Articles on Pop music

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Punters cheer at the 2016 Glastonbury Festival. Revenue from live performances is growing. Stoyan Nenov/Reuters

Why music is not lost

In Australia, musicians' total income actually went up last year. While the music industry still faces many challenges, there is now a world-wide push to boost artists' royalties paid by streaming services such as Spotify.
A saxophone player busks in New York: as technology transforms their industry, quite a lot of musicians are leaving the field. Michael Tapp

Friday essay: the loss of music

Whenever you listen to a streamed song, like it but don't buy it and instead stream it again, you are casting a vote for the future nonexistence of professional musicians.
Leonard Cohen in 2012 accepting an award for his song lyrics. Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters

Goodbye Leonard, you brought us so much light

Leonard Cohen, who has died at 82, had both a tragic vision and a voice that was warm, funny and closely observant. His unique gaze helped fans see the world anew.
Prince performs during the 2013 Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Steve Marcus/Reuters

Are pop stars destined to die young?

For those on Rolling Stone's list of 100 Greatest Artists, their life expectancy is on par with the people of Chad, the nation with the lowest life expectancy in the world.
Joerg Cartstensen/EPA

Would you vote for a Eurovision Brexit?

Leave had a 20 point lead over Remain in a recent YouGov poll – but this Brexit referendum concerned Britain’s membership of the Eurovision Song Contest, not Europe.
Australia’s 2016 Eurovision contestant Dami Im performing with Conchita and Guy Sebastian in Sydney earlier this year. SBS

How ‘Asiavision’ could be a boon for cultural diplomacy

Australia has struggled to forge cultural ties with the Asia-Pacific region. But SBS's deal to develop an Asian Eurovision could change this - there is more to the event than music, costume reveals and wind machines.
She has been through some trying times of late, but the Madonna machine has not been derailed. Walter Bieri/EPA

Bitch, I’m (still) Madonna …

Madonna, who attacked "sexist" criticism of her Rebel Heart tour, has always had a troubled relationship with feminism. And there is little about pop's perfectionist workaholic that is rebellious today.
Kanye functions as a mirror for the most visible and occasionally garish values of his time. Charles Platiau/ Reuters

Friday essay: the sounds of Kanye West

Many have long forgotten the simple fact that Kanye West is one of the greatest producers of hip-hop in its history. A decade-long six-album streak of critically acclaimed albums rivals the greatest icons of pop.
It’s comforting to think that technology has its limits, that the album persists. Jared Hersch

What music sounded like in 2015

The hard numbers of sales, downloads, streams, and billboard charts seem to do all the work for us. But do these measures tell us anything meaningful about music's nature and value in 2015?

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