KRWG

Andrew Flanagan

The country-pop record company Big Machine Label Group, one of the most successful independent labels in the country — and the longtime label home of megastar Taylor Swift — has been sold. It was purchased by Ithaca Holdings, an umbrella company owned by Scooter Braun, the manager of Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, among others. According to anonymous sources quoted by The Wall Street Journal, the deal is valued at more than $300 million.

After 18 years, Apple is killing iTunes — well, sort of. The media management software for most Mac users (and many Windows users) is being broken into separate pieces for separate uses: Music, podcasts and television will soon have their own apps on the new Catalina Mac operating system.

Apple announced the move on Monday along with new hardware, including a new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR, and entertainment and lifestyle features.

Roger Charlery, best known as Ranking Roger, singer of the widely influential U.K. group The Beat — known as The English Beat in the U.S. — died Tuesday afternoon, at 56. The singer was diagnosed with brain tumors and lung cancer last year. His death was announced on the website of The Beat, and confirmed to NPR by the group's manager, Tarquin Gotch.

As it has annually for 17 years, the Library of Congress picked out a wide-ranging set of recordings — songs, albums, speeches, monologues, field recordings and some very old phonograph cylinders — to add to the National Recording Registry, bringing the total number of works within it to 525.

On Sunday night, the 61st Grammy Awards telecast did its best to balance several requirements — making amends to an entire gender, widening its palette of winners and honorees, and doing its best to award those who are affecting the mainstream now, not five years ago. Within the narrow lens of prime-time awards shows, it seemed to make some progress on each count, without drifting too far from its comfort zone.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announced its newest class of inductees Thursday, one year to the day after the 2018 class was announced. From 15 nominees, seven remain. Here they are, in alphabetical order:

  • The Cure
  • Def Leppard
  • Janet Jackson
  • Stevie Nicks
  • Radiohead
  • Roxy Music
  • The Zombies

Pete Shelley, the Manchester-born co-founder, singer and guitarist of the influential British punk band Buzzcocks, died Thursday in Tallinn, Estonia, at the age of 63.

The news was confirmed, "with great sadness," by the band's publicist. A cause of death was not provided.

A preview screening and discussion of the upcoming Lifetime documentary series Surviving R. Kelly — in which accusers "and people from R. Kelly's inner circle," according to a description of the project, make new allegations against the singer — was evacuated on Tuesday evening, after multiple anonymous threats were called in to NeueHouse, the Manhattan venue hosting the event.

In the afterword to Absolutely on Music, a book of conversations between novelist Haruki Murakami and the conductor Seiji Ozawa — who has won practically every major award there is for his work — Ozawa observed of the writer: "I have lots of friends who love music, but Haruki takes it way beyond the bounds of sanity."

"Dear Mr. Trump: We write you on behalf of our client, Pharrell Williams, composer and performer of the hit song 'Happy.' On the day of the mass murder of 11 human beings at the hands of a deranged 'nationalist,' you played his song 'Happy' to a crowd at a political event in Indiana.

"Society, have mercy on me / I hope you're not angry if I disagree," go the closing lines of "Society" — a three-chord folk song written by Jerry Hannan. Last week, amidst a contentious midterm election season, two aspiring politicians in Vermont performed the song as an elegant aisle-crossing and a rare cross-party collaboration.

When T Magazine profiled the French artist Sophie Calle in April 2017, she appeared to be pregnant. Calle was 63 then, and the writer, Mary Kaye Schilling, admitted to being surprised at the sight of the artist's swollen belly. A pregnancy would have been more than possible, as an Indian woman proved a year before Schilling showed up on Calle's doorstep.

In 2014, Cohen surprised the Manhattan audience of a closed listening session of Popular Problems, his newest album at the time, by popping in not to sing, but simply say hello and look at everyone like they were aliens. At the time, I remember thinking that everything seemed to be a Very Serious Lark to Leonard.

Two years later, Cohen died. But just before that, he had put the finishing touches on a final book, The Flame, which was released on Oct. 2. It comes with an audio version of the works inside it, read by stars of film and literature.

Marty Balin, a co-founder, vocalist and songwriter for psychedelic mainstays Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship, died Sept. 27 in Tampa, Fla., a statement from his family confirmed. No cause was given. He was 76.

