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Reprinted with permission from Hits Magazine

April 23, 2007

It was a weekend in which the NBA favorites, the Mavericks and Spurs, took a tumble, the Yankees got swept in Fenway, the Mets stumbled against their arch-rivals the Braves, Barry Bonds continued his steroid-assisted assault on Hank Aaron's home run record, Disturbia once again ruled the weekend box office and The Sopranos offered a prescient plot line, while Avril Lavigne and Nine Inch Nails storm the top of the charts.

Did anyone else find this week's edition of HBO's amazing series, in which a troubled Asian kid with anger problems adopts Corrado "Uncle Junior" Soprano in the halfway house where they both live, an eerie premonition of the Virginia Tech massacre? Between that and Tony deciding whether to wack Paulie on a boat trip that recalled Big Pussy's demise—the big guy even returns to make sure we get the reference—it was one of the most compelling episodes yet. Three down and six to go. Oh yeah... there's a collect call for you from a Mr. Alec Baldwin... care to accept?

At the weekend box office, as the movie biz prepares for the May 4 opening of the summer blockbuster season with Sony's Spider-Man 3, DreamWorks' Disturbia, which grossed $13.5m in the U.S. and Canada for Paramount Pictures, returned to #1. New Line Cinema's well-reviewed Fracture, with Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling, opened at a solid # 2 with an estimated $11.2 million in weekend ticket sales. Sony Pictures' horror-thriller Vacancy, expected to challenge for the top spot, finished #4 with an estimated $7.6 million. Blades of Glory, which has now racked up more than $100 million, was #3 with $7.8 million. Universal's British comedy action movie Hot Fuzz landed at #6 with $5.8 million, while Warner Bros.' In the Land of Women finished #8 with $5.8 million Overall ticket sales of $85 million were down 22% from the same weekend in 2006, while Y-T-D revenue is up 4.7% and attendance has risen 2.4%. This weekend's release slate includes the sci-fi thriller Next with Nicolas Cage, the teen mystery The Invisible, the action movie The Condemned, with wrestler "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Jamie Kennedy's break-dancing comedy Kickin' It Old Skool.

Avril Lavigne's third Arista album, The Best Damn Thing, should prove to be just that for the beleaguered record biz as it is poised to debut at #1 with a total that could approach 250k, while Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor's multimedia, cyberpunk Year Zero is looking at 200k in first-week sales for a #2 bow. Lyric Street's American Idol entry Bucky Covington could well nail a Top 5 entry with more than 60k in sales for his debut.

Look for Joss Stone tonight on Jay Leno and The Exies on the Craig Ferguson show.

The Arctic Monkeys return with their sophomore album, Favourite Worst Nightmare, which seems to have caught the fancy of both the L.A. Times' Richard Cromelin here and the N.Y. Times' Jon Pareles here.

The N.Y. Times' Ben Ratliff ponders the significance of band reunions in the wake of the Police and Rage Against the Machine comebacks here.

The N.Y. Times explains how Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez picked Mims' "This is Why I'm Hot" to accompany his sizzling start here.

The N.Y. Times' Pareles admires Patty Griffin's show at the Beacon here.

The L.A. Times notes that a pair of rappers, Asian-American Jin and Lil Flip, have already composed hip-hop songs to deal with the Virginia Tech tragedy here.

The L.A. Times' Richard Cromelin will take you there, paying tribute to the great Mavis Staples and her new album of civil rights protest songs here, as does the N.Y. Daily News' Jim Farber here.

The N.Y. Times' Bill Carter ponders what a difference a year makes, as old-school mimic Rich Little replaces the controversial Stephen Colbert at the annual White House Correspondents' dinner in D.C. here.

The N.Y. Daily News touts Russell Simmons' new book, Do You!, here.

The N.Y. Daily News' Jim Farber assesses the new Joni Mitchell tribute album here.

