Music News: Madonna loses fight to block sale of Tupac breakup letter


Madonna performs at the Xcel Energy Center.
Madonna performs at the Xcel Energy Center in 2015. (Nate Ryan/MPR)

A New York Supreme Court judge has ruled that Madonna does not have the legal right to block the sale of some items that once belonged to her — including unreleased recordings, satin underwear, and a breakup letter from onetime beau Tupac Shakur.

The items are being auctioned by Darlene Lutz, a former friend. Madonna says she didn't know Lutz had the items until the auction was announced last year, and the auction was postponed when Madonna sued Lutz, arguing her former friend had no right to sell the "extremely private and personally sensitive" material.

With this ruling that the items are legitimately Lutz's property, the auction will now take place in July. The contents of the Shakur letter have already leaked; in the 1995 letter from prison, the rapper describes the role race played in his decision to end his relationship with Madonna. (New York Times)

Spotify adds features for free users

In its first major announcement since going public, Spotify has debuted a new version of its mobile app that allows non-paying users to have access to certain features that were previously only available to paying subscribers — for example, the ability to listen to songs from key playlists on demand rather than just on shuffle.

According to Rolling Stone, the company's head R&D officer said at a press event that "the company is trying to do for the music industry what broadcast radio did in the 1990s: motivate people to buy music by first giving it away for free."

As Rolling Stone explains, "the music industry at large is reluctant to embrace Spotify's optimistic vision for the record business. While the company stands behind the promise that many of its free users will eventually convert into paying subscribers on the premium tier, artists and record labels are less sure."

Live Nation announces "National Concert Week"

Promoter Live Nation has designated next week "National Concert Week," offering $20 tickets to a wide range of shows to "celebrate the kickoff to its biggest summer season," says the company. The offer will seemingly apply to select tickets purchased between April 30 and May 8, even if the shows don't take place during that window.

Specific shows haven't yet been announced, but there's a list of participating artists, and participating artists with upcoming concerts in Minnesota include 3 Doors Down, Collective Soul, Steely Dan, and the Doobie Brothers. Tempted? (Billboard)

Springsteen and Stipe join Patti Smith at concert film premiere

On Monday night in New York, Patti Smith celebrated the premiere of Horses: Patti Smith and Her Band, a concert documentary about Smith's recent tour. Smith and her band played a short live set after the film screening, and the legend was joined onstage by special guests Bruce Springsteen and Michael Stipe.

Stipe joined Smith for "People Have the Power," while Springsteen sang and played guitar on "Because the Night," a song that he and Smith co-wrote. (Rolling Stone)

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