The Current: Music News

The Current Music News

Join hosts Jay Gabler and Jade as they chat about current events in the music industry: how social issues are affecting the world of music, how venues are faring during the pandemic, as well as the latest trends and topics. The Current Music News is an essential watch for fans of all genres of music to stay connected to the music and to each other. Follow us on Facebook or subscribe to our YouTube channel to get the latest episodes. For an audio version of the The Current Music News, subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, or wherever else you get your podcasts.

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Music News: Remembering John Prine


John Prine at the Grammys, 2019.

Revered singer-songwriter John Prine has died at age 73 due to COVID-19. Jade and Jay pay tribute to a storied career, and also remember Hal Willner: a producer and 'Saturday Night Live' music supervisor who's died at 64. In other news, Apple Music has launched a $50 million fund to sustain indie labels, and Carole King sang one of her classics with a bunch of her friends from the 'Beautiful' musical cast.

Music News: Music streams decline during pandemic sheltering


The Weeknd at a film premiere, December 2019.

While people stuck at home are streaming concerts, they're not listening to new music as much as normal, reports the New York Times - and yet major albums continue to be released. Meanwhile, Lady Gaga is curating a major online music festival celebrating healthcare workers and raising funds for COVID-19 response. In legal news, a lawsuit against Universal over a devastating 2008 fire has been dismissed, while StubHub is facing a $5 million class action suit over its coronavirus refund policy. Just another 'Manic Monday'...in song, performed as a distance duet by Billie Joe Armstrong and Susanna Hoffs.

Music News: Recovered from COVID-19, Pink pledges $1 million to help


Pink at the E! People's Choice Awards in 2019.

Artists collectively pledging millions to fight COVID-19 include Madonna, Elton John, and Pink - who has revealed her recent recovery from the virus. Duran Duran's John Taylor has also recovered, while Marianne Faithfull has fallen ill - along with Daryl Hannah, whose illness has temporarily suspended her husband Neil Young's livestreamed performances. In a streaming coup, John Krasinski got the original 'Hamilton' cast to reunite on his web show.

Music News: Bill Withers fondly remembered


Bill Withers at the ASCAP Centennial Awards in 2014.

Bill Withers, the soul legend who wrote and sang 'Lean On Me,' has died at 81, and artists from across the music world are paying tribute. Meanwhile, Adam Sandler comes through with a charming 'Quarantine Song.'

Music News: Lizzo buys lunch for health care workers


lizzo-at-the-current

Amidst the coronavirus crisis, musicians are helping workers who've been affected: Lizzo bought lunch for emergency room staff, and Taylor Swift is helping keep a Nashville record store afloat. While some artists are delaying their record releases, others are not - including Phish and, seemingly, Fiona Apple. Also today: DJ sets get old-school online, Flavor Flav is not fired after all, and Chance the Rapper hosts a new version of 'Punk'd.'

Music News: #LoveRecordStores campaign supports retailers during crisis


electric fetus duluth

The music industry is marshaling its resources to support retailers and artists during this unprecedented crisis. Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne) and John Prine are both in serious condition fighting COVID-19. Fans sheltering in place are using video to connect with music: a new mini-doc spotlights Bob Marley's female collaborators, and there's a doc spotlighting First Avenue in its 50th anniversary year. Plus, Jack Black is on TikTok now and it's awesome.

Music News: Coronavirus claims stars Joe Diffie and Alan Merrill


Joe Diffie's 'Honky Tonk Attitude' and the Arrows' 'First Hit.'

Country star Joe Diffie and rocker Alan Merrill have both died due to COVID-19, while at press time, John Prine is hospitalized in stable condition. Musicians continue to connect with fans digitally: Elton John hosted an all-star 'Living Room Concert for America,' and Dolly Parton will be reading children's books. In other news, a new documentary marks the 50th anniversary of Miles Davis's 'Bitches Brew.'

Music News: Concert hiatus hits independent promoters hard


A bar at the Fillmore Minneapolis.

When the concert industry emerges from the coronavirus shutdown, Billboard projects, even more power is likely to be in the hands of major promoters. Also today: Bob Dylan releases the longest song of his career, random duets land in listeners' ears, Rihanna donates medical supplies, and a group of Ugandan musicians share an exuberant PSA.

Music News: Nine Inch Nails release surprise album


Nine Inch Nails perform at Roskilde, 2018.

Nine Inch Nails have released hours of new music: 'Some of it kind of happy, some not so much.' Other artists are releasing quirky new material, including Kesha's song about...Nicolas Cage? Meanwhile, some financial help for hurting artists is starting to come in, with the federal stimulus bill moving forward and Spotify contributing up to $10 million. Finally, before you can rewrite the Knack's 'My Sharona' in light of the coronavirus outbreak...don't worry, they already have.