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From Nielsen:

From Beck previewing his Morning Phase album for in-flight air travelers to hear via Gogo Inflight Internet before its formal release date to Bruce Springsteen streaming his recent Higher Hopes album more than a week before its release as a promotion for the TV show The Good Wife, there’s more to release dates than a specific date. We take a closer peek at various types of release strategies (release dates, formats, exclusives and previews) and how they relate to post-release success.


Although New Music Tuesday has been famous for decades, the tradition is shifting, with the most obvious example being a recent one: Beyonce’s self-titled visual album released last year. Released at midnight on Friday, Dec. 13, 2013 as an iTunes exclusive digital release, the surprise album sold an impressive 617,000 units in its first three days without any radio airplay or pre-release promotion. It was available only as a digital release until Tuesday, Dec. 18, which is when brick-and-mortar stores began selling the album. Beyonce’s album continues to perform very well digitally, with almost 50 percent of the album’s sales in 2014 being digital.


Sometimes artists choose to sell an EP or make their music available for streaming before a formal album release. For example, New Zealander Lorde released The Love Club EP and Tennis Court EP in March and June 2013, respectively, before offering fans her Pure Heroine album in September 2013. Pure Heroine has sold 1 million albums to date.

Streaming previews are another way for artists to build anticipation for upcoming albums. Last year, after a seven-year hiatus, Justin Timberlake made part 1 of The 20/20 Experience available for streaming in its entirety via the iTunes store for free before the official release. Upon release, the first part sold 968,000 albums in its first week and remained in the top spot for three consecutive weeks. Furthermore, it was the top selling digital album of 2013. Songs from both parts of the album have totaled 234 million streams to date*. Daft Punk used a similar strategy for its Random Access Memories album, which the French duo released for streaming a week before it was available for purchase, and the majority of album sales to date have been digital albums. Furthermore, songs from the album have been streamed over 232 million times to date*.

Digital providers aren’t the only ones playing exclusives. Online music blogs like Stereogum and Okayplayer are amplifying their sites with streaming music—including exclusive previews. For example, Schoolboy Q’s recently released Oxymoron album was made available for streaming on YouTube three days before it was available for sale. He also performed the entire release for NPR Music’s debut First Listen Live concert series. The album debuted at the top spot with 139,000 albums sold and now has accumulated over 29 million streams*—evidence that retail exclusives and previews remain successful promotional strategies.


Contrary to what one might believe, giving away music for free can also build excitement and generate music sales. The mixtape, which has been prominent in hip-hop culture for decades, is a classic example—one that’s been updated over time to stay in step with advancing technology. For example, last year, Baauer made his “Harlem Shake” available for free on iTunes before making it available for purchase. Later, when it was priced for sale, the popularity had picked up enough to support it, and the title was the top streamed song of 2013 with 490 million streams. To date, it has sold 1.9 million digital songs.

Another famous example is Jay-Z’s partnership with Samsung in 2013 to debut the artist’s Magna Carta Holy Grail app, which gave one million Samsung device owners exclusive, full and free access to the album days before it was released. Despite the giveaway, the album was one of Jay-Z’s best first-week debuts and the seventh best-selling digital album of 2013, with 640,000 digital albums sold. The effort shows us that the excitement built around a free release can lead to greater sales.

As we’ve seen with many examples, creative release strategy is something that has evolved as artists take advantage of technology and the exposure and reach of multiple platforms. The most successful artists and releases maximize ways to reach their fans and we will see the most creative artists and marketers continue to push to new levels.

*Nielsen captures programmed, on-demand, and tethered streams from various providers including AOL, Cricket, MediaNet, rdio, Rhapsody, Slacker, Spotify, YouTube/VEVO, Zune and more.


Of course Phil Collins is ghetto. One of the world’s best drummers and songwriters already, just look at him flippinf the bird while a tambourine is in his pants during a show. Word.

Trill Collins is a project Scott Melker has said he wanted to do for a while now. Mixing Phil Collins with urban artists isn’t anything new – the 2001 Urban Renewal tribute album to Collins had re-produced remakes of his songs by R&B and hip hop performers like Brandy, Ray J, Lil’ Kim and Deborah Cox and ummm… Ol’ Dirty Bastard, but this one takes it a bit further by mashing up “In The Air Tonight” with Nas and Genesis’ “Throwing It All Away” with The Pharcyde.

