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Nielsen's 2014 U.S. Music report confirms what we all already know

Jay Z, 10 years ago: “I sold kilos of coke, I’m guessin’ I can sell CDs.” That line needs revision, because even the savviest musicians can’t sell CDs these days. Physical albums haven’t sold this poorly since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991, and in a report out today the consumer research company reported another brutal year for CDs. Sales of the shiny discs dropped nearly 15 percent in 2014, selling almost 25 million fewer units than in 2013. READ FULL STORY

'Billboard' Hot 100 recap: Beyonce's 'Flawless' finally hits the chart

In the nine months since Beyoncé dropped her self-titled album on an unsuspecting world, the track “Flawless” has grown from one of the more enjoyable surprises in a thoroughly surprising album–a quasi-manifesto that synthesizes diva-level self-appreciation and blunt real talk about female existence in a patriarchal world, delivered with an instantly memorable hook–into a cultural behemoth. The word “flawless” (or, better yet, “#flawless”) condenses everything that Beyoncé and her featured guest, award-winning Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, talks about in the song down into two syllables that somehow contain an entire philosophy of self-love and self-actualization. No wonder it’s been inescapable all year.

Despite the song’s popularity, Bey and her label haven’t released it as an official single. Or maybe it’s because of that popularity–when something grows so big in such an organic way, giving it a traditional professional marketing push could end up ruining a good thing. Either way, the song whose title is emblazoned on most Beyoncé merch is officially just an album cut.


Usher and 5 Seconds of Summer will perform at 2014 MTV VMAs

Usher will be joining Ariana Grande as one of the performers at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards on August 24 along with Australian pop band 5 Seconds of Summer.


Watch the video for Usher's latest sexy single, 'Good Kisser'

Need a new sexy jam? Usher’s got you covered.

The Voice judge has released a video for the first single off his currently untitled eighth studio album. “Sexy Kisser” moves away from some of the EDM influences on 2012’s Looking 4 Myself, geting a little more soulful and funky.

“You make me wanna tap out and retire/Your pretty lips leave me so inspired” Usher croons. Check out the video for the  slighty NSFW track below — which of course includes some of Usher’s signature moves: READ FULL STORY

Usher dances to new-old Michael Jackson song -- VIDEO

Usher danced along to the first listen of new(ish) Michael Jackson song “Love Never Felt So Good” Thursday night at the iHeartRadio Music Awards.

The song comes from the upcoming album Xscapewhich features eight previously unreleased Michael Jackson tracks given a brush-up by producers L.A. Reid and Timbaland.


Watch Usher's action-packed 'Looking 4 Myself' short film -- PREMIERE


Usher is a busy man. In addition to mentoring The Voice and popping up at music festivals alongside the Afghan Whigs, Mr. Raymond has taken the time to star in a new Samsung-produced short film, which you can watch the premiere of here.

Titled Usher’s “Looking 4 Myself” Presented By Samsung, the Rich Lee-directed clip features a duel between two versions of Usher — one being down-to-earth side of him, and the other being his celebrity half.

Watch the video below, and read on to find our interview with Usher himself:


SXSW: Usher performs with the Afghan Whigs, gives shout out to Lil Wayne -- VIDEO

It should’ve been obvious from the start. The lineup at the Fader Fort Presented by Converse yesterday listed the ’90s alternative favorites the Afghan Whigs as the headliner, even though they hadn’t put out an album in 15 years.

Beyond that, the Fader Fort typically closes out their events with rap and R&B acts like French Montana and Rick Ross — not aging Cincinnati rockers.

Don’t get us wrong — we love the Afghan Whigs, and their solo set (following performances from Atlanta rappers T.I. and Future) was pretty great. But when they began playing the beginning of Usher’s recent single “Climax,” we knew the jig was up.

And just like that, Usher came out on stage and played his first-ever SXSW, with the Afghan Whigs. After he and the band finished up a particularly rousing performance of “Climax” (Greg Dulli handled the vocals until Usher came out in time for the second verse), they launched into the Whigs’ “Somethin’ Hot.”

Whigs fans were happy, and it even kept the Usher-only sect of the audience happy — though, really, Usher could’ve sang the alphabet backwards and they would’ve been just as delirious.


Clive Davis gala remembers Whitney Houston

Jennifer Hudson and Clive Davis. Image Credit: Steve Granitz/WireImage

A year after Whitney Houston’s death, music executive Clive Davis remembered her in words — and video.

Houston died last year just hours before the annual Clive Davis Gala was to start. On Saturday, Davis said his world continues “to be so shattered by her passing” and that Houston’s death still feels “unreal.”


Katy Perry, fun., Alicia Keys, Usher added to Obama inauguration

President Barack Obama’s final inauguration is coming up, and apparently he figured he might as well go all in.

In addition to already-announced names Beyoncé, Kelly Clarkson, and James Taylor, all of whom will perform during the swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 21, Katy Perry, fun., Alicia Keys, Usher, John Legend, and Brad Paisley will also be performing during the Kids’ Inaugural Concert on Jan. 19.

In a statement, Presidential Inaugural Committee CEO Steve Kerrigan said, “We are honored and excited to have such a diverse, talented group of musical guests joining Americans from across the country to celebrate the 57th Inauguration.”

Plenty of other performer names have been tossed around for the series of big events, which include the inauguration, the kids’ concert, and two official inaugural balls. Those names include Nick Cannon, the cast of Glee, Marc Anthony, Smokey Robinson, and Far East Movement, though it’s unclear who of those names will be showing up where.

Perry’s spot on the bill isn’t surprising, as she played a rally for President Obama a few days before last November’s election. In one of the more head-turning fashion moments of 2012’s political discussion, she performed dressed as a ballot.

Who else do you hope shows up for the inauguration? Who would you book? And are you going to miss Aretha Franklin and her fantastic hats?

Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson, James Taylor to perform at Obama inauguration
Jay-Z, Bruce Springsteen to rally with Obama day before election
Alicia Keys sued over ‘Girl On Fire’

American Music Awards: See the winners list here!

America proved its Bieber Fever was strong: The teen singer dominated the American Music Awards on Sunday night.

Bieber’s wins included the show’s top award, artist of the year. The singer’s mom joined him onstage as he collected the top award. He looked to his mom: “I wanted to thank you for always believing in me.”

He said it’s “hard growing up with everyone watching me” and asked that people continue to believe in him.

The 18-year-old also won favorite pop/rock album for Believe, and male artist.

He performed two songs at the award show, one stripped and another upbeat with Nicki Minaj. As Bieber won his second award, he was kissed on the neck by Jenny McCarthy, who presented the award.

Here is a full list of the winners:  READ FULL STORY

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