Billy Joel sticks up for Taylor Swift

Last month, Taylor Swift was surprisingly named “New York’s Tourism Ambassador” after living in New York a little less than one year! Obviously, Swift got an ear full from New Yorkers and harsh critics who do not approve of her getting this honor. However, Billy Joel is helping Taylor “shake it off” by telling USA Today that he welcomes the singer, “You snoots. Let her in. That’s what New York is all about. I say, ‘Welcome.”

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Swift just released her new album 1989 with Welcome To New York as the opening track. Billy Joel praises her ability to write songs and inspire people with her music, “She catches a lot of junk, maybe because she’s so popular with young girls,” he continued. “But I like what she’s projecting. I respect what she’s doing.”

Who would have thought Billy Joel would be the one to openly and publicly stand up for Taylor Swift?! We love it!

Toby Keith Rake$ it in! Edges out Taylor Swift as highest paid country star 2 years running.

Keith's abilities as both an entertainer and a business owner make him the highest paid country music star in the world (Photo: courtesy of musicrow.com)

Keith’s abilities as both an entertainer and a business owner make him the highest paid country music star in the world (Photo: courtesy of musicrow.com)

Toby Keith reigns as the king of country for the second year in a row according to Forbes. For two years straight, Keith has topped the financial magazine’s annual list as the highest paid superstar in country music, raking in an astounding $65 million this year alone. Even more impressive is the fact that the crooner has earned an estimated $335 over the past six years. Nice!

Keith’s success isn’t tied solely to his skills as a musician, however, as his entrepreneurial side has greatly impacted his estimated wealth. Not only does the “Big Dog” own his own record label (Show Dog-Universal), but he has also enjoyed both a longtime partnership with auto-industry giant Ford and a successful run in the food/beverage industry. Keith owns a successful chain of restaurants, appropriately named I Love This Bar and Grill, along with Wild Shot Mezcal, his own line of premium alcohol. The moral of the story? Do what you know.

Running an extremely close second to Keith was the ever-popular Taylor Swift with a paltry $64 million. Aww… poor thing. Rounding out the top five were Kenny Chesney ($44M), Jason Aldean ($37M), and Luke Bryan ($34M). You can check out the full article here.

Also, make sure to check out both KaraokeOnVEVO and Sing-N-Share, where you can sing your favorite hits by Toby Keith and more of today’s hottest country artists… free!

Taylor Swift Sounds Off: “Music Is Art, and Art Should Be Paid For.”

Taylor Swift writes an op-ed revealing her take on the music industry (Photo: courtesy of searchednews.com)

Taylor Swift writes an op-ed revealing her take on the music industry (Photo: courtesy of searchednews.com)

It’s not exactly rare for famous people to let their opinions be known. From full-blown interviews to short quips on their Facebook or Twitter accounts, Hollywood and music industry superstars don’t typically hide their feelings on politics or anything else they feel passionate about. It is, however, rare for one of the pop-culture elite to actually write an entire op-ed for a nationwide newspaper.

Well, that’s exactly what Taylor Swift has done. The beautiful and talented singer/songwriter has written an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal in which she gives her optimistic two cents about the future of the music industry.

“In recent years, you’ve probably read the articles about major recording artists who have decided to practically give their music away, for this promotion or that exclusive deal,” she wrote. “My hope for the future, not just in the music industry, but in every young girl I meet…is that they all realize their worth and ask for it.”

While many artists are scathing in their remarks when it comes to revealing their personal opinions about their own industries, Swift remains typically upbeat, refusing to tarnish her famously sunny disposition. “Music is art, and art is important and rare,” she wrote. “Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. It’s my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album’s price point is. I hope they don’t underestimate themselves or undervalue their art.”

While celebrity has always been a popularity contest (that’s kinda how you get to become a celebrity in the first place), Taylor took some time to address the rising trend of social media-based popularity within the entertainment industry. “A friend of mine, who is an actress, told me that when the casting for her recent movie came down to two actresses, the casting director chose the actress with more Twitter followers,” she said. “I see this becoming a trend in the music industry.”

This is more than just a valid point. In a society where people can now become famous for simply being famous, sheer talent and ability are no longer enough to either grant or prolong success. Social media has changed everything and it appears that there is no going back.

To see what else Taylor had to say, click on this link to read the full Wall Street Journal article.

ACM Awards Royalty: George Strait and Miranda Lambert

ACM Awards, 49th Academy of Country Music Awards, George Strait, Miranda Lambert, country music

Photo courtesy of http://www.ktvu.com

Country fans everywhere tuned in to the 49th Academy of Country Music Awards. It was a night full of accolades and performances, hosted by country artists Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton. Two stars shined extremely bright at the MGM Grand Garden Arena: George Strait and Miranda Lambert.

