Music

Piracy Gets Washed Down With Streaming – But Is It Good for the Music Industry?

Sandra Canosa

The end result of peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing technology was not only that the floodgates of the Internet’s capacity for copyright evasion were flung wide open, but that, perhaps even more significantly, an entire generation of media consumers got to experience a long and sinful taste of high-dosage downloadability. With so much free material available through a simple search-and-click function, the limits of music ownership were defined only by the size of one’s hard drive and the speed of one’s dial-up.

Prince, Bowie and Haggard: Icons or Legends? What’s the Difference?

Lynn Stuart Parramore

From his incarnations as the glam Ziggy Stardust and the avant-garde Thin White Duke, to his nimble turns at rock ‘n’ roll, disco, new wave, folk rock, industrial rock and electronica — as well as his memorable turns in films like The Man Who Fell to Earth — Bowie became known as an innovator and a surprising shape-shifter. According to music journalist Joe Lynch, Bowie influenced more musical genres than any other rock star. “Without David Bowie,” the singer Moby said, “popular music as we know it pretty much wouldn’t exist.”

Who Will Now Control Prince’s Music Catalog?

Steve Gorman

The late pop star Prince was known in life as an artist fiercely protective of his intellectual property, but how much others may profit from his legacy, including a large body of unreleased songs, hinges on how astute he was in arranging for control of his music after death. Questions about Prince's estate loomed on Friday, a day after his unexpected death at age 57. 

The Vienna Philharmonic Confronts Its Dark History

Georgina Prodhan

The famed Vienna Philharmonic has acknowledged that many of its musicians were Nazi party members during Hitler's rule and that its director may have delivered a prestigious orchestra award to a Nazi war criminal two decades after the end of World War Two. Austria took until 1991, more than four decades after the war's end, to formally acknowledge and voice regret for its central role in Hitler's Third Reich and the Holocaust.

The Factory Factor: Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground

Sandra Canosa

In the days before independent labels or DIY recording, it’s a miracle the Velvet Underground were allowed to step foot inside a studio at all. But they were – and for that, we mostly have Andy Warhol to thank. Shortly after they first started playing together, the Velvet Underground got a low-paying residency spot at a club whose patrons were less than enthusiastic about some of the group’s material. After one performance of “The Black Angel’s Death Song,” for example, they were told if they ever played it again they’d be fired on the spot. But for the group, that was part of the thrill. 

Bob Dylan Sells Treasured Personal Archive

Jill Serjeant

The 6,000 item collection spans nearly the entire length of Dylan's 55 year-long career, and many have never been seen before. The collection was acquired by the George Kaiser Foundation and the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma. The collection also includes master recording tapes of Dylan's entire music catalog, along with hundreds of hours of film video.

‘Blackstar’ Sales Soar as David Bowie's Musical Legacy Endures

Piya Sinha-Roy, Guy Faulconbridge and Marie-Louise Gumuchian

Sales of David Bowie's last album -- released two days before his death from cancer -- soared on Monday along with downloads of his greatest hits, testimony to the powerful appeal of a pioneer in pop culture and the music business. Streaming giant Spotify said streams of Bowie's music were up 2,700 percent on Monday, while the Official Charts Company in the UK said Bowie's "Blackstar" album was headed to the top spot on the charts with sales of 43,000 since its Friday release.

Long Live the King: Elvis Presley and the Spirit of Tribute

Sandra Canosa

“The issue isn’t that the younger demographic doesn’t like Elvis,” Rosemarie O’Brien, General Manager for the Collingwood Elvis Festival, told me. But the challenge of attracting newcomers still weighs on organizers’ minds. “I just don’t think [younger people] have ever been educated on what Elvis did for music history and how it impacts and influences what they get to listen to now.” The animated zeal of tribute festivals, however, has the potential to engage neophytes in a way that static museum displays or textbooks cannot. 

Using Illusions - The Rise and Fall of Guns N’ Roses on MTV

Sandra Canosa

Axl’s high-pitched caterwauls and Slash’s furious guitar licks may contain all the classic trappings of hair metal, but it was the way GnR crafted their image through MTV music videos that launched the group out of the niche-market bins and into the mainstream. But in the end, MTV also proved to be the band’s downfall. With no limits to their financial resources or artistic egos, Guns N’ Roses were free to push the medium to its extremes: sometimes the risks paid off, demonstrating both what the band and the music video form itself was capable of. Other times, the very limitations of MTV became all too clear.

Adele's '21' Deemed Billboard's Greatest Album of All Time

Jill Serjeant

Adele's Grammy-winning 2011 release "21" was deemed by Billboard magazine the greatest album of all time based on chart position and the soundtrack of the 1965 Julie Andrews movie "The Sound of Music" came in second. The British singer racked up the most weeks - 24 - for an album by a woman atop the Billboard 200 album charts and saw 78 weeks in the top 10.

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