Music Biz Headlines, Jan. 11, 2021

An in-depth profile of Neil Peart (pictured), Todd Kerns interviews his peers, and Angela Hewitt is featured by EMV. Also in the headlines are Luca Fogale, Brian Cherney, Raine Hamilton, Kellarissa, Grimes, Roblox, streaming stats, David Bowie, Nicki Minaj, Jeopardy, and Nick Kent.

Music Biz Headlines, Jan. 11, 2021

By FYI Staff

The spirit of Neil Peart

Rush’s virtuoso drum hero lived by his own rules, to the very end. For the first time since Peart’s passing a full year ago, his bandmates and widow discuss his legacy and his final years. – Brian Hiatt,  Rolling Stone

Toronto music predictions for 2021: when will concerts return?

Livestream concerts aren't going away, but they will get better. Plus: more Spotify backlash, musician solidarity and more. –  Richard Trapunski, NOW

Luca Fogale sits at the piano every day

On any given day you’re likely to find songwriter Luca Fogale sitting at his 1974 Yamaha upright piano in his Burnaby, BC, basement, eyes closed, waiting for the muse. He bought the instrument, which he calls “my little old friend,” 10 years ago. “I sit there without fail every day,” says Fogale. The piano is the anchor of the Canadian songwriter’s home studio, where he goes to create and collaborate. It is also where the song sketches for the dozen songs on Nothing is Lost – his most recent record, released last Sept. – were written. – David McPherson, Words & Music


Hewitt headlines Early Music Vancouver's talent-loaded 2021 programs

The Ottawa-born Angela Hewitt has a strong Vancouver fan base which will be delighted to hear from her in 2021. – David Gordon Duke, Vanc Sun

New Canadian albums in 2021 expected from Drake, Weather Station and Robin Thicke

Hopes in the music industry that the new year would be any different than the last one were quickly dashed with the announcement this week that the 2021 Grammys were postponed to March 14. Expect some major new Canadian records though. – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail

Todd Kerns interviews fellow rockers on his Youtube page

Todd Kerns, the former singer-guitarist for the Age of Electric and the longtime bassist for Slash, has begun interviewing fellow rockers on his YouTube page, and last week he chatted with Richard Fortus, who is best known for kicking ass on guitar with Guns N' Roses, alongside Slash. Previous guests include Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple, Steve Stevens from Billy Idol's band, Doug Aldrich from Whitesnake, and Phil Campbell of Motorhead. – Steve Newton, Georgia Straight


Music professor Brian Cherney appointed to the Order of Canada

Brian Cherney, a professor of composition at the Schulich School of Music has been appointed a Member of the Order of Canada (OOC). Cherney was recognized “for his lifelong devotion to Canadian music, as an internationally renowned composer, educator and scholar,” according to the OOC citation. – Neale McDevitt, McGill Reporter

Scaling new heights

Winnipeg singer-songwriter Raine Hamilton is offering sneak peeks of her mountain-inspired new album. – Eva Wasney, Winnipeg Free Press

On Our Radar: Kellarissa sees the black humour in these grim and isolated times with "Kensington Carol"

The post-Gregorian-chant song is built around Kellarissa’s patented dream-world synths and enchantingly-ethereal vocals—both of which give things an air that’s elegantly somber. – Mike Usinger, Georgia Straight

Grimes reveals she has Covid-19

On Jan. 9, Grimes took to Instagram Stories to reveal she has Covid-19. "Finally got Covid but weirdly enjoying the DayQuil fever dream ... 2021," she wrote, followed by a leaf and fairy emoji. –Lindsay Haven, Billboard


MPs urge chancellor to save summer music festivals as live music faces ruin

UK MPs have written to the chancellor, asking him to launch a Covid-19 insurance scheme to protect live music. It comes days after a parliamentary inquiry heard that the majority of UK festivals face ruin if they are forced to cancel events for a second summer. – Mark Savage, BBC


