The “King of the Blues”, guitarist and singer BB King, has died aged 89.
King, known for his hits My Lucille, Sweet Little Angel and Rock Me Baby, died in his sleep in Las Vegas.
Born in Mississippi, King began performing in the 1940s, going on to influence a generation of musicians, and working with Eric Clapton and U2.
Once ranked as the third greatest guitarist of all time, he had been suffering ill health in recent months.
He was recently taken to hospital with a diabetes-related illness.
Fellow musicians paid tribute to King, including Lenny Kravitz who tweeted: “BB, anyone could play a thousand notes and never say what you said in one.”
Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora added: “My friend and legend BB King passed. I’m so so sad, he was so great to me. We’ve lost the King. My love and prayers to his family.”
Former Beatle Ringo Starr tweeted: “God bless BB King, peace and love to his family.”
Actor Hugh Laurie said: “Oh God. BB King. Let the sad times roll.”
And singer Will Young added: “BB King- the most wonderful blues singer and guitarist. I suggest everyone gets one of his records to hear true soul and spirit.”
A former farmhand, King was awarded his 15th Grammy award in 2009 for his album One Kind Favor.
He was also inducted into both the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Rolling Stone magazine placed him behind only Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman in its list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.
Until recently, King performed in at least 100 concerts a year.
He fused together both jazz and blues on his beloved guitar, a Gibson ES-355 he lovingly dubbed “Lucille”.
In the early part of his career, he played to exclusively black audiences, but his heartfelt vocals and undeniable talent saw him embraced by a much broader fanbase as time went on – touring Europe and topping the charts.
Younger musicians such as Clapton and Steve Miller, who admired his work, introduced him to a new generation of fans in the late ’60s with hits like The Thrill is Gone.
Albums such as Live at County Cook Jail and BB King in London followed.
His career was reignited in the late 1980s when he duetted with U2 on When Love Comes To Town.
At the turn of the millennium, aged 75, he once again achieved major commercial success with the Eric Clapton collaboration Riding With the King.
“King’s is now the name most synonymous with the blues, much as Louis Armstrong’s once was with jazz,” critic Francis Davis wrote in his 1995 book The History of the Blues. “You don’t have to be a blues fan to have heard of King.”
Not only is Spotify one of the top competitors when it comes to streaming services but it is also the most valuable. The Wall Street Journal reports that Spotify is now worth more than the U.S music industry. They recently acquired $400 million more in funding, which made their worth skyrocket to $8.4 billion. The recording industry is reportedly worth about $6.8 billion.
Spotify also topped their competitor Pandora, who ranks below them with a worth of $3.5 billion. The service needs the cash to fund their business model where artists and rights holders are paid 70 percent of their revenue as royalties.
Spotify’s worth has spiked since last year, being valued at $5 billion.
Even with the huge roll-out and focus on hi-fi sound, Jay Z’s new Tidal streaming service has taken some hits. Almost immediately after its launch, music listeners complained that the $20 cost for the premium service was too expensive and some artists even denounced the brand altogether.
There are now reports Tidal’s staff is facing major upheaval as well. Andy Chen has been replaced as CEO and other positions are being reduced. Peter Tonstad, former chief executive of Tidal’s parent company Aspiro, has returned as the interim head of Tidal.
Business Insider published a statement from Tidal about Chen’s departure:
TIDAL’s new [interim] CEO is Peter Tonstad – a former CEO of parent company Aspiro Group. He has a better understanding of the industry and a clear vision for how the company is looking to change the status quo. He’s streamlining resources to ensure talent is maximized to enhance the customer experience. We’ve eliminated a handful of positions and refocused our company-wide talent to address departments that need support and cut redundancies. TIDAL’s offices globally will remain and grow: we are already hiring for several new positions now. We’re excited about our future and what’s in-store for fans who want the best listening experience.
Peter Tonstad also gave a statement to the Swedish news site Breakit:
I believe in TIDAL and what the team is doing to affect the change the music industry needs. We’re streamlining the company and refocusing our resources to ensure the platform continues to grow, and listeners can make a connection to their favorite artists. No one else is doing this.
While stars like Beyoncé, Madonna, Kanye West, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Alicia Keys, and J. Cole have signed on as part owners of Tidal, there are also musicians that are not supportive of the “artist-owned” platform. Rock band Mumford & Sons criticized the streaming payout for independent acts.
