Grammys boost sales
As a promotional showcase, the Grammy Awards remain a force. Early results from Nielsen SoundScan show that artists who performed on the CBS telecast Sunday night are experiencing a relatively major sales boost.
The Black Eyed Peas, for example, are on track for a stellar week with the Interscope set "The E.N.D.": Over four days last week (Monday through Thursday), the album sold 18,000 copies. In just two days this week (Tuesday and Wednesday), the set scanned 26,000 copies.
Taylor Swift's Big Machine effort "Fearless" is also up in the same period, tallying 16,000 this week versus 13,000 for the four-day span last week.
Beyoncé's "I Am . . . Sasha Fierce" (Columbia) is up to 10,000 from 5,000, and Pink's "Funhouse" is on track for a solid week as well: She sold just 3,000 last week and sold 7,000 in two days this week.
-- Todd Martens Men at Work copied melody
The Australian band Men at Work copied a well-known children's campfire song for the flute melody in its 1980s hit "Down Under" and owes the owner years of royalties, a court in Sydney ruled Thursday.
"Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree" was written more than 70 years ago by Australian teacher Marion Sinclair for a Girl Guides competition, and the song has been a favorite around campfires from New Zealand to Canada.
The teacher died in 1988, and publishing company Larrikin Music owns the copyright to her song about the native Australian bird.
Larrikin filed the copyright lawsuit last year.
"I have come to the view that the flute riff in 'Down Under' . . . infringes on the copyright of 'Kookaburra' because it replicates in material form a substantial part of Ms. Sinclair's 1935 work," Federal Court Justice Peter Jacobson said.
He ordered the parties back in court Feb. 25 to discuss the compensation Larrikin should receive from songwriters Colin Hay and Ron Strykert and Men at Work's record companies, Sony BMG Music Entertainment and EMI Songs Australia.
-- associated press Label CEO defends Swift
The head of Taylor Swift's record label is fired up and defending his superstar against critical comments about her Grammy-night performance.
"She is the voice of this generation. She speaks directly to [her fans], and they speak directly back to her," said Big Machine Records Chief Executive Scott Borchetta. "This is not 'American Idol.' This is not a competition of getting up and seeing who can sing the highest note. This is about a true artist and writer and communicator. It's not about that technically perfect performance."
Borchetta said Swift had rehearsed her performance and duet with Stevie Nicks two different times at Staples Center in front of an audience. Entertainment Weekly wrote of the rehearsal, "The two women's voices complemented each other nicely. . . ."
But on Sunday night's telecast, Borchetta said, there was a technical problem.
"We had a volume problem in the ear. So she was concerned that she wasn't able to hear everything in the mix," Borchetta said.
"That's just part of live TV. . . . So you're going to have difficulties on occasion. Unfortunately, on one of the biggest stages, we did have a technical issue. She couldn't hear herself like she had in rehearsal."
-- associated press SXSW film lineup named
The South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival has announced the complete feature film lineup for this year's festival, March 12 through 20 in Austin, Texas.
Among the most notable titles are the world premieres of "MacGruber," the action-comedy spinoff of a "Saturday Night Live" character played by Will Forte, and "Mr. Nice," the story of British drug smuggler Howard Marks.
Other films showing in the Headliners section are "Cyrus," directed by Jay and Mark Duplass; "Get Low," directed by Aaron Schneider; "MicMacs," directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet; and "The Runaways," directed by Floria Sigismondi.
South by Southwest has become an increasingly important part of the American festival scene.
Aligned with the music and technology events that take place around the same time under the SXSW banner, the festival has been especially open to the evolution of low-budget filmmaking and alternative methods of distribution.
-- Mark Olsen