Thursday, December 17, 2015

Watch Coheed and Cambria Cover Adele's 'Hello'

Watch Coheed and Cambria Cover Adele's 'Hello':

Coheed and Cambria's singer Claudio Sanchez kept it simple and a little eerie in his take on Adele's "Hello." With just a guitar and a microphone, Sanchez performed a sparse, intimate version of the booming ballad.

The "Hello" cover was premiered on Conan O'Brien's Team CoCo site. While singing the song, the prog rocker ditched his typical theatrical and heavy delivery of his band's sci-fi adventures for a more subdued, acoustic take on the pop hit. "For my mother, who told me the new Coheed record is just as good, if not better, than the new Adele," Sanchez wrote in a personal message. "Honestly, what else is a mother supposed to say to her son? I love you, mom."

In October, Coheed and Cambria released their eighth album, The Color Before the Sun. It is the band's first non-conceptual album. In January, the band will embark on a tour that will take them across the U.S., U.K. and Europe that will wrap in March.

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Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen on Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: 'I'm Verklempt'

Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen on Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: 'I'm Verklempt':

Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen is rarely speechless, but the news that his band got into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame briefly left him unable to find find words. "Usually I'm a man of many words, but this has got me in a tizzy here," he says on the phone. "I'm verklempt. I don't know what to say. It's very exciting." The moment passed quickly, and soon enough he was chatting about the induction ceremony, a possible reunion with original drummer Bun E. Carlos and why Cheap Trick will never stop touring.

How are you doing?I'm a little jet-lagged, though I have permanent jet lag. I was in Italy on Thursday. I was in London on Friday. I was in Chicago on Saturday. Sunday I was in Nashville. Now I'm in Los Angeles. Every other year, I spend Thanksgiving in England with Dave Clark from the Dave Clark Five and a bunch of other people.

Congratulations on the Hall of Fame.Yeah. I heard about it last night. I actually heard five minutes before I heard I was doing an interview with you. You probably knew before I did.

Who told you the news?It was people from the record company who said, "Congratulations. Don't tell anybody." I don't think I've gotten any official thing. I need to see a signed paper.

I can assure you it's true.Wow, that's fantastic.

Your first reaction?I was prepared to not get it and say, "Oh, well, better luck next time." When I was with Dave Clark, he told me all about what happened with him and how Tom Hanks inducted them. He said, "I voted for you five times." That was pretty funny. A bunch of other people told me they voted for us, like Little Steven. I find out now I had more friends than I thought I did.

Do you care that it's taken so long?Not at all. We have nothing to do with it. We have fans from all over the place. Some people from Rockford, Illinois, drove 10,000 signatures to Cleveland. When people would ask me, I'd say, "It's totally out of our hands." I appreciate that people thought enough about us to spend their time on our behalf.

Did they tell you any details of the night?I have no idea about anything.

Ok. It's going to be at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.Let me get a pen. I want to write this stuff down. You're my guy! I don't know anything.

It's April 8th, and it's you guys, Deep Purple, Chicago, Steve Miller Band and N.W.A.Wow.

Are you a fan of those groups?Oh, yeah. We toured with Deep Purple a number of times. Chicago, duh! Steve Miller actually gave me a guitar 10 years ago, and I have one for him. Maybe I can bring that guitar and finally get it to him. And N.W.A? How about that?

There tends to be a big all-star jam at the end of the night. Is there a Cheap Trick song that can work for everybody?Well, how about Deep Purple doing "I Want You to Want Me" with Chicago's horns and Steve Miller doing the solo and N.W.A turning it into the "Walk This Way" Aerosmith combo? Everyone in the world knows that song.

Bands usually reunite at these things. Do you guys think you'll have a chance to play with Bun E. Carlos?I'm sure he'll be invited. My son Daxx has been playing with us for the last five years, but this is all about our history and, the way I look it, our future. We're Cheap Trick. We're too dumb to quit. We're still out there slogging it out.

Will Bun play drums that night, you think?Umm ... I'm sure he'll be invited. Do I know if he will? I don't know. Why not? Here's a true story. When we got signed originally to Epic in 1976, Bun had broken his arm and we had two drummers. We were signed with two drummers. Bun E. had his arm in a sling and there was Hank Ransome. We got signed as a five-piece band. It was funny because Columbia had come to see us, and the night they came, Bun fell and broke his arm. The night they signed us we had two drummers, so why not have two drummers? How about that?

