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Music News

First up is the news that one of music's most successful major label artists is going indie. Jay-Z gave notice to Def Jam, the label for which he formerly served as president. He plans on being a“a completely independent artist.”But, given his 360 deal with Live Nation, Jim and Greg aren't sure this statement carries much weight.

In other hip hop news, rapper T.I. has headed off to jail this week. He‘ll be serving a one year and one day sentence on a weapon charge. While this is not the first time an esteemed musician has served prison time, it is unique that both T.I.’s albums and singles are thriving on the Billboard charts. So while the "King of the South" takes a time out, his career moves on full steam ahead.

After years of singing about darkness and pain, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails is showing his softer side. He has helped a 27-year-old fan raise more than $800,000 for a life-saving heart transplant. By asking fans to pay $350 for pre-show access and $1000 for dinner with the band, he has been successfully helping Eric de la Cruz to reach his goal. In one day alone, Reznor took in $250,000, proving he really is the master of web marketing and distribution.

Music fans were sad to learn of the death of Jay Bennett this week. The multi-instrumentalist and former Wilco member died at the age of 45. While the cause of death is not known, what is known is Bennett's great talent. Many people take their image of him from the Wilco film I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, but Jim and Greg both believe Bennett will be sorely missed and stress the positive effect he had on the band's music. In honor of Jay Bennett, they play "Pieholden Suite," from Wilco's 1999 album Summerteeth.

Go to episode 183

Music News

After a two-year battle, a web royalty agreement has been reached that won't put webcasters out of business. In 2007 the copyright royalty board ruled that webcasters needed to pay a fee of 0.08 cents each time a listener streamed wa song which would increase annually to 0.19 cents in 2015. That would've bankrupted many web music services like Pandora Radio. Now, large webcasters must pay 25 percent of total revenue.

Michael Jackson's death is still making big news this week. Friends and family hosted a memorial tribute to the late“King of Pop”on Tuesday. And Jackson's music continued to dominate the charts. In fact sales went up 90% with 800,000 albums sold. As Jim and Greg explain, this will go down as the last great week of physical album sales. And the good news continues for music retailers– a CD and DVD of both the memorial show and his tour rehearsals will be released this year.

A few weeks ago Jim and Greg talked about Trent Reznor's involvement with heart patient Eric De La Cruz. Reznor asked Nine Inch Nails fans to donate money toward a heart transplant in exchange for VIP access, special tickets and more. Unfortunately De La Cruz died last week before a transplant could take place.

In other Nine Inch Nails news, final tour dates have been announced for Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. As Reznor explained to Jim and Greg during their recent interview, this will be the last go-around for Nine Inch Nails, but certainly not the last of his music.

Go to episode 189