Music Biz Headlines, July 13, 2020

Rufus Wainwright (pictured) is getting talked about, Canada’s concert venues need help, and Alanis Morissette discusses irony. Others in the headlines include TikTok, Amazon, Kasabian, Kim Mitchell, eMERGEnce, Neil Young, Lady A, Jessie Reyez, Gerry Atwell, Alex Cuba, Eric Wong, Hipgnosis, Eminem, The Grammys, Sony, Muzak, Pop Smoke, Coldplay, and Bob Marley.

Music Biz Headlines, July 13, 2020

By FYI Staff

Concert venues still in a pinch as Canada’s live music industry gets fed support

The Horseshoe Tavern's owner, Jeff Cohen, is skeptical about how much the new funding will help his famed Toronto venue. –– David Friend, CP

Reviews: Rufus Wainwright, Kacey Hill, Shuffle Demons and more 

New offerings from Canadians Rufus Wainwright and Shuffle Demons both earn positive notices Down Under.  –– Sydney Morning Herald

Rufus Wainwright is sober, battle-hardened and wrestling with the demons of middle age

This is Wainwright in a bottle: dramatic, humorous and in proximity to musical legends. The singer-songwriter, who is just about to turn 47, is using his creeping middle age to reckon with his past and future on a new album, Unfollow the Rules. –– Tim Greiving, Washington Post

Alanis Morissette settles the whole ‘Ironic’ thing, once and for all

Morissette never wanted to release the song, she reveals in the latest episode of Rolling Stone Music Now. A Spotify link here. –– Brian Hiatt, Rolling Stone


Kim Mitchell grants wishes with a comeback single and video

Kim Mitchell is making fans Wishes come true with his just-released comeback single and video. A preview of his upcoming album The Big Fantasize — the platinum-selling, Juno-winning icon’s return to rock ’n’ roll duty after 13 long years — the ballad Wishes has a truly poetic origin story. –– Darryl Sterdan, The Tinnitist

St. John's sculptor finds a subject closer to the heart: Rush drummer Neil Peart

Artist Morgan MacDonald hopes his latest design will be selected to become a bronze statue of late Rush drummer Neil Peart, and placed in Peart's hometown of St. Catharines, Ont. –– Mike Moore, CBC News 

Country singer turned police officer releases song of healing

Sault-born and raised singer-songwriter Henry Particelli, currently based in Nashville, has released a new song written from an officer’s perspective about what it’s like to work in law enforcement at a time of nationwide discussions about police brutality. –– Chris Belsito, Soo Today

Neil Young pens a letter to Donald Trump

In the hours following President Trump’s unauthorized use of several of his “Rockin’ in the Free World” and other songs at a July 3 rally at Mount Rushmore, Neil Young tweeted: “This is NOT ok with me.” On July 6, he followed up with a sarcastic letter on his website, Neil Young Archives. –– Best Classic Bands


Safe&Sound-New program helps immigrants build a new life in Canada as musicians

To help newcomers integrate into Canadian society and make a living as musicians, a unique program was recently founded by Small World Music, a Toronto non-profit organization founded 23 years ago to showcase music talents from underrepresented backgrounds. eMERGEnce offers workshops, networking and mentorship activities. –– Julie Remy, RCI

deadmau5, Justin Bieber have unclaimed Canadian bank balances

Canadian artists deadmau5, Justin Bieber, and Ian Tyson are amongst the stars with unclaimed bank balances waiting for them, according to a Bank of Canada database. When a Canadian bank account has been inactive for 10 years, the funds are transferred to the Bank of Canada and held for 30 years (for balances up to $1,000). –– John R. Kennedy, iHeartRadio

Midtown live music bar Alleycatz announces permanent closure in Toronto

Toronto jazz club and restaurant Alleycatz is closing permanently. The announcement was made via social media. All indications point to an inability to reach an agreement with the building landlords following the COVID-19 pandemic when all restaurants and bars were forced to close. –– Ron Johnson, TRNTO

Students create short film for Jessie Reyez’s ‘Love In The Dark’

The production, which follows three real New York couples, was made entirely by students from Universal Music Group’s º1824 team. –– Udiscovermusic

Canada creates a $20m fund for commercial live music sector

For-profit live music companies in Canada now have access to a CA$20m support fund, in what CLMA calls a “historic recognition” of the commercial live music sector. –– iQ


'Gerryfest' to celebrate Gerry Atwell's music and art, but also his advocacy against systemic racism

'We're all missing his humanity when it comes to these types of issues,' his sister says. Gerryfest will take place on Aug. 14 — Atwell's birthday — at the St. Norbert Arts Centre in Winnipeg.–– CBC

Covid-19: Juno and Latin Grammy award-winner Alex Cuba releases a trio of new singles from home

A perfectionist, whose albums usually feature him playing every instrument rendered in immaculate reproduction, Cuba found the whole experience of making music for public release this way unsettling, “weird even.”  –– Stuart Derdeyn, Vancouver Sun


Eric Wong is named President of Recorded Music for Warner Music Group

Wong, who takes up the position from August 17, moves over from Island Records, where he is Chief Operating Officer (COO). He will continue to be based in New York and will report to Max Lousada, Warner Music Group’s Global CEO of Recorded Music. –– MBW


Hipgnosis now has another $300m to spend

Hipgnosis Songs Fund has spent over $1bn on songs since going public two years ago… and now it’s got another £236.4m (approximately $299m) in its acquisition war chest. The new funding comes via the sale of a tranche of newly-place C class shares in the UK-based company, in its biggest fundraiser yet. –– Tim Ingham, MBW

CDOJ antitrust division to host workshop on competition in the Licensing of Public Performance Rights

