Music Biz Headlines, Aug. 17, 2020

Oscar Peterson (pictured) is at the heart of a renaming debate in Montreal, Drake’s new single is based on his love of sports, and Warner Music Group buys IMGN. Others in the headlines include Neil Young, Buffy Sainte-Marie, the Brott Music Festival, The OBGMs, Tencent Music, Dvsn, Beggars Group, Mickey Guyton, Jeff Tweedy, Johnny Marr, Dolly Parton, Janelle Monáe, and Katy Perry.

Music Biz Headlines, Aug. 17, 2020

By Kerry Doole

Jazz great Oscar Peterson at the centre of Montreal renaming debate

Steps away from Montreal’s historically Black neighbourhood of Little Burgundy, the handsome grey stone house where jazz virtuoso Oscar Peterson grew up sits conspicuously empty. There is no city plaque on the house designating it a landmark, nor any street named after Peterson, but that may change. – Dan Bilefsky, The New York Times

Drake's new single will tickle sports fans but it's not his best

Well, Nike is going to be thrilled. Turns out that the video for the joint Drake dropped at midnight — Laugh Now, Cry Later, the first single to preview his upcoming Certified Lover Boy album — was filmed entirely at the iconic sportswear manufacturer’s world corporate headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. – Nick Krewen, Toronto Star


Drake's new video shows he's a wannabe athlete

Drake, suffering from either delusions of grandeur or an inferiority complex, needs to see himself as on a level with sports heroes. – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail

Drake hints at a possible album drop

Here’s a look back at how we reviewed his previous bodies of work. – Toronto Star Staff

The 2 Rivers Remix fest will feature Buffy Sainte-Marie, Snotty Nose Rez Kids, and Kinnie Starr

Legendary musician and activist Buffy Sainte-Marie will headline what’s being billed as B.C.’s premier feast of contemporary Indigenous music. The entirely free 2 Rivers Remix will be live-streamed from September 4 to 6. – Charlie Smith, Georgia Straight

Can Neil Young block lock Trump from using his songs?: It's complicated

ASCAP and a lawyer for Young both said that Rockin’ in the Free World and Devil’s Sidewalk had similarly been removed from ASCAP’s political license. Yet it is not clear whether such withdrawals are allowed under ASCAP and BMI’s regulatory agreements with the federal government, which were instituted decades ago to prevent anti-competitive conduct. – Ben Sisario, TheNew York Times

Hamilton’s Brott Music Festival proves even in crisis, innovation makes the show go on

The festival has been a regular feature of Ontario’s summer season for 33 years, built around the creation of a seasonal orchestra, recruited by audition from across the country. Now, in the age of covid, Hamilton’s Brott Music Festival is undergoing something of a redefinition. – William Littler, Toronto Star


'I literally felt like I was going to cry': How virtual music festivals are keeping fans connected

Most attendees of video game concerts 'are fans of music and not gamers.' –  Eli Glasner, CBC

The OBGMs need to be Toronto's next big punk band

With aggressive punk energy and garage rock hooks, The OBGMs want to rule the Toronto music scene or burn it to the ground. – Graham Isador, Vice

Dvsn muse on drive-in concerts and how the pandemic has changed music

The Toronto R&B duo sold out five drive-in concerts in support of their third album, A Muse In Her Feelings. –  Kevin Ritchie, NOW


Our Stat Of The Week: Tencent Music is racking up label deals, and moving beyond licensing

Our Stat Of The Week today is the number 3. That’s precisely how many new direct licensing deals Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) has announced for its digital services with US and/or European-based rightsholders in the past week– and we expect many more to follow in the months ahead. – Tim Ingham, MBW

Warner Music buys Israeli co IMGN Media

It is being reported that Warner is buying the Israeli shareable social media content and mobile-first platform company for just under $100 million. –

Why Warner Music Group just paid $85M for a company that makes Instagram memes

On the surface of it, one of the biggest music industry acquisitions of the year has nothing to do with music. On Friday, WMG announced its acquisition of IMGN Media, a company best known for making memes and viral videos for Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok. – MBW

