<p>Robin Thicke</p>

Robin Thicke

Credit: AP Photo

Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines' clearly tops Billboard Hot 100

Does Miley Cyrus debut within the Top 10?

Last week, Robin Thicke scored his first Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. One week later, he’s got his first No. 1 as “Blurred Lines,” featuring Pharrell and T.I., tops the chart, jumping 6-1.

“Lines” also surpasses the 1 million downloads mark this week and rises to No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart as well.

“Blurred Lines” ends a five-week run at No. 1 by  Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s “Can’t Hold Us,” featuring Ray Dalton, which drops to No. 2.  It’s a good week to be Pharrell as he’s also featured on the No. 3 song, Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” according to Billboard.

Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors” drops 2-4, and Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise,” featuring Nelly, holds at No. 5.

Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” rises 8-6 on the Billboard Hot 100 while spending its 12th week at No. 1 on the Hot Rock Songs chart.  Pink’s “Just Give Me A Reason,” featuring Nate Ruess, drops 4-7, pushing Selena Gomez’s “Come & Get It” down one spot to No. 8.

Ariana Grande scores her first Top 10 hit with her debut single, “The Way,” featuring Mac Miller, as the song jumps 12-9. Rounding out the Top 10 is Icona Pop’s “I Love It,” featuring Charli XCX, which falls 9-10.

Miley Cyrus just misses bowing in the Top 10 as “We Can’t Stop” enters the Hot 100 at No. 11.

"Blurred Lines" is one of our picks for 2013's biggest summer songs. Check out the rest of our list here:

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<p>Michael Jackson</p>

Michael Jackson

Credit: AP Photo

Michael Jackson's wrongful death trial reveals the ugly truth behind touring

Why the show must go on

As the Michael Jackson wrongful death trial against AEG Live continues into its seventh week, the testimony is revealing as much about the often nasty business of touring in general as it is the particularly ugly secrets of the Jackson “This Is It”  outing specifically.

As the email trail shows, what it often comes down to— and Jackson was an extreme case because of his superstar status and the earning potential— is keeping the artist on the road, through whatever means possible. I’m not trying the case here and I have no idea how the jury will decide, but through the testimony so far, it sure sounds like Jackson was in no shape to be thinking about a 50-date stand at London’s O2 Arena.  From the emails exchanged, it’s a miracle he made it through the two sentences he uttered at the press conference he was so “drunk and despondent,” according to an email from AEG Live head Randy Phillips.

All sides at various times expressed anything from mild concern to outright panic about his ability to sustain the rigors of a live show or even do multiple 360 degree spins. I’m no sage, but I remember when the tour was announced and concerts kept being added, thinking there was no way Jackson could make it through that many concerts given how fragile a state he seemed to be in. To be sure, AEG tried to mitigate the risk by making the world come to Jackson instead of his going to the world, but even then, it seemed a case of greed.

So why, in the face of what seems to be incontrovertible evidence that Jackson was in no shape to perform, didn’t someone pull the plug? Because once the wheels are in motion, especially on an enterprise as large as this one, it’s almost impossible to stop the juggernaut...though Jackson certainly found a way to stop it permanently, sadly.

The artist may be alone up on the stage, or surrounded by a small band, but there is a whole behind-the-scenes cottage industry that depends upon that human taking the stage every night and millions are at stake when that doesn’t happen. It’s not just the money earned off the ticket sales, but from merchandise, concessions, parking, ticketing fees, etc. The ancillary revenue can often surpass the ticket take.

I’ve seen artists on stage who had no business being anywhere but in rehab and yet the tour chugs on every night. The artist is up on display, like a circus bear, trotted out nightly to make sure everyone gets his or her share and if the act stops, so does the money train. The goal is to prop them up with a phalanx of support: whatever it takes to get them on stage.

I’m painting a craven picture to be sure, and most tours are handled just fine, but it’s important to note that it’s not always the folks behind the curtain who are demanding that the act keep going: sometimes it’s the artist. There are varying accounts of Jackson’s financial situation, from downright broke to still flush, but it seems fair to say that money was the motivating factor for his willingness to take the stage again as well.

