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Catching Up With the Music Industry

Kait Richmond

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While college students rested on break, it was business as usual for the music industry. Whether it’s a year-end list or new music, check out these five stories that may have flown under your radar this winter break.

1.    A Successful Crossover. Billboard compiled the 2009 Year End charts and, unsurprisingly, Taylor Swift was the big winner, finishing #1 in many categories including Top Artist. The lists are fairly predictable every year, but every so often an unexpected name pops up. This year, it was actor Steve Martin. He ended 2009 with a successful movie, It’s Complicated, and two Billboard honors: best bluegrass artist and best bluegrass album. Young Hollywood should pay attention to Martin, because he’s made one of the most successful actor to musician transitions we’ve seen in awhile!

2.    Katy Perry’s Busy New Year. Over the holidays, Katy Perry vacationed in India with beau Russel Brand, where he proposed to her after only about three months of dating. After putting his London bachelor pad up for sale, the comedian promptly bought a Los Angeles home for his fiancee. Of course, Katy returned the favor with a 2010 Range Rover; though, maybe this wasn’t the best gift, since Russel can’t drive! In addition to her blissful love life, Katy has returned to the studio to begin recording her next album. She’s back with producers Dr. Luke and Max Martin, who are responsible for a slew of pop hits, including “I Kissed a Girl.” No word on when the album is expected to drop, but Katy is staying in the spotlight as one of the newest spokeswomen of the Proactiv campaign.

3.    Beyonce and Jay Z are the Top Earning Couple. The royal couple of hip hop has beat out every famous couple – including Brangelina – to be named Forbes’ top earning couple of 2009. Combined, Jay Z and Beyonce made an astounding $122 million from June 2008 to June 2009. Defying every stereotype, Beyonce is the breadwinner here, bringing in $87 million. Jay Z made $35 million, but still beat many of the combined couples on the list (Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes made $33.5 million, and Nicole Kidman and Keithe Urban made $17 million). Despite the recession, this is the second year they have topped the list; the only difference is that last year, they made $40 million more.

4.    OK Go Makes a Triumphant Return. The band known best for their treadmill choreography has released a new album and is receiving all sorts of praise. “Of the Blue Colour of the Sky” has a psychedlic dance feel, making it quite different from the band’s previous albums. The music industry is responding well; Rolling Stone chose the song “Wtf?” as #3 on the Editors Picks list, beating out Ringo Starr. Maybe it’s the 1960’s Beatles-feel that is making the quartet so successful. The new video for “This Too Shall Pass” finds them outfitted in marching band uniforms (Sgt. Pepper?) and performing with muck-like creatures that come out of the ground. Regardless of their eccentric videos, OK Go has proven their staying power with this new album.

5.    Connecticut Gets Some Idol Spotlight. The new season of American Idol has brought some excitement to our little state. Connecticut native Katie Stevens gave a beautiful rendition of “At Last” during the premiere, earning her a ticket to Hollywood. Coming from Middlebury, CT, the high school student is already a fan favorite. She talked about her grandma, who has alzheimers, and wanting to succeed while she will still remember her. This heartwarming story coupled with Stevens’ soulful voice has garnered the teen a lot of attention. There are plenty of talented contestants, but Katie Stevens is definitely on her way to becoming the next American Idol.

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Catching Up With the Music Industry