Links we Like: The Good, the Bad, and the Funny

This week in Links we Like, we encounter a diverse group of events in music. From “the good” found in promoting music education, “the bad” in cheating the music industry, to “the funny” in charades, we see how music is a constant influence in our daily lives.

El Sistema Goes Global: El Sistema is truly an inspirational organization. The brainchild of José Antonio Abreu, the program has grown from a small project to a burgeoning network that provides 250,000 children access to music education, the majority of whom are from underprivileged households and communities. This summer marks the first successful year of its US-based initiative, located in Boston, MA at New England Conservatory. The Boston program, consisting of ten Abreu Fellows from all over North America, focused on many of the same objectives as its Venezuelan counterpart: spreading the contagious love of music making and advocating the importance of music in our children’s education. To read more about the Abreu Fellows and El Sistema, click here.

Jose Antonio Abreu with Students of El Sistema (courtesy of

A High Price Tag for Music Theft: Joel Tenenbaum’s, a graduate student at Boston University, entire life changed after (illegally) downloading 30 songs through a P2P file-sharing service. After a series of legal repercussions, Joel was set to owe $675,000 to four separate record labels affected by the misdemeanor. He began the campaign Joel Fights Back to promote his own defense and to protect “the average Davids against the corporate Goliath.” The fine was only recently lowered to $67,500 by a judge who claimed the original penalty “unconstitutionally excessive.” While it is a substantial reduction, it’s still a lofty fine for a mere 30 songs. Better to stick with iTunes or good old-fashioned CD purchases. To read more about the trial, click here.

(photo courtesy of

Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover: We’ve all heard of the Susan Boyle saga – a plain Jane-turned-superstar as a result of her performance on Britain’s Got Talent. Yet a local karaoke bar got their own “Susan Boyle” when an average saleswoman named Karen took the stage and sang hits by Grammy-nominated artist Jewel. The audience sat dumbfounded as an unexpected “jewel” of a voice emerged from the modestly-dressed performer. The catch? Karen was in fact the real Jewel, in disguise, as part of a special for the website Funny or Die. Click here to watch the whole charade unfold

(photo courtesy of