Regardless, the takeaway from the Jackson trial could very well be much bigger than the jury’s decision over whether AEG Live was culpable in his death. By showing the drama behind the star-making machinery, the trial has revealed to the world just how sordid the touring industry can be.

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Mumford & Sons, Elvis Costello cover Bruce Springsteen's 'Ghost of Tom Joad'

Mumford & Sons, Elvis Costello cover Bruce Springsteen's 'Ghost of Tom Joad'

Watch: Ed Sheeran and Matisyahu also part of Bono's Agit8 anti-poverty campaign

Mumford & Sons and Elvis Costello turn in a stripped-down version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Ghost Of Tom Joad,” complete with banjo and accordion as part of Agit8, a initiative launched by U2’s Bono meant to pressure governments into taking action against poverty at the upcoming G8 Summit in Northern Ireland.

[More after the jump...]


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<p>Goo Goo Dolls - 'Magnetic'</p>

Goo Goo Dolls - 'Magnetic'

Credit: Warner Bros.

Review: Goo Goo Dolls' 'Magnetic'

Will the trio's hit streak continue?

The Goo Goo Dolls’ lead singer and songwriter Johnny Rzeznik has always been a hopeless romantic with a bit of a Byronic twist.

[More after the jump...]


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<p>The Civil Wars</p>

The Civil Wars


Review: The Civil Wars' new haunting single 'The One That Got Away'

Be careful what you wish for

The Civil Wars are no more as an ongoing concern, but the co-ed, Grammy-winning duo has left us a lovely parting gift in one last album, a self-titled sophomore set recorded before they split up last November over "irreconcilable differences of ambition.". The album comes out Aug. 6 via Sensibility Music/Columbia Records.

The first single, “The One That Got Away,” released today, is a haunting regretful, cautionary tale.

[More after the jump...]


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<p>Kanye West</p>

Kanye West

Listen: Kanye West bows two new songs at New York's Governors Ball festival

Impending fatherhood shows no sign of softening him

Kanye West continues to bow new songs from his June 18 release “Yeezus” in concert. Sunday night at New York’s Governors Ball festival, he debuted “On Site,” a fuzzy, electronic banger featuring  West ranting about “too many hos in this house of sin.”  It’s as profane as it is hypnotic.

West performed the second new track, “I Am A God,” right before playing “Jesus Walks” (nice segue, Ye.) An atmospheric, industrial tune about being “a man of God” with a serious God complex. The song has a primal, feral feel, in thanks partially to West’s screams and pants. It gives way to a choir before ending.

[More after the jump...]

 He also played “New Slaves” and “Black Skinhead,” both of which he performed on “Saturday Night Live” last month.

West took time in the 21-song set list to rant about the release of “Yeezus,” his six studio album, and its low-key arrival. “With this album, we ain’t drop no single to radio. We ain’t got no NBA campaign, nothing like that. Shit, we ain’t even got no cover. We just make some real music...Honestly at this point, when I listen to radio, that ain’t where I want to be no more. Honestly, at this point, I could give a f**k about selling a million records as long as I put out an album for the summer that y’all can rock to for all fu**in’ summer.” (h/t Billboard).

Of course, it being West, there's still drama over the album. As we previously reported, the New York Post reported last week that West was still retooling the album. Today, the tabloid wrote that Rick Rubin has been brought in to help with additional tracks and that West's label is scrambling to clear the rights to the sample used on "On Site," which you can hear below.  Let us know if you recognize the sample.

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Tenancious D launches Festival Supreme featuring Zach Galifianakis and more

Tenancious D launches Festival Supreme featuring Zach Galifianakis and more

Who else is on the Santa Monica-based event?

Tenacious D will get into the festival business this fall with the launch of Festival Supreme, a one-day event that will take place Oct. 19 on the Santa Monica (Calif.) Pier.

[More after the jump...]


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<p>Justin Bieber</p>

Justin Bieber

Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP

Music Power Rankings: Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Johnny Cash make this week's list

NIne Inch Nails and Miley Cyrus show up too

1. Apple: As Sony Music becomes the last major record company to sign on, look for Apple to launch its iRadio streaming service within the next few weeks. Game changer? iBet.

