Day in Pop Report for 06/22/2015

Taylor Swift Sparks Big Change For Apple's New Streaming Service

Taylor Swift demonstrated her star power this weekend when she forced Apple to change course after she released an open letter criticizing the new Apple Music streaming service for their plans not to pay royalties to songwriters, producers, or artists for streams during a 90-day free trial period.

Swift posted her open letter (see it in full below) on Sunday (June 21st) and on Sunday night Apple's senior vice president of internet services and software Eddy Cue tweeted "#AppleMusic will pay artist for streaming, even during customer's free trial period."

Cue then confirmed to Billboard that it was Swift that inspired the change. He told them, "When I woke up this morning and saw what Taylor had written, it really solidified that we needed a change. And so that's why we decide we will now pay artists during the trial period."

Here is the open letter that Taylor Swift released, "I write this to explain why I'll be holding back my album, 1989, from the new streaming service, Apple Music. I feel this deserves an explanation because Apple has been and will continue to be one of my best partners in selling music and creating ways for me to connect with my fans. I respect the company and the truly ingenious minds that have created a legacy based on innovation and pushing the right boundaries.

"I'm sure you are aware that Apple Music will be offering a free 3 month trial to anyone who signs up for the service. I'm not sure you know that Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months. I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company.

"This is not about me. Thankfully I am on my fifth album and can support myself, my band, crew, and entire management team by playing live shows. This is about the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success. This is about the young songwriter who just got his or her first cut and thought that the royalties from that would get them out of debt. This is about the producer who works tirelessly to innovate and create, just like the innovators and creators at Apple are pioneering in their field…but will not get paid for a quarter of a year's worth of plays on his or her songs.

"These are not the complaints of a spoiled, petulant child. These are the echoed sentiments of every artist, writer and producer in my social circles who are afraid to speak up publicly because we admire and respect Apple so much. We simply do not respect this particular call.

"I realize that Apple is working towards a goal of paid streaming. I think that is beautiful progress. We know how astronomically successful Apple has been and we know that this incredible company has the money to pay artists, writers and producers for the 3 month trial period… even if it is free for the fans trying it out.

"Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing. I say this with love, reverence, and admiration for everything else Apple has done. I hope that soon I can join them in the progression towards a streaming model that seems fair to those who create this music. I think this could be the platform that gets it right.

"But I say to Apple with all due respect, it's not too late to change this policy and change the minds of those in the music industry who will be deeply and gravely affected by this. We don't ask you for free iPhones. Please don't ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation."

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Kim Kardashian Reveals She and Kanye West Are Expecting A Son

Reality TV star Kim Kardashian revealed in a Father's Day post on Instagram that she and rapper Kanye West are expecting a baby boy as their second child.

Kardashian posted a photo of West and their daughter North West as a Father's Day tribute and it appears that she also revealed the sex of their expected child in the photo's caption.

She wrote, "Precious moments like this when we were traveling on tour with you are what I live for. You're such a good daddy to North & you will be the best daddy to our new son too!"

When Kim revealed earlier this month that she was expecting another child, the announcement sparked some online suggestions for names for the celebrity couple's new son, following in the tradition of the unusual name they gave their daughter with some of the most popular suggestions being "South West," "Key West" and even "Wild West." See Kim's posting here.

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Selena Gomez Releases New Single 'Good For You'

Selena Gomez has released her brand new single "Good For You" which features a guest appearance from A$AP Rocky and hit digital retailers and streaming services this weekend.

The track was produced by Nick Monson and Nolan Lambroza and co-produced by A$AP Rocky and Hector Delgado and is the first taste of Gomez's forthcoming album.

Gomez will be releasing a music video for "Good For You" on Friday (June 26th). The new visual was directed by Sophie Muller (Beyoncé, Rihanna). Fans can stream the new song here.

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Dolly Parton's Nashville Return Sells Out In Record Time

Country music legend Dolly Parton will be playing her first full show in Nashville in over a decade and as expected she sold out the show at the Ryman Auditorium in record time, according to Webster PR.

Parton will be playing a special benefit show at the famed Nashville venue on July 31st. The concert, dubbed "Dolly Parton: Pure and Simple," will be her first full headlining concert in the country music capital in 12 years.

