made a deal with Samsung

Credit: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Jay-Z inks Samsung deal to release new LP, 'Magna Carta Holy Grail'

Why his pact could help save the music industry

Jay-Z has partnered with Samsung to give away 1 million copies of his new album,  “Magna Carta Holy Grail.”

The rapper announced the deal during a 3-minute commercial that aired during Sunday (June 16) night’s NBA game between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs.

[More after the jump...]


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<p>Kanye West</p>

Kanye West

Credit: Evan Agostini/AP

Kanye West, The Replacements and Cyndi Lauper lead Music Power Rankings

The Beatles and Robin Thicke also make the list

1. The Replacements: Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson will play their first shows together in 22 years this summer. Pleased to meet me, indeed.

2. Kanye West: The week before the release of “Yeezus,” he makes news in a New York Times profile as he compares himself to Steve Jobs. Look for the iWest coming to a store near you.

3. Cyndi Lauper: She becomes (incredibly) the first female composer to win a Tony for best musical, “Kinky Boots.” Girls just want to have fun.

4. The Beatles: Apple Corps, the Fab Four’s business arm, inks a deal with Universal’s Bravado for merchandising. It turns out love isn’t all you need. You also need a snug Baby Tee.

5. Apple: Apple bows its long-anticipated iTunes Radio internet radio service. Too little too late or is the timing just right?

6. Fleetwood Mac: They become the first act to ink a deal directly with Clear Channel for performance royalties from airplay on their “Extended Play” EP.  Predict a landslide of acts to follow.

7. Queens of the Stone Age: The rockers totally rule the charts as new album “... Like Clockwork,” not only becomes the group’s first No. 1 on the Billboard 200, but receives universally strong reviews.

8. Robin Thicke: He scores the first No. 1 Hot 100 hit of his 10-year career with “Blurred Lines.” We’re sure the topless models in the video had nothing to do with the song’s success.

9. Pandora: BMI and ASCAP go gunning for the streaming music service in both the media and the courts demanding that it pay songwriters a fair and equitable royalty rate after Pandora craftily buys a small terrestrial radio station in an effort to lower its payments.

10. Bonnaroo: The Manchester, Tenn. festival holds another successful run, despite losing headliners Mumford & Sons (due to Ted Dwane’s scary blood clot) and Earl Sweatshirt to pneumonia. Jack Johnson steps in for M&S and DIIV for Sweatshirt.


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Credit: AP

Black Sabbath will land its first No. 1 on the Billboard 200 next week

Debuts dominate next week's chart

Black Sabbath will land at its first No. 1 next week on the Billboard 200 with the lucky “13.” The title will be the only project to surpass 100,00 in sales, as the Ozzy Osbourne-fronted album is expected to sell up to 125,000 copies.

The other debuts in the Top 10 couldn’t be more different from the metal gods: Big Time Rush’s “24/Seven” will bow at No 3, Hans Zimmer’s “Man of Steel” soundtrack at No. 4 (when’s the last time we saw a composer in the top 10?), Goo Goo Dolls’ “Magnetic” at No. 6 and Lonely Island’s "The Wack Album" at No. 10, according to Hits Daily Double. 

Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories” continues to sell well to be at No. 2, with sales of up to 50,000. Darius Rucker’s former No. 1 country album, “True Believers” holds steady at No. 5, while this week’s No. 1, Queens of the Stone Age’s “Like Clockwork” drops to 7.

Country act Florida Georgia Line continues to “cruise” in the top 10, as “Here’s To The Good Times” looks good for No. 8 and Blake Shelton’s “Based on a True Story...” will be at No. 9.

Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience” will likely fall out of the top 10 for the first time since its debut more than two months ago.


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<p>Bruno Mars</p>

Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars 'treasures' the '70s in retro video: Watch

Have disco ball, will dance

Bruno Mars steps back to ‘70s for his video for the sparkly “Treasure.”

The song sounds like something straight out of a Shalamar, Michael Jackson or Prince disco album, so it stands to reason that the video similarly goes back to that time. In a look that Bruno and the boy first sported when they performed the song on the Billboard Music Awards, Mars and his band are all in matching red suits with gold chains and what we can only hope are polyester shirts.

[More after the jump...]


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<p>Sting at the Songwriters Hall of Fame</p>

Sting at the Songwriters Hall of Fame

Credit: AP Photo

Elton John, Aerosmith, Foreigner honored at lively Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony

Hitfix takes you inside the star-studded evening with Sting, Billy Joel and more

NEW YORK—Sting sang a feisty “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting” to Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Foreigner’s Mick Jones and Lou Gramm shared a stage together for the first time in a decade, and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry delivered a spiky “Walk This Way” at the 2013 Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies here Thursday night (14).

