Music Biz Headlines, April 12, 2021

The Phoenix Concert Theatre hangs tough, Kardinal Offishall (pictured) pays homage to his roots, and Toronto concerts are announced. Others in the headlines include Justin Bieber, The Damn Truth, jooj, Garth Richardson, NFTs, Skratch Bastid, Soundcloud, Larry Mercey, Patreon, Margaret Atwood, Influence Media Partners, Eric Bloom, Merry Clayton, Taylor Swift, Dave Grohl, Prince, Pearl Jam, and Matt Gudinski.

Music Biz Headlines, April 12, 2021

By Kerry Doole

One Toronto live music venue owner explains how she's surviving

The waiting game hasn’t been easy on the usually optimistic Lisa Zbitnew, the owner of Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Theatre. One of the last things predicted to come back as a result of the Covid pandemic because it involves large gatherings often inside enclosed spaces. She says if live concerts don’t fully return until 2022, she’ll likely survive. – Jane Stevenson, Toronto Sun

Concerts dates are being announced in Toronto again, offering a glimmer of hope 

Over the last week, multiple musical artists have announced Toronto concert dates, with some scheduled as early as this year. Acts such as Jungle, Run The Jewels, Rage Against The Machine, Eric Church, and Roger Waters have all announced tours that will stop here. – Abby Neufeld, Narcity


Kardinal Offishall credits Jamaica in rise To Senior VP of A&R at Universal Music Canada

Canadian deejay/rapper Kardinal Offishall took to Twitter to pay homage to Jamaica, the island of his parents’ birth, after creating black history by being named Senior Vice President, A&R, for Universal Music Canada (UMC) recently. The promotion comes seven years after the multi-platinum, award-winning rapper and producer was appointed creative director for the company. – Claudia Gardner, Dancehall Mag

With his earnest pop-gospel EP Freedom, Justin Bieber is equal parts born again and boring again

On Easter weekend, Bieber surprise-released Freedom, a six-track testimony to God and R&B that comes fast on the heels of his chart-topping pop album Justice, released less than a month ago. The new EP is mushy, preachy and adorably earnest. It’s also mundane, the worst sin of all. Rev. Green took us to the river; Bieber brings us to a bible group in San Bernardino. – Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail

Sook-Yin Lee on the loss of collaborator Adam Litovitz, and more

With the April 9 release of “jooj two,” Sook-Yin Lee is keeping the memory of her “twin flame” alive. Lee had formed the group jooj with her partner Adam Litovitz and released a self-titled album of their experimental electronic music in 2015. Towards the end of recording a second album, Litovitz died by suicide in June 2019. – Nick Krewen, Toronto Star


The Farm Studios 8.0: From the live floor to the forest floor, Garth Richardson's got it covered

Nestled comfortably away on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast, Garth Richardson has spent years working on his state-of-the-art facility, The Farm Studios. The Juno Award-winning and Grammy-nominated producer carries a legendary reputation not only for his vast experience and mind-boggling list of credits, but also for the studio that he has been growing for nearly two decades. – Andrew Leyenhorst, Professional Sound.

NFT trend lifecycles are tied to celebrities like The Weeknd

In a press release – a pretty good indicator that what follows concerns commerce, not art – the Weekend talked about re-imagining “the archaic music biz.” He praised NFTs for “allowing creators to be seen and heard more than ever before on their terms.” One obvious problem with the NFT market is what the Weeknd sees as its virtue – it has no gatekeepers. – Cathal Kelly, Globe and Mail

Bongo is now expanding in North America by signing up with its first artist, Shane Mac

The East Asian online distribution network has signed its first artist, Vancouver-based rapper/musician Shane Mac. – The Independent

Larry Mercey’s autobiography packed with Canadian country music memories

Have Mercey: My First Sixty Years Making Music is a work that celebrates Canadian music icon Larry Mercey. Filled with photos, amusing anecdotes and experiences of the country music world he loves, Mercey said he hopes it brings back memories to the people who read it. – Pauline Kerr, The Walkerton Herald Times


Turntablist Skratch Bastid owns more than 60,000 records. Why is the ‘Frozen’ soundtrack precious to him?

Skratch Bastid, the Toronto DJ and producer — real name Paul Murphy — is accustomed to playing 100 shows a year. Here’s how he pivoted during the pandemic, with the help of his record collection, and his wife and young daughter. – Max Mertens, Toronto Star


Eliah Seton is named President of Soundcloud

Now it’s official: SoundCloud has confirmed that Seton has been hired as President of SoundCloud, effective May 1, 2021. He will report directly to Michael Weissman, Chief Executive Officer, SoundCloud. In this new role, New York-based Seton will manage SoundCloud’s business strategy, oversee content partnerships and business development, lead mergers and acquisitions, and be responsible for the company’s distribution and artist services businesses. – Murray Stassen, MBW


The music streaming debate: what the artists, songwriters and industry insiders say

