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Universal's purchase of EMI approved by the European Union

Universal Music Group can buy the famed British music company EMI and keep the hugely-lucrative Beatles catalogue, the European Union’s competition regulator said Friday, but must jettison some of its biggest acts, including Coldplay and Pink Floyd.

Among the assets that must go are the Parlophone label, home to those two British bands as well as Kylie Minogue and David Bowie. The Beatles, which is part of Parlophone, was exempted though.

Universal will also have to sell off EMI’s classical music divisions, its French arm and labels that are home to Depeche Mode and The Ramones. READ FULL STORY

Train on VH1's 'Behind the Music': The story behind hit 'Drops of Jupiter' -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Can you believe that VH1’s Behind the Music is turning 15?

The series launches its latest season this Sunday, Sept. 16, at 9 p.m. with an hour focused on pop-rock band Train, which delivered its biggest hit in 2009 with “Hey, Soul Sister.” But it’s actually another of their singles — 2001’s “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)” — that truly launched them, climbing to No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100.

That song is the subject of an online-only, Behind the Music companion series titled Behind the Song, which EW is exclusively debuting below.

The process of creation wasn’t easy, according to frontman Pat Monahan: “I just couldn’t figure out what to write, but then I woke up from a dream about a year after my mother passed away with the words ‘back in the atmosphere,'” he remembers. “It was just her way of saying what it was like — she was swimming through the planets and came to me with drops of Jupiter in her hair.”

The rest, as they say, is history. The full, four-minute Behind the Song episode is below, and parts of it are woven into Sunday’s season premiere episode of Behind the Music, which will also touch on Train’s multiplatinum success, struggles ith drug addiction, money woes, and two-year hiatus.

READ FULL STORY

Album sales: One Direction makes history with No. 1 debut of 'Up All Night'

A few months ago, we asked you, “Are boy bands officially back?” According to this week’s Billboard 200, the answer is a resounding “Yes.”

British boy band One Direction debuted atop the chart with their first album, Up All Night, which sold an impressive 176,000 copies in its first week. In doing so, Simon Cowell’s fivesome, who are signed to SYCO/Columbia, became the first-ever British act to debut atop the Billboard 200 with its debut disc. The former highest Brit debut was the Spice Girls’ Spice, which started at No. 6 in 1997, although it did climb to No. 1 three months later.

One Direction turned industry heads a few weeks ago when their American television debut on The Today Show drew over 10,000 screaming fans into Rockefeller Center, but before this week, the group hadn’t demonstrated much sales power Stateside.

Remarkably, their debut single “What Makes You Beautiful,” which currently sits at No. 33 on the Hot 100 (and was predicted as the spring’s biggest song by EW readers), has only been available in America for five weeks. But in a YouTube-driven industry, international artists are available to fans at the click of a mouse (the music video has garnered over 75 million views since its debut in August) — tweens had more than enough time to fall for their new obsession via the Internet. READ FULL STORY

Album Sales: Adele, Whitney make up half the Top 10; 'We Are Young' rockers fun. debut at No. 3

Nine straight weeks. That’s how long Adele’s 21 has sat atop the Billboard 200 in 2012.

(The disc has been at No. 1 for 22 weeks total — the most since Prince’s 1984 album Purple Rain.) This week, the Grammy-winning, Brit Award bird-flipping, generally beloved diva, whose song “Set Fire to the Rain” was positively butchered last night on American Idol, moved yet another 297,000 copies of 21 this week. Its total now stands above 7.6 million. READ FULL STORY

'Glee' cast becomes a Top 10-selling digital artist of all time

Fox and Columbia Records have just announced that the Glee cast has officially become one of the “Top 10-selling digital U.S. artists of all time.”

Driven by strong sales of tunes like “Don’t Stop Believin'” and “Teenage Dream,” the Glee cast has charted 193 singles on the Hot 100 — out of 344(!) total that they’ve released — and has helped the show’s songs (almost entirely covers of other artists’ originals) be downloaded over 32 million times in the U.S. alone.

I’ll admit, those are some remarkable numbers — the Fox hit has certainly made its mark on the music industry — but I’m not convinced that its fair to refer to the “Glee Cast” as a single musical artist. No matter who sings a song on Glee, whether its Lea Michele by herself, or all of the New Directions, or Darren Criss in front of the Warblers, or a guest star like Ricky Martin, every track available for download is simply attributed to the Glee Cast.

By that logic, American Idol should simply add together all of Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Scotty McCreery, and Daughtry’s collective downloads and claim a new record for the “American Idol Cast.” But wait, that wouldn’t really be fair, would it?

What do you think of Glee’s Top 10 ranking? Impressive or misleading?

More on EW.com:
‘Glee’ covers the Wanted’s ‘Glad You Came': Hear the track here
‘Glee’ winter cliffhanger: Where does it stack up against other [SPOILERS!]?
‘Glee’ episode inspires record traffic for The Trevor Project

Album Sales: Adele tops the chart for a 21st week; Bruno Mars, The Civil Wars get big Grammy bumps

In the first full sales week since the Grammys, Adele’s 21, which won six awards including the Album of the Year prize, topped the Billboard 200 in a big way.

The British diva, whose middle finger made headlines last night at the Brit Awards, sold an astounding 730,000 copies (a 207% increase) of her blockbuster album, bringing its total to over 7.3 million in the States. According to iTunes, it also became the first album to ever sell over 2 million digital copies. Remarkably, 21 achieved these feats in its 52nd(!) week of release.

That’s right, the critically beloved disc has been available to consumers for a full year now, and it has maintained exemplary sales levels during each and every frame. Altogether, 21 has topped the chart for 21 weeks — the same amount of time as MC Hammer’s 1990 disc Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em, and the longest tally for any solo female artist ever.

