Music Biz Headlines, Jan. 14, 2021

Rufus Wainwright (pictured) anticipates the Grammys, Neil Young addresses the insurrectionists, and Hipgnosis inks another big deal. Others in the headlines include MF Doom, India Gailey, Capitol Studios, Ryan Tedder, Instagram, a Bowie Celebration, AMA-UK, women in jazz, Steve Jones, Rebekah, Billie Eilish, and Ebenezer Obey.

Music Biz Headlines, Jan. 14, 2021

By FYI Staff

Neil Young shares statement on insurrection, feels “empathy for the people who have been so manipulated”

Neil Young has been using his website as a platform to talk about politics for a while now, from writing open letters to the President to expressing his opinions about racial justice. Over the weekend, Young tackled the insurrection at the Capitol building in a new post titled “A Message from Neil.” – James Rettig, Stereogum

Singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright says it may be a long shot, but he’s ready for his Grammy

Rufus Wainwright thinks 2021 could finally be his year. Having been showered with much praise throughout his illustrious career, the Canadian singer-songwriter is still missing one key symbol of a successful life in music: a Grammy award. – David Friend, CP


That time MF DOOM brought an imposter to Toronto

A decade after the late rapper's infamous concert, it remains full of intrigue – behind-the-scenes and onstage. – Richard Trapunski, NOW

With India Gailey, sounds are louder than words 

The composer/improviser/cellist from New Hermitage's solo work builds richness in its simplicity. – Morgan Mullin, The Coast

Toronto’s Shortstack Records held a record sale in a Walmart parking lot

With most local businesses locked down, they pointedly went where the customers are: a big-box store.  – Richard Trapunski, NOW


Hipgnosis blocked from soliciting investors in the US, Australia, South Africa, Canada & Japan

UK-based song-investment fund Hipgnosis has been blocked from soliciting investors in the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, and South Africa, a new message on the website reveals. U.S.-based users (and presumably those who reside in any of the other listed countries) are greeted with an “important” notice indicating: “Due to restrictions under applicable securities laws, access to this website is not permitted in certain jurisdictions.” – Dylan Smith, Digital Music News

Hipgnosis buys 100% of Shakira's publishing catalogue

Hipgnosis Songs Fund has landed yet another major-league music asset. The UK-listed company has confirmed that it has acquired 100% of the music publishing rights – including both publisher and writer’s share – to Shakira’s entire catalog. That catalog comprises 145 songs, which between them have made Shakira the bestselling female Latin artist of all time. – Tim Ingham, MBW

Capitol Studios shutters its mastering division

The mastering department at the famed Capitol Studios in Hollywood has been shut down, with several employees laid off, Universal Music Group confirmed Tuesday night after word of the closure began to circulate on social media. The recording studios themselves, a tourist site as well, will remain open. – Chris Willman, Variety


KKR buys majority stake in Ryan Tedder catalogue, marking investment giant's return to music rights ownership

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts is a true global investment giant, with over $230B in assets under management.  Last summer, KKR dipped its toe back into music rights by joining a $48m round in royalty-free music and content platform – and Epidemic Sound rival – Artlist. Now it has bought a majority stake in a music catalogue created by three-time Grammy winner Ryan Tedder. To date, songs written by Tedder have sold over 420M copies, or the equivalent of 63B streams. –  MBW

Musicians hit out after report UK rejected visa-free EU travel 

Anonymous source claims British government lied about failure to reach agreement over the issue. – The Guardian

Instagram’s plan to help artists monetize the platform

Instagram is amping the ways music artists can directly make money on the platform. First came all the surprise song drops. Then came the ocean of live activations that gave rise to everything from Verzuz artist battles to unique performances. –  Forbes

Federal Court upholds $1 billion copyright infringement ruling against Cox Communications

A federal court has ordered mega-ISP Cox Communications to pay the entire $1 billion copyright infringement penalty that a jury levied against it in December 2019, as part of its years-long courtroom confrontation with the RIAA and the Big Three labels.  – Dylan Smith, Digital Music News 


