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Townsquare Acquires Various AOL Music Sites, Comics Alliance

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Townsquare Acquires Various AOL Music Sites, Comics Alliance

A raft of AOL Music’s digital music sites have been sold and will find a home among the titles of its new owners, Townsquare Media Group.

In a deal with AOL Inc, Townsquare has agreed to acquire country music siteThe Boot, hip hop and R&B site the BoomBox, heavy metal site NoiseCreep plusComics Alliance. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Confirmation of the transaction comes a little over a month after news broke that AOL Music would shut down.

The acquisitions will complement Townsquare’s existing portfolio of premium music and entertainment websites which include Taste of CountryPopCrush,ScreenCrush and Okayplayer, and reach more than 52 million combined U.S. monthly unique visitors, according to the company. The four new Web assets boast a total combined audience of some 3.5 million unique visitors, the company notes, with “The Boot” leading the way at 1.4 Million.

It should make a nice fit, and Townsquare know what they’re getting. The radio and media chain’s executive VP and chief digital officer Bill Wilson was a long-time exec with AOL, and a major music company exec before that. Prior to joining Townsquare in 2010, Wilson had served as president of AOL Media, where he had overall responsibility for its global content strategy. Earlier in his career, he’d served as senior VP for worldwide marketing at Bertelsmann Music Group.

An as-yet-unknown number of staffers will migrate from AOL Music to Townsquare. They’ll join a team that already includes the entire pack of full-time employees who’ve recently made the move over from Comics Alliance.

Townsquare has been beefing-up its digital music activities of late. Last August, the company announced it had acquired the MOG Music Network business from MMN Media while a few months earlier, Cumulus Media revealed it would sell 55 stations in 11 different markets to Townsquare Media.

Robin Thicke Lands U.K. No. 1 With Fast-Selling ‘Blurred Lines’

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Robin Thicke Lands U.K. No. 1 With Fast-Selling ‘Blurred Lines’

 

Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” (Interscope/Universal), featuring TI and Pharrell Williams, has smashed the rapidly-changing record for the U.K.’s fastest-selling single of the year.

With sales last week of 190,000, it dramatically raised the bar of 145,000 set on the previous chart by “La LaLa” (Virgin/Universal) by Naughty Boy featuring Sam Smith, which now falls to No. 2. Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories” (Columbia/Sony Music Entertainment) started a second week atop the album chart, with 53,000 new sales for a two-week total of 218,000.

“Blurred Lines” thus easily becomes the biggest single in the U.K. for U.S. soulman Thicke, whose only previous showing was the No. 11 success “Lost Without U” in 2007. It’s also the second chart-topper to feature Williams in three weeks, following his appearance on Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” which dipped 2-3 on the new list.

There was a No. 5 debut for Jessie J’s “Wild” (Lava/Universal Republic), featuring Big Sean and Dizzie Rascal, which becomes the British singer-writer’s seventh domestic top ten hit. Demi Lovato’s “Heart Attack” (Hollywood/Universal) moved back 11-10 after its No. 3 debut two weeks ago, while a performance of “Little Talks” by Moni Tivony and Emily Worton on BBC1 talent series “The Voice” took the Universal Republic original by Of Monsters and Men racing back 41-13.

Jennifer Lopez’s latest collaboration with Pitbull, “Live It Up” (Capitol/Universal), debuted at No. 17, and south London rapper Stylo G at No. 18 with “Soundbwoy” (3 Beat/All Around The World/Universal).

Daft Punk’s album reign continued as Rod Stewart’s “Time” (Capitol/Decca/Universal), which debuted at No. 1 two weeks ago, spent another week in runner-up spot. Laura Marling’s “Once I Was An Eagle” (Virgin/Universal) opened at No. 3, beating the No. 4 peak of each of her last two albums, 2010’s “I Speak Because I Can” and 2011’s “A Creature I Don’t Know.”

