Billboard Bits: Coldplay, James Taylor & More

News on Coldplay, James Taylor & More

ColdplayBeginning today, the first track from Coldplay's upcoming Capitol album, "X&Y," is available as a 30-second master ringtone a week before the entire song can be heard on the radio. "Speed of Sound" is being offered exclusively to Cingular Wireless subscribers as part of a new music program called Cingular Sounds, designed to launch new singles as ringtones before they can be heard anywhere else.

In return for gaining exclusive rights to debut songs, Cingular will give new releases visible placement on its Web site and top billing on its phone-based ringtone store, and will e-mail and text message subscribers notifying them of the new song's availability. Cingular will also promote the offering in radio, TV and print advertising.

"Speed of Sound" will be debuted Monday evening on BBC Radio 1 by DJ Steve Lamacq. "X&Y" is due June 7.

-- Antony Bruno, L.A.

JamesJames Taylor's annual summer tour will begin June 17 in Hartford, Conn., and run through a Sept. 2 finale in Chicago. Along the way, the veteran singer/songwriter will play multiple nights in Mansfield, Mass., and Atlanta, plus a July 4-5 stand at Tanglewood in Lennox, Mass.

Taylor will be backed by such longtime collaborators as drummer Steve Gadd, guitarist Michael Landau and bassist Jimmy Johnson. Beforehand, he will play four shows this month, including an April 23 set at New Orleans' Jazz & Heritage Festival.

The artist's most recent release was the 2004 holiday collection "James Taylor: A Christmas Album," which was sold exclusively in Hallmark stores. Taylor's official Web site is hosting a download of the non-album track "River," originally recorded by Joni Mitchell.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

HillThe Kottonmouth Kings and Cypress Hill have collaborated on the track "Put the Pipe Down," the first single from the Kings' self-titled seventh full-length album. The cut will be promoted on April 20, an oft-celebrated "marijuana holiday," the date of which corresponds with the police code for the drug (4:20).

"Why is it that a plant made by the creator is illegal, yet guns and bombs manufactured by man are legal?" Kottonmouth Kings frontman Brad X says. "We're just trying to raise awareness about marijuana and all the benefits it brings with it."

Due May 31 via the band's own Suburban Noize Records label, "Kottonmouth Kings" also sports a guest appearance by rapper Tech N9ne. In advance of the release, the group has club shows planned April 22 in Long Beach, Calif., and April 23 in Las Vegas.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.