Music Biz Headlines, Feb. 22, 2021

Strumbellas frontman Simon Ward (pictured) reveals his health crisis, Oscar Peterson’s Heritage Minute omits his music, and a major Leonard Cohen exhibition is now free online. Others in the headlines include Joni Mitchell, Duane “D.O.” Gibson, Drake, Pineo & Loeb, No Frills, UMG, Irving Azoff, The Beach Boys, Virgin, Kimye, Marilyn Manson, WMG, Panic! At The Disco, Kat Von D, Dolly Parton, Johnny Pacheco, Bruce Springsteen, the White Stripes, and Meredith Monk.

Music Biz Headlines, Feb. 22, 2021

By Kerry Doole

Strumbellas lead singer Simon Ward on path to healing after mental health crisis

A few days before the Strumbellas were set to embark on a Canadian concert tour in January 2020, they dropped a bombshell announcement: the entire 14-city run of shows was being postponed as one of the band’s own sought treatment for an unspecified illness. Frontman Simon Ward now reveals he was that member. – David Friend, CP

Wait just a minute: There’s no Oscar Peterson music in the jazz icon’s new Heritage Minute?

You can’t take the Canadiana out of Oscar Peterson, but you can leave out the Canadiana Suite. A new Heritage Minute that celebrates the late jazz giant employs no Peterson recordings, nor does it use any of his own compositions or standards famously in his repertoire. Instead, a lively score composed by Peterson protégé Robi Botos accompanies the clip. – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail


Joni Mitchell: how rock misogyny made me into a militant fan

It took Joe Muggs until his 30s to get into Mitchell’s grown-up music, but once it clicked, the whole history of music was rewritten in his head. – Joe Muggs, The Guardian

Amplify: As the pandemic drags on, I worry about its impact on the arts community

Pre-Covid, one of the primary joys of living in downtown Toronto was ready access to the city’s rich, diverse arts scene – any night of the week, you could catch a rising local singer in an intimate bar, see a Broadway-bound musical at a soft-seater theatre or watch a world-renowned dance troupe perform. – Tabassum Siddiqui, Globe and Mail

MAC's Leonard Cohen exhibit A Crack in Everything available for free online

The virtual version of the 2017 exhibition is available across Canada, in English or French, until Feb. 12, 2024. – T'Cha Dunlevy, Montreal Gazette

‘To be a rapper, you really have to be real and genuine’ Duane Gibson on motivation and connecting with youth

“Stay driven.” For 20 years, that message has been the underlying theme of Toronto hip-hop veteran Duane “D.O.” Gibson’s presentations at over 1,000 schools across Canada. – Nick Krewen Toronto Star

Here's what Drake's exes have said about him

Drake has become super famous, and that has put him in a lot of very public relationships. – Stephanie Harper, TheThings

Revisiting Black radio in Toronto with Angeline Tetteh-Wayoe

The host of CBC's The Block recalls her early days in Toronto radio at Flow 93.5 and Canada's struggle to serve a Black audience. – Radheyan Simonpillai, NOW


Beatles’ Hey Jude gets a fresh spin from Halifax DJs Pineo & Loeb and Alan Frew

Halifax electronic dance music duo Pineo & Loeb recently released an updated version of the Beatles’ Hey Jude, with vocals by Glass Tiger’s Alan Frew, in time for a rare live set at the Derby Show Bar. Pineo & Loeb is known for putting their own spin on classic rock hits in the midst of their dance floor-cramming sets. – Stephen Cooke, Chronicle-Herald

People in Toronto are living for this grocery store's music that's played around the city

Name a better soundtrack to walk the fluorescent aisles of No Frills to than a hip-hop banger about bananas. The no-fuss grocery store went all out with a full 13-track grocery-themed album release back in September after the hit success of the Covid-19-themed single A Cart Apart dropped in the summer. – BlogTO


Irving Azoff buys Beach Boys rights in what is likely a $100M plus deal 

Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artists Group has acquired a controlling stake in the Beach Boys’ intellectual property, including the band’s sound recordings, brand, select musical compositions, and memorabilia. However, much of the band’s evergreen 1960s-era catalog remains owned by UMG, which acquired Beach Boys recordings via the $1.9bn buyout of EMI Music in 2012. – Murray Stassen, MBW

Universal launches Virgin Music Label & Artist Services around the world, rebranding Caroline and Caroline International

UMG has launched Virgin Music Label & Artist Services – a new global division serving independent artists and labels that UMG says is "inspired and influenced by the spirit and ethos of the iconic Virgin Records label". The move sees US-based Caroline – the independent services division of Capitol Music Group – as well as Caroline operations in the UK, France and Germany renamed Virgin Music Label & Artist Services. – MBW


Tencent leads $57M Pex funding round

Digital rights technology provider Pex has announced a $57 million investment round that includes Tencent, Tencent Music Entertainment, the CueBall Group, NexGen Ventures Partners, Amaranthine along witt existing investors. The new investment will help scale Pex’s Attribution Engine which creates a single marketplace for digital content. –Hypebot


3 disruptive trends shaping music and entertainment in 2021 and beyond

The analysts at MIDiA have identified and tracked three disruptive trends shaping the music and entertainment industries in 2021 and beyond. – Mark Mulligan, Hypebot 

Marilyn Manson under investigation by LA County Sheriff’s Department over abuse accusations

The department is looking into accusations made by Manson’s past partners, including Evan Rachel Wood. – Lindsay Ellefson, The Wrap

Warner Music Group buys minority stake in Saudi Arabia’s Rotana Music

Warner Music Group (WMG) has made an investment in Saudi Arabia’s Rotana Group-owned Rotana Music, which is claimed to be the largest record label in the Middle East.
 The deal – believed to be an eight-figure acquisition for a minority stake – will expand WMG’s presence in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region. The deal values the Saudi company "at close to $200 million." – Murray Stassen, MBW

Will Black Nashville get the reckoning it deserves?