"People are like, 'Why are you playing that five-neck guitar?' I want to hurt. I want to play."
I'm always amazed by the number of shows you do per year. What drives you to tour that hard?I've taken all the mirrors out of my house because when I'm playing onstage, I feel like I'm still in high school. I feel like that kid that wanted to play in his first band, and then I look in a mirror and it's like, "Uh-oh!" It ain't pretty. I love to play. The touring, the travel and stuff gets hard. I just got my 3 millionth mile on American, and that's one airline. I feel all 3 million miles, and that's just in the air. That's not riding around in a van or a leased train or all the other great airlines we have.

Do you think the day will come when you'll want to stop because it's just too painful?I love to play. We don't just go through the motions. I still beat myself up. People are like, "Why are you playing that five-neck guitar?" I want to hurt. I want to play.

Do you see this as one of the top honors in your entire career?Live at Budokan wasn't too bad. Getting our first record wasn't too bad. Doing 5,000 shows, not too bad. Having Thanksgiving dinner with Dave Clark, not too bad. Talking to you, not bad. It's all good. This might get moved right to the top of our résumé, though. We won't write this at the bottom.

Sounds great. ... See you in April.Great. When anybody asks where I heard about this, I'll say, "A guy named Andy Greene told me. Never heard of him? It's Greene with an E at the end. He's the three-E Greene."

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Deep Purple's Ian Paice on Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction: 'At Last!'

Deep Purple's Ian Paice on Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction: 'At Last!':

Deep Purple have gone through many, many incarnations since they first landed on the charts in 1968 with a cover of Joe South's "Hush." Fourteen members have come and gone during the past five decades, and the only constant is drummer Ian Paice. He was on their first album and he remains behind the kit to this day as they continue to tour the world. We chatted with him about the group's long-awaited Hall of Fame induction, the possibility of an onstage reunion with guitarist Ritchie Blackmore (who left in 1993) and the enduring mystery of original lead singer Rod Evans, who seems to have fallen off the face of the planet.

Congrats.At last!

How do you feel?I knew it would probably happen one day. I do appreciate how difficult it probably was for them to do it with so many lineups, so many different members. It's a minefield, really. I suppose it's rather nice.

Who told you the news?My manager called me a couple of nights back.

Your first reaction?I heard that Chicago got it as well and was like, "It's about time they got it too!" Without naming names, there's a few people that got inducted that my own personal feeling is they aren't that important in the way of what music has done. I remember seeing Chicago at the Whisky a Go Go when they were still CTA and they were magnificent then. They blew me away. They're a real important band — a lot more important than some people that actually got in there.

You think Deep Purple's induction took so long since there's been so many singers and guitarists that it was just hard to sort through?I don't know. It's two things. You either are flavor or the month or you've been forgotten. We have to be honest: You go back to the glory days of bands like Chicago and ourselves, it's a long time ago. We're still working. We're still touring. That's great. But a lot of bands that seem to be important are not there, or aren't seen to be there. They get forgotten.

Do you think part of the problem is so many voters are in America and you were never quite as big here as you were overseas?Of course, that does effect what people are aware of. If you're not seen on the U.S. touring circuit very often, then why would U.S. voters pick you? It's not a criticism. It's just a reality of life. Certain parts of the world have different musical tastes now. I'm not saying there aren't a lot of rock & roll fans in the States, but what is covered by the media and what is thrown in front of people by TV, like the flavor of the month, segregates things quite badly.

We'll do a show where we'll have a wonderfully mixed audience of kids in the front, then people that are slightly older until you get right to the back. In other countries, you just have an audience of more mature people or just kids. It's been broken up in a way, which is so sad. The best shows are where everybody, of whatever age, are experiencing the same thing and getting the same buzz out of it. You need the kids to kickstart it, and once they get it going, the old folks remember why they went to a rock & roll show in the first place. It's a wonderful feeling when it all kicks off like that. In the U.K. and the States, the media has cut the generations in half away from each other. It's very sad.

I know many of your hardcore fans were very angry at the Hall of Fame and very insulted that it took so long for this to happen. It doesn't seem like it bothered you quite that much.Yeah. The problem with Purple is there has been so many incarnations, so many lineups, that I almost thought a couple of years go, "Why don't they forget doing a Purple one? Why not treat the guys individually?" We've been so fortunate to not just have band members, but to have virtuosos. They warrant their own place individually in the Hall of Fame, people that have influenced whole generations of people who play that instrument, and singers. That would have been the easy way out of it. That's just my little thing on it. But it looks like we're in. That's very nice. I'm pleased.