Lego Albums has recreated all of your favorite albums, little brick by little brick.

Blur - The Best Of

Blur - The Best Of

Björk - Self Titled

Björk - Self Titled

Coldplay - A Rush Of Blood To The Head

Coldplay - A Rush Of Blood To The Head

Red Hot Chili Peppers - I’m With You

Red Hot Chili Peppers - I'm With You

Arcade Fire - Suburbs

Arcade Fire - Suburbs

Queens Of The Stone Age - Self Titled

Queens Of The Stone Age - Self Titled

Pink Floyd - Animals

Pink Floyd - Animals

Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited

Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited

Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

The Beatles - Abbey Road

The Beatles - Abbey Road

Foo Fighters - Wasting Light

Foo Fighters - Wasting Light

Jay Z & Kanye West - Watch The Throne

Jay Z & Kanye West - Watch The Throne

Kanye West - 808s & Heartbreak

Kanye West - 808s & Heartbreak

Lorde - Pure Heroine

Lorde - Pure Heroine

Lana Del Rey – Born To Die

Lana Del Rey - Born To Die

Coldplay - X & Y

Coldplay - X & Y

Foster The People - Torches

Foster The People - Torches

Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not

Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not

 The Smiths - The Sound Of The Smiths

The Smiths - The Sound Of The Smiths

Green Day - American Idiot

Green Day - American Idiot

The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Washed Out - Within And Without

Washed Out - Within And Without

Bon Iver - Self Titled

Bon Iver - Self Titled

Nirvana - In Utero

Nirvana - In Utero

Jeff Buckley - Grace

Jeff Buckley - Grace

Oasis - What’s The Story, Morning Glory?

Oasis - What's The Story, Morning Glory?

The Killers - Hot Fuss

The Killers - Hot Fuss

Weezer - Pinkerton

Weezer - Pinkerton

Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

The Strokes - Is This It?

The Strokes - Is This It?

Fun. - Some Nights

Fun. - Some Nights

Kanye West - Yeezus

Kanye West - Yeezus

Drake - Nothing Was The Same

Drake - Nothing Was The Same

Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon

Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon

Pearl Jam - Ten

Pearl Jam - Ten

Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d. city

Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d. city

The Beatles - White Album

The Beatles - White Album

Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures

Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures

Death From Above 1979 - You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine

Death From Above 1979 - You're A Woman, I'm A Machine

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From Billboard:

Bruno Mars edged out Rihanna as the most pirated artist of 2013, according to figures released by data analysis firm Musicmetric. Mars finished the year with nearly 5.8 million downloads to Rihanna’s 5.4 million. Daft Punk was a distant third with 4.2 million downloads. Justin Timberlake with 3.9 million downloads and Flo Rida with 3.5 million downloads round out the top five.

Musicmetric’s numbers represent albums and tracks downloaded using BitTorrent, a protocol for peer-to-peer file sharing that enables the transfer of large files. The company says a typical breakdown of BitTorrent traffic for musicians is 70% albums and 30% tracks.

Following is the top 20 BitTorrent artists in 2013, as tracked by Musicmetric.

1 Bruno Mars, 5,783,556
2 Rihanna, 5,414,166
3 Daft Punk, 4,212,361
4 Justin Timberlake, 3,930,185
5 Flo Rida, 3,470,825
6 Kanye West, 3,199,969
7 Eminem, 3,176,122
8 Jay Z, 3,171,358
9 Drake, 3,139,408
10 Pitbull, 3,138,308
11 One Direction, 2,920,445
12 Maroon 5, 2,857,652
13 Zedd, 2,828,764
14 Nicki Minaj, 2,681,177
15 Adele, 2,594,275
16 Avicii, 2,562,151
17 David Guetta, 2,441,235
18 Linkin Park, 2,352,385
19 Pharrell Williams, 2,336,996
20 Katy Perry, 2,318,740


Most Billboard Hot 100 entries

Glee Cast (207)
Elvis Presley (149) (Pre-Hot 100 and Hot 100 included)
Lil Wayne (120)
James Brown (91)
Jay-Z (80)
Ray Charles (74)
Aretha Franklin (73)
The Beatles (71)
Elton John (68)
Drake (65)

Elvis Presley has charted 149 singles on Billboard if tracking his entire career which predates the 1958 Hot 100. If tracking begins after the 1958 inception of the Billboard Hot 100, Presley only has 108.
Lil Wayne has 71 charted singles on which he is a featured artist. If counting only singles on which he is a lead singer, Lil Wayne accounts for 48 chart entries.


