R&B Pioneer Johnny Otis Dies

R&B Pioneer Johnny Otis Dies
GRAMMY-nominated R&B singer/songwriter and bandleader Johnny Otis died Jan. 17 in Los Angeles. He was 90 years old. A cause of death was not disclosed. Born John Veliotes in Vallejo, Calif., Otis began his career playing drums with big bands and jazz combos, including Count Otis Matthews' West Oakland House Rockers and Harlan Leonard's Kansas City Rockets. By 1945 Otis was leading his own band and recorded his first hit, "Harlem Nocturne." In 1948 Otis helped open one of Los Angeles' first exclusive R&B clubs, the Barrelhouse. Otis continued to produce hits throughout the '50s, including "Double Crossing Blues," "Cupid's Boogie" and "Willie And The Hand Jive," the latter of which peaked at No. 3 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart. Otis earned two GRAMMY nominations throughout his career, the most recent coming in 1993 for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Performance for Spirit Of The Black Territory Bands. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. Aside from recording, Otis was known for his career in radio and for discovering talents such as Hank Ballard, Little Richard, Etta James, and Mel Walker, among others. (1/19)

SoundExchange Distributions Up 17 Percent
Performing rights organization SoundExchange announced the distribution of a record $89.5 million in royalties, including those collected from Internet radio, satellite radio and TV music-only channels, during the fourth quarter of 2011. SoundExchange's distribution total reached $292 million in 2011, up 17 percent compared to 2010. Additionally, the organization registered 15,300 new artists, labels and rights holders in 2011, up from nearly 12,000 in the prior year. (1/19)

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