Music Biz Headlines, April 26, 2021

The Trews deliver an anthem for the pandemic, Cirque du Soleil returns to action, and Lowell gets cinematic. Also in the headlines are Ottawa Arts Awards, Downtown Defrost, Jenn Grant, Drake, Linda Dawe, G.R. Gritt, UMG, Viberate, Vivendi, Marianne Faithfull, Jim Steinman, Prince, Fleetwood Mac, Gary Numan, Dr. Luke, The Ramones, and Ezra Furman.

Music Biz Headlines, April 26, 2021

By Kerry Doole

The Trews’ song ‘I Wanna Play’ captures music industry’s anxiety in Covid-19 pandemic

- Members of the Trews have something to show for the depression and anxiety they’ve felt over the past year – a rousing pandemic-themed rock song. The Hamilton-based act has unleashed “I Wanna Play,” a boisterous, arena-ready Covid anthem that’s still waiting for an arena to pack a crowd into. – David Friend, CP

Why Canadian country performers sing in a southern twang

Shifting identities and unconscious impulse to mirror speech patterns behind affected accents, prof says. – Hannah Kost, CBC News 

Cirque du Soleil plans to reopen four shows starting this summer

The famed Canadian circus troupe said it will begin selling tickets starting Wednesday for the first show to reopen, which will be its Mystère production at the Treasure Island hotel and casino in Las Vegas on June 28. Its business has been crushed by the coronavirus pandemic. – Nicolas Van Praet,The Globe and Mail


Ottawa Arts Council announces 2021 Arts Awards recipients

The Ottawa Arts Council announced the final recipients of the annual Arts Awards in a streaming video presentation celebrating the exceptional artists in the community. This year's laureates included music industry executive Colin Mills, multidisciplinary artist Claudia Salguero, and folk musician Amanda Lowe Warnakulasuriya. – Broadway World

Transformation: Calgary-born pop singer-songwriter Lowell gets cinematic with screenplay for werewolf flick

As with most people who watch films, there have always been certain cliches that bothered Elizabeth Lowell Boland. Some are more specific than others. As a singer-songwriter and musician who performs under the name Lowell, she admits there is “nothing more painful than watching a film about musicians.” Few get it right. She co-wrote the screenplay to Bloodthirsty with her mother, Wendy Hill-Tout. – Eric Volmers, Calgary Herald

Downtown Defrost brings the dance party beats to your living room

Edmonton venues have been gutted and left on the rocks to rot in the last brutally traumatic year, so it’s nice to have an opportunity to do actually something about it. And, to get your dance on. Enter the Downtown Defrost 2021 Live Stream Fundraiser, raising cash for three insanely missed DJ and live music venues — The Common, 9910 and The Bower — in the virtual version of the winter-friendly celebration of dance music and culture. – Fish Griwkowsky, Edmonton Journal


Must-watch music video: Jenn Grant's "Flying On Your Own"

The folk-pop singer-songwriter covers Cape Breton legend Rita MacNeil. – Morgan Mullin, The Coast 

Musicians in Canada join the fight for climate justice

New groups like Music Declares Emergency and Climate Live are inspiring urgent climate action and a more sustainable music scene. – Richard Trapunski, NOW

The transformation of Drake from 15 to 34 years old

Drake is recognized as one of rap music's biggest stars and a household name around the world. Even though he got to where he is from working hard, he was raised by a family with connections to the industry. His career transformation has been fascinating to watch. – Nicki Swift

Why would anyone buy crypto art – let alone spend millions on what’s essentially a link to a JPEG file?

As an academic researcher, developer of artistic technology and amateur artist, I was quite skeptical about crypto art when I first read about it several years ago. Then the Beeple sale happened. On March 11, Beeple, a computer science graduate whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, auctioned a piece of crypto art at Christie’s for US$69 million. – Aaron Hertzmann, HipHop Canada

Linda Dawe’s incredible life included reuniting with her lost love and lost daughter — and turning Bob Marley into a star

Linda Dawe was a pioneering music exec who transformed musicians into rock royalty. Hannah Alberga, Toronto Star

G.R. Gritt's truth-to-power dance party track, and 7 other songs you need to hear this week

Fresh Canadian tracks to add to your playlist right now. – CBC Music


There's a lot more to fiddle music than redneck country tunes. As Pettit explains on the line from her Squamish home, the world offers a multitude of fiddle styles. – Steve Newton, Georgia Straight


UMG generated over $1M per hour in Q1.. and expects to go public in the fall

Universal Music Group‘s Q1 results are out, courtesy of its majority-parent, Vivendi – which on April 22 said it expects UMG will be going public in Amsterdam in “the fall” of 2021. The first three months of this year mark another impressive period for UMG and its CEO and Chairman, Sir Lucian Grainge. – Tim Ingham, MBW

