Daily Digest: Michael Jackson Sales Predictions, Free R.E.M. Song, Ron Artest Starts Label - Rolling Stone
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News: Michael Jackson’s ‘Michael,’ Free R.E.M. Song, Ron Artest label

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MJ’s Michael on Track to Sell A Quarter Million in First Week
Michael Jackson’s Michael is on track to sell between 225,000 and 250,000 units in its first week in stores, which should put the album in contention with Susan Boyle’s The Gift and Taylor Swift’s Speak Now for the top spot on next week’s albums chart. Solid debuts are also expected for R. Kelly’s Love Letter (150,000 to 160,000) and Diddy-Dirty Money’s Last Train to Paris (60,000 to 65,000). [Hits Daily Double]

Download a Free R.E.M. Song From New LP
R.E.M. are offering a free download of “Discoverer,” the lead track from their forthcoming album Collapse Into Now, on their website. The album is due out on March 8. [REMHQ.com viaConsequence of Sound]

Lakers Star Artest Launches New Record Label
Los Angeles Lakers star Ron Artest launched a new hip-hop record label called Artest Media Group, which will be distributed by SMC Recordings. AMG will be Artest’s second label: he launched Tru Warier in 2002. [AllHipHop.com]

Paltrow Pondering “Rock of Ages” Offer
Gwyneth Paltrow, whose singing career is on a roll after her appearance on Glee and the forthcoming Country Strong flick, is mulling over an offer to star in the film rendition of the hair-metal musical Rock of Ages. “I just got the script and I will read it on the plane home,” Paltrow told Entertainment Weekly. “But it sounds like it could be fun.” Tom Cruise and Mary J. Blige are also said to be considering roles in the film. [Entertainment Weekly]

Rob Halford Says His Coming Out Helped Change Heavy Metal
Judas Priest singer Rob Halford said that by coming out as a gay man publicly, he helped change heavy metal fans’ attitudes toward homosexuality. “There are areas of music that are more compassionate, more tolerant, more open, more accepting and more aware,” he told the San Diego Gay & Lesbian News. “What I think I have done is destroy the myth that heavy metal bands don’t have that capacity. Heavy metal now is a completely different world compared to heavy metal in 1980; the gay and lesbian world is very different now to what it was in 1980. There are still a lot of issues that need to be addressed, but I think slowly but surely our lives are getting better.” [San Diego Gay & Lesbian News via NME]

Don Was Laments the Death of Album Liner Notes
Grammy-winning producer Don Was (Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan) wrote a long appreciation of the dying art of album liner notes for Detroit’s Metro Times, citing Frank Zappa’s extensive notes for his Mothers of Invention’s 1966 LP Freak Out. Was said Zappa’s long list of influences in the notes, which range from Bob Dylan to Bram Stoker, “changed my life,” “schooled us in counter-culture history [and] gave lost teenagers an identity along with a mythology.” [Detroit Metro Times via The Daily Swarm]


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