Pop Beat: Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Korn …

Boy band to begin working on new album in July.

The Backstreet Boys will enter a studio July 1 to begin work on a new album after spending two weeks of preparation in the Bahamas, according to a publicist for the band at MSO. The album is expected to be released this year. … Britney Spears will recite a prayer on World Voice 2000, a compilation of musicians reading the poetry of Pope John Paul II, according to Jive Records. …

Korn frontman Jonathan Davis will write music for and appear in the upcoming film “The Wellon,” according to a publicist for the band. … Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Rickie Lee Jones, Bette Midler and Brian Setzer will all appear on Dan Hicks and His Hot LicksBeatin’ the Heat, according to Surfdog Records. The cult band’s first studio album since 1976 is due Aug. 15. … John Mellencamp has finished shooting a low-budget independent film called “After Image,” according to the Associated Press. The film, shot in Rochester, N.Y., stars Mellencamp as a police photographer, though he will not contribute to the soundtrack. …

Epic Records is allowing musicians to use the Internet to send demos to their A&R department. Artists can upload their music at www.dealwithepic.com. … “Trip,” a movie about two friends traveling across the country to attend the funeral of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, is expected out this year, according to New Line Cinema. Formerly titled “Leonard Cohen Afterworld,” the film stars Jared Leto and Selma Blair. … Axl Rose appeared onstage in West Hollywood, Calif., on Thursday night (June 22), taking part in a jam session at the Cat Club with ex–Guns N’ Roses bandmate Gilby Clarke, MTV News Online reports. Along with Buckcherry guitarist Yogi and bassist Johnny G, the group performed the Rolling Stones‘ “Wild Horses” and “Dead Flowers.” …

Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis will co-host a fashion event at the 360 restaurant in Los Angeles on Sunday (June 25) to benefit the women’s charity Friendly House. The event will feature designer Alicia Lawhon’s fall collection, a silent auction of designer products and a raffle. Friendly House is a nonprofit organization that aids women recovering from alcoholism and drug abuse. … Rapper Ol’ Dirty Bastard is scheduled for sentencing in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday (June 23) for violating probation on his 1999 convictions for making terrorist threats and wearing body armor. Judge Marsha Revel will receive a diagnostic report on the troubled Wu-Tang Clan MC to help her determine a proper sentence. ODB has been incarcerated since he was caught with alcohol in January; he was forbidden to use or possess alcohol as part of his probation. … Researchers at the University of Southern California, which banned the use of file-sharing program Napster on its servers following a Metallica lawsuit, released a survey of music downloaders Tuesday (June 20). The report concludes that downloadable music poses little threat to traditional CD sales among USC students. Sixty-eight percent of students who download MP3s said downloads have not affected the number of CDs they purchase; 39 percent said they buy what they’ve heard on the Internet; 69 percent said copyright holders should be paid for MP3s; and 33 percent said their opinion of Metallica has worsened because of their suit against Napster. …

Monday’s birthdays (June 26): Billy Davis Jr. (Fifth Dimension ), 60; Larry “The Mole” Taylor (Canned Heat ), 58; Rindy Ross (Quarterflash ), 49; Mick Jones (Clash , Big Audio Dynamite ), 45; Patty Smyth , 43; Terri Nunn (Berlin ), 41; Harriet Wheeler (Sundays ), 37; Mark Decloedt (EMF ), 33; Colin Greenwood (Radiohead>/B>), 31.

— sonicnet.com staff report