The event will officially be the Dustin Wells Foundation Gift of Music concert, which will benefit the Nashville based W. O. Smith School of Music. Parton had this to say about the special show, "I think back to all the people who encouraged me and helped me on my way up, and if I can help some young person make music, then I absolutely want to do that. Music is important to me and my family, and I'm grateful that so many people wanted to come see the show that it sold out so quickly."

Webster provided these details about the charity, "After Dustin Jack Wells lost his life in a car accident in 2005, his family and friends found a way to keep his memory alive and help others in the process. A fund was set up with all monetary donations used to reach out to others in memory of Dustin. Donating to the W.O. Smith School of Music is just one way the foundations enriches young lives."

This special event in Nashville isn't the only sold out show that Parton will be staging this summer. She will also be performing four sold out shows at Dollywood on August 8th and 9th to benefit her youth literacy initiative Imagination Library.

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Sugar Ray Frontman Mark McGrath Releasing Debut Solo EP

Sugar Ray frontman Mark McGrath has launched a PledgeMusic campaign for the release of his debut solo EP "Summertime's Coming" and he says that he is so inspired that he may release a new EP every six months.

McGrath writes on the PledgeMusic page, "I've been so inspired to write music again with my friends in the band, so much in fact, that that the idea is to release a an EP every six months. I know it sounds ambitious, but to truly make this an incredible and intimate experience, the idea is to bring as much content as possible to the site and to make you feel like you were there. We found a great place to do that very thing right here at PledgeMusic, and an even better place to take you all along for the ride."

The Sugar Ray star will be releasing the new EP this summer via the platform and is currently offering a variety of pre-order bundle options. He had this to say, "To truly make this an incredible and intimate experience, the idea is to bring as much content to the fans as possible, and to make you feel like you were there." Check out the PledgeMusic page for more details here.

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TG Sheppard Announces U.S. Tour Dates

Country music star TG Sheppard will continue to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his chart topping debut single "Devil In The Bottle" with new concerts that stretch into December.

Sheppard has announced a variety of U.S. shows this summer, fall and winter that will include shows with Jimmy Fortune, Leroy Van Dyke, Moe Bandy and Crystal Gayle, as well as several shows with his hit songwriter wife Kelly Lang.

Sheppard had this to say about the upcoming concert, "I'm always amazed at the number of fans that are still coming to my shows after all these years, and I am thankful for their support.

"Country music fans are some of the most loyal people in the world, and it's my job to make sure they're entertained night after night and that, when they leave my show, they've seen something special."

Sheppard will be kicking off the tour on July 4th at Bisset Park in Radford, VA. The 4th of July Celebration will also feature Jimmy Fortune. Sheppard is still expected to announce additional dates but at this time his latest announced show this year is on December 6th in Branson, MO with Crystal Gayle. See the tour dates here.

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Billy Corgan Played Smashing Pumpkins' 'Gish' In 3 Minutes

(Radio.com) Later this year, Smashing Pumpkins lead singer Billy Corgan will hit the road with fellow '90s alt-rock titan Marilyn Manson. Before that happens, he's doing something entirely new: an acoustic Smashing Pumpkins tour, the first ever of its kind.

In it, he's promised fans setlists that encompass songs from across Smashing Pumpkins wide discography--and here's an example. Playing in Munhall, Pa., Corgan managed to cram every song from the Pumpkins debut album Gish into a single three-minute acoustic medley, Consequence of Sound reports.

How'd he achieve this? By playing short snippets of the guitar parts, without singing over them. Fans cheered each new snippet, recognizing their favorite songs. Read more here.

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Big Sean Releases 'One Man Can Change the World' Video

(Radio.com) Big Sean released a new music video for his Dark Sky Paradise track "One Man Can Change the World" featuring Kanye West and John Legend. The video follows a young boy as he navigates through an uncertain world marred by tragedy.

"Never had a song like this be a single, it's different then what's on radio, but I feel it's needed w/ all the craziness goin on right now," Big Sean tweeted about the song. "Know it's hard to imagine me not cursing on a song/single… (Cues up IDFWU, etc lol). But honestly I'm proud to have a song so heartfelt."

