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FYI

Music Biz Headlines, April 15, 2021

Crown Lands (pictured) bonded over Rush, new concerts are announced in Toronto, and Over The Bridge taps into AI. Others in the headlines include Mick Jagger, Ariel Posen, COC, Barenaked Ladies, Tencent Music, Triller, Spotify, Reservoir, Gena Johnson, Earth Day, and Jayda G.

Music Biz Headlines, April 15, 2021

By Kerry Doole

What’s with all these concerts being announced in Toronto?

Though Covid numbers are rising, there are some honest-to-goodness in-person concerts booked starting in September. Will they happen? – Richard Trapunski, NOW


Electric Computerland: Toronto organization uses AI software to create ‘new’ music from Jimi Hendrix and others 

Over the Bridge is dedicated to the support of musicians and workers in the music business who suffer from mental health or addiction issues. The songs are the key part of a project it calls the Lost Tapes of the 27 Club. The ad hoc after-death “27 Club” is so named because its posthumous members (including Hendrix, Cobain, Winehouse and Morrison) all died prematurely at age 27. – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail

A short guide to Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)

There’s been a sudden, widespread proliferation of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in the music industry in February and March of 2021, so here’s a short guide to explain how they work. – Howard Druckman, Words & Music

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Watch: Oshawa’s Crown Lands lends their classic-rock-influenced style to Indigenous issues and injustices

When bands first form and collaborate, “dropping trou” doesn’t usually top the list as a catalyst. But Crown Lands is the exception … especially since the progressive rock duo made up of drummer and singer Cody Bowles and multi-instrumentalist Kevin Comeau share a singular obsession with the legendary Holy Trinity of Rock: Toronto’s Rush.  – Nick Krewen, Toronto Star 

HMV boss upbeat as high street re-opens in England and Wales

The Canadian owner of HMV, Doug Putman, says that he is optimistic about the retail firm’s short-term and long-term future as non-essential shops in England and Wales are allowed to re-open today as part of the relaxation of Covid rules. The entertainment retailer re-opened all 93 of its stores in England and Wales this week after months of enforced lockdown. – Chris Cooke, CMU

Classical and Opera streams you absolutely need to see this week:  April 12–18

Covid continues to decimate the music world, now with the dreaded third wave made more lethal by new variants. Virtually all European venues are closed to live audiences, with France, Germany and Italy in lockdown, but there  are still streamed concerts to catch.  – Ludwig Van

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‘You need to be practical as well as ambitious’ — Perryn Leech takes the helm at the Canadian Opera Company

When the Canadian Opera Company board of directors launched a yearlong search to find a replacement for Alexander Neef, recently departed to head the Paris Opera, it worked from a list of more than 100 potential candidates.Perryn Leech came out on top. – William Littler, Toronto Star

40 at 40: Remember when Barenaked Ladies were indie rock trailblazers?

With a new single dropping today, the Scarborough band looks back at the era of their 1991 NOW cover. – Richard Trapunski and Kim Hughes. NOW

Folk songs preserve memories of Great Lakes shipwrecks

“The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down of the big lake they called Gitche Gumee,” Canadian singer Gordon Lightfoot wrote of Lake Superior. “The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead.” –  Eric Freedman, Capital News Service

Canadian songwriter and slide-guitar maestro announces Pembrokeshire date on European tour

Following the release of his acclaimed new album ‘Headway’, Canadian songwriter and slide-guitar maestro Ariel Posen announces a Pembrokeshire date on his European Tour for 2022. Posen will bring his mesmeric live show to the UK for a score of dates, including a night at the St. Davids and Solva RAFA Club, on January 30. – Paul Evans, Tenby Today

End of the line

Travelling musician doin' the best she can after pandemic left her stranded... in Winnipeg.  – Alan Small, Winnipeg Free Press

International

Tencent Music reports $640M in net profit for 2020

Tencent Music, China’s largest music streamer, announced their financial results for 2020, revealing a dramatic increase in revenue amid a decline in monthly active users across the company’s streaming platforms. In 2020, Tencent’s music streaming platforms, reported aggregate revenue of 9,349,000,000 RMB (roughly $1.42 billion USD) an increase of 32 percent over the previous year. – Ian Courtney, Celebrity Access

