Music Biz Headlines, Feb. 14, 2022

An offbeat film inspired by Celine (pictured) grabs attention, DJ Shub launches War Club, and Tears for Fears recall Toronto memories. Others in the headlines include Donny Gerrard, Stingray, Pretty Archie, Orville Peck, the Superbowl, Drake, Spotify, Sting, UMG, Reservoir, Snoop Dogg, Fleetwood Mac, and James Blunt.

Music Biz Headlines, Feb. 14, 2022

By Kerry Doole

Bananas Céline Dion biopic Aline has moments of gold and flashes of light

The new, extraordinary, enchanting and totally bananas film Aline begins with a warning. Or maybe it is an enticement. A title card appears onscreen noting that the film is “freely inspired” by the life of Céline Dion. Meaning it is not strictly speaking a movie about Céline Dion. But, well, consider the evidence. – Barry Hertz, Globe and Mail

DJ Shub launches dream touring production with ‘War Club’

Whirlwind of dance, drumming, culture and costumery has dates in Toronto and Ottawa. And one never knows who will show up from night to night. – Ben Rayner, Toronto Star

Stingray third quarter profit falls to $12.6 million despite increased revenues

Stingray Group Inc. says its net income fell to $12.6 million in its latest quarter despite an increase in revenues with a gradual easing of Covid restrictions. The Montreal-based music and media company says its profit for the quarter amounted to 18c per diluted share, compared with 19c per share or $14.1M a year earlier when it booked a gain from a settlement with SOCAN. – CP


Why is CBC radio forgetting its classical music lovers?

The CBC’s coverage of classical music simply ain’t what it used to be, William Littler writes. – Toronto Star

Donny Gerrard, lead singer of Skylark’s ‘Wildflower,’ dies at 75

Donny Gerrard’s soothing voice cradled listeners on Skylark’s 1972 hit Wildflower and drew in famous fans but despite working with Elton John and Mavis Staples, friends say he never let his immense singing talent go to his head. – David Friend, CP

Tears for Fears discuss the long road to ‘The Tipping Point’

Tears for Fears’ Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith talk about the three-day stint at Massey Hall in 1985 when they filmed the video for “Head Over Heels” at Emmanuel College Library. – NickKrewen, Toronto Star

Orville Peck shares a glammed up video, plus new music from The Rural Alberta Advantage and Pusha T

Plus, pop auteur Caroline Polachek returns with a strange and extraordinary new song, and Nigerian pop star Adekunle Gold teams up with Ty Dolla $ign. – Toronto Star

10 artists looking to take their music to the next level

For Canadian musicians, FACTOR grants are one of the major ways of securing the funding they need to bring their projects to life. Here, we highlight 10 artists who are making use of these opportunities to take their careers to the next level. – JazzFM


Review: Pretty Archie – ‘Familiar Feeling’

With the release of its new, self-titled album Pretty Archie is pretty confident that the band’s unique mix of folk, Americana, bluegrass, alt-country, and East Coast music will appeal to a wider audience than ever before. Celebrating their tenth anniversary with what is arguably their finest work to date, the band members are releasing the album via Curve Music/Warner Music. – Roots Music Canada 

Rapper Drake turns to Bitcoin for million-dollar Super Bowl bet

The musician placed a series of bets using Bitcoin worth C$1.6 million in total on Thursday, including $600K to back the Los Angeles Rams. – Emily Nicolle, Bloomberg


NME’s 20 greatest love songs of all time

Average love songs are two-a-penny, but which ones make you feel all mushy inside? – NME

With his share price sinking, could Spotify's Daniel Ek be tempted by a Big Tech buyout?

