iHeartRadio Music Festival 2020: 5 Can’t-Miss Moments

When the iHeartRadio Awards opened on Friday (Sept. 18), no one knew the evening would be rocked by the news that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had passed away. A politically loaded occurrence beyond day-to-day music news, the response was overwhelming on social media. At the same time, music fans looking to enjoy an evening of music were ready and accounted for, helping to celebrate the sounds that bring us together in the toughest times.

ALICIA KEYS
The tireless champion of the underprivileged was a perfect opener for the 2020 iHeartRadio Festival. Bringing her Khalid collab “So Done,” Keys performed a beguiling set that opened the doors for the performers that followed.

MIGOS
The digital festival featured a strong showing of the year’s radio MVPs, including Quavo, Offest and Takeoff. Migos performed a medley of radio faves in the most 2020 fashion – rapping a medley of their hits to a screen showing a variety of fans. Sure, they wanted to be there IRL. But hey, it is what it is.

THOMAS RHETT
A genre melder of the highest degree, Thomas Rhett (hair swoop and all) sidled into the radio country MVP role to demonstrate what a (die a) happy man looked like — and point out “Look What God Gave Her.”

COLDPLAY
The long-running hitmakers demonstrated the beauty of separation while playing a socially distanced set. Despite the roars of audience approval, it was clear the footage was recorded separate from the crowd, but it didn’t matter – the passion pulled through to demonstrate how much Coldplay valued the gig. “This is a bizarre concert for us, but thank you for having us,” Chris Martin said. Thank you, Chris.

BTS
BTS has taken over the North American continent so gradually one might not have noticed — but given that we’ve put every member of BTS on our magazine cover, it’s obvious we’ve been watching. When BTS kicked into their Hot 100 No. 1 “Dynamite,” it was clear they were dominating, but their cross-cultural importance was established when each member continued to sing in Korean throughout a medley of BTS tracks. The finale – featuring the group executing flawless moves to “Boy With Luv” (minus Halsey) – demonstrated how deeply committed each member was to the group’s success.

Saturday (Sept.19), the iHeartRadio Music Festival will wrap up. Here’s how to watch.

ACM Awards Spark Sales Gains for Old Dominion, Eric Church & More

The Academy of Country Music Awards (Sept. 16) sparked sizable sales gains for the songs performed on the show, according to initial reports to Nielsen Music/MRC Data.

Collectively, the songs performed on the three-hour CBS-TV show sold 57,000 downloads in the U.S. on Sept. 16-17, up 544% compared to the 9,000 sold on Sept. 14-15.

The sales numbers include the original versions of songs covered on the show (such as Patsy Cline’s “Crazy,” covered by Carrie Underwood) and those heard in part during medleys, but not the brand new Keith Urban and P!nk track “One Too Many,” which was released on the day of the awards.

Of the performed songs, the biggest seller on Sept. 16-17 was Old Dominion’s “One Man Band,” which was performed as part of an eight-song medley during the show. The track also took home an award that was presented on the broadcast for song of the year, while the band itself won the group of the year trophy.

“One Man Band” sold 9,000 downloads on Sept. 16-17 – an increase of 939% versus its sales of 1,000 on Sept. 14-15.

Other significant sellers from the show include Eric Church’s “Stick That In Your Country Song” (5,000; up 720%), Gabby Barrett’s “I Hope” (3,000; up 69%), Blake Shelton’s “Happy Anywhere,” featuring Gwen Stefani (3,000; up 286%), Dan + Shay’s “I Should Probably Go To Bed” (3,000; up 173%), Luke Combs’ “Better Together” (3,000; up 750%), Mickey Guyton’s “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?” (3,000; up 5,179%) and Kane Brown’s “Worldwide Beautiful” (3,000; up 5,398%).

News on any significant streaming gains for the performed songs will be reported in the coming days.

(The Academy of Country Music Awards are produced by dick clark productions, who share a parent company, MRC, with Billboard).

Cardi B Opens Up About Offset Divorce: ‘Sometimes People Really Do Grow Apart’

Cardi B is squashing the rumors about her divorce from Offset.

The “WAP” rapper hopped on Instagram Live on Friday (Sept. 18) to thank her fans for “all the love and prayers” they’ve been sending her. “However, I don’t really need it. I’m okay,” she added. “I wanted to let y’all know I have not shed not one tear.”

