Quick Hits: Jay-Z, Nine Inch Nails, Justin Bieber, Kanye West, Bruce Springsteen, Slipknot, Carly Rae Jepsen, Firefly Music Festival
June 20, 2013

Billboard Editor Bill Werde has written an extensive letter online, explaining why the million copies of Jay-Z's upcoming album being given away by Samsung won't count on the Nielsen SoundScan sales chart. Werde writes that "it wasn't as simple as you might think to turn down Jay-Z when he requested that we count the million albums that Samsung 'bought' as part of a much larger brand partnership, to give away to Samsung customers. True, nothing was actually for sale -- Samsung users will download a Jay-branded app for free and get the album for free a few days later after engaging with some Jay-Z content. The passionate and articulate argument by Jay's team that something was for sale and Samsung bought it also doesn't mesh with precedent." As previously reported, Magna Carta Holy Grail will be released to Samsung users who have downloaded the Jay-Z app on July 4, and hits retailers three days later. You can read Werde's complete letter here.
     In other Hova news, the rap superstar and his company Roc Nation Sports have been officially approved to represent NBA players. The NBA Players Association certified Roc Nation Sports this week, and Sports Business Daily notes, "Anyone can represent athletes for marketing, but in order to negotiate playing contracts, agents must be certified by the unions that represent players in the NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL."

Trent Reznor
The full tracklist for Nine Inch Nails' upcoming album Hesitation Marks has been revealed, and the album features a handful of special guests as well. According to Rolling Stone, Hesitation Marks features contributions from Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham, King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew (who at one point was slated to tour as a member of NIN this year) and bassist Pino Palladino, who has toured extensively with The Who. The 14-track album will be released on September 3 via Columbia.

Justin Bieber says he's not only going to release another movie, but new music just as well – this year. Bieber tweeted optimistically, "Rest of the world tour, movie, and #NEWMUSIC all coming this year! never stop working. #focused" on June 19.

E! News has confirmed that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's newborn daughter is named North West. The baby arrived five weeks early on June 15, 2013 at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles. An source of E! claiming to be close to the couple said, "They will call her Nori for short" and that the child will have no middle name.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band played the entire album Born To Run in tribute to The Sopranos star James Gandolfini, who died this Wednesday of a heart attack while vacationing in Italy. The performance was to an audience in Coventry, England at Ricoh Arena. Springsteen called Gandolfini "our great friend." Of course, E Street Band member Little Steven Van Zandt was a member of the Sopranos cast also and knew Gandolfini well.

Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison revealed the details for his new side project: Scar The Martyr. The album, produced by Rhys Fulber (Fear Factory, Rob Zombie) is due to arrive this Fall via Roadrunner Records. The album, written by Jordison and lead vocalist Henry Derek, included in the studio keyboardist Chris Vrenna (Nine Inch Nails), and guitarists Jed Simon (Strapping Young Lad) and Kris Norris (Darkest Hour,) who both performed all lead guitars on the album. "With this project, I focused my efforts on writing for the better of the song," said Jordison. "I wasn't worried about flash or persona... It's all about writing a good solid song. I'm writing music that people can grasp and hold on to...something that resonates. If you don't have that, then you have nothing."

Canadian pop star Carly Rae Jepsen says that as soon as she finished 2012's album Kiss, she started working on new material. Jepsen told Billboard she has "three songs from the batch I've written on the road that I think are keepers. I can kind of explain it in some ways, and in other ways I'd rather not and let myself go in and create it." She added, "My favorite pop artists at the moment are RobynKimbra, La Roux and Dragonette. And I think I have a folky side in my blood from what I used to listen to with my parents, and it'll be fun to incorporate of that more in the verses of the pop songs, a little something deeper to the verses. That's what I love about the pop stars I just named, is they don't do just your regular kind of pop songs. There's some stuff to hold onto and dig into. That's what I want to do." She mentioned that she felt that Kiss was a bit rushed, "so I think I'll be kind of taking my time to make sure what I'm putting out there next feels like the strongest thing I can make."

Delaware's Firefly Music Festival had to make some last minute rearranges to their lineup after The Lumineers and Earl Sweatshirt both canceled due to medical conditions. Ben Harper and Schoolboy Q will fill in the gaps left by the two. Earl Sweatshirt recently dropped out of Bonnaroo due to pneumonia, having tweeted "To everyone who think im being overdramatic, go get pneumonia and then try singing 'whoa' all the way through with no hypeman," last week. The Lumineers announced on their official website, "It is with great regret that we have to announce that due to an illness in the band, The Lumineers will not be able to perform at the Firefly Music Festival this coming weekend. We were all extremely excited to be a part of this great event and share our music with you, but the health and well-being of the band along with giving the fans the best possible performance remain our top priority. Unfortunately given the circumstances, both of those things would be in jeopardy if we went ahead with our set this Sunday."

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Manny Simon
VP/Adult Formats,
Republic Records

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