Music Biz Headlines, Jan. 28, 2021

A new documentary will explore the activism of Joe Keithley (featured), Neil Peart to be honoured with hometown art, and the Halifax Celtic Festival rises again. Also in the headlines are Paul Pigat, Kinnie Starr, the BC scene, revenue stats, industry myths, Audius, Burger Records, LEGO, Warner Music, Sia, Flaming Lips, Joe Camarillo, Suede, and Weezer.

Music Biz Headlines, Jan. 28, 2021

By Kerry Doole

Something Better Change launches Kickstarter campaign to document Joe Keithley's ongoing activism journey

D.O.A.'s Joe Keithley isn’t the first high-profile punk rocker who’s plunged into the world of politics. Recall if you will Dead Kennedy’s legend Jello Biafra running for the mayor of San Francisco back in 1979 (he lost, the biggest tragedy of that being his platform included forcing all businessmen to wear clown suits within city limits). – Mike Usinger, Georgia Straight

Closer to the park: St. Catharines commissions artwork to honour Rush drummer Neil Peart

The Ontario city announced on Tuesday the commissioning of an original work of public art to recognize the percussive and poetic contributions of one of its favourite sons, virtuoso Rush drummer and lyricist Neil Peart. Interested Canadian artists and creative teams are invited to submit proposals to honour the musician who died of brain cancer last year at age 67. – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail


Paul Pigat grabs his Gretsch and hops on Cousin Harley to ride out the pandemic in a blaze of wild rockabilly

When Covid killed concerts last year, professional musicians who relied heavily on revenue from live shows were put in financial peril. That fact wasn't lost on Vancouver guitar ace Paul Pigat, who normally chocks up plenty of gigs with his bands Cousin Harley, Boxcar Campfire, and the Paul Pigat Trio. – Steve Newton, Georgia Straight

Meditative new album by Gatineau-based composer inspired by National Gallery

Nick Schofield will release Glass Gallery, his second solo album on Feb. 5. – Lynn Saxberg, Montreal Gazette 

The world goes 'pop' in new Kinnie Starr song

The track Win or Lose is the first new pop song from Kinnie Starr since her 2018 album, Feed the Fire. – Shawn Conner, Vancouver Sun

Halifax Celtic Festival rises again — in virtual form — for eighth year

Even traditions as old as the mountains dark and dreary of Nova Scotia can still be celebrated alongside their modern hybrids in virtual form during the eighth annual Halifax Celtic Festival, which runs from Jan. 27 to Sunday, Jan. 31. – Stephen Cooke, Chronicle-Herald

Stir Q&A: the Rickshaw Theatre's Mo Tarmohamed on live music, livestreams, being an introvert, and sweatpants

The force behind the beloved cinema-turned-live-music venue has pivoted to survive the pandemic in several creative ways. – Gail Johnson, Create A Stir

Hit hard by pandemic, Montreal 'aroma jockey' takes his scents online

Jeroen Kleijn is basically a DJ who uses smells rather than music to entertain. "I create a whole multi-sensory concept," he says. – Brendan Kelly, Montreal Gazette


Key moments of B.C. music history recalled in new ‘Dancehalls, Deejays Distortion’ docs

 Filmmaker Carmen Pollard aims to amplify little known stories of B.C.’s music scene with her latest project. Her 10-part short film series “Dancehalls, Deejays & Distortion” Debut on TV’s Knowledge Network on Feb. 4. It spotlights several “movers, shakers, and music makers,” including Slow and Little Mountain Sound, plus a story about female-punk trailblazers The Dishrags opening for The Clash at the Commodore Ballroom. –Tom Zillich, Surrey Now 


Covid-19 update: When will live music return? 

Ten months after live music was silenced, a series of recent news updates paint an optimistic outlook for 2021. Here, host James Shotwell looks at four recent news stories related to Covid and live music’s return. He breaks down how each offers hope to music fans everywhere and urges patience with leaders who are doing their best to make vaccinations available to anyone. – James Shotwell, Haulix

Study finds EU music industry revenues down 76 percent

A new study says the European Union's cultural sector lost 31.2 percent last year compared to 2019 earnings. The study, published by the European Grouping Of Societies Of Authors And Composers (GESAC), found that only the aviation industry experienced greater losses (31.4 percent). – Mark Smith, RaCo


Covid-19 knocks 30 percent off Europe's film, TV, music revenue

Europe's creative industries call for more government support to bounce back from the Covid-19 pandemic, which hit their revenue hard. – Scott Roxborough, Hollywood Reporter

Mid-year 2020 RIAA revenue statistics

In the first half of 2020, U.S. recorded music revenues grew 5.6% to $5.7 billion at retail value, continuing the positive growth trends of recent years. Streaming music grew to 85% of the market by value, compared with 80% the prior year. At wholesale value, revenues grew 5.1% to $3.7 billion. There were differences in trends between Q1 and Q2 of 2020, as retail store closures, tour cancellations, and other impacts of Covid-19 affected the music industry in many significant ways. – RIAA


YouTube says it paid creators $30 Billion over the past 3 years

YouTube creator contributions have topped $30 billion over three years to artists, media, and other creators. Digital Music News

The three biggest myths deluding the modern music business

From Spotify payouts to YouTube’s global user base, the music industry is rife with misinformation. Let’s set the record straight. – Tim Ingham, Rolling Stone

How to find your music in China

But it is all in Chinese, I can’t read Chinese and why would I bother? There is a possibility that your distributor or label might have at sometime distributed your music in the past to China and it is now floating around somewhere out there. This search will find if your music is there, it may be just a catalogue list with no sound file or it may be that it wasn’t properly removed when you changed labels or distributors and was left with no one to claim its license. – Music Think Tank

Yes, SXSW is still happening in 2021 — But will people pay $249 for online access?

