Justin Timberlake launches music comeback with Grammy performance

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Justin Timberlake, making his pop music comeback with a new single and album, will perform at next month’s Grammy Awards for the first time in four years, Grammy organizers said on Wednesday.

Timberlake, 31, will take the stage at the music industry’s biggest night in Los Angeles on February 10, ahead of the scheduled March release of his first album since 2006.

“The 20/20 Experience” marks Timberlake’s return to music after several years in which he has focused more on acting and business ventures, including a clothing line and a partnership in social networking site Myspace.

At the Grammy Awards ceremony and show, Timberlake will join performers and country music nominees Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley, singers Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood, and bands Mumford & Sons and FUN.

Elton John will also duet with rising British singer Ed Sheeran, and the Grammy ceremony will be hosted by rapper LL Cool J. Other performers will be announced in the next 10 days.

Charlie Walk Named EVP of Republic Records

As Billboard.biz reported, Charlie Walk was officially named executive vice president of Republic Records, co-founder/CEO Monte Lipman announced today. In his new role, Walk will oversee the Marketing, Promotion and Publicity departments and report to Monte and Avery Lipman, co-founder and President.

Walk re-enters the record label business after founding and serving as chairman of Madison Ave-based advertising agency JWalk, which will continue.

“Having a front row seat as a consumer and a music executive over the past 20 years, I had the opportunity to watch Republic turn into the most competitive, forward-thinking, modern label in the business,” Walk said in a statement. “They’ve also managed to preserve an independent spirit within the massive scope of a major label. That ethos has led them to be the most important competitor in the modern landscape, and it drew me to the company. Together, we can help the transformation of the music business with amazing executives, talent, and partners.”

Live Nation Taps L.A. Troubadour’s Brian Smith as Southern California Talent Buyer

Live Nation Entertainment has tapped Los Angeles talent buyer Brian Smith to collaborate with the company’s Southern California booking team in programming venues in L.A. and the Southland.

Smith most recently served as the talent buyer for the Troubadour in West Hollywood, Calif.

He will work alongside Live Nation’s L.A. team of promoters — consisting of Bill Silva, Andy Hewitt, Emily Simonitsch, Nick Masters, Eric Herz, Rich Best and Greg Siegel — to book such venues as  the Wiltern, Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Hollywood Palladium, Gibson Amphitheatre and the Avalon. The team also assists with booking in Las Vegas and San Diego State University’s Viejas Arena and Open Air Theatre. Read more

Justin Timberlake: Live Return Set for Super Bowl Weekend

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It’s only natural that after releasing a hit single and announcing a new album, Justin Timberlake will make his return to the live stage. The singer, whose “Suit & Tie” is expected to hit the top 10 on the Hot 100 this week, will perform his first solo concert in several years at a New Orleans charity concert during Super Bowl weekend.

Timberlake will be the man of the hour at the DIRECTV Super Saturday Night event, being held Feb. 2 at DTV SuperFan stadium and hosted by Mark Cuban. Questlove of The Roots is DJ’ing before and after Timberlake’s set. Read more

Britney Spears and Will.i.am Beat Out Justin Timberlake, 50 Cent For Top UK Single; ‘Les Mis’ Has No. 1

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Polydor/Universal’s original motion picture cast recording of “Les Miserables” climbed 5-1 on the new U.K. album chart yesterday (Sunday), as “Scream & Shout” (Interscope/Universal) by will.i.am featuring Britney Spears held off new entries by 50 Cent and Justin Timberlake to start a second week atop the singles survey.

The “Les Miserables” album rose to the peak after opening its account at No. 5 last week. It now boasts a top 40 single, Anne Hathaway’s version of “I Dreamed A Dream” making its top 75 debut at No. 22. Also from the cast album, Samantha Barks’ “On My Own” entered the 75 at No. 43.

