Music News: Grammys organization to name first-ever woman president

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Deborah Dugan with Bono at a (RED) event in 2012.
Deborah Dugan with Bono at a (RED) event in 2012. (STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)
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Citing "multiple high-level sources," Billboard is reporting that Deborah Dugan will be named the next president of the Recording Academy, the organization that runs the Grammys. Dugan is currently CEO of (RED), the non-profit organization co-founded by Bono in 2006 to fight AIDS. She'll be the first woman ever to lead the Recording Academy, taking over from Neil Portnow, who was widely criticized for comments suggesting that women need to "step up" to to be recognized in the music industry. As of now, neither Dugan or the Recording Academy are commenting on the reported hire.

Jay-Z to play Webster Hall re-opening

New York's historic Webster Hall will reopen on April 26 after an extensive renovation, with Jay-Z playing a new iteration of his "B-Sides" concert highlighting deep tracks in the rapper's catalog. Dating to 1886, Webster Hall is New York's oldest concert venue still in operation. After Jay-Z re-opens the doors, future bookings include Patti Smith, MGMT, and Broken Social Scene. (Rolling Stone)

Fans petition for black hole to be named after Chris Cornell

That black hole everyone's been looking at will be named for the late Chris Cornell if tens of thousands of fans get their way. 40,000 fans and counting have signed a petition that reads, in part, "'Black Hole Sun,' written by Chris Cornell is without a doubt Soundgarden's most recognisable and most popular song, and one of the biggest anthems of the '90s. For this reason, and the impact Chris Cornell had in the lives of so many and music itself, I ask NASA, the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration and all the astronomers and scientists involved in this discovery, to name this black hole after Chris Cornell."

Cornell's widow Vicky shared the petition, saying, "Chris would be honored." 40,000 fans can't be wrong, but this is an ambitious ask: not only is the recently-photographed black hole located in the M87 galaxy pretty much the most famous black hole since Dr. Reinhardt went to hell, there actually is no unified naming system for black holes. Before this, who would have wanted to name one? (Billboard)

What happened at Coachella? Everything.

Coachella kicked off this weekend, and there was a lot for music fans to talk about, much of it live-streamed for the people who couldn't make it to party with rock stars like Tim Cook and the reunited cast of High School Musical.

After his headlining set as Childish Gambino, Donald Glover released a 55-minute film called Guava Island. As described by the New York Times, "The mysterious project, which has been teased for months, features Glover as Deni, a singer hoping to bring the mystical island of Guava together with a music festival, while Rihanna plays his girlfriend, Kofi, and provides voice-over during a fairy-tale-like animated introduction about the fictional location and its valuable blue silk."

Ariana Grande did pretty well, joined by guests including Nicki Minaj, Diddy, and four-fifths of NSYNC (no prizes for guessing which four-fifths). The crowd went wild for chart-topping teen Billie Eilish, but if you ask the Detroit Metro Times, "Lizzo basically won Coachella despite technical issues."

Chili from TLC joined Weezer for their cover of "No Scrubs," and Tears for Fears came out to help with "Everybody Wants to Rule the World." Selena Gomez made her first onstage appearance in a year, after taking some time off to deal with mental health issues. Also, Calypso Rose made history as both the first calypso artist ever to play Coachella, but at 78 years old the oldest person ever to play the music festival.

In perhaps the best viral moment from the first weekend, Kacey Musgraves got her audience to fall for a "Simon Says" trick during a "yee haw" call and response.

What are Taylor Swift and Madonna teasing?

Two pop icons from different generations are dropping intriguing teasers about new music.

Taylor Swift has been posting images of bling: painted nails, hands wearing rings, a yellow shirt, pink ruffles some kind of diamond-encrusted heart. The only caption: "4.26." New music? That would be a good guess. Swift's sixth album, Reputation, came out in fall 2017 so she's right about on schedule. Even if Reputation was something of a letdown after the massive 1989, it's not like it was a flop: it was the best-selling album of 2017 in the U.S., followed by the highest-grossing U.S. tour of all time.

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Madonna's put out a few more albums in her peerless career: 13 studio albums since her 1983 debut. Her most recent album was 2015's Rebel Heart, so her fans are ready for more. A new teaser video introduces viewers to "the world of Madame X."

Madame X is a secret agent. Traveling around the world. Changing identities. Fighting for freedom. Bringing light to dark places. She is a dancer. A professor. A head of state. A housekeeper. An equestrian. A prisoner. A student. A mother. A child. A teacher. A nun. A singer. A saint. A whore. The spy in the house of love. I'm Madame X.

Okay, but where's Dick Tracy? (Rolling Stone)

Viral clip: Pete Buttigieg plays Spoon

Not to be outdone by fellow candidate Beto O'Rourke, former bassist in a relevant alt-rock band, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg played some of Spoon's "The Way We Get By" while backstage before an event at Scripps College earlier this year.

A video of the performance went viral, inspiring a response from Spoon, who wrote, "So this guy can just do everyone's job, huh."

The candidate responded, "Hey it's just the way I get by."

If that sounds a little spicy, it might be because Spoon are on record for their fellow Texan O'Rourke, having played one of his rallies. (Spin)


Audio sampled in podcast
Jahzzar: "Comedie" (CC BY 4.0)
BoxCat Games: "Against The Wall" (CC BY 3.0)
Soundgarden: "Black Hole Sun"
Weezer feat. Chilli: "No Scrubs"
Billie Eilish: "You Should See Me in a Crown"
Madonna: "Welcome to the World of Madame X"
Pete Buttigieg: "The Way We Get By"
Spoon: "The Way We Get By"


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