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Quick Takes: Timberlake is in studio

Also: Getty museum to return artwork to Sicily, 'Les Miz' music tops sales chart and more.

January 11, 2013

Timberlake is in studio

Justin Timberlake fans have had a whirlwind Thursday since the musician-actor dropped an intriguing tweet teasing that new information would be coming at 9:01 a.m. That hour arrived, and despite speculation that Timberlake's first new solo music would be arriving immediately, he sent instead another missive with similarly veiled data:

"To whom it may concern...I think I'M READY! #JT2013," he wrote, directing fans to a clip of himself entering a recording studio and walking through its hallways. In voice-over, Timberlake says:

"Somebody asked me the other day, 'Are you just done with music?' It means more to me than anybody else in the world. Look. I've only done two albums in 10 years. That's the way I really look at it. What does the next decade mean for me? I'm the one who sits in — is obsessive about it before you even get to hear it."

He continues: "As close as I get to it, I don't know that I could physically torture myself that much year in and year out, and expect it to fulfill me the way that it does and the way that it is right now. I don't want to put out anything that I feel like is something that I don't love. You just don't get that every day. You have to wait for it."

As he finishes this monologue, Timberlake enters a vocal booth and steps up to a microphone. There is a pause, then he says, "I'm ready."

—Randall Roberts

Getty to return artwork to Sicily

A terra cotta head depicting the Greek god Hades that the J. Paul Getty Museum acquired in 1985 is being voluntarily sent back to Sicily, the museum has announced.

The museum said on Thursday that the head's original location was the site of a sanctuary to the goddess Demeter in Sicily that was "clandestinely excavated" in the '70s.

The Getty bought the terra cotta head of Hades in 1985 from New York collector Maurice Tempelsman, who had purchased it from London dealer Robin Symes. Getty records show the museum paid $530,000 for it.

Getty officials say that while researching their collection, they turned up similarities to fragments discovered in Morgantina, Sicily.

In joint research with local archaeological authorities, the Getty determined the Hades head was looted from the site's sanctuary of Demeter and Persephone in the early 1970s.

Morgantina is the same heavily looted archaeological site in central Sicily where the Getty's former statue of Aphrodite was looted around the same time as the Hades.

The head can be seen at the Getty Villa as part of "The Sanctuaries of Demeter and Persephone at Morgantina" until Jan. 21. It will be transferred to the Museo Archeologico in Aidone, Sicily.

—David Ng and Jason Felch

Britney Spears adds another ex

Britney Spears promised to dance until the world ended, but a more appropriate hook might be "Keep on dancing 'till your term as an 'X Factor' judge ends."

Reports from sources close to the Fox vocal-talent show indicate the pop star will be abdicating her judging throne after just one season. She joins A&R and label vet L.A. Reid in departing.

TMZ reports the usual he-said-she-said rigmarole, with Spears' camp declaring that she wants more time to work on music and "X Factor" sources suggesting her departure after one season was planned all along. Spears was paid a reported $15 million for her time on the show.

"X Factor" has struggled mightily in ratings despite the commitment of former "American Idol" czar Simon Cowell. The two departures now leaves Cowell and singer Demi Lovato as the sole remaining judges (and Lovato hasn't publicly committed to a third season). Neither of the oft-criticized co-hosts Mario Lopez and Khloe Kardashian have suggested they're out yet.

—August Brown

'Les Miz' music tops sales chart

The songs of Oscar nominee "Les Misérables," are more than 25 years old, but that isn't stopping the movie's fans from rushing out to buy (and download) the soundtrack album to the new movie version.

"Les Misérables" reached the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 chart this week with 92,000 copies sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The soundtrack features 20 tracks, including the new Oscar-nominated "Suddenly" written for the movie by original songwriters Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg.

—David Ng


Departing: Simon Rattle announced Thursday that he will step down as the chief conductor and artistic director of the Berlin Philharmonic in summer 2018.

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