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FYI

Music Biz Headlines, Jan. 9, 2019

Kinnie Starr (pictured) finds her way back through music, the High Performance Rodeo rounds up intriguing mash-ups, and a valuation of Universal Music Group. Also in the headlines are Amber Epp, Alicia Toner, record labels, streaming, CD Baby, Drake, music biz trends, Broadway box office, The Golden Globes, Charlie Watts, Chita Rivera, Britney Spears, Travis Scott, Chance the Rapper, the Austin scene, and Norman Gimbel.

Music Biz Headlines, Jan. 9, 2019

By Kerry Doole

Life after a brain injury: Kinnie Starr on trauma, loss and finding her way back through music

It was a moment that changed everything for Kinnie Starr. In 2015, a car accident left the Mohawk, Dutch, German and Irish singer with a severe brain injury, which makes it difficult for her to play music. She makes a triumphant comeback with new album  Feed the Fire. –  Stephanie Cram, CBC Radio


What to check out at the High Performance Rodeo

Sauced Shakespearean actors. Dignified librettist John Murrell playing a Tony Robbins-like self-help guru. Poignant stories about immigrant women and their journeys to Calgary. A modern musical about the 1930s Dust Bowl. This is just a taste of the intriguing theatrical mash-ups featured in the the yearly festival produced by Calgary’s One Yellow Rabbit. –  Eric Volmers, Calgary Herald

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My first time in a band, I played in front of 200 people at Band Swap

Have you ever left your comfort zone and immediately regretted it? –  Ashley Martin, Regina Leader-Post

Even if hip-hop is pissing on the corpse of rock 'n' roll, sometimes things get real quiet right before the storm

Somewhere in the neighbourhood of 366 days ago, a pitched pop-culture battle erupted on the web pages of straight.com. Flip back to January 4, and you might remember a  story titled "It’s official: hip-hop has now toppled rock ‘n’ roll as the world’s favourite genre." –  Mike Usinger, Georgia Straight

Singer cuts winter's chill with warm vibe

Singer Amber Epp is bringing the sounds of Brazilian beaches and Cuban salsa nights to the Grant & Wilton Coffee House on Saturday. –  Maureen Scurfield, Winnipeg Free Press

Why P.E.I. musician Alicia Toner is sharing her personal mental-health struggles

'This feels to me like it's the most authentic way to present some new content'.  –  Sara Fraser, CBC News · 

International

Universal Music Group is worth $33B, says Deutsche Bank

Vivendi’s suggestion that Universal Music Group could be worth more than $40bn was met with some doubt by industry observers a couple of years ago, and understandably so. –  Tim Ingham, MBW

The 10 Best Record Labels of 2018

Labels now have to contend with declining CD sales, meager revenue from streaming, changing technologies and artists going completely independent. Still, some labels just seem to have a knack for discovering and developing great new artists each year. –  Paste

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CD Baby artists earned over $100M in 2018

According to estimated recently figures published by MIDiA Research, total revenue generated by ‘self-releasing’ artists in 2018 was $643 million - up 35% on 2017, when the equivalent annual number hit $472M. A single distribution company, CD Baby, contributed over $100m of that $600m-plus independent artist revenue. – Murray Stassen, MBW

Predictions: 6 top analysts/journalists on music industry trends to watch in 2019

2018 was a disruptive year for the music industry, with more change and innovation expected in the years to come. With that in mind, we asked some of the brightest minds in music industry analytics and journalism to talk through their predictions for the trends and issues that will shape 2019. – Emma Griffiths, Synch Tank

Daniel Ek wasn't lying: Streaming is becoming less dominated by mega-hits

We delve back into BuzzAngle’s US industry report for 2018 to see how major-league hits are faring against their less-blockbuster equivalents on streaming services. – Tim Ingham, MBW

Drake slammed on social media for 2010 video in which he kisses, fondles 17-year-old girl

As if the public weren't angry enough already after "Surviving R. Kelly," the Lifetime docu-series filled with disturbing allegations about the singer's treatment of women, they got a new target for their anger: Drake. This comes from an unearthed concert video now making the rounds online. –  Jayme Deerwester and Rasha Ali, USA Today