Earlier this month, country music's longstanding problem with race became a hot topic after newly minted country chart-topper Morgan Wallen was caught on tape drunkenly shouting a racist slur.  Nashville-based writers Jewly Hight and Andrea Williams discuss the backlash to Wallen’s actions (and lack thereof), the institutions working to highlight marginalized voices in Nashville and emerging Black artists who deserve more attention. – Marissa Lorusso and Lyndsey McKenna, NPR

Lawyer: Ex-Panic! At The Disco musician to face US charges

Federal prosecutors are expected to file drug and weapons charges against Brent Wilson, the original bass guitarist for Panic! At The Disco, the musician’s lawyer told a Las Vegas judge on Wednesday. Wilson has been jailed since Jan. 22 on felony drug possession and gun charges. – AP

Kat Von D's Miles Davis tattoo draws copyright infringement suit

A Los Angeles photographer is suing celebrity tattoo artist Kat Von D over a Miles Davis tattoo she drew for a customer and posted to Instagram, according to a 31-page complaint filed early Feb. in California federal court. – Claudia Rosenbaum, Billboard

Pandemic causes Carnegie Hall to miss season for first time

Carnegie Hall will miss an entire season for the first time for the first time in its 130-year history. It said on Feb. 18 it was cancelling performances from April 6 through July at its three venues, extending a closure that started last March 13 due to the  pandemic. Carnegie hopes to reopen in October for its 2021-22 season and intends a delayed season announcement in late spring. – AP


Dolly Parton asks for statue plans to go on hold

Country star Dolly Parton has requested that Tennessee state legislature remove a bill for a statue of her on the grounds of Nashville's State Capitol government building. The 9 to 5 singer tweeted to say that now was not the right time. "Given all that is going on in the world, I don't think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time," she said. – BBC

You could call the show Love Will Tear Us Apart': Russell T Davies on the music of It's a Sin

The series creator and director Peter Hoar on the uncoolest anthems of the 80s, being given the nod by Kate Bush and how a soundtrack can make or break a story. – Alim Kheraj, The Guardian

The essential guide to Johnny Pacheco and Fania Records, the Latin Motown: Listen

    If the New York salsa scene were its own galaxy — a glittering cluster where artists from across the Caribbean and the United States orbited around one another in a feverish dance — the late Johnny Pacheco was the gravitational pull that held them together. Pacheco, the famed bandleader, flutist, percussionist and co-founder of the groundbreaking salsa label Fania Records, died last week. – Suzy Exposito, LA Times 


    Springsteen lonely DWI bust a warning to rock god dreamers

    What makes it so sad is that it wasn’t some Saturday night party drunk riding a motorcycle in the park, but a reeking, glassy-eyed Bruce Springsteen, honored elder statesman of rock 'n roll. He was popped for DWI on Nov. 14 at Gateway National Recreation Area in Sandy Hook, near the lighthouse, the setting for a couple of his music videos. – JD Mullane, Bucks County Courier Times

    From The Basement makes an ironclad case that the White Stripes were a beautifully pure team

    The Detroit rock duo have unearthed a full recording of a 2005 live performance in London. – Mike Usinger, NOW

    ‘Kimye’ is no more: Kardashian files to divorce West

    Kim Kardashian West filed for divorce from Kanye West Friday after 6 1/2 years of marriage, court records show. The move brings an impending end to one of the most followed celebrity unions of the 21st century — the marriage of a reality TV superstar and a hip-hop and fashion phenomenon with four kids, a vast fortune to split and even more fame. – Andrew Dalton, AP

    Unique voice in American music offers lessons on creative risk

    Meredith Monk is the kind of artist that people like to call a national treasure. As the spiritual godmother of a singing style known as “extended vocal technique,” her striking compositions get stuck in your head like an advertising jingle, but point in the opposite direction from cluttered consumer culture. – Around the O - Oregon

    Burton Cummings

    Burton Cummings

    Legal News

    The Guess Who's Burton Cummings Will Give Up His Royalties to Stop Alleged 'Cover Band'

    The Canadian musician has cancelled performing license agreements for all of his songs, which will prevent the act currently performing under The Guess Who name from playing hits like "American Woman" and "These Eyes."

    Canadian musician Burton Cummings is giving up his royalties to protect his legacy.

    The "American Woman" singer and co-founder of classic Winnipeg band The Guess Who has cancelled his performance license agreements, Rolling Stone reports, in an effort to prevent the current iteration of The Guess Who from performing.

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