The Current: Music News

The Current Music News

Every weekday, join hosts Jay Gabler and Jade as they chat about how the Coronavirus is impacting the music industry. While they put their best social distancing practices to use, they’ll discuss the latest headlines, how the venues are faring, and where you can find the best virtual concerts of the day. The Current Music News is an essential daily watch for fans of all genres of music to stay connected to the music and each other. Follow us on Facebook or Subscribe to our YouTube channel to get the latest episodes.

Sign up for the Music News email

Get your music news in email form.

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.

Music News: Jackson Browne shares coronavirus diagnosis


Jackson Browne performs in California, 2019.

Jackson Browne has tested positive for COVID-19, and says 'it's important for all of us to be pretty forthcoming.' Also in the news today: James Taylor donates $1 million to medical emergency fund, an 'ultimate stay at home playlist' lands on the National Recording Registry, survival-themed songs climb the charts, Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs talks about our perilous situation, and artists spoof the celebrity 'Imagine' cover.

Music News: Coronavirus claims jazz great Manu Dibango


Manu Dibango performs in Tunisia, 2004.

Jazz great Manu Dibango has died of COVID-19, and Radiohead's Ed O'Brien believes he is infected. Chris Thile talks about how the pandemic is affecting the musical life of New York City, while remote collaborations grow ever stranger.

Music News: Dolly Parton pays tribute to 'true friend' Kenny Rogers


Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers in 2010.

As the world mourns Kenny Rogers, his duet partner Dolly Parton paid tribute to 'a wonderful man and a true friend.' Also in the news today, Low Cut Connie's Adam Weiner talks about livestreaming concerts during self-isolation, while the ongoing public health crisis shakes up release schedules for other artists. Plus, Neil Diamond rewrites one of his hits to encourage handwashing.

Music News: John Prine's wife, diagnosed with COVID-19, urges fans to stay home


Fiona Whelan Prine and John Prine at the Grammys, 2020.

John Prine's wife Fiona has tested positive for COVID-19, and is urging fans to stay home to protect themselves. Meanwhile, artists are sharing new music on Bandcamp as the platform waives fees for a day; as more and more artists use livestreams to share songs and solidarity in the ongoing public health crisis.