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FYI

Music Biz Headlines, April 1, 2020

Martha Wainwright (pictured) leads another Montreal singalong, a playlist for John Prine, and a plethora of pandemic-themed stories. Others in the headlines include Tencent, UMG, Kobalt, TikTok, Tom Rush, Basia Bulat, Cirque du Soleil, Live Nation, Robbie Williams, Spotify, Adam Schlesinger, and Huawei.

Music Biz Headlines, April 1, 2020

By FYI Staff

Musician Martha Wainwright invites Montrealers to another balcony sing-along

Just over a week after musician Martha Wainwright led a chorus of Montrealers singing Leonard Cohen's So Long Marianne, the famed local folk singer will be heading another sing-along Tuesday night. The event is the second in a series co-organized by POP Montreal and Wainwright's Mile End café/music venue, Ursa. – CBC News


Whose Flow is it anyway?

How can Canada defeat Americanization if we keep overlooking Canadian content? Recently, Toronto radio station Flow 93.5’s picked up US showThe Breakfast Club, illustrating the problem. – Veracia Ankrah, Exclaim!

Review: Basia Bulat lets loose on Are You In Love?

On her fifth album, the Toronto-born, Montreal-based musician gives us 13 exuberant folk-pop songs delivered with clarity, colour and conviction. – Carla Gillis, NOW

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DAILY PLAYLIST: Wishing for a speedy recovery for folk legend John Prine

"I tried to keep it fairly light with this playlist, highlighting Prine's humour and signature mix of wit and whimsy, and a few collaborations and covers as well. There's a version of Spanish Pipedream by his good friend and much missed Celtic Godfather, John Allan Cameron."  –  Stephen Cooke, Chronicle-Herald

Cirque du Soleil explores options including bankruptcy

The famed Montreal-based circus company Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group is exploring debt restructuring options that include a potential bankruptcy filing after it was forced to cancel shows because of the coronavirus outbreak, people familiar with the matter said.  – Reuters

Every night Roxton Road sings in support of frontline workers

Artist Ellen Manney and famed musician Ken Whiteley have been leading 25-odd neighbours in a nightly singalong while observing physical distancing protocols. – Nick Lachance, NOW

Six ways to broaden your mind wider than social distance requirements

Your body might be atrophying on the couch but your brain doesn't have to. Here are some local suggestions. – Morgan Mullin, The Coast

International

Live Nation launches $10M Fund to support concert crews affected by Coronavirus

Live Nation has established a new charitable fund to help support concert crews around the world, it was announced Tuesday.The Crew Nation fund will provide monetary relief for concert crew members impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. –  Taylor Mims, Billboard

How music companies are giving back during the Coronavirus pandemic

The music industry is no exception, with venues shuttered, artist tours derailed and major festivals postponed or cancelled altogether. With desperation increasing by the day, agencies, promoters and more have announced initiatives to help ease the burden on workers. – Chris Eggertsen, Billboard

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A done deal: Tencent-led consortium completes a $3.4 BN purchase of 10% of UMG

China-based Tencent Holdings – as the leader of a consortium of backers – is now the proud owner of 10% of Universal Music Group. UMG parent Vivendi announced the completion of the long-awaited deal March 31, exactly three months after the contractual agreement of the acquisition was announced (Dec. 31). – Tim Ingham, MBW

Tik Tok now has short-term licensing deals with the major labels

The popular app now has agreements with Universal, Sony and Warner, but some publishers are discussing a lawsuit. – Colin Stutz, Billboard

From sofas and kitchens, music stars hold coronavirus concert fundraiser

 Billie Eilish sang on her sofa, Elton John played a keyboard belonging to his children, and the Backstreet Boys sang in harmony from five locations as dozens of musicians put on a fundraiser for the warriors against a coronavirus. Those who performed from their homes for the "IHeart Living Room Concert for America" also included Mariah Carey, Camila Cabello, Alicia Keys, Shawn Mendes and Sam Smith. – Reuters

Global Spotify chart streams rose 3% last week – but fell again in the US

With physical music sales grinding to a halt, the record industry is even more reliant on streams in a COVID-19-hit world than it would be usually. As such, the week-on-week volume of streams worldwide is a crucial stat. – Tim Ingham, MBW

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How Universal Music Group is responding to the pandemic

In a note to employees and partners, UMG has clarified a number of steps it’s taken in response to Coronavirus, in what the company terms a “global commitment”. MBW understands this initiative is costing UMG multiple millions of dollars, with more to be announced as time moves on. – Tim Ingham, MBW

Record companies aren’t safe from the Coronavirus economic fallout

If early data from Italy’s music market is anything to go by, music companies won’t be as insulated from coronavirus’ effect on the markets as they may hope. – Rolling Stone

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Huawei takes on Spotify in Europe with a music app licensed by the majors

Huawei, which has just reported revenue of around $123B in 2019, is not allowing the crisis to curtail its global expansion. The company has just launched its music streaming service Huawei Music in Europe. – Murray Stassen, MBW

Tom Rush tells fans he has COVID-19

The folk music legend announced the diagnosis on his Twitter account and asked fans at his recent show to be vigilant about symptoms. – George BrennanMartha’s Vineyard Times

Kobalt Music Group will be profitable by next summer

That’s the message from the company’s leaders – CEO Laurent Hubert and Chairman Willard Ahdritz – as Kobalt’s fiscal results for FY2019 are published. Those results show that Kobalt’s revenues across all of its business divisions reached $543.4m in the year to end of June 2019, up 35.1%.  – MBW

Robbie Williams reignites feud with Liam Gallagher following self-isolation

"Sometimes you have to separate the art from the dickhead." –Elizabeth Aubrey, NME

Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne hospitalized with Coronavirus

The musician and three-time Emmy-winning songwriter highly regarded for his work as a member of Fountains of Wayne and songwriter for TV’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” is has been hospitalized with Coronavirus and is on a ventilator but is not in a coma, his attorney tells Variety. – Jem Aswad and Chris Willman, Variety

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Beyoncé

Beyoncé

FYI

The Billboard Canada FYI Bulletin: Beyoncé Country Hit A Win For Canadian Songwriters

Also in this week's roundup of industry news: Kayla Diamond launches her own boutique imprint, SOCAN names an ombudsman, and time's running out for noms for this year's Rosalie Award honouring trailblazing women in broadcasting.

Beyoncé becomes the first Black woman to top Billboard’s Country Songs chart with “Texas Hold ‘Em” and it has gone to No. 1 on iTunes in 14 different countries and counting. There are some surprising connections. The song is co-written and co-produced by Ontario-born writer/producer Nathan Ferraro, whose previous collaborations include working with Lady Gaga, Carly Rae Jepsen, Bear Mountain, RALPH, Shawn Hook, Alyssa Reid, Jessie Reyez, Lowell and Tyler Shaw.

In fact, the song has deep Canadian origins. Two other Canadian songwriters participated in this runaway hit: Megan Bülow (who records and performs as bülow) as and Elizabeth "Lowell" Boland (a.k.a. Lowell), with Ferraro co-producing the track with Killah B and Beyoncé.

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