Ricky Bell & Sheila E. Message For Taylor ... Learn the Game Before Playing It

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THAT'S JUST BUSINESS
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Taylor Swift losing out on the rights to her old tunes is a learning lesson for up-and-coming artists, so say two people who know that game all too well ... Ricky Bell and Sheila E. 

The musicians were asked about Taylor's feud with Scooter Braun Saturday at LAX, and they each had interesting insights on the biz. Short story long ... don't hate the player. 

Ricky -- who started with New Edition, and then went on to form Bell Biv DeVoe -- kicks things off by actually defending Scooter, saying he isn't really the bad guy here ... just a business man making a smart business move by snatching up Taylor's catalog. 

When presented with the idea of selling the songs back to Taylor, Ricky scoffs ... but offers up a compromise if she's truly interested in getting them back. 

You'll recall ... Scooter's purchase -- through his company, Ithaca Holdings -- caused quite a stir last week, invoking Taylor herself to lash out and call him a bully. The beef has somewhat divided the music industry ... some siding with Taylor, and others with SB.

Ricky and Sheila don't necessarily take sides here -- but they do both seem to acknowledge that signing away your music tends to be the nature of the beast for young artists. 

While Ricky says he doesn't know who owns NE or BBD's music, Sheila reveals she actually holds the rights to most of her catalog -- which is pretty amazing, prolific as it is.

It's interesting too ... Ricky and some of the other OG New Edition guys were in a trademark beef over the band name just a year ago, and Sheila famously collab'd with Prince ... who fought with Warner Bros. over ownership of his own music while he was alive.

Check it out ... two qualified vets have some very good advice for anyone thinking of getting into the music world. *Read CAREFULLY before ya sign on the dotted line*

'Bad Ass' Bobby Brown From the Funeral to the Stage

Just hours after Bobby Brown made a brief appearance and then bailed at Whitney Houston's funeral ... he showed up to perform with New Edition in Connecticut ... and stayed.

Bobby has performed numerous times since Whitney's passing, the first time just hours after she died.

Bobby gave another shout-out to Whitney and again referred to himself as ... "bad ass Bobby Brown."

Still classy as ever.

Bobby Brown Won't Miss a Beat After Whitney's Burial

Hours after Whitney Houston is laid to rest, her ex-husband Bobby Brown will hit the stage at an Indian Casino in Connecticut ... TMZ has learned.

Brown is booked to perform with the guys from New Edition at the Mohegan Sun Indian Casino at 8 PM EST on Saturday night.

Whitney's funeral is scheduled to begin at noon EST in Newark, NJ. It's unclear if Bobby plans to attend the funeral.

It's kind of like bookends, because hours after Whitney died Bobby performed on-stage with his group in Mississippi.

New Edition 'Shocked and Saddened' by Whitney's Death

Whitney Houston Death

The passing of Whitney Houston has hit the band New Edition hard, as one would expect, and they are all praying for her family ... the band tells TMZ.

In a statement, the group tells TMZ, "We are absolutely shocked and saddened by the sudden and untimely death of our dear sister Whitney. As a group, we are extremely close; when one of us hurts, we all hurt."

Bobby Brown, Whitney's ex-husband and father of her only child, is a member of the band.

They continue, "As much as we are in pain right now, we will continue to draw strength from God, as we support and comfort our brother Bobby, their daughter Bobbi-Christina and Whitney's mother Cissy Houston. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the entire Brown-Houston family today and always."

As TMZ first reported, Brown is with the group in Mississippi where they have a show scheduled this evening. As of now, it will go on as planned.

Bobby Brown "Crying Fits" Over Whitney But Trying to Perform Concert

Bobby Brown is distraught and "in and out of crying fits" ... after getting the news that Whitney Houston is dead -- but his New Edition band mates are by his side trying to console him.

New Edition has a concert tonight in Mississippi -- and believe it or not sources close to the group tell TMZ ... not only will New Edition go on as scheduled, but as of now Bobby is also planning to perform.

We're told Bobby is going to try to get through the entire show.

Bobby and Whitney had an infamously tumultuous 15 year marriage.

We're told Bobby started the show by addressing the crowd, pointing to the sky, and saying, "I love you."