Andrew Flanagan

Vivendi, a French media conglomerate that is the parent company of the world's largest record label, Universal Music Group, announced during its half-year financial review that it plans to sell up to half of the share capital of the label group. UMG is the parent company is several noteworthy labels, including Capitol Music Group (and its landmark Los Angeles tower), classical label Deutsche Grammophon and the pop powerhouse Republic Records.

"Today is the day you've been waiting for," R. Kelly claims in an Instagram post Monday morning in which he directs his followers to listen to a new, 19-minute song titled "I Admit," in which the singer obliquely or directly addresses allegations levied against him over the past year.

Richard Swift, a highly regarded producer and solo artist, died early Tuesday morning in Washington state. His death was confirmed by a manager, Adam Katz, but no cause of death was given. He was 41 years old.

A crowdfunding campaign was created last month on Swift's behalf to help pay for treatment of a "life-threatening condition," the details of which were not shared.

Ed Sheeran's syrupy, Grammy-winning single "Thinking Out Loud" is now at the center of two lawsuits.

The ginger troubadour was first sued over the hit song last year by the heirs of Edward Townsend, Jr., a co-writer of Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On," which they claim "Thinking Out Loud" cribs from enough to warrant a lawsuit.

A suspect in the murder of 20-year-old Jahseh Onfroy, better known as the controversial and chart-topping rapper XXXTentacion (pronounced "ex-ex-ex-ten-tah-see-ohn"), has been arrested, the Broward Sheriff's Office announced this morning. The police say that Dedrick Williams, 22 years old, was arrested for the the murder of Onfroy, who was shot outside of a high-end motor sports dealership in Deerfield Beach, Fla. on June 18.

A title card is the first thing you see in the video for "They Ain't 100," a song by the British rapper Fredo — which reads: Disclaimer: The content in this video is an expression of art and should not be taken literally. K-Trap's "David Blaine" opens with a similar prologue: All characters in this visual are entirely fictional.

Reggie Lucas, who entered his 20s as a guitarist in Miles Davis' touring band and would later help shape the multi-platinum debut of Madonna, died in the early hours of May 19 at the age of 65. The cause was advanced heart failure, his daughter, Lisa Lucas, confirmed to NPR.

Last week, Spotify announced it was implementing a new policy in which it would stop promoting "hate content" and artists who engage in "hateful conduct" within its very powerful playlists and through its equally powerful suggestion algorithm. In the week since, the move has been greeted with celebration, derision and skepticism.

Updated 5:30 p.m. ET, May 10 with a statement from R. Kelly's management team.

Updated at 2:56 p.m. ET

Avicii, the Swedish producer who was one of the world's most successful DJs, was found dead today in Muscat, Oman, his publicist confirmed to NPR Music. He was 28. No cause of death was given.

"You're still walking around the block," observes Hope Sandoval on Mazzy Star's newest, to which we all — despite the promising green sprigs of spring making their way out of the branches — sigh and think, "Yeah."

Since (at least) the release of good kid, m.A.A.d. city in 2012, the singularity of Kendrick Lamar has been plainly evident. But with the Pulitzer Prize in Music for 2018 being given to the Compton rapper for his 2017 album DAMN., his exceptionalism is now officially historic: It's the first time in the prize's history that it has been given to an artist outside of the classical or jazz community.

Yvonne Staples, a member of the renowned soul, gospel and R&B group The Staple Singers, died Tuesday in Chicago at the age of 80, representatives for her sister and band mate Mavis Staples confirmed to NPR Music. No cause was given, and the Staples family has yet to issue a statement.

Of the many (we'll get to that) famed North African guitarists, Bombino has, over the past near-decade, seemed to be the most willing to kitchen-sink his sound, to give his music a modernist momentum and panoramic scope.

On Let's Make Love, Brazilian Girls' first record in a decade, "Karaköy" stands out for its timelessness and simplicity. It's a walk-skip along the ancient streets of its namesake neighborhood in Istanbul, with Sabina Sciubba's rich, gymnastic and apparently effortless voice left, right and center stage. When its chorus arrives, soft-washed trumpets in tow, Sciubba's volume rises to overpower them.

Republic Records — a label that counts among its roster many of the world's best-known artists, including Lorde, Ariana Grande and The Weeknd — has announced that the company and its president, Charlie Walk, are going their separate ways.

As artists like Paul McCartney, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Demi Lovato and Andra Day made appearances during March for Our Lives demonstrations for gun control this past Saturday, the rapper Killer Mike was on the Internet, explaining his support of gun ownership in an interview with NRATV, the broadcasting arm of the pro-gun lobbying and advocacy organization.

Explaining "Miki Dora," the first song we heard from his fourth album as Amen Dunes, Damon McMahon wrote in January that the iconic surfer of the title served as "a true embodiment of the distorted male psyche" and "a reflection on all manifestations of mythical heroic maleness and its illusions." But listening to it, you could be forgiven for thinking the song is starry-eyed.

Updated 1:04 p.m. ET

The "substantial doubt" that iHeartMedia's corporate leaders expressed around the company's likelihood of surviving another year, mentioned in its quarterly financial report last November, has been put to rest.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

See SPOT list.

Spotify, the world's most-used on-demand music streaming service, has pulled the curtain back on its New York Stock Exchange debut, expected in late March or early April, when it will trade under the symbol SPOT, according to its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.

Kyle Frenette, longtime manager of Bon Iver and a co-founder of Middle West Management, "an artist management firm founded on the acute quiet of Midwestern work ethic," is planning a pivot to politics. The Wisconsin native will formally announce his campaign to represent the 7th Congressional District of his state this Thursday, his campaign manager Christian Duffy confirmed to NPR Music.

A story for the "slipped right by us" file: Michael Davenport, a former bassist for turn-of-the-century pop-punk stalwarts The Ataris, was indicted in December by the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Southern District of Illinois of allegedly defrauding an astounding number of people — some 100,000, in every U.S. state (and the District of Columbia) — of $27 million over a period of seven years. Davenport and a co-worker were scheduled to be arraigned in East St. Louis, Ill., on Wednesday.

What we try to do here at NPR Music isn't that complicated. First and foremost, of course, we like to introduce readers and listeners to artists they may never have heard that will challenge, excite and soothe them. We also enjoy celebrating, reframing, revisiting and enlivening the music everyone already knows and loves, to give it a new life in a changed world.

When it comes to maligning the news media, Morrissey has few peers. As he sings in "Spent The Day In Bed," a song from his most recent album Low In High School: "I recommend that you stop / watching the news / because the news contrives to frighten you / to make you feel small and alone / to make you feel that your mind isn't your own."

Nina Simone, Bon Jovi, The Moody Blues, The Cars and Dire Straits — along with guitar pioneer Sister Rosetta Tharpe, with an award for early influence — have been named as next year's inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

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