Despite facing far-reaching financial obstacles and an uncertain future after a last-minute cancellation in 2020, SXSW is moving forward with its 2021 edition – albeit as a digital event, with passes currently available to purchase for $249 apiece.–  Dylan Smith, DMN

Audius has raised nearly $10M for its Spotify rival. Can its blockchain-based model change the game for artist payments?

“Artists are feeling like they have a seat at the table for the first time. All the Artists that have made Audius something today are the ones that have the power to make changes." – Rhian Jones, MBW 

The women who brought down Burger Records

After many accusations of sexual misconduct by its acts, the popular indie-rock label ceased operations completely, prompting a long-overdue reckoning about the prevalence of sexual abuse in Southern California’s underground/DIY music scene. – Los Angeles Times

Buying beats for viral songs is becoming a popular (and messy) business

Execs are scooping up the beats behind hits — sometimes without singers’ knowledge. Some see the practice as shrewd business, but others say the murky ethics can turn a breakthrough into “a nightmare.” –  Elias Leight, Rolling Stone


Universal and LEGO launch augmented reality music app

When UMG inked a deal with Denmark-born toy firm LEGO back in April 2020, the companies promised “a new interactive way of inspiring the next generation of fans and creative visionaries”. The two companies have now announced that new product: “an innovative music video maker experience” called LEGO VIDIYO, not dissimilar from short-form video platforms like TikTok, but accessed via “a unique mashup” of LEGO elements, minifigures, music, augmented reality and a new app." – Murray Stassen, MBW

Flaming Lips pull off live shows despite Covid-19 — thanks to space bubbles for all

The Flaming Lips pulled off their first full-length space-bubble concerts this past weekend in Oklahoma City, with both the band and audience members sequestered in their own zip-up bubbles. – Sonaiya Kelley, Los Angeles Times

Warner Music grows downtown office hub, but not enough to keep Metro incentive

Warner Music Group has nearly hit the announced headcount of an office expansion in downtown Nashville, but it won't be enough to sustain a Metro jobs grant tied to the growth. At the time, Warner announced up to 175 new jobs tied to the downtown office, paying an average of $28 an hour. – Biz Journals

Sia's film Music misrepresents autistic people. It could also do us damage

Autistic people are used to being underestimated and infantilised – but for Clem Bastow it was still a shock to see it on the big screen. – The Guardian


Waco Brothers drummer Joe Camarillo dead at 52

Joe Camarillo, an intuitive and potent drummer who played with dozens of Chicago bands for more than 30 years, died Sunday following a stroke. He was 52. Among the bands and solo artists with whom Camarillo toured, recorded, or performed are the Waco Brothers, Hushdrops, Kelly Hogan, and NRBQ. – Chicago Reader

Suede: how the androgynous UK indie pioneers gave me pride in my bisexuality

Continuing our series on the artists who had a formative influence on our music writers, Luke Turner relives the naughty, nocturnal, decadent thrills of sex à la Suede. – The Guardian

It’s not ‘Pinkerton.’ But Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo gets pretty emo on ‘OK Human’

Now, 25 years after “Pinkerton” — and as the band’s involuntary break from touring enters its 12th month — Weezer is finally revisiting the introspective terrain of its beloved cult fave with “OK Human.” The new album due Friday sets Cuomo’s inner thoughts against lush but faintly haunting orchestral arrangements. – Mikael Wood, Los Angeles Times

Q&A: Director Fisher Stevens on snagging Justin Timberlake for the film Palmer

An interview with Fisher Stevens about why it was so important for him to make this film and why Justin Timberlake was the perfect choice to anchor it. – Bonnie Laufer,  Original-Cin

What covering heavy metal taught me about spotting Nazis

As a longtime music journalist and metalhead who is also a dedicated antifascist, I’ve had to become adept at deciphering the white supremacist code words, symbols, and dog whistles that litter the black-metal scene. – Kim Kelly, Columbia Journalism Review

Olivia Rodrigo’s pop hit Drivers License passes every test on its road to historical chart success

How hot is Olivia Rodrigo’s heartbreak anthem Drivers License? Lorde, Adele and Billie Eilish have called an emergency meeting to consider adding a fourth member into their league of elite pop emoters. – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail

Buju Banton

Buju Banton


Legendary Jamaican Artist Buju Banton Coming To Toronto On North American Arena Tour

The show will come as part of the reggae artist's first U.S. tour in 13 years. Don Toliver and Snotty Nose Rez Kids have also revealed upcoming Canadian dates.

A legendary Jamaican artist is making a major return to Canada.

Grammy-winning reggae and dancehall musician Buju Banton will perform at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on October 13, for his first Canadian show in over fifteen years.

keep readingShow less