Music

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Men at Work were found liable for copying two bars from Kookaburra Sits on the Old Gum Tree – a ‘fair use’ exception would have prevented this. Jolene Bertoldi

The Down Under book and film remind us our copyright law’s still unfair for artists

A new book and documentary tell us more about the story behind Men at Work's song Down Under – and the court case it eventually led to. They also prompt questions about current Australian copyright law.
Music – as a tool of mobilising people against power – tends to suit a more progressive agenda. AAP/Richard Milnes

Barnes vs Reclaim Australia: does Khe Sanh work as a conservative protest song?

Cold Chisel’s Khe Sanh was played at Reclaim Australia rallies in various cities last weekend – but won't be again, after a public statement by the band's frontman, Jimmy Barnes. Was it a good song choice?
A Grateful Dead fan wears a shirt commemorating the band’s farewell tour. Stephen Lam/Reuters

The Grateful Dead were decades ahead of their time

In the internet era, musical artists freely distribute their songs and encourage fans to attend live shows. The Dead did this for 40 years.
David Bowie posing for the Aladdin Sane tour, 1973. Photograph by Masayoshi Sukita. Image courtesy of ACMI.

Bowie and gender transgression – what a drag

David Bowie has long confounded us with enigmatic acts of gender transgression, with gestures and personas drawn from Hollywood stars, literature and avant-garde art. That flame still burns brightly.
Brian Wilson’s music – the subject of Love & Mercy – is like a lesson we relearn each time we listen. Francois Duhamel/image.net

Love & Mercy: what Brian Wilson’s story tells us about genius and music

Much like the music of the man it's based on, Love & Mercy is beautiful, complex, somewhat melancholy, and thought-provoking. It also teaches us some things about creative genius, innovation, and art.
Our lives are often shaped and made meaningful by the stars and celebrities who enter them. EPA/Stephanie Pilick

Back then, and now – just who is David Bowie?

When Bowie sang of aliens, cross-dressed, or emptied himself of colour and light, he demonstrated the power that music, fashion and performance can have in creating a landscape of endless possibility.
Amanda Palmer was the first to crack seven figures in crowdfunding. She won’t be the last. AAP Image/Roadrunner Records

Amanda Palmer shows why artists need to get better at asking for help

Back in 2012, Amanda Palmer was the first person to break US$1,000,000 in crowdfunding on Kickstarter. In doing so, and since, she's answered the question: what is the internet for?
At its best, opera can, indeed, be a powerful form of allegorical theatre. EPA/Gian Ehrenzeller (Image from Verdi's I due Foscari)

Opera, sexual violence, and the art of telling terrible tales

A gang-rape scene in a new London staging of Rossini's Guillaume Tell was greeted with audience booing, and has sparked ongoing controversy. Are opera directors at risk of miscomprehending the medium?
When the President of the United States burst into song on the weekend, music amplified the emotional force of his words. EPA/Richard Ellis

Obama’s Amazing Grace shows how music can lift oratory high

Only a hard heart could fail to respond on some emotional level when Barack Obama, eulogising at one of the most emotionally and racially charged funerals in US history, started singing Amazing Grace.

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