Billboard Bits: T.J. Martell Foundation, 'Rhythms Del Mundo,' iTunes/Hear Music

The T.J. Martell Foundation's 31st annual Awards Gala will touch down Oct. 10 at the Marriott Marquis in New York.

The T.J. Martell Foundation's 31st annual Awards Gala will touch down Oct. 10 at the Marriott Marquis in New York. This year's fundraiser honors former President Bill Clinton (humanitarian of the year) and music industry veteran Clarence Avant (artistic achievement). Motown founder Berry Gordy will present Avant with his award. In addition to presenting Clinton with his award, Sheryl Crow will perform. Also scheduled to play are Big & Rich, John Legend, and Mary J. Blige, who will perform the national anthem.

The event's silent auction includes one-of-a-kind experiences with Clive Davis, Hilary Duff and the Yankees. For more info and to purchase tickets, visit the foundation's Web site.

-- Michael Paoletta, N.Y.

Producer Demitrio Muniz, in collaboration with members of Buena Vista Social Club, puts an Afro-Cuban spin on tracks by artists like the Arctic Monkeys, Radiohead, Coldplay and Maroon 5 on "Rhythms Del Mundo." The collection serves to benefit environmental awareness non-profit Artists Project Earth.

The Hip-O/Universal Music Enterprises compilation captures Cuban singer Ibrahim Ferrer's last recorded performance on the Spanish-language interpretation of "As Time Goes By," as well as his collaboration with Omara Portuonda on "Casablanca." Tracks like Dido's "One Step Too Far" and Sting's "Fragilidad" will be heard beside remixes of Radiohead's "High & Dry," Coldplay's "Clocks," Franz Ferdinand's "Matinee" and U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For."

Snippets of the songs and a full tracklist can be found at Proceeds from the albums sales will be donated to APE.

-- Katie Hasty, N.Y.

Apple Computer Inc. has partnered with Starbucks Entertainment and launched today (Oct. 5) a Starbucks-branded area in the iTunes Music Store.

The area features the coffee retailer's entire Hear Music catalog, which includes albums by new and classic artists, plus compilations and playlists. Customers can purchase either an entire playlist or individual tracks from the Starbucks Hear Music lists.

No specific marketing plans or cross promotions were revealed, but Starbucks president Ken Lombard tells the retailer's stores will carry "significant signage" marketing the partnership. Apple's vice president of iTunes, Eddy Cue, offered no forthcoming marketing plans exploiting the reach of the two brands.

-- Chris M. Walsh, N.Y.