Music Biz Headlines, Aug. 19, 2021

Cartel Madras (pictured) are badass rappers, blinding stats for a Weeknd smash, and Arkells shows raise eyebrows. Also in the headlines are Neil Peart, vax passports, Laila Biali, DistroKid, Reservoir, Madonna, WMG, Downtown, Bernd Dopp, Jo Jo Bennett, Gladys Knight, The Cure, the Beatles, John Coltrane, Charlie Watts, Steve Earle, and Nanci Griffith.

Music Biz Headlines, Aug. 19, 2021

By Kerry Doole

Cartel Madras are badass

Why you should listen: These South Asia-born, Calgary-bred sisters rap about sex, drugs and being bosses over hip hop, trap and hip house beats in a wholly original genre they’ve coined Goonda rap. – Laura Robinson, NEXT

Canada’s hard-hit arts sector debates vaccine passports for events, venues

Across the country, performing arts companies, festivals, venues – and artists – are having a conversation about the possibility of mandatory vaccinations. Should in-person audiences have to be vaccinated? What about staff and volunteers? Last week, the Toronto Arts Council issued a statement calling for a vaccine pass. – Marsha Lederman & Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail

Reggae trailblazer JoJo Bennett brought the soulful sounds of his native Jamaica to Toronto’s music scene

Best known as co-founder of The Sattalites, Bennett passed away early this month. He was a towering figure in Toronto reggae. – Nicholas Jennings, The Globe and Mail


Concert review: Arkells play Toronto’s biggest pandemic concert yet

The Hamilton/Toronto rock band re-opened Budweiser Stage with Haviah Mighty for a crowd of more than 10,000 people. – Richard Trapunski, NOW

Arkells concert at Budweiser Stage in Toronto under fire for lack of health enforcement

The Budweiser Stage at Ontario Place came alive this past weekend after almost two years of quiet for a long-awaited return to large concerts in Toronto, but people are not pleased with the venue and promoter's apparent lack of safety precautions. – Jack Landau, BlogTO

Neil Peart’s “Silver Surfers” car collection sells for US$3.9 million

Known as Neil’s “Silver Surfers” car collection (all but the Shelby were silver), his family auctioned off the cars this past weekend. The Lambo fetched the most (US$1.325m). Neil loved these cars. He was working on a coffee table book about them before he died in January 2020. – Alan Cross, A Journal of Musical Things

Laila Biali plays with the graceful spirit of jazz

She sounds like a jazz soldier, one who goes right into the field ready to play, and to play hard, true and strong. She does, but don’t let the term soldier jar you — Laila’s soldiering is warm and sensitively respectful of the layers of the genre that make up everything that is the essence of jazz. – John Devenish, JazzFM



DistroKid valued at $1.3 billion after funding from Twitter investor Insight Partners

The US-based DIY distribution platform confirmed Aug. 16 that it has accepted an investment from Insight Partners which values it at $1.3B. Silversmith Capital Partners, a Boston-based growth equity firm that led DistroKid's first outside investment in 2018, will retain "a meaningful ownership position" and remain on DistroKid’s board. MBW also understands that Spotify retains its minority stake in the distributor.–  MBW

Reservoir generated $16.7M in Calendar Q2 - and paid out $6M in songwriter royalties, publishing costs

New York-headquartered Reservoir Media has this week confirmed its latest fiscal results, revealing that its total revenues in the year to end of March 2021 stood at $81.1 million – up 28% year-on-year. In calendar Q2 (the three months to end of June), Reservoir generated $16.7 million, up 23% year-on-year. – Tim Ingham, MBW

Madonna and WMG announce a milestone partnership

Madonna and Warner Music Group have entered into a career-spanning global partnership that includes a new agreement for her entire recorded music catalog and publishing. With global sales of over 300 million records, Madonna is the best-selling female artist of all time. –

