Billboard Bits: 'Baby,' Uncle Tupelo, AOL/MusicNet
Country artist Toby Keith will co-host the CMT Flameworthy 2003 Music Video Awards with actress Pamela Anderson. Keith will also perform during the show, set for April 7 at Nashville's Gaylord EntertaBig Tymers member/Cash Money Records co-founder Bryan "Baby" Williams and fashion designer Karl Kani have teamed up to create Life, a new line of urban street wear due in March. "Baby's about success, focus, and having the best things in life, and that's what the Life clothing line is all about," Kani said in a statement.
The Life line will combine "the flashy aspects of the Cash Money lifestyle" with Kani's street-oriented approach to design. "Karl Kani's clothes speak like our music does: he combines street with bling in the same way we do," said Baby. A Cash Money-written and recorded theme song will be heard in television and radio commercials for the line.
Baby's latest single, "What Happened to That Boy" featuring Clipse, is No. 13 on Billboard's Hot Rap Tracks chart and No. 18 on the Hot R&B Singles & Tracks tally.
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.
"Anodyne," Uncle Tupelo's final studio album and the only set it recorded for Sire, will be reissued March 11 by the label in conjunction with Rhino. The new edition will hit stores the same day as Columbia/Legacy's reissues of the famed alt-country act's albums "No Depression," "Still Feel Gone," and "March 16-20, 1992."
"Anodyne" has been augmented by three previously unreleased tracks: a cover of Waylon Jennings' "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way" with lead vocals by Joe Ely, plus the Uncle Tupelo originals "Wherever" and "Stay True." The new version also features live recordings of "Truck Drivin' Man" and a seven-minute take on Dale Hawkins' "Suzy Q."
The Belleville, Ill.-based group, which was led by songwriters Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar and also featured drummers Mike Heidorn and Ken Coomer and multi-instrumentalists Max Johnston and John Stirratt, split in 1994. Coomer, Johnston, and Stirratt followed Tweedy to Wilco, but Tweedy and Stirratt are the only Uncle Tupelo members still in that band.
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
America Online today (Feb. 26) launches its version of the MusicNet subscription service, Billboard Bulletin reports. AOL will offer four pricing tiers for the service: The $8.95 per month standard subscription, which allows for unlimited streaming and downloading; a $13.95 "advanced" package that allows subscribers to also acquire up to five burnable downloads; a $17.95 level that offers up to 10 burns; and a $3.95 introductory offer that features 20 streams, 20 downloads, and no burning. At launch, AOL's version of the service will not offer transfer to portable devices or MusicNet-specific radio programming.
To promote MusicNet, AOL will offer a 30-day free trial that will convert into a standard subscription if not cancelled. The company also plans to plug MusicNet through its entertainment areas and welcome screen and by offering downloads from its "First Listen" and "[email protected]" franchises, linking it to the AOL search engine, and promoting it via AOL Radio.
AOL, which has run trials of other versions of MusicNet in the past, has been beta-testing the service since the end of last year. It now becomes the second company to distribute MusicNet, following RealNetworks, which went live with its version last year. RealNetworks is expected to launch an updated version of MusicNet later in 2003.
MusicNet -- controlled by Warner Music Group, BMG Entertainment, EMI Recorded Music, and RealNetworks -- has a catalog of 250,000 tracks from all five major labels.
-- Brian Garrity, N.Y.