Big Sean was inspired by his grandmother when writing the song, who was "one of the 1st female black officers in Detroit, a teacher/counselor" and "a female black captain in WW2." Watch it here.

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Canaan Smith Serenades Bride and Groom With 'Love You Like That'

(Radio.com) Canaan Smith helped a new couple celebrate their wedding day in a very special way as he performed his debut single "Love You Like That," which just so happened to be their first dance song.

Smith was invited by TheKnot.com to perform at Samantha and Taylor's dream wedding after the couple made it know that their first dance would be to his song. The country singer took a brief break from the road with Dierks Bentley on the Sounds of Summer tour in order to make it to the wedding in Los Angeles.

"Listening to the song makes us both smile and reminds us of each other," the groom said, before his new wife Samantha jumped in: "I showed it to Taylor and said, 'This should be our first dance song.'"

It turns out that knowing his song was selected as a wedding song also made Smith smile. "When you write a song like that you never know the impact it's going to have," he said. "You hope for stuff like this. So, thank you for making that a reality for me as a writer and as an artist. It's a real pleasure."

Smith himself is about to celebrate his one-year anniversary of being married to his wife Christy, and he gave the new couple some advice. "You're doing life together now. It was two and now it's one," he said. "For us, it's been about our faith too. We put our faith in God and let Him be the centerpiece of it all and y'all grow closer as you do that." Watch it here.

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Juicy J And Wiz Khalifa Release 'For Everybody' Video

(Radio.com) Wiz Khalifa and Juicy J dispense hard-earned life lessons in the new video for "For Everybody". The song came out a few months ago--in it, Juicy J describes his experiences with groupies, rapping that "she say she f- with Drake, everybody f-ing with Drake" while Wiz Khalifa goes long on his breakup with Amber Rose.

In the video, they serenade a woman who's gyrating in a sandbox, removing her clothes over the course of the clip. The video is partly animated, too, with gold sparkles outlining the rappers.

In typical fashion, Khalifa smokes on a blunt as a cloud of smoke envelops him. The woman becomes dripped in gold paint, which she rubs into her skin--the effect recalls the notorious gold paint scene in the James Bond film Goldfinger.

Meanwhile, Juicy J, Wiz Khalifa and a crew of associates flex in front of an American flag, just in time for July 4. "For Everybody" is off the upcoming Pure THC: The Hustle Continues, which is currently planned for a July release. Watch the video here.

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Stephen Colbert Inducts Toby Keith Into the Songwriters Hall of Fame

(Radio.com) If you're up for any honor, you can never go wrong with having Stephen Colbert as your presenter. The upcoming Late Show host brought the laughs to the Songwriters Hall of Fame induction last week when bestowing Toby Keith with his award.

Colbert also proved that he's quite good at impressions, at least when it comes to the country singer. Wearing a cowboy hat and denim jacket, Colbert got into the spirit of the evening and celebrated Keith by covering his 2005 hit "As Good As I Once Was," which you can watch at Billboard.

The tribute didn't stop there, though--Colbert also delivered a hilarious speech, recalling his favorite encounter with the Big Dog. "Now, it is possible that people ask, 'Why the hell is Stephen Colbert honoring Toby Keith?'" Colbert wondered, according to Billboard. "I don't know why they asked me to show up, but I'll tell you why I showed up. When Toby Keith was first on my show ' [I] said 'Listen to what this man was gonna say and sing, and I just might have a good time' --and that was pretty much the reaction he had to Toby Keith: once you listen to what he has to say and sing, everybody has a good time.

"And my favorite part was of the night was, as the Big Dog was leaving out the stage door and I was going to the rewrite room--this was very early on in my show and he didn't know what he was in for, I guess--he turned around to me and he said, 'Hey man, you do a great job ' whatever the f- it is you do.'" Read more here.

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Lady Gaga Changes Things Up For Tour with Tony Bennett

(Radio.com) There will be no lucite runaways, larger-than-life statues by Jeff Koons, or dresses made of meat on Lady Gaga's tour with Tony Bennett. But that doesn't mean it will be boring--this is Gaga after all.