You're going to come and perform, right?I have no idea. All I've heard is we've got the thing. I just learned this two nights ago, and I've kept my big mouth shut. This is the first time I've discussed it with anyone. Whatever else is decided, we'll make a decision on that when it comes through.

I see the list of members that are getting in here. It's Ritchie Blackmore, David Coverdale, Rod Evans, Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Glenn Hughes, Jon Lord and you. Do you think that makes sense to bring in those people?I suppose it does. Realistically, you'd like to think that anyone who was ever in the band made a contribution and should really be listed. It doesn't matter if they were there for an album or two; everyone who was in the band actually contributed to the fact we're still there. All these people, from the very beginning to the current lineup, [have] helped maintain Purple as a viable touring entity that a lot of people around the world really enjoy. So to pick some over others, I wouldn't have done it that way.

Bands tend to perform with former members at these ceremonies? Do you think that might happen?I have no idea. I haven't even thought about it. No idea. We have to accept that there are personalities that don't see eye-to-eye in our history. How that would work, I have no idea. Whether that could be put aside, I don't know. It's definitely one to contemplate and think about.

I've seen it go down many ways. I've seen people that absolutely despise each other hug, perform and put aside all their shit for one night. And I've seen people snipe at each other during the actual speeches.That's reality TV really biting you in the ass!

Do you think that Ritchie will even show up?That's questionable. He can confuse you sometimes. You think he'll do one thing and he'll do the other. I wouldn't put money either way on that one.

If he comes and wants to play with you guys, would you be down for that?Umm ... Some of us would think about it. Some of us probably wouldn't. It depends how it's presented and what everybody's individual feelings are. But precedence must now go to the guys that are still working the name and keeping it alive. Their choice is final.

Then there's David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes, multiple singers. It gets complicated.Tell me about it! I understand the complexity of it. That's probably why it's been delayed quite a long time before it's actually worked. If I was running the Hall of Fame, I would't have known how to do it.

And there's Rod Evans, who hasn't been seen in public in 35 years.If anyone knows where Rod is or even if he is still on the planet, that would be good news.

It would be pretty amazing if he showed up.We haven't had contact with him since the late 1970s. Nobody seems to know where the hell he is, or even if he is still alive. Not a clue.

That's pretty amazing in the modern era that someone can just vanish like that without a trace.It is, yeah. He has no family over here, so there's nobody to talk to to find out. He just went off the radar.

Why do you think you are the only person that's been able to survive every incarnation of this band?I don't know why. It just seemed like whenever I've been working in Purple, it seemed like being at home. I worked with other great people when Purple wasn't touring and it was fun, but it was playing someone else's music other than something I was really instrumental in helping to create. That is different.

Do you think you are more agreeable and willing to compromise than the others?That's generally the way guys in the back of the stage tend to be. Their egos are more in control. It's not that we don't have them, but we have a hold of it. There's different characters. Some people are more logical and see the dangers of doing the wrong thing, and other guys just go with the flow of their emotions at the moment. And you live or die by that decision you make.

It must be a point of pride that you've been the backbone of this band for nearly 50 years.It's nice to look back on. I think it does help the legitimacy of a band if you have at least one guy that's been through it all. That's your anchor. That's the one guy that goes onstage and whatever is played, you know he played it. That's nice. There are certain outfits with none of the originals left. When you hear that classic record, you know in the back of your mind that it's not those guys.

Nothing annoys me more than when some moron writes about you guys and says you're a one hit wonder for "Smoke on the Water." It's so insulting and wrong-headed, but some people do think that.All you can do is keep going out there and putting your music in front of people and hope you pick up some new ones and hope you show them another string to your bow. We just finished a great six-week tour of Europe. Backstage at the 02 Arena in London we saw some young kids that managed to get free tickets. They said it was the best thing they'd ever seen and they were going to pick up albums and see what it's all about.

There are so few genuinely great hard rock & roll bands left in the world. There's great blues bands. There's great pop bands. There's very, very few genuinely great hard rock bands. When these kids get a chance to see something they didn't know existed, they are blown away the same way the generation before them was blown away. It's a different animal. It has power. It has majesty. It has all the stuff that great art should have. If you've not seen it or experienced it, it can open your eyes.

There tends to be a big all-star jam at the end of the night. Do you think you could have fun playing with Chicago, Cheap Trick and Steve Miller?Always. It's fun to play with other guys. When you know the guys onstage with you are experienced and you can bounce things around, it's effortless and fun.

