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FYI

The FYI News Bulletin

Despite chaotic political upheaval and a runaway virus, 2020 proved to be a banner year for the US music industry, according to

The FYI News Bulletin

By David Farrell

Despite chaotic political upheaval and a runaway virus, 2020 proved to be a banner year for the US music industry, according to new RIAA trade org data. Recorded music revenues rose for the 5th consecutive year as the number of paid subscriptions to on-demand streaming services continued to increase at double-digit rates. Recorded music revenues rose 9.2% to hit $12.2B, as streaming revenues topped $10.1B–up 13% to account for 83% of the music industry’s income.


For the first time since 1986, revenues from vinyl records were greater than those from CDs. Total revenues from physical products were virtually flat at $1.1B (down 0.5%). Vinyl grew 28.7% by value year-over-year to $626M, accounting for 5.2% of total revenues by value. CDs revenue declined 23%, to $483M.

 

– Popular online music collector mart Discogs has published its annual 2020 report that underscores a continuing demand for high-recognition titles by acts as diverse as Buena Vista Social Club, Billie Eilish and Miles Davis– but the real turnover continues to be racked up by first-edition titles from C;assoc Rock acts such as Pink Floyd, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and David Bowie.

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From the report: "Growth in global physical sales through the Discogs Marketplace was up 35.78% to 8,845,534 orders over the prior year. In total, 16,290,197 pieces of physical music were sold around the world, bringing an overall 40.12% increase year-over-year."

Vinyl was the best-selling format sold in 2020, crossing a landmark threshold with 11,961,998 records sold, a 40.75% increase from 2019. CDs increased 37.18% YoY with 3,441,769 purchased. Interest in the cassette hasn’t died either, Discogs recorded a total of 282,798 sold in the year, a 33.33% increase over 2019.

UMC is officially out of its Victoria Park office space and set up to go in its new 40K square feet of creative office space at 80 Atlantic Ave. in Toronto’s Liberty Village.

Announced in 2017, construction was completed in 2019 and the plan was to be in and settled by March 2020– but the virus delayed that, and now CEO Jeffrey Remedios and his team wait for the green light to move from home bases to the new centre from the public health department. The complex includes a recording studio, performance stages and a live music venue.

 

- A classically trained pianist who first started in the music biz by spinning honky-tonk songs at Hamilton hometown AM, CHML, and drumming in jazz bands, Ed Preston climbed the ladder and started working for RCA as an Ontario promo guy when Jack Starr owned the Horseshoe Tavern.

His background and smarts pushed him up the ladder, and he went on to become GM for 14 years. His background in music and soft-spoken demeanour helped to win him  friendships and respect from artists as varied as Oscar Peterson, Elvis Presley, Harry Belafonte, Johnny Cash, and David Bowie. Preston was also a successful advocate of homegrown artistry, signing acts from The Rock to the prairies to the Pacific coast. He's a walking history book of Canada’s musical back pages and that's more than something considering he turned 90 this past weekend.

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Ed retired a couple of decades back and a small part of his many accomplishments was acknowledged with his induction into the CCMA Hall of Fame in 2003.

That disarming smile, sparkling eyes, and quiet charisma have not been forgotten and there many who expressed their fondness and admiration for him in some fashion over the weekend. His plan for the near future: “I will be working on 'Doin’ it Right' for the next 10 years.  Stay Well. Stay happy.”

And here's Doin' It Right by Tom Lavin and Powder Blues, one of the many acts Ed signed to the nipper label in his day.

– Boutique American operatic management firm Stratagem Artists has expanded with 15 Canadian-based conductors, directors, composers, vocal artists and a vocal coach now attached to its roster.

Hipgnosis founder Merck Mercuriadis is given a platform to promote his evangelical-like mission to right the economic imbalance against songwriters and music publishers in The Guardian UK. In the feature, he posits that out of every pound spent on streaming, around 58p goes to artists and record labels for the recordings, while only 12p goes to songwriters and publishers for the songs. Further, he points out that the last Billboard No 1 album not to feature a single additional songwriting credit was Bob Dylan’s Tempest, in 2014. By contrast, Beyoncé’s Lemonade featured more than 40 songwriter credits.

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Chris Smith’s explosively successful Toronto-based 21 Entertainment Group is now repping the critically acclaimed duo Command Sisters who are signed to UMC/Republic Records.  The sibling sisters, Charlotte and Sarah Command, have just released their fifth single, Rain On My Parade, that can be streamed here. 21’s roster includes Fefe Dobson, Alessia Cara, Tyler Shaw, and Bad Child. Below, the official video for the duo’s 2020 release, I Like It.

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– Headstones singer and actor Hugh Dillon co-created and executive produced a new Paramount+ series entitled Mayor of Kingstown (available through CBS All Access in Canada). Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner has been tapped to star in (and exec produce) the series.

Dillon's other on-screen credits include co-starring in the enormously successful American drama TV series Yellowstone with Kevin Costner and Wes Bentley (Amazon Prime Video Canada). That series is now green-lit for a prequel that will also show on Paramount+. It’s another feather in the cap for the singing actor's manager, Bernie Breen who is also current chair of the Unison Benevolent Fund.

The Guild of Music Supervisors in Canada has announced its first Board of Directors as it officially launches as a not-for-profit organization.

The Board, comprised of 7 music supervisors, also elected 3 Executive Officers: Michael A. Perlmutter (President), Natasha Duprey (Vice-President), Cody Partridge, Treasurer), Dondrea Erauw, Julietta McGovern, Valerie Biggin and Velma Barkwell.

The Guild’s purpose is to advocate for the use of music in the filmed media industry. “We are excited to take our organization to the next level by becoming an ‘NFP’ which will help us access incredible Canadian funding opportunities, Perlmutter explained in a written statement. He added: “We will continue our work in co-operation with many other guilds, associations and our music + filmed media industry partners to deliver a wide range of social + educational events... as well as a return to the Canadian Sync Awards!” - Contact: guildofmusicsuperscanada@gmail.com.

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FYI

Fixing The News Business Means Learning To Think Differently (Guest Column)

Change is coming quickly to the news industry, and innovation has to come just as quickly.

This is the second part of a series of guest columnsseeking answers to the financial issues that have plagued Canadian news organizations.

My prescription for change is very clear. Stop trying to solve today's problems through yesterday's lens.

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