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Early Release Date Announced for Britney Spears Album; Garth Brooks Comes Out of Retirement

Madonna is leaving Warner Brothers Records to sign a $120-million deal with entertainment promoter Live Nation, Inc. The 10-year contract calls for three new studio albums and exclusive concert promotion, plus merchandise sales and licensing of her name. Madonna still owes Warner Brothers one more studio album and a greatest hits collection. The studio album is expected to be released in 2008.

Britney Spears' new album, Blackout, will be released on October 30, two weeks before its original due date. A Jive Records representative says, "due to numerous unauthorized online leaks, the label is doing everything possible to prevent and avoid any further illegal distribution of songs." The first single from Blackout is a song called "Gimme More." The track holds at Number 3 on this week's Hot 100 chart (week ending October 20).

Garth Brooks will come out of retirement next month to perform nine concerts in Kansas City, Missouri. He was originally scheduled to play one concert as a thank-you to Walmart for their marketing efforts, but later decided to open ticket sales to the public. The show sold out in minutes. Garth's wife, Trisha Yearwood, says, "Garth was making breakfast and had the cell phone on speaker when the tickets were selling out, and it was like the stock market - he just kept going and going for one show after another." The concerts will take place at Kansas City's 18,000-seat Spring Center November 5 through November 12 and November 14.

On October 16, Sony/Legacy will release the Luther Vandross compilation Love, Luther. The 56-track 4-CD box set includes all of the late singer's hits from his 25 years in music, some live performances, plus six previously unreleased songs.

The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Foundation will hold its 2007 inductions on October 14 at Nashville's Renaissance Hotel. This year's Hall of Fame honorees include songwriter Bob DiPiero, bluegrass duo Flatt & Scruggs, songwriter Mac McAnally, gospel legend Dottie Rambo and Country/Southern-rock singer-songwriter Hank Williams, Jr.

The Eagles and the Dixie Chicks will open the new Nokia Theater in Los Angeles with a series of six concerts, set to take place October 18, 20, 21, 24, 26 and 27. The 7100-seat theater will be the new home to the Grammy Awards, which were previously held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

On October 19, FOX-TV will launch the new American Idol series "The Next Great American Band." Bands from all genres will perform audition rounds for a place in the Top 12. The final three will compete for a recording deal with 19 Recordings. The contestants will be required to perform both original and cover songs. Judges include percussionist Sheila E., Goo Goo Dolls lead singer John Rzeznik, and "Australian Idol" judge Ian Dickson. New Zealand Idol's Dominic Bowden will host the series. Viewer votes will determine the winner.


New albums scheduled for release on October 16 include: "Here I Am" by Eve, "Chase This Light" by Jimmy Eat World, "R.E.M. Live" (double-CD/DVD) by R.E.M., "A Classic Christmas" by Toby Keith, "The Art of Love and War" by Angie Stone, "It's A Wonderful Christmas" by Michael W. Smith, "Chrome Dreams II" by Neil Young, "Ultimate Santana" (features three previously unreleased songs and one new track) by Santana, and "City of Dreams: A Collection of New Orleans Music" by various artists.


Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Linkin Park and Daughtry lead the nominees for the 2007 American Music Awards. Each received three mentions. Double nominees include Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw, Akon, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Young Jeezy, T.I. and Carrie Underwood. Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel will host the awards ceremony, which takes place November 18 in Los Angeles.


The numbers are in for this year's top summer tours. The Police lead the list by grossing $91.3 million. In second place is Country star Kenny Chesney, who brought in $62.5 million. Rounding out the Top 5 are Tim McGraw and Faith Hill with $38.2 million, Celine Dion with $24 million and the Dave Matthews Band with $23.6 million. The Police, Kenny Chesney and Celine Dion sold out every show. Billboard Boxscore reported concert grosses between May 1 and September 3. Boxscore's tour grosses during that period totaled $926.5 million.

Blues greats Buddy Guy, Robert Randolph, Jonny Lang and Kenny Wayne Shepherd begin their five-city "Experience Hendrix Tour" on October 16 in Washington, D.C. Concerts are also scheduled in New York City; Hampton Beach, New Hampshire; Atlantic City, New Jersey; and Waterbury, Connecticut.

On October 18, 14-year-old Miley Cyrus, a.k.a. Hannah Montana, will kick off a 54-date North American tour in St. Louis, Missouri. Ticket prices range from $26 to $66, but scalpers are getting much more. One ticket for Miley's November 27 concert in Charlotte, North Carolina was sold for more than $2500. The outing is scheduled to wrap up on January 8, 2008 in Albany, New York.