ON THIS DATE
In 1956: Elvis Presley played Las Vegas for the first time. The response from middle-aged audiences was so poor that Presley fulfilled only one week of his two-week stand.
In 1960: In Caversham, England, a very young John Lennon and Paul McCartney performed together as The Nerk Twins.
In 1975: Pete Ham of Badfinger hanged himself in his London garage. He was 27.
In 1977: A Siouxsie & The Banshees performance at London's Roxy Club inspired audience member Stuart Goddard to form The Ants. He later became international pop star Adam Ant.
In 1978: As filming continued on for The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle, Sex Pistol Sid Vicious recorded his interpretation of Frank Sinatra's "My Way."
In 1981: Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins, the three members of the original Million Dollar Quartet with Elvis Presley, reunited onstage in West Germany. The subsequent live album was called The Survivors.
In 1987: Carole King sued her former mentor Lou Adler for breach of contract. King said he owed her $400k in back royalties and the rights to her old recordings. At the end of the '60s, it was impresario Adler who convinced the songwriter to perform her own material.
In 1991: Johnny Thunders died from a drug overdose in New Orleans. The former New York Doll was 38.
In 1993: Mick Mars from Mötley Crüe filed for divorce from Emi-Canyn.
In 1993: The musical Tommy premiered on Broadway.
In 1997: At the Country Music Awards, 14-year-old LeAnn Rimes won three awards.
In 1999: Garth Brooks and Billy Ray Cyrus were among the country celebs that took part in Charlie Daniels' Volunteer Jam '99 concert in Nashville.
In 2003: Courtney Love placed an ad in New York's Village Voice looking for new band members.
In 2003: Bruce Springsteen defended The Dixie Chicks, who suffered a backlash after they criticized President George W. Bush. In a statement, he declared, "To me, they're terrific American artists expressing American values by using their American right to free speech. For them to be banished wholesale from radio stations, and even entire radio networks for speaking out is un-American."
In 2003: Twisted Sister announced they were reforming to do a USO tour of military bases in Korea.
In 2004: Green Day issued a statement to counter a widespread rumor that frontman Billie Joe Armstrong had died. "Despite what you may have heard rumored on the internet," the band said, "Billie Joe did not recently die in a car accident."
In 2004: Lawyers for "Cheeseburgers in Paradise" singer Jimmy Buffett forced a Maryland hamburger stand owner to change the name of his eatery from Cheeseburgers 'n' Paradise to Beef 'n' Buns 'n' Paradise.
In 2004: Eminem performed with D12 at the rap crew's London show.


HITS magazine is the most powerful information vehicle in the music industry, and is read religiously by all the top executives and everyone else.




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Reprinted with permission from Hits Magazine

April 24, 2007

Pop-punk diva Lavigne returns with her third Arista release, The Best Damn Thing, which takes #1 on the HITS Top 50 Album chart with almost 290k in first-week sales.

That's more than enough to outdistance the week's other big newcomer, Nine Inch Nails' Year Zero, Trent Reznor's future shock vision of a troubled world, backed by a comprehensive Internet campaign that adds context to the sci-fi tale in the form of a cyber scavenger hunt for fans. The album sells more than 187k in first-week tallies, debuting at #2.

The Top 10's other newcomer is Lyric Street's sleeper Bucky Convington, a former American Idol contestant who scores 62k in sales, good for #4.

Holdovers include EMI's Now 24 (#3), SBMG Nashville's HITS cover gal Martina McBride (#5), RCA/RMG's Daughtry (#6), Curb's Tim McGraw (#7), SRC/Universal Motown's Akon (#8), Arista/RMG's Carrie Underwood (#9) and Interscope's Timbaland (#10).

Chart debuts are registered by Curb's Clay Walker (#14) and TVT's Lumidee (#49), while Mercury Nashville's Sugarland (#36) and LaFace/ZLG's Pink (#44) re-enter.

Last week's nationally televised CMT 07 Music Awards led to some major advances on the charts for McBride (+28%), who appeared on last week's American Idol, along with Underwood (+30%), also exploding at Pop radio, Lyric Street's Rascal Flatts (#38-26, +29%) and MCA Nashville's Gary Allan (#46, +23%).

Other gains are registered by Star Trak/Interscope's Robin Thicke (#19-11, +49%) and the week's biggest mover, A&M/Interscope's Fergie (#21-12, +57%), as well as a pair of Virgin rock development stories in Red Jumpsuit Apparatus (#47, +30%) and 30 Seconds to Mars (#50, +19%).

Next week, look for Domino U.K. sensations Arctic Monkeys' sophomore album Favourite Worst Nightmare to crash the charts, along with Jive/ZLG's Joe.


HITS magazine is the most powerful information vehicle in the music industry, and is read religiously by all the top executives and everyone else.




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Reprinted with permission from Hits Magazine

April 25, 2007

If you thought politics resembled an episode of Survivor, you're not the only one.

