Bruce Springsteen Teams Up With Jeep for Surprise Super Bowl Commercial: Watch

Bruce Springsteen, who traditionally shuns any kind of corporate tie-in, has partnered with Jeep for “The Middle,” a two-minute ad that debuted on the car brand’s social media platforms at midnight ET on Sunday (Feb. 7) and will air during the Super Bowl.

Olivier Francois [global chief marketing officer for Jeep parent Stellantis] and I have been discussing ideas for the last 10 years and when he showed us the outline for ‘The Middle,’ our immediate reaction was, ‘Let’s do it,’” Springsteen’s manager Jon Landau said in a statement. “Our goal was to do something surprising, relevant, immediate and artful. I believe that’s just what Bruce has done with ‘The Middle.’”

The spot recalls past patriotic, emotional Super Bowl spots also overseen by Francois while at Fiat Chrysler Automobile, such as Eminem’s 2011 “Made in America” commercial and the 2013 Ram ad “Farmer.” (FCA and Groupe PSA merged earlier this year to form Stellantis.)

Like those previous short films, “The Middle” features sweeping footage of great expanses of America’s heartland, as Springsteen voices a narrative about a chapel in Lebanon, Kansas — “standing on the exact center of the lower 48. It never closes, all are more than welcome” — before going into broader themes about how divided we have become. “It’s no secret, the middle has been a hard place to get to lately, between red and blue…between our freedom and our fear,” he continues.

Springsteen appears in the ad, driving a Jeep through snow-lined streets, as the commercial’s elegiac score, written by Springsteen and Ron Aniello, unspools.

He goes on to speak about how “freedom, it’s not the property of just the fortunate few. It belongs to us all…it’s what connects us and we need that connection… we just have to remember the very soil we stand on is common ground,” as he lights a candle in the chapel.

Evoking Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech, he declares, “We can make it to the mountaintop, through the desert, and we will cross this divide. Our light has always found its way through the darkness and there’s hope on the road up ahead.” The clip ends with a map of the country with the words, “To the ReUnited States of America.”

“We have looked at making meaningful and emotional connections with millions of viewers, with cultural relevancy at the core of our communication,” Francois said in a statement. “’The Middle’ is a celebration of the Jeep brand’s 80-year anniversary and, more timely, it is a call to all Americans to come together and seek common ground as we look collectively to the road ahead.”

Francois says Springsteen was also instrumental in crafting the message, along with the Doner Agency in Michigan. “His experiences and perspective have often been called upon to bridge a divide. Now seems to be a time when a message like this is greatly needed.”

Olivia Rodrigo Delivers Emotional ‘Drivers License’ Performance for Grammy Museum

Olivia Rodrigo, who said she used to live just a few blocks from the Grammy Museum’s location in downtown Los Angeles, sat down with them for a virtual interview about her breakout single “Drivers License.” The segment, which debuted on the museum’s online streaming service Collection:live on Saturday (Feb. 6), included a live performance of the song — one that was just Rodrigo, her keyboard and all her emotions.

“It’s absolutely beyond anything I ever could have dreamed up,” she said of the reaction to “Drivers License” toward the start of the question-and-answer session, which was taped three weeks ago, just as the hit was taking off.

Rodrigo talked to Scott Goldman, the museum’s moderator of public programs, about being “broken together” with the fans resonating with “Drivers License,” being “the hugest Swiftie in the world,” and challenging herself to write at least a verse and a chorus of a song every day while in quarantine and off the set of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. “It’s also a really strange time,” the singer and actress noted. “The song is like No. 1 in the world, but I haven’t left my house, so I have no actual context of the song being out in the world. I just see the numbers.”

“It was kind of a nice little challenge with myself,” she said of the songwriting activity that’s kept her busy during the pandemic. “I love songwriting and I’ve done it since, you know, ever since I could speak. I loved playing the piano and making stuff up. But before quarantine, it was always kind of a, ‘Oh, if I have a spark of inspiration, then I’ll write a song. I’ll just vomit all of my feelings onto my piano keyboard. But doing that challenge kind of really taught me how to have creativity as a tap and be able to work on something and kind of craft something from the ground up, even if you’re not feeling particularly inspired.”

