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Stories that take a comprehensive look at some of the biggest topics in music today.

How billy woods’ Backwoodz Studioz Became New York’s Best Underground Rap Label

After steadily leveling up across more than two decades, the label is a bastion for uncompromising artists looking to get weird, loose, and honest.

The Invisible Work of Mothers in Music

Sharon Van Etten, Rico Nasty, Corin Tucker, and more on how being a touring musician can make the struggles of motherhood that much more intense.

All Music Is Weed Music

Margo Price, Water From Your Eyes, Chat Pile, and more musical stoners on how pot influences the creative process 

“Blurred Lines,” Harbinger of Doom

How Robin Thicke, Pharrell, and T.I.’s cursed megahit predicted everything bad about the past decade in pop culture

The Untold Story of Elliott Smith’s Teenage Band

The singer-songwriter became famous for a style so intimate it resembled confession, but six recently unearthed albums made with his high school friends trace the surprising musical path he took to get there.

Untangling the Knotty Politics Behind Reggaeton’s Rise in Spain

Once stigmatized as the music of immigrants, reggaeton now leads Spanish charts, spawning local artists and global stars. But not everyone is a fan.

The Obscure J Dilla Beat Tape That Changed Music Forever

Long before Donuts, a passed-around cassette made the Detroit producer a key influence on the sound of hip-hop and soul. The author of the celebrated Dilla Time takes us inside the making of this legendary tape.

The New Weird Virtuosos Making Jazz for the Post-Internet Age

Led by artists like DOMi and JD Beck, a generation of rising players is infusing jazz with absurdist online irreverence. But are they playing jazz at all?

Confronting Music’s Mental Health Crisis

Experts and artists including Santigold, Jeff Tweedy, and Denzel Curry trace a web of pressing issues while imagining the paths forward. 

How the Music Community Is Fighting the Drug Overdose Epidemic 

Naloxone nasal spray is safe, simple to use, and life-saving. Artists like Animal Collective, Pearl Jam, and Twin Shadow are working to make it available at every concert venue. But it isn’t going to be easy.

The Soundtrack of the Abortion Rights Movement, Then and Now

Across more than 50 years, the music of artists including Dolly Parton, Alanis Morissette, and Megan Thee Stallion has been used communicate the anger and grief around the fight for reproductive rights.

“The Anti-Woodstock ’99”: An Oral History of the Tibetan Freedom Concert

Co-organized by Beastie Boy Adam Yauch and featuring Björk, Rage Against the Machine, Fugees, Sonic Youth, and many more, the 1996 San Francisco concert set the template for combining music and activism in the 1990s.

How Rock and the Royals Jostled for Britain’s Cultural Identity During the Queen’s Lifetime

From the Beatles to the Sex Pistols to the Smiths, disgust and fascination with the monarchy became a British rock tradition over the course of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.

Delirious Tempos, Viral Dances, and Hometown Pride—Welcome to the Next Generation of Club Rap

Young artists in Newark, New Jersey and Philadelphia are injecting kinetic, dance-friendly tempos into their tracks, paying tribute to their cities’ club legacies while offering a sound all their own.

The Eternal Influence of Imogen Heap

For the past two decades, the British singer-songwriter has balanced machine wizardry with startling humanity in her electronic pop. The world has finally caught up.

Trans Women DJs Are Taking Over the Club

Artists including Jasmine Infiniti, Honey Dijon, Juliana Huxtable, and Eris Drew are lighting up dancefloors and seeing their collective influence reflected back

Everything You Need to Build Your Very Own Digital Music Collection

Your one-stop guide to choosing the right server, hard drive, and all that’s required for your own personal music cloud.

The Obsessive World of Digital Music Collectors

Remember downloading songs? Even in 2022, it’s still a viable—and rewarding—way to collect music.

On Discord, Music Fans Become Artists’ Besties, Collaborators, and Even Unpaid Interns

Originally launched as a messaging app for gamers, the platform has become an intimate place for artists and fans to connect and build community. Can this fragile ecosystem last?

Inside the Ambient Music Streaming Boom

As more people turn to ambient playlists for sleeping, meditating, and growing houseplants, what does it mean for the artists behind the serene soundscapes?

The Music Metaverse Is (Almost) Ready to Conquer the World

The technological possibilities for bringing music into the virtual world seem endless; all that's missing is an artist-driven breakout moment.

Will AI Take the Pleasure Out of Music?

We can now train machines to play and write music that goes beyond mere mimicry—but does that mean we should?