What's so great about the band now is you guys have found a stable lineup that's really endured.This is the longest we've ever been together. We're having fun. We have a finite article here. That ticking of the clock, you can't ignore it. And one day it won't be possible, but right now that day isn't on the horizon yet. As long as we're enjoying it and as long as the people want to see it and as long as we believe we can do it to the standard that people would expect, we'll keep doing it. That's the important thing.

One bittersweet part of the evening will surely be thinking about Jon Lord.Of course. If Jon is looking down on us, he won't mind too much. He moved on to his musical love quite a few years before he left us, and that was his orchestral compositions. He was happy doing that. He loved his years on the road with a rock & roll band, but he was always a classical buff and that was his real love. He'd be pleased with us.

I'm sure in the coming months a lot of fans are going to fixate on who exactly will play that night, and whether or not Ritchie is going to come.As an ongoing band, we need to take into account how the present members feel about that, the guys that aren't involved in this evening. We don't have salaried guys with [keyboardist] Don [Airey] and [guitarist] Steve [Morse]. They are fully accredited members of the band and they share in everything, and into decisions as well. They will have to be consulted and see how they feel about anything that the three of us originals think we would or wouldn't like to do.

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Steve Miller on Rock Hall Induction: 'It's Taken a Long, Long, Long Time'

Steve Miller on Rock Hall Induction: 'It's Taken a Long, Long, Long Time':

There have been 25 members of the Steve Miller Band during the past five decades, but next April, the Space Cowboy will stand at the podium all by himself at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. "I think that's probably the right choice," he says. "Right before I moved out to San Francisco, I played in Buddy Guy's band. One night, he said to me, 'Listen, man, when you get out there, call it the Steve Miller Band. You're going to go through lots and lots of musicians, and you don't want everyone to get all upset when you fire your bass player.' It turned out to be really good advice."

Congrats.Thanks. It's been a big day.

Who told you?My manager Scott [Boorey] called me up and said, "I want to be the first to congratulate you."

What was your reaction?I was very pleased and happy about it.

Is this something you expected?It wasn't. I hadn't really thought much about it. When it came up earlier this year, I was really surprised and amazed to watch all the voting and all the stuff that's going on. Who else is being inducted? Do you know?

Sure. It's Cheap Trick ...Oh, great!

Deep Purple, Chicago and N.W.A.All right. Gosh, I wish the Spinners would make it! They're one of my favorite all-time live groups. I used to see them all the time.

The guys in Chicago told me you used to open for them back in the 1960s.Oh, yeah. We played lots of gigs together back at the Family Dog or the Avalon Ballroom, the Fillmore. I've always enjoyed Cheap Trick. I'm glad they're in. That's great too.

Are you a fan of Deep Purple?Yeah. I've always liked their work, and everybody. N.W.A, Deep Purple, the Spinners. I like most bands.

You said you were surprised to even be on the ballot. Why?It's just taken such a long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long time. After a while you just kind of go, "This is taking an awful long time!" I'm glad they took their time. I'm sure they made the right decision.

Did it start to offend you that you just weren't getting on that ballot?I never felt offended. I kind of enjoyed having people complain that I wasn't in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame more than I think I'll like being in it. I'm sure now that I'm in it, I'll be forgotten about and nobody will have anything to complain about.

I started playing rock & roll in 1956, so I've been here from the beginning. I've seen it go through everything, from the time in Chicago to out to San Francisco to all these different phases. It's been a great, long life of playing music, and I'm really honored to be inducted. I'm quite pleased.

Do you see yourself as a solo artist or the leader of a band?I see myself as a little bit of both. Most of the material that we do, I've written and I've played it with lots of different people. I've had the same truck driver for 30 years. I think Kenny [Lee Lewis] has been in the band 35 years. Gordy [Knudtson] has been in the band 28 years. Joe [Wooten] has been in 22 years. Everyone has been in the band for a long, long time. And so I see myself as a bandleader. We're basically doing material that I wrote and I write and it's pretty much an expression of what I want to do and how I like to operate.

Do you think any of the guys will mind it's just you?Yeah, I imagine anyone that was ever in the Steve Miller Band will feel that they were definitely part of what made the band, and of course I couldn't have done it without any of them. It wasn't my decision, and I didn't have any input into any of it. If they had asked me what do, I think I would have said, "Here's a list of everyone that was ever in my band. They all ought to be here."

"I sort of have always operated by the Marine mentality that praise is Kryptonite."
I imagine they looked at that long list and just threw their hands up and said, "Let's just bring in Steve. This is too complicated." Drawing a line would have just been impossible.I don't think it's impossible. If you're in a hurry, I guess that's the way they do it.

