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FYI

Music Biz Headlines, April 3, 2020

Emergency funds assist Canadian musicians, the  dystopian worldview of The Weeknd (pictured) is timely, and Canadian record stores are under threat. Also in the headlines are COVID-19 stories, Win Butler, Jesse Zubot, Sony, Stage Door, Bob Pittman, StubHub, BTS, Adam Schlesinger, copyright, John Prine, Bob Dylan, and Dolly Parton.

Music Biz Headlines, April 3, 2020

By FYI Staff

Emergency funds for Canadian musicians top $1.5 million

The impact of COVID-19 is being felt in the music industry from cornerstone Toronto festivals to international event albums As a community, performing artists may have had an early glimpse into the challenges that have only begun to reverberate across other sectors. Funds to assist are now being created. – Ryan Porter, The Toronto Star


The Weeknd’s new album reminds us he got to dystopia long before the rest of us

 On March 20, at the conclusion of a week that saw the majority of the U.S. forced indoors because of COVID-19’s rapid spread, the Weeknd released his fourth album (and third No. 1), “After Hours.” Many will say the pop star’s latest songs are “timely” because of the wanton darkness of his music, but that’s too neat an assessment of an artist who finds such pleasure in society’s seedy underbelly.  – Julian Kimble, Washington Post

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Canadian independent record stores speak out on “truly devastating’ impacts of Coronavirus lockdown

"Record stores are tactile, physical spaces, constantly changing, dynamic and buzzing with excitement, and that essence will never be able to be fully actualized in an online shop" – Exclaim!

Jesse Zubot: They shoot, he scores

Jesse Zubot is a man of many talents, as a violinist, producer and in-demand session player. Lately,  he’s been pursuing another passion, film scoring. –  Nick Krewen, Words & Music

'We're in this together:' Live streams showcase Hamilton artists during COVID-19

CoBALT Connects hosted two live-stream shows and may host more if they can get enough donations. – Bobby Hristova, CBC

Win Butler hints at new Arcade Fire music with brief track teaser

Win Butler has hinted new Arcade Fire music is in the works.The Canadian band's frontman posted an eight-second clip of a track on his Instagram Story, which is no longer available to view, but posted on Reddit. – Bang Showbiz

International

Sony launches $100M COVID-19 relief fund, including money for the entertainment industry

Tokyo-based Sony Corporation, the owner of Sony Music Group, has launched a $100 million fund to support those around the world impacted by the COVID-19 virus. Through the fund, Sony says it will provide support in three key areas. –Tim Ingham, MBW

Livestreams are moving to hard tickets to replace lost touring revenue

Companies like Canada’s Side Door, StageIt and Looped are stepping up to help artists monetize online performances. – Taylor Mims, Billboard

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New opportunities — amid the Coronavirus crisis

Instead of touring Australia and New Zealand, then returning to the US to play Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre in April, Marc Rebillet is at home in New York, live streaming in a brown flowered bathrobe. “We’re coming right out the gate with the apocalypse!” he tells the 20,000 viewers tuning in live to his two-hour “Quarantine Stream: Day One” broadcast on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Twitch. – Steve Knopper, Billboard

Paradigm hit with blistering $2M breach of contract suit by Debbee Klein

It took almost half a day, but Paradigm Talent Agency has finally responded to the more than $2 million lawsuit that Debbee Klein launched like a cruise missile at the Sam Gores-run company for being unceremoniously axed last month after over two decades in the trenches. It calls the suit "false, frivolous and scurrilous."  – Dominic Patten, Deadline

iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman gives up $1.5M salary for the remainder of 2020

Bob Pittman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of US radio giant iHeartMedia, which operates over 850 stations across the country, won’t be taking a salary for the rest of the year as a cost-cutting measure amidst the Coronavirus crisis. – Murray Stassen, MBW

Opinion: StubHub’s urgent peril and the industry response

The world’s major event promoters and ticketing companies must work together now or the whole system will blow apart. I believe that StubHub, the company which was just acquired by Viagogo for $4 billion is on the verge of collapse. What I’m hearing suggests they’ll file a bankruptcy petition around April 15th. – Eric Fuller, Ticket News

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StubHub issues response to voucher policy frustration

Earlier this week, StubHub announced a change in its ticket policies during the COVID-19 pandemic and informed customers that cancelled events are now eligible to receive a voucher, rather than a refund. This follows a backlash from customers, the ticketing company responded in a statement this week. – Olivia Perreault, Ticket News

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B-Real, Santana & Snoop Dogg’s Covid-proof side hustle? Selling marijuana

As the live industry craters, artists who invested in the cannabis industry are happy to learn dispensaries are considered "essential services." Steve Knopper, Billboard

Music copyright infringement is beginning to make sense again

The recent overturn of an infringement suit against Katy Perry over her song "Dark Horse" points to a saner situation. – Bobby Owsinski, Forbes

Stephen Colbert airs a 2016 duet with John Prine he'd kept in reserve in case 'we have to cheer up the world'

The songwriting legend is seriously ill with has been hospitalized and put on a ventilator with COVID-19 symptoms. Stephen Colbert sent his thoughts to Prine and his family on Tuesday's Late Show, and shared a filmed duet. –The Week

On Bob Dylan’s “Murder Most Foul”

Let’s get this one thing straight: Bob Dylan’s beautiful, fascinating, and mesmeric “Murder Most Foul” is not some cutesy recitation of cultural signposts, and it has got absolutely nothing to do with a honking 11th grade-English grotesquerie like “We Didn't Start the Fire.” – Tim Sommer, Rock and Roll Globe

The 10 Best Albums of March 2020

Canadians Caribou and U.S. Girls make the cut. – Staff, Paste

Dolly Parton is donating $1 million for coronavirus research efforts

Dolly Parton is donating $1 million dollars towards coronavirus research at Vanderbilt University. In the podcast Dolly Parton's America, host Jad Abumrad explored Parton's career and the years-long friendship between the American icon and his father, surgeon Naji Abumrad. – Shira Fede, Insider

Mike Smith steps down as the MD of Warner Chappell Music in the UK

In a statement, London-based Smith noted he was leaving the company for “family reasons”. Smith joined Warner Chappell as UK boss in 2016, hired by the publisher’s then-worldwide Chairman and CEO. –  MBW

A 30-song playlist by and about Adam Schlesinger

The much-loved songsmith died this week from the Coronavirus – The New York Times

BTS’ label generated over $500M in revenue in 2019

Big Hit Entertainment, the label behind K-Pop megastars BTS, has reported record revenue and profits for 2019. – Murray Stassen, MBW

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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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