Music Biz Headlines, Feb. 18, 2021

Buffy Sainte-Marie (pictured) reflects upon a classic interview, the impact of Northern Touch is recalled, and Dan Hill gets emotional. Others in the headlines include Missy D, Stompin’ Tom, Big Hit, UMG, Vivendi, Merck Mercuriadis, Triton Digital ,TikTok, Vevo, X, Justin Timberlake, Alice Cooper, Archie Roach, Midnight Oil, ACM Awards, and Chick Corea.

Music Biz Headlines, Feb. 18, 2021

By Kerry Doole

Kardinall Offishal, Thrust, Choclair and DJ Kemo reflect on the importance of ‘Northern Touch’

The Juno-winning Canadian hip-hop anthem is still notorious after more than 20 years. – Katie Scott  e-talk

40 at 40: Buffy Sainte-Marie discusses what we weren’t ready for in 1988

In the first of our series revisiting 40 memorable covers from the past 40 years, we check in with the Oscar-winning musician three decades after her April 14, 1988 cover. – Glenn Sumi and Daryl Jung, NOW

Hill accepts who he is. “I was born intense, I am intense,” he says. “That will never change.” Hill is 66 years old now. If his new album is any indication, what he says is true. On the Other Side of Here, his first new record in 11 years, is marked by redlining honesty top to bottom. – Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail


Vancouver's Missy D on dropping the recorder in Zimbabwe and falling in love with hip-hop

Missy D remembers well the day her love affair with hip-hop started. She was an 11-year-old schoolkid in Zimbabwe, and her class was preparing for the year-end talent show. But they were learning to play the recorder, which isn't the most thrilling instrument in the world. "We pretty much sucked," recalls the 29-year-old rapper on the line from her East Van home. – Steve Newton, Georgia Straight 

Recently discovered sketch of a young Stompin’ Tom Connors generates artistic buzz

Decked out in his trademark Stetson and plywood-pounding cowboy boots, it’s hard to imagine country-folk legend Stompin’ Tom Connors as a male model. And yet, a recently acquired artist’s drawing from the 1950s — obtained by the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton — offers a revealing glimpse of the troubadour as a lanky, squared-jawed teen. – Canadian Press

Brownstein: The passing of Skip Snair, a Montreal legend nonpareil

He was many things: bartender, raconteur, concert promoter, kids' charity fundraiser. And oh, member of the Rolling Stones' entourage. – Bill Brownstein, Montreal Gazette


Big Hit and Universal to 'rewrite global music history' with new JV label, expanded partnership

UMG and Korea's Big Hit Entertainment have announced details of a “history making project” that will see the two companies jointly assemble and debut a new K-pop boy band. The as-yet-undiscovered group's music will be released under a LA-based joint venture record label created by Big Hit in partnership with UMG and the latter company's Geffen Records. UMG boss Sir Lucian Grainge says the project will "further accelerate K-pop as a global cultural phenomenon". – Murray Stassen, MBW


Vivendi shares surge 16% on plan to list Universal Music Group

Shares in Vivendi surged more than 16% on Monday after the French media group said that it may spin out Universal Music Group business in Amsterdam and distribute 60% of the capital to investors by year end.  – Market watch

Vivendi shares soar on Universal Music float plan

"Vivendi's leading institutional shareholders have been pressing for a number of years for a split or the distribution of Universal Music Group," it said. A listing stock market presence could give Universal more financial clout to compete. – Ben Woods, The Telegraph

Merck Mercuriadis faces the future and stares down his critics

There’s always a danger to putting one’s head above the parapet: you might get shot at. Since founding Hipgnosis Songs Fund in 2018, Merck Mercuriadis hasn’t just peered over the music industry’s parapet, of course – he’s bounded to his feet, then shimmied and moon walked across its perimeter, grinning as he goes. – MBW

Another giant podcast buy: iHeartMedia to acquire Triton Digital for $230 million

iHeartMedia has entered into an agreement with The E.W. Scripps Company to acquire Triton Digital for $230 million. Operating in more than 50 countries, Triton Digital is an Advertising Technology SaaS platform for audio streaming, podcasting and metrics that enables publishers to monetize their audiences. iHeart’s acquisition joins a tidal wave of podcast acquisitions in the music and audio space of late, with Spotify spending over $800 million on podcast-specific buyouts in the past two years. – Murray Stassen, MBW


These artists are making HOW MUCH on TikTok?

