Music Biz Headlines, Feb. 11, 2021

Dan Hill (pictured) delivers an eloquent essay, everybody is talking about The Weeknd’s SB show, and the COC’s Alexander Neef creates a controversy. Also in the headlines are Margaret Atwood, Leonard Cohen, Triller, UMG, TikTok, Bruce Springsteen, New York Philharmonic, Lyte, Rihanna, Britney Spears, SNL, Six60, and music therapy.

Music Biz Headlines, Feb. 11, 2021

By Kerry Doole

‘My pain was your pain.’ On wrestling with my racial inheritance at a moment of great reckoning

In suburban Toronto of the 1950s and 60s, racism followed us wherever we went. Then as now, music helped me to find joy in the present – and strength for the injustices of the future. – Dan Hill, The Globe and Mail

The Weeknd didn't get paid a dime for playing the Super Bowl Halftime Show — In fact, he lost millions of dollars

The Weeknd didn’t just play the Super Bowl LV Halftime Show for free on Sunday night — he spent millions of his own money on the elaborate set. Several years ago, Digital Music News stumbled on a startling reality for Super Bowl Halftime performers. Despite their superstar status, the NFL doesn’t pay the artists who dazzle the stage in front of millions of viewers. Outside of an estimated $10 million production budget and related costs, the artist always plays the Super Bowl for free. –  Paul Resnikoff, Digital Music News


Rating Super Bowl LV: Event producers give The Weeknd's halftime show a B+

Overall, the nine event producers BizBash spoke with were fairly impressed with the performance and intricate set design, which were pulled off with a limited staff in the thick of a pandemic. Here's what they had to say. – Lauren Yelner, BizBash

COC’s Alexander Neef accused of importing ‘cancel culture’ to France in effort to diversify Paris Opera

The Canadian Opera Company’s outgoing general director Alexander Neef is championing major moves to increase diversity and inclusion in his new job at the Opéra national de Paris, aka the Paris Opera, where he became artistic director in September. As a result, Neef is finding himself accused of importing North American “cancel culture” to France by some commentators – and at the centre of a national debate. – J. Kelly Nestruck, Globe and Mail

Live music could return in 2021, but what are we trying to rebuild?

Covid-19 has levelled the Canadian music industry while exacerbating old problems. We look at what to keep. – CBC Music

Covid-19 is threatening Hamilton's already dwindling supply of live music venues

Hamilton's live music venues have been hit hard by the pandemic, with two taking to crowdfunding to stay alive, and others saying they're struggling to make ends meet. The Casbah and Club Absinthe have launched GoFundMe campaigns, while Doors Pub owner Tyler Berglund says We really have hit a pretty, pretty tough time now.’ – Desmond Brown, CBC News


The life and music of Leonard Cohen is explored in a new book

Canadian author Michael Posner delves into the early years of the musical icon. – Barry Davis, Jerusalem Post

Owner of Dakota Tavern, Castro’s Lounge initiates judicial review of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario

The co-owner of the Dakota Tavern has initiated a judicial review of the AGCO over what he says is “entirely unfair“ treatment regarding conditions attached to their liquor sales licence. Stephen Reid, who also owns Castro’s Lounge on Queen Street East, filed the notice for the review last Friday, saying his Ossington Avenue establishment is being penalized due to the presence of Anthony Greene, who was the one-time owner of Castro’s Lounge. – Nick Krewen, Toronto Star

Meet the Black Canadian artists pushing for more change months after George Floyd movement

Months after a racial reckoning spanned North America in response to George Floyd’s death, Black Canadian artists say there’s been progress in their field — but there is still a long way to go. Global News spoke to four emerging members of Toronto’s Black arts community to gauge whether there had been a shift in their industry in the fight against anti-Black racism and the push for more diverse representation. – Kamil Karamali, Global News


Margaret Atwood joins music project to raise awareness for gender-based violence

A brother of one of three women slain by their ex-partner in the Ottawa Valley has recruited Margaret Atwood for a music project about gender-based domestic violence. The upcoming Songs for Murdered Sisters is an eight-track album of Atwood’s poetry sung by Joshua Hopkins and with Jake Heggie on piano. CP


User-centric royalties will not lead to a significant shift in streaming payouts

A new study into the impact of a music streaming User-Centric Payment System (UCPS) to remunerate rights holders concluded that a switch to the UCPS model rather than the current pro rata model, or Market Centric Payment System (MCPS), would not fundamentally result in massive shifts in revenues but could have some benefits for under-represented music genres in the current system. – Emmanuel Legrand, Hypebot


Triller is singing a dangerous tune

After UMG declared it was pulling its music catalog from Triller, the video platform stated that it did not require a deal with UMG "to continue operating as [we have] been since the relevant artists are already shareholders or partners on Triller, and thus can authorize their usage directly". What constitutes "usage" is up for interpretation. But if it means "the licensed use of recorded music that Universal Music Group controls", this is plain wrong. – MBW

Daniel Ek: 3 things we learned from Spotify’s boss on the company’s Q4 earnings call 

