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Welcome To Austin: Preparing For 2017 ACL Music Festival

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Welcome To Austin: Preparing For 2017 ACL Music Festival

The Recording Academy is on-site at Austin City Limits 2017, prepping for a weekend of exclusive coverage of the festival's hippest happenings and some of its most interesting artists

GRAMMYs/Oct 6, 2017 - 10:48 pm

Looking across a skyline of high-rises, it seems strange to say that Austin still feels like a small town.

Even with a metro area of population of more than 2 million, and recent data pointing to it being one of the fastest growing cities in the country, Austin has managed to maintain the vibe of a vibrant close-knit community.

In downtown Austin, 6th Street has a reputation that well precedes it. It's been called "Dirty 6th" and "the Bourbon St. of Texas," but last night was surpassingly tame. Walking down 6th the night before the first day of the 2017 Austin City Limits Music Festival, I was struck by the number of venue names I recognized. There's Stubbs, the Lizard Lounge, Maggie Mae's.

After years of reading coverage from ACL and South by Southwest and booking dinners and after-parties in my previous life working for record labels, I feel like I know these places — even though I am seeing them for the first time.

The streets are closed off, and pedestrians meander from venue to venue, perhaps drawn inside by a jangling guitar and an earnest singer, or maybe ushered inside by one of the energetic doormen who jump in front of you from time to time to make sure you know you that this is where the drinks are cheapest and coldest, and the music will be the loudest. 

Pick a bar or restaurant at random, and you might find a full rock band slinging out jams for a packed floor, or a solitary player with an acoustic guitar who's somehow found a way to work covers of Gnarls Barkley, Bruno Mars, *NSYNC, and Amy Winehouse into a coherent and strangely enjoyable set. Austin is a place where you can walk the streets without a plan, and wind up with a night full of stories.

This morning, the city seems oddly calm for a large metropolitan area that’s about to host a major three-day, two-weekend music festival. But then again, this is old hat for Austin. This is the live music capital of the world. Stopping in a coffee shop, I overhear a trio of police officers calmly swapping crowd control stories from after last call the night before — nothing crazy, just another night in the city.

Our team arrives at ACL early, excited to walk the grounds and set up our press tent for a day full of interviews with the amazing artists booked to rock the festival stages over the course of the weekend.

At the Miller stage near the media center where we’ve camped out, the first band tunes up and starts playing, The Wild Now. It's not even noon yet, but there’s already a packed crowd gathered and ready to rock. I find myself as excited as the crowd of early-risers to see what ACL has in store for us this year.

We've got a full weekend of coverage — and maybe a surprise or two — all planned, so make sure to check back on Saturday and Sunday and get your fill of the Recording Academy's unique take on this year's ACL Music Festival.

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Universal language: Why humans need music

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Universal language: Why humans need music

Learn why music is truly a common language that is key to human development and evolution

GRAMMYs/Jul 3, 2017 - 11:51 pm

There's no doubt music finds a way into nearly every moment of our daily lives, whether it's marking milestones such as a first dance at a wedding, the soundtrack to our favorite movie or singing in the shower for fun. In fact, it's hard to imagine times when we are more than an ear-length away from hearing another song.

But why does music mean so much to us? A powerful form of communication that transcends all barriers — music is our common language, but why?

A composer and educator with a lifelong fascination for music, Adam Ockelford has traced our connection with music back to infants and caregivers. Infants are unable to follow words, but they are developmentally primed to trace patterns in sound, such as through the songs a caretaker sings to them. Therefore, understanding music is intuitive for humans, even at a very young age, and it encourages healthy development.

In addition, there may be another evolutionary purpose for music. Music provides a sense of sameness between humans — if you can copy the sounds someone else makes, you must be an ally. This synergy plays a role in human survival because it evokes empathy and understanding, a lesson we still learn from music in today's culture.

"Music is central to the notion of what it is to be human, and spans cultures, continents and centuries," writes Ockelford. "My music, your music, our music can bind us together as families, as tribes and as societies in a way that nothing else can."