“Every single time that this guy has been so crazy, so f—ed up and it hits the media, I’m always crying, always sad because I don’t like that type of s—,” Cardi continued. “This time, I wasn’t crying. You want to know why? The reason for my divorce is not because of none of that s— that ever happened before. It’s not because of cheating. I’m seeing people be like, ‘Oh, he has a baby on the way.’ That’s a whole f—ing complete lie. That’s the second time people are trying to pin babies over here. No, that’s bulls—.”

I just got tired of f—ing arguing,” she admitted. “I got tired of not seeing things eye to eye. When you feel like it’s just not the same anymore, before you actually get cheated on, I’d rather just leave.”

Cardi also clarified that she did not file for divorce as a publicity stunt for her upcoming album. “Nothing crazy out of this world happened, sometimes people really do grow apart,” she shared. “I been with this man for four years. I have a kid with this man, I have a household with this man…sometimes you’re just tired of the arguments and the build up. You get tired sometimes and before something happens, you leave.”

Cardi B filed for divorce from Offset on Tuesday (Sept. 15) after being married for three years, according to the Fulton County Magistrate in Georgia. The court documents obtained by Billboard indicate that Cardi is asking the court to award her primarily legal and physical custody of their child. Their hearing is scheduled for Nov. 4 at 10 a.m.

Mariah Carey, Katy Perry & More Mourn Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Thank Her for a ‘Lifetime of Service’

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday (Sept. 18) at her home in Washington, of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer. She was 87.

Following the death of the legal and feminist icon, amid a crucial time for the judicial system in the United States, artists flooded social media with messages of mourning and concern for the future of the country. 46 days until the general election on Nov. 3, the vacancy allows President Donald Trump to solidify the conservative majority on the court.

See messages from Mariah Carey, Katy Perry and more.

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RBG forever

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my people….hold on.

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Thank you.

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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies At 87

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday at her home in Washington, the court says. She was 87.

Ginsburg died of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer, the court says.

Her death just over six weeks before Election Day is likely to set off a heated battle over whether President Donald Trump should nominate, and the Republican-led Senate should confirm, her replacement, or if the seat should remain vacant until the outcome of his race against Democrat Joe Biden is known.

Chief Justice John Roberts mourned Ginsburg’s passing. “Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature. We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn, but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her — a tireless and resolute champion of justice,” Roberts said in a statement.

Ginsburg announced in July that she was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for lesions on her liver, the latest of her several battles with cancer.

Ginsburg spent her final years on the bench as the unquestioned leader of the court’s liberal wing and became something of a rock star to her admirers. Young women especially seemed to embrace the court’s Jewish grandmother, affectionately calling her the Notorious RBG, for her defense of the rights of women and minorities, and the strength and resilience she displayed in the face of personal loss and health crises.

Those health issues included five bouts with cancer beginning in 1999, falls that resulted in broken ribs, insertion of a stent to clear a blocked artery and assorted other hospitalizations after she turned 75.

She resisted calls by liberals to retire during Barack Obama’s presidency at a time when Democrats held the Senate and a replacement with similar views could have been confirmed. Instead, Trump will almost certainly try to push Ginsburg’s successor through the Republican-controlled Senate — and move the conservative court even more to the right.

Ginsburg antagonized Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign in a series of media interviews, including calling him a faker. She soon apologized.

Her appointment by President Bill Clinton in 1993 was the first by a Democrat in 26 years. She initially found a comfortable ideological home somewhere left of center on a conservative court dominated by Republican appointees. Her liberal voice grew stronger the longer she served.

Ginsburg was a mother of two, an opera lover and an intellectual who watched arguments behind oversized glasses for many years, though she ditched them for more fashionable frames in her later years. At argument sessions in the ornate courtroom, she was known for digging deep into case records and for being a stickler for following the rules.

She argued six key cases before the court in the 1970s when she was an architect of the women’s rights movement. She won five.

“Ruth Bader Ginsburg does not need a seat on the Supreme Court to earn her place in the American history books,” Clinton said at the time of her appointment. “She has already done that.”

On the court, where she was known as a facile writer, her most significant majority opinions were the 1996 ruling that ordered the Virginia Military Institute to accept women or give up its state funding, and the 2015 decision that upheld independent commissions some states use to draw congressional districts.

Besides civil rights, Ginsburg took an interest in capital punishment, voting repeatedly to limit its use. During her tenure, the court declared it unconstitutional for states to execute the intellectually disabled and killers younger than 18.

