Quick Hits: Madonna, Drake, Neil Young, Taylor Swift / Money Makers List
March 10, 2014

Madonna has hit the studio with Swedish EDM star Avicii. On Friday night, Madge posted a photo of herself on Instagram and wrote: "On my way to the studio to work with Avicii!" It's unclear whether the sessions are intended for a future Avicii release or Madonna's next album, although in February, she confirmed to The Canadian Press that she is working on the follow up to 2012's MDNA. "Plans are in the works already," Madonna said. "Don't ask me with who, it's a secret."

Drake has often rapped that Houston is like his second home, and now the Canadian star seems to be bringing a special concert to the southern city. Drizzy posted the news on his Instagram account on Monday morning, writing, "Houston Texas! Dates Coming Soon," along with a logo for "HAW" (Houston Appreciation Weekend). It's unclear who will perform at the show, though MTV notes that it could include Houston heroes like Bun B, Slim Thug, Paul Wall and Scarface.

Neil Young will unveil his PonoMusic service this week, and he will be selling the portable PonoPlayer via his website, www.PonoMusic.com. The new digital music service will also be available from Kickstarter, which will offer the player at a discount, beginning March 15. PonoMusic says that its music player has an intuitive LCD touch screen and contains 128 gigabytes of memory, which can store between 1,000 and 2,000 high-resolution songs. The device will also accept memory cards. The Pono store will offer music from both major and independent labels. "It's about the music, real music," Young said in a statement about his new service. "We want to move digital music into the 21st century and PonoMusic does that. We couldn't be more excited – not for ourselves, but for those that are moved by what music means in their lives."

Billboard has released its annual Money Makers list, ranking the highest-paid musicians of the past 12 months. Taylor Swift tops the list by raking in $39.7 million, based on touring, physical and digital music sales. She is followed by Kenny Chesney at #2 ($33 million); Justin Timberlake at #3 ($31.4 million); Bon Jovi at #4 ($29.4 million); and The Rolling Stones at #5 ($26.2 million). The artists on the list are ranked by U.S. earnings, calculated from touring, recorded-music sales, publishing royalties and revenue from digital music and video streaming.

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Manny Simon
VP/Adult Formats,
Republic Records

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