Music Biz Headlines, Feb. 15, 2021

Juno winner Dominique Fils-Aimé (pictured) completes her trilogy, a look back at Canadian R&B stars, and the controversy around Morgan Wallen continues. Others in the headlines include Merck Mercuriadis, Brian Vollmer, Phoebe Bridgers, Smoke Wagon Blues Band, MSO, Bryan Adams, Rough Trade, Willie Dunn, WMG, Vivendi, Lil Uzi Vert, Todd Rundgren, New Order, Dwight Yoakam, Kacey Musgraves, Taylor Swift, and Oscar songs.

Music Biz Headlines, Feb. 15, 2021

By Kerry Doole

Singer Dominique Fils-Aimé finds inspiration by looking to Black history

There’s a reason every Dominique Fils-Aimé album has been released in February: Black History Month. “I wanted to underline the link between Black history and music genres,” the Juno Award winner and Polaris Music Prize finalist recently said. Her final album in a trilogy, Three Little Words, was released Feb. 12. – Nick Krewen, Toronto Star

How Canadian R&B became a humble hero in a world of flashy stadium lights

From Salome Bey to Deborah Cox to Daniel Caesar, celebrating 60 years of working toward today's golden era. – CBC Music

Black Canadian musicians on the artists who inspired them, from Aretha Franklin to Salome Bey

In honour of Black History Month, The Globe and Mail asked a number of significant Black Canadian musicians to talk about their influences. They all chose to discuss hugely talented artists, but they focused as much on community, positive messages and mentorial inspiration as they did on music. – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail


Dive deep into Toronto’s music history with this new online exhibit

Heritage Toronto's Sounds Like Toronto project explores everything from Speaker's Corner to Vazaleen parties at the El Mocambo. – Richard Trapunski, NOW

As music rights sales heat up, Merck Mercuriadis swoops in with big offers

Over the past three years, he’s forged a more public name for himself as the founder of Hipgnosis, which has been on a buying spree throughout the record business. The company is paying billions of dollars for full or partial ownership rights to thousands upon thousands of iconic songs, including the work of many Canadians. – David Friend, CP

Hamilton’s Smoke Wagon Blues Band wins big at national blues awards

Sometimes recognition moves slowly. It took 25 years to finally catch up to the Smoke Wagon Blues Band. The seven-piece Hamilton band’s latest album “The Ballad of Albert Johnson” (and its producer Steve Sherman) won the Maple Blues Award earlier this month for “recording/producer” of the year. – Graham Rockingham, Hamilton Spectator

Thanks to  Jose Antonio Abreu and the Venezuelan School of conducting for the Montreal Symphony’s new maestro: Rafael Payare

Conductors are made, not born, and the manufacturing process remains something of a mystery. Yes, there have been some famous teachers, from Ilya Musin in Saint Petersburg to Hans Swarowsky in Vienna to Hideo Saito in Tokyo. But in recent years a seemingly unlikely candidate has joined them in Caracas, Venezuela: Jose Antonio Abreu. – William Littler, Toronto Star


Helix frontman Brian Vollmer to share road stories

Brian Vollmer, frontman of Canadian band Helix, announced this week he is working on The Golden Age of the Canadian Bar Circuit, a book about musicians on the road. – John R. Kennedy,  iHeartRadio

51 songs Bryan Adams wrote for other artists

One of Canada's most prolific composers has lent his songwriting talent to dozens of fellow musicians over the years. – Ultimate Classic Rock

Record Rewind: Rough Trade’s ‘For Those Who Think Young’ at 40

Rough Trade were innovators. Equal parts new wave, punk, and pop, this Toronto-based band led by Carole Pope and Kevan Staples marched to their own beat.  Forty years ago, the band released its second album (For Those Who Think Young) on Bernie Finkelstein’s True North Records. – David McPherson, Amplify

A documentary about The Weeknd’s Super Bowl halftime show is on the way

The Canadian musician performed at the NFL event recently, attracting major media attention. – Rhian Daly, NME

Canadian jazz legend reflects on career, Africville roots

Jazz musician Joe Sealy — who won a Juno award for his 'Africville Suite' and lived in Halifax— reflected on his past in a virtual African Heritage Month event. – Michael Lightstone, Halifax Today

‘Unsung musical hero’: New anthology highlights Indigenous musician Willie Dunn

A new anthology of music from late Indigenous singer-songwriter Willie Dunn is hoping to set the record straight on “one of Canada’s unsung musical heroes.” Light in the Attic says it’s planning to release a remastered collection of 22 songs that serves as a “definitive overview” of the Montreal-born artist, who is of mixed Mi’kmaq and Scottish/Irish background. “Creation Never Sleeps, Creation Never Dies: The Willie Dunn Anthology,” is due on March 19. – David Friend, CP



Warner Music Group Corp. announces quarterly cash dividend

On Feb. 11, Warner Music Group Corp.  announced that its Board of Directors declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.12 per share on WMG’s Class A Common Stock and Class B Common Stock, representing an aggregate quarterly dividend of approximately $61.7 million. The dividend is payable on March 1, to stockholders of record as of the close of business on February 22. – GlobeNewswire


