Music Biz Headlines, April 29, 2021

Alex Henry Foster (pictured) confronts grief with art, Canadian honkytonker Whitney Rose is eager to get back onstage, and Cadence Weapon discusses his new album. Others in the headlines include Hot Docs, Spotify, Bay City Rollers, Concord, Downtown, Napster, Mandolin, Jon Batiste, Michael Rapino, Al Schmitt, Van Morrison, Stephen Lipson, Britney Spears, Billie Eilish, The Who, Tunefind, and Burning Man.

Music Biz Headlines, April 29, 2021

By Kerry Doole


Hot Docs 2021: Big, bold documentary festival is just what our weary world need now

If the Covid epidemic has produced any kind of silver lining for organizers behind the 28th annual Hot Docs documentary film festival, it’s this: people stuck at home, and even those working the frontlines, have ample discretionary time. This year's edition has a strong lineup of music-themed docs. – Original Cin

Alex Henry Foster confronts grief with improvization in Montreal 

Music has always been a kind of blanket for Foster, and it served him even better as a public figure dealing with such loss. Being hidden in a sea of music and other band members, offered the protection he sought to be vulnerable on stage to be able to release his pain as well as preserve the delicacy of the songs. – Macie Bennett, American Songwriter


In Conversation: Cadence Weapon on “Parallel World,” the influence of a Formula One driver, and more

His fifth album, Parallel World, comes out tomorrow, and the Toronto-based hip-hop artist describes it, his passion for Ayrton Senna, and much more. – Rob Duguay, FLOOD Magazine

Waiting for the rodeo: Whitney Rose can finally bring her last album to life

Just a year ago Canadian transplant and Austin sweetheart Whitney Rose was celebrating the release of her fourth album, We Still Go To Rodeos with a busy touring schedule opening up for Mavericks front man, Raul Malo when all things came to a halt, including rodeos.  Rose herself was scheduled to play one in Dallas. –  Gladys Fuentes, Houston Press

In 1976 the Star ran a dismissive review of The Bay City Rollers. Then the ‘Tartan Terrors’ showed up

For a minute there, the Toronto Star directly experienced Tartan Terrors. Actually, it was Peter Goddard — the Star’s rock critic at the time — who bore the wrath of the placard-bearing Bay City Rollers fans known as the “Tartan Terrors.” A bunch of them showed up at the Star parking lot in 1976 after he gave their band something of a dismissive review during a Maple Leaf Gardens tour kickoff the night before. – Nick Krewen, Toronto Star


Concord buys Downtown's owned music copyright catalog for a rumoured $400m

On April 26 it was confirmed that a Concord affiliate has acquired 145,000 copyrights from New York-headquartered Downtown. The catalog includes hits and works performed by the likes of Adele, Aretha Franklin, Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, Carrie Underwood, David Bowie, Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles, Sam Smith, Stevie Wonder, and The 1975. – Tim Ingham, MBW


After selling catalog to Concord, Downtown launches new services division led by Mike Smith

 After selling 145K copyrights to Concord, Downtown Music Holdings will focus exclusively on the music services sector – i.e. being a partner to copyright holders large and small, rather than owning copyrights itself. This is no small ambition: Downtown projects it will generate over $600 million from its music services businesses, across both records and publishing, in 2021 alone. – Murray Stassen, MBW

Napster preps launch of new platform combining Napster, MelodyVR MelodyVR

London-based Napster Group is preparing to debut a new Napster-branded platform which will be a merger of the two currently still standalone businesses MelodyVR and streaming platform Napster. – Emmanuel Legrand, Hypebot

Live-streaming platform Mandolin strikes a deal with Ground Control Touring

Concert live streaming and marketing platform Mandolin has inked an exclusive livestream deal with the noted booking agency Ground Control Touring. Under the terms of the agreement, Mandolin will stream and market select shows featuring clients on Ground Control’s artist roster. The partnership kicked off last month with a an anniversary show featuring Waxahatchee and an album release livestream with Ani DiFranco. – Celebrity Access


Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino gave up his salary for less than two months in 2020, earned $1.89 million

While multiple outlets, including Variety, reported last April that Live Nation CEO Rapino was foregoing his $3 million salary for all of 2020 due to the pandemic and its devastating effect on the live-entertainment industry and the company, according to SEC filings, he did so for less than two months. His salary was reinstated at 50% as of June 1, and boosted to 60% on Sept. 16.– Jem Aswad, Variety

Soul wins Best Score Oscar, making Jon Batiste the second black composer to receive award

The trio of composers behind Disney-Pixar’s “Soul” won the Oscar for best original score Sunday. It was the first Academy Award for jazz artist Jon Batiste and the second for Nine Inch Nail rock writers-turned-film composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Batiste becomes only the second Black composer to clinch the original score award in the 86-year history of the category. Herbie Hancock was the first, for 1986’s “Round Midnight. – Jon Burlingame, Variety