On Christmas Eve, only hours before his film Believe hits theatres, pop star Justin Bieber tweeted he’s leaving show business at the age of 19.

With a global fan base, termed as “Beliebers”, and over 40 million followers on Twitter, Bieber was named by Forbes magazine in 2012 as the third-most powerful celebrity in the world. He had earned an estimated US$55 million in the previous 12 months. Open Road Films is opening the Justin Bieber concert documentary “Believe” in 1,037 US theatres starting December 25th, and an MTV live stream of the L.A. premiere for “Believe” was among the cable network’s most viewed ever.

If this retirement is true, what a way to go out – changing the rules of the music industry with his #MusicMondays project seeing him release a new song on iTunes every Monday for ten weeks. It follows new his single, Baby, reached 12 million sales, making it the #1 most certified song ever in US music history. Earlier this year, he became the first artist in history to score five No. 1 albums before the age of 19, and also become the 10th musical act ever with No. 1 albums in four consecutive years when his Believe Acoustic, skyrocketed to the top of the music charts, as well as iTunes.

Bieber hinted of his retirement last Wednesday, telling a Los Angeles radio station that he’s quitting the music business. “I’m actually, uh, retiring, man,” he told Power 106 FM’s radio show “Big Boy’s Neighborhood.” I think I’m probably gonna quit music,” he added.

Long-serving manager Scooter Braun was quick to claim that Bieber was ‘just kidding’ however.

‘Next year he’s taking a break just to make music and relax, take some time for himself for the first time since he was 12,’ he told ITN.

Leaving the music business publicly isn’t new – Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy, Lauryn Hill, Mase, Jay-Z, Lily Allen, Cat Stevens, Chris Brown, and Dr. Dre have all ‘retired’ – and they’ve all came back with new music. Now in complete mastery of his music, this isolation becomes all the more remarkable, and this could be the biggest self-imposed retirement in music history.

Stay tuned.


The Top 25 Tours of 2013 are ranked by gross, compiled from Billboard Boxscores reported from Nov. 14, 2012, to Nov. 12, 2013.

2013′s Top Grossing Tours:

1. Bon Jovi ($205,158,370)
Total Gross: $205,158,370
Total Attendance: 2,178,170
Total Capacity: 2,178,170
No. of Shows: 90
No. of Sellouts: 90

2. Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour by Cirque Du Soleil ($157,299,100)
Total Gross: $157,299,100
Total Attendance: 1,425,442
Total Capacity: 1,853,022
No. of Shows: 205
No. of Sellouts: 0

3. Pink ($147,947,543)
Total Gross: $147,947,543
Total Attendance: 1,581,939
Total Capacity: 1,583,801
No. of Shows: 114
No. of Sellouts: 111

4. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band ($147,608,938)
Total Gross: $147,608,938
Total Attendance: 1,389,778
Total Capacity: 1,454,499
No. of Shows: 53
No. of Sellouts: 36

5. Rihanna ($137,982,530)
Total Gross: $137,982,530
Total Attendance: 1,595,161
Total Capacity: 1,600,851
No. of Shows: 87
No. of Sellouts: 84

6. The Rolling Stones ($126,182,391)
Total Gross: $126,182,391
Total Attendance: 326,998
Total Capacity: 326,998
No. of Shows: 23
No. of Sellouts: 23

7. Taylor Swift ($115,379,331)
Total Gross: $115,379,331
Total Attendance: 1,363,510
Total Capacity: 1,363,510
No. of Shows: 66
No. of Sellouts: 66

8. Beyonce ($104,358,899)
Total Gross: $104,358,899
Total Attendance: 883,062
Total Capacity: 934,021
No. of Shows: 59
No. of Sellouts: 40

9. Depeche Mode ($99,972,733)
Total Gross: $99,972,733
Total Attendance: 1,390,141
Total Capacity: 1,400,298
No. of Shows: 54
No. of Sellouts: 51

10. Kenny Chesney ($90,932,957)
Total Gross: $90,932,957
Total Attendance: 1,186,925
Total Capacity: 1,214,694
No. of Shows: 44
No. of Sellouts: 31