In addition, she questioned the quality of lawyers for poor accused murderers. In the most divisive of cases, including the Bush v. Gore decision in 2000, she was often at odds with the court’s more conservative members — initially Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas.

The division remained the same after John Roberts replaced Rehnquist as chief justice, Samuel Alito took O’Connor’s seat, and, under Trump, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh joined the court, in seats that had been held by Scalia and Kennedy, respectively.

Ginsburg would say later that the 5-4 decision that settled the 2000 presidential election for Republican George W. Bush was a “breathtaking episode” at the court.

She was perhaps personally closest on the court to Scalia, her ideological opposite. Ginsburg once explained that she took Scalia’s sometimes biting dissents as a challenge to be met. “How am I going to answer this in a way that’s a real putdown?” she said.

When Scalia died in 2016, also an election year, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to act on Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to fill the opening. The seat remained vacant until after Trump’s surprising presidential victory. McConnell has said he would move to confirm a Trump nominee if there were a vacancy this year.

Reached by phone late Friday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, declined to disclose any plans. He said a statement would be forthcoming.

Ginsburg authored powerful dissents of her own in cases involving abortion, voting rights and pay discrimination against women. She said some were aimed at swaying the opinions of her fellow judges while others were “an appeal to the intelligence of another day” in the hopes that they would provide guidance to future courts.

“Hope springs eternal,” she said in 2007, “and when I am writing a dissent, I’m always hoping for that fifth or sixth vote — even though I’m disappointed more often than not.”

She wrote memorably in 2013 that the court’s decision to cut out a key part of the federal law that had ensured the voting rights of Black people, Hispanics and other minorities was “like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”

Change on the court hit Ginsburg especially hard. She dissented forcefully from the court’s decision in 2007 to uphold a nationwide ban on an abortion procedure that opponents call partial-birth abortion. The court, with O’Connor still on it, had struck down a similar state ban seven years earlier. The “alarming” ruling, Ginsburg said, “cannot be understood as anything other than an effort to chip away at a right declared again and again by this court — and with increasing comprehension of its centrality to women’s lives.”

In 1999, Ginsburg had surgery for colon cancer and received radiation and chemotherapy. She had surgery again in 2009 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and in December 2018 for cancerous growths on her left lung. Following the last surgery, she missed court sessions for the first time in more than 25 years on the bench.

Ginsburg also was treated with radiation for a tumor on her pancreas in August 2019. She maintained an active schedule even during the three weeks of radiation. When she revealed a recurrence of her cancer in July 2020, Ginsburg said she remained “fully able” to continue as a justice.

Joan Ruth Bader was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1933, the second daughter in a middle-class family. Her older sister, who gave her the lifelong nickname “Kiki,” died at age 6, so Ginsburg grew up in Brooklyn’s Flatbush section as an only child. Her dream, she has said, was to be an opera singer.

Ginsburg graduated at the top of her Columbia University law school class in 1959 but could not find a law firm willing to hire her. She had “three strikes against her” — for being Jewish, female and a mother, as she put it in 2007.

She had married her husband, Martin, in 1954, the year she graduated from Cornell University. She attended Harvard University’s law school but transferred to Columbia when her husband took a law job there. Martin Ginsburg went on to become a prominent tax attorney and law professor. Martin Ginsburg died in 2010. She is survived by two children, Jane and James, and several grandchildren.

Ginsburg once said that she had not entered the law as an equal-rights champion. “I thought I could do a lawyer’s job better than any other,” she wrote. “I have no talent in the arts, but I do write fairly well and analyze problems clearly.”

This article was originally published by The Associated Press.

YOASOBI Logs Fifth Week at No. 1 on Japan Hot 100 After Leading Streaming & Video for 15 Weeks

YOASOBI’s “Yoru ni kakeru” returns to No. 1 for the fifth time on the Billboard Japan Hot 100, dated Sept. 7 to 13. The long-running hit that has hovered near the top of the chart for weeks leads streaming and video views for the 15th week, respectively, while also coming in at No. 2 for karaoke and No. 6 for downloads.

“Yoru ni kakeru” sees a slight dip in figures for streaming (from 9,259,480 to 9,011,832 streams) and also a decrease in video views (from 7,871,642 to 6,430,177 views), but both are far greater than the track at No. 2 for each metric. Depending on how CD sales play out in the coming weeks, the song could still extend its record at the top of the list.

