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Beyonce's '4' a Billboard Hit; Madonna Working on New Album

Beyonce's "4" CD

Beyonce's 4 a Billboard Hit

Beyonce debuts at Number One on this week’s Billboard 200 chart with her fourth album, 4. According to Nielsen SoundScan, the collection sold 310,000 copies its first week of release. Beyonce follows Britney Spears as the second female artist to enter the Billboard 200 at Number One with her first four albums. The first single from 4 peaked at Number 29 on the Hot 100 chart, making it the only track from Beyonce’s four albums to not reach the Top 10.

Nielsen, Soundscan, Billboard Report Music Purchase Increase

The numbers are in for record sales during the first half of 2011. For the first time since 2004, Nielsen SoundScan and Billboard’s midyear report show an increase in purchases of recorded music. Overall sales of albums, singles and music videos are up 8.5 percent over 2010’s midyear report. Jim Donio, president of the National Association of Recording Merchandisers offered several reasons for the upswing. They include the October 2010 court-ordered shutdown of the peer-to-peer file-sharing website Limewire, releases from popular television shows like Glee and American Idol, social media’s role in bringing new release schedules to consumers, and additional paid digital download sites.

Eminem's 'Recovery' Sells 1 Million Digital Downloads

Eminem's Recovery album
Eminem's Recovery album

Last week, Eminem’s 2010 Grammy-winning album, Recovery, became the first collection to sell one million digital downloads in the United States. Adding in physical sales of the album brings its U.S. total to 3.9 million copies. Nielsen SoundScan reports that Adele is close behind Eminem’s digital record with her latest album, 21. The set is expected to reach the one-million mark in downloads this week.

Madonna Working on New Album

Madonna's "Hard Candy" CD
Madonna's "Hard Candy" CD

Madonna’s manager, Guy Oseary, recently announced on Twitter that the pop star is working on the follow-up to her 2008 album, Hard Candy. He said Madonna will begin recording her 12th studio album next month. After wrapping up her “Sticky & Sweet” tour in late 2009, she launched her chain of Hard Candy Fitness Centers and the Material Girl clothing line with her daughter Lourdes.

Idol Finalist Pia Signs Record Deal

Pia Toscano
Pia Toscano

2011 American Idol finalist Pia Toscano has signed a recording deal with Interscope Records. This week (July 12), the label will release her debut single, “This Time.” Pia is currently performing with the show’s other ten finalists on the “American Idol Live! Tour.” Her debut album is expected to be out later this year.

Musical Events/Festivals/Benefits:

On July 10, songwriting legends Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff were in Washington, D.C. to take part in Philadelphia International Records’ 40th anniversary tribute on the National Mall. The event is part of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival’s Rhythm and Blues Program. Following their panel discussion with Rex Ellis, who is the Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the evening will conclude with performances by the Soul Survivors, Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes and special guest Amazing Grace Little.

New Album Release /July 12:

“Red River Blue” by Blake Shelton
“All Of You” by Colbie Caillat
“If Not Now, When?” by Incubus
“Neon” by Chris Young
“Fly From Here” by Yes
“Just Me” by Brian McKnight
“Where Country Grows” by Ashton Shepherd
“Little Bird” by Kasey Chambers
“Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” original motion picture soundtracks
“X-Men: First Class” original motion picture soundtracks

Look Who's Going On Tour!

Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney

On July 15, Paul McCartney will kick off his “On The Run” North American tour with his first ever concert at New York’s Yankee Stadium. An overwhelming demand for tickets led him to add a second date at the stadium on July 16. “We have a few dates lined up over the summer and autumn, some real nice ones that haven’t been announced yet," McCartney said. We always love playing in America.” His 2010 “Up and Coming Tour” drew more than one million fans.