The Guardian has talked to 25 figures from the music world ahead of publication of a parliamentary report. – Lanre Bakare, The Guardian

Patreon now valued at $4BN after latest funding round

San Francisco-based crowdfunding/membership platform Patreon has just raised $155 million in Series F financing, increasing its valuation to $4 billion. Patreon (which artists use to offer exclusive content) previously raised $90m in September 2020, valuing the company at $1.2 billion. According to Patreon, its 200K creators across podcasts, videos, music, visual art, writing and more are earning over $100M per month from 7M patrons. – Murray Stassen, MBW

‘It has never been more pertinent’ – Margaret Atwood on the chilling genius of Laurie Anderson’s Big Science

The seminal album, with its extraordinary hit single O Superman, was unlike anything the writer had ever heard. As Big Science returns, Atwood pays tribute to its prophetic dissection of 80s America. – Margaret Atwood, The Guardian

Influence Media Partners launches $100M fund to invest in catalogs of female music creators

New York-based music and entertainment investment firm Influence Media Partners has launched a new fund to invest in what it describes as “award-winning catalogs of some of music’s most influential female music creators”. – MBW

Eric Bloom: The soundtrack of my life

Blue Oyster Cult frontman Eric Bloom picks his records, artists and gigs of lasting significance, and reveals why he won't have (Don't Fear) The Reaper played at his funeral.  – Loudersound

‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,’ ‘Promising Young Woman’ and ‘Soul’ Triumph at Guild of Music Supervisors Awards

Oscar contenders “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “Promising Young Woman” and Pixar’s “Soul” triumphed in their respective categories at the 11th Annual Guild of Music Supervisors Awards. The ceremony celebrating outstanding achievement in the field of music supervision was held virtually, honoring the unsung heroes of film, television, documentaries, games, advertising and trailers. – Jazz Tangcay, Variety

Merry Clayton: 'Gimme Shelter left a dark taste in my mouth'

Merry Clayton: ‘I called my husband and said: “These boys want me to sing about rape and murder.”’ The singer who backed the Rolling Stones, Coldplay and more weathered a miscarriage, then the loss of her legs in a car accident – but her new album Beautiful Scars shows she refuses to give up. – Robert Ham, The Guardian


Taylor Swift was 'stripped of her life's work.' Her response showed emotional intelligence

With her new album, the singer/songwriter teaches a powerful lesson: Don't dwell on what you can't change. Focus on what you can. – Justin Bariso, Inc.

Some unexpected free time in 2020 led Grammy winner Dave Grohl to put some thoughts and memories into words. Grohl’s memoir “The Storyteller” will come out Oct. 5. The 52-year-old rocker will reflect on everything from his childhood to his years with Nirvana and Foo Fighters to times spent with Paul McCartney, David Bowie and many others. – AP

The dirty business of hit songwriting

As songwriters have seen their leverage eroded by streaming — which pays a larger royalty for recorded music than publishing — artists, managers, producers and even executives have amped up their demands for credit and/or a percentage of the songwriters’ publishing in exchange for the artist cutting the song, or even simply for bringing the song to the artist. – Variety

10 new albums to stream today

Featuring BROCKHAMPTON, Spirit of the Beehive, Skullcrusher and more.  –Scott Russell & Paste Staff 

Matt Gudinski assumes role of CEO at Mushroom Group, 'determined to honour the great legacy' of father Michael Gudinski

Australia's Mushroom Group has announced that Matt Gudinski will assume the role of CEO of the Mushroom Group, effective immediately. Matt moves into the role following the sudden passing of his father, Michael Gudinski, on March 2 this year. Matt most recently held the role of Executive Director, Mushroom Group from 2013. – MBW


The 2010 album Prince scrapped on the eve of its release is finally set to drop. Welcome 2 America, which has been sitting in a vault for a decade, will be released on 30 July. A deluxe box set version will feature a previously unreleased full-length concert film from Prince’s show at The Forum in Inglewood, California in 2011, featuring covers of India.Arie’s Brown Skin,  Play That Funky Music by Wild Cherry, and Roxy Music’s More Than This.  Noise11

Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready proud of 30 years of Ten

Pearl Jam started recording sessions in late March 1991 and the album that launched the band’s meteoric rise was released five months later. For McCready, 30 years of “Ten,” has gone by as quick as a lightning bolt. “That was the first time I went, all of us were all firing on all cylinders here,” he said. – Dan Gelston, AP

12 modern rock bands you need to know about in 2021

Montreal band The Damn Truth makes the list. –  Rock and Blues Muse

Jayda G
David Reiss

Jayda G


Fresh Sounds Canada: New Songs from Jayda G, Claudia Bouvette and More

This week's discovery roundup of new Canadian songs also includes Indigenous songwriter Celeigh Cardinal and Quebec acts KROY and Mon Doux Saigneur.

In Fresh Sounds Canada, Billboard Canada puts you on to the must-hear songs of the week by artists on the rise and those about to break. Here's what's out this week.

Jayda G, “If We Only Knew”

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