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From Billboard:

As the bloody motorcycle drama Sons of Anarchy concluded its seven-season run Dec. 9 on FX, its swan song, “Come Join the Murder,” debuts at No. 9 on Billboard’s Hot Rock Songs chart. The original track is credited to the show’s house band, the Forest Rangers, and White Buffalo (a.k.a. singer/songwriter Jake Smith). It also starts at No. 93 on the Billboard Hot 100 (No. 93) with 40,000 downloads sold, according to Nielsen Music.

Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter wrote the lyrics to the more-than-seven-minute track, which closed out the series’ finale. The single with be included on the Songs of Anarchy, Vol. 4 soundtrack (due Feb. 24). The release will also include Ed Sheeran‘s cover of Foy Vance‘s “Make It Rain,” as heard in the Dec. 2 episode; it debuted at No. 34 on the Hot 100 last week with 107,000 sold.

Jennifer Lawrence adds another honor to her already impressive resume: the Academy Award-winning actress scores her first entry on a Billboard chart, as “The Hanging Tree” debuts on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 12.

The song, released on Republic Records, is billed as James Newton Howard featuring Lawrence. It’s from Howard’s score to The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1, in which Lawrence stars. It opened in theaters on Nov. 21. (The set starts at No. 10 on the Soundtracks chart with 4,000 first-week copies sold, according to Nielsen Entertainment.)

Lawrence recently discussed her unlikely turn as a singer on the Nov. 12 Late Show With David Letterman on CBS. “I do not like singing in front of other people. It’s, like, my biggest fear. I cried on set that day,” she told Letterman. “That was awful.”

Given the song’s reception, her fears were unfounded.

The plaintive ballad roars onto the Hot 100 with 88 percent of its chart points from sales. It enters the Digital Songs chart at No. 2 with 200,000 downloads sold in its first week (ending Nov. 30).

From The Hollywood Reporter:

Having mostly been written off in the past by a music industry dominated by digital, vinyl is continuing its resurgence in the U.K. after last year racking up its highest sales in years.

So far this year, more than 1 million vinyl records have been sold in Britain, marking the first time this milestone has been crossed since 1996.

“In an era when we’re all talking about digital music, the fact that these beautiful physical artifacts are still as popular as they are is fantastic,” said Martin Talbot, managing director of the Official Charts Company, which tracks music sales in Britain, in an interview with the BBC.

“Only five years ago this business was worth around £3 million [$4.7 million] a year. This year it’s going to be worth £20 million [$31 million].”

This month, Endless River, Pink Floyd’s first album in 20 years, became the fastest-selling vinyl release in Britain since 1997, racking up 6,000 sales in its first week. 2014’s best-selling vinyl album in the U.K. so far is the Arctic Monkey’s AM, followed by Lazaretto by Jack White.

Anyone who feels that “they don’t write ‘em like they used to any more” is advised to just go back to Derek and the Dominos, one of the best blues rock band formed in the spring of 1970 by guitarist and singer Eric Clapton, keyboardist and singer Bobby Whitlock, bassist Carl Radle and drummer Jim Gordon. All four members had previously played together in Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, during and after Clapton’s brief tenure with Blind Faith. Dave Mason supplied additional lead guitar on early studio sessions, while another guy – George Harrison, participated in the sessions for the album since his own album All Things Must Pass marked the formation of Derek and the Dominos.

The band released only one studio album, the Tom Dowd-produced Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, which also featured notable contributions on slide guitar from Duane Allman. A double album, the release stalled at first in sales and in radio airplay. It wasn’t until March 1972 that the album’s single “Layla” made the top ten in both the United States and the United Kingdom, and started the whole “Capton Is God” for the 6th time and forevermore.

1. The song was inspired by the classical poet of Persian literature, Nizami Ganjavi’s The Story of Layla and Majnun. The book moved Clapton profoundly, as it was the tale of a young man who fell hopelessly in love with a beautiful, unavailable woman and who went crazy because he could not marry her. Clapton could relate – he had a then-unrequited love for Pattie Boyd, the wife of his friend and fellow musician George Harrison.


