1. Best Song Bracket Battle 2014: See Who Wins our Year-End Pop Showdown!

    December 19, 2014 2:00 PM EST Which 2014 smash is the critics' pick for pop song of the year? We made 64 hits battle it out, March Madness-style, to determine a winner! Welcome to BEST SONG BRACKET BATTLE 2014, Billboard.com's weeklong bracket-style tournament in which 64 of the year's biggest songs…

  2. Exclusive: Night Riots Premiere Urgent New Wave Track 'Break'

    December 19, 2014 12:50 PM EST SoCal quintet Night Riots mined some pretty serious subject matter for their standout new song. “‘Break’ was inspired by a friend's drink getting spiked with a hallucinogenic drug at a party,” frontman Travis Hawley tells Billboard. “It made me start to realize that not all people are…

  3. The Year in Rock 2014: Rebound From a Rough Year?

    December 19, 2014 12:45 PM EST After decades of leading the pack, the cultural rebound of rock, alternative, or whatever we want to call it depends on learning to play by new sets of rules. I promise this will not be a “rock is dead” story. We’ve already had that conversation far too many times, and besides, it’s far…

  4. Hot 100 Chart Moves: Sam Smith Brings 'Merry Little Christmas' to Chart for First Time

    December 19, 2014 12:15 PM EST Smith's version of the 70-year-old ballad makes its first Hot 100 appearance, joining carols by Mariah Carey and Ariana Grande. Plus, moves for Usher and Charli XCX. As previously reported , Taylor Swift 's "Blank Space" leads the Billboard Hot 100 for a fifth week,…

  5. Big Boi Adds 'Freaky Tales' to Maroon 5's 'Animals' Remix

    December 19, 2014 10:34 AM EST Big Boi recently wrapped up the OutKast reunion tour, so in his newfound spare time, he decided to add a verse to Maroon 5 's hit "Animals." Listen to the new track below -- Big Boi shows up near the 2:45 mark to tell some "freaky tales." Maroon 5's 10 Biggest…

  6. Ardent Studios Founder John Fry Dies at 69

    December 18, 2014 10:30 PM EST John Fry , the producer and engineer who founded Memphis' famed Ardent Studios and the Ardent Records label, has died at the age of 69. It was Fry who once said that, "Your moods are affected by your surroundings. I think there is something that operates in Memphis...and at Ardent…

  7. Alesso Ascends, Taylor Swift Hits Top 10 on Dance Charts

    December 18, 2014 9:20 PM EST Alesso takes another step closer to achieving his first career chart-topper on Hot Dance/Electronic Songs , as "Heroes (We Could Be)" hikes 4-3. The track, featuring Tove Lo , is the chart's top Digital and Streaming Gainer. "Heroes" sold 30,000 downloads (up 9…

  8. Azealia Banks Opens Up, Breaks Down in 45-Minute-Plus Radio Interview

    December 18, 2014 8:24 PM EST If you thought Azealia Banks only speaks her mind on Twitter, you need to watch this interview. Banks sat down for a 45-minute-plus chat with Hot 97's Ebro in the Morning , and the roundtable discussion covered everything from her ongoing beef with similarly named rapper Iggy Azalea to…

  9. Justin Timberlake Tops Hot Tours List as 20/20 Trek Nears End

    December 18, 2014 6:19 PM EST Justin Timberlake scores the top slot on the weekly ranking of Hot Tours (see list, below) based on ticket sales reported from his 20/20 Experience tour’s final sweep through North America. The pop star kicked off the tour's last leg on Nov. 20 in Portland, Ore., the first stop on a…

  10. Vessel, New Video Site from Hulu's Former Boss, Will Offer Very Sweet Deals to Content Creators

    December 18, 2014 5:48 PM EST Streaming services are routinely attacked for the inability of their royalties alone to sustain creators. The former head of video streaming service Hulu believes he has a solution. Called Vessel, the service is the creation of Jason Kilar , the former chief executive of Hulu, and Rich Tom …

  11. Delaware Country Fests To Go Head-To-Head Next Summer

    December 18, 2014 5:20 PM EST Country music promoters will have a better read on just how strong the country music market is in mid-Atlantic region by Monday, as two major country music festivals go on sale today and tomorrow. Big Barrel and Delaware Junction, both new festivals for 2015, will be competing for Delaware&…

  12. The 14 Best Pop Albums of 2014

    December 18, 2014 4:49 PM EST From Tove to Taylor to Bleachers, these 14 in '14 were worth many, many listens. I’m not publishing a list of the Best Pop Songs of 2014 list, because, well, we have a week-long bracket tournament discussing the best pop songs of the year already. Instead, I want to highlight…

  13. The Country Music Industry in 2014: Garth's Return, Taylor's Exit

    December 18, 2014 2:49 PM EST With country music at a peak in popularity, the comings and goings in the format seemed more crucial than ever. And there were plenty -- Garth Brooks came back, George Strait decided it was time to go, two guys from a different era came out, and a few stars chose to go out. On the road. In…

  14. Taylor Swift No. 1 on Artist 100 Chart, J. Cole Debuts at No. 2

    December 18, 2014 2:32 PM EST Swift reigns for a ninth week, while Cole launches fueled by album sales. Taylor Swift remains atop the Billboard Artist 100 chart, logging a record-extending ninth week at No. 1, while J. Cole soars in at No. 2, powered by sales for his new album. The Artist 100 provides the first weekly…

  15. Here's a Ton of Videos of Demi Lovato's Fluffy New Puppy

    December 18, 2014 12:33 PM EST Taylor Swift 's adorable cat videos now have some competition: Demi Lovato got a puppy as an early Christmas present, and she's very excited about it. Over the last couple days, Lovato has been instagramming a steady stream of puppy-related photos and videos -- check them out…

  16. Pop Shop Podcast: Madonna Leaks, Nicki Minaj, Charli XCX & More

    December 18, 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.…

  17. Jon Stewart Mocks Fox News' Sean Hannity Over Clumsy Jay Z Jab

    December 18, 2014 10:25 AM EST Fox News anchor Sean Hannity had a very Fox News moment recently, criticizing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for associating with Jay Z . It wasn’t just that Cuomo was agreeing with Jay Z in calling out the Staten Island grand jury that didn’t indict an NYPD officer for the chokehold death…

  18. Firefly Producers Announce New Big Barrel Country Fest, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Loretta Lynn to Play

    December 18, 2014 7:55 AM EST Red Frog Events, the producers of the Firefly Festival, announce today the launch of the Big Barrel Country Music Festival on June 26-28, the weekend after Firefly, at the Woodlands at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Del., site of Firefly. Headliners include  Blake Shelton , Miranda…

  19. Taylor Swift Reveals Surprising Industry Reaction to Spotify Decision

    December 18, 2014 4:24 AM EST It's easy to forget that when Taylor Swift announced in August that her fifth album, 1989 , would leave her country roots behind to be a purely pop project, there were a lot of skeptics -- as she might say, a lot of haters ready to hate, hate, hate. But that was four months ago. Taylor…

  20. Nicki Minaj and D'Angelo Set For Top 10 Debuts on Billboard 200

    December 17, 2014 8:21 PM EST D’Angelo’s surprise album may sell 100,000 in first week Nicki Minaj ’s new The Pinkprint album is on course for a top five debut on the Billboard 200 chart. Industry sources suggest the album, which was released on Dec. 15 through Young Money/Cash Money Records, may sell over 150,000…

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