---- — HBO’s ‘True Detective’ season finale locks up a ratings high
LOS ANGELES — An average of 3.5 million viewers tuned in for Sunday’s season finale of “True Detective,” the HBO crime anthology starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, according to Nielsen.
That’s the biggest audience ever for the 9 p.m. ET cable drama and 50 percent higher than the 2.3 million who watched the show’s premiere.
The show’s big closer faced heavy competition on cable and broadcast networks, including the premieres of ABC’s “Resurrection” and Fox’s “Cosmos,” along with an episode of the AMC hit “Walking Dead.”
McConaughey and Harrelson played investigators hunting for a Louisiana serial killer.
A total of 11 million people have watched the series to date, which marks the highest gross viewership for a first-season HBO series since “Six Feet Under” hooked 11.4 million in 2001.
Bieber surprises with performance during SXSW
NEW YORK (AP) — Justin Bieber has kicked off the music portion of South by Southwest before the real program begins.
The 20-year-old pop star surprised a small crowd at Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden in Austin, Texas, on Sunday night.
Audience member Ashley Gregg said Monday that Bieber performed two songs, dedicating “Boyfriend” to ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez, who was backstage.
“This goes out to my baby girl,” Bieber told a crowd of about 100 people.
The bar was hosting an event for Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun. Surprise performers included Bieber and boy band The Wanted. Cody Simpson, Dan + Shay, Tori Kelly and Rixton, who are among Braun’s clients, also performed.
The music portion of South by Southwest, which will feature Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Willie Nelson and Kendrick Lamar, starts Tuesday.
Neil Young introduces high-quality music system PonoMusic
Neil Young has long groused about the way music he and other artists make ends up sounding in the digital age. Now he is introducing his solution: PonoMusic, a combination online music store and playback system that gives listeners access to audiophile quality recordings.
“It’s about the music, real music,” the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member said in a statement released Monday, a day before he formally introduces PonoMusic at the South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin. “We want to move digital music into the 21st century and PonoMusic does exactly that.”
The complaint about that way most music is experienced by consumers today is that highly compressed MP3 files that make it convenient to store on phones and share over the Internet compromise the quality of sound, since MP3 files typically contain 5 percent or less of the sonic information in the original master recordings.
“Apple has made music into wallpaper, so what can I tell you?” Young told the Los Angeles Times in 2009.
PonoMusic will give consumers a convenient way to download and play back full-resolution files.
Young has noted that all three major music groups — Warner Bros., Universal and Sony — are participating in the PonoMusic online music store. The PonoPlayer will have a list price of $399 and be capable of storing 1,000 to 2,000 high-resolution digital albums, according to the PonoMusic statement. Players will become available to reserve on the fundraising site Kickstarter as of March 15.
Aretha Franklin says Obama knows ‘R-E-S-P-E-C-T’
NEW YORK (AP) — Aretha Franklin has much R-E-S-P-E-C-T for President Barack Obama — regardless of his spelling skills.
At a White House concert last Thursday, Obama dropped the initial “E’’ when trying to spell out “respect” as the queen of soul does in her famous song.
“I’m sure the President had much on his agenda and was just a little tired,” the 71-year-old singer said in a statement Monday.
The concert included Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Melissa Etheridge, Janelle Monae, Ariana Grande and Jill Scott.
Franklin says no offense was taken.
“The President and I are mutual when it comes to R-E-S-P-E-C-T,” she said.