There was an April Fool”s email making the rounds today that Rebecca Black, the youtube sensation for her song “Friday,” had signed a record deal. The sad fact is that while the email was a prank, it”s probably only a matter of time before she”s signing on the dotted line. In the meantime, we”ll deal with a real pop princess: Britney Spears made a number of very controlled, primarily pre-taped appearances this week to tout her new album, “Femme Fatale” (an MTV special airs Sunday) and it worked.She land her sixth No. 1 album next week on the Billboard 200. But more than the appearances, the strong reviews of the album are undoubtedly propelling sales, including Hitfix”s glowing review.
1) Britney Spears (not ranked): She has a winning album and she announces a summer tour. That”s the plus side. On the downside, she”s being sued for $10 million over a fragrance deal and we can definitely count out any duets with Enrique Iglesias.
2) Grey”s Anatomy (not ranked): Before the series” musical episode even debuted Thursday night, the accompanying digital album was at No. 14 on iTunes. It quickly soared to No. 3 on Friday. (Also winning: cast member Sara Ramirez, who smartly released an iTunes-only EP this week which was at No. 6). We smell a trend. We can”t wait for the “Law & Order SVU” musical episode.
3) Live Nation (not ranked): The world”s largest concert promoter has allegedly put in a big for Warner Music Group. We”re not really sure how this one would pass SEC approval, Live Nation would have concert promotion, venues, artist management, ticketing and a record company–as well as the other ancillary businesses under one roof–talk about 360.
4) Amazon Cloud Player (not ranked): Okay, so the major labels don”t love Amazon”s storage system and dispute Amazon”s claim that it doesn”t need a license since customers are simply managing their own music, but it”s a pretty exciting development and clearly the sign of what is to come.
5) Katy Perry (No. 4): Perry becomes the first female artist since Mariah Carey 20 years ago to land four No. 1 singles from an album. Maybe she really is an extraterrestrial.
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6) Vevo (not ranked): According to Bloomberg, News Corp. is talking to the music video internet channel, co-owned by UMG and Sony, about taking over MySpace. We can see what”s in it for News Corp., but what”s in it for Vevo? Oh yeah, inheriting up MySpace”s $156 million operating loss for Q4 2010. Good times.
7) The Civil Wars (not ranked): Acoustic folk duo from Nashville is making sweet sounds all over the place. After the indie release, “Barton Hollow” debuted at No. 12, a few weeks ago, the co-ed pair is now getting huge support from both CMT and VH1. We predict a nice Mumford & Sons-type long, steady build that takes us into the next Grammy season.
8) Eminem (not ranked): The Supreme Court declines to hear an appeal, filed by Universal Music Group, about whether a digital song purchase counts as a license or a sale, letting stand the lower court”s decision that it is a license. This could mean a much higher royalty rate for artists on the digital front. Where”s Eminem come in? The original suit was filed by the producers who first signed him to a production deal. The New York Times explains it here. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/28/business/media/28eminem.html
9) Taylor Swift (No. 5): Tay Tay hits 20 million in worldwide album sales, including 10 million in the last 18 months alone. Has anyone told her that the music industry is in the dumps (By the way, she”s also sold more than 33 million single downloads).
10) Chris Brown (not ranked): Maybe we should call him the Teflon Don. His bad behavior following his “Good Morning America” appearance seemed to only spur album sales, resulting in his first No. 1 album of his career with “F.A.M.E.,” as well as increased publicity for his “Dancing With the Stars” appearance. No such thing as bad publicity here.