2. Two versions of “Layla” made the charts – a rare feat. The first time was in 1972 and the second (without the piano coda) 20 years later as an acoustic “Unplugged” performance by Clapton. Clapton introduced this version to the unsuspecting live audience by stating “See if you can spot this one.”

3. Clapton’s “Unplugged” version of “Layla” won the 1992 Grammy Award for Best Rock Song, beating out “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana, one of the ten biggest upsets in Grammy history, according to Entertainment Weekly.

4. THAT riff. One of the glorious in all of rock. Here’s the first 5 bars, so you can play at home.


5. Shortly after recording the first part of the song, Clapton returned to the studio, where he heard Gordon playing a piano piece he had composed separately. Clapton, impressed by the piece, convinced Gordon to allow it to be used as part of the song. Though only Gordon has been officially credited with this part, Whitlock claimed, “Jim took that piano melody from his ex-girlfriend Rita Coolidge.

Coldplay’s “Yellow” was the second single from Parachutes, following “Shiver”, and the lead single in the United States. The single reached number four in the UK Singles Chart, giving the band their first top-five hit in the United Kingdom. But how much do we know about the UK’s BBC2’s most-played track of the 2000s?

1. So, what IS it all about, anyway? Well, according to Chris Martin, he was inspired by the stars in the sky being visible at night. Next came the melody, and at first, Martin did not take it seriously “as he relayed the tune to the rest of the band in his worst Neil Young impersonation voice”. Martin has said, “The song had the word ‘stars’ and that seemed like a word you should sing in a Neil Young voice.” In November, 2011, as a guest on the Howard Stern Show, Martin went on to further explain that the word “yellow” has absolutely no meaning whatsoever and while writing the rest of the song he tried his best to change yellow to something else since every lyric before yellow made no sense but in the end the word “yellow” just sounded right. Martin also told Stern that through the years depending on the attitude and manner of whoever interviews him, he would make up some story about a song or album titles just to move on to the next question. Martin applauded Stern saying “I like you, Howard, so that’s the first time I’ve ever told anyone the truth behind ‘Yellow’.”

2. “Yellow” is consistently played during home games at English Championship club Watford, but it was put to good use as the theme music for The Cancer Council Australia’s “Daffodil Day”, in recognition of that organization’s official flower’s yellow hue.

3.The music video for “Yellow” was filmed at Studland Bay in the county of Dorset, South West England, and is one continuous shot with no cuts. Drummer Will Champion’s mother’s funeral was held on the day of the shooting, so it was decided that only Martin would appear in the video, which was also the explanation of his mood during this part.

4. Coldplay performed the song at the ‘Celebrating Steve’ event at the Apple campus in October, 2011. Before the performance, Martin revealed that they first played it for Steve Jobs 10 years ago, Jobs said the song was “shit” and that “they would never make it”.

5. From first heard, the music critics loved it. A Billboard magazine review said, “After one single (‘Yellow’) and its accompanying album (Parachutes … ), Coldplay have already been anointed heir to the Brit-rock throne.” Good call.

The Beatles started off being as much of a boy band than anyone, but ended up prophets, broken, legends. The Beatles, as a concept, are so influential and impossible to follow up that, as one music critic once told me, they might be the best and the worst thing that ever happened to music – nobody will ever top them, so let’s take a look at “She Loves You,” their 4th US single, and 2nd #1.

1. “She Loves You” is The Beatles’ all-time best-selling single in the UK based on information compiled by The Official Charts Company.

2. In 2000, Paul McCartney said it began with the song Bobby Rydell’s song “Forget Him” and the call and response pattern, and that “as often happens, you think of one song when you write another … I’d planned an ‘answering song’ where a couple of us would sing ‘she loves you’ and the other ones would answer ‘yeah yeah’. We decided that was a crummy idea but at least we then had the idea of a song called ‘She Loves You’. So John and I sat in the hotel bedroom for a few hours and wrote it — John and I, sitting on twin beds with guitars.”

