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Garth Brooks joins Amazon's streaming service

A week after launching its paid streaming music service, Amazon announced a deal with one of streaming music's biggest holdouts: country superstar Garth Brooks.

Brooks, the best-selling solo artist in U.S. history with 138 million albums sold, has kept his music off streaming services. On Wednesday, select albums and songs will be available on Amazon Music Unlimited.

His albums, previously available only through his GhostTunes service, will be sold digitally via Amazon Music.

Brooks said he waited until the right partner came along before he was ready to dive into streaming.

"I love retail to death, but retail will never tell me what my stuff is worth and will never tell me how to sell it," Brooks said in a telephone interview from Los Angeles. "That's the tail wagging the dog for me."

"This is a landmark moment for both Amazon Music and Garth Brooks," said Steve Boom, vice president of Amazon Music, in a statement. "Garth Brooks is a legendary country music superstar who continues to shatter industry records and amaze fans three decades into his career. We are honored to make his music available for streaming for the first time ever, exclusively on Amazon Music."

Brooks entered semi-retirement in 2000 near the height of his popularity to spend more time with his children and wife, Trisha Yearwood. In 2014, he returned with a major tour and a new album, "Man Against Machine."

His upcoming albums, "Gunslinger" and "Christmas Together" with Yearwood, will be added to the streaming service later this year. Two of his best-selling albums, "Ultimate Hits" and "Double Live," will be available for streaming. They include his popular hits "Friends in Low Places," ''The Dance" and "The Thunder Rolls." His current single, "Baby, Let's Lay Down and Dance," will also be available on streaming.

Amazon Music Unlimited is competing against existing services such as Spotify and Apple Music. It costs $8 per month, or $80 a year, for members of Amazon's Prime loyalty program, while non-Prime members pay $10 a month.

For Brooks, it was its flagship online retail store that made him choose Amazon.

"For selling music, they are perfect because they do physical and digital," Brooks said. "Here comes, out of the blue, a place that says, 'We can stream and sell and if you don't want to sell singles, just be an album artist, we're fine with that. And whatever price you want to put on them, high or low, we're fine with that, too, because we're retail.'"

Brooks talked with both Spotify and Apple, but said Amazon made a better overall offer with downloads, streaming and physical album sales.

Like many artists who have resisted streaming services, Brooks has concerns that songwriters and publishers aren't adequately compensated. He is on his own independent label, Pearl Records, and he said that allows him to see how the money from streaming music gets back to the songwriters.

"For the first time, I am going to get to roll up my sleeves and look under the hood and see what is happening," Brooks. "But we can't deny our songwriters are dying. I am getting ready to see if this is a good thing or a bad thing."



Court hears copyright dispute over Turtles' 'Happy Together'

New York's highest court has heard oral arguments in a case pitting the owner of The Turtles' 1967 hit song "Happy Together" against Sirius XM Radio.

The issue in Tuesday's hearing was whether the copyright holders of recordings made before 1972 have a common law right to make radio stations and others pay for their use.

The lawsuit was filed by Flo & Eddie Inc., a company controlled by two founding members of the band that owns the rights to the recordings. It wants the court to say they're entitled to royalties.

Sirius XM Radio argues it's not required to pay royalties for recordings made before the federal Copyright Act was changed in 1972 to establish limited protections for recordings.

The case was referred to the Court of Appeals from a federal appeals court.

Robert 'Big Sonny' Edwards, member of The Intruders, dies

An original member of the pioneering Philadelphia-based soul group The Intruders has died. Robert "Big Sonny" Edwards was 74.

Edwards died Saturday at a Philadelphia hospital after suffering a heart attack at his home. His death was announced Tuesday by music producers Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff.

After forming in 1960 as a doo-wop group, The Intruders signed with Gamble and Huff in 1966 and helped define the smooth, soulful Philadelphia Sound. Their 1968 smash, "Cowboys to Girls," topped the R&B charts and was the first hit song for Gamble and Huff.

The original lineup of The Intruders disbanded in 1975.

Gamble and Huff say Edwards and the rest of The Intruders helped launch their career as a producing team.