There's usually a big all-star jam at the end of the night. Is there any song in your catalog that could work with Cheap Trick, Deep Purple, Chicago and N.W.A?Oh, sure, there's lots of them. It's whatever anybody wants to play, we can play. Let's do "Fly Like an Eagle." Everybody can take a solo.

Just picking three songs for your set will be tough.I haven't really thought about that aspect of it yet. I imagine I'll be talking to somebody who will be going, "You've got four and a half minutes. Hurry up." We'll figure it out. It'll be fun. We'll have a great time.

Your moment at the podium will probably be pretty emotional. It's a culmination of so much work you've done over your life.I guess it will be. I sort of have always operated by the Marine mentality that praise is Kryptonite. I haven't really spent a lot of time thinking about my acceptance speech. But it's exciting and really nice for my audience and people that are really concerned about it. It's good for them, too. I'm very happy for them.

And now every article written about you will say, "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Steve Miller."And not "Future Hall of Famer." I always loved that. It's such a weak statement.

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Willie Nelson to Headline Luck Banquet During South by Southwest

Willie Nelson to Headline Luck Banquet During South by Southwest:

Willie Nelson will headline a daylong festival, dubbed the Luck Banquet, at his Luck, TX ranch in the spring. The festival, which will showcase 20 country, rock, folk and soul artists who will be announced at a later date, will also feature food by Austin chefs and a boutique where locals can sell their wares. The event will take place on March 18th. Tickets go on sale Friday at noon CST on the festival website.

"We welcome you all to Luck," Nelson tells Rolling Stone. "Either you're in Luck or you're out of Luck."

The ranch served as the setting of the singer's Red Headed Stranger movie in 1986. The Banquet, which occurs during South by Southwest, will take place on two stages: in a revival tent next to the chapel and on a main stage overlooking the front porch of the singer's "world headquarters." The festival will begin in the tent, where artists will partake in a collaborative "song-swap set," according to organizers, in the style of Heartworn Highways Revisited, the sequel to the 1976 movie about outlaw country.

"We believe that the best way to honor the true Americana story is by embracing the spirit of the movement and harboring a community that pushes boundaries – celebrating the wild, gritty and ultimately beautiful work of artists we love," a spokesperson for Luck Productions said in a statement. "The support of Willie, and the opportunity to revive 'Luck' as an artistic gathering place, is a gift."

On the night before the concert, Luck, TX will also host another kind of feast: Chef's Pot Luck. It will offer attendees a multi-course meal made by what producers promise to be all-star chefs, and it will benefit Wholesome Wave, an organization that helps low-income families get fresh, locally grown food. Nelson is also set to perform.

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Nicki Minaj Argues Streaming Should Count Toward Album Sales

Nicki Minaj Argues Streaming Should Count Toward Album Sales:

Nicki Minaj celebrated the one-year anniversary of The Pinkprint on Instagram Wednesday by drawing attention to how music sales are measured in a streaming-dominated industry. Despite selling less than a million copies worldwide, Minaj told fans that The Pinkprint is now "triple platinum worldwide," though those sales won't be reflected in her total until "a March court date" decides whether to retroactively count streaming totals and other digital download numbers toward platinum plaques.

In the face of digital music stores and streaming services, the Billboard 200 expanded the metric in which they measured music sales. They now include TEAs – track equivalent albums, à la carte song purchases that are bundled into LP sales, like when downloads of Wiz Khalifa's Hot 100-topping "See You Again" singlehandedly propelled the Furious 7 soundtrack to Number One on the Billboard 200 – as well as SEAs, streaming equivalent albums. "On Spotify alone, the sales of this album is 1.4 Million worldwide," Minaj said of Pinkprint.

The rapper then provided a breakdown of how The Pinkprint is triple-platinum in the eyes of these new sales metrics, even if it hasn't actually sold a million copies yet.

I didn't know I had to post this. I thought I made it clear but ppl can't read these days. This is from UNIVERSAL
— NICKI MINAJ (@NICKIMINAJ) December 16, 2015

"Some artists removed their work off Spotify and other services of that nature, but for the ones who did not, we have to be patient for justice in our industry and it finally looks like it's coming," Minaj wrote on Instagram. "The music business doesn't really seem designed to reward our culture with the sales and accolades we deserve, as we don't normally cater to middle America, but I'm so happy that some amazing people have been fighting for us."

