Music Biz Headlines, Jan. 7, 2021

Angela Hewitt (pictured) has a beloved new instrument, David Strickland gives props to his peers, and a tribute to Queen West queen Deanne Taylor. Also in the headlines are BC arts grants, vinyl sales, Spotify, Dr. Dre, UMG, Ticketmaster, Lindsey Buckingham, Alibaba, MF DOOM, The Velvet Underground, AI, and the Grammys.

Music Biz Headlines, Jan. 7, 2021

By FYI Staff


Celebrated Canadian musician finds new 'best friend' to replace smashed piano

A grim year took on a new tune for pianist Angela Hewitt after she acquired a new bespoke grand. One of the world’s most celebrated pianists has described for the first time how she got over losing a piano she described as her “best friend” by receiving its replacement. –  Matthew Weaver, The Guardian

2021 may not be a Happy New Year for local live music venues

In August, the CBC reported the closures of two major live music venues in Waterloo Region: Starlight and Chainsaw.. Now one partnership between a promoter and the City of Kitchener aims to help local venues. –  Beth Bowles, CBC News 

My dream team: David Strickland

The Toronto-based Mi’kmaw and Northern Cree producer helped engineer Drake’s Thank Me Later. Now he’s trying to elevate a bevy of under-appreciated Indigenous hip hoppers to Drizzy-level fame. We asked Strickland to tell us about some of the hidden-gem emcees on Spirit of Hip Hop, his revolutionary record that featured old school beats and lightning-fast verses from more than 30 Indigenous acts. – Stephan Boissonneault, NEXT


10 BC Place stadium shows to make you pine for big gigs

For those pining for the days when the old normal meant joining up with 40,000 other fun-loving folks bent on rocking out, here's excerpts from 10 B.C. Place Stadium concerts I attended over the years. Maybe they'll jog a pleasant memory or two. – Steve Newton, Georgia Straight

Toronto performer and producer Deanne Taylor was ‘Queen of Queen Street’

In the overlapping art, music and performance scenes of Toronto’s Queen Street West during the 1970s and 80s, Deanne Taylor initially developed an underground reputation with satirical singing performance troupe the Hummer Sisters and the theatre renegades VideoCabaret. – J. Kelly Nestruck, The Globe and Mail

Numerous Vancouver-based nonprofit arts and culture organizations will receive B.C. gaming grants

During one of the most financially challenging years in recent decades due to the pandemic, over 1,500 nonprofit British Columbian organizations in arts, culture, and sports sectors will benefit from provincial gaming grants. The B.C. Municipal Affairs Ministry has announced this month that the provincial government is providing over $45 million to local organizations from community gaming grants. – Georgia Straight



Vinyl just had its best sales week in history 

A record 1.842 million vinyl albums were sold in the US in the week leading up to Christmas. – Eli Enis, Consequence of Sound

Did Spotify purge indie artist music on January 1, 2021?

It appears that on January 1, 2021, Spotify enacted a massive, global takedown of music from thousands of independent artists. Upon information and belief, some 750K songs were removed, the vast majority of which appear to have used Distrokid for distribution. It appears no major label artists have been affected nor has any major label music been taken down as part of this purge. – Music Think Tank

Audio streaming volume grew by its biggest EVER amount in the UK in 2020

Annual growth in music streaming volume in the UK was widely expected to slow down in 2020. Instead, driven by the pandemic lockdown, it sped up – in a big way. According to new BPI statistics analyzed by MBW, the UK played host to 139.3bn audio streams across the 12 months of last year. That was up by 25.1bn on the UK's total audio streaming volume in 2019, which stood at 114.2bn. – MBW

Live Nation’s Ticketmaster to pay $10M fine to WMG’s Songkick

Ticketmaster will pay a $10 million fine after illegally accessing the computer systems of competitor Songkick repeatedly between 2013 and 2015 in an attempt to “cut [it] off at the knees.” A subsidiary of Live Nation, Ticketmaster used the stolen information to compete with ticket pre-sale platform CrowdSurge which merged with Songkick in 2015 and was acquired by WMG in 2017. – Hypebot


The Year on TikTok: Top 100

Celebrating the community and videos that brought joy across America in 2020. TikTok

Universal Music plans Africa expansion to tap streaming growth

Universal Music Group Inc. is bolstering its presence in Africa, where streaming and other forms of music distribution are relatively under developed. The firm plans to build up operations in countries including Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya in 2021, according to the company’s newly appointed regional chief executive officer, Sipho Dlamini.–  Loni Prinsloo, Bloomberg News


Lindsey Buckingham sells his publishing rights to Hipgnosis

Merck Mercuriadis’ London-based Hipgnosis has acquired Buckingham’s song catalog, including 100% of writer and publisher share of Fleetwood Mac’s hits. – Tim Ingham,  Rolling Stone

Alibaba is shutting down its music streaming app

Xiami was established in 2006, and bought by Alibaba in 2013 as the company sought to bolster its music offerings. The company offered Xiami and another app, Ali Planet, as music streaming apps under its music division, Ali Music. – CNN

