Music News: Moog warns that tariffs may force layoffs

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Close-up of a Moog modular synthesizer.
Close-up of a Moog modular synthesizer. (Peter Gorges/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Moog Music is warning that newly-imposed U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports may force the legendary synth maker to reduce its American workforce or, "(in a worst case scenario) require us to move some, if not all, of our manufacturing overseas."

The synthesizer manufacturer, which is based in North Carolina, wants its customers to ask legislators to block the tariff from taking effect as planned on July 6. President Donald Trump argues that a 25% tariff increase on Chinese electronics is necessary to protect American jobs, but Moog is joining companies like General Motors and Harley Davidson in saying new tariffs will actually have the opposite effect.

"These tariffs will immediately and drastically increase the cost of building our instruments," said Moog in a statement e-mailed to customers. "We ask that you will support us by imploring our elected officials to recognize that these tariffs are seriously harmful to American businesses like Moog." (Pitchfork)

Lin-Manuel Miranda sings at D.C. rally

On Saturday, cities across the country — including Minneapolis — saw rallies protesting U.S. immigration policy, which has tightened under the Trump administration and caused thousands of migrant children to be separated from their parents. At a Washington, D.C. rally, Lin-Manuel Miranda dedicated a lullaby to those families. "This is for those parents and we're not going to stop until they can sing them to their kids again," he said. (Billboard)

Music Modernization Act advances

The Senate Judiciary Committee has voted to advance a bill called the Music Modernization Act, a bill that promises to "revolutionize the way songwriters get paid in America," according to advocate Dina LaPolt. The bill aims to improve and centralize the tracking of songwriting information, to facilitate writers' fair compensation by digital streaming services.

As the New York Times notes, "a critical element of the bill would allow musicians to be paid for digital plays of recordings made before 1972, which are not covered by federal copyright." Smokey Robinson has been among the songwriters testifying to the importance of that clause. "An arbitrary date on the calendar should not be the arbiter of value," the Motown great said at a Senate hearing last month.

The bill has already passed the U.S. House of Representatives and now needs to pass the full Senate; lobbyists say they're optimistic that it will eventually become law.

Homme shares Bourdain letter

Josh Homme has shared a letter that Anthony Bourdain wrote to Homme's young daughter after she watched an episode of No Reservations where the host, in a comedic sketch, grabbed a guitar that Homme was playing and smashed it against a tree.

Homme's daughter Camille was upset at the seeming violation of her dad's property, and Bourdain wrote to reassure her that it was all just a joke. "That this was in fact a not so subtle homage to the early works of John Landis and John Belushi is something you could hardly have been expected to know." (Pitchfork)

Saudi rapper goes viral with video celebrating the right to drive

Saudi Arabia has just lifted its decades-long ban on women driving. In celebration, Saudi rapper Leesa A released a song and video where she takes the wheel of a Hyundai; it's become a viral success in the Middle Eastern nation.

"I don't need anyone to take me/ Drivers' license with me," raps Leesa A, as translated by the BBC. "I am not kidding, today I can drive myself. The steering wheel in my hands, the pedal under my foot."


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