“I think smaller bands should get paid more for it, too. Bigger bands have other ways of making money, so I don’t think you can complain,” said frontman Marcus Mumford in an interview withThe Daily Beast . “A band of our size shouldn’t be complaining. And when they say it’s artist-owned, it’s owned by those rich, wealthy artists.”
British singer-songwriter Lily Allen also blasted Tidal’s potential unfair treatment of rising artists. In a series of tweets, she wrote, “People are going to swarm back to pirate sites in droves, sending traffic to torrent sites. Up-and-coming (not yet millionaires) artists are going to suffer as a result… my concern is that Tidal may set emerging artists back.”
For a split second, it seemed the world was about to experience another “Kanye Moment” when legendary performer Prince revealed Beck had won the 2015 Grammy award for “Album Of The Year.” Most of the crowd – including Beck – was stunned the alternative rocker’s Morning Phase was honored for the biggest prize of the night, and Ye jumped on stage in protest of Beyoncé self-titled LP not winning.
Unlike his infamous Taylor Swift microphone snatching incident at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, Kanye did not say a word. He just walked toward to the mic, smirked at the cameras, and returned to his seat. The “Only One” performer held his tongue during the event, but he voiced his frustrations during E!’s after show.
“I just know that the Grammys, if they want real artists to keep coming back, they need to stop playing with us. We ain’t finna play with them no more,” said Kanye. “And Beck needs to respect artistry, and he should have given his award to Beyoncé.”
As West made his way to the satge, cameras captured the reaction of Bey’s husband and Kanye’sWatch The Throne collaborator Jay Z. The Roc Nation boss initially looked disturbed that his “little brother” was about to repeat his VMA rant, but Jay and most of the crowd ended up laughing off Kanye’s move.
Even though Jay, Beyoncé, and many of the viewing audience saw the situation as simply a funny reference to Kanye’s Swift incident, Ye later expressed that he was very serious about making a statement on what he saw as disrespect by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. According to the Chicago native, his family and his business were what blocked him from speaking out during the Grammy broadcast.
“I got my wife, I got my daughter, and I got my clothing line. So I’m not finna do nothing to put my daughter at risk, but I am here to fight for creativity,” West added. “That’s the reason why I didn’t say anything tonight, but y’all know what it meant when Ye walked out on that stage.”
“Music’s Biggest Night” took place in Los Angeles on Sunday. Hip Hop legend LL Cool J was on hand to host the festivities as the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences awarded numerous golden gramophones to musicians across all genres.
British singer Sam Smith was the big winner of the night. The “Stay With Me” performer won 4 awards including “Record of the Year” and “Best New Artist.” Global icon Beyoncé had a good night as well. Mrs. Carter walked away with 3 Grammys. Those victories lifted her career total to 20, second most for a woman behind Alison Krauss (27).
Iggy Azalea went into the night as the favorite to pick up the “Best Rap Album” trophy, but she lost the award to Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP 2. Slim Shady was also honored with “Best Rap/Sung Collaboration” for his song “The Monster” featuring Rihanna.
Pharrell Williams 3 nabbed awards including “Best Urban Contemporary Album” (G I R L) and “Best Pop Solo Performance” (“Happy”). The evening’s biggest surprise came when Beck’sMorning Phase was announced as the winner for “Album Of The Year” over Beyoncé’s Beyoncéand Sam Smith’s In the Lonely Hour.
Kendrick Lamar was famously shut out at the 2014 Grammys when Macklemore & Ryan Lewis swept most of the Rap categories. The TDE emcee got love from the Academy this year. He scored two awards – “Best Rap Performance” and “Best Rap Song” for “i.”
One of the big 2014 business stories involving the music industry was the fact that consumers are now leaning more towards streaming music as opposed to purchasing albums. It appears one Hip Hop mogul is looking to get in on the growing trend by buying his own streaming services.
Reuters reports Jay’s S. Carter Enterprises subsidiary Project Panther put in a $56 million bid for Aspiro. The Scandinavian company controls the streaming services WiMP and Tidal. Aspiro’s main shareholder, Schibsted, has accepted the offer.
This will put Jay in direct competition with other streaming giants like Spotify and Apple’s Beats Music. Project Panther refered to Aspiro as “an innovative high-quality company with strong future growth potential.”