2. Justin Bieber
He’s conquered earth, so now he looks for planets beyond as he plans to travel into space with Virgin Galactic. Non-Beliebers ask if he can stay there.

3. Johnny Cash: The man in black gets his own forever stamp, as if he needed that to achieve immortality

4. Nine Inch Nails: Trent Reznor-led band releases first single in five years, “Came Back Haunted”... ironically, perhaps, the band’s least haunting song ever.

5. Brian Wilson: Surf’s Up as the Beach Boy returns to Capitol Records for a new solo album.

6. Miley Cyrus: Her new single,  “We Can’t Stop,” starts off strong with sales of up to 200,000 copies in its first week.

7. Mariah Carey: Lambs unite! Carey’s 14th studio album will comes out July 23.

8. Robin Thicke: The soulful R&B singer lands his first top 10 hit with summer smash “Blurred Lines.” It’s amazing what a little nudity can do.

9. Taylor Swift: She spends the night together with the Rolling Stones as she joins the band in Chicago for a version of “As Tears Go By.”

10. Little Mix: The female foursome’s “DNA” bows at No. 4 on the Billboard 200, surpassing the Spice Girls for the best ever debut by a British female act.  #girlpower

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<p>Queens of the Stone Age</p>

Queens of the Stone Age

Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP

Queens of the Stone Age set to rule next week's Billboard 200

What happens to Daft Punk's 'Random Access Memories?'

Rock rules on next week’s Billboard 200 as Queens of the Stone Age, Sleeping with Sirens, and Megadeth all bow in the Top 10.

As expected Queens of the Stone Age’s “...Like Clockwork” will debut at NO. 1 with sales of up to 95,000. Rockers Sleeping With Sirens’s “Feel” will land at No. 2 with 70,000, while Megadeth charges in at No. 6 with sales of up to 32,000 for “Super Collider.” 

This week’s No. 1, Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories,” will drop to No. 3, mustering another 65,000 in sales.

Darius Rucker’s  “True Believers” and  Blake Shelton’s “Based on A True Story” are tied for No. 4 with each slated to move up to 35,000 copies, according to Hits Daily Double. Shelton’s album sees an uptick after hosting last week’s tornado charity concert.

Imagine Dragons’ “Night Visions” and Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience” find themselves in the same situation, with both poised to sell up to 28,000 for the No. 7 slot.

The soundtrack to “The Great Gatsby” continues its top 10 turn and will likely be at No. 9 if it can hold off a charge from George Strait’s “Love Is Everything,” which will be at No. 10.


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<p>Taylor Swift</p>

Taylor Swift

Credit: Frank Mincelotta/AP

Taylor Swift starts work on new album

What was it like playing with the Rolling Stones?

Though “Red” has yet to run its course, Taylor Swift is already thinking about her fifth studio album.

“It’s starting, the anxiety is starting, and when the anxiety starts, the writing happens right afterwards usually,” she said backstage Thursday night at CMA Music Fest in Nashville shortly before she took the stage at LP Field.

“I like to write for two years before I finish an album,” she continued. “Whatever I write the first year is going to get thrown away because I’m going to sound [like what I’ve done before.]”

As she rounds the second year of writing, “it ends up sounding like the next subject,” she says. “I feel like staying the same is the easy way to go, but it’s not where I want to go musically.” Though one would think a call to write with Swift would be one most songwriters would be happy to get, Swift added, “it’s harder to call up people you don’t know and write with them for the first time.”

Swift, who released a video for her duet with Ed Sheeran, “Everything Has Changed” Thursday, called the clip “one of my favorite videos that I’ve ever been a part of because the  kids were so good.”  The sweet clip features mini-me,  7-year old versions of Swift and Sheeran.

Not surprisingly, the singer was still on a high from her performance with the Rolling Stones Monday night in Chicago. “It was everything you think it would be but better,” she said. “They handwrite notes thanking you for being there. You get pictures with them.” As far as her and Mick Jagger’s onstage waltz, Swift said that came from their working through “As Tears Go By.” “The musical director and Mick and I were rehearsing the song with a piano and we started dancing a waltz with overly exaggerated ballet moves. We forgot the words and we incorporated a twirl into the performance in homage to our hilarious rehearsal.”


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