Thursday, November 20, 2008

Guns N' Roses album to debut on MySpace

Guns N' Roses fans who have waited 17 years to hear the rock band's new album are mere hours from having their patience rewarded with a free Web debut before it goes on sale next week.

Guns N' Roses' Chinese Democracy will make its debut on the band's MySpace page starting Thursday, according to a Reuters report Wednesday. Fans will be able to stream the album for free before it goes on sale Sunday in an exclusive deal with Best Buy. Listeners, however, will not be able to download tracks from the site.

Also reported to be debuting Thursday was Electric Arguments by Paul McCartney's side project group, The Fireman. However, Eliot Van Buskirk at noted that NPR Music got the jump on MySpace by beginning its streaming of the album Tuesday.

The News Corp.-owned social network launched its MySpace Music service in September with the backing of the four largest recording companies. The service represents the most significant challenge to Apple--at least in terms of firepower--in some time. The site offers free streaming music and sells unprotected MP3 downloads, ringtones, and merchandise.

MySpace has long been a place where bands market their wares to the Web. According to MySpace, 65 percent of its users already have streaming music on their profiles and 6 billion songs are played every month.

'Suge' Knight to face Vegas drug, battery charges

The Clark County district attorney's office is seeking charges against Marion "Suge" Knight in the alleged beating of his girlfriend in August.

A criminal complaint being processed Tuesday in Las Vegas Justice Court charges Knight with two counts of felony drug possession and one count of misdemeanor battery.

Police say they arrested Knight, 43, after officers saw the founder of bankrupt Death Row Records beating the woman while brandishing a knife in a parking lot near the Las Vegas Strip.

Authorities said the woman wasn't stabbed, but was treated at a hospital for injuries. The complaint alleges that Knight was carrying Ecstasy and hydrocodone when he was arrested.

Knight was later released after posting $19,000 bail.

Court spokeswoman Esther McElhaney said the district attorney's complaint had been received by the court, which would process it, issue a summons for Knight and set an arraignment date.

"Whenever we have the opportunity to appear before the court and enter a not guilty plea, that's what we'll do," said Richard Schonfeld, one of Knight's attorneys in Las Vegas. "We're going to vigorously defend him against these charges."

Knight's Death Row Records was known for releasing seminal gangster rap albums by Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. It sold tens of millions of albums in the heyday of early 1990s rap.

In 2006, a federal judge ordered a bankruptcy trustee takeover of Death Row Records, saying the label had undergone gross mismanagement. Knight's decision to file for bankruptcy protection staved off a move by the court to appoint someone to take control of the record label and his assets.

The record company was auctioned for $24 million to New York-based Global Music Group Inc. in June.