On Twitter, Minaj then took aim at people who felt that streaming figures shouldn't count toward album sales. "The fact that our music is given away for free then when we take credit for our actual real sales, we're 'lying'? Sad. Universal is happy," she tweeted. "You really want an artist to not acknowledge 500 million streams of her own album? People are so bitter."

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Adele Fends Off Scalpers With Songkick Partnership

Adele Fends Off Scalpers With Songkick Partnership:

Adele has teamed up with online ticket sales specialists Songkick to curb scalping on her upcoming 25 world tour, The New York Times reports.

Tickets for Adele's North American trek went on sale today, Thursday, and the partnership proved fruitful for her sold-out European tour. Songkick, which manages sales through an artist's website or fan club, said it sold 235,000 tickets — including 40 percent of sales in Britain — for the 25 tour via Adele's site and was able to block 53,000 sales to known or likely scalpers.

Although one estimate suggests Songkick helped Adele fans save approximately $6.5 million in markups, some users complained about logistical challenges, and others noted they could see the personal information of other buyers while checking out.

Songkick, however, downplayed the glitches. In a statement, according to Billboard, a spokesperson wrote, "at no time was anyone able to access another person's password, nor their payment or credit card details (which are not retained by Songkick)."

Adele is the latest artist to partner with Songkick, which started as a site for concert listings, but expanded its operations after merging with CrowdSurge, a company that deals in ticketing for artist fan clubs. Since the merger the company has tripled its sales and has worked with Paul McCartney, Metallica and Kenny Chesney. Songkick is expected to add $10 million in new investment from Access Industries, a conglomerate that also owns Warner Music Group.

Adele is also the latest major artist to join growing efforts to stomp out scalping. The New York state attorney general recently launched an investigation into resale listings on sites like StubHub after tickets for Bruce Springsteen's 2016 tour popped up days before general sale began.

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Performance Royalty Rates Increase for Online Radio

Performance Royalty Rates Increase for Online Radio:

A panel of federal judges ordered free internet radio services like Pandora to raise their royalty rates in a decision set to take effect next year, The New York Times reports. The decision will benefit artists and record labels.

In their decision, the Copyright Royalty Board ruled that webcasters will have to pay record companies 17 cents — up from 14 cents — for every 100 times a song is streamed by listeners who don't pay a subscription fee. Plays by subscribers, however, will now be subject to a rate of 22 cents per 100, down from 25 cents.

The new rates are expected to bring in millions for record companies and artists, though SoundExchange — the non-profit licensing agency representing the labels — had hoped to secure a rate of 25 cents per 100 plays by non-subscribers.

Last year, Pandora paid over $400 million in royalties, which accounted for 44 percent of its revenue. Still the company's CEO Brian P. McAndrews called the judges' decision "a balanced rate that we can work with and grow from."

SoundExchange, however, was disappointed by the ruling despite the ostensible victory: "We believe the rates set by the CRB do not reflect a market price for music and will erode the value of music in our economy," a company rep said in a statement. "We will review the decision closely and consider all of our options."

The ruling will also standardize royalty rates among Internet-only services like Pandora (also known as "pureplay" companies) and traditional broadcasters like iHeartRadio, which operate terrestrially and online. A 2009 agreement with the music industry allowed the pureplays to pay a lower rate than the broadcasters, but the CRB's decision means both will fork over the same 17 cents per 100 plays — a significant drop for the broadcasters, who previously forked over 25 cents per 100 plays.

The CRB's decision notably does not deal with royalties for songwriting rights, which are set separately. It also does not apply to on-demand services like Spotify. The CRB will release its full decision in the coming days after it has been reviewed by the two parties.

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Hear Sia's Bouncy Party Anthem 'Cheap Thrills'

Hear Sia's Bouncy Party Anthem 'Cheap Thrills':

Sia has released another new single off her upcoming album This Is Acting, which is due out next month. "Cheap Thrills" was originally intended for Rihanna, as the pop songwriter revealed recently to Rolling Stone.

Sia cowrote the track with frequent collaborator Greg Kurstin, who also produced the song. Above a bouncy, tropical beat, Sia sings an ode to frugal spending habits and simple nights out. "Baby I don't need dollar bills to have fun tonight," she sings on the chorus. "I love cheap thrills."

The track is one of at least two tunes originally intended for Rihanna's still unreleased eighth album, Anti; most of Sia's This Is Acting tracks were written for other artists. The singer recalled being requested by Rihanna's manager who was looking for something similar to the massive Sia-penned Rihanna single "Diamonds." "I realized just as soon as I was cutting it that it sounded a little bit too Brit-pop for her," the songwriter told Rolling Stone. "There's something really uplifting about [the song] that put me in a good mood. ... It felt very 'summer' and fun."

