1. Sony Hack Was Not All That Sophisticated, Cybersecurity Experts Say

    December 21, 2014 10:30 AM EST The Sony hack is a hydra-headed monster of a story, emerging from the sea late last month to descend on Los Angeles before going on to smash across the country, sprouting new heads as it went, dragging the badly battered body of a colossal global corporation in its dust. A previously…

  2. Billboard 200 Chart Moves: J. Cole's Trio of No. 1 Albums Puts Him in Elite Hip-Hop Company

    December 19, 2014 9:49 PM EST J. Cole is one of six rap acts to hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with their first three full-length studio albums On the latest Billboard 200 albums chart, J. Cole 's 2014 Forest Hills Drive debuted at No. 1 , his third consecutive album to reach the top slot (his entire output of…

  3. Shaquille O'Neal Proposes to Nicki Minaj During Freestyle

    December 19, 2014 3:30 PM EST Nicki Minaj appeared on Inside The NBA yesterday for what Kenny Smith called, "the TNT Cypher." Smith, Shaquille O'Neal , and Grant Hill all took turns rapping light-heartedly -- Ernie Johnson mostly chose not to rhyme -- before Minaj ended up with the mic. Watch below. Grant…

  4. Taylor Swift's Birthday Boosts Her to No. 1 on Social 50 Chart

    December 19, 2014 3:24 PM EST It pays to have famous friends -- or, in Taylor Swift ’s case, friends with large online followings who will tweet about attending your 25th birthday party. An array of A-listers (like Nick Jonas , Selena Gomez , Lorde , Haim and more) did just that on the night of Dec. 13, spreading online…

  5. 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…

  6. Minecraft Guy Outbids Beyonce and Jay Z for Beverly Hills Mansion, Supposedly the Most-Expensive Ever

    December 19, 2014 10:46 AM EST What would you do if you recently made a couple billion bucks? If you're Swedish video game developer Markus Persson ,  you probably purchase a fully furnished 23,000-square-foot mansion in Beverly Hills -- one that was reportedly eyed by Beyonce and Jay Z -- for $70 million, of course…

  7. 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 my…

  8. 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…

  9. 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…

  10. 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…

  11. R&B and Hip-Hop in 2014: A Lackluster Year for Some, But Not All

    December 17, 2014 5:01 PM EST Throughout the week, Billboard will be publishing pieces from our staff writers, each an outstanding authority on their specific area of coverage. From Nashville to Miami, the industry at large, publishing and retail, and the year in touring, we'll be taking comprehensive looks at the…

  12. G.O.O.D. Music Signs Former Kanye West Backup Dancer Kacy Hill

    December 17, 2014 4:51 PM EST Kacy Hill has signed to G.O.O.D. Music, the label founded by Kanye West in 2004. Previously, Hill worked as a model for American Apparel and a backup dancer for Kanye on his Yeezus tour. The signing was initially announced by Def Jam via Twitter. Vote up Kanye's newest G.O.O.D Music…

  13. J. Cole Earns Third No. 1 Album on Billboard 200 Chart

    December 17, 2014 4:34 PM EST J. Cole 's third album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive , easily debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, marking the rapper's third consecutive chart-topper. He previously led the list with his debut effort, 2011's Cole World: The Sideline Story , and its follow-up, 2013's…

  14. Zac Brown, Alabama Shakes Announced for New Season of 'The Artists Den,' Samsung's Milk Gets Streams

    December 17, 2014 8:00 AM EST Zac Brown Band will kick off the ninth season of Live From the Artists Den on PBS next year with a performance at New York's historic Forest Hills Stadium, scheduled to air Jan. 30. Jason Mraz 'You Can Rely on Me': 'Live From the Artists Den' Acoustic Session The…

  15. Op-Ed: How Mobile Finally Took Over the Music Industry in 2014

    December 16, 2014 3:55 PM EST With explosive growth in streaming, social media, artist apps and more, mobile finally took over the music industry. Like smart watches and cars that drive themselves, the celestial jukebox is no longer science fiction. Thanks to the supercomputers that 71 percent of Americans now keep in…

  16. Publishing Briefs: Nettwerk Buys Stake in Ten Ten Music Group, BMG Chrysalis Inks Hasbro Deal, Greg Kurstin Re-Ups With Sony/ATV

    December 16, 2014 12:40 PM EST Billboard's Ed Christman rounds-up all the big news in the music publishing world. • The Nashville music publishing scene continues to attract investors. In the latest deal, Nettwerk Music Group 's publishing division has acquired 50 percent of the Ten Ten Music Group 's…

  17. Exclusive: Imagine Dragons Premiere Artwork For New Song 'Gold'

    December 16, 2014 9:35 AM EST After breaking records with their debut Night Visions , Imagine Dragons will be looking for new worlds to conquer when the sophomore effort, Smoke And Mirrors , drops in 2015. To follow up lead single “I Bet My Life,” the band is sharing a second new song called “Gold.” Billboard has an…

  18. American Country Countdown Awards: Luke Bryan & Florida Georgia Line Roll Over Competition

    December 15, 2014 10:30 PM EST Jason Aldean takes home top prize at inaugural awards show, while Kenny Chesney & Reba McEntire are honored. The inaugural American Country Countdown Awards were held Monday night (Dec. 15) at Nashville's Music City Center, and as producers hoped, the night was akin to a Christmas…

  19. Iggy Azalea Announces 'Great Escape' North American Tour Dates

    December 15, 2014 6:57 PM EST Iggy Azalea has announced dates for her Great Escape North American tour next year, kicking off in Fresno, Calif. on April 14 and wrapping up May 24 in Austin, Texas.  Iggy Azalea Pays Tribute to 'Woman I Owe My Career To' at Women in Music 2014 The "Fancy" rapper will…

  20. Cat Stevens Wraps First U.S. Tour in 35 Years

    December 15, 2014 4:35 PM EST The word "journey" was spoken multiple times during the final concert of Yusuf/ Cat Stevens ' brief U.S. tour, his first in 35 years. It was used as a metaphor and literally, Yusuf speaking both about his life, the lyrics of songs from the early 1970s and his two most recent…

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