Lil Wayne announced this morning that his forthcoming album Tha Carter IV, scheduled to be released in stores on Monday, August 29, would be available for digital purchase in advance?specifically, at midnight ET after the Video Music Awards air (at 8pm on Sunday, August 28). But wait, you say. Don’t albums tend to premiere digitally around midnight the night before their physical release?
That’s very incisive of you?but this press release isn’t merely a rebranding of an existing fact. The pullquotes provide the clues. Cash Money Records CEO Ronald “Slim” Williams, talks about “pairing the release of Tha Carter IV with the VMAs,” and this pairing seems to have been the plan for some time now. Lil Wayne announced the album’s release date in an MTV News interview last month, after the Video Music Awards had already been scheduled.
Furthermore, MTV President Stephen Friedman says that the digital release allows VMA viewers to “go online at midnight and download the album they?ve all been waiting for.” The similarity of this attempt to digitally recreate the experience of lining up outside a record store to that of Watch The Throne two weeks ago is probably not coincidental. Even still, both Lil Wayne and The Throne are not necessarily aiming to improve their sales with these tactics; rather, they hope to recreate the big-tent release-date excitement of old (albeit not that old; for the most part the day-of iconic big releases?like Use Your Illusion I and II, twenty years old next month?were part of a marketing plan that did not really exist en masse prior to the CD era).
All in all, this is a canny move by the rapper. Anecdotal evidence suggests that viewers of television shows (particularly those on HBO and other premium cable channels) will wait impatiently for a download to become available for purchase (or, erm, “free”) if they don’t get the channel or miss the airing. Why not replicate that for music? Of course, this is another adaptation to the digital world that may only be effective for the biggest artists, but if it catches on, it’ll be an interesting one nonetheless.
Next time you?re hanging out with your friends or family, play the party game that?s guaranteed to get everyone laughing: Celebrity Party. The game of Celebrity has been a favorite low tech party game for decades, but now VH1 has taken it to the next level with the Celebrity Party iPhone app. Some of your favorite celebrities themselves—like Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams, and Justin Timberlake—have already played this game while hitting the red carpet, so now it’s your turn!
Celebrity Party tests your knowledge of pop culture with a team game that combines the best elements of Taboo, charades and Password. It?s simple to learn and sure to get everyone giggling:
During a recent interview, writer Heath Daniels asked Grammy-nominated veteran songwriter Linda Perry what she thought about changes in the music industry over the last twenty years. The 4 Non Blondes frontwoman and writer/producer for big-name artists like Christina Aguilera and Alicia Keys had some biting words for pop star Katy Perry. “Who wants a f*cking Katy Perry record?” asked Linda, doubtful that fans of the other Perry actually purchase her full-length albums when they can just consume her singles piecemeal.
“Not saying that Katy is bad; she’s great for what she does, but she’s not reinventing the wheel, she’s not giving substance, she’s just giving microwave popcorn for you to feast on right at this moment.”
These comments could not have been made at a more interesting time. Earlier this week, Katy Perry tied Michael Jackson’s billboard chart record for having five #1?singles from one album. Katy Perry is only two (mainstream) albums into her career, and she’s certainly churning out fun-loving hit singles like wildfire.?But does her music have a shot at holding up like The King of Pop’s, whose albums, as full bodies of work, are often considered classics? Linda Perry thinks not. While she did concede that it’s fine Katy’s “not looking to change the world musically,” the interview concluded with her saying that music focused on the quick buck is?”part of the reason why the music business is in turmoil.” Touch?.
Linda Perry: ‘Katy Perry is why the music industry is in turmoil’ [NME]
Each Friday here on the VH1 Blog, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer?s Spotlight with us. Be sure to tune into the Top 20 countdown tomorrow morning when it airs on VH1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT.
This week my glass is half empty. Here are three great things that kind of bum me out:
1) Krist Novoselic Performing Nevermind From Beginning to End
To pay homage to the 20th Anniversary of Nirvana?s Nevermind, founding member Krist Novoselic will be joining a collection of Seattle bands, in Seattle (Sept. 20), to play the stone classic in its entirety.
Why I?m Bummed: I won?t be there, and since the Foo Fighters will be playing in Cleveland that night, Dave Grohl won?t be there either. It also would have been cool if Kurt Cobain were around to perform these generation-forging tunes.
You just watched Demi Lovato bring the house down with her soaring rendition of “Skyscraper” at the 2011 Do Something! Awards. We don’t have much more to say about it at the moment, mainly because we’re still wiping the tears out of our eyes. We’ll try to regain our composure by the morning, but for now, we’d just like to share this video of the pinnacle of tonight’s show with you so you can watch it over, and over, and over again.
RELATED: Check out our exclusive interview with Demi from late last month, where she opened up to us about about the creative evolution of ?Skyscraper,? shooting her own tear-strewn video with director Mark Pellington, and her dismay with the ubiquity of alcohol references currently in the Billboard Top Ten:
Demi Lovato: ?It?s Unfortunate That Pop Songs Have Become So Much About Partying And Clubs? (Exclusive Interview) [VH1 Blog]
Beck And Stephen Malkmus Riff In The Paper Of Record
In a Sunday New York Times feature posted today, Beck and Stephen Malkmus (formerly of Pavement) talk to Dave Itzkoff about the forthcoming Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks record Mirror Traffic, which Beck produced. [NY Times]
One Third Of Nirvana To Participate In Nevermind Anniversary Tribute Concert
Krist Novoselic is the latest performer added to the bill of a Nirvana tribute concert to be held on Nevermind‘s 20th anniversary at the Experience Music Project. He’ll be playing bass with the Presidents of the United States of America on one of the songs. [107.7 The End via Pitchfork]
Three people have been confirmed dead and over seventy injured after a severe storm hit the Pukkelpop Festival in Belgium, toppling trees and causing at least one of the stages to collapse. The Associated Press reports that many of the approximately 60,000 attendees fled the open-air festival in the face of high winds and hailstones approaching half an inch in diameter and high winds. Today was the first of the planned three-day festival (featuring Foo Fighters, 30 Seconds to Mars, Eminem, and others), which has been put on hold until further notice.