In 1965, Balin was an aspiring folk singer and co-founder of San Francisco's The Matrix, a club that quickly became a petri dish for Jefferson Airplane — which began as the club's house band on Aug. 13, 1965 — as well as San Francisco's developing rock music scene writ large.

In 1979, a young East German named Micha Horschig made a prediction: The fall of his country's socialist government, the German Democratic Republic (GDR), would take 10 years.

On Nov. 9, 1989, the Berlin wall fell.

Earlier this month, British pianist James Rhodes received a notification from Facebook. A short video he had recorded and uploaded of himself playing a passage of Bach's Partita No. 1 had been flagged by Facebook's copyright identification system as belonging to Sony Music, resulting in 47 of the video's 71 seconds being muted.

"Stop being a**holes," Rhodes tweeted in response.

Satellite radio giant SiriusXM is buying the Oakland, Calif.-based digital radio company Pandora in an all-stock deal valued at $3.5 billion, the companies announced Monday. The deal is expected to close in early 2019.

The merger would create "the world's largest audio entertainment company," SiriusXM CEO James Meyer said in a conference call. The deal would still need to be reviewed by antitrust regulators and shareholders, he added.

Pyotr Verzilov, a prominent member of the Russian art and activist collective Pussy Riot, is suspected to have been poisoned in Moscow on Tuesday, according to the group and local media.

The cause of the surprising January death of Dolores O'Riordan, singer of Irish band The Cranberries who rose to fame in the '90s with a string of radio hits including "Zombie" and "Linger," has been determined. London Inner West coroner Dr. Shirley Radcliffe found O'Riordan's death to have been an accident, caused by alcohol intoxication and drowning.

Two days ago, on Monday, police in Uganda fired upon protesters who were demonstrating against the detention of Robert Kyagulanyi — a lawmaker better known as the musician Bobi Wine — and others.

Vivendi, a French media conglomerate that is the parent company of the world's largest record label, Universal Music Group, announced during its half-year financial review that it plans to sell up to half of the share capital of the label group. UMG is the parent company is several noteworthy labels, including Capitol Music Group (and its landmark Los Angeles tower), classical label Deutsche Grammophon and the pop powerhouse Republic Records.

The Kennedy Center annually recognizes artists who have had a uniquely wide and enduring impact on American culture. On Wednesday, the Washington, D.C.

"Today is the day you've been waiting for," R. Kelly claims in an Instagram post Monday morning in which he directs his followers to listen to a new, 19-minute song titled "I Admit," in which the singer obliquely or directly addresses allegations levied against him over the past year.

Moog, the legendary synthesizer designer and manufacturer based in North Carolina, is the latest American company to sound an alarm over increased operation costs.

Ed Sheeran's syrupy, Grammy-winning single "Thinking Out Loud" is now at the center of two lawsuits.

The ginger troubadour was first sued over the hit song last year by the heirs of Edward Townsend, Jr., a co-writer of Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On," which they claim "Thinking Out Loud" cribs from enough to warrant a lawsuit.

What do you go to Facebook for? Given how many of us use it — 68 percent of Americans, according to the Pew Research Center, with 74 percent of them visiting the site at least once a day — it's striking that, anecdotally at least, using the site evokes a sort of dissociative muscle memory, the ritual of dutifully giving posts from family and close-enough friends a thumbs-up.

It's easy to imagine the rollout of Spotify's "hateful conduct" policy being studied by future students of business as an example of what not to do. On May 16, the leading music streaming service made the bold announcement that it would no longer help raise the profiles of artists whose conduct it deemed particularly egregious, doing so by editing them out of its human-curated playlists and excluding them from its powerful algorithm's suggestions. At the time, Spotify pointed to R. Kelly specifically as the first example of an artist affected by the policy.

A title card is the first thing you see in the video for "They Ain't 100," a song by the British rapper Fredo — which reads: Disclaimer: The content in this video is an expression of art and should not be taken literally. K-Trap's "David Blaine" opens with a similar prologue: All characters in this visual are entirely fictional.

As people continue to feed more and more of their interior selves — our likes, dislikes, wants, needs, social cartographies — into digital networks that harvest and parse that information into profiles used to make money, a new frontier of monitoring that hones in on our physical features is ascendant.

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