Lawsuit Filed Says Sony Music Cheated American Idol Winners Including Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal lawsuit filed in New York charges that Sony Music Entertainment cheated “American Idol” contestants including Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood out of at least $10 million in royalties.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday by 19 Recordings, a music company founded by “Idol” creator Simon Fuller.

The lawsuit says 19 discovered the royalty issue from two separate audits of Sony’s records.

Other artists named in the suit include Clay Aiken, Chris Daughtry and Jordin Sparks.

Attorney Richard Busch, of the Nashville firm King & Ballow, says the legal action was necessary to protect the rights of 19’s artists.

A Sony spokeswoman said she had no comment on the lawsuit.

Melodic Monday: White Stripes, Grey and Idols

Here is your ‘readers digest’ version of some breaking music news this past week. Hopefully this will help get you all caught up!

Original ‘Love the Way You Lie’

If you haven’t heard this version of the song by the original writer, it’s a must listen. It’s kinda like acoustic candy for your ears. Skylar Grey, (formerly Holly Brook) the original writer of the tune is currently making a big splash on the music scene, piping up on some big artist records, from Dr. Dre to Lupe Fiasco. Skylar states that she never really was a writer for others, but an artist in her own right. The song was originally written for her to perform, but once Rihanna and her team heard the track, they asked her for the hit. Skylar agreed to let it go, but thought it would be great if people could still hear her version of it. So, here you go, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below!

The White Stripes are No More, Sales Rise Substantially

The White Stripes are calling it quits, according to a statement made by Jack and Meg White on their site last Thursday, the band “has officially ended and will make no further records or perform live.” According to the statement, both Jack and Meg are “feeling fine and in good health,” and the decision comes instead from a desire to “preserve what is beautiful and special about the band.” There were no creative differences, no lack of wanting to continue, no health issues, no in-fighting. They added that they want to thank every one of their fans and admirers for the incredible support they have given throughout the 13 plus years of The White Stripes’ intense and incredible career. “The White Stripes do not belong to Meg and Jack anymore. The White Stripes belong to you now and you can do with it whatever you want. The beauty of art and music is that it can last forever if people want it to. Thank you for sharing this experience. Your involvement will never be lost on us and we are truly grateful.”
In the time after the news broke, the sales of their music had a massive boost. The band’s live album and documentary ‘Under Great White Northern Lightsactually had a  2,644% increase, according to Amazon’s UK site. Their older albums also saw large increases in sales. Question is, will they change their minds in the future? I guess we will have to wait and see.

Mick Jagger to Hit the Grammy Stage for the First Time

Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones is finally giving in to the Grammy’s for the first time in his long, long career. Jagger will perform on the stage February 13th with soul singer Raphael Saadiq as part of a tribute to soul singer Solomon Burke who died last year. Burke opened several times in his late career for the band, and Jagger feels a strong connection to him.
“We’re thrilled, delighted, excited and very much looking forward to Mick doing his debut on the Grammy stage,” said Neil Portnow, president and CEO of the Recording Academy. “It’s extraordinary to many of us that the fact is, this will be the first time; he has never performed on the Grammy stage.”
This is not really the first time Jagger has performed for the Grammy’s, but the previous performance was over satellite, when the band received the lifetime achievment award presented by Eric Clapton.
This won’t be Jagger’s first appearance on a Grammy telecast. In 1986, the Rolling Stones were given a lifetime achievement award by Eric Clapton, and they performed on the show by satellite. “I think they had been celebrating a little time before we went on camera,” Ken Ehrlich said. “It was quite a moment.”
Ehrlich has produced the show for 31 years and has always wanted Jagger and the Stones to perform, but it didn’t work out until this year.Jagger will join a performers list that includes Rihanna, Cee Lo Green, Gwyneth Paltrow, Eminem, Arcade Fire, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Usher, Lady Gaga, Lady Antebellum and Justin Bieber.

American Idol Releases ‘Greatest Hits’ Album

Scheduled to be released on March 15th, American Idol is releases their first ‘Greatest Hits’ album. Named “American Idol 10th Anniversary – The Hits”, the album will feature songs by Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Daughtry, Adam Lambert, Fantasia and David Cook.
This will mark the first album that American Idol releases including all of their seasons winners. They have previously released “Greatest Hits” albums, but they only encompassed the hits from their respective seasons. The new album will include all the winners from the past 10 seasons, with additional tracks from runner-ups Adam Lambert and Clay Aiken.
See the full track listing below:

1. Kelly Clarkson – “Since U Been Gone”
2. Ruben Studdard – “Superstar”
3. Clay Aiken – “Invisible”
4. Fantasia – “When I See U”
5. Carrie Underwood – “Before He Cheats”
6. Taylor Hicks – “Takin’ It To The Streets”
7. Daughtry – “Home”
8. Jordin Sparks (duet with Chris Brown) – “No Air”
9. David Cook – “Light On”
10. Kris Allen – “Live Like We’re Dying”
11. Adam Lambert – “Whataya Want From Me”
12. Lee DeWyze – “Sweet Serendipity”

Will you buy it? I’m not sure if I will… I haven’t liked every American Idol that has won the show, and the ones I did like I already purchased either as an album, or as a single (more often than not.)

American Idol Rewind: Ruben, America’s Velvet Teddy Bear

Tonight, American Idol airs Part 2 of it’s 2 night premiere (check out our first Yak Idol recap here), and we continue to showcase the previous Idol winners in the Yak’s American Idol Rewind feature. If you missed our showcase on Kelly Clarkson yesterday, click HERE to check it out. Today, we’ll tackle the man from the “205,” better known as Birmingham, Alabama. America’s “Velvet Teddy Bear,” a nickname he picked up during the show’s sophomore season, beating out hopeful Clay Aiken, according to Seacrest, by a mere 1,335 votes of the 24,000,000 cast – one of the closest, if not the closest in Idol history. So, let’s dive on in and see what this Teddy Bear has done post-Idol and what he’s up to next!