Spotify published a mixed bag of results in its Q4 2020 investor update last week (February 3). Amongst the good news was that SPOT exceeded the top end of its guidance for premium subscriber growth in 2020, hitting 155 million paid subs in Q4 (Ended December 30). – MBW

Concerts are coming back to New York — Cuomo announces 300 'pop-up' gigs

New York State will host concerts for the first time in a year. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces 300 pop-up gigs through Labor Day. – Ashley King, Digital Music News

UMG teams with Big Hit and YG Entertainment for a live-streaming venture

Universal Music Group is joining forces with two K-Pop titans – Big Hit Entertainment and YG Entertainment – to invest in a new digital live-streaming platform with ambitions “on a global scale”. Big Hit has announced that both YG and UMG have acquired an equity stake in KBYK Live, a joint venture that was established between Big Hit and Kiswe last year. – MBW

Universal's Michael Nash and TikTok's Ole Obermann on the companies' new pact (interview)

A lot can change in less than a year. Just 10 months ago Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) was reported by the FT to be “weighing legal action” against TikTok. On February 8, TikTok and UMPG parent company Universal Music Group announced an “expanded global alliance” that will see both sides “experiment with exciting new features”. Obviously enough, the deal means that TikTok users will be able to legally incorporate clips from UMG’s full catalog of music – MBW


New York Philharmonic launches on-demand streaming service

The New York Philharmonic launched an on-demand video and audio streaming service Monday called NYPhil+ that is available for $50 annually or $4.99 monthly. Initial selections include David Lang’s Prisoner of the State and Julia Wolfe’s Fire in My Mouth, and a new concert featuring conductor David Robertson and pianist Emanuel Ax. – AP

Quincy Jones-backed ticketing platform Lyte tops $38 Million in financing

Lyte has raised an additional $5 million as part of its Series B funding round. That brings the round’s total raised to $38 million. Additional investors in the extended Series B round include Uncorrelated, AllRise, BRian Distelburger, and Ed Roman. – Ashley King, DMN

Gurpreet Singh: We need to stand with Rihanna and reciprocate her gesture by celebrating Black History Month

A pop singer is under attack from supporters of India's right-wing Hindu nationalist BJP government for showing solidarity with the agitating farmers. Rihanna, a Barbadian American, put out a tweet last week wondering why nobody is talking about the farmers’ protest. – Gurpreet Singh, Georgia Straight

Britney Spears fans are angry at Justin Timberlake following the airing of the Framing Britney Spears documentary

On Friday (February 5), the documentary, which details the "Toxic" singer's life and conservatorship struggles, aired on FX and Hulu. The film includes interviews with some of Spears' closest friends and co-workers, as well as past media clips. One of the older clips, addressing the former power couple's 2002 split, is a sit-down Barbara Walters interview with Timberlake. – 999KTDY


TikTok and Universal Music Group sign global licensing agreement

TikTok is now fully licensed by all three major record companies. After announcing deals with Sony Music in Nov. and Warner Music Group in Dec., The ByteDance-owned video app revealed Feb. 8 that it has struck an "expanded" global licensing agreement with Universal Music Group. The new global agreement between UMG and TikTok "delivers equitable compensation for recording artists and songwriters and significantly expands and enhances the companies’ existing relationship". – Murray Stassen, MBW

Dudamel’s bittersweet L.A. Phil gala delivers star power and most moving moments

Icons does redefine what an online fundraiser can be, as Gustavo Dudamel interacts with the likes of rapper Common, pop star Katy Perry, Latin Grammy-winning Carlos Vives, actress Natalie Portman, pianist Yuja Wang and actual icon Julie Andrews. – Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times

Saturday Night Live might not be prime time, but it’s prime real estate for music guests

Dan Aykroyd lobbied successfully to bring the Hip with him. Such a thing would not happen today. Saturday Night Live once took chances, used to break bands. Now it books veteran acts – legacy music on legacy television – or presents only the hottest newcomers. There’s no room for the nascent. – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail

Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid jealous over Six60 stadium concerts on Good Morning Britain

Thanks to NZ being covid-free, the Kiwi band gets to play big summer shows at home, making the famed UK TV hosts jealous. – Zoe Holland, NZ Herald

Music therapists are trying to help covid patients who experience loneliness

Can you sing your way through social isolation and loneliness? A music therapist in Virginia started a support group for people with COVID-19. As NPR's Elizabeth Blair reports, they connect with each other through song. – NPR

Soleil Launière
Jaime Antonio Luna Quezada

Soleil Launière


Soleil Launière wins the Francouvertes: “It means a lot to me as an Indigenous artist”

Meet the Innu artist, big winner of the 2024 edition of the showcase-competition, who is the first Indigenous artist to win since the Quebec music competition started allowing submissions in Indigenous languages.

Soleil Launière has won the 28th edition of Francouvertes, becoming the first Indigenous artist to win the Quebec-based music competition.

The multidisciplinary Innu artist from Mashteuiatsh, Quebec won the grand final of the musical showcase on Monday, May 13. The Montreal-based artist edged out rapper Sensei H and maximalist rock singer-songwriter Loïc Lafrance.

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