Natalie Merchant will be subject of a televised concert on the Oxygen network next Friday (Dec. 21). "Up Close And Personal With Natalie Merchant" will air at 8 p.m. ET/PT, and will be simultaneously streamed through Oxygen's Web site.
More than five decades after he began performing, Belfast-born flutist James Galway on Wednesday (Dec. 12) received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II at London's Buckingham Palace. He was awarded an MBE, or Member of the Order of the British Empire. The 62-year-old son of a shipyard worker, styled "the man with the golden flute," has sold more than 30 million records of everything from Christmas carols to Celtic melodies and pop numbers.
MTV2 has partnered with Columbia Records to release its first compilation album, "MTV2 Handpicked," Billboard Bulletin reports. Due Jan. 22, the 18-track set will feature songs from acts that receive heavy exposure on the network, including Radiohead, Travis, Pete Yorn, Ryan Adams, David Gray, and Coldplay.
America Online Inc. has demonstrated its version of the MusicNet digital music subscription platform. AOL Music senior VP and general manager Kevin Conroy referred to Wednesday's introduction of AOL Presents MusicNet 1.0 as "an important starting point for an entirely new way to purchase music online." He added that besides being an additional benefit for AOL users, the service would "create valuable new opportunities to expand the market for owning music."
Responding to the clamor that ensued after Destiny's Child's Beyonce Knowles said last week the group was going on hiatus, the chart-topping trio today (Dec. 13) issued a statement proclaiming, "we are very much a group, very much together, and plan to be for many years. We just want to take a little time to work on some things that reflect our individual personalities and we're going to help and support each other with everything we do."
The next page in Elvis Costello's storied career will turn with the April 23, 2002, release of "When I Was Cruel." Due out through Island, the album features frequent collaborators drummer Pete Thomas and keyboardist Steve Nieve, both former members of Costello's longtime backing band, the Attractions.
Influential pop artist manager Johnny Wright ('N Sync, Britney Spears) has inked a co-management deal for Sean "P. Diddy" Combs with Phil Robinson, Billboard Bulletin reports. Combs is planning to tour mid-sized venues and possibly arenas starting next spring, but beforehand, he will open the final two shows on Spears' current North American arena tour, Dec. 19 in Miami and Dec. 21 in Washington, D.C.
Welsh experimental pop quintet Super Furry Animals has found a North American home for its fifth album, "Rings Around the World." The set will see stateside release in March on XL Recordings/Beggars Banquet Group, also home to such acts as Badly Drawn Boy and Basement Jaxx.
Modern rock act Tantric has been selected as one of the opening acts for Creed's upcoming North American tour, the first leg of which kicks off Jan. 16 in Atlanta and wraps Feb. 17 in Kansas City, Mo. According to a spokesperson, Tantric will be playing second each night and following another act which has yet to be confirmed. Eight of the tour's first 18 shows have already sold out, according to Billboard Bulletin.
Recordings from Shawn Colvin, Suzanne Vega, Steve Forbert, Christine Lavin, John Gorka, and Lucy Kaplansky will be featured on the two-disc, 34-track Smithsonian Folkways release "Fast Folk: A Community of Singers & Songwriters," due Feb. 26. The set is compiled from more than 100 songs donated to Smithsonian Folkways Recordings in 1999 by the principals of New York's Fast Folk Magazine.
In the midst of retail's holiday rush, Creed's "Weathered" (Wind-Up) mustered a 10% sales bump to remain atop The Billboard 200 for a third straight week. With U.S. sales of 458,000 units, according to SoundScan, "Weathered" holds off a storm of Christmas-related and gift-ready compilations in the upper reaches of the chart.