Rodrigo had just made her late-night performance premiere on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon with “Drivers License,” joined by musicians on strings, on Thursday (Feb. 4).

Watch her newly-released interview and live set on the Grammy Museum website, and preview the “Drivers License” performance she filmed for it in the video below.

Morgan Wallen’s Airplay Continues to Plummet, Streams Steady, Sales Surge

Morgan Wallen’s U.S. airplay continues to evaporate, while streams stay mostly steady and sales explode, in the wake of the publication of a TMZ video showing the chart-topping artist using a racial slur.

As previously reported, TMZ posted a video Tuesday night (Feb. 2) of Wallen, who was positioned to be the next global country star, yelling expletives, including the N-word. He subsequently issued an apology, while his record label, Big Loud Records, suspended his recording contract indefinitely.

Below is a look at Wallen’s U.S. airplay in the seven days through Feb. 5, and his sales and streams in the seven days through Feb. 4.

AIRPLAY

Wallen’s airplay has collapsed to a nominal amount since the TMZ video was posted. Looking at the last seven days of airplay (Jan. 30-Feb. 5), his song catalog was averaging 1,500 to 1,600 plays daily on reporters to Billboard’s Country Airplay chart through Feb. 2, according to MRC Data. On Feb. 3, as multiple radio groups dropped his music, his catalog fell by 74% in plays that day. His totals have since cratered to a relatively miniscule 55 and 25 plays on Feb. 4 and 5, respectively.

Among stations that report to the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 and Radio Songs charts (including country outlets, as well as pop- and adult-formatted stations, where Wallen receives some play), his music plummeted from an average of 2,100 to 2,200 plays daily from Jan. 30 through Feb. 2 to 617, 122 and 65 plays on Feb. 3, 4 and 5, respectively.

Wallen’s current country radio single, “7 Summers,” has contributed to the bulk of his airplay decline, having tumbled from around 500 plays daily to 149 (down 70%) on Country Airplay reporters on Feb. 3. The song then drew a mere eight and five plays on Feb. 4 and 5, respectively. On the most recently published audience-based Country Airplay chart, dated Feb. 6, the track rose from No. 16 to No. 15 for a new peak (up 8% in audience reach in the tracking week ending Jan. 31).

Morgan Wallen’s U.S. daily airplay, all his songs combined, on Country Airplay chart reporters:

1/30: 1,600
1/31: 1,500
2/1: 1,600
2/2: 1,500
2/3: 389
2/4: 55
2/5: 25

“7 Summers” U.S. daily airplay on Country Airplay chart reporters:

1/30: 539
1/31: 544
2/1: 490
2/2: 490
2/3: 149
2/4: 8
2/5: 5

STREAMS 

Wallen’s streams have stayed relatively steady, with slight daily gains, despite the removal of his songs from over 30 influential playlists across Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and Pandora. On Feb. 4, Wallen’s collected songs tallied 28.66 million on-demand streams (audio and video combined) according to initial reports to MRC Data – his best daily streaming total since Jan. 29.

Isolating just his audio on-demand streams – which include streams from the above-mentioned services like Apple Music and Spotify – they grew daily from Feb. 2 through Feb. 4.

Below is a look at Wallen’s daily streaming activity, for the seven-day period of Jan. 29 through Feb. 4.

Morgan Wallen’s U.S. daily on-demand song streams (audio and video), all his songs combined. Audio and video are broken out separately.

1/29: 31.29 million (audio: 29.14 million, video: 2.15 million)
1/30: 27.95 million (audio: 26.12 million, video: 1.83 million)
1/31: 23.20 million (audio: 21.64 million, video: 1.56 million)
2/1: 24.64 million (audio: 22.98 million, video: 1.66 million)
2/2: 24.80 million (audio: 23.11 million, video: 1.69 million)
2/3: 25.52 million (audio: 23.58 million, video: 1.94 million)
2/4: 28.66 million (audio: 26.41 million, video: 2.25 million)

SALES

Wallen’s sales have increased dramatically since Feb. 3. According to preliminary sales reports to MRC Data, Wallen’s total sales – across all of his albums and songs – vaulted from 5,100 on Feb. 2 to 35,200 on Feb. 4.

