Music News: Max Martin musical to feature all your favorite 90s-00s jams


Quincy Jones gives props to Max Martin.
Quincy Jones gives props to Max Martin Spotify's Inaugural Secret Genius Awards in 2017. (Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Spotify)
Max Martin gets a musical; Courtney Love might have a Grateful Dead godfather; and 'fake' artists stir Spotify suspicion
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Above, hear a pilot episode of The Current's new Music News podcast, which will soon be available every weekday wherever you get your podcasts. We'd love your feedback! Leave a comment below, or write to

Max Martin isn't exactly a pop star, but the producer/writer helped make some of the biggest hits of the past two decades, including smashes by Britney Spears ("...Baby One More Time"), Kelly Clarkson ("Since U Been Gone"), Justin Timberlake ("Can't Stop the Feeling"), the Backstreet Boys ("Everybody [Backstreet's Back]"), and Taylor Swift ("Shake It Off").

Now, it looks like a Max Martin musical is in the works. A casting call for "exceptional pop singers who act/dance to a high standard" is now out for a musical that's reportedly slated to hit London's West End in 2019. (Billboard)

Lolla livestream

Lollapalooza starts today in Chicago and continues through Sunday. If you can't get to the massive music festival, you can livestream video of performances by dozens of artists including Jack White, St. Vincent, Vampire Weekend, Arctic Monkeys, Chvrches, and LL Cool J. Find details at Rolling Stone)

Madonna's gone

Madonna is moving her family to Portugal, the star says. In part, she's looking to help her 12-year-old son kickstart his soccer career, but she's also ready to get out of New York, where she and her kids have been living in recent years. "This is not America's finest hour," she told Vogue Italia. (Billboard)

Courtney Love to Phil Lesh: Are you my godfather?

Courtney Love thinks Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead might be her godfather, and she wants John Mayer to find out for her.

This all came out in Instagram, when the Hole leader jumped into the comments on a photo Mayer posted with his Dead and Company bandmate Mickey Hart. She wrote that her "insane father" briefly managed the Warlocks, which was an early name for the Grateful Dead. Her dad once told her that Lesh is her godfather, she said, but she's always been too shy to ask Lesh about it. She wants Mayer to do the honors, "and I'll get you a nice Rolex," she promises.

Stay posted. (Spin)

Backstage at Shoreline with @mickeyhart and Coach. (Via @mickeyhart)

A post shared by John Mayer 💎 (@johnmayer) on

Universal fighting back against Spotify "fake" artists

Remember the controversy about "fake" artists on Spotify? People have been noticing that a lot of the "artists" who show up on some of the streaming service's most popular mood-related playlists don't seem to do anything but create tracks for those playlists. Spotify says they're real people, and in fact journalists have tracked some of them down...understandably, they're offended at being called fake. Still, it's clear that the service is soliciting specific kinds of tracks from specific creators, and some labels wonder whether Spotify is using its leverage to cut deals with these essentially unknown artists to pay lower royalties, at the expense of established ambient artists like Brian Eno.

One label, Universal, is fighting back by forging an exclusive deal with Apple Music. It's offering up some of its top tastemakers, like Max Richter, composer of the overnight piece Sleep, to curate expert "peaceful" playlists. "Presumably," notes Music Business Worldwide, "they will all be real human beings."

Kate McKinnon raps in Hungarian

Kate McKinnon was recently in Hungary to film her new movie The Spy Who Dumped Me, and she picked up a new skill: rapping in Hungarian. She told Jimmy Fallon that her friend and driver used their time in the car together to teach her how to rap a whole verse from "Yozsefváros," a 1995 song by the Hungarian group Animal Cannibals. The Spy Who Dumped Me comes out on Friday, Aug. 3. (Billboard)

Songs sampled in podcast
Jahzzar: "Comédie" (CC BY SA 4.0)
Britney Spears: "Oops!... I Did It Again"
Jesse Spillane: "Ruffling Feathers" (CC BY SA 4.0)
BoxCat Games: "Mt Fox Shop" (CC BY 3.0)
Max Richter: Sleep
Animal Cannibals: "Yozsefváros" (performed by Kate McKinnon and the Roots)

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