Music Biz Headlines, Dec. 20, 2019

A new book profiles the fascinating life of Lhasa (pictured), 2019's best music documentaries, and Lucian Grainge boasts. Others in the headlines include Tencent, The Starling Effect, Saskatunes, Cuba, Live Nation, Mariah Carey, Spotify, The Pogues, Best Of lists, and Tekashi 6ix9ine.

Music Biz Headlines, Dec. 20, 2019

By Kerry Doole

Bohemian Rhapsody: New book explores the incredible life of the late Montreal world-music singer Lhasa

Author Fred Goodman has uncovered the story of an obscure, adventurous singer who refused to take the easy path. – David Browne, Rolling Stone

Meet Toronto's new night mayor

Scarborough councillor Michael Thompson has been appointed the city's new Night Economy Ambassador. But what does that mean? We asked him. – Samantha Edwards, NOW

The Starling Effect: Of dreams, murmurs, and matters of the heart

The Starling Effect’s own music is more psychedelic, shoegazy, and effects-enhanced than R.E.M.’s, but you can definitely hear R.E.M. as an influence on their originals, if you go looking. –Allan MacInnis, Georgia Straight

Toronto debut of ‘Bend It Like Beckham the Musical’ doesn’t live up to the charm of the film

Its 2015 premiere on London’s West End earned five Olivier Award nominations. So it’s disappointing that the Toronto version of “Bend It Like Beckham the Musical” lacks the production values to do justice to the source material. – Carly Maga, the Star


Calgary jazz players evoke standards with new Christmas song

If you are going to write a new Christmas song, you might as well aim for the stars. Johnny Summers and Caity Gyorgy had decidedly high ambitions for Miracles Can Happen, the Calgary jazz musicians’ new festive tune. If the romantic ballad reminds you of a jazz standard, that was exactly the point. – Eric Volmers, Calgary Herald

The best music documentaries of 2019, from Amazing Grace to Mountaintop

Music docs came in all shapes, sizes and screening options, ranging from the artful, tightly-focused Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love (about the Greece-based love affair of Marianne Ihlen and Leonard Cohen) to the straightforward chronicling of Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind to the 16-hour PBS mini-series Country Music, with which Ken Burns continued his journey into America’s soul. – Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail

Saskatunes: Young and old, choirs give musical opportunities to all

"The reason choral music never goes out of style is because of the community aspect of it," Greystone Singers director Jennifer Lang said. – Matt Olson, Star-Phoenix


Tencent taps GIC, sovereign funds to rescue Universal Music deal: sources

Tencent Holdings Ltd has turned to Singapore’s state investor GIC and other sovereign funds to help rescue a deal to buy a stake in Vivendi’s Universal Music after major buyout funds quit the negotiating table, sources said. – Reuters


Sir Lucian Grainge: 'No other music company has ever come close to matching what we achieved this year."

Universal Music Group CEO and Chairman Sir Lucian Grainge has sent out the company’s end of year message to staff, which MBW has obtained. In it, Grainge thanks and congratulates UMG staff for the company’s successes in 2019. – MBW

Labels and publishers win $1 Billion piracy lawsuit against Cox Communications


Cox Communications was found liable for the piracy infringement of more than 10,000 musical works by a U.S. District Court jury in Virgina on Thursday (Dec. 19), awarding $1 billion statutory damages to plaintiffs Sony Music, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and EMI. – Chris Eggertsen, Billboard

Five years after Obama's historic détente with Cuba, what Trump's prohibitions have meant for music

“The current regulations impact everyone from would-be travelers to investors and promoters.” says Collin Laverty, president of Cuba Educational Travel, which organizes frequent music-focused trips to Cuba. – Judy Cantor-Navas,  Billboard

Man wins $101 million verdict from Live Nation after fall at Jones Beach event

A Manhattan jury has awarded a Long Island man a whopping $101 million payout for a fall at a 2013 concert that left him with a fractured skull. Mark Perez, 36,  requires full-time care after falling from a 10-foot-tall booth at the Jones Beach Marine Theatre in Wantagh. – New York Post

No, sharing your Spotify year-end artist stats is not a good idea – here’s why not

If you’re following music acts, odds are you’re already seeing Spotify-generated stats and graphs from artists. There’s a backlash to the practice – and with good reason. – Peter Kirm, CDM


This is how much money Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" is raking in

 Carey's song has already earned more than $2 million in royalties since the song was first added to Spotify, according to a study by Broadband Deals, and that number is expected to continue to grow quickly. – Alexis Benveniste, CNN Business

Music made by prisoners in Nazi camps is being given fresh life

More than 6 million people, most of them Jews, died in the Holocaust. The music they wrote as a temporary escape, however, did not, thanks in part to the efforts of an Italian composer and pianist. – Jon Wertheim, 60 Minutes


Def Leppard & Mötley Crüe expand their stadium tour

After racking up sales of more than 700,000 tickets and $90 million worth of box office receipts in its first week of sales, organizers for Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe stadium tour announced a slew of additional dates. The tour also features Poison and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts. – CelebrityAccess

Americana UK writers choose their albums of 2019 – part one

Here s our writers’ list of the albums which have meant the most to them over the last 12 months, and then just ask for them. Without further ado, here’s part one of our top albums of 2019, one featurng Canadian Jerry Leger. – Americana UK

The 15 best pop albums of 2019

Veterans shared the stage with groundbreaking newcomers in a dazzling year for popular music. Carly Rae tops the list. – Paste Staff

Year in Music 2019: The Year in Country Music

Tanya Tucker, Luke Combs and more mounted vital challenges to the ‘status bro’ in 2019. – Marissa Moss, Nashvl​lle Scene

The 50 best albums of 2019

Our pick of the year’s finest albums brings teenage dynamism, heartbreak, barbed rap, impetuous indie and beautiful soundscapes. Check in every weekday as we count down to No 1. – The Guardian

We need to talk about the 'controversy' surrounding The Pogues' 'Fairytale of New York'

Most of the criticism seems to be dismissive of the song’s artistry, but lead singer Shane MacGowan spent two years crafting the song. – Michael Higgins, National Post

Tekashi 6ix9ine sentenced to two years in federal prison

Tekashi 6ix9ine, the Brooklyn rapper who scored hits with “Gummo” and “Fefe” but was tripped up by his association with a violent criminal gang, was sentenced to two years in prison on Wednesday. – CelebrityAccess

Jayda G
David Reiss

Jayda G


Fresh Sounds Canada: New Songs from Jayda G, Claudia Bouvette and More

This week's discovery roundup of new Canadian songs also includes Indigenous songwriter Celeigh Cardinal and Quebec acts KROY and Mon Doux Saigneur.

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.

Jayda G, “If We Only Knew”

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