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Triller buys more companies, names a new CEO

TikTok rival Triller has just announced the acquisition of not one, but two firms: AI-Powered ‘customer engagement platform’ Amplify.ai, and event streaming platform FITE. There’s more big news from TrillerNet too: it’s appointed a new CEO, Mahi de Silva, who is Amplify.ai’s co-founder and CEO as well as TrillerNet’s non-executive board chairman. – MBW

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Reservoir to list on the NASDAQ via SPAC merger with $788m valuation

It's confirmed: New York-based music rights company Reservoir is going public on the NASDAQ via a merger with a SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company). Reservoir has announced that it has signed a a definitive agreement for a business combination with Roth CH Acquisition Co. II. The business combination is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021. – MBW

15 years of Spotify. A look at its impact

It’s no understatement to say that streaming saved the record- ed-music business, and that global market leader Spotify led the charge toward the stability and growth that the industry is enjoying today.– Variety

Eazy sleazy: breaking down Mick Jagger and Dave Grohl’s surprise song

Has legendary Rolling Stones rocker Sir Mick Jagger unveiled a new band with Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl? Not quite, but the dynamic duo just dropped a new song they recorded together called Eazy Sleazy and it sounds like they had a lot of fun laying it down. – Martin Boulton, Sydney Morning Herald

How the music industry weighs streaming's future needs to change, says MIDiA's Mark Mulligan 

Growth in music streaming is slowing, but that doesn’t mean that opportunities for expansion don’t exist if Spotify and others know where to find it, says top MIDiA analyst. – Mark Mulligan, Hypebot

ACM nominee engineer Gena Johnson crafts hit records

Johnson works behind the boards at the premiere studios in Nashville, but her own home studio has the laid-back comfort of a friend’s house. Not only was she recently nominated for engineer of the year by the Academy of Country Music, she was also the first female engineer to ever be nominated. – Kristin M. Hall, AP

National Geographic to celebrate Earth Day with virtual festival, TikTok afterparty with Jayda G

At 10 pm ET on Earth Day, Nat Geo is set to debut on TikTok Live and will be joined by Grammy-nominated Canadian dance music producer Jayda G. – EDM.com

The rhymes and reasons behind re-recording your own classics

Bands remake and remodel songs in their catalog all the time. "Either the [label] rights issues are tangled up, or [artists] are unhappy with a previous version." –  NPR

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A new union of musicians is taking on Spotify

Over the last decade, streaming services like Spotify have become increasingly dominant, sucking up all the profits at the expense of the musicians who make the work. Now, the newly formed Union for Musicians and Allied Workers is mobilizing to ensure musicians receive the royalties they’re owed.  –Alexander Billet, Jacobin 

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DIVINE (L) and Karan Aujla
@anmollium / Anmol Raina

DIVINE (L) and Karan Aujla

Chart Beat

Karan Aujla & DIVINE Debut in Top 25 on Billboard Canadian Albums Chart

B.C.-based Punjabi artist Karan Aujla and Indian rapper DIVINE land the No. 22 spot on this week's Canadian Albums chart with their new collaborative release, 'Street Dreams.' On the Canadian Hot 100, Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em" ascends to No. 1, while Canadian pop artist Preston Pablo makes a debut.

B.C.-based Punjabi artist Karan Aujla and Indian rapper DIVINE are making moves together on Billboard's Canadian Albums chart this week, with their collaborative project, Street Dreams, debuting in the No. 22 spot.

The seven-track album, released Feb. 16, blends harder hip-hop and smooth R&B pop, the latter shining through especially on the Jonita Gandhi-assisted "Yaad." It's not Aujla's highest spot on the Albums chart — he reached No. 5 in 2023 with Making Memories, his collaboration with Canadian Punjabi artist Ikky — but it gives him some momentum going into his upcoming performance at the Juno Awards on Mar. 24, where he's nominated for TikTok Juno fan choice and breakthrough artist.

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