Spotify‘s institutional shareholders – Universal Music Group amongst them – can’t be best pleased. The streaming service’s share price, and therefore its market cap valuation, has plummeted by more than 50% over the past 12 months. – Tim Ingham, MBW

Spotify’s new misinformation policy probed by New York Comptroller

A letter from a top state official asks Spotify to strengthen its content rules. – Jazz Monroe, Pitchfork

Sting sells entire songwriting catalogue for over £184 million

The deal includes all his solo songs and those written for The Police. – Ali Shutler, NME


Sting sells his songwriting catalog to Universal

 On Thursday, UMG announced the acquisition of the music catalog of veteran hitmaker and 17-time Grammy Award-winner Sting. The deal encompasses Sting’s entire catalog, including his creative output with The Police.  Additionally, the agreement covers Sting’s 15 solo albums, starting with his 1985 solo debut ‘The Dream of Blue Turtles’ . In all, the transaction includes the copyrights for 600 songs, as well as Sting’s royalties as a songwriter. – Celebrity Access

Reservoir has $3bn worth of deals in 'pipeline,' & expects to spend $200m+ on M&A during first year as public firm

Last week, Reservoir Media published the financial results for its fiscal Q3 2022 (calendar Q4 2021), ended December 31, 2021. Reservoir, which floated on the NASDAQ via a merger with a SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) in July 2021, saw its total revenue in the three months ended December 31 increase by 26% to $27.1M, compared to $21.6M  in the prior year quarter. – Murray Stassen, MBW


Snoop Dogg buys Death Row Records, onetime label home and gangsta rap powerhouse

L.A.'s most infamous gangsta rap brand is now in very familiar hands. Snoop Dogg, the Long Beach rapper and business mogul whose album “Doggystyle” became one of the label’s preeminent releases, has acquired the label from the MNRK Music Group.Terms of the deal, including ownership of the label’s music catalog, were not made public. – August Brown, LA Times

The changing world of A&R

As record labels continue to evolve, A&R has changed, too. Eight executives break down how. The one thing that doesn’t change is the actual core of A&R: Is this an amazing artist, and is this a hit song? You can find somebody on TikTok, but that doesn’t mean they’re an artist in the tradition of the Streisand’s and Springsteen’s and Aretha’s.” say Pete Ganbarg President of A&R @ Atlantic Records. – Dan Rys, Billboard

Fleetwood Mac: after its 926 weeks on the chart, who’s still buying Rumours?

As it turns 45, the drug-fuelled breakup classic is outselling almost everyone on vinyl thanks to its frank songwriting, enduring virality and the patronage of Harry Styles. – Annie Zaleski, The Guardian

How Hip-Hop inched its way to the Super Bowl Halftime stage

At Sunday’s game, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar will lead the first-ever halftime performance with rap at its center. The genre has taken a roundabout path to get there. – New York Times

Omicron convoy Parliament protest: James Blunt offers to help NZ Police with his music

James Blunt, the man behind hit singles "You're Beautiful" and "Goodbye My Lover", is aware of the way the NZ Government is responding to the protesters outside Parliament - and he's keen to help. Never one to miss an opportunity for a self-deprecating joke, Blunt tagged the NZ Police on Twitter, offering to help out in case blasting Barry Manilow doesn't send protesters home. – NZ Herald


Doja Cat and Courtney Love make a badass connection in a Super Bowl Taco Bell commercial 

When the Super Bowl aired Sunday, American football fans saw the world of two legendary, and unapologetic, pop-music shit disturbers collide in the name of Taco Bell.–  Mike Usinger, Georgia Straight

The Beaches performing at Billboard Canada's Women in Music Launch on June 5, 2024
Marc Thususka Photography

The Beaches performing at Billboard Canada's Women in Music Launch on June 5, 2024


The Beaches, Charlotte Cardin, Allison Russell Make the 2024 Polaris Music Prize Long List

The 40-album long list for the Polaris Prize, which awards $50,000 to the best Canadian record of the year features up-and-comers like punk group NOBRO and producer Bambii, plus rapper TOBi, and legends like Quebec group Karkwa and previous Heritage Prize winner Beverly Glenn-Copeland.

Some of the country's biggest breakthrough artists are in contention for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize.

The 40-album long list was revealed today (June 11) at Sonic Boom record store in downtown Toronto. It features some of the buzziest names in Canadian music, from The Beaches — who were recently awarded Billboard Canada Women in Music's inaugural Group of the Year award — to Grammy-winner Allison Russell, to Canadian Hot 100 charting acts like Charlotte Cardin and Talk, to underground mainstays like Cindy Lee, who had an organic breakthrough this year with Diamond Jubilee.

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