What does a live gig NFT mean for the music industry? Viberate will test the concept

Can tokenizing the rights to a live performance solve future bookings? Viberate, the blockchain-based music research and analytics platform, will soon test the concept in partnership with digital asset marketplace Blockparty. – Vasja Veber, Digital Music News


Vivendi posts 5% organic revenue growth in Q1, driven by Universal Music and Editis

Vivendi generated first-quarter revenues of EUR 3.90 billion, representing a year-on-year increase of 5.0 percent organically (+0.7% in Q4) and 0.8 percent on a reported basis (-1.8% in Q4). The group benefited from a better growth trend at its leading revenue-generating business. – Telecompaper

Marianne Faithfull: The only way you can do anything any good is through love

What effect can decades of friendship have on creative collaboration? In 2020, Marianne Faithfull teamed up with Warren Ellis and a group of their best friends and favorite co-creators to make She Walks in Beauty. – We Present

Meet Issam Al-Najjar, the Jordanian teen with a viral TikTok song and a billboard in Times Square

Managed by Lebanese-Canadian mogul Wassim Slaiby — who also counts Canadian superstar The Weeknd as a client — Al-Najjar is set to make waves with his dual-language repertoire, although he believes his audience prefers it when he croons in Arabic. – Arab News

The Steinman song that inspired an epic clash between music stars

Celine Dion and Meat Loaf once grabbed for the same Jim Steinman song, as if it was the last devilled egg on the backstage deli platter. Mr. Steinman must have been pleased, as there was never too much melodrama for him. The song of his in dispute was It’s All Coming Back to Me Now, and Celine won the contest for it. – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail

Meat Loaf remembers Jim Steinman: ‘He was the centerpiece of my life’

In an emotional, two-day interview, Meat Loaf looks back at the ups and downs of his five-decade saga with the writer of his biggest hits. “We belonged heart and soul to each other,” he says. “We didn’t know each other. We were each other.” – Andy Greene, Rolling Stone

This basketball season is missing one thing: Prince

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today—five years after his death—to remember one of the rarest talents ever to be drawn to the game. – Jon Wertheim, Sports Illustrated 


Mick Fleetwood says Fleetwood Mac will find “a classy way to say goodbye”

"In the story of Fleetwood Mac, the last tour was not meant to be the last tour," the British rock veteran declares. – Nick Reilly, NME

Venues' rebound is stifled without singers' return to stages in Massachusetts

There is still no singing allowed in Massachusetts clubs, per Gov. Baker’s March 1 mandate concerning venues reopening, which, in effect, means there’s very little music in Massachusetts clubs. Most non-jazz bands have singers. – Jim Sullivan, WBUR

Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?! – Gary Numan

In Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?!, we quiz a grizzled artist on their own career to see how much they can remember – and find out if the booze, loud music and/or tour sweeties has knocked the knowledge out of them. – Gary Ryan, NME

6 new albums you should listen to now: Arooj Aftab, Ethel Cain, Dinosaur Jr., and more

Also stream new releases from Topaz Jones, the Juan Maclean, and LCY.–  Allison Hussey, Pitchfork

Appeals court sides with Dr. Luke on an issue in Kesha clash

An appellate court ruled for music producer Dr. Luke recently on an important legal question in his defamation suit against pop star Kesha, saying the Grammy-nominated hitmaker isn’t a public figure in the eyes of the law. The decision isn’t a final judgment in the long-running court clash battle stemming from the singer's allegation of rape. – Jennifer Peltz, AP

50,000 Kiwi music fans attend inaugural concert at an Auckland stadium

It was the closing of the Six60 Saturdays country-wide tour, and the beginning of a new era for Eden Park. Live music reverberated through the stands, usually piled with jersey-clad sports fans, this time brimming with lyric-chanting concert-goers. – Stuff


Celebrating 45 years of The Ramones

45 years. That number can mean many things, from 7-inch singles that spin at 45 rpm to sapphire anniversaries steeped in nostalgia. Today, it’s a red-letter day. Forty-five years ago on April 23, 1976, the Ramones released their self-titled debut album on Sire Records.– Louder Than War

Ezra Furman comes out as a transgender woman

“I am very proud to be a trans woman and to have come to know it and be able to say it.”  – Eric Torres, Pitchfork

The Black Keys
Jim Herrington

The Black Keys

Music News

The Black Keys Cancel North American Leg of International Players Tour

The rock duo's 31-date arena trek was scheduled to launch in September and included a date at Toronto's Scotiabank Arena on Oct. 11, 2024.

The Black Keys have abruptly canceled their upcoming North American tour.

The 31-date arena trek — which was scheduled to launch Sept. 17 in Tulsa, Okla., and wrap Nov. 12 in Detroit — quietly disappeared from Ticketmaster’s website without explanation on Friday (May 24).

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