Instead, lighting designer LeRoy Bennett says Little Monsters should expect the Cheek to Cheek tour, which kicked off a four-night run at New York City's Radio City Music Hall last Friday (June 19), to be classy and sophisticated, with a little touch of Gaga thrown in for good measure.

"Gaga's always Gaga," Bennett tells Radio.com over the phone. "This is her showing who she is as a studio artist. She's a phenomenal singer and she's a great songwriter and she's just doing this with an artist that she has huge respect for. So it's a lot of fun for her."

It's also been a lot of fun for Bennett (no relation to Tony) too, who has already worked with Gaga six times in the last five years through his company Seven Design Works as the production and lighting designer on her last two tours, 2010's Monster Ball Tour and 2014's artRAVE: The ARTPOP Ball, along with designing for her sold out run of shows at the Roseland Ballroom in New York before it closed for good. Most recently, he teamed up with Gaga to honor the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music at the 87th Annual Academy Awards.

"It is very important to know who the artist is, what they've done before, where they are now, where you see them going in the future," Bennett says of working with the same artist multiple times. "Any artist, they make their money off live and touring shows now. You're really only as good as your last show." Read more here.

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Iggy Azalea And James Corden Do Carpool Karaoke

(Radio.com) Iggy Azalea and her fiance Nick Young haven't revealed much about their wedding, but The Late Late Show host James Corden changed that when he invited the Aussie rapper for a karaoke ride around Los Angeles.

In between karaoke-ing over Azalea's The New Classic and more tracks like "Fancy," "Black Widow," "Trouble," and "Pretty Girls," the two chopped it up about wedding planning.

As you can imagine, music for the event is a primary concern. Azalea and Young's visions of what will play as they grace the dance floor however tend to vary.

"Nick wants to have R. Kelly perform at our wedding so he can sing 'Marry the P--' at our wedding," she confided. "I don't know if it's going to happen but he's trying to make it happen."

She on the other hand is more keen on getting Demi Lovato to perform, since she will already be in attendance. "Demi Lovato is going to be one of my bridesmaids and she better sing at my wedding," she said, an idea on which Corden was keen: "Yes! Me and Demo Lovato could sing 'Endless Love.'" Watch it here.

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A$AP Rocky Makes Film Debut in 'Dope'

(Radio.com) The hip-hop coming of age film Dope marks A$AP Rocky's film debut. Can New York's own rap fashionista hold is own on camera? Let's start with the cold hard facts. In Dope (which opened June 19) A$AP Rocky--whose real name is Rakim Mayers--plays a drug dealer named Dom, who ends up being the catalyst for our protagonist Malcom's (Shameik Moore) terrible, horrible, no good, very bad couple of days.

Malcolm is a geek from Inglewood, California who was raised by his single mother, loves '90s hip-hop (check out that flattop) and has aspirations to attend Harvard, which makes him an outsider and a punching bag for bullies who want to steal his vintage Nikes.

Dom is the flip-side of the same coin. He also grew up in in the downtown L.A. city but has become a gun-toting drug dealer, which is unfortunately the status quo.

Rocky does a good job setting his own persona apart from the role, which may be a surprise to those who assumed his "and" billing in the opening credits meant he was just there to get people in the seats of this very small Sundance-approved movie.

Dom, though, is a new take on the drug dealer, and Rocky manages to give the minor character some depth. Friendly and well-versed--made clear why, thanks to a reveal later in the movie--he can be talking about how drone strikes in other countries will lead to more attacks on American soil while sounding both well-informed and completely paranoid.

Rocky doesn't get any real deep, emotional moments or dramatic scenes--barring one shoot-out where he shows he can act like a gangster for the cameras--but he does good with what he's given, which is a lot of humor. Turns out, Lord Flacko is funny. Like really funny.

He can throw off a joke about what "slippery slope" actually means--a running joke in the film--before confusing photographic and photogenic ("He must have one of those photogenic minds") and then school Malcolm on why the '90s weren't so great: "Let's not forget the '90s gave us Vanilla Ice, MC Hammer and the Fresh Prince." Read more here.

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