Music Biz Headlines, Feb. 3, 2022

Neil Young's Spotify boycott continues to reverberate, Jann Arden (pictured) is out promoting her new album, and Mel Shaw is remembered. Others in the headlines include Rihanna, Drake, Sony Music, Aline, P.J. Perry, Maylee Todd, Bobby Herriot, heritage artists, one of, Roblox, Troy Carter, Chris Strachwitz, Kanye West, and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Music Biz Headlines, Feb. 3, 2022

By Kerry Doole

What Neil Young and his label are losing by pulling his music from Spotify

Neil Young's Spotify exodus is a test case for artists who dare question music industry dogma. There can be no doubt that Neil Young has yanked his music from Spotify on a point of principle. Nor that he’s fully prepared to sacrifice his earnings as a result. I also suspect that Young may be about to prove that a swathe of established artists – namely prestige catalog artists – really don’t need Spotify to survive anymore. – Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail

Canadian musicians follow Neil Young and Joni Mitchell in removing their music from Spotify over Covid misinformation

Following the lead of Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, other Canadian musicians have vowed to pull their music from Spotify in protest of Covid misinformation being spread via Joe Rogan's podcast. “If even one cent of the money Spotify earns from my music is going to pay for the opinions of someone like Joe Rogan, the chance of depriving them of that one cent is worth it,” Calgary-born folk singer-songwriter James Keelaghan told us. – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail


Nash, Young reunite against Spotify: ‘I completely agree and support my friend Neil’

Musician Graham Nash lambasts Joe Rogan’s “dishonest and unsupported” vaccine stance, pulls solo recordings from “enabler” platform. – Althea Legaspi, Rolling Stone

Is Drake dismayed over Rihanna’s pregnancy?

A forlorn shot of the rapper at the Raptors game have fans predicting ‘Take Care 2’ In 2016, Drake referred to Rihanna as “someone I’ve been in love with since I was 22 years old". – Richie Assaly, Toronto Star

The 'North Star' of the Stampeders, legendary manager Mel Shaw remembered for his passion, generosity and drive

Much of the group's success was due to the unyielding enthusiasm of their ambitious manager, Mel Shaw. He kept the band moving forward even when things looked grim and had a vision. – Eric Volmers, Calgary Herald

Setting the stage for an arts comeback

The arts industry has been decimated by Covid-19 lockdowns. Performance arts like theatre, ballet and live music have been particularly hard hit. According to the Canadian Association for Performing Arts, one in four workers in the sector lost their job in 2020. Kate Taylor tells us how people are feeling in the industry, the hopes for a comeback and how art might one day look back and reflect on this unprecedented time. – Globe and Mail


Aline: The bizarre Celine tribute film that flummoxed Cannes hits English Canada

Esthetically perched somewhere between a low-budget TV biopic and a soap opera - with occasional flourishes of bonkers-cheesiness worthy of cult status - Aline is the Celine Dion hagiography no one could have dreamed up except its director. –Jim Slotek, Original-Cin

At 80, award-winning saxophonist PJ Perry is still swinging new residency and ESO dates

At the age of 80, P.J. Perry is holding down his first extended residency anywhere with a quintet of gifted colleagues and friends, plumbing the art he's pursued for more than 65 years with the energy of someone half his age. – Roger Levesque, Edmonton Journal

Maylee Todd shares a mesmerizing ‘science fiction lullaby,’ plus new music from Grimes, Raveena, Charli XCX 

This week’s Star Tracks playlist also includes new music from Benny The Butcher and J. Cole, Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq and Japanese Breakfast. – Toronto Star

Obit: Bobby Herriot was ‘a major musical force who touched the lives of many’

Burlington resident had roles with concert bands in Hamilton and Burlington. – Daniel Nolan, Hamilton Spectator

Jann Arden talks about her new album, horses and how ideas fall out of the sky

The singer-songwriter-actor-activist released her 15th album, “Descendant,” on Jan. 28. – Nick Krewen, Toronto Star

Canadian legend Jann Arden talks Aerosmith, self-esteem and drying bras on radiators

There are perks to being a music writer, one of them being that stars occasionally sing just for you. Jann Arden did just that, crooning a bit of Aerosmith’s Dream On during a Zoom interview from the kitchen of her home outside Calgary. “Every time I look in the mirror, all these lines on my face getting clearer, the past is gone,” she sang, making a point melodiously about aging, listening to music and connecting to lyrics. – Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail



Sony generated $7.5B across recorded music and publishing last year

Sony Corp has today (February 2) revealed its calendar Q4 (fiscal Q3) results for 2021 – enabling MBW to calculate how the Japanese giant's music rights operation performed across the course of last year. Short conclusion? It performed very nicely. In terms of recorded music revenues across the calendar year of 2021, MBW calculates that Sony Music generated USD $5.77 billion – up 25.2%, or $1.16 billion, on the equivalent figure from 2020. –  MBW


Now Warner scraps unrecouped balances for heritage artists. Will Universal be next?