This news comes just five days after a stage collapsed at the Indiana State Fair, killing five and injuring forty prior to a Sugarland concert. Today’s storm was by all accounts a more serious one than those that have caused collapses in Indiana, Ottawa, and Tulsa, but may point to the same concerns about outdoor stage safety that have been raised in the last few days.
Our thoughts go out to the families of those who were killed.
Stage Collapses at Pukkelpop Festival in Belgium, At Least Three Dead, Scores Injured (Update) [Billboard]
[Photo: ABC News]
The Force is strong with J. Cole. I first witnessed this during a performance in a small auditorium at New York University?s Kimmel Center in August of ?09, when tangible sincerity radiated off of Jay-Z?s first Roc Nation signee and alleged prot?g?. I?d become familiar with his mixtapes prior to the show and, like the NYU students, curious industry onlookers, and countless others who weren?t present, had started to believe in the young Jedi?s potential to herd hip-hop into the next golden era.
Fast forward to last night at Roc The Mic Studios in Manhattan where a tiny group of music writers gathered in the very same room where Cole recorded his ?A Star Is Born? verse for Hov’s Blueprint 3, where Beyoncé and her husband (no pressure!) stood by watching. It was the second of two intimate listening sessions for the North Carolina-bred rapper/producer?s first full-length album, Cole World: The Sideline Story, and (Jermaine) Cole was present to walk us through the sixteen tracks and single skit on his highly-anticipated September 27th release. Less nervous than he was for the first group of critics because the ice had now been broken, he made the disclaimer that he wouldn?t play songs we?d already heard (including Drake-featured ?In The Morning,? the album’s first single ?Workout,? or the song that got him signed, ?Lights Please?), but we?d get to hear everything else. While song titles and the track order may still change before Cole turns-in the final product, Jay-Z has already dubbed Cole World a ?classic.?
The down home diva Kelly Clarkson announced a release date (October 25) and a title (Stronger) for her fifth LP yesterday. Clarkson’s fans have been foaming at the mouth for months wondering when this album would officially come out, especially since a few songs (including “Dark Side” and “Let Me Down”) leaked last month and were well-received by her acolytes.
That said, when we first heard that she’d be titling her record Stronger, we couldn’t help but feel like, well, it had been done before. After all, it was only March of this year when country artist Sara Evans released an album bearing the same name. A little bit more research revealed that a handful of other well-known musicians have recorded tracks called “Stronger” in recent years, artists running the gamut from Kanye West to Britney Spears to Mary J. Blige to Faith Hill (the latter two of whom are, like Clarkson, former VH1 Divas). While it is still unclear if Clarkson’s new LP will have a title track of the same name, here’s a look at Kelly’s competition for becoming the strongest of the “Stronger” pack.
Artist: Mary J. Blige, “Stronger” (Listen to the song)
Album: More Than A Game (2009)
Refrain: “I’m stronger, stronger, stronger / I’m stronger, stronger, stronger”
Analysis: This song has very impressive DNA; it was written by Esther Dean, produced by Polow da Don, and sung by one of the best singers in the biz. However, it suffers retroactively because it’s so closely tied to the disappointing career arc of Miami Heat supervillain/choke artist LeBron James. The song first appeared on the soundtrack to the documentary about James’ high school years, More Than A Game, and feels overwhelmingly melodramatic and stripped of its potential anthemic power because of that association.
Earlier this week Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine (of late a judge on NBC’s The Voice) went off on American Idol for not allowing contestants to be openly gay on the show. It didn’t take long for someone at Idol?producer Nigel Lythgoe, talking to Entertainment Weekly about the Emmys?to fire back. “There?s no reason that I would see why anybody that goes on television should start coming out with who they are, what they are, what their sexuality is, who they’re going to vote for or what their religion is,” the producer told James Hibberd when asked about Levine’s comments.
Lythgoe’s plea for privacy rings true, but it doesn’t address the particulars of the situation. Specifically, his claim, “If somebody wants to say they’re gay, it’s up to them” contradicts what Idol contestant Adam Lambert has said. In his episode of Behind The Music, Lambert recalls reading Mark Harris‘s cover story (coincidentally, for Entertainment Weekly) and wondering in regards to its speculation on his sexuality, “Why does it matter? But I guess it does.” (In this he agrees with Lythgoe.) But he goes on to claim that he was contractually unable to respond except on Idol or in an Idol-sanctioned group interview. So to an extend it wasn’t really “up to him.” We hardly expect Lythgoe to respond to a question he was not asked, but his remarks nevertheless fail to adequately defend the show from Levine’s criticisms.
Idol Producer Talks Emmy Odds, X-Factor, Openly Gay Contestants [EW Inside TV]
[Image: Getty Images]