Need a playlist? Check out our favorite songs of summer 2017 

Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Glenn Danzig

Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

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Original Misfits Unleash One Night Only L.A. Reunion Show

Dark punk legends to play first show with Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only since last year's Riot Fest reunion

GRAMMYs/Aug 22, 2017 - 05:28 am

There's big news today for punk-rock fans aware that the Misfits made much more than just T-shirts.

The massively influential punk band announced a special show touted as the "only 2017 performance in this world… or any world" and billed as "The Original Misfits" in Los Angeles at the Forum on Dec. 30.

This will be the first Misfits show featuring original singer Glenn Danzig and original bassist Jerry Only with long-time guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein since the band reunited for a pair of Riot Fest appearances in Chicago and Denver in 2016. Last year's Riot Fest gigs, which featured drummer Dave Lombardo, marked the first time in 33 years the original Misfits members played together.

"OK Los Angeles, you've waited almost 35 years for this, here's your chance to see the "Original Misfits" in this Exclusive L.A. only performance." said Glenn Danzig. "No Tour, No BS, just one night of dark metal-punk hardcore brutality that will go down in the history books. See you there."

Tickets for this "one night only" show go on sale Friday, August 25.

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Lady Gaga Steps In To Support Youth Impacted By Hurricanes

Lady Gaga

Photo: Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

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Lady Gaga Steps In To Support Youth Impacted By Hurricanes

GRAMMY winner pledges support for those impacted by hurricanes this year through Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program

GRAMMYs/Oct 12, 2017 - 11:03 pm

On Oct. 10 Lady Gaga announced she is devoting her $1 million donation in support of those impacted by the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico and the earthquakes in Mexico, to a specific cause — the mental and emotional well being of children and youth.

Gaga announced on her Born This Way Foundation website she will support Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program, which uses a variety of tools to help young people deal with trauma in the wake of natural disasters.

"Through a curriculum that includes cooperative play, discussion, art, meditation, and mindfulness practices, young people learn to recognize and understand their emotions and develop healthy coping skills," Gaga wrote. "Tens of thousands of youth have benefited from the program since it’s development in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Save the Children is working to bring it to hundreds of thousands more in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico."

The announcement came on World Mental Health Day, and the Fame Monster has invited all of us to step up and consider making a contribution to the Journey of Hope program to support to mental and emotional needs of children.

"Mental health is just as vital to our wellbeing as physical health. That’s true for each of us, everyday, but it’s especially important for those coping with disaster and recovering from trauma," wrote Lady Gaga. "We must do everything within our power to support the full, vibrant recovery of these communities, from meeting their immediate needs to helping them to rebuild sustainably."

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Mixcloud Signs Warner Music For Subscriptions Remix

Tiesto

Photo: Jason LaVeris/Getty Images

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Mixcloud Signs Warner Music For Subscriptions Remix

There is more to the Mixcloud difference than just electronic dance music, and now the listening service has signed its first major label deal

GRAMMYs/Oct 10, 2017 - 04:49 am

Among the 1 million curators who have helped build British-based listening service Mixcloud into a destination visited by 17 million listeners each month are GRAMMY winners Erykah Badu, David Byrne, and Tiësto. Limited to streaming-only since its founding in 2008, Mixcloud announced a direct licensing agreement with Warner Music Group this morning, opening the door to offering downloads and new kinds of subscriptions.

Perhaps the standout statistic that describes the Mixcloud difference is that the average length of its user-uploaded programs is 45 minutes. Within the service's general emphasis on DJing, EDM and remix culture, the tendency to drill down and explore narrower listening topics in depth distinguishes the service from competitors such as Spotify or SoundCloud.

Warner Music Group Executive VP for Business Development & Chief Digital Officer Ole Obermann said, "Mixcloud's success is driven by the curiosity and passion of its community, as they engage with new music and rediscover timeless older songs."

Being able to listen to downloads offline seems a natural follow-up to direct licensing deals, but the service hints there's more in store. Mixcloud still hopes to sign indies and the other majors, as its fans have speculated. And with its own proprietary Content ID in place and established relationships with royalty collecting societies, the company has the tech infrastructure to explore new monetization strategies, paying artists and curators in new ways. Launching a new business model for its upcoming approach to paid content and subscriptions is a remix many are anticipating. Not knowing what to expect is part of the excitement.

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