Sure, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is great, but many musicians say the hall they really want to join is the Songwriters Hall of Fame. It’s much less glitzy and has no museum (yet) to show off its wares, but to be considered a songwriter in the same company as greats like Bacharach & David, Leiber & Stoller, Bob Dylan, Holland/Dozier/Holland and Jimmy Webb is what many songwriters consider to be a career pinnacle.

That spirit was evident at the ceremony at New York’s Marriott Marquis. In addition to Tyler and Perry and Jones and Gramm, other inductees included songwriters Holly Knight, JD Souther, and Tony Hatch.

“For all the awards we ever got, this is the one,” Tyler said, accepting with Perry by his side. He talked about the process of songwriting, and how Perry’s “licks and leads...would tell me what to sing. It’s been a crazy ride. Music is the strongest drug there is. This [award] is the one that means everything to us.”

Similarly, John and Taupin, who received the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award,  an honor given to songwriters previously inducted in the Hall, acknowledged the giants who had come before them, who now sat right in front of them. “To be in the room with Jimmy Webb, he was our idol,” said John. “Smokey Robinson was our idol. To be in the same room fills me with humility, joy and pride. Songwriting takes you around the world. When you write a song, it’s like giving birth to a child.”  He also joked that in their 46-year partnership, he and Taupin had never fought. “We may have had an argument about what I was wearing,” he said, “but not about songs...he’s one of the loves of my life.”

In one of the evening’s most humorous speeches,  producer/songwriter Benny Blanco received the Hal David Starlight Award, which honors an up-and-coming talent. Blanco inducted by previous recipient Matchbox Twenty’s Rob Thomas, has co-written a slew of hits, including Rihanna’s “Diamonds,” Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream,” Maroon 5/Christina Aguilera’s “Moves Like Jagger,” Ke$ha’s “Die Young,” and Wiz Khalifa’s “Work Hard, Play Hard,” which Khalifa performed at the ceremony.

“I almost peed in my pants,” said Blanco, as he took the stage, joking that the award was far beyond anything he had ever aspired too. “All my life, I thought I was aiming high for McDonald’s employee of the month award.” He described songwriting as “about being yourself, spilling your guts and hoping no one locks you up for what you said. Songwriting’s a drug and I’m probably  going to smoke it until the day I die.” He shook his head, looked around, at the songwriting royalty before him and remarked his incredulity about being “in a room [with people] I should probably be serving food to.”

The highlight of the evening was a reunion between Foreigner’s Mick Jones and Lou Gramm, which turned from slightly awkward at the acceptance podium, after being inducted by Billy Joel, to brotherly as the two performed together for the first time since Gramm left the band in 2003.

They warmed up with a well-received “Jukebox Hero,” but really hit their stride with a moving rendition, backed by a full choir, of “I Want To Know What Love Is.” Gramm, who suffered from a benign brain tumor years ago, sounded startlingly strong and clear, bringing the crowd to its feet during the song and for a long standing ovation.

Other standouts included Alison Krauss, who delivered an angelic, poignant version of Souther’s “Faithless Love,” a tune originally made famous by Linda Ronstadt, and Jordin Sparks’ moving rendition of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come,” which received the Towering Song Award. President Bill Clinton inducted the civil rights tune via video.

For all their songwriting prowess, honoree after honoree tried to explain the unexplainable: the magical, inexplicable alchemy that creates a song. Perhaps Souther said it best when he described songwriting is like “trying to start a car on ice...you have no idea how you did it.”

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<p>Billy Joel and Elton John at the Songwriters Hall of Fame</p>

Billy Joel and Elton John at the Songwriters Hall of Fame

Credit: AP Photo

Elton John and Billy Joel make up from the stage at Songwriters Hall of Fame

Could this lead to a Face to Face reconciliation?

NEW YORK—Piano men Billy Joel and Elton John, who have been bickering with each other through the press for the last two years after  more than 15 years of successfully touring together on their Face to Face outings, goodnaturedly  put their differences behind them at Thursday night’s Songwriters Hall of Fame 2013 induction ceremony in New York, even though they never spoke face to face.

“I didn't see you tonight Mr. Joel, but I love you dearly," John said from the stage, after he and songwriting partner Bernie Taupin accepted the Johnny Mercer Award, the highest honor bestowed upon songwriters previously inducted into the Hall of Fame.

John left after receiving the award, presented by Sting, but on the off chance that the “Your Song” singer  was still in the crowded Marriott Marquis ballroom,  Joel responded to the olive branch when he later took the stage to induct Foreigner’s Mick Jones and Lou Gramm.

“Is Elton still here,” he asked. “I tried to get over to his table [but] some girl came up and said ‘Remember when you threw me in the pool?’ If he’s still here, call me. It’s the same phone number. We’re fine. It’s probably just pianist envy.”

