Andrew Flanagan

Vivendi, a French media conglomerate that is the parent company of the world's largest record label, Universal Music Group, announced during its half-year financial review that it plans to sell up to half of the share capital of the label group. UMG is the parent company is several noteworthy labels, including Capitol Music Group (and its landmark Los Angeles tower), classical label Deutsche Grammophon and the pop powerhouse Republic Records.

"Today is the day you've been waiting for," R. Kelly claims in an Instagram post Monday morning in which he directs his followers to listen to a new, 19-minute song titled "I Admit," in which the singer obliquely or directly addresses allegations levied against him over the past year.

Ed Sheeran's syrupy, Grammy-winning single "Thinking Out Loud" is now at the center of two lawsuits.

The ginger troubadour was first sued over the hit song last year by the heirs of Edward Townsend, Jr., a co-writer of Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On," which they claim "Thinking Out Loud" cribs from enough to warrant a lawsuit.

A title card is the first thing you see in the video for "They Ain't 100," a song by the British rapper Fredo — which reads: Disclaimer: The content in this video is an expression of art and should not be taken literally. K-Trap's "David Blaine" opens with a similar prologue: All characters in this visual are entirely fictional.

Reggie Lucas, who entered his 20s as a guitarist in Miles Davis' touring band and would later help shape the multi-platinum debut of Madonna, died in the early hours of May 19 at the age of 65. The cause was advanced heart failure, his daughter, Lisa Lucas, confirmed to NPR.

Last week, Spotify announced it was implementing a new policy in which it would stop promoting "hate content" and artists who engage in "hateful conduct" within its very powerful playlists and through its equally powerful suggestion algorithm. In the week since, the move has been greeted with celebration, derision and skepticism.

Updated 5:30 p.m. ET, May 10 with a statement from R. Kelly's management team.

Updated at 2:56 p.m. ET

Avicii, the Swedish producer who was one of the world's most successful DJs, was found dead today in Muscat, Oman, his publicist confirmed to NPR Music. He was 28. No cause of death was given.

Since (at least) the release of good kid, m.A.A.d. city in 2012, the singularity of Kendrick Lamar has been plainly evident. But with the Pulitzer Prize in Music for 2018 being given to the Compton rapper for his 2017 album DAMN., his exceptionalism is now officially historic: It's the first time in the prize's history that it has been given to an artist outside of the classical or jazz community.

Yvonne Staples, a member of the renowned soul, gospel and R&B group The Staple Singers, died Tuesday in Chicago at the age of 80, representatives for her sister and band mate Mavis Staples confirmed to NPR Music. No cause was given, and the Staples family has yet to issue a statement.

Republic Records — a label that counts among its roster many of the world's best-known artists, including Lorde, Ariana Grande and The Weeknd — has announced that the company and its president, Charlie Walk, are going their separate ways.

As artists like Paul McCartney, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Demi Lovato and Andra Day made appearances during March for Our Lives demonstrations for gun control this past Saturday, the rapper Killer Mike was on the Internet, explaining his support of gun ownership in an interview with NRATV, the broadcasting arm of the pro-gun lobbying and advocacy organization.

Updated 1:04 p.m. ET

The "substantial doubt" that iHeartMedia's corporate leaders expressed around the company's likelihood of surviving another year, mentioned in its quarterly financial report last November, has been put to rest.

See SPOT list.

Spotify, the world's most-used on-demand music streaming service, has pulled the curtain back on its New York Stock Exchange debut, expected in late March or early April, when it will trade under the symbol SPOT, according to its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.

Kyle Frenette, longtime manager of Bon Iver and a co-founder of Middle West Management, "an artist management firm founded on the acute quiet of Midwestern work ethic," is planning a pivot to politics. The Wisconsin native will formally announce his campaign to represent the 7th Congressional District of his state this Thursday, his campaign manager Christian Duffy confirmed to NPR Music.

Nina Simone, Bon Jovi, The Moody Blues, The Cars and Dire Straits — along with guitar pioneer Sister Rosetta Tharpe, with an award for early influence — have been named as next year's inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

Updated, Dec. 8, 8:20 a.m. ET with a subsequent statement from James Levine and James Lestock.

New allegations of sexual assault have been made against James Levine, the music director emeritus of the Metropolitan Opera in New York and its conductor for over forty years. Levine was suspended from his position over the weekend, and now, with more allegations made public, repercussions for the lauded musician are continuing to pile up.

Def Jam Recordings co-founder Russell Simmons announced Thursday that he would relinquish his leadership roles in "all the companies I founded," after a second woman accused him of sexual assault.

Digital lip-syncing aimed at teens is officially a big, big business: Chinese tech company Bytedance has announced it plans to "merge" with — acquire — Musical.ly, a popular lip-synching app launched in China in 2013.

Financial terms of the deal weren't included in today's announcement, but news reports put the deal's value at between $800 million and $1 billion.

Just four days before the release of her newest album, a letter from Taylor Swift's attorney demanding that a website retract and delete an article critical of her has drawn a sharp (but also winking) rebuke from the American Civil Liberties Union.

Pop star Justin Timberlake will perform at halftime of the 52nd Super Bowl, it was announced yesterday evening in an excitedly adolescent announcement video Timberlake posted with Jimmy Fallon (below). The game will take place at Minneapolis, Minn.'s U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 4.

Updated at 11:10 a.m. ET

Gord Downie, singer of The Tragically Hip, died of complications from brain cancer Tuesday night at the age of 53. His death was announced in a statement from his family.

Charles Bradley, the "Screaming Eagle of Soul," whose late-blossoming career was built on fiery performances that evoked his idol, James Brown, died in Brooklyn on Saturday, Sept. 23, according to a statement by his publicist. In 2016, Bradley was diagnosed with stomach cancer, which spread to his liver. He was 68 yeas old.

Spotify and other streaming services have begun removing white supremacist content from their platforms, as websites and musicians alike scramble to distance themselves from the white nationalist movement.

In a statement on Wednesday, Spotify blamed the labels and distributors that supply music to its database but said "material that favors hatred or incites violence against race, religion, sexuality or the like is not tolerated by us. Spotify takes immediate action to remove any such material as soon as it has been brought to our attention."

A Denver jury found fully in pop singer Taylor Swift's favor Monday, delivering a unanimous verdict in a trial over whether she was groped by a former radio host during a Denver meet-and-greet. Wanting the trial to serve as an "example to other women," the star had sought a single dollar in damages, which she was granted.

"Despacito," the worldwide hit from Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee which just last week was touted as the most-streamed song to date, has now become the subject of a surprise appropriation by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

"Despacito," the Spanish-language summer smash by Puerto Rican stars Luis Fonsi and "king of reggaetón" Daddy Yankee, is now the most-streamed song in history.

The world has had the better part of a week now, and through a bloated holiday weekend, to digest Jay-Z's latest album, 4:44. With 10 songs spread over 36 minutes, the album wields brevity without sacrificing breadth. Its sound, crafted wholly by producer No I.D., is surprisingly cloudy and narcotic, while Shawn Carter's lyrics are reflective and bent steadfastly toward honesty.

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