After shocking America and the judges with his initial audition in Nashville, TN, singing “Ribbon In The Sky,” Ruben was ready to prove that he is a force to be reckoned with. Throughout the competition, he continued to wow viewers and critics alike with his gospel voice and soothing tone. The teddy bear was here to stay and he wasn’t willing to compromise who he was. Many claim that Ruben’s defining moment of the competition was his cover of “Superstar,” originally a hit for The Carpenters and Luther Vandross. “Superstar” helped Ruben nab his first Grammy nomination for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance, in which he was up against his very own idol, Luther Vandross. Ruben’s first single, “Flying Without Wings,” helped fuel pre-sales of his debut album Soulful, topping the 1 million mark before hitting the shelves. He went on to sell over 400,000 records during the first week, attaining him the honor of second highest first week sales of any Idol winner.

Studdard’s second album, I Need An Angel, was a gospel hit. Selling over 500,000 records, the album made #1 on the Billboard Year-End Gospel Chart. Having sold more than 2.4 million albums worldwide, Ruben has had his fair share of success from the show, following the pace set by Kelly Clarkson just a few months earlier. However, Ruben was not without his fair share of hardships either. In 2005, Studdard filed a lawsuit against his godfather and business advisor. The suit alleged that he ran up to $156,000 on Ruben’s credit cards and stole more than $90,000 from his checking account. A year later, Studdard was awarded $500,000 for personal losses and another $1.5 million for punitive damage. During this time, Ruben also began a vegetarian diet out of health concern, causing him to lose over 70 pounds.

Ruben’s third album, The Return, was not so much of a return as it was a flop. Venturing back into the R&B world, Ruben’s record sales declined rapidly, causing him to be dropped from J Records for “falling short of expectations.” Still under contract with 19 Recordings, Ruben was invited back to perform on the Idol stage once again during the season 7 finale, for his rendition of “Celebrate Me Home,” used as the contestants farewell song that year. Studdard also took the time to go on tour in a comedy-drama, Heaven I Need a Hug, as well as for Ain’t Misbehavin,’ which set him along side fellow Season 2 alums Trenyce and Frenchie Davis (disqualified contestant).

More recently, Studdard released his 4th studio album, Love Is, which features a mix of covers and original songs, including “Together.” The album debuted to more critical acclaim than previous albums, but mainly stuck on the R&B/Gospel charts. Ruben also released a 5th album in early 2010, Playlist: The Very Best of Ruben Studdard before returning to the Idol stage for another performance during season 9. Last summer, Studdard took to touring with fellow Idol alum Clay Aiken for a month. The unique aspect of the tour was that it did not focus on their individual recordings, but rather to pay homage to hits from the 60’s to the 90’s with comic variety show acts in between.

Studdard is also not a stranger to the small screen, making appearances on Eve, 8 Simple Rules, and One on One, among others. On a more personal and intimate level, Studdard took his fame and fortune a step further, creating an advocacy group close to his heart, The Ruben Studdard Foundation for the Advancement of Children in the Music Arts. The organization focuses on their aim to “promote the essential role of the arts in education through learning initiatives for the development of students in the Greater Birmingham Area.” Studdard is also an official spokesperson for “Be Sickle Smart,” a health-education program aimed at increasing awareness of iron overload among people living with sickle cell disease. We can’t neglect to mention that Studdard also found the love of his life post-Idol. While signing CDs at a Walmart in Atlanta, the velvet teddy bear gave himself to someone special, Surata Zuri McCants. The two married in a small, private ceremony in Mountain Brook, Alabama in June 2008.

Despite taking a different road post his American Idol victory compared to his predecessor Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard has chosen to make his mark on the industry with a different stamp. Taking on the world of R&B and gospel, Ruben has worked to prove that his Idol win was not in vain. While he may not shine in the mainstream media like Clarkson and some of her Idol successors, Studdard has made his mark on the industry while not straying from his roots, the “205” Velvet Teddy Bear America came to know and love. What are your thoughts on the velvet teddy bear? Did you vote for Ruben to win Idol? Also, don’t forget to check us out again on Wednesday, January 26th for our next installment of Idol Rewind, featuring Season 3’s Fantasia Barrino.

American Idol: Top 10 Best Auditions

American Idol hits it’s 10th season on the airwaves tomorrow night with it’s much anticipated winter premiere (8EST/7CST on Fox). Lots has changed with the show following Simon Cowell’s departure. Ellen Degeneres left the judge’s table, soon followed by Kara DioGuardi. Randy Jackson is the only original judge left and welcomed Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler to the panel. A few more changes will be made to the show’s format this season, which you can read all about HERE! As we prepare to begin a new season with the audition stage, we thought it’d be fun to take a look back at some of the best Idol auditions of the past. We’ve narrowed it down to our Top 10, but we know you’ll have a different list. So check ours out and be sure to comment below and share your very own Top 10 list here in our forums! Didn’t like ours? Well let us know below! Here we go…

#10. Clay Aiken, “Always and Forever”

Love him or hate him, Clay was the original Idol surprise, if you will. Walking in, not looking like a pop star, only to surprise the judges and America with his powerful and soothing voice, Clay gave them reason to believe he had what it takes to follow Clarkson and become the next American Idol. And he got pretty close…Until he released “Invisible” and I think people’s opinion on Clay started to change.