Taylor Swift releases new album, announces plans to re-record masters
Taylor Swift is making major career moves. The 29-year-old pop superstar released her seventh studio album, "Lover," on Aug. 23 to rave reviews. Album pre-sales worldwide were nearly 1 million, Republic Records founder and chairman Monte Lipman told Variety on Aug. 20. The same week, Taylor appeared on "Good Morning America" and "CBS Sunday Morning" where she revealed plans to re-record her back catalog. The songstress made the decision after Scooter Braun purchased Big Machine Label Group, which owns Taylor's early songbook, for $300 million this summer — a deal she said she learned about "when it was [posted] online."
JAY-Z rumored to buying NFL team after partnering with league on music and social justice initiatives
JAY-Z is making money moves. The hip-hop billionaire is reportedly in talks to become a part owner of an unnamed NFL team, TMZ reported on Aug 16. Sources connected to the NFL told CBS Sports on Aug. 22 that the rumor "is simply false, that there are no plans in place for the rap legend to become an NFL owner." Jay has neither confirmed nor denied the reports, but he has announced a music and social justice partnership between the league and his entertainment and sports company, Roc Nation. The father of three, who previously voiced his support for blackballed NFL quarterback and activist Colin Kaepernick, shared the news on Aug. 13 and faced immediate backlash from critics for working with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and other NFL execs. Jay will act as the league's "live music entertainment strategist."
A$AP Rocky "disappointed" after guilty verdict in Swedish assault trial
A$AP Rocky's legal troubles might be over, but he's not exactly happy with the outcome. The rapper expressed his disappointment after a Swedish court found him guilty of misdemeanor assault on Aug 14. "I AM OF COURSE DISAPPOINTED BY TODAY'S VERDICT. I WANT TO SAY THANKS AGAIN TO ALL OF MY FANS, FRIENDS, AND EVERYONE WHO SHOWED ME LOVE DURING THIS DIFFICULT TIME," he wrote in an Instagram post. "IMMA KEEP MOVING FORWARD. THANK YOU TO MY TEAM, MY MANAGEMENT, ATTORNEYS, LABEL AND EVERYONE WHO ADVOCATED FOR JUSTICE." The music star was spared additional jail time after he spent a month behind bars awaiting his trial, which kicked off in late July, but is responsible, along with two co-defendants, for paying $22,300 in restitution and legal fees to the victim, Mustafa Jafari.
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Woodstock celebrates its 50th anniversary following memorial concert cancellation
The Woodstock Musical Festival was remembered by fans and former concert attendees and musical acts on the 50th anniversary of the event this month. Back in 1969, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Sly & the Family Stone and Santana were among the artists who performed during the multi-day concert, which took place from Aug. 15 to 18. Over 400,000 fans were reportedly in attendance at the festival, which highlighted the impactful culture of the 1960s. Michael Lang, co-founder of Woodstock, attempted to memorialize the festival with a celebratory concert, Woodstock 50, but called the event off on Aug. 1 after months of drama. "We are saddened that a series of unforeseen setbacks has made it impossible to put on the Festival we imagined with the great line-up we had booked and the social engagement we were anticipating…" he said. "We released all the talent so any involvement on their part would be voluntary. Due to conflicting radius issues in the [Washington] DC area many acts were unable to participate and others passed for their own reasons. I would like to encourage artists and agents, who all have been fully paid, to donate 10% of their fees to HeadCount or causes of their choice in the spirit of peace." Artists who pulled out of the memorial festival include Miley Cyrus, JAY-Z, Dead & Company, Santana, John Sebastian and Country Joe McDonald.
Missy Elliott to be honored with MTV Video Vanguard Award at 2019 VMAs
Missy Elliott is making history. The music icon will receive the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards on Aug. 26, making her the first female rapper to be given the honor. Missy was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in June.
Placido Domingo investigated for sexual harassment, multiple concerts canceled
The Los Angeles Opera is investigating its general director, Placido Domingo, after the famed singer was accused of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior. The opera house promised to do a "thorough and independent investigation" led by former Los Angeles County Superior Court judge Debra Wong Yang, the Los Angeles Times reported on Aug. 20. On Aug. 13, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the San Francisco Opera canceled scheduled performances by Placido. He is still scheduled to perform at the New York Metropolitan Opera, which is waiting until an investigation ends "before making any final decisions about Mr. Domingo's future at the Met." In an in-depth interview with The Associated Press, multiple women alleged that the music star tried to force them into sexual relationships and in some cases hurt their careers if they refused his advances.
Experts to analyze handwritten wills in fight over Aretha Franklin's estate
On Aug. 6, a Michigan probate judge put Aretha Franklin's estate under "court supervision" as her sons continued to battle it out for control of the icon's assets. The court will bring in experts to analyze three handwritten wills that were found among the Aretha's belongings following her 2018 death. The Queen of Soul had about $1 million worth of uncashed checks in her possession, a court audit revealed on Aug. 22.