The Department of Justice will hold a virtual public workshop on July 28th and 29th, 2020, to discuss competition in the licensing of public performance rights in the music industry.  The workshop will provide a further venue for industry stakeholders to weigh in on the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees and their implications for antitrust law enforcement and policy. –– DOJ communique

UnitedMasters $5 tier giving artists 100% royalties

The company says musicians using Select will have their music live on major streaming platforms in 10 days or less. –– Music In Africa

A rough week for TikTok gets rougher

The platform was already having a bad week. Seemingly inspired by a decision by India’s government to ban the Bytedance app over national security concerns, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo recently suggested that President Donald Trump’s administration was “certainly looking at” doing the same in the States. In the past few hours of today (July 10), it has emerged that now Amazon – which employs 500,000 people in the US – has asked its workforce to delete TikTok from their phones. –– Tim Ingham, MBW 

Amazon: Yes, we banned TikTok, but we didn't mean it

After TikTok publicly expressed its shock and surprise at the memo, Amazon screeched into a rather startling U-turn. Hours after the story broke about Amazon’s TikTok email yesterday, a spokesperson for the company sent out a new version of events to media. “This morning’s email to some of our employees was sent in error,” they said. “There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok.” –– Tim Ingham, MBW

Eminem criticises non-mask wearers on his new rap track

The collaboration with Kid Cudi takes aim at people spreading Covid-19 by not wearing masks. –– Mark Brown, The Guardian

Black people invented music. A historical overview

Black people invented music. This is a statement backed by numerous research on Black people’s influence on most, if not all, music genres. Less ‘obvious’ influential genres that are today heavily whitewashed include Blues, Jazz, Rock n Roll, Country music, Funk and House (EDM). Rap/Hip Hop, RnB, Gospel, and Soul music are perhaps the only genres where Black artists have retained their influence. –– Vivian Iroanya, Forge Today


Is music streaming bad for the environment?

The idea that streaming is a zero-carbon medium for listening to music is a misconception. All streaming services depend on a network of energy-intensive server farms consisting of computers. Music is not stored on personal computers or smartphones and is instead stored on servers within huge data centres.  –– ASEAN Post

Lady A, the band, sues Lady A, the singer.

The country act now officially known as Lady A has sued a blues, soul and funk singer who says that she has used Lady A as her stage name for two decades. On June 11, the country trio changed its name to Lady A, saying that they were, in retrospect, "regretful and embarrassed" that they hadn't considered the loaded and racist history of "antebellum." This was despite the fact that journalists had challenged them about it for years. –– NPR

Blues singer Lady A: ‘I should not have to bend to the band's will because they've got money 

“If they’re saying that they’re an ally, they are lying to the American public,” singer says after group formerly known as Lady Antebellum files lawsuit against her. –– Ethan Millman, Rolling Stone


Sony Corporation has acquired a minority stake in Epic Games – the creator of Fortnite and Unreal Engine.

The parent of Sony Music Group, Sony has agreed to make a strategic investment of $250 million in Epic via a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony. ––MBW

The Grammys, looking to shake boys’ club reputation, invites 2,300 new voters

More than 2,000 people in the music industry — half of them women and half of them under the age of 40 — have been invited to join the organization behind the Grammy Awards, which have been frequently criticized in recent years as a bastion of old-white-guy values. –– Mikael Wood, LA Times

Thanks to quarantine, elevator music giant is filing for bankruptcy

Mood Media, owner of Muzak and other sensory marketing products, hopes to reduce its debt by $404 million. –– Samantha Hissong, Rolling Stone

Five men arrested in shooting death of Pop Smoke

Five suspects were arrested recently in the killing of rapper Pop Smoke, who was shot dead during a break-in and robbery of a Hollywood Hills home where he was staying at the time, the Los Angeles Police Department said. The five – three adult men and two juvenile males – were taken into custody without incident in a series of early morning raids across Los Angeles, according to an LAPD spokeswoman. –– Reuters

Eagles and Guns N’ Roses amongst those accepting government loans

With almost all bands unable to perform live since March, except specially designed socially distanced concerts, many of rock’s biggest acts have applied for support to help them pay their touring crews. ––

Every Coldplay song ranked in order of greatness

On the 20th anniversary of debut album Parachutes' here's all 142 of Coldplay's songs (so far!) ranked and rated.  –– Ella Kemp, NME

Bob Marley's family reimagines ‘One Love’

Re-recording of the iconic anthem will support UNICEF’s Reimagine campaign, a global fundraising appeal to respond, recover and reimagine a post-covid-19 world fit for children. Members of the Marley family will reimagine the late Bob Marley’s iconic anthem ‘One Love’ to support UNICEF’s work to reimagine a fairer, more just world for children whose lives have been upended by the pandemic. ––

Former Kasabian frontman Tom Meighan issues statement after assault sentencing

“I am completely to blame and accept all responsibility," the singer stated, adding he "would never knowingly mislead fans." –– Tom Skinner, NME

Shania Twain
Courtesy Photo

Shania Twain

Music News

Music News Digest: Shania Twain Goes Primetime, Canadian Songwriter Mike Sonier Hits A Big Milestone with Noah Cyrus

Also this week: Canadian summer festival updates, CIMA goes to Nashville and a celebration of Hamilton, Ontario promoter Lou Molinaro.

Awards news

Country legend Shania Twain will host the 2024 People’s Choice Country Awards this fall, NBCUniversal has announced. The two-hour awards ceremony live from Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry is set to air Thursday, Sept. 26 at 8 p.m. ET/PT across NBC and Peacock. The Awards show premiered last year. Twain is continuing her 'All The Hits' residency at Bakkt Theater in Las Vegas, and heads north in mid-August to headline the Churchill Park Music Festival in St. John's. Tour dates here.

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