The song at No. 1 for physical sales this week is BOYS AND MEN’s “Oh Yeah,” which sold 55,996 copies in its first week. The single didn’t perform too well in other metrics — No. 74 for look-ups, No. 61 for Twitter mentions, for example — and bows at No. 9 on the Japan Hot 100.

Meanwhile, CD sales for LiSA’s “Gurenge,” released in July 2019, increased this week from 1,516 to 2,147 copies, indicating that it could be enjoying another surge in popularity as the movie version of the animated series it is linked with, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, is set to open in theaters in October, and the latest collection of the original manga it is based on drops around then as well. The single has steadily accumulated 145,062 CD sales to date, and doesn’t look like it’s stopping any time soon.

The Billboard Japan Hot 100 combines physical and digital sales, radio airplay, Twitter mentions, YouTube and GYAO! video views, Gracenote look-ups, audio streams from Amazon Music Unlimited, Apple Music, AWA, Google Play Music, KKBOX, LINE MUSIC, Rakuten Music, RecMusic provided by Gfk Japan, dHits, Uta Pass and Spotify, plus karaoke data from Daiichikosho and XING.

Billboard Japan Hot 100 Top 10 (dated Sept. 6 to 13):

1. [2] Yoru ni kakeru / YOASOBI ( – / 12,834 downloads / 9,011,832 streams)
2. [4] Dynamite / BTS ( – / 9,107 downloads / 7,233,353 streams)
3. [7] Make you happy / NiziU ( –  / 13,572 downloads / 7,696,982 streams)
4. [5] Hadaka no kokoro / Aimyon (1,136 copies / 16,783 downloads / 6,879,828 streams)
5. [3] Kanden / Kenshi Yonezu ( – / 11,800 downloads / 6,945,837 streams)
6. [6] Kousui / Eito ( – / 12,336 downloads / 6,024,703 streams)
7. [8] Gurenge / LiSA (2,147 copies / 14,421 streams / 3,744,148 streams)
8. [10] Gunjo / YOASOBI ( – / 13,807 downloads / 4,479,685 streams)
9. [-] Oh Yeah / BOYS AND MEN (55,996 copies /  – / – )
10. [12] Pretender / Official HIGE DANdism ( – / 3,094 downloads / 4,311,872 streams)

[]: Position last week
(): Physical sales / downloads / streams (Top 50 only) 

J-pop Trio Perfume Talk New Single, Look Back on Coachella Performance & More

J-pop dance trio Perfume is celebrating multiple milestones this year, as 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the group’s formation and the 15th of its major label debut.

On Sept. 16, the trio dropped “Time Warp,” its first new single in two and half years. Along with the coupled track called “Saisei,” the release explores the years that the three women and their longtime collaborator Yasutaka Nakata have spent working together to perfect their art, and their current state of mind as they take a new step forward.

Members a-chan, KASHIYUKA, and NOCCHi met with Takayuki Okamoto for Billboard Japan and spoke about their new release, looked back on their eventful past year — which included their fourth world tour and a groundbreaking performance at Coachella — and shared their thoughts on where the group is headed as live music is forced to re-examine its norms due to the global pandemic.

Your new single and the title song feature the word “time.” Looking back, how do you feel about the time you spent this past year?

NOCCHi: We released a greatest hits album to coincide with the start of 15th anniversary year of our major label debut, and that meant a lot to us. At the same time, we released our entire catalog on streaming platforms, so people who used to listen to our music long ago and younger people who couldn’t afford to buy our CDs can now stream our works, which has led to some new encounters. It was a great year.

KASHIYUKA: We all had a say in what songs to include in the greatest hits collection, but found that all of our songs were just so good. Being able to say, “it’s too bad we can’t include all of them” is something we can be proud about. We pared the choices down to 52 tracks, but had to prune them again for our anniversary dome tour set list. We put so much effort into choosing the first round of songs, so we were like, “We can’t decide!” [laughs] We fashioned the tour around requests from fans, and were able to celebrate together with them. It was like a “thanks-giving” festival for us and it was a really fulfilling year.

a-chan: Yasutaka Nakata writes all of our songs, and every single one is so cool. The more we look back on our history, the more I feel how truly amazing our songs are, so this past year I realized again how grateful I am that we met such a producer, and felt happy we can continue working together from now on as well.