Though his label suspended his recording contract indefinitely, his music was not removed from any digital retail services (like iTunes), and continues to remain available in brick-and-mortar retail stores.

His current album, Dangerous: The Double Album, went from 1,100 sales on Feb. 2 to 9,900 sales on Feb. 4. Dangerous logged its third total and consecutive week at No. 1 on the latest all-genre Billboard 200 and Top Country Albums charts, dated Feb. 6 (reflecting sales and streaming activity in the week ending Jan. 28).

The Feb. 13-dated Billboard 200, reflecting the sales and streaming tracking week ending Feb. 4, is scheduled to be announced on Feb. 7.

Below is a look at Wallen’s daily sales, for the seven-day period of Jan. 29 through Feb. 4.

Morgan Wallen’s U.S. daily sales, all his albums and songs combined. Total album sales, and song sales, are broken out separately.

1/29: 7,900 (albums: 2,200; songs: 5,700)
1/30: 8,100 (albums: 2,200; songs: 5,900)
1/31: 6,400 (albums: 1,700; songs: 4,700)
2/1: 5,700 (albums: 1,500; songs: 4,200)
2/2: 5,100 (albums: 1,200; songs: 3,900)
2/3: 23,600 (albums: 9,000; songs: 14,600)
2/4: 35,200 (albums: 12,800; songs: 22,400)

Dangerous album U.S. daily sales:

1/29: 1,900
1/30: 1,900
1/31: 1,500
2/1: 1,300
2/2: 1,100
2/3: 7,200
2/4: 9,900

Robin Thicke Says ‘Lucky Star’ Was Inspired by His Late Father Alan Thicke & Mentor Andre Harrell

Robin Thicke drew inspiration from some of his biggest heroes when writing music for his forthcoming album, On Earth, and in Heaven.

The 43-year-old hitmaker took to social media on Friday (Feb. 5) to reveal the emotional meaning behind the album’s opener “Lucky Star,” which was inspired by his late father Alan Thicke, who died in 2016, and Uptown Records founder Andre Harrell, who passed away in May.

“This is the last song I wrote for the album and it’s also the first track on the album,” Thicke wrote on Instagram. “Once we had this song I knew the album was complete. You know that feeling you have when you’re all alone but you know that you’re not alone. That’s what ‘Lucky Star’ is about. That presence in your life that holds you tight, gives you hope, and lights the way. My father and Andre Harrell are my Lucky Stars.”

The post included a throwback photo of a young Thicke sitting alongside his actor dad on the set of 1980s/’90s sitcom Growing Pains, and another of the singer posing with his music industry mentor Harrell.

Thicke also shared a lyric video for “Lucky Star” on Friday. “When I’m down and out/ And I’ve lost my way/ Through the hardest nights and the darkest days/ Oh Lucky Star won’t you help me light the way,” he sings on the uplifting track.

In early January, Thicke announced plans to release On Earth, and in Heaven, first full-length album in six years. The forthcoming set is scheduled for release on Feb. 12, and marks the debut project under his new partnership between Lucky Music and Empire.

A minute-long trailer for On Earth, and in Heaven shows the singer’s highs and lows over the last decade, from topping the Billboard Hot 100 with “Blurred Lines” in 2013 to losing his father several years later.

Thicke’s last studio album, 2014’s Paula, was a tribute to his then-estranged wife Paula Patton. The LP debuted at No. 9 on the Billboard 200.

See Thicke’s emotional Instagram post here and listen to “Lucky Star” in the video below.

Evan Rachel Wood Shares Additional Details Relating to Marilyn Manson Abuse Allegations

Evan Rachel Wood on Saturday morning (Feb. 6) shared an additional detail about her alleged abuse in relation to Marilyn Manson, whose real name is Brian Warner.

The actress wrote in an Instagram Story that she had to file a police report last year after becoming aware of a threat about the release of underage photos of herself.

