Music Biz Headlines, Dec. 3, 2020

Arkells (pictured) take fans on a pub crawl, Pierre Kwenders explores his history, and social media is seen as the music biz’s future. Also in the headlines are Braden Lam, Harpdog Brown, Spotify, Selena, Spinrilla, Shane MacGowan, Dolly Parton, Nick Cave, Blue Oyster Cult, and Elton John.

Music Biz Headlines, Dec. 3, 2020

By FYI Staff

Arkells’ new Christmas single ‘Pub Crawl’ takes listeners on the band’s annual tour of their hometown’s watering holes

You have to admit, nothing quite says Christmas like the new Arkells holiday classic “Pub Crawl.” As the title suggests, the song has a few twists and turns that take it in an unlikely direction — topically, at least: carousing rather than carolling. Singer Max Kerman explains that “Pub Crawl” — commissioned as an Amazon Music original exclusively for the US streaming music service — is based on a band tradition when they return to their native Hamilton from a tour in time for the holidays. – Nick Krewen, Toronto Star 

Pierre Kwenders: Proud of his history

He’s been living in Montréal for more than half of his existence, but it’s still in Kinshasa that his imagination as a writer is rooted. At the frontier between Congolese rhumba and French-filtered house music, the singer-songwriter Pierre Kwenders has become a master at blurring all kinds of boundaries. –  Catherine Genest, SOCAN Words & Music


Taking five with Braden Lam 

The folky star-on-the-rise answers our most burning questions as he celebrates a new EP. – Morgan Mullin, The Coast

This guitar sat in a B.C. family's closet for years. It's now worth as much as $26K

Renee Latheur shocked after Kamloops music store owner reveals the value of 1950s Gretsch owned by her late aunt. – Camille Bains, CP 

Harpdog Brown brings the blues online on December 6

Vancouver blues freaks should take note of an upcoming online gig. Local blues vocalist and harmonica man Harpdog Brown has announced a show next Sunday (December 6) as part of the 'Can't Stop the Blues' series of streamed events. – Steve Newton, Georgia Straight


It’s time to move past songs to the fan economy say top MIDiA analysts

Top music industry analysts Mark Mulligan and Keith Jopling of MIDiA Research have a message for the music industry. Now is the time for “new innovations that make the current streaming model look like an alternative, not the only choice – to enjoy music.” – Mark Mulligan and Keith Jopling, MIDiA Research 

Social media, not streaming, is the music industry’s future

Music-streaming subscriptions contribute $8.5 billion a year to the record business — but the biggest future growth may lie in social media, gaming, live streaming, and fitness. – Tim Ingham, Rolling Stone   


Spotify donates $500,000 to U.S. indie music venues

The streaming service is adjusting its typical end-of-year advertising campaign in 2020 to celebrate and support live music venues. – Samantha Hissong, Rolling Stone

Spotify just invented AI technology that will police songwriter plagiarism

Songwriters of global hits getting sued for alleged plagiarism has become a recurrent story these past few years – and a recurrent source of misery for writers and their representatives in the industry. But what if a songwriter or composer were able to use AI technology to avoid litigation altogether, by finding out if their song copies elements of other compositions, potentially in real-time? That could now be a reality, thanks to a Spotify invention. – Murray Stassen, MBW

Music industry insiders fear repercussions of speaking out against streaming giants

Music stars are "reluctant" to speak out against music streaming giants for fear of repercussions, UK MPs have warned. The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee is examining the business models of streaming services and has heard evidence from "critically acclaimed" artists struggling to pay rent because of derisory fees. Julian Knight, the chairman of the committee, said he had been told this by "many different sources." – Telegraph

Christian Serratos knows she’s not Selena. She’s ‘terrified’ enough playing her on TV

“There was that moment where I thought: ‘Do I want this pressure?’” Christian Serratos says flatly. Can you blame her? How else would you process portraying Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, the beloved Queen of Tejano music known simply as Selena, whose enduring legacy and devoted fan base remain steadfast a quarter of a century after her murder in 1995. – Yvonne Villarreal, LA Times


Hip-hop streaming platform Spinrilla found liable for users' copyright infringement

Spinrilla is liable for copyright infringement by its users, a Georgia federal judge has ruled in a big win for music rightsholders. The RIAA in February 2017 sued Spinrilla and its founder, Jeffery Dylan Copeland, on behalf of UMG, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Bros. Records, Atlantic Recording Corporation and LaFace Records in a copyright complaint that alleged the site allows its users to stream and download content without licensing it. – Ashley Cullins, Billboard


The 20 best songs of 2020

We kick off our end of 2020 music coverage with Guardian critics’ favourite songs of 2020. There were 390 songs voted for in all, and The Weeknd is the only Canadian on the list. – Ben Beaumont-Thomas and Laura Snapes, The Guardian

Pogues singer Shane MacGowan to be subtitled in a new film about his life

A late decision has been made to subtitle The Pogues singer Shane MacGowan for this week's UK release of a documentary about his life. The film, titled Crock Of Gold: A Few Rounds With Shane MacGowan, was sent to the press without subtitles. But after some said it was hard to work out what the star was saying, subtitles have been added for the cinema release. – Colin Paterson, BBC

When Dolly was dark: How Dolly Parton went from bard of death and cruelty to the avatar of goodness

In the book, Parton herself seems surprised by the darkness of her youthful imagination. “Only when I start talking about it or thinking about it do I realize how morbid I really am. People always say, ‘You just seem so happy.’ I say, ‘Yeah, but I can certainly write you a morbid song!’”–  LA Times

Nick Cave is angry about the censorship of Fairytale of New York

In the latest edition of his Red Hand Files newsletter, Nick Cave, Shane MacGowan’s friend and occasional collaborator, takes the position that the BBC shouldn’t play the song at all if the station is only going to play the censored version. – Stereogum

Blue Oyster Cult drummer reveals the truth about cowbell on 'Don't Fear the Reaper,' says it sounded like 'crap' first

"Hey, I got an idea, let me play it with the timpani mallet." – Ultimate Guitar

Elton John says he owns more than 130,000 CDs and vinyl records

The singer also said he "definitely prefer[s] LPs." – Matthew Neale, NME

50 Cent

50 Cent


50 Cent Takes A Victory Lap at Toronto's Cabana Pool Bar: Canadian Concerts of the Week

Also this week: it's festival season, with Hillside, Le Festif! and the Vancouver Folk Music Festival all happening on the same weekend.

Summer is in swing, and that means festival season. While many of the biggest ones take place in August, this weekend sees a handful of folk or adjacent events with the perfect summer vibes. Find those below, after our concert of the week featuring one of the biggest rap success stories of the last two decades.

Concert of the Week

50 Cent at Cabana Pool Bar, Toronto — Saturday, July 20

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