This week, the Internet radio broadcaster Pandora made what seems like a backward move — technologically speaking. Pandora purchased a local radio station in Rapid City, S.D. The company says it's aiming to get the more favorable royalty rates given to terrestrial broadcasters, but the move has songwriters and composers up in arms.
The violin and viola that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart played himself are in the United States for the first time ever. The instruments come out of storage only about once a year at the Salzburg Mozarteum in Austria. The rest of the time, they're kept under serious lockup.
On this day 50 years ago — June 12, 1963 — Bob Dylan's career was just taking off when he heard the news that civil rights activist Medgar Evers had been assassinated. Dylan responded with a song that he eventually performed at the March on Washington and the Newport Folk Festival.
Composer Mark Adamo has made beautiful music out of classic books. His Little Women is among the most produced American operas today. He also wrote the words and music for his operatic adaptation of Aristophanes' Greek drama Lysistrata.
His latest work, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene, has proved more controversial. The opera, which premieres June 19 at the San Francisco Opera, tells the story of Mary, Jesus and his disciples.
Darlene Love, one of the background singers featured in Twenty Feet From Stardom, didn't receive credit for singing hits in the 1950s and '60s and says her career was derailed by legendary producer Phil Spector.
Jo Lawry, Judith Hill and Lisa Fischer are three of the backup singers featured in Twenty Feet From Stardom.
Twenty Feet from Stardom, filmmaker Morgan Neville's new documentary, is a reminder that most of pop music's catchiest hooks, riffs and refrains were sung by voices harmonizing in the background. Neville says he wanted to put backup singers — black, female and honed in church — front and center.
"I was really more interested in people who were voices for hire," he says, "who were able to walk into sessions never knowing what they had to do and could bring it."
Cliburn medalists Beatrice Rana, second place winner; Vadym Kholodenko, first place winner; and Sean Chen, third place winner, receive applause from the audience at the final awards ceremony at the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition on Sunday.
Palestinian performer Mohammad Assaf is a finalist on Arab Idol, which is filmed in the Lebanese city of Jounieh north of the capital Beirut.
Credit Anwar Amro / AFP/Getty Images
Palestinians have rallied around Mohammad Assaf's success. Supporters say his victory would be a win for art, which has been long neglected in Gaza.
Credit Emily Harris / NPR
Posters of Arab Idol competitor Mohammad Assaf decorate his family's home. Both Mohammad's father, Jabar Assaf (right), and his best friend, Mohammad Abu Jabar, say a victory for the young singer from the Gaza Strip would be a win for all Palestinians.
In Palestinian territory, Mohammad Assaf's face is easy to find. Big posters of the dark-haired 23-year-old dreamboat smile at you along boulevards in Ramallah. And in Gaza, a giant banner of Assaf billows outside his family home.
Assaf's dad, Jabar Assaf, is bursting with pride.
"I'm very, very, very proud of my son. Besides singing so well, he is very polite, and he is studying at the university," Jabar Assaf says. "He's no street kid. I'm very proud."
So are many other Palestinians — including 16-year-old Abeer Ali.
Singer Justin Bieber is the latest celebrity to score a booking on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, destined for its first suborbital test flight sometime this year.
The Bieb and manager Scooter Braun join the likes of Ashton Kutcher, Leonardo DiCaprio and Angelina Jolie on the elite passenger list of those willing and able to pay $250,000 for a seat on Richard Branson's commercial space-flight venture.
Chinese pianist Fei-Fei Dong, 22, performs at the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth, Texas. The Juilliard School graduate student is among six musicians chosen for the final round.
Six finalists for the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition were announced last night in Fort Worth, Texas. For the first time since its inception more than 50 years ago, the contest is taking place without its namesake. Cliburn died in February of cancer, and the competition is dealing with his loss and other changes as well.
Woody Guthrie's relationship with his home state has always been complicated. The singer-songwriter left Oklahoma and traveled the nation, composing some of the best-known songs of his time and ours. But to many in the state, his progressive political views did not fit with a strong conservative streak during the Cold War period. His reputation there is now closer to a full restoration as Oklahoma opens his archives.
One hundred years ago this week, a ballet premiered that changed the art world. Igor Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps — The Rite of Spring — was first seen by the public on May 29, 1913, in Paris. As the orchestra played TheRite's swirling introduction, the audience at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées began to murmur. Then the curtain opened.
The video for Chinese artist Ai Weiwei's newly released song starts by re-creating the conditions of his captivity during the 81 days he was held in police detention in 2011, and later dissolves into a dystopian nightmare.
Credit Louisa Lim / NPR
Ai monitors the reaction to his new song on Twitter on Wednesday, the day the song was released.
"It feels good to be able to change something. It feels good to give." -- Ron Finley
You can give away almost anything — your time, money, food, your ideas. Giving helps define who we are and helps us connect with others. And thanks to the Internet and a rise in social consciousness, there's been a seismic shift not only in what we're giving, but how. In this hour, stories from TED speakers who are "giving it away" in new and surprising ways, and the things that happen in return.
The competition for your ears — and dollars — just got a little tougher. On Wednesday, Google launched a paid music subscription service that will put it in direct competition with other streaming services like Spotify and Pandora. The announcement may just be the beginning for Google.
"Give life back to music," coo the robots on the first track of Daft Punk's new album, Random Access Memories, which showed up yesterday on iTunes after a long period of near-hysterical anticipation and advance marketing. Does the veteran Parisian dance music duo succeed in doing this on its first album in eight years?