1. Billboard Cover: Iggy Azalea, Sam Smith and Other No. 1 Artists Reveal the Behind-the-Scenes Details Behind Their Hit Songs and Albums

    December 12, 2014 9:00 AM EST The Rule Breaker “Fancy” 7 weeks on Billboard Hot 100 John , Paul , George , Ringo , and ... Iggy ? The rump-shaking, hair-flipping, shade-throwing Australian rapper became The Beatles ' unlikeliest successor as the second act ever to claim both the No. 1 and No. 2 positions at the…

  2. Billboard Cover: Sam Smith on 'Stay With Me,' 'SNL' Jitters and 'Striving to Be a Career Artist'

    December 12, 2014 9:00 AM EST The Voice "Stay With Me" 2 weeks on Mainstream Top 40 ; 2 weeks on Adult Top 40 ; 5 weeks on Adult Contemporary When Capitol chairman Steve Barnett (pictured above) first went to England to check out Sam Smith , 22, he not only imagined Smith could break in America, but that he&…

  3. Billboard Year in Music 2014: 'Weird Al' Yankovic on Inspiring Beyoncé and Making 'Mandatory Fun' a Must-Listen

    December 12, 2014 9:00 AM EST The Strategist Mandatory Fun 1 Week on Billboard 200 "Weird Al" Yankovic had the last laugh in 2014. In the weeks prior to the release of his 14th album, Mandatory Fun , Yankovic prerecorded a release-week podcast, wherein he joked about having a No. 1 album. He couldn't have…

  4. USAID's Covert Cuba Hip-Hop Project 'Reckless' & 'Stupid,' Says Sen. Patrick Leahy

    December 11, 2014 11:14 PM EST A U.S. agency's secret infiltration of Cuba's underground hip-hop scene to spark a youth movement against the government was "reckless" and "stupid," Sen. Patrick Leahy said Thursday after The Associated Press revealed the operation. On at least six occasions,…

  5. BBC Music Awards 2014: Ed Sheeran & Pharrell Win Big; One Direction, Coldplay Among Performers

    December 11, 2014 7:28 PM EST Ed Sheeran and Pharrell Williams took home the major honors at the inaugural BBC Music Awards, held Thursday night (Dec. 11) at London's Earl's Court.  Sheeran won British Artist of the Year at the star-studded bash, which featured performances from Coldplay , One Direction ,…

  6. Less Could Mean More: Why Merlin's Deal With Pandora May Pay Off

    December 11, 2014 3:26 PM EST Merlin has come under attack in the last month for making a deal that, according to its critics, lowers its member labels' per-stream royalty rate with Pandora, and thus their revenues. Though in time they may ultimately be correct, those critics don't seem to understand that the…

  7. Taylor Swift & Christmas Crooners Rule Artist 100

    December 11, 2014 2:44 PM EST Swift reigns for an eighth week while a sleighful of artists with holiday hits soar. Taylor Swift and Christmas have long been a perfect fit (as the yuletide devotee grew up on a Christmas tree farm). On this week's Billboard Artist 100 chart, Swift and the season also pair up, as she…

  8. Sony/ATV Chairman Blasts Payouts from Internet Radio

    December 11, 2014 1:41 PM EST Pandora is coming under fire again for its payouts to songwriters and publishers. In a letter to his staff, Sony/ATV Music Publishing chairman/CEO Marty Bandier notes that despite the success of two of the company's biggest songwriters -- John Legend and Pharrell Williams -- their…

  9. The 10 Best Albums of 2014

    December 11, 2014 1:40 PM EST 0 Ed Sheeran, Jenny Lewis, Run The Jewels and more were among the artists behind this year's most mesmerizing full-lengths. The Billboard.com Critics' Picks albums list is always difficult to finalize -- with so many great albums to consider each year, how can a group…

  10. Christmas Music for People Who Hate Christmas Music

    December 11, 2014 12:00 PM EST Even if you don't like 'Jingle Bells' -- just like Sam Smith -- there's still seasonally appropriate music for you. The Christmas Spirit isn't inside everyone. In fact, there are plenty of people who would prefer to fall asleep now and wake up when December ends.…

