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I know it seems absurd and headline-grabbing, but honestly this song is going to be the high bar to hit for guitar-driven, brokenhearted love songs in the coming year.

While independent bands don't quite have the ability to make the earth stand still like Queen Bey — we all fall short of the glory, etc. — one lesson learned from the surprise-album release is how an artist and a fan trust each other. Album announcements, artwork announcements, teasers for single premieres, the actual premiere, a video for the same single, a teaser for the second single — you can understand why some artists who have been at this a while would rather skip the industry cycle and go direct.

Justin Vernon's career as Bon Iver has perfectly aligned with NPR Music's existence. It was 10 years ago this past summer that For Emma, Forever Ago began to write the project and the myth of its creation into indie-rock legend, making Vernon's own name nearly synonymous with it in the process. The idea of that cabin in the woods and Vernon's wounded, multi-tracked falsetto have since become iconic.

Kyle Jahnke and Andy Baxter, collectively known as Penny & Sparrow, are pin-drop performers, the kind which silence rooms with impeccable songs and storytelling that unfolds like a dream. The duo has amassed a devoted following in six years, and traveled from Austin, Texas to Muscle Shoals, Ala., now splitting its time between the two musical centers.

Three deals of acquisitions and investments that were rumored over the past week, and that are all now confirmed, have something in common — none of them involve companies owned by major record labels. All involve technology companies or insurrectionists to entrenched industry leaders. One noted below, Tencent, holds such power in its home country that all three major labels agreed to let it broker their deals in that country.

In case you can't tell by his '80s-era jheri curl, South Central LA native G Perico has never compromised his g-funk sound or fierce West Side affiliation to fit into hip-hop's mold. The rapper's sense of individuality, along with an unrelenting work ethic, has been paying off tenfold in 2017.

Content advisory: The video above may contain language that is offensive to some.

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Those who know the Houston hip-hop music scene know that it's long been dominated by men — like DJ Screw, Paul Wall and Trae Tha Truth.

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