Music Biz Headlines, Aug. 31, 2020

The Trump campaigns runs afoul of Leonard Cohen (pictured), a detailed obituary of Cathy Smith, and the songwriting of The Band. Others in the headlines include Gerry McGhee, Jill Barber, The Whole Note, NAC, Steven Page, Triller, TikTok, Hipgnosis, Beatchain, Cribs, Kendrick Lamar, Dolly Parton, Charlie Parker, and Chadwick Boseman.

Music Biz Headlines, Aug. 31, 2020

By Kerry Doole

Leonard Cohen fans are livid as Trump’s speech is followed by ‘Hallelujah’ — twice

Tori Kelly, who sang the version heard under the fireworks, quickly took to Twitter to assure anyone who was angry at her that the campaign had not asked for permission. – Chris Willman, Variety

Cathy Smith, who admitted to killing John Belushi, was a woman of mystery

Cathy Smith, a notorious, colourful footnote in pop culture history, died on Aug. 18 at age 73. She was also known as a muse for Gordon Lightfoot. – Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail

June Body's language

The alt-rockers branch out on a new EP that's also a Covid time capsule. Negatives, Vol.1. came out earlier this month. –The Coast

 Were The Band's songs written as collaborations?

Levon Helm's position was that Robertson was just the one who filed the papers. And there is something to that -- who thinks of "Chest Fever" as anything but a Garth Hudson song? – Philip Martin, Arkansas Online


Vancouver's Jill Barber rekindles songwriting flame en français

The acclaimed bilingual singer/songwriter will perform at the 31st edition of Festival d'été francophone de Vancouver. – John Lucas, Georgia Straight

Brian Vollmer pays tribute to Gerry McGhee

On Aug. 25, Brighton Rock vocalist and music industry entrepreneur Gerald Damian "Gerry" McGhee passed away due to cancer. Helix frontman Brian Vollmer has posted the following tribute to Gerry. – Brave Words

How Toronto music guide The Whole Note learned a new tune during Covid-19

David Perlman is the editor-publisher-co-founder of The Whole Note, a publication whose points of distribution, thanks to the Covid shutdown, plunged in the month of April from 960 to 10. Rather than reach for a bottle of cyanide, he and his team set about redesigning what was, basically, a publication built around monthly concert listings, roughly 300 to 500 of them, for a time in which concert activity has all but ceased. – William Littler, Toronto Star 

The National Arts Centre is working with theatre companies across Canada to bring the performing arts to the public square.

The Grand Acts of Theatre initiative, announced on Thursday, will see large-scale outdoor works staged in 11 communities from coast to coast as the pandemic has shuttered live venues. – Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press

Together At Last music festival cancelled due to Covid-19

After clinging to hope for a socially distanced September festival, the 2020 Together At Last Music Gathering has been cancelled. Together At Last emerged on the music festival scene last September, celebrating the creation of Obsidian Ridge, just west of Tofield, with a gathering of art, music and community. – Ryan Garner, Edmonton Journal


Musician Steven Page to speak at A Mental Health Morning

The songwriter will discuss his struggles with depression and mental illness to help raise funds for mental health and addiction programs at Hamilton's St. Joe’s. –Hamilton Spectator


Now Triller has officially joined the race to buy TikTok

Triller CEO Mike Lu confirmed on Aug. 28 that his Los-Angeles-based company has made a bid for TikTok with backing from London-based investment firm Centricus Asset Management. Centricus already oversees a global portfolio with $27bn-worth of assets. – Tim Ingham, MBW

 Hipgnosis Songs Fund acquires 50% stake in RZA catalogue

Hipgnosis Songs Fund is building up its ownership of the timeless hip-hop catalogue. Earlier this month, we learned that the Merck Mercuriadis-led company had acquired a catalogue from Kanye West and Jay-Z producer No I.D. Now it has acquired a 50% stake in the music publishing catalogue of Robert ‘RZA’ Diggs, founder member of the Wu-Tang Clan. –Tim Ingham, MBW

In-flight music under threat as legal battle launched to claw back alleged 'unpaid royalties'

The Performing Right Society for Music has launched a legal battle with Qatar Airways claiming it has infringed composers' performing rights.  – The Telegraph


 Stat Of The Week: Nearly a third of people in the US are using a music streaming subscription