Edwards is survived by his wife, a son and two grandchildren.

Jamaica celebrates reggae legend Peter Tosh with new museum

Slain reggae legend Peter Tosh is getting some of the same historical treatment in his native Jamaica as the late Bob Marley.

A museum devoted to the life and music of Tosh is opening near the Marley museum that has long been a major tourist attraction in the Jamaican capital.

The Tosh museum opens Wednesday to mark the 40th anniversary of the release of the song "Legalize It" and includes exhibits such as a guitar shaped like an assault rifle that he frequently used, as well as his unicycle.

Tosh received his country's highest honor, the Order of Merit, posthumously in 2012 but has been less heralded in his native land than Marley.

"A lot of people have gotten honored for less in Jamaica and Peter is somewhat forgotten," his widow, Marlene Brown, said in an interview Tuesday. "That made me work harder to see that he got what he deserves."

Tosh was among founding members of what was originally known in 1964 as the Wailing Wailers, along with Marley, Bunny Livingston and Junior Braithwaite. The band was later called simply "The Wailers."

Tosh went on to have a successful solo career, which included some songs now considered classics such as reggae version of "Johnny B. Goode" and "(You Gotta Walk) Don't Look Back," which he recorded with The Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger.

He was shot and killed during a September 1987 attack on his home by a gang led by an acquaintance, Dennis Lobban, who remains imprisoned in Jamaica for the crime.

Brown, who was seriously injured in the attack, prefers not to discuss the incident in detail and said Tosh was complicated. "He could be a nice, loving person," she said. "At other times, he was real topsy-turvy."

A tribute concert museum will be held Saturday at the museum site. It will feature Tosh's son, Andrew, as well as grandson Dre Tosh and his Word, Sound and Power band.

Prince's siblings: Purported niece, grandniece are not heirs

Prince's siblings say a woman and girl purported to be his niece and grandniece have no genetic connection to the late superstar and should not be named as heirs to his estate, according to court documents made public Tuesday.

Attorneys for Prince's siblings and half-siblings argued that Brianna Nelson and Victoria Nelson aren't Prince's heirs as a matter of law, and a judge should deny their claims. A hearing on the issue is set for Friday.

Prince, 57, died April 21 of an accidental fentanyl overdose in his Paisley Park studio and estate. He left no known will.

Brianna Nelson and her niece, Victoria Nelson, have filed court documents claiming they are descendants of the late Duane Nelson Sr., who they say was Prince's half brother. They don't claim a genetic link, but say Prince's biological father considered Duane Nelson as his own son and Prince treated Duane like a brother. Duane died in 2011.

Prince's siblings, however, believe that isn't enough to prove heirship under Minnesota law.

"If an heirship claim could rely on behavior alone as a basis, it would open the floodgates to individuals claiming they were treated 'like a brother' or 'like a son,'" the attorneys wrote.

They argued that with no known will, a parent-child relationship must be validated through genetics, adoption, assisted reproduction or an established presumption of parentage laws. They said that Brianna and Victoria Nelson are asking the court "to casually sweep aside these well-established tenets of Minnesota law and instead seek to base their claim entirely on behavioral and anecdotal evidence."

In Minnesota, there are circumstances in which someone can be considered a parent based on having a familial relationship with a child, such as informally raising a non-biological child as their own. Experts say the law doesn't give clear guidance.

The judge overseeing Prince's estate will have to sort out a complex interplay between probate and parentage laws that appears to be unique to Minnesota.

As it stands now, Prince's sister, Tyka Nelson, and his five half-siblings are in line to split Prince's estate six ways. Should the court count Duane Nelson as another half-sibling, Brianna and Victoria Nelson — as well as possibly a man who recently claimed to be Duane Nelson's son — would be entitled to one-seventh of the estate, which has been estimated at between $100 million and $300 million in total.

Carver County District Judge Kevin Eide has already found that Brianna and Victoria Nelson have presented a plausible enough case to proceed and don't need to undergo genetic testing.