11. Roger Waters ($81,305,650)
Total Gross: $81,305,650
Total Attendance: 830,123
Total Capacity: 915,081
No. of Shows: 27
No. of Sellouts: 0

12. One Direction ($78,311,383)
Total Gross: $78,311,383
Total Attendance: 1,223,144
Total Capacity: 1,236,308
No. of Shows: 81
No. of Sellouts: 43

13. Justin Bieber ($77,423,264)
Total Gross: $77,423,264
Total Attendance: 959,886
Total Capacity: 982,523
No. of Shows: 65
No. of Sellouts: 55

14. Madonna ($76,752,277)
Total Gross: $76,752,277
Total Attendance: 577,169
Total Capacity: 577,169
No. of Shows: 16
No. of Sellouts: 16

15. Jay Z & Justin Timberlake ($69,753,905)
Total Gross: $69,753,905
Total Attendance: 622,559
Total Capacity: 622,559
No. of Shows: 14
No. of Sellouts: 14

16. Paul McCartney ($69,584,403)
Total Gross: $69,584,403
Total Attendance: 565,705
Total Capacity: 566,696
No. of Shows: 21
No. of Sellouts: 15

17. Fleetwood Mac ($61,899,473)
Total Gross: $61,899,473
Total Attendance: 554,548
Total Capacity: 579,480
No. of Shows: 45
No. of Sellouts: 13

18. Maroon 5 ($54,354,974)
Total Gross: $54,354,974
Total Attendance: 930,953
Total Capacity: 933,867
No. of Shows: 60
No. of Sellouts: 57

19. Dave Matthews Band ($52,960,667)
Total Gross: $52,960,667
Total Attendance: 882,287
Total Capacity: 1,152,025
No. of Shows: 61
No. of Sellouts: 17

20. André Rieu ($49,983,266)
Total Gross: $49,983,266
Total Attendance: 484,599
Total Capacity: 558,467
No. of Shows: 70
No. of Sellouts: 5

21. Jason Aldean ($47,814,095)
Total Gross: $47,814,095
Total Attendance: 1,004,303
Total Capacity: 1,043,158
No. of Shows: 62
No. of Sellouts: 42

22. Lady Gaga ($46,957,070)
Total Gross: $46,957,070
Total Attendance: 544,333
Total Capacity: 550,122
No. of Shows: 23
No. of Sellouts: 22

23. Bruno Mars ($46,417,795)
Total Gross: $46,417,795
Total Attendance: 666,926
Total Capacity: 668,110
No. of Shows: 48
No. of Sellouts: 44

24. Luke Bryan ($45,558,589)
Total Gross: $45,558,589
Total Attendance: 1,143,727
Total Capacity: 1,153,536
No. of Shows: 75
No. of Sellouts: 65

25. Iron Maiden ($44,980,749)
Total Gross: $44,980,749
Total Attendance: 684,200
Total Capacity: 764,186
No. of Shows: 34
No. of Sellouts: 13

From Billboard:

Beyonce Unexpectedly Releases New Album on iTunes

Just minutes before midnight EST Friday (Dec. 13) morning, Beyonce released her fifth album, a self-titled set, exclusively on iTunes. Details are still emerging on confirmed producers, but guests credited on the “exclusive visual album” are Jay Z, Drake, Frank Ocean and daughter Blue Ivy.

Beyonce’s self-titled album — her fifth studio effort, and first since 2011′s “4″ — arrived on Thursday night (Dec. 12) without prior warning. The 14-song collection features “Drunk In Love,” a new collaboration with husband Jay Z; “Mine,” featuring Drake; Superpower, with her “I Miss You” collaborator Frank Ocean; and “Blue,” a song with her daughter, Blue Ivy Carter. “XO,” long rumored to be a single from the singer’s new album, also appears on the track list.

Every song on the album has also been given a video, all of which are available on iTunes; “Grown Woman,” a promotional cut that Beyonce performed during her Mrs. Carter world tour this year, appears as a bonus video, but did not make the album’s track list.

Continue reading the rest of the story on Billboard


From Billboard:

Rihanna and Enimem score a historic topper: Rihanna ties Michael Jackson for the third-most leaders (13) in the Hot 100′s history, while Eminem ties for the most No. 1s (five) among rappers.

