Most Pirated Artists of 2013: Rihanna, Bruno Mars, Daft Punk

rihanna-2013I imagine that there’s a certain feeling of flattery in being named one of the most illegally downloaded artists of the year. Musicmetric, which analyzes data from Bit Torrent, has revealed that at over five million downloads each, Bruno Mars and Rihanna earned the top spots in this category, while Justin Timberlake, Daft Punk, and Flo Rida rounded out the top five. Also in the top 10 were Kanye West, Jay Z, Eminem, Drake, and Pitbull. 

Gregory Mead of Musicmetric reminds readers that the analytics “don’t condone piracy,” but rather help artists plan around where their fans are, in order to optimize tours ” similar to what Iron Maiden has started doing. Musicmetric also measures social media success, and found Taylor Swift to be the winner, with an added 29.5 million new followers in 2013, with Katy Perry close behind at an added 29.2 million new followers.

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2013 American Music Awards: Meaningless But Kind Of Amusing

Judging from the mostly unfazed reactions of the winners accepting their awards, winning an American Music Award is roughly equivalent to having a stranger hand you a flower on the street: “Oh…thanks, that’s nice.”

After all, if you win an AMA, it’s because a whole lot of fans voted for you. Which means you have a whole lot of fans. Which you already know. Winning means that at least one more of your millions of fans was more motivated to text or tweet their vote (I can’t remember how it works, does it matter?) than at least one more of, say, Robin Thicke‘s fans.

This year’s Least Emotional Award goes to Justin Timberlake, who took home three AMAs including Favorite Album (Soul/R&B), Favorite Male Artist (Soul/R&B), and Favorite Male Artist (Pop/Rock), and seemed increasingly bemused with each acceptance. The resulting complete lack of nervousness made for some of the best television of the night, particularly in accepting the Album award from Sarah Silverman, who had joked about a white Mickey Mouse Club member winning a Soul/R&B award over Rihanna. “That’s the first time I’ve ever been racially profiled by a white woman,” he said. It was also kind of a laff to see him singing along to his own song as he walked to the stage, after feigning an “OMG” moment with Taylor Swift.

Other entertaining moments included a rather sweet presentation of the completely-invented-for-ratings “Icon Award” to Rihanna by her mother, who exuded pride as she acknowledged that her daughter’s road to success had been a bumpy one. The singer’s acceptance speech ribbed her mother for mocking her “husky, man’s voice” when she was young and just starting to sing. Timberlake made more hay from this particular moment, later doing an off-the-cuff impersonation of Rihanna’s mom.

Macklemore, who along with his partner Ryan Lewis won Favorite Artist (Rap/Hip-Hop) and Favorite Album (Rap/Hip-Hop), had the only social or political message of the night during his acceptance, broadcast remotely from Florida, saying, “I want to acknowledge Trayvon Martin and the hundreds and hundreds of kids that are dying due to racial profiling and the violence that follows it. This is really happening [to] our friends, our neighbors, our peers, our fans, and it’s time that we look out for the youth and fight against racism and the laws that protect it.” It was brief, subtle, and though it stood out among the relative innocuousness of the evening, felt genuine, and was welcomed by the crowd.

Dave Grohl‘s appearance as a presenter, along with Joan Jett, was not totally surprising, but that he didn’t take the opportunity to slam the apparent sidelining of rock and roll in the event was a little disappointing. He did express hope that the band with the big guitars would win the Alternative Rock award, and by that we guess he meant Imagine Dragons? Little did he know they would be the band with the big drums instead. Their performance featured a breakdown with each member pounding on drums of varying sizes. Anyway, they were among the most grateful for their win, and praised the two rock legends who presented their award.

Also amusing was Ariana Grande, who performed and won New Artist of the Year, and who apparently borrowed her red sequined dress from Jessica Rabbit. She was barely able to accept her award, navigating one stair for every two steps, before delivering an impressively speedy thank you speech, which she produced from her bodice.

