Music Industry News 2016
by Alex Cosper

2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

Cheap Trick, Chicago, Deep Purple, N.W.A., Steve Miller
Awarded April 8, 2016

Steve Miller grabbed headlines in music publications after criticizing the Rock Hall of Fame planning process, calling it "not a real pleasant experience." He told a Rolling Stone reporter that the music industry is run by "gangsters and crooks." Miller was inducted, not his entire band. He said he came for his fans. The Black Keys, who introdued Miller, complained to the press about Miller's mild-mannered rant, saying they regretted inducting him. Miller responded to Rolling Stone that he wanted Elton John to induct him but was denied by the Roll Hall of Fame. He said the Black Keys were nice guys but "didn't know a thing about me."

Miller further complained that the licensing deal to air his speech and performance on HBO was not complete. He said negotiations were still going on after the ceremony and that "it's as bad as any contract I've seen in 50 years." He claimed "they have all these rights and the artists don't have any."

N.W.A., the fifth hip hop act in Rock Hall of Fame awards history to be inducted, also made headlines. Ice Cube responded at the induction ceremony to Gene Simmons' comment to Rolling Stone from a month earlier that the Kiss rocker was "looking forward to the death of rap." Ice Cube announced "I want to say to Mr. Gene Simmons, hip hop is here forever. Get used to it." Ice Cube continued by stating that "rock and roll is not even a style of music," but that it's a spirit that connects genres such as blues, jazz, r&b, metal and punk, as well as hip hop.

Ice Cube visited the Howard Stern Show to discuss his Twitter showdown with Simmons. Interviewed by the LA Times, the N.W.A. rapper-gone-solo artist said he had respect for Simmons, who he's met a few times, but that he's wrong about hip hop.

Grammy Awards February 2016

The 58th annual Grammys were held on Monday, February 15, highlighted by awards issued by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Television viewership was 24.9 million, which marked a seven year low, according to Nielsen. The peak year for Grammy viewership in the new century was 2012 with 39.9 million viewers, while the all-time peak was 51.6 million in 1984.

Record of the Year - "Uptown Funk" by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars
Album of the Year - 1989 by Taylor Swift
Song of the Year - "Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sheeran
Best New Artist of the Year - Meghan Trainor

Prince Found Dead at Paisley Park

Recording artist Prince died unexpectedly at the age of 58 on April 21, 2016. Born Prince Rogers Nelson, he grew up in Minneapolis, where he continued to reside until his death. In Minneapolis he created his own home recording studio called Paisley Park. Signed to Warner Brothers, he began hitting the charts in 1979 with "I Wanna Be Your Lover."

He went on to sell over 100 million records worldwide with several number one hits including "When Does Cry," "Let's Go Crazy" and "Kiss." His most critically acclaimed work was the mega-selling Purple Rain album.

The multi-talented singer/songwriter/musician postponed a show in Atlanta due to influenza. Although he rescheduled and performed the show a week later on April 14, he still felt ill. The next morning his private plane made an emergency landing in Moline, Illinois so that he could receive treatment for dehydration and influenza. He appeared to be recovering in the days that followed but was found dead in his home on April 21.

David Bowie Dies Two Days After Blackstar Release

Rock legend David Bowie died of liver cancer on Sunday, January 10, 2016, two days after his 69th birthday. His album Blackstar was also released on January 8. It debuted at number one on the national album sales charts the following week. Bowie's death came as a shock to the music world, as only a small number of people close to him knew about his condition. The album's title and lyrics reflected dark imagery while the music had an experimental jazz/rock feel. Born in London, he died in Manhattan.

Since he began making recordings in the 1960s, Bowie sold over 140 million albums worldwide. In the United States his first major national hit was "Space Oddity" in 1973, four years after the song was first released. His first number one record was "Fame," which he wrote and sang with John Lennon in 1975. Other smashes include "Changes," "The Jean Genie," "Rebel Rebel," "Young Americans" (also a collaboration between Bowie and Lennon), "Golden Years," "Heroes," "China Girl" and "Modern Love." His biggest selling album was Let's Dance in 1983, which sold over 10 million units worldwide.

Some of his other remembered albums were Aladdin Sane, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, Diamond Dogs and Low. He also wrote the hit "All The Young Dudes" for Mott The Hoople in 1973. His performance with Bing Crosby of "Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth" helped connect his music with multiple generations. Here's a discography of Bowie's recording career.

George Michael Dies

George Michael died on Christmas at the age of 53 of heart failure, according to his manager. The pop singer who rose to fame in the early 80s with Wham, had troubles in the past with drug addiction. His biggest hits as a solo artist include "I Want Your Sex" (1987), "Faith" (1987), "Father Figure" (1988) and "One More Try" (1988). His first number one hits were "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go" with Wham (1984), followed by "Careless Whisper" and "Everything She Wants," also with Wham (1985). He went on to have seven more number one hits as a solo performer through 1992.

Eagles Co-Founder Glenn Frey Dies

Glenn Frey, who formed America's all time best selling band The Eagles with Don Henley in 1972, died on January 18, 2016 of complications related to pneumonia, rhematoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis. His death was ten days after David Bowie's death. The following week his longtime manager Irving Azoff told the press that Frey's medication played a part in his death. Frey lived to be 67. He was born in Detroit and died in New York City.

The Eagles sold over 150 million albums worldwide, giving then a slight edge over Aerosmith as the best selling American band in history. Frey went on to enjoy a solo career with hits such as "The Heat Is On," "You Belong To The City" and "Smuggler's Blues." Eagles Greatest Hits 1971-1975 was the best selling album of the 20th century. Some of his biggest hits with The Eagles featuring his vocals were "New Kid In Town," "Lyin' Eyes, "Take It Easy" and "Peaceful Easy Feeling." Frey also appeared in movies and TV shows. Here's a discography of The Eagles' recording career.

Interview with R&R Founder Bob Wilson

The man who built Radio & Records (R&R) and made it the most read publication in the radio and record industries, Bob Wilson, reflects on his career. He talks about how he came up with the concept, along with other career highlights, such as partnering with Wolfman Jack in the creation of the TV show Midnight Special. The trade publication lasted over 40 years before the business sold to Billboard, which discontinued the publication.

See also:

Music Industry News 2013
Music Industry News 2014
Music Industry News 2015

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