Last week saw the publication of the 2020 Streaming Forward report from the US-based Digital Media Association, whose members include Amazon, Apple, Pandora, Spotify and YouTube. The report reveals that in 2019, digital services saw US consumer spend on music streaming subscriptions hit $6.93bn, up 25.2% year-on-year. This figure was generated via 87.5m paid streaming accounts (as of the end of Dec. 2019), says the report – shared by 99m legitimate subscribers. – MBW

Google and Sony bigwigs join Beatchain’s advisory board

Music marketing and distribution platform, Beatchain, has welcomed Robert Morelli and Louis Ifantis to its advisory board. Both Morelli and Ifantis join the likes of Allen Kovac, CEO of Better Noise Music and Tenth Street Entertainment.  – Broadway World


More and more South African stars shine overseas in music and film

South Africa is one of the leading countries in Africa to produce actors and actresses who become stars who shine in Hollywood. Lately Mzansi is also slowly but surely also adding musicians to the list of international stars who are making it in the US. – The South African 

The Top 50 greatest landfill indie songs of all time

Somewhere between the “indie rock revival” of the early-2000s and the emergence of “poptimism” in the early-2010s, the UK charts were dominated by a procession of homogenous bands making a type of music that has come to be referred to as: “Landfill Indie”. An unofficial ranking of the best most average songs in British music history.  – Vice

How ‘MTV Cribs’ rewired my brain, and maybe yours too

The show gave us a giddy peek at the nouveau riche celebrities of the 2000s. It also made “fake it until you make it” the Millennial ethos. – Talmon Joseph Smith NYT

Kendrick Lamar sued for copyright infringement over Loyalty

The hip-hop star has been sued for copyright infringement by a musician called Terrance Hayes, over Lamar’s hit single Loyalty, released in 2017 and taken from his fourth album, Damn. The track, which features a guest appearance from Rihanna, won the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Performance. – MBW

How Charlie Parker defined the sound and substance of bebop jazz.

The jazz pioneer would have turned 100 on Saturday. It’s Parker, whose centenary falls on Saturday, who lends the music its definitive sound, tone, legend, influence, and curse. – Richard Brody, The New Yorker

Tourists are flocking to Nashville to see a new mural of Dolly Parton that celebrates her position on Black Lives Matter. Mural artist Kim Radford had already decided to paint the mural of the country music icon on the side of a local music club called The 5 Spot, which was made famous for being one of the many filming locations for the TV show “Nashville.”   – Kristin M. Hall, AP  

Has Lady Gaga’s Gucci movie landed Robert De Niro and Al Pacino?

Ridley Scott’s extremely Gucci movie is reportedly putting together an all-star lineup, following the casting of Lady Gaga last year. According to Deadline, MGM has its eyes on Al Pacino, noted Gaga fan Robert De Niro, Adam Driver, Jared Leto, Jack Huston, and Broadway star Reeve Carney, all of whom are in talks to join the project. – Yohana Desta, Vanity Fair


Maroon 5 keyboardist PJ Morton returns to his roots with gospel album

PJ Morton is going home. The Maroon 5 keyboardist and successful solo artist — who grew up in church, but then distanced himself from those roots as he pursued a career in pop and R&B — released his first-ever gospel album on Friday. –  Jim Harrington, The Mercury News

Toni Braxton: ‘I regret not having more sex when I was younger’

The singer, 52, on discovering her talent, meeting Stevie Wonder and the downside of her religious upbringing. – James McMahon, The Guardian

Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman dies at 43 after a 4-year fight with colon cancer

The actor played Black icons Jackie Robinson and James Brown before finding fame as the regal Black Panther in the Marvel cinematic universe, died Friday.  – AP

 Drake and Rick Ross attend Sean Diddy Combs Ciroc The New Years Eve Party at his home on Dec. 31, 2013 in Miami Beach, Fla.
Johnny Nunez/WireImage

Drake and Rick Ross attend Sean Diddy Combs Ciroc The New Years Eve Party at his home on Dec. 31, 2013 in Miami Beach, Fla.

Music News

Drake Reacts to Rick Ross’ Nose Job Claim on Diss Track: ‘Don’t Worry We’ll Handle It’

"You're one nosey goof," Drizzy wrote on Instagram.

Drake is responding to Rick Ross‘ claim on a diss track that he had a nose job.

On Sunday (April 14), the Toronto rapper took to his Instagram Story to share a screenshot of a text message conversation with his mother, Sandi Graham. In the text, Sandi playfully addressed online rumors about her son allegedly getting his nose fixed.

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