Vivendi unveils IPO plan for UMG

Vivendi is putting a plan in motion to list 60% of its share of Universal Music Group on the Euronext market in Amsterdam. The timeline for the long-discussed UMG IPO likely moves into the second half of this year. A Vivendi shareholders’ meeting has been set for 3/29 to modify the company’s by-laws and make the distribution possible. – HitsDailyDouble

Morgan Wallen posts an apology over his use of a racial slur

A week after a video emerged of Morgan Wallen using the N-word, Wallen has released a five-minute post via Instagram announcing that he has met with Black leaders and that he has been sober for nine days. “The video you saw was me on hour 72 of a bender, and that’s not something I’m proud of,” he says.–  Melinda Newman, Billboard 

Country music must stop coddling artists like Morgan Wallen and level the playing field for Black musicians

If the music industry wants to move the Black culture forward, then you must pay it forward. – Charlane Oliver, The Tennesseean

Jason Isbell to donate songwriting royalties from Morgan Wallen album to the NAACP

Isbell, whose song “Cover Me Up” has been a staple of Morgan Wallen’s set for some time and was included on the smash “Dangerous: The Double Album,” says he has decided to donate his royalties from the Wallen album to charity — specifically, to the NAACP. He has been very critical of disgraced star Wallen. – Chris Willman, Variety

Lil Uzi Vert reveals reason he put $24 million diamond in his forehead 

Lil Uzi Vert has finally spoken about the $24 million dollar diamond he had placed in his forehead and explained that it wasn’t a spontaneous decision. The Philly rapper recently checked in with Fat Joe on the New York rapper’s podcast and revealed that he initially planned to get a ring before thinking about his newest piercing. – Michael "Ice-Blue" Harris, Rolling Out

This week In the Hot Seat with Larry LeBlanc: Todd Rundgren, artist & producer

How many people today recognize the name Todd Rundgren? Canvass a dozen of your friends, and I’ll wager that few will know of this multi-tasking cultural giant who is a pioneering force in contemporary music. Dubbed by Rolling Stone in 1972 as, “rock’s renaissance man,” Rundgren has just been nominated for a spot in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for the 3rd time. – Larry LeBlanc, Celebrity Access


Barbara Dane’s life of defiance and song

The 93-year-old musician and co-founder of the political label Paredon reflects upon a fascinating career. – New York Times

New Order announce new live album and film

New Order have officially announced Education Entertainment Recreation, a new live album and concert film recorded during the band’s sole UK show of 2018, held at Alexandra Palace. It arrives Education Entertainment Recreation arrives May 7 via Mute. –Noah Yoo, Pitchfork

Cash in on Coldplay: investors record 10pc returns by buying hit songs

Royalty Exchange, an online auction service for song royalties, estimated that the average music investment had an annual yield of more than 10pc. – Telegraph

Dwight Yoakam sues Warner Music to reclaim rights to recordings 

The country music star pursues copyright termination in a new suit against Warner Music. Dwight Yoakam has become the latest musician — perhaps the biggest name yet — to go the court with the claim that his record label refuses to accept how copyright law protects the artist. – Eriq Gardener, Hollywood Reporter


Activists say Beverly Hills cops are playing music to keep themselves off Instagram

The department tells Vice that one particularly incident featuring Sublime’s hit ”Santeria” is ”currently under review” A Beverly Hills police officer was seen on camera playing music on his phone during a live-streamed interaction with a citizen. – Los Angeles Magazine

Phoebe Bridgers discusses SNL guitar smash and Marilyn Manson on CNN

The singer-songwriter also explained the meaning behind Punisher to Christiane Amanpour.  – Noah Yoo, Pitchfork

Phoebe Bridgers' SNL guitar demolition has taught us a lesson about David Crosby and his kind

At what point do you go from being one of America’s most idealistic first-wave hippies to a miserably intolerant old fart? That’s a question Phoebe Bridgers might be rightly asking this week since David Crosby reminded the world he’s still using up valuable oxygen. Mike Usinger, Georgia Straight

The cosmic journey of Kacey Musgraves

The queen of "galactic country" is following up a career-defining album (and a divorce) with a little help from Bach, Greek tragedy, and magic mushrooms. – Rolling Stone

The day has come: Taylor Swift has released first taste of rerecorded music

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Taylor Swift released her rerecorded version of “Love Story” tonight. On Thursday, the pop star announced the release of the first single off her rerecorded “Fearless” album. The full collection, titled “Fearless (Taylor’s Version),” is set to arrive April 9 — and includes six never-released songs that originally ended up on the cutting-room floor back in 2008. – Cristi Carras, LA Times

After delivering $200M in unclaimed revenue to artists, Create Music Group is giving them a credit card

 Create Music Group is introducing a credit card that enables the artists to access those royalties as soon as they’re earned. Create Carbon is a first of its kind offering from Los Angeles-based CMG, which has been on a fast track since launching in 2015 to show artists how much they’re earning on a daily basis by compounding data across channels including Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube—and helping them secure those dollars. – Forbes

Oscars 2021: All 15 Best Original Song shortlist contenders, ranked from worst to best 

A great many things will be different about the Oscars this year, but it would take more than a world-collapsing pandemic to stop the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from upholding its proudest tradition of all: Assembling a shortlist of Best Original Songs. Here's our critique. –Indie Wire

Luminate Data Market Watch Facts & Figures: Week Ending June 13, 2024

Luminate Data Market Watch Facts & Figures: Week Ending June 13, 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.