“On Dec. 19, I had to file a police report after I was alerted to threats made by @leslee_lane and @lindsayusichofficial (Brian’s wife) for conspiring to release photos of me when I was UNDERAGE, after being given large amounts of drugs and alcohol, after Brian performed on Halloween in Las Vegas to ‘ruin my career’ and ‘shut me up,’ wrote the Westworld star.

She included a copy of the police report, with contact and personal information blacked out. The Hollywood Reporter has contacted Wood’s representatives.

Earlier this week, Wood named Manson as her alleged abuser. She stated on Instagram, “I am done living in fear of retaliation, slander or blackmail,” and wrote that Manson groomed her as a teenager and “horrifically” abused her for years. Wood and Manson had a relationship when the actress was 18 and Manson was 36, and the pair were briefly engaged in 2010.

On Thursday, Wood shared a letter on Instagram that Senator Kevin Parker wrote to the Acting Attorney General of the United States, requesting “a full investigation into the accusations” that she set forth.

Four other women have also come out with claims again Manson, including physical and psychological abuse, some details of which Wood has shared in her Instagram stories. Manson was subsequently dropped by CAA the day after his record label, Loma Vista Recordings, said it would no longer promote his current album. He will also no longer be associated with the TV shows American Gods and Creepshow.

Manson wrote in an Instagram post this week, “Obviously, my art and my life have long been magnets for controversy, but these recent claims about me are horrible distortions of reality,” he wrote in a statement shared on his Instagram. “My intimate relationships have always been entirely consensual with like-minded partners. Regardless of how — and why — others are now choosing to misrepresent the past, that is the truth.”

He continues to maintain the allegations are false.

This story first appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.

5 Uplifting Moments in Latin Music This Week (February 6)

From career milestones and new music releases to major announcements and more, Billboard editors highlight the latest news buzz in Latin music every week. Here’s what happened in the Latin music world this week.

Laura Pausini Celebrates Her Nom

Italian singer-songwriter Laura Pausini, known for hits such as “Viveme,” “Volvere Junto a Ti” and “Entre Tu y Mil Mares,” received a nomination at the 2021 Golden Globe Awards this week. Pausini is up for best original song with “Io Si,” part of the Netflix movie The Life Ahead, starring Sofia Loren. “I still haven’t fully wrapped my head around it,” she expressed on Twitter.

A Pablo Alboran Anniversary

Pablo Alborán celebrated the 10-year anniversary of his self-titled debut studio album on Feb. 2. “I’d never thought that this day would change my life,” the Spanish crooner tweeted. “Thank you for so many emotions. I never forget the effort and work of all the people who have believed and believe in me. For 10 more years !!” Alborán’s album dropped in 2011 and includes his breakthrough single “Solamente Tú.”

A Premio Lo Nuestro Surprise

Selena Gomez will make her debut at the 2021 Premio Lo Nuestro, where she will premiere “Baila Conmigo” next to Rauw Alejandro.  “Baila Conmigo” is Gomez’s second Spanish-language single released in 2021, following “De Una Vez.” Both form part of her forthcoming album “Revelación,” scheduled for release on March 12. Premio Lo Nuestro airs live Feb. 18 on Univision.

Pitbull’s NASCAR Recognition

This week, Pitbull was named the Grand Marshal of the upcoming 63rd annual Daytona 500, the 500-mile-long NASCAR Cup Series. “It’s exciting to mix culture, music, and sports,” the Cuban-American artist and entrepreneur said on Twitter. “Unity at its finest. So let’s get ready to start engines, dale!” The event will take place Feb. 14 at 2:30 p.m. ET on Fox.

Bomba Estéreo’s Comeback

Bomba Estereo made their highly-awaited comeback this week, dropping three new singles: “Agua,” “Deja” and “Soledad.” The tracks are part of the Colombian group’s first studio album in four years, “Deja,” divided conceptually into four sections: water, air, earth, and fire. “The album is about the connection and disconnection of human beings — from the planet, from one’s own self,” vocalist Li Saumet said in a statement. “It’s about how we’re disconnected, more connected to electronic devices and virtual things than real things. So we decided to use the four elements because they’re part of the equilibrium of human beings.”