A Bowie Celebration review: Yungblud, Corey Taylor, Gary Oldman and co ensured Bowie’s chameleonic spirit was present and correct

Long-time Bowie pianist and Spiders from Mars alumnus Mike Garson pieced together remote contributions from an impressive array of guest stars and Bowie backing musicians. –  Mark Beaumont, The Independent

AMA-UK is “staying connected”

The UK Americana Music Association (AMA-UK) has revealed the nominations for the member-voted categories of the UK Americana Awards 2021, and also the winners of the special awards presented by the AMA-UK board. The virtual Awards show itself will be preceded by two evenings of showcases, Jan 26-27, featuring  international partners including Prince Edward Island, Thirty Tigers, Canadian Independent Music Association, North Carolina Music Export, Sounds Australia, Yep Roc, and Loose Music. – Ditty TV


Equal at last? Women in jazz, by the numbers

In the 2019 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll, five of the top 10 new releases were recordings led or co-led by women artists — a startling 50%. In fact, it is the largest number of projects led by women in the top 10 since the annual poll began 14 years ago, surpassing 2018, when women comprised a third of those rankings. – NPR staff

Content moderation case study: SoundCloud combats piracy by giving Universal Music the power to remove uploads (2014)

Summary: Any site that relies on uploaded content has to be wary of hosting pirated content. In most cases, allegedly infringing content is removed at the request of rights holders following the normal DMCA takedown process. – Techdirt

Danny Boyle to direct Sex Pistols TV drama based on Steve Jones' memoir

Co-written by Frank Cottrell Boyce, six-part series Pistol to star Maisie Williams as punk icon Jordan and Babyteeth’s Toby Wallace as Jones.  – Laura Snapes, The Guardian

2020 in review: The best of everything

As Covid-19 put a stranglehold on live performances last year, I stuck pretty much at home and listened even more to recorded music. Here are my takes on what 2020 added to the roots heritage, and what helped me retain a semblance of sanity. – Amos Perrine, No Depression 

Observe Covid-19 guidelines, safety protocols, Ebenezer Obey advises musicians  

A veteran juju musician, Ebenezer Fabiyi Obey, popularly called the Chief Commander, has advised musicians to observe all Covid-19 guidelines and safety protocols to stay safe. Obey spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos, on the second wave. – Naija News

Rebekah: the techno DJ fighting sexual abuse in dance music

As #MeToo stories start to emerge in the dance scene, UK star Rebekah tells her own as she presses for industry change with her #ForTheMusic campaign. –  Annabel Ross, The Guardian

Her past: Billie Eilish photo book coming in May

At age 19, Billie Eilish is already looking back. The Grammy-winning star is releasing a collection of hundreds of rarely seen photos in May, Grand Central Publishing announced Tuesday. – AP


Apple Music’s latest Africa Rising artist is Afro-pop artist Amaarae

Apple Music has announced the latest featured artist in its Africa Rising artist development program as Ghanian singer-songwriter and producer, Amaarae (real name Ama Serwah Genfi). –

Shaq’s Classic Song ‘You Can’t Stop the Reign’ Featuring Biggie Is Finally on Streaming Services
Rb Hip Hop

Shaq’s Classic Song ‘You Can’t Stop the Reign’ Featuring Biggie Is Finally on Streaming Services

There's a more explicit Biggie verse in the vault, according to the NBA legend.

Shaq’s classic with Biggie is finally available on streaming services. The news was broken by FakeShoreDrive on X earlier this week, and the Hall of Fame big man confirmed the news Thursday afternoon (June 13).

The year is 1996 and Shaquille O’Neal and the Notorious B.I.G. are two of the biggest figures in their respective fields. Shaq was entering the last year of his deal with the Orlando Magic before he headed west to the Los Angeles Lakers at the end of the 1995-1996 season. Biggie was getting ready to release his sophomore album, Life After Death, while in the throws of a beef with 2Pac. Big name-dropped the NBA player on the song “Gimme the Loot” off his debut album, Ready to Die, and the two had a mutual respect for each other ever since.

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