Island’s Legend of Johnny Cash compilation has been doing great business, on target to go over platinum within the next week or so, while Wind-up’s Walk the Line soundtrack, featuring Phoenix and Witherspoon’s own vocals, has been selling more than 20k a week.


Golden Globes, NFL, TVT vs. IDJ, Scott Storch, VNU Up for Sale, Sufjan Stevens
Brokeback Mountain. Walk the Line. Missed field goals. TVT and IDJ. Hot producer Scott Storch and hot artist Sufjan Stevens. And is Billboard’s owner about to cash out?

These are some of the hot topics being discussed around water coolers after the three-day weekend for Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

Big winners over the weekend at the Golden Globes include Brokeback Mountain, which won Best Drama, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Song, as well as Walk the Line, the Johnny Cash biopic that earned acting honors for both Joaquin Phoenix as the Man in Black and Reese Witherspoon as his wife June Carter.

Will Brokeback’s win for Gustavo Santaolalla and Bernie Taupin’s “A Love That Will Never Grow Old,” sung by Emmylou Harris in the movie, spur sales for the soundtrack on Verve Forecast, which is currently selling around 6,000 a week? How about the award for composing vet John WilliamsMemoirs of a Geisha soundtrack on Sony Classical, featuring the great Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman? Island’s Legend of Johnny Cash compilation has been doing great business, on target to go over platinum within the next week or so, while Wind-up’s Walk the Line soundtrack, featuring Phoenix and Witherspoon’s own vocals, has been selling more than 20k a week.

At any rate, going into the homestretch of Oscar voting, it sure looks like Brokeback Mountain has all the momentum, with Walk the Line showing impressive strength in the acting categories.

As for the NFL playoffs, Indianapolis Colts defensive back Nick Harper had a lost weekend. Not only did he get knifed in the knee by his wife, but he was cut down by a quarterback, with Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger making the saving tackle on the guy as he headed for the potential winning TD with no one between him and the goal line. And which goalpost was Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt aiming at? And why was Peyton Manning throwing his offensive line under the bus after the game? It’s sure looking like Seattle vs. Denver to me at this juncture for the Super Bowl (a rematch of the Broncos’ Shanahan vs. Seahwawks’ Holmgren, then of Green Bay, who won it all after the ’96 season), but I reserve the right to change my mind between now and this weekend.

The New York Post’s Tim Arango reports that the long-running court battle between TVT Records and Island Def Jam has been resolved, with a panel of judges denying TVT’s final appeal against the company it claimed reneged on a deal to allow Ja Rule to record for a Cash Money Click reunion album. The initial $132 million in damages, which was whittled down to $56 million, is now down to a mere $126,720, which TVT will receive in a breach-of-contract claim that was not appealed. What will that mean for the future of the label?

Lotsa people chattering over the N.Y. Times’ fawning profile of 32-year-old Brooklyn-born, Miami-based superstar rap producer Scott Storch, who dubs his production company Tuff Jew, and has created hits like 50 Cent’s “Candy Shop,” Mario’s “Let Me Love You,” Lil’ Kim’s “Lighters Up” and Chris Brown’s smash “Run It.” Among the tidbits: He calls himself the Meyer Lansky of hip-hop. He produced 80 tracks last year, claiming to charge anywhere from $80k-90k a song. He has a yacht named Storchavelli. He owns a fleet of 13 luxury vehicles, including a racing-green 1974 Jaguar, a white Lamborghini, a black Mercedes Maybach, and a $600k limited-edition Mercedes McClaren SLR. He wears a diamond-encrusted Piaget watch and a 32-carat canary-yellow rock on his pinky. He recently bought Paris Hilton, whose debut album he produced, a Bentley, and accompanied her to the MTV Video Awards. And he's pissed off he didn't get a Grammy nomination for Producer of the Year. Imagine.

VNU, the Dutch publishing and research company that owns ACNielsen, Billboard and the Hollywood Reporter, has been approached by a consortium of leading private equity firms, including Blackstone Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners, on a buyout that could be for as much as $8.9 billion. Analysts say the price might be on the low side, but shareholders may have little alternative but to accept the offer because no potential buyer has emerged from the media sector. VNU officials say talks were exclusive for now, but there are no guarantees a deal will take place. Amsterdam analyst Hans Slob (no, we’re not kidding) insists: “VNU, together, has not given a lot of extra shareholder value.”

Finally, the N.Y. TimesStephen Holden has chimed in on indie sensation Sufjan Stevens, whose Illinois album topped Pitchfork Media’s list of best albums of the year, after his performance at Lincoln Center: “To describe the stylistically elusive music of the 30-year-old pop composer as avant-folk is a little like calling Walt Whitman a salty regional poet... The concert embodied everything the American Songbook series is striving to be. It provided an ideal showcase for a cult figure who happens to be a major artist.”

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The musical tapestry we know as R&B.
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How is globalization bringing far-flung territories into the musical mainstream?

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