Warner Music Central Europe boss Bernd Dopp leaves after 37 years

Bernd Dopp, the long-running Chairman and CEO of Warner Music Central Europe, is leaving Warner Music Group after 37 years with the major. Dopp will be passing on the leadership of Germany-HQd Warner Music Central Europe to two Co-Presidents: Doreen Schimk, Managing Director, Media & Brands, and Fabian Drebes, Managing Director, International. The duo will take over on October 1. – Billboard


Andrew Bergman named Downtown CEO, as Justin Kalifowitz becomes Exec Chairman 

It's been an eventful few months for Downtown Music Holdings. In April, the New York-based firm sold its entire owned music rights catalog to Concord for $400 million. In another major new chapter for the company, DMH has announced that its founder, Justin Kalifowitz, will vacate his role as CEO to take up a new position as DMH's Executive Chairman. Kalifowitz will be succeeded as CEO by DMH's current COO, Andrew Bergman.  – MBW


The stats behind The Weeknd's record-breaking run

The Weeknd's Blinding Lights is now, officially, the longest charting hit in the Billboard Hot 100's history, as the song -- originally released in 2019 -- tallies its 88th week on the survey, dated Aug. 21, 2021. It passes the 87-week Hot 100 run of Imagine Dragons' Radioactive in 2012-14. Here's a look at its most luminous stats (as of charts dated Aug. 21, according to MRC Data). – Billboard

Fivereasons why The Weeknd’s ‘Blinding Lights’ set the all-time Hot 100 longevity record

The Weeknd makes history on this week’s Billboard Hot 100: not only does the pop superstar score a top 10 debut with his latest single, “Take My Breath,” but he also captures the chart record for most weeks spent by a single song on the tally, as “Blinding Lights” notches its 88th week on the chart. – Jason Lipshutz, Billboard

The misunderstood talent of Gladys Knight

Gladys Knight and the Pips have always been more beloved by fans than by music historians, but they are essential to the evolution of soul. – Emily Lordi, New Yorker

We aren’t all dumb hillbillies’: how Covid caused a rift in country music

Country stars such as Jason Isbell have received backlash for insisting on safety at their concerts, exposing an age-old political divide.– Kyle Mullin, The Guardian

Ray Charles, The Judds to join Country Music Hall of Fame

R&B legend Ray Charles, who helped redefine country music in the Civil Rights era, and Grammy-winning duo The Judds will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. – AP

The Cure bassist Simon Gallup announces departure from the band

The long-serving band member says he's "fed up of betrayal." – Jason Friedman,  Paste

Highest Trane: John Coltrane’s world-building ascension

Climbing aloft with a controversial, "difficult" masterwork. – Colin Fleming, JazzTimes

Will the Beatles’ unreleased ‘Get Back’ album be part of the expanded ‘Let It Be’ box?

Beatles fans are started to speculate what the expanded ‘Let It Be’ box set may look like when it is released in October. – Noise11

No Charlie, no Stones? Maybe

On Charlie Watts, Keith Richards, Steve Jordan, the importance of the pocket and the nature of the rhythm section. – J.D. Considine, Tidal

The Curmudgeon: Nanci Griffith, or Emily Dickinson at the Rodeo

Nashville tried to turn Griffith into a country star in the mid-1980s, but she never quite fit in on Music Row. She was too much the troubadour folk poet. – Geoffrey Himes  Paste


The Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan brings to mind Steve Earle's controversial John Walker's Blues

When the Taliban waltzed unimpeded into Kabul yesterday, I started thinking about a song released by Steve Earle on his Jerusalem album back in 2002, the year after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan. It was called "John Walker's Blues", and it put the  singer-songwriter in the unfortunate shoes of captured Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh. –Steve Newton, Georgia Straight

Taylor Swift
Beth Garrabrant

Taylor Swift

Music News

Taylor Swift’s ‘Tortured Poets’ First Album in Spotify’s History With 300M Streams in Single Day

The pop superstar's "Fortnight" collab with Post Malone also breaks a new record.

Taylor Swift‘s The Tortured Poets Department continues to break records on Spotify.

On Friday (April 19), the pop superstar’s latest release became the first album in the streaming service’s history to have more than 300 million streams in a single day.

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