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Katy Perry is the RIAA's most decorated digital act ever

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has recognized Katy Perry—the 29-year-old singer who has kissed a girl, set off some multi-platinum fireworks, and shared part of herself on movie screens in 3D—as the most awarded digital act in the history of Gold and Platinum awards. Not only is Perry the first artist to surpass 70 million Digital Single certifications (that is, downloads and on-demand streams), but her cumulative count of 72 million certifications from 18 Katy Perry songs—like recent hits “Dark Horse” and “Birthday”—put her 20 million ahead of the next most-awarded artist, Rihanna.

“Katy Perry is a force to be reckoned with in music,” RIAA Chairman and CEO Cary Sherman said in a statement.  “She embodies all that makes a true global superstar: the musical talent, the extraordinary drive and genuine charisma, and an intrinsic connection with her fans.”

Perry’s lifetime haul includes 18 gold, 16 platinum, and 56 multi-platinum Digital Single Awards, in addition to her double-multi-platinum album Teenage Dream and platinum album One of the Boys.

RIAA expanded its system in 2004 to recognize the emerging trend toward digital-music markets ushered in by services like iTunes. Last year, on-demand and video streaming sites like Beats Music Rhapsody, Spotify, Xbox Music, MTV.com, VEVO, Yahoo! Music, and YouTube were also included in the count.

Perry, it’s worth noting, is still just the top certified digital artist ever. The Beatles still have more albums that went gold or platinum.

Watch Katy Perry go undercover, crash parties in 'Birthday' music video -- VIDEO

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Earlier this week, Katy Perry released a preview video for the music video in which she dressed up as a variety of party entertainers, ranging from an Instagramming, gum-snapping princess to a drinky clown to a possibly kind of offensive Jewish comedian.

According to the video’s intro, Perry actually attended five different birthday parties as these characters without revealing her identity. Watch the Many Party Faces of Perry, below:

READ FULL STORY

Lily Allen calls out Beyonce, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Gaga and Lorde in 'Sheezus' video

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Lily Allen’s at it again. In her new video for Sheezus, the never-not-opinionated Brit takes aim at reigning pop queens: Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Lady Gaga and even sweet little Lorde. (Surprisingly she leaves T-Swift out of it.) READ FULL STORY

Katy Perry plays dress-up in music video preview, maybe makes awkward anti-Semitic gesture -- VIDEO

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Katy Perry really wants our attention, and she’ll do whatever she can to get it. Even if that means making a video that might be a tiny bit racist.

In a preview for Perry’s upcoming “Birthday” music video, the singer put out a clip in which she poses as various birthday party performers — a dancer, a princess, a clown. Spoiler: It’s weird. Super weird:

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Watch Katy Perry play a neon Egyptian pharaoh in her 'Dark Horse' video

Hey, kids cramming for your history exams: You can just watch a music video instead!

Katy Perry’s got a new clip for the no. 1 single “Dark Horse,” and it all goes down in a candy-colored Ancient Egypt full of bright headdresses, pierced cats, and neon pyramids.

So if Katy Perry is Cleopatra, is Juicy J her Mark Antony? Hmm, let’s go with that.

Check out the historic video below: READ FULL STORY

On the Charts: Eric Church rules, Beatles get a bump, Imagine Dragons break a record

Though the year is still young, Eric Church has established himself as the 2014 music sales king. His just-released fifth album The Outsiders debuted with a walloping 288,000 copies in its opening week. That’s Church’s second number one debut and his biggest sales week ever (his previous high was his fourth album Chief, which moved 145,000 units on its way to a chart-topping bow back in 2011).

Church didn’t have much competition at the marketplace, as there were not any other top 10 debuts this week—the next highest debut was the new album by Glitch Mob, which came in at number 13 with 22,000 copies sold. But elsewhere on the Billboard 200, there was one clear trend: the rise of the Beatles. READ FULL STORY

Brit Awards 2014: Watch live here! -- VIDEO

UPDATE: The stream is now live.

The Brit Awards are just moments away from kicking off at London’s famed O2 arena, and for the first time, you’ll be able to stream the U.K.’s annual pop music awards on YouTube and also help pick one of this year’s winners through social media.

At 3 p.m. ET, the show starts here: READ FULL STORY

Charts: Bruno Mars gets a Super Bowl boost, Pharrell keeps getting 'Happy'-er

As it turns out, being on the most-watched television broadcast in history is good for business.