Spotify's average subscriber now pays less than $5 per month

On Monday (April 26), Spotify announced small price increases for various subscription products in 12 additional markets, including the US (Family Plan), and the UK (Student, Family, and Duo Plans). Fresh figures released by Spotify as part of its Q1 2021 results reveal the full extent of the price erosion that has hit Spotify’s premium ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) in the past few years. In April 2021, the average Spotify subscriber around the world is paying less than $5 US per month. – MBW

Al Schmitt, 20-time Grammy-winning engineer, dies at 91

The recording industry pays its respects to the legendary record-maker. – MusicTech

PRS for music warns of hard times ahead as revenues drop 20%

U.K. collecting society predicts royalty distributions to songwriters, composers and music publishers will fall by at least 10% in 2021. – Richard Smirke, Billboard

This week In the Hot Seat with Larry LeBlanc: Producer, engineer, mixer, and musician Stephen Lipson

Accepting on Zoom during the Grammy pre-show for Best Song Written for Visual Media, Billie Eilish thanked No Time to Die film personnel: Daniel Craig; score composer, and producer Hans Zimmer; producer Barbara Broccoli; and Stephen Lipson for co-producing and co-mixing the track with her brother, and co-writer, Finneas. This marked the first time in Grammy history that the prize had been awarded to a song from a film still unreleased. Learn more about Lipson here. – Larry LeBlanc, Celebrity Access

Britney Spears to speak in court on conservatorship case

After years of silence, Britney Spears will speak to the probate court in June regarding her long-standing legal conservatorship. At a hearing on Tuesday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny scheduled a hearing on June 23 to allow Spears to speak on the “status of the conservatorship.” – Gene Maddaus, Variety


A tale of three NFTs: What Eminem, Lewis Capaldi and Doja Cat reveal about music’s latest hype format

There have been mixed results here for musicians trying to, firstly, make money from NFTs and, secondly, testing the creative possibilities of NFTs. – Eamonn Forde, Forbes

Why are people still buying vinyl records?

Vinyl record sales are on the rise. We explore why people are buying this old school music format. – Quina Baterna,

How trucker country music became a ’70s fad

Long-haul truckers were once country music’s heroes. Estelle Caswell breaks down the golden era of trucker country with country and folk music scholars Travis Stimeling and Nate Gibson. – Estelle Caswell and Antonella Crescimbeni, Vox

The Who Sell Out: still a searing satire on pop’s commercial breakdown

Filled with product placement and advertising, the band’s newly reissued 1967 album put the pop in pop art, by showing how closely music was entwined with capital. – Alexis Petridis, The Guardian

Oscars 2021 Review: Event producers give the 93rd ceremony a B-

It was a year like no other—and it left viewers more divided than ever. Here, event professionals around the country review the Academy Awards' socially distanced ceremony. – Claire Hoffman, BizBash

Songtradr acquires film, TV and gaming music data platform Tunefind

Tunefind, described as “the world’s most comprehensive database and online source of information for music in television, film and video games”, partners with over 250 music supervisors worldwide to source song data directly from the executives responsible for selecting music featured in TV shows, movies, and video games. – Murray Stassen, MBW


Van Morrison is whining about free speech because no-one likes his anti-lockdown songs

Van Morrison has spent the better part of the pandemic writing and recording truly awful protest songs best described as Covid-truther anthems. Now, the 75-year-old is complaining about the public's reaction to his new tunes, suggesting the reception is an attack on free speech. – Allie Gregory, Exclaim!

Burning Man cancels 2021 festival in northern Nevada desert

Burning Man organizers announced Tuesday they are cancelling this summer’s annual counter-culture festival in the Nevada desert for the second year in a row because of the Covid-19 pandemic. – Scott Sonner, AP

Billie Eilish announces new album, ‘Happier Than Ever’

After Billie Eilish’s long pandemic year of a James Bond theme with no Bond movie, a Grammy for record of the year and a candid documentary about the 19-year-old’s rise to pop’s top tier, on Tuesday the singer announced the imminent release of her second LP. – August Brown, LA Times

Martin Scorsese to produce George Gershwin-inspired musical drama

George Gershwin, the renowned composer of jazz and popular music in the 1920s and ’30s, will be the inspiration for a new film co-produced by Martin Scorsese and directed by John Carney. Fascinating Rhythm, named after one of Gershwin’s best-known works, will be a musical drama influenced by the life and music of the celebrated composer. – Adam Feibel, JazzFM

Nelly Furtado
Valentin Herfray

Nelly Furtado


Fresh Sounds Canada: New Music From Nelly Furtado, OMBIIGIZI And More

This week's discovery roundup of new Canadian songs also includes Montreal singer-songwriter Leif Vollebekk, pop experimentalist Cecile Believe, and rising indie rockers Heaven For Real.

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.

Nelly Furtado feat Bomba Estéreo, “Corazón”

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