Oh, how could I forget? Miley Cyrus delivered a non-controversial performance, backed only by a sad cartoon cat. I’m not sure which, but one of them was definitely lip-syncing. She also spent a little too much time on her faux-emoting during the song’s breakdown, missing her cue for the next section and coming in, indeed, like a wrecking ball.

See the full list of winners below.


Rihanna Debuts Racy "Pour It Up" Video

Following up on a post we ran yesterday, pop star Rihanna has released her self-directed video for “Pour It Up.”

The word twerk has become commonplace in pop culture over the last few months, but I’m not sure anyone has seen it executed as professionally (and absurdly) as in “Pour It Up.” The video serves as a buffet of sex appeal, with numerous pole dancers showcasing their skills on and off the dance floor. One girl even twerks on water, which we previously did not even consider as a possibility.

Rihanna has made a lot of headlines in 2013 for her “controversial” behavior, but she seems to have truly outdone herself with this music video. Everyone who ran their mouth about the antics of Miley Cyrus will lose their minds when they witness some of the imagery Riri has in store, and based on the fast-rising view count there will probably be more of the same in the months ahead. You can experience the video below.

We want to know how you feel about this clip. Has Rihanna gone too far, or is she just milking her good looks for all their worth? Comment below and let us know your thoughts. (more…)

Rihanna Takes Fans Behind The Scenes Of Her "Pour It Up" Video

Of all the female stars currently dominating the radio, none have had as many consecutive chart-topping singles as Rihanna. Now, on the eve of her new video release, the girl who offered us her “Umbrella” is giving fans a look behind the scenes at her directorial debut.

“Pour It Up” is a single that has received decent exposure on TV and radio already, but in the coming weeks the song will finally be given a proper promotional push when the official video debuts online. Rihanna, who directs and stars in the clip, has been teasing the release via social media all week, and this morning a new behind the scenes video found its way online. The clip shows Riri hard at work on set, guiding the crew and extra through the various shots needed, and offers followers their first true glimpse at the finished product. You can view the mini-documentary below.

Rihanna has yet to set a release date for “Pour It Up,” but given the amount of promotional posts she’s released in recent days it stands to reason the clip will appear online sooner than later. We’ll keep an eye out for updates and bring you more information as it becomes available. (more…)

30 Seconds To Mars Cover Rihanna

Rock favorites 30 Seconds To Mars have built a reputation on recording larger-than-life rock anthems meant to be sung by throngs of people in arena or big, outdoor festival settings. During an appearance on BBC Radio 1, however, the trio took a turn for the subtler.

Joining the ranks of the rock bands who came before them, 30 Seconds To Mars let their love of Top 40 show by debuting a stirring cover of Rihanna‘s hit ballad, “Stay.” Frontman Jared Leto belted the sultry lines of loneliness and fleeting passion while accompanied by only piano and light drum work, and we’d be lying if we said it didn’t make us shed a tear or two. You can view a video of the performance below. (more…)

Our Last Night Cover Rihanna's "Stay"

Epitaph Records’ Our Last Night have released a cover song and video for Rihanna‘s hit single “Stay.”

Released through digital retailers as part of the band’s newly announced “summer of covers” series, Our Last Night’s take on Rihanna’s sultry single is one you have to hear to fully appreciate. The spin of adding a male voice to the mix, let alone full band instrumentation with a slight rock leaning, makes the familiar feel brand new once more. You keep waiting for things to explode into a typical “heavy band slams breakdowns into popular songs” cover, but Our Last Breath show an impressive amount of constraint and never let their love for chugs overtake the heart of the song. You can view the performance below.

Cover songs are novelties, and in my opinion rarely worth buying, but there is something to this mix that makes “Stay” feel entirely the product of Our Last Night. For that, you should buy this single. If you enjoy what you hear, head over to iTunes and show your support. (more…)