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Jacob Ganz

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And now to music news. For the past 48 hours, one topic has dominated social media. And I mean, it's not technically news. It's kind of about waiting for news. NPR music senior editor Jacob Ganz is here to bring us up to speed. What's going on, Jacob?

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We're going to turn now to the week in music news with NPR's Jacob Ganz. Hey there, Jacob.

JACOB GANZ, BYLINE: Hi, Audie.

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Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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The 59th Grammy Awards were last night, and the show raised a few questions for us. Here to talk about the biggest night in music is NPR Music senior editor Jacob Ganz. Welcome.

JACOB GANZ, BYLINE: Thanks, Kelly.

Over the last week, Barack and Michelle Obama have been spending plenty of time mixing it up in the pop culture and music sphere. Last week, the President spoke at SXSW Interactive, giving a keynote that touched on the uses of technology in government, from Apple's conflict with the Dept.

"It's all love songs this time," says Mac DeMarco when we connect over Skype (cell reception at his place in Far Rockaway, Queens, is spotty) to talk about Another One, his latest mini-album. Make that love songs with little problems: Each of the songs on this charming, scruffy collection takes on love that's just out of reach, whether it's doomed from the start or just run its course. "It's just kind of like every angle of how somebody might feel if they're having strange feelings in their chest," DeMarco says.

The Internet is a strange and wonderful place.

Say you're an up-and-coming singer-songwriter and you're looking for an audience. You've got an active presence on social media, a deal with a major label and a proven sound that, while a little dated, probably would have sold reasonably well if it had come out around the peak of the late-'90s/early-'00s bubblegum pop era.

Apple has announced the launch of Apple Music, an app that adds a subscription streaming service to iTunes, the largest music retailer in the world.

For our +1 mini-podcast this week, Bob is joined in the studio by NPR Music's Jacob Ganz to talk about how we connect to songs we love in the age of streaming. The conversation highlights what we'll miss most about physical forms of music and what we hope the future takes into account.

There was a moment in the mid-2000s when it seemed like we might be collecting songs, one-by-one, into eternity. Internet connections were getting faster, hard drives stored more data in tinier spaces, songs were easier than ever to find and available for little or no money. Every year, the new version of Apple's iPod, first introduced in 2001 with a now-adorable 5GB of storage space, held thousands upon thousands more songs.

Sharon Van Etten's 2014 album, Are We There, was one of the more focused, devastating recordings of the year, an unflinching set of songs that trace the contours of a doomed relationship. The album doesn't spare either party — Van Etten is as critical of her own decisions as she is damning of her lover's minor cruelties and missteps. It's an uncut catharsis machine, and listening to it can wring you out.

There's something mysterious, almost opaque, about the songs of Lower Dens. The ones on the band's new album, Escape From Evil, are lush but distant, beautiful things held just out of reach.

"I've been coming here for so long," Jack Antonoff says of SXSW while waiting for a breakfast table at the Driskill Hotel in downtown Austin. "The first time I came, in 2003, I had one show at a sushi place that like nine friends came to. Which I thought was the coolest thing because I was like, 'I'm at South by Southwest!'"

Last year, as an April Fools' Day joke, the label Bloodshot Records announced that it had brought together 21 affiliated artists for a roughed-up roots take on the music of Prince, to be pressed as a "purple swirl colored double vinyl LP" set.

Sam Smith, the British singer whose debut album, In the Lonely Hour, was one of only two albums released in 2014 to go platinum, won four Grammys, including Record and Song of the Year, as well as Best New Artist.

Traditionally, the folks at NPR Music make a list of their 100 favorite songs of the year. But this time, they expanded the list to 302 songs and made a really long mix tape.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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