Category: Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift's final Staples show gets boost from Nicki Minaj


Taylor Swift had to miss the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday since she was across the street playing the last of a string of sold-out shows at the Staples Center. But the young country queen used the influx of superstars who were in town for the big show to pull off an unlikely duet.

The singer enlisted Nicki Minaj to show up for a spin of the rapper's crossover hit, "Super Bass." Just before the duet, Minaj was awarded the VMA for best hip-hop video for the single, which peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 100 chart.

Swift has never shied away from her love for Minaj, and has even done an impromptu cover of the song herself. The audience, already in a fit of screams when the singer started rapping, turned up the octaves of shrills when Minaj in a gloriously multi-hued ensemble emerged from underneath the stage to join Swift.

Could a duet or remix be in the cards for the pair? Check out the performance after the jump:

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Taylor Swift merchandise connections: Let us count the ways

Taylor Swift merchandise
The full flowering of Taylor Swift's career provides a textbook example of how pop musicians are diversifying far beyond the lyrics and melodies they serve up on their recordings.

With four sold-out shows on her current “Speak Now” tour, which began Tuesday and runs through Sunday at Staples Center in Los Angeles, the singer-songwriter's reach now extends across multiple platforms. Here are a few, but hardly all, of the ways she's connecting with fans — either via her website or in the merchandise booths in and around the venues she's playing.


-- Swift's new signature fragrance, Wonderstruck, is making its debut in October, in conjunction with Elizabeth Arden. Starting at $49.50.


-- “Speak Now” by artist Peter Max: $49. There's also an autographed version available — signed both by Swift and Max — for $149.


-- Back to School: Includes a backpack, Swift's 2011-12 calendar and Papyrus journal: $55.

-- “Mean”: A limited-edition (2,500 copies) individually numbered CD single of her hit “Mean” and a T-shirt that reads “Why You Got to Be So MEAN?”: $25.


-- “Speak Now” T-shirts in a variety of designs and colors: $25

-- Half a dozen different headbands: $12 to $150 (for the limited-edition model).


-- “Speak Now” songbook: $17

-- Six guitar picks with a tin box: $9.99


-- Box of 13 (from the line Swift created for American Greetings): $19.99.


-- Key chain with Swift's hands in the shape of a heart logo: $8.

-- Journal (in “glitter guitar” or “chandelier” cover designs): $19.95.


Taylor Swift: the next chapter

Review: Taylor Swift at Staples Center

Taylor Swift benefit concert raises more than $750,000 for tornado victims

-- Randy Lewis

Left: A bottle of Wonderstruck perfume; credit: Elizabeth Arden. Right: Peter Max's "Speak Now"; credit: Peter Max.

This week's on-sales: Taylor Swift, UCLA Live, Red Hot Chili Peppers and more

A list of upcoming concerts across the Southland, with on-sale dates in parentheses.

Staples Center

Taylor Swift, Aug. 23-24, 27-28 (Fri.)

Royce Hall

UCLA Live 2011-2012 season featuring Sonny Rollins, Earl Scruggs, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Bettye LaVette and many others. See for full schedule and dates. (Fri.)

The Wiltern

Primus, Oct. 22 (Fri.)

Hollywood Palladium

LeCrae, Oct. 21 (Fri.)

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Concert business is up 11% in first half of 2011, Pollstar reports

U2 360 Anaheim-Arkasha Stevenson LAT 
The record industry isn't the only segment of the music business that appears to be on the rebound. The concert industry too, after a difficult year in 2010, is showing total revenue from the Top 50 tours worldwide is up more than 11% for the first half of 2011, according to Pollstar, the concert-industry tracking publication.

Totals from those 50 tours added up to $1.65 billion, despite a 2.1% drop in the number of tickets sold -- 19.4 million -- meaning the bump in the total box office came as the result of higher ticket prices on average.

The increase in the cost of concert attendance “was not expected coming off a down year,” said Pollstar editor Gary Bongiovanni. “It's possible that much of this is driven by artists playing smaller venues at higher prices or better artist packaging, which increases show costs but offers fans a better value for their ticket dollar.”

Ticket prices increased by an average of 13.6%, or $10.23, worldwide, Pollstar reported. The story for the North American concert business is even better, with total revenue on the Top 50 tours jumping 16.2%, to $1.12 billion.

The news comes on the heels of Wednesday’s midyear report on recorded music sales, which also showed an increase over the same period last year, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Leading the pack on the concert trail, not surprisingly, is U2, with a six-month total gross of $164 million on the latest leg of its 360 Tour, which has become the highest-grossing tour of all time. With an average ticket price of $97.65 in stadiums where attendance averaged more than 104,000 people per show, U2 took in a whopping $10.25 million per night.  Bon Jovi's top-grossing tour of 2010, by comparison, took in $201.1 million worldwide over the whole year, according to Pollstar's figures.