  11. Pop Shop Podcast: Grammy Nominations, Meghan Trainor, Brandy Clark & More

    December 11, 2014 10:53 AM EST Listen to the latest episode of Billboard.com's weekly charts breakdown. Welcome to the latest episode of the Billboard.com Pop Shop Podcast , Billboard's weekly half-hour audio breakdown of the Billboard charts, hottest music news and year's biggest musical events. Casual…

  12. Russell Simmons Appears on 'The O'Reilly Factor' to Debate the Roots of Racial Divisions

    December 11, 2014 10:43 AM EST Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons appeared on The O'Reilly Factor again last night to debate the Fox host on the perceived racial divisions in America revealed in a recent CBS News poll , which sought to address the civil unrest in the wake in the deaths, at the hands of police, of…

  13. How the U.S. Government Infiltrated Cuba's Hip-Hop Scene to Spark Change

    December 11, 2014 10:01 AM EST In early 2009, a U.S. government contractor sent a Serbian music promoter to Cuba with these covert marching orders: Recruit one of Havana's most notorious rappers to spark a youth movement against the government. In communist Cuba, it was a project that could have landed Rajko Bozic…

  14. Indie Film and TV Player IM Global Launches Music Division

    December 10, 2014 3:56 PM EST Seven-year-old company IM Global, a subsidiary of the entertainment division of Indian conglomerate Reliance ADA, has formed a joint venture with veteran music and private equity executive David Schulhof .   The new division, IM Global Music, will oversee all music used in IM Global films,…

  15. Juan Flores, Scholar of Nuyorican Music and Culture, Dies at 71

    December 10, 2014 10:23 AM EST New York University professor was writing Eddie Palmieri biography. Juan Flores, a professor and writer whose work often explored music’s role in Latino identity, has died. The 71-year-old author of books such as  From Bomba to Hip-Hop, Flores had reportedly been working on a biography of…

  16. Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Ed Sheeran & Hozier Dazzle at Victoria Secret's Fashion Show

    December 09, 2014 11:32 PM EST Music was everywhere at Victoria Secret's 2014 Fashion Show that aired Tuesday night, with Taylor Swift , Ariana Grande , Ed Sheeran and Hozier providing the show's soundtrack live on the catwalk.  2014 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show: Photos of Taylor Swift, Ariana…

  17. VH1 Star Stephanie Moseley & Rapper Husband Earl Hayes Found Dead

    December 09, 2014 6:00 PM EST Police tell TMZ Hayes fatally shot Moseley before killing himself. Actress and dancer Stephanie Moseley was found dead alongside her husband, rapper and actor Earl Hayes , according to TMZ . Police tell TMZ that Hayes shot and killed Moseley and then turned around and killed himself…

  18. U Can Touch This: MC Hammer, Silicon Valley Darling, Promotes New Album With Twitter Love

    December 09, 2014 3:50 PM EST You may not have realized that MC Hammer was but a follow away. The life of MC Hammer is a fascinating pop-culture saga, and the twists just keep on coming. His meteoric rise up the charts in the early 90s and the financial troubles resulting from his subsequent drop-off in sales are…

  19. Deadmau5 Responds to Krewella Billboard Op-Ed With String of Profane Tweets

    December 09, 2014 12:18 PM EST When Krewella 's Jahan Yousaf wrote an op-ed for Billboard about sexism in the music industry and the hateful online environment -- cheekily headlined "Deadmau5 Saved Me From Going Into Porn" -- she specifically pointed to two tweets from deadmau5 that took aim at the EDM…

  20. 2014: The Year in... Billboard Chart Headlines

    December 09, 2014 12:15 PM EST A look at the biggest chart newsmakers, from Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams & Iggy Azalea to Enrique Iglesias, Meghan Trainor & Taylor Swift. From veterans who scored their biggest hits ever to newcomers who ruled with rookie releases, 2014 brought week after week of chart records…

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