Arts and Entertainment Macklemore performing at the Brixton Academy

As the first show on their European tour, Seattle-based duo Macklemore, (real name Ben Haggerty) and producer Ryan Lewis were always going to draw a crowd with their latest album The Heist being one the most anticipated rap albums of 2013.

The Barometer: Surfer Blood; Joanna Newsome; Caribou; Erykah Badu; Major Lazer; 50 Cent

Surfer Blood Swim (To Reach The End)

Album: Eminem, Relapse: Refill (Polydor)

With album sales declining as a result of the cherry-picking tendencies fostered by downloading, you might have thought a logical response would be to trim away the extraneous fat that albums developed during the compact disc era, and return to something like the all-killer, no-filler approach of the vinyl era: a slim portfolio of excellence, rather than a bagful of odds, sods and obvious outtakes.

Caught in the Net: Flying Lotus's Beck-hander

In the 90s it was noted what a great record deal Beck had, allowing him to put out independent releases while signed to a major label.

The Barometer: Julian Casablancas; Lil Wayne, Sleigh Bells; Amerie; Tom Waits; Ryan Bingham & T-Bone Burnett; Vampire Weekend

Julian Casablancas I Wish It Was Christmas Today

The Strokes' frontman takes a foray into the dangerous world of the Christmas single with this sparky cover of a song that was originally 'Saturday Night Live' parody.

My Fantasy Band: Tinchy Stryder

First Night: Jay-Z, Roundhouse, London

Hova swaggers into the mainstream

Album: Busta Rhymes, Back on my B.S., (Island)

You might have had Busta Rhymes pegged as an outdated Nineties relic, but if that's true, nobody's told the American hip hop community.

Beyond Bhangra

The seventh UK Asian Music Awards are proof that the scene has finally moved above ground, says Rahul Verma

My night at the Grammys

British film-maker John Paveley was astounded to be nominated for the world's most prestigious music awards. Here he tells the story of his moment in the spotlight

'95% of music downloads illegal despite boom'

The digital music business is booming but 95 per cent of downloads are still illegal and not paid for, according to a report published today.

Coldplay crowned kings of iTunes

Coldplay was the hottest iTunes album download this year: Its "Viva la Vida" was crowned the best-selling album of 2008, while Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love" was named the top-selling single.

Tings can only get better: Why sudden pop success has not been easy on the Ting Tings

Last year, the Ting Tings were just a couple of failed musicians living in an old mill in Salford. Now, on the eve of a sell-out UK tour, the whole world wants a piece of them. No wonder the strain is beginning to tell...

Brit pop conquers the world again

We've always been proud of our British pop that towers above that produced by our European neighbours, but for the past decade – when it comes to worldwide sales – we've come up against better-faring American artists.

Album: Lil Wayne, Tha Carter III (Cash Money)

With MTV, Rolling Stone and Blender magazines, and even Kanye West conceding he's the hottest rapper, and his MySpace site becoming the first to clock up a hundred million visits, no act currently has their finger as firmly on the pulse of contemporary American culture as Dwayne "Lil Wayne" Carter, whose long-delayed sixth album finally appears following extensive leaks last year.

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