Bruno Mars, who provided the only semblance of entertainment during a lopsided Super Bowl 10 days ago, found himself back in the upper echelon of the Billboard album chart for the second straight week when his second album Unorthodox Jukebox made the jump to number three this week (last week, it sat at no. 7). The album, which was released back in December 2012, moved 81,000 units in the week following the Super Bowl, an 82 percent increase over the previous week’s total.

It wasn’t quite enough, though, to put Mars at the top of the chart this week. That spot belongs to Now That’s What I Call Music! 49, which sold 98,000 copies in its opening week. The seemingly indestructible compilation series has been providing listeners with 10-month-old hit songs since its debut in 1998 — this iteration provides hitherto unavailable access to Lorde’s “Royals,” Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball,” One Direction’s “Story of My Life,” and Imagine Dragons’ “Demons.” Now bumps the soundtrack to Frozen out of the top spot, where it had sat for two weeks. The Disney monster still sold 88,000 copies and is on its way to crossing the one million-sold mark next week.

But back to Bruno: Even more impressive than the bump for his Unorthodox Jukebox was the one received by his first album, Doo Wops & Hooligans, which nearly made its way back to the top 10 with 26,000 copies sold. That’s not bad for an album from 2010, though Mars shouldn’t necessarily crown himself king of everything just yet: Of the 112 million viewers who took in Mars’ halftime performance, that means less than one percent of those people turned around and bought an album. Wouldn’t you think the strike rate would be better than that, even considering the two million copies of Unorthodox Jukebox already in circulation?

Perhaps Mars should just get himself nominated for an Academy Award. Though Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse” is once again the top song on the Billboard Hot 100, the big surprise this week is the surge of Pharrell Williams’ Oscar-nominated track “Happy,” which jumped from number eight to number two this week. Could Williams’ dramatic increases in airplay and digital sales possibly send him to the top of the Hot 100 next week, and out-race Perry’s “Horse”?

Katy Perry, Lorde, Imagine Dragons all get early post-Grammys sales boosts

If Katy Perry is actually a witch, then she certainly cast the right spell on music buyers.

Though her performance during the 56th Annual Grammy Awards was met with mixed reviews (EW loved it; the rest of the Internet was more lukewarm), Perry has the biggest post-Grammys sales bump so far.

We won’t know which albums got the biggest spikes until next week (the sales numbers close Sunday night), though a number of songs—including Perry’s “Dark Horse,” featuring rapper Juicy J—have already seen noticeable increases following their appearance on Sunday night’s show.

“Dark Horse” has been on top of the iTunes singles chart all week, and it’s the number one song on Billboard‘s Digital Songs chart (which includes Monday’s sales) this week. It sold 294,000 downloads last week, up 12 percent from last week’s tally. That boost was enough to push “Dark Horse” into the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100, which is Perry’s ninth trip to that plateau.

Other big gainers on the Billboard Digital Songs chart include Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” (up 206 percent), John Legend’s “All Of Me” (a 110 percent gain), and Pink & Nate Ruess’ “Just Give Me a Reason” (a 122 percent boost). Imagine Dragons also got a jolt with the release of the Kendrick Lamar-assisted remix of “Radioactive,” which helped the song to a 58 percent sales gain.

It’ll be interesting to see who will see their album sales boosted by the Grammys, which were watched by nearly 30 million people. Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories will almost certainly see a giant bounce, as should Lorde’s Pure Heroine, Kacey Musgraves’ Same Trailer, Different Park, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ The Heist. However, it’s entirely possible the biggest winner of the post-Grammys week could be 2014 Grammy Nominees, the compilation album that debuted at number two with 59,000 copies sold.

What music did you buy in the wake of the Grammys? Let us know in the comments.

Sara Bareilles on her supposed rivalry with Katy Perry: 'People really felt like Katy was ripping me off, and I disagree'

One of the more intriguing pop controversies of 2013 was the friendly fire exchanged over the perceived similarities between Katy Perry’s “Roar” and Sara Bareilles’ “Brave.”

This Sunday’s Grammy Awards just might bring some resolution to that argument — or at least declare a “winner”: Both tracks are nominated for Best Pop Solo Performance, alongside Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man,” Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors,” and Lorde’s “Royals.”

If Sunday represents an end to the controversy, that will suit Bareilles just fine. “I was surprised and to be honest disappointed at how vicious people were,” Bareilles tells EW. “It’s not my nature, and it’s not reflective of what I feel I hope to incite in people. People really felt like Katy was ripping me off, and I disagree.”

Bareilles was most frustrated by the fact that she was apparently supposed to be rivals with Perry. “Katy and I have known each other a really long time, she’s a friend of mine, and it seemed like there was this infusion of people wanting to create conflict and drama. I find that to be really fatiguing,” she said. READ FULL STORY

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