Now with 13, she passes Madonna and the Supremes, each with 12. Upon the chart-topping ascent of “The Monster,” here’s an updated look at the acts with the most No. 1s dating to the Hot 100′s Aug. 4, 1958, inception:

20, the Beatles
18, Mariah Carey
13, Michael Jackson
13, Rihanna
12, Madonna
12, the Supremes
11, Whitney Houston
10, Janet Jackson
10, Stevie Wonder

From her first week at No. 1 on the Hot 100 with “SOS” (May 13, 2006) through this week’s chart (dated Dec. 21, 2013), Rihanna’s registered 13 leaders in a span of seven years, seven months and eight days, marking the fastest run to the sum by a woman; Mariah Carey took a slightly longer seven-year, eight-month and 19-day route (from 1990′s “Vision of Love” through 1998′s “My All”). Only the Beatles reached 13 No. 1s more quickly: just three years and 17 days between 1964′s “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and 1967′s “Penny Lane.” (The other of the four acts with at least 13 leaders, Michael Jackson, spanned nearly 23 years between 1972′s “Ben,” his first solo No. 1 apart from the Jackson Five, and 1995′s “You Are Not Alone.”)

Eminem, meanwhile, makes his own historic move, as he ties the record for the most Hot 100 No. 1s (five) among rappers. Here’s an updated look at the rap acts with the most leaders:

5, Diddy
5, Eminem
5, Ludacris
4, 50 Cent
4, Jay Z
4, Nelly
4, T.I.
4, Kanye West

Continue reading the rest of the story on Billboard

Christie Goodwin/Redferns via Getty Images

Christie Goodwin/Redferns via Getty Images

From Forbes:

Lady Gaga and Madonna have a superstar rivalry made in gossip-blog heaven. The former burst onto the scene five years ago with a provocative pop sensibility reminiscent of the latter’s. Last year, Madonna accused Gaga of ripping off one of her songs; this year, the “Born This Way” singer insisted she doesn’t want the Material Girl’s throne.

1. Madonna ($125 million)

The bulk of Madge’s millions this year come from the tail end of her MDNA Tour, which grossed $305 million. Madonna augments her income with heady merchandise sales at concerts as well as her Material Girl clothing line and Truth or Dare fragrance.

2. Lady Gaga ($80 million)

Though her ARTPOP album was released after the end of our scoring period, the Queen Monster raked in cash on the road before succumbing to a hip injury earlier this year. The tour still grossed $168 million; had she been able to finish, she would have likely topped $200 million.

3. Bon Jovi ($79 million)

The ageless New Jersey rockers said it best themselves: Because We Can. That’s the name of their latest stadium tour, which is grossing over $3 million per city. All in all, the group earned more than Kanye West, Skrillex and Carrie Underwood. Last fall, frontman Jon Bon Jovi celebrated the one-year anniversary of the Soul Kitchen, a pay-what-you-can restaurant in Red Bank, N.J.

Let’s see who else is on the list:

12. Diddy ($50 million)

Hip-hop’s richest man pulled in another $50 million over the past year (“You started learning how to count right, I see,” he told FORBES earlier this year). The bulk came from his wildly successful Ciroc vodka deal. Other ingredients in his cash cocktail: record label Bad Boy, clothing line Sean John and marketing firm Blue Flame. His Revolt TV network, launched in October with 25 million subscribers, should provide a big boost to future earnings.

14. Calvin Harris ($46 million)

Discovered on Myspace eight year ago as a singer-songwriter, Harris is now the world’s highest-paid DJ. In February, he signed on to play more than 70 shows over a two-year period in Las Vegas. While the majority of his money comes from performing, he also earns from writing and producing songs like “We Found Love” for Rihanna. “The rise of dance music has been astronomical in the last three years and I happened to be in the right place at the right time,” he told FORBES earlier this year.

Muse actually tied with Rihanna:

17. Muse ($43 million, tie)

Perhaps the least famous name among music’s 25 top earners, Muse nevertheless earns with the best of them, playing 70 shows with a gross of about $1 million per city, according to concert data provider Pollstar.

17. Rihanna ($43 million, tie)

The Barbados-born diva continues to rake in the dough, playing over 40 shows during our scoring period and releasing new album Unapologetic, her seventh in seven years. Even if you’re not one of her 30 million-plus Twitter followers, it’s hard not miss her recent singles “Diamonds” and “Stay” and her ubiquitous Vita Coco ads. And that’s a formula that should keep the cash coming for years.

Continue reading the rest of the list on Forbes