Last summer, Sony Music Group shocked the global music industry by doing something historic: announcing it was disregarding unrecouped balances for thousands of heritage artists and songwriters who had signed to the company in previous decades. On Feb, 1, one of Sony's biggest rivals has stepped up to do the same. – Warner Music Group. MBW

Universal is wiping unrecouped balances for heritage artists, say MBW sources

Earlier today, MBW raised a big question: With both Sony and now Warner confirming they are wiping unrecouped balances for thousands of  heritage artists and songwriters, is a similar announcement coming from the world’s biggest music rights company – UMG. And here’s what our very good, very senior sources are telling us today: yes, categorically, Universal is introducing a policy that will see unrecouped balances disregarded for eligible catalog songwriters and artists on its books. – Tim Ingham, MBW

Quincy Jones-backed NFT platform OneOf partners with WMG

Warner Music Group is ramping up its activity in the NFT world. NFT platform OneOf, described as a “Green Web3 Company built for music” has announced that it has formed, what it calls, a “first-of-its-kind preferred partnership” with WMG, which will see the company create exclusive NFTs for WMG artists. OneOf was co-founded in partnership with Quincy Jones. – Murray Stassen, MBW

Why more musicians haven’t joined Neil Young’s Spotify boycott over Joe Rogan

The real chart-toppers who could truly shake things up — such as Taylor Swift and the Weeknd — haven’t gone anywhere. A stew of political hesitancies, music ownership complications and business incentives make the decision difficult. –  LA Times

Roblox partners with David Guetta, Warner, and Wonderworks studio

Gaming platform Roblox is throwing a “First of its Kind DJ Party” featuring a virtual performance by an avatar of superstar producer and DJ David Guetta. Created in partnership with Roblox developer Wonder Works Studio and Warner Music Group (WMG), the DJ set will premiere this Friday, February 4. – MBW


Troy Carter on the future of music streaming

Troy Carter is CEO of Q&A, a technology and media company focused on powering the business of music via distribution, services, and data analytics. He has also managed such star artists as Lady Gaga and Eve, and worked for Spotify as its Global Head of Creator Services, and here he discusses his thoughts on the future of music streaming. –  Dan Runcie, Trapital

Sony Music Publishing launches a global wellness program

The company has launched a program called Songwriter Assistance, which will provide its global roster of songwriters and composers with access to free, confidential counseling services and wellness resources. Starting Feb. 1, Songwriter Assistance will offer 24/7 counseling support via global hotlines, as well as ongoing counseling services for emotional health matters such as stress, anxiety, depression, and family/relationship challenges. – Murray Stassen, MBW

India.Arie is pulling her music from Spotify over Joe Rogan's "language around race"

R&B legend India.Arie has announced that she'll be following Neil Young's lead by removing her music and SongVersation podcast from Spotify in light of the platform's bolstering of Joe Rogan — but she's adamant that the podcast host is problematic for more than his perpetuation of Covid vaccine misinformation. – Exclaim!

This week In the Hot Seat with Larry LeBlanc: Chris Strachwitz, founder, Arhoolie Records

At 90, Arhoolie Records/Arhoolie Foundation founder Chris Strachwitz is as vibrant as a Cajun played fiddle string. Age hasn’t slowed Strachwitz down much, even if he’s now in an assisted living home, and unable to work at Arhoolie’s California headquarters, due to Covid. While he’s genial in conversation, every now and again an impatient, brilliant mind shows in its clearest color. – Larry LeBlanc, Celebrity Access


Australia wants Kanye West fully vaccinated before any concert tour

Hip-hop artist Kanye West will have to be fully vaccinated if he wants to play concerts in Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Saturday, after media said the performer planned an Australian tour in March. – Reuters

The Smile, Tomberlin, Wiki, Hook, and more: This Week’s Pitchfork Selects playlist

Our weekly playlist highlights songs that our writers, editors, and contributors are listening to on repeat. – Pitchfork

If Roblox VP is right about the future of concerts being tied to metaverse events, get ready to love KINGSHIP

Jon Vlassopulos is not only the vice president of Roblox, but also its head of music. In an interview with NME, he suggests that the  pandemic has changed the ground rules for concertgoing. Over the past 24 miserable months, Roblox has hosted virtual reality concerts featuring the likes of Tai Verdes, Lil Nas X, and Twenty One Pilots. – Mike Usinger, Georgia Straight

Rihanna is pregnant, debuts baby bump on stroll with A$ap Rocky

Rihanna and A$ap Rocky took an epic stroll over the weekend in snowy New York to reveal she’s pregnant with her first child. Despite the frigid temperatures, the 33-year-old “Diamonds” singer and fashion mogul showed off her bump in a long open pink coat and jeans as her boyfriend beamed by her side in Harlem, which is A$ap’s hometown. – AP

They helped free Britney. Now they want justice

“There’s a larger goal ahead of us: To change the system so that this doesn’t happen to anyone else,” #FreeBritney members say. – Tomás Mier, Rolling Stone

Have the Red Hot Chili Peppers teased a new record?

Red Hot Chili Peppers fans have every reason today to be excited about, um, something. Founding member Flea took to Instagram today with the proclamation “Been nurturing the feral animal for quite a while, it’s about time to set her free.” Included in the post is a blinding neon Chili Peppers logo, and an 18-second snippet that’s light on lyrics (ie. there are none) and heavy on six-string atmospherics.–  Mike Usinger, Georgia Straight

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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