Music Power Rankings: R.E.M. says goodbye, Lady A says hello

1) R.E.M.: Sometimes magnificent, often inscrutable, but always interesting, the durable Athens, Ga. purveyors of jangle pop call it quits after 31 years.  It”s not the end of the world as we know it, it just feels that way.

2) Lady Antebellum:
Country trio lands its second No. 1 album as “Own The Night” opens with sales of close to 350,000 copies. They own the charts too.

3) Universal Music Group and Live Nation: The two powerhouses partner up to blend their artist management companies, but the pact hardly ends there.  The deal has potential for an amazing array of synergies (or conflicts of interest, depending upon whom you ask). How much larger does Live Nation Entertainment have to get before it is officially too big to fail?

4) Tony Bennett:
This week Bennett became the oldest living artist  to chart on the Hot 100. The 85-year old may very well land the first No. 1 album of his career  and may very well possibly land the first No. 1 album of his career with “Duets ll.” Hey, he may have a future in this business we call show.

[More after the jump…]

5) BMI:
Record sales are increasing and BMI, the performing rights organization that collects royalties for songwriters, collected a record $931 million for its member writers in the year ending June 30. What year is this again? 1999?

6) Facebook:
In its continued effort to provide one-stop shopping for all our computer needs, the social network unveils a new platform that includes Spotify, Rhapsody, Rdio, MOG and Vevo as content partners. Now if they”d just put the news feed back to how it was, we”d all be happy.

7) Sean Parker:
Speaking of “The Social Network,”  Internet entrepreneur Sean Parker is allegedly making a play to buy EMI.  If he succeeds, does Justin Timberlake have to come run the company?

8) “X Factor”: 
Simon Cowell”s U.K. creation finally sees its U.S. launch.  The ratings were strong, but not stellar. “American Idol”s” average ratings – Y (10 million or so viewers) = “X Factor.”

9) Radiohead: With no new album to promote (unless you count “The King of Limbs,” which came out in February), Radiohead takes over America this week as the British band plays the season opener of “Saturday Night Live,” appears on an hour-long special edition The Colbert Report, headlines two New York shows and alleged to be the headliner at next Spring”s Coachella Festival. It”s as if they knew we”d need them-alot- this week after R.E.M.”s demise. 

10) Elton John:  The superstar is taking matters into his own hands: he”s developing a bio pic based on his own fascinating life, according to a number of outlets.  Among the names of potential Rocketmen? Guy Pearce, Ewan McGregor, James McEvoy  and Robert Downey Jr.  Don”t let the sun go down on this project.