In a more recent interview with BBC Radio 2's Jo Whiley, Sia indicated that she had met with Rihanna about songs for Anti as recently as last week. "The other night she came over and listened to half of 25 songs I played for her because she's still looking for songs for her new album," she revealed (via Billboard). "She was there to listen to songs and see if there was anything that she was into. It was a business meeting for sure. She took four but I don't know if they'll end up [on the album]."

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Flashback: Metallica Jams With Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck at the Hall of Fame

Flashback: Metallica Jams With Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck at the Hall of Fame:

The 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony managed to get Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Joe Perry, Ron Wood, Flea and Metallica in the same room together. It was inevitable the night would end with a ferocious guitar battle, and the most obvious song was "Train Kept-A-Rollin.'" The 1951 Tiny Bradshaw song had been famously covered by The Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith, though it had never been played previously by Metallica. They learned it earlier in the day, and watching clips from that night make it seem like they were pretty psyched to be joined by so many legends. "This is rhythm guitar player heaven," James Hetfield said before it kicked off.

Jeff Beck started off the song, just as he did many times with the Yardbirds back in the mid-1960s. From there it was a chaotic jam. There were three bass players, causing Jason Newstead to joke it sounded like "Bigger Bottom" (riffing on Spinal Tap's bass-heavy "Big Bottom"). The jam lasted a mere four minutes since drummer Lars Ulrich ended it a little prematurely, inadvertently nixing some of the planned solos.

We've got a long way until next year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame all-star jam gets mapped out, but with Steve Miller, Cheap Trick, Deep Purple and Chicago in the house, there are plenty of opportunities for another monster guitar jam. "Well, how about Deep Purple doing 'I Want You to Want Me' with Chicago's horns and Steve Miller doing the solo and N.W.A turning it into the 'Walk This Way/Aerosmith combo?" Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen said. "Everyone in the world knows that song." Steve Miller has his own idea. "We can play. Let's do 'Fly Like an Eagle,'" he said. "Everybody can take a solo."

The only person not completely down with the idea of a big jam is Ice Cube. "It's all about if we can do something cool," he said.  "If we're doing something and it's feeling kind of corny, I won't want to do it."

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Rita Ora Files Suit Seeking Split From Roc Nation

Rita Ora Files Suit Seeking Split From Roc Nation:

Rita Ora has filed a lawsuit against Roc Nation claiming her contract is unenforceable and violates California law, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Ora signed the contract in 2008 when she was 18 and claims that she has been "orphaned" from Jay Z's company as it has changed personnel and expanded its business ventures. The suit makes reference to Roc Nation's sports agency and the Jay Z-helmed streaming service Tidal, ultimately calling the company a "diminished" label with "only a handful of admittedly worthy heritage superstar artists."

Furthermore, the suit says Ora has been "self-funding her promotional television appearances, recording costs and other video projects." She also allegedly remains tethered to a distribution deal at Sony that Roc Nation has neglected since signing a new deal with Universal in 2013.

A representative for Ora declined to comment. Reps for Roc Nation and Jay Z did not immediately return requests for comment.

The crux of Ora's case rests on California's "seven-year rule," a section of the state's labor code that stipulates a court cannot enforce a personal service contract after seven calendar years from when the deal began.

The current interpretation stems from a landmark 1944 case involving actress Olivia de Havilland, who claimed Warner Bros. was unfairly extending her contract, according to THR. The movie studios had long argued that the "seven-year rule" applied to days the performer actually worked, and not for example, time in between projects, holidays or weekends, essentially allowing them to significantly expand the length of a contract. The California Court of Appeal, however, ruled in favor of de Havilland, established the specific calendar year precedent and delivered a severe blow to the old studio system.

Musicians have had far less luck invoking the "seven-year rule" in contract disputes. After Olivia Newton-John successfully sued MCA Records for violating the law in the late Seventies, THR reports that the recording industry lobbied the California legislature to establish rules allowing labels to sue artists for "lost profits" if they didn't fulfill album commitments or other components of their contract.

As such, most record industry disputes involving the "seven-year rule" have ended in a settlement or a renegotiated deal. While Ora's contract includes the option of up to five albums, a "pay or play" provision and other limitations, her case is unique in that she argues she has only been allowed to release one album — 2012's Ora — despite having recorded enough music to comprise several more.