Aspiro’s WiMP reportedly has 512,000 paying subscribers in Europe. Its more expensive HiFi version, Tidal, is said to have 20,000 subscribers. Tidal launched in the U.S. in October 2014 with a monthly subscription price of $19.99.
LL Cool J will be handling the hosting duties once again for the 2015 Grammys. This will be LL’s fourth time hosting the annual ceremony.
“I’m thrilled to again be part of Music’s Biggest Night,” the NCIS: LA star said in a statement. “The performances and moments you see on the Grammy stage are nothing less than amazing throughout the years and this year’s show is shaping up to be one you will never forget.”
The self-proclaimed G.O.A.T of hip-hop first hosted the awards back in 2012.
Performers include Usher, Pharrell, Common and John Legend, Sam Smith and more. Tune into the awards at 8 p.m EST on CBS Feb. 8th.
There is a legal war brewing between video site YouTube and licensing management company Global Music Rights headed by Irving Azoff. The dispute is over the performance rights for 20,000 songs by GMR represented acts like Pharrell Williams, John Lennon, and more.
The Hollywood Reporter reports:
Azoff has informed YouTube that it lacks performance rights for these 20,000 songs — including ones by Smokey Robinson, Chris Cornell, and George and Ira Gershwin. Since November, when YouTube announced the coming launch of a subscription service to compete with Spotify and Pandora, Azoff has kept up the pressure to license, but Google isn’t backing down.
That’s quite upsetting to Azoff, who is prepared to launch an all-out legal war if negotiations don’t prove fruitful and if YouTube refuses to remove the works. Why YouTube and not, say, Spotify? “Because they are the ones that have been least cooperative and the company our clients feel are the worst offenders,” Azoff tells The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s also their attitude.”
GMR attorney Howard King and Google (YouTube’s parent company) lawyer David Kramer have exchanged emails over the issue. King accused YouTube of ignoring take down notices from Global and alleged the site does not have legal agreements to use licensed songs, specifically for the new streaming service Music Key.
Kramer responded by accusing GMR of three attempts to go around the notice-and-take down process established by the U.S. Congress’ Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). According to Kramer, the DMCA requires GMR to send individual take down notices with a url for each song violation. That would total likely hundreds of thousands of videos on the site.
“This will result in someone blinking, and if it is not them, there will be a billion-dollar copyright infringement lawsuit filed,” said King.
Iggy Azalea wins two big awards at the 42nd American Music Awards and Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, and A$AP Rocky perform.
Iggy Azalea beat both Eminem and Drake in the Favorite Rap/Hip Hop Album and Artist categories at the 42nd American Music Awards earlier tonight (November 23). Azalea entered the night as the most nominated artist of the year with six nominations and left with her first American Music Award for The New Classic.
“This award is the first award I’ve ever won in my entire life, and it means so much to me that it is for best Hip Hop because that’s what inspired me to move to America and pursue my dreams, and it’s what helped me when I was a teenager to escape and to get through my life and to better times,” Azalea said in her acceptance speech. “And it means so much that I can stand here against Eminem and Drake and come out with this.”
Azalea’s award wins come just days after she responded to a lyric from Eminem’s song “Vegas” in which the Detroit rapper references Azalea and says, “You don’t wanna blow that rape whistle on me.”
“Alright guy, like it or not, women can rap,” he said. “And like it or not, regardless of size, color, or nationality women can run Hip Hop. That is the conclusion I came to instantly when I ran into my little sister, the most nominated artist of the evening.”
Pitbull hosted the award show for the second consecutive year and presenters included Aloe Blacc, Jamie Foxx, Rita Ora, and more.
A$AP Rocky performed his feature verse on Sam Smith’s “I’m Not the Only One” remix just after the singer won the award for Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist.
“Black-ish” stars Anthony Anderson and Tracee Elliss ross introduced both Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj. Lil Wayne and Christina Milan performed “Start A Fire” and Minaj performed herPinkprint song “Bed Of Lies” as Skylar Grey played the piano. Watch the performance below.
Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea closed out the ceremony with a performance of their recent collaboration “Booty.”
A list of the Hip Hop and R&B winners are available below.
2014 American Music Awards Winner List
Favorite Rap/Hip Hop Album: Iggy Azalea, The New Classic
Favorite Artist Rap/Hip Hop: Iggy Azalea
Favorite Album Soul/R&B – Beyonce, Beyonce
Favorite Female Artist Soul/R&B – Beyonce
Favorite Male Artist Soul/R&B – John Legend