Billboard Bits: R.E.M., Sting, Samsung/Napster, Cash
News on R.E.M., Sting, Samsung/Napster, CashThe video for R.E.M.'s new song "Bad Day" will premiere tomorrow (Sept. 19) at 7 p.m. ET on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" show. In the Tim Hope-directed clip, group members Michael Stipe, Peter Buck and Mike Mills appear as newscasters. The track is drawn from R.E.M.'s upcoming hits collection, "In Time," due Oct. 28 via Warner Bros. It can also be viewed on a new R.E.M. Web site, Morningteam.com.
"Literally, it's about a series of small weather [patterns] hitting a city -- in other words, people have hurricanes in their living room, or monsoons just in one room of their house," Mills tells Billboard.com. "But on a larger level .. with all the crap that's shoved into one TV channel, and the fact there are 10 or 12 of them all showing these little tidbits of information, how can you really get what you need? How do you find out what's news and what's entertainment and what's important and what isn't? We're just sort of reflecting a bit of that. And it's funny too."
The group is in the midst of a North American tour, which hits Grand Prairie, Texas, tomorrow.
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y., Annie Zaleski, Boston
Sting will play a rare small venue concert Oct. 4 at New York's 3,700-capacity Hammerstein Ballroom. Tickets have already been made available to members of the artist's fan club; the remaining seats are being auctioned on Ticketmaster. Winning bidders will also receive a free membership to Sting's fan club. For more information, visit Sting's official Web site.
Fans can also win tickets to the New York event, all proceeds from which will be donated to charity, via a contest on VH1.com. The gig comes two days after Sting appears on NBC's "Today" show. The artist will also reportedly play a free concert Oct. 7 in Chicago, but no announcement has yet been made.
As previously reported, Sting's new A&M album, "Sacred Love," will be released Sept. 30. First single "Send Your Love" is No. 30 in its fourth week on Billboard's Adult Top 40 chart. Sting is also Billboard's 2003 Century Award winner, the magazine's highest honor for creative achievement.
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
Samsung Electronics says it will release a Napster-branded digital music player this fall, Billboard Bulletin reports. Specifics on how many files the player will hold and how much it will cost were not disclosed.
The co-branded device will be marketed as "Napster-compatible" on the packaging, to help consumers understand that it works seamlessly with the legitimate Napster service, which is set to launch by year's end. The device is part of a cross-marketing and engineering alliance between Samsung and Napster parent Roxio, aimed at driving consumer acceptance of portable players.
-- Brian Garrity, N.Y.
In the wake of her father Johnny's recent death, Rosanne Cash has pulled out of a planned appearance at this weekend's Austin City Limits Music Festival in Texas. In her scheduled 3 p.m. Cingular Stage slot on Saturday (Sept. 20), Drive By Truckers, Tift Merritt and others to be announced will perform a tribute to the late country legend.
A screening of Cash's sole appearance on "Austin City Limits" will follow the tribute. Joining him during the January 1987 episode of the PBS performance series was his brother, Tommy Cash, and his wife, June Carter Cash, as well as the Carter Family.
As previously reported, more than 130 acts will perform on eight stages across the festival's three days.
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.