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Striking Pittsburgh Symphony cancels shows through Nov. 18

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has canceled all concerts through Nov. 18 because of a strike by musicians while their union and management blame each other for a string of cancellations.

The orchestra previously had canceled concerts through Oct. 27 after musicians went on strike Sept. 30. In dueling press releases, the orchestra and management couldn't agree why the concerts were canceled.

"Regrettably, the musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra have not contacted us through official channels to return to the negotiating table," Chief Operating Officer Christian Schornich said in management's release.

But bassist Micah Howard, chairman of the musicians' orchestra committee, said the decision to cancel the latest concerts was "made by management, and management alone."

Howard said the union is "ready to negotiate" but management won't meet "unless we accept the 'last, best and final' contract demands they made a month ago."

The musicians are objecting to a 15 percent pay cut and other concessions management says are necessary to keep the symphony solvent in the face of more than $20 million in debt over the next five years.

Management contends the orchestra is running a $1.5 million annual deficit and that the cumulative debt includes at least $10 million needed to keep the pension fund solvent over the next five years. That's one reason management also wants to freeze pensions for any musician with less than 30 years' experience and move them into a 401(k) plan, another proposal the union opposes.

The musicians have agreed to other concessions in the past, including a nearly 10 percent pay cut in 2011. A 15 percent pay cut would reduce musicians' base pay from $107,239 to $91,153, the union said, with annual raises of 2 percent and 3 percent in each of the next two years, though management contends some musicians would double their base pay with certain incentives and get up to 10 weeks' vacation and 12 weeks' sick time each year.

The new cancellations include the Nov. 18 Light Up Night concert, which is part of a downtown celebration marking the beginning of the city's traditional holiday shopping season.

The orchestra also is indefinitely postponing the "Haydn's Creation" concerts that had been scheduled for early December in conjunction with the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh because musicians will need additional time to prepare even if the strike ends before then.

Chuck Berry to release first new album in more than 35 years

Ninety-year-old rock 'n' roll legend Chuck Berry is set to release his first new studio album in more than 35 years.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch ( ) reports that Berry's album, titled "Chuck," will be available in 2017.

The album was recorded in St. Louis-area studios and will feature mostly original work by Berry, who turned 90 on Tuesday. He is the sole producer on the album.

Jimmy Marsala, a bassist in Berry's longtime band, suggests the new album took so long to come together because Berry wanted to make sure it lived up to everyone's expectations. His last studio album was "Rock It" in 1979.

Marsala said Berry — whose writing credits include "Roll Over Beethoven," and "Johnny B. Goode" — started working on the new album as soon as "Rock It" was completed.

"He was constantly working on stuff all the time, on airplanes, writing lyrics down, always coming up with new ideas — 'Let's try this, let's try that,'" Marsala said.

Spokesman Joe Edwards says the new album is a gift to his fans. Berry's son, Charles Berry Jr., says the songs "cover the spectrum from hard-driving rockers to soulful, thought-provoking time capsules of a life's work."

According to Edwards, Berry is likely retired from touring, but anything can happen.

Berry played his 200th concert at a St. Louis restaurant and music club called The Duck Room in 2014 before pulling back from touring.

Artifacts from Berry's career are on display at the National Blues Museum in downtown St. Louis, the city where he was born, and the recently opened National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

2017 Rock n Roll Hall of Fame nominees announced

The nominees have been announced, now it is your turn to vote on who will be inducted into Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

You can cast up to five votes.

>> Read more trending stories  

Included on this year's list of 19 potential inductees:

Chaka Khan: Started with the funk and rock group Rufus in the '70s, but she broke away in 1978 with the hit "I'm Every Woman." She had a hit with her 1984 solo album "I Feel For You."

Electric Light Orchestra (ELO): Formed in 1970 by Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood, ELO was created to write modern rock and pop songs with classical music.

Janet Jackson: The youngest member of the Jackson family, Janet Jackson started as a child actress on "Good Times" and "Fame," but had a five-time platinum album with her LP "Control" in 1986. This is Jackson's second nomination. She was eligible in 2007, but was nominated in 2016 and again for 2017. She has sold more than 160 million records, making her one of the best-selling artists in history.