Only seven albums have ever spent more time at number one:

West Side Story Soundtrack (54 weeks)
Thriller, Michael Jackson (37 weeks)
Calypso, Harry Belafonte (31 weeks)
South Pacific, Soundtrack (31 weeks)
Rumours, Fleetwood Mac (31 weeks)
Saturday Night Fever, Bee Gees/Soundtrack (24 weeks)
Purple Rain, Prince and the Revolution (24 weeks)

Adele’s debut album 19 also got a substantial boost after her Grammy sweep, with sales rising a whopping 144 percent to 87,000 — enough to put it in fourth place. Don’t be surprised if both 21 and 19 end up outselling many high-profile new releases in 2012. Adele’s success and enduring appeal are, quite simply, phenomenal.

Whitney Houston’s Whitney: The Greatest Hits rose into second place in the wake of the star’s death. The late singer’s collection sold 175,000 copies, up 174 percent from the previous week. Houston’s most iconic track, “I Will Always Love You,” which currently sits at no. 7 on the Hot 100, will likely see high placement on tomorrow’s singles chart as well. READ FULL STORY

This week in ridiculous tour riders: Kanye West and M.I.A.

Whatever you thought of M.I.A.’s Super Bowl outing, one thing is for certain: it could’ve gotten weirder.

The web’s premier celebrity-shamer The Smoking Gun has dug up a copy of what it claims is M.I.A.’s tour rider, and it’s a bit of a doozy, even by M.I.A.’s high-doozy standards.

On the list? Let’s see, we’ve got some bottles of Vitamin Water, a few trays of European cheese and “quality chocolates,” a high-speed internet connection.

Hmm, anything else? Oh yeah, we almost forgot about the three women between the ages of 20 and 25 to dance on stage wearing full-body burkas. And the burkas should be provided by the venue, naturally.

READ FULL STORY

Drake sued by ex-girlfriend for including voicemail in 'Marvin's Room'

What goes into the making of a good Drake song? Lots of things. Confessional lyrics, for example, a good beat, and probably an ample supply of cardigan sweaters.

Oh, and in the case of “Marvin’s Room,” an ex-girlfriend’s voicemail message.

That ex is now revealing herself to be Ericka Lee, and she’s suing the rapper to a bid to get partial songwriting credit (read: royalties).

According to the suit, Drizzy and Lee were creative partners, often co-writing songs and poems. “Plaintiff’s contribution is highly significant to the overall work,” the official complaint, filed in California, reads. One contribution they view as significant is her voice; the suit alleges that Drake in fact gave Lee vocal credit in the form of “Syren Lyric Muse.” The audio is now registered by the parties in the U.S. Copyright Office.

The suit also claims that Drake sent Lee texts saying things like “U basically made that song” and “It’s s–t without you.” And in another one of these messages, Drake apparently said he’d give the ex 2% of the publishing royalties? Which sounds like a pretty weird thing to discuss via text, but Drake’s a weird dude, so who knows.

It’s a strange situation all around, and it’ll be interesting to see how it develops. Really, though, it was a long time coming; given how often the guy calls out his exes by name on his albums, you’d imagine at least a few of them would be pretty peeved.

Anyway, until all of this gets sorted out, give the track another listen to hear exactly what Lee’s demanding compensation for:

READ FULL STORY

BET bans Nicki Minaj's 'Stupid Hoe' video

nicki-minaj

Roman Zolanski’s really done it this time.

Like Ciara and the Game before her, Nicki Minaj is seeing her latest music video — the vibrant, Hype Williams-directed “Stupid Hoe” — banned from BET.

Though the network hasn’t officially cited specific reasons behind the move, a rep confirmed to TMZ that the clip would not be airing on the channel due to its general explicit nature. Sorry, delicate BET viewers!

The single, taken from the raptrix’s forthcoming Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (out April 3), prominently features the line “you a stupid hoe,” and the bonkers video is haunted by a floating, disembodied bare booty.

If you absolutely demand to see Minaj on television, however, she will be performing this weekend at what’s in theory one of the most family-friendly venues in America, the Super Bowl. Hopefully for NBC’s sake, all booties will be draped and attached to their rightful owners.

More on EW.com:
M.I.A. gears up for Super Bowl with a new(ish) single, ‘Bad Girls’
Madonna’s Super Bowl performance will feature LMFAO, says will.i.am
Nicki Minaj bumps second album, premieres ‘Stupid Hoe’ video: Watch it here!

Madonna talks Super Bowl with Leno, releases 'MDNA' cover art

Madonna-MDNA

Move over, Patriots and Giants — Madonna’s making sure she’s the star of this Super Bowl week.

After revealing that a preview video for her new single “Gimme All Your Luvin,” featuring Nicki Minaj and M.I.A., will premiere on American Idol Thursday, the halftime headliner visited Jay Leno to shore up more buzz for her big show.

“It’s the most nerve-racking thing I’ve ever done,” she told Leno. “The Super Bowl is like the Holy of Holies of America. I have to go on in the middle of that Holy of Holies and put on the greatest show that was ever put on before.”

As for what the Greatest Show That Was Ever Put On will include? “Well, for sure no nipples,” she assured. “I mean, I don’t like to repeat myself.”

She’s of course referring to her infamous performance at the 1984 MTV VMAs, during which, in her words, “the dress went up, and the underpants were showing.”

But while it looks like we won’t be getting any wardrobe malfunctions this year, we do have an idea what we will be getting from Madge, thanks to her previously leaked Super Sunday set list:

READ FULL STORY

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