Music News: Bob Dylan announces new album 'Rough and Rowdy Ways'


The Current Music News for May 8, 2020 (MPR video)

Fifty-eight years (!) after releasing his self-titled debut, Bob Dylan has announced his 39th studio album. Rough and Rowdy Ways, dropping June 19, will be the Nobel laureate's first collection of original songs in eight years. It looks like it's going to be a double album, which is still one disc less than his last studio album, his covers collection Triplicate from 2017. Along with the announcement, Dylan graced us with yet another new song. This one's called "False Prophet."

Deepfake music is getting dangerously good

You've probably heard about "deepfake" videos: videos that are digitally altered to make people appear to do and say things they never did. Now, there's deepfake music...and it's getting so convincing, artists are getting litigious.

This week, Jay-Z's people successfully petitioned SoundCloud to take down a deepfake that simulated the rapper's voice and candence. Also this week, a group of programmers published a tool called Jukebox that generates music including "pop, in the style of Katy Perry," "classic pop, in the style of Frank Sinatra," and "rock, in the style of Elvis Presley." They all sound...pretty drunk, but not necessarily off base. Check out the fake Frank. this legal? The answer is maybe, depending on how it's used and what judge you get. Some experts say this is no different from using a human celebrity impersonator, which happens all the time. If a computer got good enough to successfully fake a new Katy Perry album, could she block the album's release? It looks like someday in the not-too-distant future, we're going to find out. (OneZero on Medium)

Soundgarden battle Vicky Cornell over use of tribute concert revenues

I know January 2019 feels like about a million years ago, but Soundgarden fans might remember a star-studded tribute concert honoring the late Chris Cornell, with proceeds going to the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation. According to that foundation's website, it supports "the causes Chris loved most: helping vulnerable children."

The surviving members of Soundgarden played at the concert for free to support the charity, but now the band members say they haven't seen any evidence that the concert revenue, potentially millions of dollars, ever made it to the intended charities. Cornell's widow Vicky and the band have now sued each other, battling not just over the concert revenue but over the control of some recordings Cornell made and over control of Soundgarden's social media accounts, which the band members say Vicky's now running without their permission or input.

On the bright side, at least this mess means we'll probably be saved from a hologram reunion tour. (Rolling Stone)

Live Nation says fans are holding on to their tickets...but do they have a choice?

No one expected the news for Live Nation's investors to be good this quarter, and it's not: revenue is down 20% over last year for the giant promoter, and the second quarter's going to be way worse. In the earnings statement, though, Live Nation tries to look on the bright side. CEO Michael Rapino writes that "over 90% of fans are holding on to their tickets for rescheduled shows where refunds are available, which is the clearest demonstration of pent up demand that will enable us to quickly start concerts back up."

The mention of "where refunds are available" seems to be the fine print there, since there have been widespread complaints about the difficulty of getting money back for tickets to shows that are postponed indefinitely. Live Nation did open a refund eligibility period, but that was just last week. The promoter also seems to have more confidence than most that concerts can get back to normal: Live Nation tells its investors that "we believe 2021 can return to show volume and fan attendance at levels consistent with what we've seen in recent years." (Variety)

Watch Weezer play the Simpsons theme

Weezer will appear on The Simpsons this Sunday night, playing a Weezer cover band called Sailor's Delight. In addition to "covering" some of their past hits, the band will debut a new song. As a teaser, here they are covering the Simpsons theme. (Pitchfork)

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