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PHIL RAMONE DEAD AT 79
Award-winning music producer Phil Ramone, a towering figure in contemporary popular music, died Saturday (March 30) at age 79. The 14-time Grammy winner was best known for his work with vocalists and songwriters, including Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra and Ray Charles among many others. Billboard.biz has extensive coverage of Ramone’s life and legacy, including his top 50 singles, a selected discography, artist tributes, an expansive 1996 Billboard interview and much more.
Bachata superstar Prince Royce has signed a recording deal with Sony Music Entertainment to release albums in Spanish through Sony Music Latin and in English through RCA Records. Royce’s first Spanish-language album is due this fall and his English language debut is slated for 2014.
Drake has signed with ASCAP, the company’s VP of Rhythm & Soul Membership, Nicole George-Middleton, announced today. Drake is currently working on his third studio album, "Nothing Was the Same." The album's first single, "Started From the Bottom," currently sits at No. 3 on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and at No. 2 on Rap Songs.
WILL TANOUS NAMED EVP/HEAD OF GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS FOR UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP
Universal Music Group announced today the appointment of Will Tanous as executive vice president and head of global communications, effective April 15. Tanous was previously Warner Music Group’s EVP of Communications & Marketing. Peter LoFrumento, the company’s longtime head of communications, is moving on to an unspecified other opportunity.
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, PJ & DUNCAN, ‘NOW… 84’ TOP UK CHARTS
As Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience” held off Depeche Mode’s “Delta Machine” for a second week on the U.K. album chart, TV presenters Ant & Dec re-entered the singles chart at No. 1 in their former recording guise of PJ & Duncan, with their 1994 top ten hit “Let’s Get Ready To Rhumble." The week’s biggest seller: “Now That’s What I Call Music! 84.”
ULTRA MUSIC FEST MAY BE TWO WEEKENDS IN 2014, ORGANIZERS SAY
Despite only announcing one weekend at the close of a YouTube broadcast on Sunday night, the Ultra Music Festival may indeed be a doubleheader again in 2014, organizers told Billboard.biz. "Dates for the additional weekend are pending the approval of the City of Miami Commission and will be released as soon as they are available." Russell Faibisch and Adam Russakoff said in a statement.
As well as being surprised and honored at the accolade he received earlier this week from Brussels-based IMPALA, the Australia-born, Merlin CEO Charles Caldas spoke with Billboard.biz about how licensing the new digital-music services has boosted independents’ share of the global market, the amount of money streaming music could bring indies this year and why Universal chief Lucian Grainge needs to be careful about how he describes his empire’s future strategy.
Twitter, which is reportedly building a music application, has a deal to integrate Vevo videos into the application, according to Peter Kafka at AllThingsD. The micro-blogging site dubbed is reportedly working on an application called Twitter Music, designed to help people find new music.
Just as Justin Timberlake's "The 20/20 Experience" had an immense opening week sales-wise, selling 968,000 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan and subsequently debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, the album had a major week on audio on-demand services where it broke several records.
“American Idol” hit a new low in the ratings March 28, pulling in 3.45 million viewers in the 18-49 demographic and only 11 million total viewers. For the first time, NBC's “The Voice” is being watched by more people than “Idol.”
Robert "RZ" Zildjian, founder of the Sabian Inc. musical cymbal manufacturing company, has died. He was 89. Zildjian founded Sabian in 1981 after a legal battle with his brother, Armand, over their inheritance of the family business, Avedis Zildjian Co., a major cymbal maker. The companies remain competitors.
The Japanese festival, which was due to take place May 11-12, 2013 with a line-up that included Blur, My Bloody Valentine, Primal Scream, Carl Barat and The Brian Jonestown Massacre, was cancelled yesterday (March 31) due to "several factors". No further details have been given at this stage, but a message on the official website (Japanese only), where the cancellation was announced, gives details of where ticket owners can receive refunds.
Aereo Inc., the Web television startup backed by media mogul Barry Diller, has discussed partnerships with major pay-TV distributors and Internet service providers, including AT&T Inc. and Dish Network Corp., as it looks to roll out its fledgling service to more markets, people familiar with the matter say. Aereo, which streams local TV broadcast signals over the Web for a fee, is now available only in the New York City region. It could expand its reach significantly if it joins forces with cable, satellite or phone concerns.
Wall Street Journal
The WWE will present the 29th annual “Wrestlemania” next weekend, which will be hosted by Hip-Hop’s top earner, Sean “Diddy” Combs. This year the WWE is splitting time in both New York City and New Jersey throughout the first week of April. Additionally, Diddy will also co-host the “Superstars for Sandy Relief” party on April 4th with WWE chairman/ CEO Vince McMahon and NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg. Sting, Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Mark Cuban and Carrie Underwood are slated to appear in the festivities.
The sound of silence from the San Francisco Symphony appeared to be coming to an end as a tentative agreement was reached Sunday to end a 2 1/2-week strike. The symphony announced in a statement that its negotiators and leaders of the musicians' union have agreed to terms on a 26-month contract, subject to the approval of the full orchestra and the symphony's Board of Governors.
RUSSIANS SELECTIVELY BLOCKING INTERNET
The Russian government in recent weeks has been making use of a new law that gives it the power to block Internet content that it deems illegal or harmful to children. The country’s communications regulators have required Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to remove material that the officials determined was objectionable, with only YouTube, owned by Google, resisting. Supporters of the law say it is a narrowly focused way of controlling child pornography and content that promotes drug use and suicide.
New York Times
HEADLINES OF THE DAY
- Ted Nugent and Radiohead work on pro-hunting musical
- Wiz Khalifa Sues Over Concert -- My Reputation Has Gone to Pot
- The Bieb talks dubstep beats and only playing lossless WAVs
- Twitter Announces “Twttr” - Will Start Charging $5 A Month If You Want To Tweet Using Vowels
- Paul Anka -- I've Got No Beef with Jay-Z
- 8 People On Twitter Who Think YouTube Is Shutting Down Tomorrow
- Justin Timberlake Reveals Drug Use: 'Tripping' At Coachella
- One Direction to play secret set at Glastonbury?