FYI/TMI: Ai Weiwei Is Free To Make Heavy Metal

Chinese artist plans to send his new album to Elton John
  • Photo: Dave M. Benett/Getty Images
    Ai Wei Wei
  • Photo: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images
    Elton John
March 12, 2013 -- 10:42 am PDT

(In an effort to keep you fully informed, and fully entertained, below we present today's FYI and TMI — news you need and news that's, well, sometimes needless….)

FYI …

UK Music Sales Down In 2012
UK music sales dropped to $1.499 billion in 2012, down from $1.59 billion in the previous year, according to figures released in the annual Entertainment Retailers Association Yearbook. Volume sales declined 9.7 percent year-over-year to 125 million units sold, down from 139 million units in 2011. The ERA points the decline to a "combination of structural change and one of the weakest release schedules on record." Despite the overall loss, digital sales increased 15.1 percent to $569 million, while online streaming increased 40 percent compared to the previous year.

Spotify Launching Radio Service
Online music streaming service Spotify is nearing an agreement with music labels to offer a free ad-supported mobile radio service in all international territories in which Spotify is available beginning in April, according to a Bloomberg report. Spotify currently offers a Web radio service to mobile users in the United States and desktop users in 20 countries.

Song Hall To Honor Berry Gordy
GRAMMY-nominated songwriter and Recording Academy Trustees Award recipient Berry Gordy will be honored with the Songwriters Hall of Fame's Pioneer Award at the 44th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner on June 13 in New York. The award honors individuals who have been a "major influence on generations of songwriters."

TMI …

Chinese Artist Goes Metal
Chinese installation artist and sculptor Ai Weiwei has a new way of using metal as a medium. Weiwei has reportedly teamed with rock musician and friend Zuoxiao Zuzhou to record a nine-track heavy metal LP, according to The Guardian. Ai, who sings on the album and also wrote the lyrics, explains that "some [songs] are like heavy metal, some are more punkish, and some are more pop." He revealed he was turned on to music during his 81-day stay in government detention where "bored" guards asked him to sing songs. Ai plans to "surprise" Elton John — who dedicated a Beijing concert last year to Ai — by sending the album to the GRAMMY winner for feedback. For Ai, it's goodbye detention and hello Ai And The Jets.

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