Beggars Group revenues hit $83m in 2019, as XL generated over $50m

Beggars Group, home to indie labels such as XL Recordings, Matador, 4AD and Rough Trade, generated £63.1m ($83.4m) in total turnover last year. That's according to freshly-filed UK Companies House documents. The £63.1m annual revenue figure was down by £11.1m on the £74.2m Beggars generated in the prior year – but the company said it actually grew on a like-for-like basis in key territories. – Tim Ingham, MBW

Mickey Guyton is speaking her truth after years of doubt

Mickey Guyton is turning a mirror on country music by speaking her truth and reclaiming both her career and identity. Delivering a one-two punch of important songs this year leading up to her first new EP in five years, Guyton is not holding back her powerful voice any longer. She has re-introduced herself after years of internal doubt and feeling unable to be herself as a Black woman in a genre dominated by white men. – Kristin M. Hall, The Associated Press


More than 400 grassroots music venues in Britain are at imminent risk of closure because of the coronavirus pandemic. The government announced this week that indoor and socially-distanced live music could resume on Saturday. But this doesn’t mean that the live music scene will be immediately restored. –  AP


The music that made Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy

The 51-year-old rock realist talks about the songs, albums, and artists that have meant the most to him throughout his life—including Missy Elliott, Minutemen, and Amy Winehouse—five years at a time. – Pitchfork

The Smiths’ How Soon Is Now? guitar secrets revealed

The man behind the console goes deep on the creation of one of Johnny Marr and co's most enduring hits, an alt-rock anthem. – Matt Parker, Guitar World

10 rock songs you need to know right now

Rock isn’t dead and never was. In 2020, the rock genre takes on many different shapes and sounds, but a lack of coherence doesn’t signify a lack of quality. Over the last few weeks we’ve heard incredible new songs from stalwarts like Angel Olsen and Sufjan Stevens as well as newcomers like Samia and Bartees Strange. – Paste

Dolly Parton backs Black Lives Matter

“Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter?' The country legend also speaks candidly about her own mortality. – Eli Enis,  CoS

Dolly Parton steers her empire through the pandemic - and keeps it growing 

With a company that employs thousands, the country icon is making hard choices –Billboard

Stacey Abrams and Janelle Monáe on the fight for democracy in an election season for the ages

The former Georgia Representative talks to singer and fellow Atlantan Monáe about voter suppression, Joe Biden, and whether Abrams herself will one day run for president. (The answer: “Absolutely.”) – Harpers Bizarre

10 new albums to stream today

The variance in releases from today’s New Music Friday is arguably chaotic, but in a good way. Today brings covers albums from singer/songwriter Dana Gavanski, Chicago band Whitney and synth-pop artist Black Marble, plus highly anticipated albums from Young Jesus, Burna Boy, and Canadians Orville Peck and Kathleen Edwards. Spanning improvisational rock, electric blues, nu-metal-infused pop and more, there’s something here for you. – Paste staff

Depression, heartbreak and then a reckoning: The rebirth of Katy Perry

Written over the past 2 1/2 years, the songs on her new album Smile tell the story of a difficult period in Perry’s life, during which she reckoned with both her romantic life and her place in the music industry. She broke up with and then got back together with actor Orlando Bloom, her now fiancé with whom she will soon welcome a daughter. –  Amy Kaufman, Los Angeles Times


Big Boi

Big Boi


CNE Bandshell Gets Big Boi, Sloan, Big Wreck And More For Throwback Summer Concerts

The headliners tie together the Toronto waterfront series' '90s and 2000s revival theme, while contemporary acts like MacKenzie Porter, Ruby Waters, Tynomi Banks and more will keep things current.

Toronto's CNE Bandshell concert series is leaning into big nostalgia this summer, with major '90s and 2000s acts headlining the throwback-themed lineup.

OutKast rapper Big Boi, Canadian-American rock band Big Wreck, and east coasters Sloan are leading the summer music programming at the Canadian National Exhibition, a major entertainment fair that takes over the Exhibition Place grounds every August.

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