Broadway’s best year: 2018 closes out at $1.8B; ‘Potter’, ‘Mockingbird’, ‘Chicago’ among holiday week record-setters

With record-breaking newcomers joining long-running stalwarts including Chicago, Wicked and The Lion King in smashing various year-end weekly box office records, Broadway finished 2018 with bragging rights of its own: The calendar year was the industry’s best attended and highest grossing on record, scoring a huge $1.825 billion in grosses. – Greg Evans, Deadline

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The 15 most outrageous moments at the 2019 Golden Globes

The Golden Globes are known for their messiness, thanks to the flowing booze and dinner party energy. Of course, this year, given the Oscars' hosting fiasco, the Globes got a run for their money, but the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's annual shindig had its share of silly, confounding, and downright surprising moments. – Thrillist

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The price, cost and value of digital music

The streaming model’s hardly sustainable for pop acts whose tracks are digitally spun thousands of times a month. For jazz players and those who’ve come to be called “creative musicians,” the economics are even more disastrous.  – Alan Scherstuhl, Downbeat

Charlie Watts says David Bowie wasn’t a “musical genius” and it “wouldn’t bother” him if Rolling Stones split

Watts on Bowie: "He was a lovely guy and he wrote a couple of good songs." –  NME

Chita Rivera's songbook: West Side stories, killer tunes and all that jazz

From Chicago to Sweet Charity, the American musical legend looks back at some of the key tracks in her career. –  Chris Wiegand, The Guardian

Chance the Rapper apologizes for working with R. Kelly

The hip-hop star has issued an apology for working with R. Kelly after a clip of the rapper expressing his regret for previously dismissing Kelly’s accusers aired in the Lifetime series Surviving R. Kelly. –  Rachel DeSantis, New York Daily News

Britney Spears cancels Las Vegas residency amid ‘indefinite work hiatus’

The veteran pop singer has announced “an indefinite work hiatus,” cancelling her Las Vegas residency, Britney: Domination, that was set to run at the Park MGM resort beginning in February. She cites family reasons. –  Joe Coscarelli, NY Times

Travis Scott sued for allegedly canceling headlining  Coachella-area festival

Promotion company Empire Music Ventures issuing Scott for allegedly backing out of a performance at the Empire Polo Grounds, the site of the Coachella music festival in Indio, Calif., without notice, causing organizers to pull the plug on an entire festival.  –  Joe Reinartz, Celebrity Access

Award-winning lyricist captured ‘the human condition’

Norman Gimbel, the wildly versatile Brooklyn-born lyricist who won a Grammy Award for a blues hit, Killing Me Softly With His Song; an Oscar for a folk ballad, It Goes Like It Goes (from Norma Rae); and television immortality for bouncy series themes died on Dec. 19 at 91. –  Anita Gates, NY Times

  Outdoor festivals, industry confabs and a legendary TV show all had a hand in creating Austin’s reputation as a music town. But the primary reason we’re considered the Live Music Capital of the World is what happens in the clubs week in and week out. –  Peter Blackstock, Austin360

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Usher and Justin Bieber perform onstage during Z100's Jingle Ball 2009 at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 11, 2009 in New York City.
Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Usher and Justin Bieber perform onstage during Z100's Jingle Ball 2009 at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 11, 2009 in New York City.

Latest News

Usher Explains Why a Justin Bieber Super Bowl Halftime Show Reunion ‘Didn’t Work Out’

"We're gonna do something else in the future," the superstar teased.

As electric as Usher‘s Halftime Show performance at the 2024 Super Bowl was, fans couldn’t help but be a little bummed that a much-rumored Justin Bieber reunion didn’t take place Sunday (Feb. 11) at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

But in a recent interview, the 45-year-old superstar revealed that he did indeed ask Bieber to join him during the show — before explaining why an appearance from his one-time protégé wasn’t in the cards. “It didn’t work out with Justin,” Usher told iHeartRadio’s Breakfast Club on Friday (Feb. 16). “I honor and recognize that my brother, I think that it might’ve been the fact that he’s just wanting to tell a different story right now. And I understand that.”

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