Any artist who ignores the potential revenue streams of TikTok are doing so at their own peril. According to one study I’ve seen, the amount of money that can be earned through people user 30-second clips of their songs is staggering. The Weeknd and the Biebs are amongst those cleaning up. –  Alan Cross, A Journal of Musical Things


Answers to questions about copyright in 2021

Hypebot reports: “Although they were easy to miss in the end of year kerfuffle, several new copyright bill and proposals were not only announced, but in some cases have already gone into law. Here we answer some questions about what the copyright landscape will look like moving into 2021.” – Digital Media Wire

Vevo launches moods, an ad product that targets users based on their emotions

Vevo has launched a new curation product called Moods, designed to help advertisers target the platform’s users more effectively.  – MBW

$424 Million up for grabs as music streaming services fill MLC’s black box 

The Mechanical Licensing Collective announced Tuesday that it has received a total of $424,384,787 in accrued historical unmatched royalties from Spotify, Apple Music and other digital service providers, along with corresponding data reports that identify the usage related to these royalties. – Jem Aswad, Variety 

‘I know I failed’: Justin Timberlake apologizes to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson

In a lengthy social media post, Justin Timberlake says that he wants to apologize to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson “because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed.” Timberlake’s social media post comes a week after the release of “The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney,” the FX and Hulu documentary.  – Mesfin Fekadu,  AP

Spotify releases an exclusive Morgan Wallen 'enhanced album' for fans

Just days after removing Morgan Wallen from a number of high-profile country playlists, Spotify has launched a dedicated ‘enhanced album’ playlist for the singer’s fans. Wallen also appears to be getting slowing reinstated on other heavily-trafficked country playlists. – Digital Music News

Alice Cooper reunites with is original band for ‘Detroit Stories’

Alice Cooper has reunited once again with his original band members Neal Smith, Dennis Dunaway and Michael Bruce for two tracks on his 28th album ‘Detroit Stories’. The Alice Cooper Band released their first album ‘Pretties For You’ in 1969 and broke up after their seventh album ‘Muscle of Love’ in 1973. – Paul Cashmere, Noise11


Archie Roach reveals he was critically ill during Arias performance

Acclaimed Indigenous singer/songwriter Archie Roach has revealed that he was critically ill at the time of his induction into the Aria hall of fame last November, performing from a venue near the hospital with a medical team in tow – and an ambulance waiting outside. – Andrew Stafford, The Guardian

Midnight Oil will perform a warm-up show in Sydney ahead of their 2021 Australian dates

Midnight Oil will perform at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney on 25 February with many special guests. The show will launch the Makaratta Live tour which officially kicks off in Queensland at Sirromet Wines, Mt Cotton on 28 February. – Paul Cashmere, Noise11 

The Academy of Country Music Awards is coming back to Nashville at three different venues

The ACM and Dick Clark Productions announced on Tuesday that the show will return on April 18 and air on CBS from the Grand Ole Opry House, the Ryman Auditorium and the Bluebird Cafe. The awards show, normally held in Las Vegas in April, used the same Nashville locations when the coronavirus pandemic delayed their show to last September. – AP

The improbable story of X, LA’s greatest cult band

Picking up where their heroes The Doors left off, roots-punk firebrands X documented California’s dark underbelly in the late 70s. –  Kevin Murphy, Loudersound

Herbie Hancock on Chick Corea: ‘He always wanted to share whatever he had’

“There was never one hint of competition; it was all inspiration,” Hancock says, looking back on more than 50 years’ worth of collaboration with his friend and fellow pianist after Corea’s death. –  Hank Shteamer, Rolling Stone


'This isn't just sex, drugs and rock and roll': The music industry says it is in crisis

For Greg Carey, this week offers a strange dichotomy. On the one hand, he's waiting to see whether the new album from The Rubens, the Hottest 100-winning band he manages, will snare the number-one spot on the ARIA charts.  On the other, he's trying to comprehend what the immediate future of his business looks like should the JobKeeper wage subsidy end, as expected, next month.–  ABC 

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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