Billboard Bits: Jay-Z, Wilco, La Ley

Stories on Jay-Z's Reebok shoe line, Wilco's digital EP, and La Ley's new studio album.

JayJay-Z's signature Reebok athletic shoe sold out in only a few hours over the weekend -- making it the fastest-selling shoe in Reebok's history. While exact numbers were not officially released, sources said about 10,000 pairs of the white sneaker were sold at $95 a pair. Additionally, the first 10,000 pairs in the S. Carter Collection (named after his birth name, Shawn Carter) included a CD sampler featuring some unreleased cuts as well as a taste of Jay-Z's forthcoming Roc-a-Fella release, "The Black Album." To keep up with demand, Foot Locker stores that carry the line are expected to restock by Monday.

"The Black Album," which Jay-Z has said will be his last, is due in November. Reebok already has plans to roll out a limited edition S. Carter black sneaker in September and October to help promote the release. He says he plans to take Hollywood by storm thereafter -- he's working on a screenplay, is looking into producing films, and may even take on an acting role.

-- Tamara Conniff, The Hollywood Reporter

WilcoStarting today (April 23), Wilco is making a six-song "EP" digitally available for streaming and download to fans who have purchased the band's most recent Nonesuch album, "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot."
Tipped last year to be scheduled for retail release, the EP was only officially issued in Australia and New Zealand. Rather than do the same in the U.S. and other territories, the band has decided to make the six songs -- "Camera," "Handshake Drugs," "Woodgrain," "A Magazine Called Sunset, " "Bob Dylan's 49th Beard," and "More Like the Moon" -- available online. Fans who own a copy of "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" can insert the disc into a computer's CD-ROM drive to access a Web site through which they can listen to the EP in streaming audio and download it as MP3 files. Three different artwork packages will also be available for printing, with three alternate titles: "More Like the Moon," "Australian EP," or "The Bridge." "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" debuted at No. 13 on The Billboard 200 in May 2002, and has sold 371,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. The band plays Burlington, Vt., Friday and has two more Southeastern U.S. shows set for next week before embarking on a summer tour schedule that includes dates with Sonic Youth and R.E.M.

LaLatin rock act La Ley will release "Libertad" (Liberty), its first studio album in more than three years, May 27 via Warner Music Latina. The album will be led by the single "Amate y Salvate" (Love Yourself and Save Yourself), a song the group's singer/songwriter Beto Cuevas said in a statement is "about the importance of togetherness in the present world -- not so much a political stance but as a hopeful message in a world that's filled with hostilities and insecurities."

"La Ley believes music is the perfect vehicle to drive real messages to the people," he added. "Nowadays, to write a great song and not say something intelligent is a crime that should be punished." A summer tour in support of the new album is planned.

"Libertad" will be the follow-up to the Chilean band's 2001 "MTV Unplugged" set. That set peaked at No. 13 on Billboard's Top Latin Albums chart and No. 45 on the Heatseekers tally and has sold 100,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.

-- Barry Jeckell, N.Y.