I got the impression that the title and lyrics of “Time Warp” symbolizes your anniversary year, and that it reflects upon the years that Perfume and Yasutaka Nakata have collaborated together and your current state of mind.

KASHIYUKA: I think it’s full of that sense of, “We’ve been doing this for so long, it’s hard to experience the same kind of excitement as the first time we did anything.” The first time is always shocking, with that feeling of extreme tension and nervousness, but that same sensation isn’t there anymore for the second and third times. I think “Time Warp” is about how much we can still enjoy things in spite of that. Mr. Nakata always writes about concepts that are one step ahead of where Perfume is currently situated.  

He always gives us lyrics that look towards the future from where we are. When we first performed at the Nippon Budokan, he encouraged us with “Dream Fighter” (2008), telling us that we’ll “face forward and keep walking,” and with “STAR TRAIN” (2015) he reminisced our journey together and said, “but this is always the starting line.” When we’re about to become content with our present state, he shows us what lies ahead.

Before you performed “Saisei” at the Tokyo Dome show on Feb. 25, all the names of your past tours since your major label debut were read out loud, and the list included your 2019 world tour and Coachella. Looking back, could you share how you feel about that Coachella performance?

a-chan: I think it was incredible. We knew about it, of course, but when we got there, we saw people who really love music listening to it however they like, and I thought, “Wow, I really love this festival!” But it’s also very uncompromising in that sense, so when we got out on stage and the crowd was sparse and far from full, we were like, “Oh no,” but also felt fired up, “No, we got this! It’s the three of us!”

We witnessed the audience growing as the set went on, to the point where we couldn’t see the end in the back, and felt that Mr. Nakata’s music can reach people around the world. Seeing more and more people take interest in us like that reminded me of our first-ever summer festival in 2007, the Summer Sonic in Japan. But the stage was slippery as heck [laughs] and the tension made it feel like it was over instantly.

NOCCHi: We’re always so inspired whenever we perform overseas. Things I don’t understand pile up each time we go, and I enjoy that. And no matter where we go, there are people waiting to see Perfume, which makes it really worthwhile being in this group.

KASHIYUKA: When “Polyrhythm” was included in the soundtrack for Cars 2, we were invited to the world premiere of the movie in Hollywood, and there we met people who told us, “Come here to do a show!” for the first time, which surprised us. We started thinking that if there are people out there who want to see us, then we want to go, so we gradually started touring outside of Japan in Asia.

Last year, when we toured in North America, it really hit home that we’ve become relatively known. We stopped in cities like Dallas and Seattle and San Jose, but were kind of worried, like, “Are there really people here who know about us?” But we met folks who told us they’d been listening to our music for seven years, waiting for us to come, and there was a lot of enthusiasm in those places we visited for the first time. We were so glad we made the decision to do that tour.

Festivals are places where you discover artists you didn’t know about, right? I strongly felt that (Coachella) was an opportunity, a challenge, to make ourselves known to people in America who didn’t know us before. Being given a stage where we can take on something unknown, where we might not succeed, is really gratifying.

Perfume has put on various groundbreaking and challenging stage productions in the past. I imagine people expect you to come up with something incredible for virtual shows. How do you plan on sharing your music from now on?

a-chan: When you’re watching us through a screen, it might feel like the distance between us has grown, but we feel like it’s actually become closer. Kind of like our choices have increased because some of the boundaries that prevented us from doing certain things have disappeared. Our style of entertainment has always been experimental, and we enjoy being in a place where there’s nothing but ambition there. So I just hope we can continue doing what we feel is cool in our own unique way. If we can keep doing that, then, I think Perfume will last a long time. I hope our fans can enjoy that together with us. 

NOCCHi: I’ve been spending a lot of time at home, and often find myself thinking, “Wow, entertainment is so amazing!” I think this is an opportunity for various types of entertainment to evolve, and since there are people who have ideas for new things they want to try with Perfume, we hope to present something new as well.

KASHIYUKA: We were reminded that we like people. We do what we do for people, it’s a strong incentive for us. I hope we can maintain the emotions and meanings we want to get across and continue to do interesting things, even though the format might be different. We can’t exist without those who listen to us and those who help us create our art, so together with them, we hope to keep changing while maintaining the parts that are important.

Interview and text by Takayuki Okamoto, translation by Billboard Japan