King of Country George Strait was crowned Entertainer of the Year for the second time in his career. He received standing ovations for his win and his performance of his hit song “I Got a Car.” Miranda Lambert was the big winner of the night. She took home the award for Female Vocalist of the Year for the fifth time in a row. She now holds the record for most consecutive wins in that category surpassing Reba McEntire. “Mama’s Broken Heart” won her Single Record of the Year. She also shared the win for Vocal Event of the Year with Keith Urban who also won three awards, including Video of the Year for “Highway Don’t Care” with Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift.

Aside from their individual glory the two took the stage for a tribute performance to Merle Haggard who was honored with the Crystal Milestone Award. Merle celebrated his 77th birthday yesterday. Presenter Garth Brooks encouraged the audience to sing “Happy Birthday” as he went up to receive his award.

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Swift Money: Taylor Swift tops Billboards Money Makers list for 2014

Taylor Swift, Billboard, music, highest paid music artists

Taylor Swift captures top spot on Billboard’s 2014 Money Makers list

Billboard has announced their annual Money Makers list and this year Taylor Swift took it to the bank with a $39 million outing. No surprise there with the meteoric success of her newest studio album, “Red,” and the fact that she earned an estimated $30M for six months worth of touring. Check out who took the other top spots.

10. Fleetwood Mac — The classic rock band pulled in an estimated $19 million with the release of their first new content in over ten years and a tour which earned the group a whopping $17M over just 34 shows.

9. Pink — With an album (“The Truth About Love”) which helped the singer earn over 8M digital downloads and an international tour that raked in more than $15M in the US leg alone, Pink is sitting pretty in 2014 with a $20 million price tag.

8. Luke Bryan — $22 million is certainly nothing to sneeze at! With more than 2.7M album sales, 7.6M digital downloads, a tour that brought in over $15M, and winning the 2013 CMA Entertainer of the Year award, Bryan had a banner year.

7. Maroon 5 — Last year’s impressive comeback by the L.A.-based alternative band with multiple sold-out live performances was impressive enough. Earning $22 million, having four singles make it into the top 20 on Billboard’s Hot 100, and selling more than 7M digital downloads makes it pretty damn amazing.

6. Beyonce — Yeah, like anyone didn’t think she would make the list. With the release of a  surprise self-titled album which has sold more than 1.3M copies since December and a lengthy world tour that alone has earned the singer an estimated $19M, it’s no shock that Queen Bey is in the top ten. A strong outing at $24 million.

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L.A. Goes Country: New art exhibit honors country music icons

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When you think about Los Angeles, what images usually come to mind? Movie stars? Liberal politics? Rap music? If you were to take a poll my guess would be that country music wouldn’t exactly top the list. “Country: Portraits of an American Sound,” a new photo exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography may take strides in changing that.

Running from May 31 through September 28, the new exhibit will feature photographs of the most iconic country music performers of all time taken by various photographers, pro and amateur alike.

“Country: Portraits of an American Sound” will be curated by Shannon Perich of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, along with Tim Davis and Michael McCall of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The exhibit promises to showcase legends such as Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, and Merle Haggard.

Also featured will be more contemporary artists such as Taylor Swift and Keith Urban, along with displays of country music albums, posters, instruments, and stage costumes provided by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. There will also be screenings of a full-length documentary exploring the evolution of country music over the last 80 years.

L.A. may not be the hub of country music, but from May 31 to September 28, it will definitely be a mecca. For those who live seemingly a world away, fear not! The exhibit is expected to tour the country following its stint in Los Angeles.

Be sure to check out KaraokeOnVEVO and our Sing-N-Share app (available for both Android and Apple devices) where you can sing thousands of country songs from your favorite artists.

Elton And Kanye, Bonnaroo Buddies!

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Ok, well maybe they’re not “buddies,” per se, but this morning Reuters announced that music industry titans Elton John and Kanye West will both be performing at this year’s Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. They will be joining the likes of Lionel Richie, Arctic Monkeys, Jack White, and Ice Cube along with many other artists and bands scheduled to play at the 4-day party-fest.

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The “Piano Man” has taken top-billing for this year’s Bonnaroo festival, but the question on everybody’s mind has got to be not “if,” but “how” will Kanye attempt to steal the spotlight. Let’s face it, he isn’t exactly known for his laid-back attitude or humility. In 2008 Kanye performed at Bonnaroo, but began his set 8 hours late. The following year he infamously interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards by grabbing a mic and practically worshiping Beyoncé on national TV. Let’s hope this year’s Bonnaroo performance is a step in the right direction for the controversial artist.

Sir Elton, on the other hand, is thought of by many as the epitome of class. In a career that has spanned 5 decades he has sold more than 300 million records and recorded over fifty top-40 hits, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time. His honors don’t stop there, however, as in 1998 Elton John became “Sir” Elton John, knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his multiple charitable contributions, including the establishment of the Elton John AIDS Foundation in 1992.

Bonnaroo takes place June 12-15 in Manchester, TN, about 65 miles southeast of Nashville. Approximately 80,000 people (“Roonies”) are expected to attend.

There’s no doubt that it’s going to be a hell of a party, but why wait? You can hold your own “Kararoo” with Karaoke Cloud and Sing-N-Share! Check us out today.