Journey: Formed in San Francisco in 1973, Journey started out with progressive and hard rock sounds. In 1977, Steve Perry joined former Santana members Neil Schon and Gregg Rolie. Their biggest hit, "Don't Stop Believin'" has continued to be played on radio stations and has found new life after being featured prominently on the television show "Glee," the final episode of "The Sopranos" and on Broadway in the musical "Rock of Ages."

Pearl Jam: The grunge band from Seattle debuted their album "Ten" in 1991 after being founded only a year earlier. "Ten" went on to sell more than 13 million copies and included hits "Alive" and "Jeremy." In 2000, Pearl Jam took on companies like Ticketmaster, trying to cut the fees the ticket companies tacked on and signing exclusive deals with concert venues leaving both bands and fans with no alternative for tickets, but to buy through the companies, according to Rolling Stone

Tupac Shakur: From the world of hip-hop, Tupac Shakur was a multi-platinum rapper and a movie star. His first solo album "2Pacalypse Now" came out in 1991 with hits like "Brenda's Got a Baby." It also shined a spotlight on street violence and police harassment, leading Vice President Dan Quayle to call for the album being pulled after Quayle linked the album to increasing crime according to the Los Angeles Times. Shakur would go on to star in movies like "Juice," "Poetic Justice" and "Above the Rim." After only five years in the business, Shakur was murdered in 1996 at the age of 25.

To see all of the nominees, read their biographies and to cast your vote, click here to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Tupac Shakur, Pearl Jam lead rock hall of fame ballot

The late rapper Tupac Shakur and Seattle-based rockers Pearl Jam are among the first-time nominees on the ballot for induction next year into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Nine of the 19 acts nominated are on the ballot for the first time, with Shakur and Pearl Jam in their first year of eligibility. More than 800 artists, historians and music-industry officials vote, with results announced in December and induction next April. Others back for another chance include pop superstar Janet Jackson; she was nominated for the first time last year.

Nominations were announced Tuesday.

The prolific Shakur was shot and killed at his peak in 1996. His album "Me Against the World" hit the top of the charts when he was in prison for sexual assault. "Keep Ya Head Up," ''Life Goes On," ''Ambitionz Az a Ridah" and "Changes" are among his best-known songs. He recorded so much while alive that releases kept flowing after his death.

Pearl Jam would be the second band, following Nirvana in 2014, with roots in Seattle's grunge scene to make the hall. Behind charismatic frontman Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam was a huge initial success behind songs like "Jeremy," ''Even Flow," ''Alive" and "Better Man." They consciously stepped back from the commercial world, and persist as a respected and popular touring outfit.

And "Don't Stop Believin'" it's true: Journey is another first-time nominee. Its members must wait a couple of months to find out if voters welcome them with "Open Arms."

Other first-time nominees: the hardcore punk pioneers Bad Brains; 1980s synth-poppers Depeche Mode; Jeff Lynne's 1970s hit machine Electric Light Orchestra; Lollapalooza instigators Jane's Addiction; 1960s folkie Joan Baez; and Steppenwolf, Canadian rockers of "Born to be Wild" fame.

The influential disco-era band Chic, who have become the hard-luck losers of the rock hall induction process, are on the ballot for the 11th time.

Others back as nominees include Jackson; soul singer and former Rufus frontwoman Chaka Khan; the Peter Wolf-led rockers J. Geils Band; late "I Gotcha" singer Joe Tex; the German electronic music band Kraftwerk; the Detroit-area punk forerunners MC5; Ric Ocasek's new wavers The Cars; the Zombies, British makers of "Time of the Season" and "She's Not There"; and the 1970s-era progressive rockers Yes.

There is no set number of inductees. This year's class had five members.

To be eligible, all of the nominees had to have released their first recording no later than 1991. The induction ceremony, open to the ticket-buying public and televised later on HBO, will take place in Brooklyn's Barclay's Center.

The public will also be invited to vote online among the nominees, with their top five selections cast as a "fan's ballot."

Inductees will eventually be enshrined in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame museum in Cleveland.

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