Episodes
In the wake of Blackout Tuesday, will real change come to the music world? The Grammys are changing their use of the word 'urban' and the band formerly known as Lady Antebellum are now 'Lady A,' while BMG is looking at its historic contracts to root out inequities.
Published 06/16/20
Most epidemiologists say that at this point, they won't feel comfortable attending a concert for more than a year from now. Even as the United States starts to reopen from coronavirus lockdown, the financial crisis for the concert industry is deepening, with a potentially devastating round of permanent venue closures looming.
Published 06/11/20
As protests of a scale not seen in decades spread around the world in the wake of George Floyd's killing, musicians released both new songs and songs of continuing relevance.
Published 06/09/20
'Blackout Tuesday' was a very visible music industry statement that spread across social media, but artists and fans are wondering whether the industry can go beyond a statement to truly change structures that have historically disempowered black artists.
Published 06/04/20
After a week of protest and pain in the Twin Cities after the death of George Floyd, Jay and Jade look at the Minnesota music scene and its calls for institutional change. Also, Andre Cymone reflects on his experiences with racism in Minneapolis when he was growing up with Prince.
Published 06/02/20
Hurt and anger over the death of George Floyd in police custody have spread from Minneapolis around the world. Artists are sharing grief and calls for action in memory of a man who came to the Twin Cities from Houston, where he was a member of the hip-hop scene.
Published 05/28/20
A planned IPO for Warner Music is evidence of a streaming-fueled rebound for the recording industry. Meanwhile, Laura Marling's livestreams suggest that rarity, rather than ubiquity, could be the key to some artists' income right now. Also today: steel guitarist Bucky Baxter dies, and Billie Eilish releases film slamming body-shaming.
Published 05/27/20
Jazz drummer Jimmy Cobb and Pretty Things singer Phil May have died, at 91 and 75, respectively. Also in the news today: Poland censors a number-one hit, a Kate Nash documentary comes to North America, and Michael Jordan rocks out to...well, everything.
Published 05/26/20
Music fans have been longing for the return of live concerts - and now they're back, but with the coronavirus pandemic still raging, artists and audiences are searching for ways to be together while not being TOO close together.
Published 05/22/20
Devo's helmet face shields are just the tip of a growing iceberg of music-related merchandise designed with safety in mind. Also today: a distinctly defensive album announcement from Lana Del Rey, guitarist Jorge Santana dies at 68, Ice Cube says Mr. Rogers once sued him, and Sia announces her directorial debut.
Published 05/21/20
Revered singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards has reversed the hold she put on her own music career six years ago by announcing a new album. Also in the news today: Lorde's next album is in progress, Pink Floyd are disagreeing (again), Trent Reznor shares some good lockdown advice, and Low Cut Connie get into the personal-fragrance business.
Published 05/20/20
Acoustic music is surging - not just in livestream performances, but in classic recordings as well. Plus, Billie Eilish launches a collaboration with Takashi Murakami, VJ Matt Pinfield enters recovery, and Snoop Dogg vibes with Idina Menzel.
Published 05/19/20
Astrid Kirchherr, a photographer whose early images of the Beatles helped shape their image, has died at 81. Also: hackers have leaked Lady Gaga's legal documents, Nils Lofgren is crusading for nursing home safety, a debate over the best American rock band, and a middle school marching band covers Lizzo.
Published 05/18/20
A socially distanced concert in Arkansas has been pushed back a few days, but post-pandemic live music has been happening regularly in South Korea. Also today: are radio conglomerates gunning for small-business subsidies? Plus, new music from Prince and GAYNGS, and Post Malone hawks wine.
Published 05/15/20
Livestreams are the new normal...at least for the moment, but it's a very big moment for online music performances. Today, we look at just how popular livestreams have become, how the most ambitious artists pull them off, and what to expect in the future.
Published 05/14/20
Stevie Wonder was there for Motown's early days, who had towering artistic successes with sprawling '70s albums, was a consistent hitmaker in the '80s, and remains active as an artist to this day.
Published 05/13/20
It's going to take a lot for live music to come back amidst a pandemic, but in a passionate essay, Dave Grohl says that eventually, it must. Also today: Doja Cat tops the Hot 100 and brings Nicki Minaj along for her first chart-topper; how older musicians are coping with the pandemic; and Billy Joel calls on New York to rise up together.
Published 05/12/20
Published 05/12/20
Soul star Betty Wright has died at 66, and Uptown Records founder Andre Harrell has passed at 59. Also, a rare tribute from Bob Dylan, and an innovative recording studio on wheels. Plus, Jill Scott and Erykah Badu pit their catalogs against each other.
Published 05/11/20
As rock and roll was storming the world in the 1950s, Little Richard landed a series of hits that brought style, fun, and frantic rhythm to the newborn genre. His high-octane blend of gospel-styled shouts and frenetic R&B rhythms laid the groundwork for generations of electric artists, and his winking, glittery self-presentation challenged gender binaries.
Published 05/09/20
Bob Dylan has announced his first new album of original songs in eight years. Also today: deepfake music is getting dangerously on point, Soundgarden tussle with Vicky Cornell, Live Nation says fans are holding on to their tickets, and Weezer play the 'Simpsons' theme.
Published 05/08/20
Millie Small, the Jamaican singer who had an early ska hit with 'My Boy Lollipop,' has died after suffering a stroke. Also today: the Pitchfork Music Festival calls off this year's event; Guns N' Roses are publishing a children's book; Peloton pays millions for copyright infringement; and a load of vintage MTV goes up online.
Published 05/07/20
Florian Schneider was a co-founder of Kraftwerk, the seminal electronic German rock band that helped infuse a sleek electronic sound into music of the '70s and '80s, performing live up through recent years in groundbreaking immersive audiovisual spectaculars that blended men and machine.
Published 05/06/20
After the wild success of Travis Scott's Fortnite concert, get ready for more stars to play virtual shows in multi-player video games. Meanwhile, Arkansas is preparing to host a socially distanced concert IRL, while fans staying in quarantine will be able to watch documentaries about Wilco and the Beastie Boys. Plus, Mick Jagger shows off his shelter-in-place recreation for charity.
Published 05/06/20
Dave Greenfield, keyboardist in the Stranglers, has died of coronavirus at age 71. Also, catalog albums by artists like Fleetwood Mac and Mariah Carey are bumping back up the chart; a new baby for Grimes; a Prince guitar and other rock memorabilia go up for auction; and a little kid in pajamas may have written the song of the summer.
Published 05/05/20