3. Even though The Beatles wrote 51 songs with “You” in the title, including this one, the lyrics were not written in the first person; instead the narrator functions as a friendly go-between for estranged lovers:

You think you lost your love,
Well, I saw her yesterday.
It’s you she’s thinking of –
And she told me what to say.
She says she loves you …

4. George Martin, the Beatles’ producer, didn’t like the major sixth chord that ends the song, an idea suggested by George Harrison. In Keith Badman’s The Beatles Off The Record Martin says, “They sort of finished on this curious singing chord which was a major sixth, with George [Harrison] doing the sixth and the others doing the third and fifth in the chord. It was just like a Glenn Miller arrangement.” McCartney later reflected: “We took it to George Martin and sang ‘She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeeeeeaah …’ and that tight little sixth cluster we had at the end. George [Martin] said: ‘It’s very corny, I would never end on a sixth’. But we said ‘It’s such a great sound, it doesn’t matter'”.

5. The German division of EMI (the parent of the Beatles’ British record label Parlophone Records) decided that the only way to sell Beatles records in Germany would be to re-record them in the German language. The band didn’t want to do this, but were asked by George Martin to comply, recording “Sie Liebt Dich” on 29 January 1964, along with “Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand” (“I Want To Hold Your Hand” at the Pathe Marconi Studios in Paris.

From Billboard:

The British Invasion continues, only this time it’s on streaming services. New data released by Spotify (via BPI) shows that 19 percent — or one in five — of all songs streamed around the world were recorded by UK artists, including Clean Bandit, Sam Smith, Coldplay and One Direction.

According to BPI’s report, consumers in the UK have streamed 10.2 billion tracks so far this year, which is double the number of plays recorded this time in 2013 when the tally stood at 5.4 billion.

Ed Sheeran made (Spotify) history earlier this year when he had the top debut ever for album streams in a release week, with 23,792,476 plays globally. This month, Calvin Harris’ “Blame” became the first song to break 10 million streams in a week around the world.

On the UK charts, British dance group Clean Bandit currently hold the title for the most-streamed track of the year, with “Rather Be” featuring Jess Glynne having been played 32 million times on services like Spotify and Deezer. That makes it the second most-streamed song ever in the UK behind Bastille’s “Pompeii.”

The Official Audio Streaming Chart / Top 10 for Weeks 1-39:

1. Clean Bandit, “Rather Be”
2. Pharrell, “Happy”
3. John Legend, “All of Me”
4. Waves, “Mr. Probz”
5. Pitbull ft Kesha, “Timber”
6. Katy Perry ft Juicy J, “Dark Horse”
7. Sam Smith, “Money on My Mind”
8. Iggy Azalea ft Charli XCX, “Fancy”
9. Bastille, “Pompeii”
10. Sam Smith, “Stay With Me”

If you’re interested in the question of whether or not streaming revenues are compensating for the decline in sales of CD’s and digital downloads, then you’re going to want to take a look at the Recording Industry Association of America’s mid-year (2014)  shipments and revenue statistics. This data looks at the US music industry specifically, and gives an important mid-year snapshot of the different trends to keep an eye on.

  • Overall industry revenues declined by 2.5%, from $2.3 billion in 2013 to $2.2 billion in 2014 at the wholesale level. At the retail level, the year-over-year decline was even steeper: a 4.9% decline from $3.4 billion in 2013 to $3.2 billion in 2014.
  • At this time last year, streaming revenues were valued at $673 million, and grew a whopping28% in this first half of 2014, bringing them to a total of $859 million. Please note that these figures include revenues both from subscription-based services (Spotify, Rdio, etc), streaming radio services (Pandora, Sirius XM) in addition to non-subscription, on-demand services like Vevo and YouTube.
  • Paid subscriptions grew to $371 million, up 23% year-over-year in terms of value.
  • The number of paid subscribers is also growing – up to 7.8 million in this period, compared to 5.5 million at this time last year.
  • On-demand supported streaming services and SoundExchange distributions accounted for 57% of total streaming revenues for the first half of 2014.
  • Revenues for permanent digital downloads decreased by 12% to $1.3 billion for the first half of 2014. Digital albums were hit particularly hard, with an 11% decline in sales and a 14% decline in their value. As for digital tracks, they also decreased by 9% in terms of sales, and their value decreased by 11%. 
  • Physical album sales were predictably in bad shape – down 14% from the first half of 2013.
  • Synchronization royalties were valued at $88 million for the first half of the year, a decrease of10% for the same time period last year.
  • Streaming music services are continuing to grow in importance, with 27% of total industry revenues coming from access models. This is very nearly equal to the 28% contributed by physical products.
  • Oh, and in case you were wondering: the growth in revenues from streaming music services has offset the entire decline in revenues from permanent downloads in the first half of 2014. 