Emeli Sandé’s “Our Version Of Events” (Virgin/EMI) slipped from the album summit to No. 2, with Jake Bugg’s self-titled Mercury/Universal set steady at No. 3. “Arc” (RCA/Sony Music Entertainment), the sophomore release by English alternative rock band Everything Everything, immediately outdid the No. 17 peak of its 2010 predecessor “Man Alive” with a No. 5 debut. Read more

Justin Timberlake brings sexy back with new song

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Pop star Justin Timberlake has brought his trademark sexy crooner voice back with his first new song in five years, receiving a warm welcome from fans and critics on Monday on his long-awaited return to music.

The singer released “Suit & Tie” featuring Jay-Z on Sunday night, and within hours, the song had topped the U.S. iTunes chart. The new single also came with the announcement of a new album, “The 20/20 Experience,” to be released later this year.

The new song, produced by Timberlake’s long-time collaborator Timbaland, features the singer’s falsetto voice over a laid-back, hip-hop beat, fusing R&B and pop sounds.

Critics drew on Timberlake’s newly married status – the singer wed actress Jessica Biel last October – as a possible inspiration for the track. Read more here

Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan and David Bowie: Classic Rock Icons in the Digital Age Read

It’s been an extraordinary last couple of days for three icons of classic rock who this week faced a music industry they couldn’t have possibly imagined in their heydays. It’s interesting, though, to consider the unique and very different set of circumstances — music streaming services, reversion rights and releasing a global digital single — each faced.

Led Zeppelin are reportedly in the process of negotiating exclusive rights to their back catalog with a number of digital music subscription services. According to the New York Times, Spotify, Rhapsody, Rdio and Deezer are among the services reportedly vying for the band’s classic albums. Read more here

Elvis Presley’s Top 5 Billboard Chart Records

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Elvis Presley wasn’t just the King of Rock & Roll: He remains Billboard chart royalty. On the anniversary of his birthday — Jan. 8, 1935 — here’s a look back at five of his most impressive chart records.

108 Hot 100 Hits — the most among rock artists in the chart’s history. Of all acts, only the “Glee” cast (205) and Lil Wayne (110) have inked more charted hits — and “Glee” features many different singers, while Wayne is often featured on other artists’ songs. Presley’s career, however, predates the Hot 100’s 1958 inception; he charted more than 30 song entries on surveys that chronicled popular music beginning in 1956. The King’s 104th Hot 100 hit, “Way Down,” originally peaked at No. 31 the weeks of Aug. 6 and 13, 1977. After dipping to No. 53, following Presley’s death on the 16th of that month, the song roared 35-24-21-18, marking his last top 20 track.

80 Top 40 Hot 100 Hits — the most such showings in the tally’s archives. Elton John ranks second with 57. On the first Hot 100, dated Aug. 4, 1958, Presley ranked at No. 4 with “Hard Headed Woman” and at No. 34 with “Don’t Ask Me Why,” each featuring his longtime gospel backing band, the Jordanaires.

126 Billboard 200 Charting Albums — the highest total in the chart’s 56-year history. Ten of those sets reached No. 1, beginning with “Elvis Presley,” which ruled for 10 weeks in 1956. His most recent reign came courtesy of “Elv1s: 30 #1 Hits” in 2002.

Read more at here

U.K. 2012 Sales Report: Strong Growth in Digital Fails To Prevent 11.2% Sales Slide

Sustained growth in digital music sales failed to offset the year-on-year decline in U.K. album sales in 2012, according to new figures released today by labels trade body the BPI.

In 2012, combined digital and physical album sales fell 11.2% to 100.5 million units, down from 113.2 million in 2011. CD sales fell 19.5 percent year-on-year to 69.4 million units, down from 86.2 million the year previous.

The continued growth of digital sales does, however, offer welcome signs of recovery. According to the BPI (in association with the Official Charts Company), digital album sales rose 14.8% to 30.5 million units in 2012, up from 26.6 million the previous year. 16 albums sold more than 100,000 digital copies in 2012.

The U.K. singles market also grew for a fifth successive year with 188.6 million singles sold in the previous twelve months – a 6.0% rise on 2011’s 177.9 million units sales figure. Streaming services additionally experienced impressive take-up, with British consumers streaming more than 3.7 billion tracks in 2012 – equivalent to 140 music streams for every household in the U.K., according to the BPI/Official Charts Company. Read more here