Music Biz Headlines, April 1, 2021

Two American expats, Meg Remy (pictured) and Bill King, publish memoirs, Reggae Lane celebrates Jamaican culture in Toronto, and Paul Simon sells his catalog. Also in the headlines are UMG, Cream, Iggy Pop, Apple, Pharoah Sanders, Lil Nas X, classical music, The Sex Pistols, Devo, Rob Bowman, Malaco, MLC, and Ariana Grande.

Music Biz Headlines, April 1, 2021

By Kerry Doole

Hidden Toronto: Reggae Lane mural in Little Jamaica

Wall celebrating city's reggae musicians recalls cultural past of Eglinton West neighbourhood, where the forces of gentrification are threatening to whitewash an entire community. – Enzo DiMatteo, NOW

Coming through the '60s with Bill King

The musical renaissance man recently penned a candid memoir of his musical life in Coming Through the 60s – An American Rock ‘n’ Road Story (7ArtsPress) that covers his early life living with a military dad suffering from PTSD brought on by World War II, to his many musical adventures to making the brave decision to leave the military right before being shipped off to Vietnam. – Rita DiMontis, Toronto Sun


With her uneasy memoir Begin By Telling, indie-pop star Meg Remy connects the dots between personal and societal trauma

The American-born, Toronto-based singer/songwriter fronts the acclaimed band U.S. Girls. – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail

Cream's Live at the Forum released on blue vinyl so we can all hear Clapton wail on "Crossroads" one more time

Universal Music has just announced that it will release a limited edition, two-LP, blue vinyl version of Cream's Live at the Forum on April 23. That's good news for guys like me who will never tire of hearing Eric Clapton go to town on Cream's revved-up version of Robert Johnson's "Cross Road Blues" (aka "Crossroads"). – Steve Newton, Georgia Straight


Universal is going public in Amsterdam: Spin-out plan green-lit by Vivendi shareholders in crucial vote

The Paris-based company has been given the all-clear to proceed with its plans to take Universal Music Group public in the Netherlands in 2021. Vivendi held an Extraordinary General Shareholders’ Meeting in Paris March 29 which approved the plan to spin out 60% of Universal's equity, and to start trading on the Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange by the end of 2021.  Shareholders approved two resolutions, covering the plan to spin-out UMG, by a rather convincing margin: 99.98%. – MBW

Paul Simon sells song catalog to Sony Music Publishing

It's been quite the few months for legendary singer/songwriters selling their publishing rights. Today, one of the biggest of all time announced he too has sold up: Paul Simon's song catalog has been acquired by Sony Music Publishing. Sony said that the deal includes the "complete collection" of Simon’s classic songs spanning more than six decades, from his time as a member of Simon & Garfunkel, through his career as a solo artist. Sony didn't disclose the price of the deal. – Tim Ingham, MBW


Apple leads $50m investment round in Steve Stoute's UnitedMasters, joined by Alphabet and Andreessen Horowitz

Independent artist distribution platform UnitedMasters has secured a $50m Series B investment. The round is led by Apple with additional funding from two existing backers: Google parent Alphabet and Andreessen Horowitz. Today's news marks another significant financial milestone for New York-headquartered UnitedMasters, following the company's $70m funding round led by Google/Alphabet in 2017. – Murray Stassen, MBW

What will the future of live music look like?

Live music is slowly making a comeback - but these concerts are experiments and the revellers are guinea pigs. – Reuters

Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders, LSO: Promises review – extraordinary

Five years in the making, this breathtaking album transcends the genres each of its three collaborators bring to the table. – Kitty Empire, The Observer

Saxophone legends Pharoah Sanders and Archie Shepp are still pushing jazz forward

Both now into their eighties, the Sixties free-jazz trailblazers challenge and inspire on their respective new albums. – Hank Shteamer, Rolling Stone 

Sports shoe brand Nike is suing rapper Lil Nas X over his new line of ‘Satan Shoes’

Lil Nas X has released his limited edition Satin Shoes though brand company MSCHF. The shoes are modeled on Nike’s Air Max 97s. Each pair contains a drop of human blood. Nike claims the resale is damaging to its brand as consumers assume they are Nike authorized products. – Noise11


How Iggy Pop's 'The Idiot' turned his career around

The annals of music history are a mind-bending thing to study. There was a point when the musical luminaries of Iggy Pop, David Bowie and Lou Reed were on the brink of destitution. Now, however, it is incredulous to envisage them as anything other than the Gods they are rightfully heralded as. – Far Out