Behind U2 is Roger Waters, who has pulled in $97.9 million with an average ticket price of $112.99, followed by Bon Jovi ($921 million, $96.26 ticket average), Lady Gaga ($65.3 million, $96.77 tickets) and Usher ($62.2 million, $83.28 tickets).

Rounding out the midyear Top 10 are Kylie Minogue ($52.1 million, $100.33 tickets), Kenny Chesney ($46.7 million, $72.41 tickets), Andre Rieu ($46 million, $113.72 tickets), Elton John ($44.6 million, $96.71 tickets) and Taylor Swift ($42.9 million, $68 tickets).

“The increased admission price seems to be spread throughout the chart rankings,” Pollstar’s report says. “There were 12 tours on this year’s chart that charged more than $100 per ticket, as compared to only eight last year. Even more interesting is the huge increase in tours hovering just under the magic three-digit price point. There were 22 tours charging more than $90 this year as compared to 12 tours last year.”


Nielsen SoundScan 2011 midyear report: Music sales up for a change

Nothing but dollar signs on the horizon: U2 sets record for highest-grossing tour

Live review: U2 at Angel Stadium

-- Randy Lewis

Photo of U2 singer Bono during the group's 360 Tour stop in Anaheim in June. Credit: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times.

Taylor Swift postpones three shows on 'Speak Now' tour, citing bronchitis

Taylor Swift 2011-Timothy A. Clary-AFP-Getty Images Taylor Swift has postponed three sold-out concerts this weekend in North Carolina and Georgia, citing doctor’s orders to address bronchitis, her spokeswoman said Wednesday.

“It breaks my heart to miss out on this weekend’s shows with my friends in Charlotte and Atlanta,” the 21-year-old singer and songwriter said in a statement. “I would never cancel if I thought I was physically able to perform these shows. I am so sorry to the fans, but I look forward to seeing you when we come back through your towns, which we will do.”

Swift’s appearances slated for Friday in Charlotte, N.C., and Saturday and Sunday in Atlanta have been postponed until Nov. 16 and Oct. 1 and 2, respectively. 

The statement said she expects to resume the tour on July 14 in Montreal. The “Speak Now” tour is scheduled to reach Los Angeles for four nights -- Aug. 23-24, 27 and 28 -- at Staples Center.


Taylor Swift: The next chapter

Taylor Swift's first-week tally: 1,047,000 for 'Speak Now'

Album review: Taylor Swift's 'Speak Now'

-- Randy Lewis

Photo of Taylor Swift. Credit: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images.

Lady Gaga tops the 1million mark in first-week album sales


Like Madonna or Kanye West, Lady Gaga has a knack for attracting controversy, even when the matter at hand is out of her control. “Born This Way,” the pop star’s latest release for Interscope Records, debuted atop the U.S. pop charts Wednesday with more than 1.1. million copies sold, yet that number comes with something of an asterisk.

The figure marked the best first-week album sales since 50 Cent's “The Massacre” sold 1,141,000 copies in 2005.

But what was unusual was that Lady Gaga’s total was fueled by digital downloads – a high percentage of which were sold for less than individual songs from the album.

Last week, retailer raised eyebrows when it set the price for a download of the 14-track album at 99 cents on its May 23 release day, representing an unprecented low bargain-price discount for a marquee release. iTunes was selling a download of the album for $11.99.

Though Amazon only sold the album at that price for two days, Billboard estimated that it sold more than 440,000 albums at that price, and Nielsen SoundScan reports that overall digital sales among all retailers accounted for 60% of the first week sales of “Born This Way.”

Though the firm doesn’t break out the 662,000 downloads sold by retailer, a look at some recent major releases can put Lady Gaga’s digital sales in perspective. When Taylor Swift’s Big Machine album “Speak Now” bowed at No. 1 in November 2010 with more than 1 million copies sold, only 27% came from the digital sector. Likewise, for Eminem’s Interscope album “Recovery,” which debuted in June 2010 with more than 740,000 copies in its first week, only 34% of that tally came from the digital sector.

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Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way' headed toward 1 million-plus first week sales, Billboard says [Updated]

Lady Gaga-Josh Olins HBO

Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” album appears to be on track for a 1 million-plus first week of sales, according to Billboard, helped along by’s decision to sell the hotly anticipated album for 99 cents for two days last week.

Billboard is projecting first-week sales of 1.15 million copies, which would push it past Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now”  last fall, which became the first album in more than two years to surpass seven-figure sales out of the gate, and the biggest initial week total in more than five years. Swift’s album sold 1,047,000 copies in the U.S. during its first week of release, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The total for Lady Gaga’s album is expected to be announced Wednesday.

