'N Sync announce details on their upcoming album
Plus, musicians testify to Congress about Napster while Prince debuts a single there, and more
ALBUM NOTES ‘N Sync have announced the title of their fourth album: ”Celebrity.” The follow-up to last year’s megahit ”No Strings Attached,” which set a record for most sales in a first week (2.4 million), is due out June 26. Jive Records may release the album’s first single as early as late April, SonicNet.com reports. The title track is reportedly an uptempo song, and the other cuts will likely include such genres as electronica, R&B, dance music, and even country. ‘N Sync will kick off a summer tour on May 12 in Miami with TV ”Popstars” Eden’s Crush as their opening act.
TESTIFYING A group of rock stars and record label executives are expected to crowd into Congress Tuesday for a Senate hearing on online entertainment. The musicians testifying are divided between those in favor of online music freedom (Don Henley and Chuck D) and those who want Napster and similar services shut down (Ted Nugent). But Napster talk may take a backseat to the recent MusicNet deal announced Monday. The new fee based online subscription platform is the creation of music label giants Bertelsmann, EMI, and AOL Time Warner (EW.com’s parent company).
ONLINE PROMO Speaking of Napster, Prince plans to premiere a new song on the file swapping platform this Friday. Prince announced Monday that Napster users will be able to copy and share his new song ”The Work – Pt. 1” for free (and a link to the singer’s own online subscription service). The single will be released later this year on Prince’s upcoming album ”The Rainbow Children.” Earlier this year, the Dave Matthews Band promoted their single ”I Did It” on Napster. ”Napster is just one illustration of the growing frustration over how much the record companies control what music people get to hear,” Prince said in a statement.
LEAVING It’s not a ”Fantasy”: Mariah Carey is leaving the record company that catapulted her to stardom. Carey and Columbia Records issued a joint statement Monday confirming that the pop star is no longer with the label. One of Columbia’s best-selling artists of all time, Carey has sold more than 140 million albums and singles. ”We have shared many commercial and creative successes, and we wish her only the best as her career continues to grow and evolve,” Sony Music (Columbia’s parent company) said in the statement. Carey had been with Columbia since 1990, when Sony Music Chairman Tommy Mottola (whom Carey subsequently married and divorced) signed her. Carey, 31, reportedly has a new deal with Virgin Records worth an astronomical $20 million per album, reports the New York Daily News.
CAST AWAY Jennifer Lopez has a problem growing out her eyebrow hair. OK, maybe not, but she IS backing out of the Frida Kahlo film she had planned to star in for producer Francis Ford Coppola and director Luis Valdez. The United Artists biopic of the Mexican painter was derailed when Miramax greenlit a Kahlo film starring Mexican actress Salma Hayek, Edward Norton, and Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush with director Julie Taymor (Broadway’s ”The Lion King”) on board. Not that Lopez appears to be losing sleep over this decision. She is now negotiating to star as an FBI profiler in the Tony Scott (”Enemy of the State”) thriller ”Taking Lives” for Warner Bros. According to Variety, J. Lo. may receive more than $10 million for the lead role. Not bad for a girl who used to ride the 6 train.
TOURING British singer-songwriter Dido has lined up dates for a North American tour slated to start this June, according to Sonicnet.com. Dido has asked Travis to open all of the newly announced dates on the monthlong tour, which will hit arenas and amphitheaters. Additional shows will probably be added to the Dido/Travis schedule in the next few weeks, but so far, the two are making 17 stops from June 10 in Vancouver, British Columbia, to July 8 in St. Paul, Minn.
CASTING Cuba Gooding Jr. and ”Saturday Night Live” regular Horatio Sanz (”Tomcats”) are both in talks to star in an indie buddy comedy, ”Boat Trip.” Not to be confused with ”Road Trip,” this comedy (from first time director Mort Nathan, who wrote ”Kingpin”) follows two straight best friends who accidentally book themselves on a weeklong gay cruise. Yep, Gooding is really working for that second Oscar nomination…. Dolly Parton is ready to work 9 to 5 in the film world again. The singer-actress is set to star in the Walt Disney pic ”Frank McKlusky, C.I.” Randy Quaid is in talks to star as her husband, with comedian Dave Sheridan as the titular insurance claims investigator, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Arlene Sanford (”A Very Brady Sequel”) will direct the comedy, which starts production later this month…. Jeremy Northam (”An Ideal Husband”) is in negotiations to star in the low budget suspense thriller ”The Company Man” (not to be confused with this month’s low budget comedy thriller of the same name) for director Vincenzo Natali. The $10 million film is set to begin shooting the first week of May. ”Company” follows a man (Northam) who ends up working as a corporate spy.
NETIQUETTE Recently fired BET talk show host Tavis Smiley is in talks with ABC News about becoming an occasional correspondent to ”Primetime Live” and other newsmagazine programs. It ssems only right, considering that the Viacom-owned BET claims it axed Smiley after he sold an exclusive interview with Symbionese Liberation Army member Sara Jane Olsen to ”Primetime Live” instead of offering it to the cable net. The ”Primetime” episode featuring Smiley’s interview with the accused ’70s terrorist aired March 1. Smiley claims that he offered the interview to BET and its sister network CBS but that execs from both passed. Smiley insists he was under no exclusive contract with BET when he sold his piece to ABC News.
TUBE NEWS Ivan Sergei (”Jack & Jill”) will star in the comedy pilot ”The Web” for ABC. From executive producer Peter Tolan (”The Job”), the half hour sitcom will also star Ed Begley Jr.. Sergei will play a Midwestern guy who moves to Los Angeles to become an executive at a struggling TV network. Begley will play the network president.
BIOPIC BITS The production company Crusader Entertainment has acquired the life rights to the story of Ray Charles. The company is developing a film titled ”Unchain My Heart: The Ray Charles Story,” which is being coproduced by Ray Charles Jr. So far, no director is attached, but the film, which will feature the 70 year old Charles, is expected to start production this fall.