The Sex Pistols are reportedly locked in a fresh lawsuit over royalties

Steve Jones and Paul Cook have filed papers suing their ex-bandmates John Lydon (Johnny Rotten) and Glen Matlock for breach of contract, as they believe they are owed money from the pair, court documents have revealed. It’s also been claimed that the band members are no longer on speaking terms and only communicate through their lawyers, with an insider declaring The Sex Pistols “over once and for all”. – Noise11


Lil Nas X has the year’s most controversial music video

The debut of the 21-year-old rapper’s NSFW music video for his new single Montero (Call Me By Your Name), laden with biblical imagery which challenges Christian doctrines on sex and homosexuality, has – unsurprisingly – sparked a new wave of “Satanic panic." –

Classical music under assault in academia

Classical music under assault in academia Oxford University reportedly is under pressure to stop, or at least curtail, the teaching of sheet music, musical notation, and even the classical music that was scored upon it. – Power Line

3D-printed violins have me hopeful for the future of classical music

These Gen-Zers are laser-beam luthiers. – Debugger

Decades later, upcoming artists are still falling for these scams in the music industry

Like most other industries, scammers have been thriving alongside legitimate players in music since the days of vinyl records and cassette players. From record labels syndicates and promotional frauds to talent scouting scams and full-blown con artists, it’s upsetting how technology improved the industry and also made it more vulnerable to people looking to rip others off. –  Michael Peres, Grit Daily

Malaco Records: An inside look at 'the last soul company' 

For over half a century Jackson, Mississippi-based label Malaco Records has been an undeniable force in Black music.  And yet, outside of a small fiercely loyal fanbase and a handful of music aficionados, the label remains relatively unknown in the wider world. A new illustrated book, titled "The Last Soul Company: The Story of Malaco Records and authored by Canadian Rob Bowman, seeks to give the label its proper due. – Bob Mehr, Commercial Appeal

City of Akron, Ohio has declared April 1st Devo Day

The aim is to to rally support for Devo's potential induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. – Eli Enis, Consequence of Sound  

17 artists who recorded one-man-band albums

They took "going solo" to a whole new level. – Corey Irwin, Ultimate Classic Rock


Ariana Grande will take Nick Jonas’ seat on ‘The Voice’ next season

Ariana Grande is the newest pop star to take a seat on NBC’s singing competition “The Voice.” The 27-year-old  added in a statement via NBC that she has been “a huge fan of the show for such a long time.” Grande will replace Nick Jonas, who was part of “The Voice” team in Season 18 and appears in the current Season 20. – Christie D, Los Angeles Times

More than a year into the Covid-19 pandemic, people (really) want happy music

Studies by MRC Data and Sound United show how many people's relationship with music is changing, influenced by lifestyle and emotional factors resulting from the pandemic. – Andrea Bossi, Forbes

The Mechanical Licensing Collective expands leadership team by three

Kristen Johns, Nathan Osher, Andrew Mitchell have been added to the MLC's leadership team. Kristen Johns has joined the organization as Chief Legal Officer, Nathan Osher has been named Assistant General Counsel—Publisher Relations, and Andrew Mitchell has joined the team as Head of Analytics and Automation. All three joined the MLC earlier this month and will be based in Nashville.  – Lorie Hollabaugh, Music Row

The Weeknd with Metro Boomin and Future
@metroboomin Instagram

The Weeknd with Metro Boomin and Future

Rb Hip Hop

The Weeknd Spotted at Kendrick Lamar's 'Pop Out' Concert in Los Angeles

Unlike former Toronto Raptor DeMar DeRozan, the Scarborough-born artist never got onstage, but he was in the audience of the show that featured Drake diss tracks 'Not Like Us' and 'Euphoria.'

Kendrick Lamar took over the internet last night (June. 19) with his "Pop Out" concert live-streamed on Prime Video from the Kia Forum in Los Angeles. It it wasn't clear Kendrick had won public opinion in his beef with Drake, it was when the stage united cultural figures from L.A. — from up-and-comers to legends like Dr. Dre, basketball stars like Russell Westbrook, even someone Drake name-dropped in one of his diss tracks, DJ Mustard — to dance along to the scathing "Not Like Us."

DeMar DeRozan, the beloved former Toronto Raptor who was once close enough to Drake that he spilled the beans on an upcoming mixtape joined fellow L.A.-born NBA player Westbrook onstage at the Forum during "Not Like Us."

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