For further reading, the full report from the RIAA can be found here: http://riaa.com/media/1806D32F-B3DD-19D3-70A4-4C31C0217836.pdf


From The Guardian:

Ed Sheeran’s latest album X has been named the biggest selling artist album of 2014 so far, in a year where British artists have dominated the album charts.

The singer’s second album spent eight weeks at the top of the UK album chart after its release in June and has so far sold more than 634,000 copies. It is also the fastest selling album of the year, with fans purchasing more than 182,000 copies during its first week of sale.

Sam Smith is behind Sheeran on the list of the 10 bestselling artist albums of the year so far, with 487,000 copies of his debut In the Lonely Hour bought since its release in May. Coldplay are in third place, having sold 470,000 copies of their sixth album Ghost Stories.

Sheeran’s sales bring a glimmer of positive news in what was a poor year for album sales in 2013. Last year’s biggest seller overall was One Direction’s Midnight Memories – even though it was only released in November. The album, which sold over 685,000 copies by the year’s end, was both the fastest and the biggest selling album of 2013. The figures, however, trailed behind 2012’s blockbuster album, Emeli Sande’s Our Version of Events, which shifted 1.39m copies, and 2011’s bestseller, Adele’s 21, which sold 3.7m copies.

From eMarketer:

US adults will spend an average of 21 minutes each day on Facebook in 2014, according to new figures from eMarketer—its first-ever analysis of daily time spent on the social network. Those 21 minutes account for one-third of the time US adults spend each day on social networks, 6.0% of time they spend with digital devices and 2.8% of average daily time spent with all media. Average time spent per day with all major media among US adults will increase by 21 minutes from 2013, according to eMarketer, totaling 12 hours, 28 minutes in 2014.

An average of 21 minutes spent per day on Facebook may seem small, but that figure is averaged across the entire adult population, and only 52.8% of US adults—or 129.5 million people—will log in to or access Facebook at least once per month in 2014, according to the latest eMarketer estimates. Among adult Facebook users, average time spent per day on the network is 39 minutes, accounting for 38.1% of their daily time spent on social networks.

While 6.0% of US adults’ digital media time is spent on Facebook, nearly 10% of US digital ad spending flows to the site, which is in direct contrast to all other digital media we track. Nearly half of major media time each day will be on digital devices in 2014, or 5 hours, 46 minutes, yet only 30.5% of total major media ad spending will go toward digital channels.

Looking at various activities within the digital landscape, time spent generally outpaces ad spending across the board. Video will take 15.9% of adults’ digital time in 2014, compared with 11.7% of advertisers’ spending. Online radio programming will grab 11.2% of US adults’ time spent on digital devices and 4.0% share of digital advertising. Subtracting Facebook, other social networks will own 11.9% of US adults’ digital time, but only 3.9% of digital ad revenues.

Comparing time spent and ad spending on Facebook site to site (or app to app, as the case often is), eMarketer’s forecast also broke out time spent with Pandora for the first time. In 2014, US adults will spend 7.1% of their daily time listening to Pandora, according to our figures. That’s not a misprint: For the average US adult, daily time spent with Pandora exceeds daily time spent on Facebook. However, advertisers will only allocate 1.4% of their digital ad dollars to Pandora, a fraction of what they devote to Facebook.