Music Biz Headlines, Dec. 5, 2018

A defense of Mariah Carey (pictured), terrible album covers, and boom times for Quebec's comedians make news in today's edition. Also in the headlines are creepy carols, UK indie labels, Billboard, musical fakes, One Love Malibu, Queen, Nick Lowe, Prince, Ellen Reid, Florida Georgia Line, Billy Strayhorn, The Beach Boys, John Coltrane, and Hootie & the Blowfish.

Music Biz Headlines, Dec. 5, 2018

By Kerry Doole

Here are the 21 Worst Album Covers of 2018

Those found guilty include Muse, Magic!, McCartney, and Kanye West. – Josiah Hughes, Exclaim!

Québécois standup comics are the province's real rock stars

Comedians like Louis-José Houde, Martin Matte and Mariana Mazza can sell hundreds of thousands of tickets, sometimes at rock-star prices. The province’s funny men and women have become more popular than Quebec’s rock and pop stars. – Brendan Kelly, Montreal Gazette

Shawn Mendes opens a pop-up shop in Toronto

The star launches his first-ever clothing line in collaboration with Roots. – Narcity

Have we been underestimating Mariah Carey?

With her new album Caution, she's taken back her rightful spotlight as the queen of popular R&B. But why now?  –  Kevin Hegge, NOW

Why stop at ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside'? The top ten creepiest carols that we need to nix

Cue the outrage on both sides: is “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” about date rape? Other Christmas tunes also feature dubious content. – Vinay Menon, Toronto Star



We’re all drowning in entertainment. Who’s going to rescue us?

What the avalanche of new music means – from overwhelmed listeners to algorithms that seek out unsigned talent for labels. – Tim Ingham, Rolling Stone

'It was like working in a mill, but with drugs': how indie labels reinvented British music

It’s 40 years since Rough Trade, Mute and Factory Records used an anti-industry attitude to give a voice to the likes of Joy Division and Depeche Mode. The labels’ founders recall why they had to rip things up and start again. –  Daniel Wray, The Guardian

What a shitshow

"That seems to be the industry-wide refrain in response to the latest Billboard chart flap, as the Bible’s prior anointing of Travis Scott as #1 on its Top 200 after a squeaker of a race with 6ix9ine will now be re-run and may be reversed after a challenge." – Hits Daily Double

Music's long and inglorious history of faking it

Ever since the first vinyl records were pressed in the early decades of the 20th Century, there have been attempts to hoodwink the listener into believing that certain musicians were completely authentic or that their music was much more popular than was truly the case. –  John Meagher, The Independent

The top 100 songs of 2018

Guardian music writers have picked their favourite songs of the year – from UK drill breakthroughs to pure pop anthems – and put them all on a giant playlist. –  Staff, The Guardian


Talent and touring

Even with Katy Perry and Gwen Stefani, One Love Malibu felt cozier than the average benefit concert

Unlike the slickly produced hurricane special (not to mention similar ones presented in the wake of Katrina), this show wasn’t broadcast live in prime time. Nor did it get a big push from Twitter and Facebook in its effort to provide relief to those impacted by the devastating Woolsey fire. – Mikael Wood, LA Times

Queen and Adam Lambert announce tour on heels of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ movie

Fresh off the release of a hit biopic about the band, Queen announced it is embarking on a North American tour during the summer of 2019, with Lambert in tow. – Peter Sblendorio, NY Daily News

St. Nick: The Long, Strange and Wonderful Career of Nick Lowe

He helped shape punk rock, produced Elvis Costello and spent quality time with Johnny Cash. But his best role has been as a master songwriter who never takes himself too seriously. –  Mark Binelli, Rolling Stone

Florida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard challenges country music peers to support gun control

Hubbard has thrown his support behind the End Gun Violence Together campaign launched by Blake Mycoskie of TOMS Shoes -- and he wants his colleagues across country music to join him.  –  Hilary Hughes, Billboard


Songs by Prince to be developed into an original film musical

A number of songs by the late musical star will reportedly be used to drive a fictional narrative inspired by the lyrics. – Roisin O'Connor, The Independent

Review: With Ellen Reid’s incandescent ‘prism,’ an opera composer is born

With the premiere Thursday of her stunning first opera, “prism,” Reid became the first composer to have been commissioned by L.A.’s four major classical music institutions. –  Mark Swed, LA Times

Billy Strayhorn archive acquired by Library of Congress

An original manuscript of “Take the A Train,” compositional sketches that were never completed and a revealing look at the royalty earnings of one of the 20th century’s most revered composers: These are a few of the 18,000 documents collected in Billy Strayhorn’s personal archive, which is now available to the public at the Library of Congress.  –  Giovanni Russonello, NYT


The Beach Boys’ ambitious follow-up to Pet Sounds nearly destroyed the band

 In 1966, the Beach Boys—who had had a string of hits with simple songs about sand, sun, fast cars, and pretty girls—took a creative leap forward with Pet Sounds, a response to both the previous year’s Rubber Soul from The Beatles and the overstuffed orchestrations of Phil Spector. – Mike Vago, AV Sound

Hootie & the Blowfish return with new album, tour

After a decade-long hiatus, the multi-platinum rockers will start a major tour next May. – Kristin M. Hall, AP

The most feared song in jazz, explained

John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” is the pinnacle of jazz improvisation. –  Estelle Caswell, Vox

Luminate Data Market Watch Facts & Figures: Week Ending July 11, 2024

Luminate Data Market Watch Facts & Figures: Week Ending July 11, 2024

Here is this week's Luminate Data Market Watch report which features Canadian music stats for the current week and year-to-date comparisons to last year.

Here is this week's Luminate Data Market Watch report which features Canadian music stats for the current week and YTD with comparisons to last year. This chart is published every Tuesday. The abbreviation "TEA" is a term used to describe the sale of music downloads or singles. A track equivalent album is equal to 10 tracks, or 10 songs.