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Merle Haggard Talks Health Scare: 'I Was Nearly Dead'

Merle Haggard Talks Health Scare: 'I Was Nearly Dead':

Weeks after checking himself into a California hospital with a case of double pneumonia, Merle Haggard is officially on the mend.

"A couple weeks ago I came in the hospital here, and I guess I was nearly dead," he told radio DJ Dallas Wayne yesterday afternoon during an interview on the SiriusXM channel Willie's Roadhouse. (Listen to the interview below.) "They couldn't tell whether the [lung] cancer had returned or whether I just had pneumonia. They had to wait until they got the pneumonia under control before we could tell. So it's been kind of a tough couple of weeks, but I've got so many people to thank."

Although short, Haggard's radio appearance was humbling and grateful, with the country icon taking the chance to name-check several doctors who aided in his recovery at the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California. He also tipped his hat to his bandmates, whose West Coast tour with Haggard was cut short by the unexpected hospital stay. Jackie Autry, widow of country pioneer Gene Autry, received her own shout-out.

"She talked me into coming into this hospital and getting some help," he said, crediting her for saving his life.

Although Haggard's show calendar is empty for the rest of the year, he'll hit the road again in January, kicking off a winter tour that includes a two-night stand at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville and a handful of rescheduled dates in California.

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Hear Ariana Grande's Surprise-Released EP 'Christmas & Chill'

Hear Ariana Grande's Surprise-Released EP 'Christmas & Chill':

Ariana Grande gave fans an early Christmas present this year with her festive, surprise-released EP, Christmas & Chill. Stream the six new, original holiday songs below.

According to her Twitter, Grande and her team wrote and recorded the EP in a week. "Twas a long, productive slumber party," she wrote. The songs feature Grande singing romantic Christmas ballads over trap beats. "Merry Christmas, here I am, boy," she sings on the sultry "December." "Gonna love you, gonna give you what I can, boy."

The one song to stand out from the more R&B-leaning EP is the folky "Winter Things," which closes out the collection. The acoustic track sounds a bit like Jason Mraz, as Grande sings "My baby's in town and we're gonna do some winter things."

Grande's last batch of holiday cheer came in the form of 2013's much more classically Christmas-sounding EP Christmas Kisses. That release featured covers of "Santa Baby" and Wham!'s "Last Christmas" alongside three original tracks.

Christmas & Chill will be available on iTunes and Spotify at midnight EST. It follows her 2014 release, My Everything, which singles "Break Free" and "Love Me Harder," featuring Zedd and the Weeknd respectively.

In October, the former Nickelodeon star debuted brassy new single "Focus," which features uncredited vocals from Jamie Foxx. It's the first official single off Grande's third album, Moonlight, which is tentatively due next year. The new single and surprise Christmas EP cap off a busy year for Grande, who had a guest spot on the new Fox show Scream Queens and wrapped up her Honeymoon Tour.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Hear M.I.A.'s Skittering New Song 'Borders'

Hear M.I.A.'s Skittering New Song 'Borders':

One day after M.I.A. teased the possibility of new material on Instagram, posting new artwork with the word "Borders" at the bottom, the singer premiered the track on Friday via Spotify.

"Borders" is believed to be part of M.I.A.'s in-the-works Matahdatah album, her fifth studio effort and follow-up to 2013's Matangi. As for how the new album will differ from its predecessor, M.I.A. said, "The concept for this LP is 'broader then a border' and Matahdatah is the journal of Matangi. Sometimes I move vertical and sometimes I move horizontal."

The mid-tempo "Borders" features a skittering beat and hypnotic rhythm, with an instantly catchy refrain. Throughout, M.I.A. raps about privilege, power, freedom and guns.

In July, M.I.A. premiered "Matahdatah Scroll 01 Broader Than a Border," a five-minute audio-visual project that featured the Matangi track "Warriors" as well as a new song, "Swords." The video, filmed by M.I.A. in India and West Africa, showed different forms of dance in these regions — including a group of young girls making music by swirling metal poles like swords — juxtaposed with footage of the rapper lighting an Om symbol outside an Indian temple.

"'Warriors' was shot in Cote d'Ivoire with a guy I saw in a YouTube video doing the most incredible dancing," she explained of the video. "I tracked down that exact guy, flew out there and played him the 'Warriors' track. He did his thing for me. He is a spiritual warrior and communicates through dancing. It's a lifelong commitment for him to be the designated spiritual body that channels that dance."

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