UK music festival industry at risk if 2021 summer season cancelled

UK’s multi-billion-pound music festival industry faces ‘absolutely dire straits’ if 2021 summer season is cancelled, organisers warn MPs. Organisers of Parklife in Manchester say Covid 'absolutely decimated' the event. – Daily Mail

Infringement was the CASE: A look at intellectual property legislation in new Covid relief bill

Tucked inside the new 5500 page COVID Relief package which includes much need #SaveOurStages funding were several unrelated pieces of legislation that impact musicians, the music industry, and the entire creative sector. Attorney John Miranda looks at these three important Acts. – Hypebot

10 songs that show why MF DOOM was the ultimate rapper’s rapper

Tracing the career of hip-hop’s most elusive shapeshifter. – Matthew Ismael Ruiz, Pitchfork

Year in Review: The 10 Best Historical Recordings of 2020

For our 2020 Year in Review section, we calculated the top 40 new releases and top 10 historical/reissue recordings of 2020 based on year-end lists by our writers. Here are their picks for the best reissues and vault discoveries. – JazzTimes

3 musicians decline Grammy nominations over category’s lack of diversity – But they’re still on the ballot

Three of five nominees for Best Children’s Music Album called the all-white category an “embarrassment.” – J. Clara Chan The Wrap

Rap lyrics now admissible as court evidence: A dangerous precedent (guest column)

"This blatantly racist decision is a travesty," writes veteran attorney Dina LaPolt. – Variety

Dr. Dre: ‘I will be out of the hospital and back home soon’

“I’m doing great and getting excellent care from my medical team,” hip-hop mogul says after hospitalization. – Althea Legaspi, Rolling Stone

From David Bowie to Nirvana: 10 best covers of The Velvet Underground

As proof of their influence, check out the 10 best Velvet Underground covers of all time, songs from everyone including David Bowie, Patti Smith, Joy Division, Nick Cave, and many more.  – FarOut

The NME 100: Essential emerging artists for 2021

The definitive annual list that shines a spotlight on emerging artists that should be on your radar in 2021 From banging new bands to solo artists ready to make a name for themselves, this is a chance to get to know your favourite new artists. – NME


Spotify's podcasting problem: Loophole allows remixes and unreleased songs to hide in plain sight 

Using simple keywords and terms like “chopped and screwed,” “slowed and reverbed,” “remix,” and “mashup” in Spotify's search bar, users can track down bootlegged reworks of songs by many top artists which live on Spotify's podcast hub. – Kristin Robinson, Variety

Choice Music Prize: Irish Album of the Year shortlist revealed

The shortlist for the 2020 Choice Music Prize Album of the Year was just announced. The acts nominated include Denise Chaila, Fontaines DC, Pillow Queens, Bitch Falcon, Róisín Murphy and JyellowL. Fontaines DC have made the list for the second year. – Irish Times

This site uses AI to tell you how bad your music taste is

When it comes to music, everyone has different tastes and varying opinions. So, having your friends critique and judge your music taste won’t result in the most honest answer. Luckily, an A.I. has been programmed to judge your music taste. Since the A.I. has no feelings, it’s brutally honest about how bad your music taste truly is. – Farra Tai, EDMTunes

New this week: Morgan Wallen music, tiger cubs and ‘Herself’

Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’s arriving on TV, streaming services and music platforms this week. – AP


Berlin’s Terri Nunn apologizes for playing Mar-a-Lago gig

After coming under continual fire in the four days since she played the NYE party at Donald J. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, as the other performers that night have, Terri Nunn of the group Berlin has issued an apology for the controversial gig, saying she didn’t know it would be perceived as taking a political stand, and expressing shock at the lack of Covid protocols at the resort. – Chris Willman, Variety

The Grammy Awards are postponed, moving to March

The Grammy Awards are being postponed to 14 March, moving from the planned Jan. 31 date. The dire pandemic situation in LA is the cited reason. – Variety

Jade Eagleson
Ryan Nolan

Jade Eagleson


Canadian Country Music Association Awards 2024 Nominations: Jade Eagleson, Mackenzie Porter Lead The Pack

The two platinum-selling singer/songwriters have scored six nominations each for the CCMA Awards, with The Reklaws and Josh Ross hot on their heels. The biggest night in Canadian country takes place on Sept. 14 at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

Today (July 18), the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) announced the official nominees for the 2024 CCMA Awards. Topping the list of contenders with six nods apiece are Jade Eagleson and MacKenzie Porter, the latter of whom will co-host the awards show alongside American country star Thomas Rhett.

Hot on their heels with five nominations apiece are The Reklaws and Josh Ross, while High Valley, Owen Riegling and Dallas Smith are each cited in four categories. Other notable Canadian artists making the list include Dean Brody, Steven Lee Olsen, James Barker Band, Brett Kissel, Tenille Townes and Lindsay Ell.

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