Did Bob Dylan Deserve the Nobel? Maybe, But He Wasn’t the First Musician

Hasan Zillur Rahim

The decision by the Swedish Academy to award Bob Dylan the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition" was lauded by many and lamented by a few. But there was universal acknowledgment that the Academy had broken new ground by awarding the Nobel “for the first time” to a singer-songwriter since the French poet and essayist Sully Prudhomme first won it in 1901.

The Singularity You Can Hear: Post-Internet Waves in Popular Music

Sandra Canosa

To say that the Internet changed the music industry would be an all too obvious understatement. From instant downloads and streaming technologies to self-made YouTube stars and the Twitterazi, there’s no aspect of the music biz today that’s been left untouched by the crawlers of the digital web. But in an age where we’re never more than a thumbswipe away from the expanse offerings of the Internet, where playing a new single on YouTube is more commonplace than listening to FM radio, it’s rare that we ever take a moment to stop and think about how the Internet has actually affected what music is, or even what it sounds like. 

The Jam Music Community’s Biggest Fans? Orthodox Jews

Aryeh Gelfand

Those going off the religious path, or “Derech”, find different ways to cope with the imminent loss of community and purpose leaving brings. Still others, unsatisfied with a life of insularity as they are, bring the spirit of Judaism with them as they journey forth and explore what this world has to offer. These two groups of seekers and adventurers have found a common resting place among the ever growing, vocal, and distinctive subculture known as the Jam music community.


A Long Way to the Top: Rethinking How AC/DC Changed Rock’n’Roll

Sandra Canosa

It’s a well-known conundrum in the rules and regulations of the rock’n’roll canon: If it is popular, it must not be good. While AC/DC has millions of fans the world over and can continue to sell out arena tours (even with a completely different and controversial lead singer), they have very few critical accolades to show for it. They’ve won only one Grammy – for a song released in 2010, no less – and even the likes of Billy Joel managed to beat them into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame.

Remembering the Grateful Dead

Aryeh Gelfand

Something about this experience was powerful enough to  convince countless members of the upper- and middle-class stratums of our society to drop out of traditional life paths and blindly follow the Grateful Dead, as they toured the country throughout the 1970s and ‘80s until Garcia’s untimely death on August 9, 1995. These young kids found something in the community of the band that they couldn't find elsewhere. They found a sense of community and belonging that didn't exist elsewhere. 

‘Burning Man’ Organizers Purchase Ranch in Nevada

Alex Dobuzinskis

Organizers of Burning Man, an annual counter-culture festival that climaxes with the burning of a wooden effigy in the Nevada desert, have bought a ranch in the southwestern state to run year round art and self-expression activities, the group said on Friday. Funded by donations from supporters, Burning Man paid $6.5 million for Fly Ranch, a 3,800-acre property about 20 miles north of Gerlach, Nevada, it said on its website.

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.


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