1. U.S.-Cuba Musical Relations: A Timeline of Milestones

    December 19, 2014 5:15 PM EST Before President Obama's announcement Wednesday that the U.S. would be restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba, there were five decades of a rocky musical relationship that displayed artistic triumphs, personal tragedies and the diplomatic power of music. See our timeline below: 1959 …

  2. Billy Corgan: 'I'm a Rock Star Because I'm a Great F---ing Musician'

    December 19, 2014 4:40 PM EST When it comes to the state of the music industry (or anything else for that matter),  Smashing Pumpkins  mastermind and frontman  Billy Corgan  has no problem speaking his mind. Billboard sat down with the musician in his dressing room at the recent KROQ Almost Acoustic Xmas event in Los…

  3. Top 10 Lyrics From D'Angelo's 'Black Messiah'

    December 19, 2014 3:40 PM EST It's been close to a week since the surprise release of D'Angelo & The Vanguard's Black Messiah , enough time for the formerly distorted lyrics of D'Angelo to become more clear and significant. The easiest tone to take with Black Messiah , in its entire majestic roar…

  4. The Alt In Our Stars Podcast: Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes Details New Album 'Aureate Gloom'

    December 19, 2014 2:54 PM EST Of Montreal recently announced their lucky 13th studio album -- Aureate Gloom , out March 3 on longtime label Polyvinyl. Bandleader Kevin Barnes is a pretty interesting guy, having guided the outfit from its late 1990s twee pop "happy yellow bumblebees" sound (as he puts it) to…

  5. 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…

  6. Pioneering Rap Producer Larry Smith Has Died

    December 19, 2014 1:47 PM EST Sad news in the world of hip-hip -- one of rap music's pioneering producers, Larry Smith, has passed away  at the age of 63. Smith co-produced Run-D.M.C. 's incalculably influential first two albums ( Run-D.M.C. and King of Rock ) alongside Russell Simmons. Additionally, he…

  7. Shawn Mendes, Gwen Stefani and Meghan Trainor at the Z100 Jingle Ball: Real-Time Twitter Chart Rewind Ep. 29

    December 19, 2014 1:00 PM EST Welcome back to Billboard's weekly video show "Real-Time Rewind," which recaps the past week's hottest action on the new Billboard Real-Time Twitter Charts -- Trending 140 and Emerging Artists -- and the news that's driving the action. Joe Levy stops by Z100’s…

  8. 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,…

  9. Must-Hear Music Podcast: Best Albums of the Year Edition

    December 19, 2014 12:10 PM EST is almost over, and that means one thing for the Billboard staff -- it's time to obsess over our favorite albums of the year. This week, the original Must-Hear Music podcast team -- Jason Lipshutz , Joe Lynch  and Erika Ramirez -- sit down to share and argue over their favorite…

  10. Iggy Azalea Calls Azealia Banks a 'Bully and a Bigot' After Banks' Latest Twitter Rant

    December 19, 2014 10:32 AM EST Iggy Azalea and Azealia Banks ' feud continues on Twitter. Yesterday, Banks gave a long, emotional  radio interview where she discussed, in part, the appropriation of black culture by white artists. "I feel like, in this country, whenever it comes to our things, like black…

  11. This Ain't No Buena Vista: Meet Five Cuban Artists to Watch

    December 19, 2014 9:02 AM EST All of these artists, like many other musicians from Cuba, have already performed in the United States, and their albums are available through all of the U.S. digital music services. President Obama’s announced changes in current Cuba policy may increase Cuban artists’ presence on U.S.…

  12. 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…

  13. T.G. Sheppard on the Evolution of Music, Tricking Elvis & More

    December 18, 2014 6:45 PM EST It was four decades ago that T.G. Sheppard began his initial ascent up the Billboard country charts with "Devil in the Bottle." The song helped the singer transition from a successful career as a record promoter for RCA into his own musical career. All these years later, the…

  14. 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…

  15. George Harrison, Bee Gees & More to Receive Grammy Lifetime Achievement Awards

    December 18, 2014 5:09 PM EST Beloved Beatles legend George Harrison will receive yet another honor in 2015 when the Recording Academy posthumously gives him the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award . Stevie Wonder to Receive All-Star Tribute From Grammys The Bee Gees  and  Buddy Guy  will also be honored with the Grammy…

  16. 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…

  17. Koa, 'All of My Love': Exclusive Song Premiere

    December 18, 2014 3:50 PM EST Though Iggy Azalea (a.k.a. Igloo Australia ) was probably the most-talked about Aussie in music this year, 2014 was also good for the more under-the-radar electro-pop and dance of Future Classic, the Sydney-based record label, management and booking agency, and publisher. Many of this year&…

  18. Communications Agency Fenton's New Leadership Hopes to Bring Artists Back Into Activism

    December 18, 2014 2:11 PM EST The communications agency Fenton, which specializes in working with non-profits, charities and activist organizations, has announced it is being sold and a new leadership being put in place. The company's founder, David Fenton , is stepping laterally into a position as chairman, from…

  19. Atlanta's Top 8 New Rappers

    December 18, 2014 2:05 PM EST Atlanta is home to a constantly rising number of up-and-coming acts -- it's quickly becoming a powder keg of talent waiting to blow. The most impressive quality of the city’s scene is that no one rapper or singer is the same, and they all reach wildly different demographics, from…

  20. Watch Stephen Colbert Sell Michael Stipe at a NYC Yard Sale

    December 18, 2014 12:00 PM EST After nine years on TV, Stephen Colbert is retiring his blustering conservative alter ego Stephen Colbert on Thursday night. So with just hours to go before the end, Colbert rounded up all the junk he's collected over the years on his show and pawned it off at a New York City yard sale…

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