Television's most successful reality producer and America's most popular website are teaming up to create Independent, a groundbreaking political reality show.

Mark Burnett and MySpace are uniting to find the nation's next great politician through an online, offline, on-air multimedia campaign expected to launch in early 2008.

The interactive television series will attempt to engage and empower young Americans to participate in the political process at an unprecedented level. In the reality-based competition, America will select a candidate whom they feel will best reflect the voice of young citizens.

"Independent represents a giant leap in the re-democratization of American politics," said MySpace CEO/Co-Founder Chris DeWolfe.

"MySpace puts political power back in the hands of everyday people and Independent takes it to a whole new level," added Tom Anderson, President, Co-founder of MySpace and Trakin's only online friend.

"Through this new network television series and the partnership of MySpace, we're going to discover in a big way, what America really thinks, and bring to light the issues that are closest to those who now finally have a chance to be heard," said Mark Burnett. "The largest number of eyeballs able to be reached at any one time is still network television. But clearly, the world's largest social networking community is found on MySpace and this huge, powerful group of young Americans will definitely generate strong opinions, and unquestionable influence. What will the Independent community say? What will they decide? We're going to hear in a big way, what America really thinks!"

Probably the fact Don Imus is a bum, but that's another story.

The contestants on Indepedent will be out in the public each day, interacting with supporters, protestors, activists, and everyone in-between. Through an interactive town-hall environment, they will receive feedback from the viewing public both within the network television series and online through the MySpace community.

The winner will receive an award of one million dollars that they cannot keep. What they do with that million dollars is subject to a list of options, all political in nature, but the choice the winner makes will be greatly influenced by the MySpace community and the viewers of the network television show.

Will the winner choose to donate the money to a political action groups (e.g. global warming or education reform)? Will they provide the initial donation to form a third political party that better represents the voices of young Americans? Will they make their own run for the White House in 2008? All of these decisions will be shaped by viewers who watch the show, and influence our winner.

All candidates interested in running as Independent will submit themselves via MySpace Video. Once the candidates are chosen, each will create MySpace Impact profiles to serve as their campaign platform.

Over the course of the series, through a combination of Internet-powered direct democracy and the broad reach of TV, viewers will be empowered to put a genuine stamp on which issues they care about most and identify the one who truly represents them.

Issues and challenges presented to Independent candidates will be proposed by the MySpace community and battled out in the hometowns of those most affected by the issue. In addition, prominent national politicians will be invited to participate in the show as well.

Through the politically focused Impact Channel, MySpace recently announced community-wide straw polls beginning in May and the MySpace Presidential Primary held January 1 and 2 of next year.

MySpace and Mark Burnett will be taking Independent to networks to determine the most appropriate broadcast partner.


HITS magazine is the most powerful information vehicle in the music industry, and is read religiously by all the top executives and everyone else.




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By Kenny Kerner

If the name Lordi doesn't mean anything to you now, it will. This is a band from Finland that is a cross between KISS and Night of the Living Dead. But they're more than image alone as the guys recently won a local songwriting contest. Their debut CD, Arockalypse is out now on the End Records.

Look for the Van Halen reunion to sell out venues everywhere once it finally takes off. Diamond David Lee Roth joins Eddie and Alex Van Halen and Eddie's son Wolfie on bass. Tour will rock 40 cities with Live Nation doing the promotion.

After 30 years of continued growth, many industry insiders really believe that Hip-Hop/Rap music is on the decline—both in popularity and in sales. They attribute this to people finally having enough negativity in the genre.

Under the heading of Everything Old is New Again, make way for Phil Collins, Tony Banks, and Mike Rutherford touring North America in the Genesis Reunion tour that will touch down September 7 in BMO Field, Toronto. Band will play the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on October12. Top price for seats will be $225 though Collins insists the band is "not doing this for the money." To supplement the tour, Rhino will be releasing a 12-disc boxed set called Genesis: 1976-1981 featuring plenty of newly remixed versions of old favorites.

Make sure you check out the annual ACM Awards show on CBS on May 15. This year, it's being broadcast from Las Vegas. George Strait was nominated for a total of eight ACM Awards, including one for entertainer of the year.

Hawthorne Heights won a partial victory in court in early March when a judge declared that their label, Victory Records, does not own exclusive rights to the band's recording services thus allowing the act to record for someone else!


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