If it logs 1.15 million or higher, it would also surpass rapper 50 Cent's "The Massacre," which tallied 1.14 million in 2005, although the rapper posted that figure in just four days. The first-week sales record remains  with boy band 'N Sync's "No Strings Attached," which posted 2.42 million in 2000.

Retail sources estimated that the Amazon bargain price on Gaga’s album helped account for more than 400,000 copies of “Born This Way” going into consumers’ hands last week.  It had been planned as a one-day event on May 23, the day of release, but demand crashed Amazon’s servers and the online retailer reduced the price again on Thursday as a makeup to those who had unsuccessfully tried to purchase it May 23.

The CD debuted at No. 1 on the U.K. chart on May 29 with first week sales of 215,000 copies, making it the fastest-selling U.K. release so far this year. It was slightly ahead of Adele’s “21,” which logged 208,000 copies upon its U.K. release in February.

Billboard said it would count the deeply discounted Amazon sale figure toward the album’s official first-week total, despite complaints from other retailers that were selling it for more. But Billboard will not include numbers from Best Buy, which used “Born This Way” as a bonus giveaway to customers who purchased smartphones last week.

Updated: An earlier version of this story listed the date "Born This Way" debuted on the U.K. chart as May 23.


Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way': The path to the 99-cent album

Album review: Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way'

Taylor Swift's first-week tally: 1,047,000 for 'Speak Now'

-- Randy Lewis

Photo of Lady Gaga. Credit: Josh Olins/HBO.

Taylor Swift benefit concert raises more than $750,000 for tornado victims

Taylor Swift 5-21-2011 Nashville Christie Goodwin 
Taylor Swift’s concert Saturday in Nashville drew more than 13,000 people and raised more than  $750,000 for victims of recent tornadoes in the South. 

Swift donated proceeds from ticket sales, merchandise and other facets of the show, which she transformed into a benefit from what was to have been the final dress rehearsal for the North American leg of her Speak Now tour. The tour opens Friday in Omaha, Neb., and reaches Los Angeles in August for four sold-out shows at Staples Center.

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Taylor Swift to stream two performances during Saturday benefit concert in Nashville

Taylor Swift live Club Nokia Schaben

After opening the final dress rehearsal for her upcoming Speak Now tour to the public to raise money for victims of the recent tornadoes across the south, Taylor Swift will stream two performances from the show on Saturday in Nashville as a way to expand the fundraiser and give fans a preview of the new North American tour.

Swift tweeted the news to her 6 million-plus Twitter followers Thursday, noting that the stream will happen over her website at 9 p.m. Central time (7 Pacific) during the show at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.

The stream will include information on how viewers may donate to help those affected by the tornados. She has pledged 100% of ticket sales from the concert will go to the  Speak Now … Help Now fund she has established through the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

Her tour opens May 27 in Omaha, Neb., and reaches Southern California for four sold-out shows at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Aug. 23-24 and 27-28.


Disaster, loss at every turn in wake of tornadoes

Taylor Swift joins Kris Kristofferson, Vince Gill others at Country Hall of Fame benefit

Taylor Swift: the next chapter

-- Randy Lewis

Photo: Taylor Swift performs in September at Club Nokia in Los Angeles. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Taylor Swift opens tour rehearsal to aid tornado victims

Taylor_Swift Taylor Swift is offering a sneak peek of her upcoming tour, for charity.

The country-pop star announced Friday she is opening the final dress rehearsal of her Speak Now World Tour to fans as a benefit for victims devastated by last month's string of deadly tornadoes that hit several Southern states and caused hundreds of deaths.

Dubbed “Speak Now … Help Now!,” the May 21 benefit show at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena will offer 13,000 fans a glimpse of Swift’s tour nearly a week early.

“I was watching the coverage of the tornadoes backstage at rehearsals, and I wanted to do something for the families affected by the damage,” Swift said in a statement. “I’ve never opened a rehearsal to the public before, but I felt that inviting my fans to the last rehearsal for the Speak Now Tour would be a great way to raise money."

Swift and her crew have been working songs out in the arena for the last five weeks, she said. More details are expected to be announced on her official site Monday, but 100% of ticket sales for the show will go directly to aid victims.

The North American leg of her Speak Now World Tour 2011 kicks off May 27 in Omaha, Neb., and she is scheduled to play four dates at the Staples Center in August.
“We’ll probably still be doing some fine-tuning to the show that night, since this will be a true rehearsal,” she said, “but I feel like it is so important for me and my fans to help if we can.”


Miranda Lambert, Taylor Swift win at Academy of Country Music Awards

Red carpet photos: Academy of Country Music Awards

How did Taylor Swift pull off that shockeroo at the ACM Awards?

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy

Photo: Country music star Taylor Swift performs at the Staples Center. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times


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