A raft of titles climbing in the top ten included Passenger’s “All The Little Lights” (Nettwerk), up 7-4; Rudimental’s “Home” (Asylum/Warner Music), 6-5; Bastille’s “Bad Blood” (Virgin/Universal), 13-6; Bruno Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox” (Atlantic/Warner Music), 16-7; Ellie Goulding’s “Halcyon” (Polydor/Universal), 38-9; and Emeli Sandé’s indestructible “Our Version of Events” (Virgin/Universal) which, after its first-ever week outside the top ten last week, rebounded 15-10.

London girl group Stooshe’s debut set “London With The Lights On” (Future Cut/Q Works/Warner Bros./Warner Music) opened at No. 8. On the compilation chart, the nine-week reign of “Now That’s What I Call Music! 84” (EMI TV/UMTV/Universal) was ended by the three-disc collection that celebrates the redoubtable series’ upcoming 30th anniversary, “Now That’s What I Call 30 Years” (Sony Music/Virgin EMI).

Michael Douglas: oral sex caused my throat cancer

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Michael Douglas: oral sex caused my throat cancer

Michael Douglas said the cancer followed his contraction of HPV  Photo: AP

By Nick Allen in Los Angeles

The Oscar-winning star went into detail about the cause of his illness for the first time in an interview with the Guardian.

It had been assumed by some that the cancer could have been related to his years of smoking, but the Basic Instinct star said it followed his contraction of HPV (human papillomavirus), a sexually-transmitted virus that is best known as a common cause of cervical cancer, but which can also cause throat cancer.

Asked if he regretted having smoked, the actor told the newspaper: “No. Because without wanting to get too specific, this particular cancer is caused by HPV which actually comes about from cunnilingus.

“I did worry if the stress caused by my son’s incarceration didn’t help trigger it. But yeah, it’s a sexually transmitted disease that causes cancer.”

He jokingly added: “And if you have it, cunnilingus is also the best cure for it.”

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Warner Music Group Inks iRadio Deal for Publishing, Recorded-Music Licensing

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Warner Music Group on Sunday became the first major record company to sign both a publishing and a recorded music licensing deal with Apple Inc. for the upcoming Internet radio service that many have dubbed “iRadio,” sources say.

Universal Music Group on May 9 also nailed a deal with Apple for a radio streaming service, but rights for Universal’s publishing licenses are still being hashed out. Apple also is still pursuing agreements from Sony Music Entertainment and Sony/ATV.

If Apple succeeds in sealing up all remaining licenses, the Cupertino, Calif., company could announce the service as early as June 10 at its World Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco. Most industry executives knowledgable with the talks are confident Apple will ultimately secure all the rights required to launch a service — the only question is when.

A Warner spokesman declined to comment.

The agreement with Warner calls for Apple to compensate the company at higher rates than what is currently paid by most Internet radio services such as Pandora, which pays rights holders under a compulsory licensing framework set up in 2009 through Congress, according to executives close to the negotiations. The Recording Industry Association of America has been urging lawmakers to reject Pandora’s petition to change the current method for setting royalty rates paid by Internet radio services, which roughly amounts to 0.12 cents per stream.

The agreement calls for two separate deals, one with Warner’s labels and another with Warner/Chappell Music Inc., the company’s publishing arm. Both were negotiated in parallel, an executive close to the talks said.

The recorded music deal calls for Apple to pay a per-stream rate of around 0.16 cents, similar to the rate Universal Music Group received. Like Universal, Warner also gets a percentage of ad revenue that would be generated by the Apple service, but payments would only begin after the service exceeds a certain audience threshold.

For the publishing deal, Warner/Chappell also negotiated an additional percentage of ad revenue that is more than twice the 4 percent rate paid by Pandora.

Finally, the multi-year contracts give Warner a guaranteed minimum amount of money rather than an advance.

Earlier this year, Apple had sought a far lower royalty rate of 0.08 cents per stream, but with a chance to get a larger cut of the advertising revenue Apple would generate from the radio service. Record companies rejected the initial offer, saying Apple’s terms would have put the labels in an awkward position of having to explain to Congress why that was acceptable for Apple, but not for other Internet radio services. So far, the deals with Warner and Universal avoid such a scenario.

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