Country veteran Chapin Carpenter has ended her nearly 20-year association with Columbia and signed a new deal with Zoe/Rounder Records. The label is eyeing a March release for her next album, "The Cal

Country veteran Chapin Carpenter has ended her nearly 20-year association with Columbia and signed a new deal with Zoe/Rounder Records. The label is eyeing a March release for her next album, "The Calling," which was co-produced by keyboardist Matt Rollings and will include all original songs.

Chapin Carpenter's Columbia swansong, 2004's "Between Here and Gone," debuted at No. 5 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart.


-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.







Welsh breakbeat duo Hybrid lives up to its name on its third album, "I Choose Noise," with guests spanning the spectrum from edgy rock (Perry Farrell) to genteel pop (English singer/songwriter Judie Tzuke) and neoclassical (Hollywood composer Harry Gregson-Williams).

The album was released in Europe Sept. 4 by London independent Distinctive Records/Amato, preceding an Oct. 10 U.S. release through distributor Navarre. Eight U.S. DJ sets and live shows start in San Francisco Oct. 31, ahead of November European dates and December Australian shows.


-- Steve Adams, London







Billboard has entered into a broad-based relationship with Japan-based Hanshin Contents Link. The wide-reaching agreement spans live entertainment, publishing, TV and radio programs, Web sites, digital products and other marquee music properties.

As part of the deal, Billboard Live clubs will open in Osaka, Fukoka and Tokyo in summer 2007. The Tokyo venue, which will hold 330 people and feature a full-length glass well overlooking the Roppongi neighborhood, will serve as a centerpiece of the budding Tokyo Midtown Complex. In addition, the agreement will spawn a new Web site, billboard-japan.com, which will serve as a portal for music information, charts, music downloads, CD/DVD merchandise and other music-related products.

"Our agreement with Hanshin Contents Link is an exciting new chapter in our magazine's 112-year history," says Bob Krakoff, CEO of VNU Business Media, parent company of Billboard. "Music plays a vital role in both of our cultures, and this deal allows us to enhance our impact on a robust market."

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