Billboard Bits serves up the best bite-sized nuggets of music news and gossip.
AFI Splits... But It's A Hoax
Rumors and reports were flying around earlier today that goth-rockers AFI had split up. But it was apparently all a misunderstanding: the band's management posted a statement on the band's Facebook page declaring that AFI has definitely not broken up. Management also blamed hackers for messing with the band's website and furthering the break-up rumors.
Lady Gaga to Perform on 'Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve'
Lady Gaga has made her New Year's plans four months in advance, agreeing to perform on the 40th anniversary of "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2012." The show will also broadcast performances from the West Coast, and Fergie will resume her duties as the host. (People)
Record Store Day Co-Founder To Close His Record Store
In awfully sad news, Eric Levin, who co-founded Record Store Day, plans to shut down his Atlanta record store, Criminal Records. Levin acknowledges business-related decisions, not the record industry in general, have led to this crushing decision. However, Criminal Records isn't quite dead yet, as Levin has launched a campaign to save the store, so you can still do your part to support Criminal Records and Record Store Day. (SPIN)
Wiz Khalifa Escapes Drug Charges
Today is Wiz Khalifa's birthday and luckily for him, he's escaping some drug charges stemming from an arrest last November in North Carolina. The District Attorney decided the amount of marijuana seized from Khalifa's tour bus did not exceed the 10 pound threshold for a trafficking charge. All charges against the rapper and 6 others were dismissed after three of the men claimed responsibility over the marijuana and pleaded guilty at an August 11 hearing to misdemeanor possession. (Rap Radar)
The Weeknd Set to Play First U.S. Gig
R&B mad scientist The Weeknd (aka Abel Tesfaye) had released a pair of mixtapes to underground acclaim this year without ever playing a proper U.S. show -- until now. The mysterious Drake cohort announced he'll be making his stateside debut (as a headliner, no less) at Vice's first annual Upfront Extravaganza, along with Black Lips, Tanlines, and others. His latest mixtape, "Thursday," is available as a free download at the-weeknd.com. (Pitchfork)
Idol Alum James Durbin Inks with Wind-Up Records
Fourth-place "American Idol" finalist James Durbin announced that he signed a recording deal with Wind-Up Records on his website yesterday. "Wind-Up Records isn't a label, it's a family and I wanted to be a part of that," Durbin said of the record company, which is also home to Evanescence. "I couldn't have asked for more when signing a record deal." The rocker's debut is set for a November release. (idolator.com)
(Reporting by RJ Cubarrubia, Chris Payne, and Erica Thompson)