In a new interview, country star Ty Herndon came out as a “proud and happy gay man,” saying he remained closeted for decades because he would afraid that being openly gay would doom his career in country music; he even went so far as to marry twice, to women he says knew he was gay and were helping to keep his secret safe. Herndon said he’s coming out now because he realizes that telling his story might help frightened gay youth. (Rolling Stone)
Inspired by Herndon, his friend and fellow country star Billy Gilman then came out as gay via a video on YouTube. Gilman had strong words for his genre, saying that “being a gay male country music artist is not the best thing” and implicitly accusing major labels of homophobia. Thanking his fans, Gilman said, “I will always strive to be the best artist that I can be. Now that I know that I have finally found my place as a person, that only makes the music that much better.” (Rolling Stone)
Amazon Music’s holiday playlist “All Is Bright” includes a cover of John Lennon‘s “Merry Xmas (War Is Over)” performed by Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono and the Flaming Lips.
Disturbing video footage reportedly shot two to three years ago by Hostel director Eli Roth, just leaked on the Internet, features Lana Del Rey and includes a brief sequence in which a man who seems to be Roth himself simulates raping Del Rey. The footage was initially described as an unused Marilyn Manson video since it contains footage from two existing videos, but Manson has denied any involvement with the video. “It must be a fan video splicing up old Manson video footage with someone else’s Lana Del Rey footage,” said a representative for Manson. (Billboard)
With Arcade Fire on break, the band’s Will Butler (not Win, his younger brother) has been playing solo gigs and has just announced that his debut solo album, Policy, will be released on March 10. (Consequence of Sound)
Wednesday night Billy Joel accepted the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize at an all-star concert featuring Tony Bennett, John Mellencamp, Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, and others. Billboard reports that “Joel’s tunes were enough to have Republican and Democratic congressional leaders sitting side by in the divided capital, clapping to the same beat.”
Today in app news: virtual reality footage of Paul McCartney performing “Live and Let Die” at Candlestick Park is now available via a downloadable app, and is coming soon to 3D immersion devices like Oculus Rift. (Consequence of Sound) Another new app, called Jukely, sells $25 monthly subscriptions that allow users to attend unlimited live music concerts in their cities—but only concerts where promoters are left with unsold tickets and want to give their artists exposure. (Consequence of Sound)
Speaking of exposure, the idea that exposure via music streaming services can be beneficial for artists is supported by a new study from the Country Music Association. The study finds that 20% of streaming users had, within the past week, purchased music they had first heard on a stream. Still, the study found, terrestrial radio remains the way for most people to discover most of the new music they hear. (Billboard)
A U.S. District Judge has dismissed a lawsuit against American Idol by ten African-American contestants who argued that they were dismissed from the show due to racism. The judge said that the plaintiffs waited too long to sue, and that their evidence was weak. (Billboard)
Pitch Perfect, the 2013 film that produced an unlikely top-ten hit in Anna Kendrick‘s cup-assisted rendition of Lulu and the Lampshades‘ 2012 adaptation of A.P. Carter‘s 1931 song “When I’m Gone,” has a sequel coming out this summer.