R. Kelly charged with two sex crimes in Minnesota
R. Kelly is now facing charges in Minnesota. The R&B singer, who'd already been charged with 18 federal counts of sexual abuse in New York and Chicago, on Aug. 6 was charged with two counts of engaging in prostitution with an individual under 18 and offering to hire for sexual purposes a person under 18. The unnamed victim claims that he paid her $200 to have sexual relations at his Minneapolis hotel in 2001. One week after being charged in Minnesota, the music star "refused transport" and failed to show up for an Aug. 15 court hearing in Chicago, according to the prosecutor.
Beyonce's Vogue photo acquired by National Portrait Gallery as Blue Ivy Carter makes Billboard Hot 100 debut
The Carter family went above and beyond this month! On Aug. 6, the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery acquired one of the iconic images of Beyonce from her September 2018 Vogue shoot. Tyler Mitchell, the 23-year-old photographer who shot Queen Bey, confirmed the news on Twitter, writing, "A year ago today we broke the flood gates open. Now I'm glad to share this picture is being acquired into the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery's permanent collection." Beyonce's daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, also made headlines this month. The 7 year old grabbed her first Billboard Hot 100 entry when "Brown Skin Girl" debuted at No. 76 on the chart during the first week in August. Blue is credited as one of the song's writers and is also featured on the chorus, along with Beyonce, Wizkid, and Saint Jhn.
Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride feted at 2019 ACM Honors as Keith Urban takes the stage
Miranda Lambert and Martina McBride were both recognized at the 2019 Academy of Country Music Honors in Nashville on Aug. 21. Martina received the Cliffie Stone Icon Award while Miranda took home the Gene Weed Milestone Award and delivered one of the show's best performances with fellow country music star Keith Urban.
Chris Brown no longer facing charges in Florida photographer battery case
Chris Brown is a free man in Florida after prosecutors dropped felony battery charges against the singer, leading a judge to dismiss the case by intervention program on Aug. 19. The development comes one year after Chris was arrested for an outstanding charge following a concert in West Palm Beach, Florida. In 2017, a nightclub photographer accused the R&B singer of punching him after Chris asked the man to stop taking pictures and he refused. The photog, who went to the hospital with a split lip, had pressed charges against Chris.
Two people accuse Katy Perry accused of sexual misconduct
Katy Perry is facing allegations of sexual misconduct by two individuals who came forward within days of one other. Josh Kloss, an actor-model who appeared in the pop star's "Teenage Dream" music video, took to Instagram to accuse the singer of exposing his body at a 2012 party. "It was Johnny Wujek's birthday party at moonlight roller way. And when I saw her, we hugged and she was still my crush," he wrote on Aug. 11. "But as I turned to introduce my friend, she pulled my Adidas sweats and underwear out as far as she could to show a couple of her guy friends and the crowd around us, my penis. Can you imagine how pathetic and embarrassed I felt?" Six days later, Russian journalist Tina Kandelaki alleged that Katy tried to kiss her without her consent at a private party. "Once I was invited to a private party with Katy Perry, where she, being pretty tipsy, chose me as an object for the manifestation of her passion," Tina told StarHit, a Russian media outlet. "I managed to fight back, strength training was not in vain, and Katy instantly found a new victim for kisses, hugs and dirty dances." Katy has not yet responded to the accusations.
Carrie Underwood takes over 2019 CMA Awards hosting duties alongside Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton
The Country Music Association Awards will be hosted by a few fresh faces in 2019. The award show, which was emceed by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood for 11 years, will instead be hosted by Carrie Underwood and special guest hosts Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton, CMA officials announced on Aug. 20. "It's an incredible honor to welcome Carrie, Reba and Dolly to the CMA Awards stage this year," CMA chief executive officer Sarah Trahern said. "In addition to awarding the year's best and brightest in the genre, The 53rd Annual CMA Awards will celebrate the legacy of women within country music, and we couldn't think of a more dynamic group of women to host the show." The 2019 CMAs will air from Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on Nov. 13 on ABC.
The Beatles' "Abbey Road" 50th anniversary to be celebrated with new box set
Get ready for some new memorabilia, Beatles fans! Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe will be releasing a box set in celebration of the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' "Abbey Road," the companies announced on Aug. 8 — 50 years to the day that the band shot their iconic Abbey Road crosswalk photo in London. The set, which comes out on Sept. 27 — one day after the 50th anniversary of the original's release — will include a new Giles Martin mix of the album along with two discs' worth of outtakes from the 1969 recording sessions.
Drake White nearly collapses on stage as he battles brain disease
Drake White had a scary moment on Aug. 16 when he nearly collapsed on stage during a concert in Roanoke, Virginia. The fall occurred just a few weeks after the country singer revealed that he had been diagnosed with a brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM), a rare and debilitating brain condition. "It was basically stealing blood from my brain," he'd told People magazine in July. "The neurologist told me that I should be thankful it was caught in time, because it could have caused a stroke."
Silver Jews singer-songwriter David Berman (pictured) died at 52 on Aug. 7 from unknown causes. Henri Belolo, disco visionary and co-founder of the legendary Village People music group, died on Aug. 3. He was 82. Canned Heat bassist and founder Larry Taylor died on Aug. 19 at 77 following a 12-year battle with cancer.