The pair’s history goes back almost 20 years. While still touring individually, the two also began playing together off and on again starting in 1995 in a series of tremendously popular and  lucrative outings that featured them playing their own sets, as well as a set together. They last toured together in 2010.

In 2011, John complained to Rolling Stone about “so many canceled tours because of [Billy’s] illnesses and various other things, alcoholism...he’s going to hate me for this, but every time he’s gone to rehab, they’ve been rehab light. When I went to rehab, I had to clean the floors.”

More recently, John said that he thought Joel, who hasn’t put out an album of new rock songs in more than 20 years because he’s afraid or too lazy to write new material. In a profile in The New York Times last month, Joel responded by saying, “That’s his opinion. I don’t do it because I don’t wanna. He tends to shoot off his mouth...Maybe he’s trying to motivate me, to get me mad or something. He’s kind of like a mom.”

Maybe now the two will actually talk face to face soon, if not Face To Face.

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<p>A moment from Kylie's newest video</p>

A moment from Kylie's newest video

Credit: Roc Nation

Watch: Kylie Minogue twists and turns in sexy clip for 'Skirt'

It may be just a fancy lyric video, but it's hot

Kylie Minogue’s new video for her new tune, “Skirt,” will either flip yours up or induce a seizure. The clip, which debuted on Nowness.com, is a series of extremely quick cuts of Minogue, writhing around on all fours in a skimpy black dress and very high black heels, intercut with lyrics from the tune.

[More after the jump...]


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<p>Garth Brooks is set to perform at Toby Keith's benefit.</p>

Garth Brooks is set to perform at Toby Keith's benefit.

Credit: AP Photo

Garth Brooks set to play Toby Keith's Oklahoma Twister Relief show

Willie Nelson, Trisha Yearwood also on July 6 stadium bill

Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson, Ronnie Dunn and Trisha Yearwood are among the artists will will appear at Toby Keith’s Twister Relief Concert, slated for July 6.

Keith, who is from Moore, Oklahoma, the site of last month’s devastating tornado, visited the town the day after the tornado and declared his intent to help it rebuild. Dunn and Brooks are also from Oklahoma and quickly vowed to help with relief efforts.

Tickets for the concert, to be held at the University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, go on sale June 21 and are $25, all inclusive.

More performers will be announced. Proceeds go to The United Way of Central Oklahoma May Tornadoes Relief Fund.

Keith’s benefit follows an NBC-televised relief concert hosted and organized by fellow Okie Blake Shelton, which raised $6 million for storm victims.

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<p>The Replacements</p>

The Replacements

The Replacements to reunite for first shows in 22 years at Riot Fest

Will the three dates lead to a bigger tour?

The Replacements will reunite to play their first shows in 22 years as the seminal Minneapolis rock band will take the stage at Riot Fest 2013 in Toronto, Denver and Chicago.

The band last performed together July 4, 1991 at Chicago’s Grant Park at Taste of Chicago. That gig, to put it mildly, ended badly as guitarist Paul Westerberg and bassist Tommy Stinson basically dissolved the group on stage. 

Westerberg and Stinson came together again  last fall to pay tribute to former guitarist Slim Dunlap after he suffered a stroke earlier in 2012: the pair recorded an EP of song covers to benefit Dunlap and to help pay his expenses. That detente apparently lead to the three gigs.

The first show will be Aug. 25 at the Toronto edition of Riot Fest. Other acts on the bill include Iggy & The Stooges, Best Coast, Pierce the Veil, Rocket From the Crypt, and Mayday Parade.

The Replacements will next play at Riot Fest in Chicago, which takes place Sept. 13-15. Also on the three-day bill are Fall Out Boy, Blink-182, Violent Femmes, Motorhead, Blondie, Public Enemy and Motorhead, among others.

The third date will be in Denver for Riot Fest Sideshow, which takes place Sept. 21-22. In addition to The Replacements, the line-up includes Blink-182, Iggy & The Stooges, Rancid, Public Enemy, Brand New, and Awolnation.

Speculation that the Replacements would play Riot Fest began to smolder recently, especially after Riot Fest advertised a Chicago line-up that included a series of question marks, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Then, it seemed to be all but confirmed earlier today when the following tweet appeared on the @Riot Fest Twitter account: “Holy [expletive. We’re getting the band back together.”  The tweet disappeared, but the official announcement came soon enough.

Who exactly will be in the band besides Westerberg and Stinson has yet to be confirmed. Riot Fest’s publicist told me that management will reveal the rest of the line-up soon, which is certainly intriguing.

To commemorate the announcement, the Replacements even launched a website, www.thereplacementsofficial.com...or at least a placeholder for one. The site lists the three Riot Fest 2013 cities and “full site coming soon.” Baby steps...


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