Warner Music makes ‘eight-figure’ investment in gaming platform Roblox

Online gaming platform Roblox announced last week that it has raised $520M in new Series H funding with investors that include Warner Music Group and the Investment Group of Santa Barbara. The announcement was made in advance of the company’s plan to float on the stock exchange in a direct listing, similar to the one made by Spotify in 2018. – Jem Aswad, Variety

Nearly a third of all streams in the US last year were of hip-hop and R&B artists

Over 30% of all on-demand audio and video streams in the US last year were of tracks recorded by R&B and hip-hop artists. That's according to new stats from industry monitor MRC Data. In on-demand video streams, that category actually claimed over a third of all plays, at 33.9%.  In terms of audio streams, 'R&B/hip-hop' claimed 30.7% of all on-demand plays. Across audio and video streams combined, 'R&B/hip-hop' claimed 31.1%. Rock beat Pop to second most popular streaming genre. –Tim Ingham,  MBW


Stat Of The Week: UK record industry nears $2bn in pandemic-hit 2020 – but streaming growth slows significantly

The annual amount of money spent by UK consumers on recorded music – across physical and digital sales, plus subscription streaming – grew by £98.3m ($126m) in 2020, up 6.8% year-on-year. Annual UK music subscription streaming revenues grew 15.5% in 2020, but this rise represented a significant slowing down of annual growth in this category. –Tim Ingham,  MBW 

'A legend in her own right': Carolyn Franklin, Aretha's forgotten sister

She was a genius songwriter and singer but could never escape her sibling’s shadow – and died at just 43. Family and friends including Martha Reeves and Bettye Lavette celebrate the life of a cruelly overlooked artist. – Fraser Morris, The Guardian

'His life is a rebuke to cynicism': what five years without David Bowie has taught us

In his song Five Years, Bowie imagined a dying Earth. Five years on from his death, it seems to have come true – yet he continues to uplift us. – Lynsey Hanley, The Guardian

Nicki Minaj agrees to pay Tracy Chapman $450K in settlement over unauthorized sample

A copyright infringement trial over an unauthorized sample of a Tracy Chapman song in a Nicki Minaj track has been averted, as Minaj agreed to pay Chapman $450K to close the case in documents filed Thursday in United States District Court. The dispute arose as a result of Minaj interpolating Chapman’s 1988 Baby Can I Hold You into her own song Sorry in 2018. – Chris Willman, Variety

David Bowie lands on TikTok

On what would have been his 74th birthday, TikTok today announced that the music of David Bowie is now available to the TikTok community. An account in Bowie’s memory has launched in partnership with Warner Music Group, Sony Music and The David Bowie estate. – That Eric Alper

The drumbeat of divorce pounds for Kim Kardashian and Kanye West as she holds the sticks

While scrolling through our photo archives to find an image for this dispatch, I was struck by how many times the marriage of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West had ended. – Vinay Menon, Toronto Star


Bad boy English rock scribe Nick Kent turns novelist

The rock critic who revived British music writing at the NME in the 70s is back with his first novel – a caustic tale of rock megalomania. – Sean O'Hagan, The Guardian

5 surprising facts about Jeopardy!'s iconic theme song

With Alex Trebek's final episode airing on Jan. 8, we wanted to know more about the show's unforgettable music. – CBC Music ·

Why are country music wives pushing baseless conspiracy theories?

With nearly 2 million followers on Instagram, Jason Aldean’s wife Brittany is at the forefront of an emerging trend in Nashville: the country-wife political conspiracist. – Joseph Hudak, Rolling Stone

The artistry of… Amy Winehouse

The sound of Amy Winehouse was from another time, or at least it evoked that. A huskiness with a kind of provocative seductive quality. All of it seemingly framed in tones, instead of tears, of sadness. It was this mix that made her artistry so very attractive and beautifully distracting. – John Devenish, JazzFM

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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