Music Biz Headlines, July 29, 2021

Hamilton troubadour Lindy Vopnfjord (pictured) is profiled, Indigenous artists address the trauma of residential schools, and Gowan rejoices in the return of live music. Also in the headlines are young classical musicians, Bob Dylan, Indigifest 2021, Alessia Cara, Opera Atelier, Vivendi, Spotify, Warner Music Spain, Amy Winehouse, Billie Eilish, Pink, Jackson Browne, Wu-Tang Clan, Willie Nelson, and Roy Brooks.

Music Biz Headlines, July 29, 2021

By Kerry Doole

‘Nobody can gaslight us’: the rappers confronting Canada’s colonial horrors

The recent discovery of unmarked graves at residential schools is the latest incident in decades of trauma for Indigenous Canadians, who are using lyricism to process it. – Kyle Mullin, The Guardian

30 hot Canadian classical musicians under 30, 2021 edition

Meet the young musicians burning up Canada's classical music scene. – Robert Rowat, CBC Music 

Hamilton’s Icelandic troubadour Lindy Vopnfjord making his mark

Amid sometimes near-apocalyptic doom-scapes, the noted singer/songwriter finds passion, traces of hope and, yes, often comedy. – Jeff Mahoney, The Spectator

Toronto rocker Lawrence Gowan reflects on his return to live concert performances with Styx

As Canadian musicians and venues begin taking steps toward the return of live music on this side of the border, Gowan, Toronto keyboardist and co-lead singer for the American classic rock band Styx, has some words of encouragement for performers and audiences alike. “If you think you loved it before, you’re going to love it even more,” he says. – Bob Reid, Toronto Star 


Fans of Kanye West and Bob Dylan live to be fooled

That there is a “sucker born every minute” is an axiom commonly attributed to P. T. Barnum. The hype man’s math was conservative, though. The rubes are everywhere and exponential if last week’s weird, ballyhooed music events from Bob Dylan and Kanye West are any indication. – Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail

Just announced: Toronto’s first post-lockdown outdoor music festival

Are you ready to attend an outdoor music festival? CityView Drive-In, the venue across from Rebel nightclub, is converting to a standing-room outdoor venue to host Together Again, billed as the city’s first post-lockdown outdoor music festival. Toronto club scene veteran Mark Oliver is headlining a dude-centric lineup focused on EDM. – Kevin Ritchie, NOW

Alessia Cara drops new music about mental health

The Canadian singer-songwriter sings about mental health and her battle with insomnia in new single Sweet Dream released earlier this month, from her upcoming third studio album. – Reuters

How digital killed the video stars: MuchMusic re-launches on TikTok

Nostalgia for the heyday of Much – fuelled by older millennials eager for a blast from the past – has brought the channel back to life on TikTok, with MuchMusic relaunching on the platform on July 7 as a digital-first offering. – Amil Niazi, Globe and Mail


Indigifest 2021 celebrates Indigenous music in B.C.

The First Peoples’ Cultural Council has just announced that it will host Indigifest 2021 every Thursday in August. A free celebration of Indigenous music, arts, and culture from across B.C., the online event will take place at 7 pm. – Steve Newton, Georgia Straight

Opera Atelier’s new season flies with an Angel and Measha Brueggergosman

During Opera Atelier’s 2021-22 season, an Angel gets its wings, The Resurrection is revived and a return to in-theatre performances is in the cards. The Toronto-based company dedicated to baroque opera and ballet will mix streamed films with live productions at Koerner Hall for a hybrid 36th season. – Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail



Universal Music Group posted almost $1bn in EBITDA profit in the first half of 2021

Vivendi has just announced the fiscal results of Universal Music Group for Q2 – the quarter ending June 2021 - and they're impressive.  Recorded music streaming revenue at UMG soared in Q2, up by 29.7% YoY on an organic basis. Universal's total recorded music revenues (across all formats) also rose 29.7% YoY in the quarter, up to €1.65 billion ($1.99bn). Across all divisions, including publishing and recorded music, Universal Music Group posted €2.02bn ($2.44bn) in revenues in Q2... up by a whopping 25.5% YoY. MBW


Spotify subscriptions grew to 165m in Q2, up by 7m on the previous quarter

Spotify published its financial results for Q2 2021 today (July 28), revealing that its global Premium Subscriber base grew to 165 million in the quarter (ended June 30). That was up 20% year-on-year, and up by 4%, or 7 million subscribers, on the 158m that SPOT counted at the end of the prior quarter (Q1 2021). – MBW

Warner Music Spain partners with Esports team Mad Lions

Warner Music Spain is entering the world of esports, a market that’s estimated to be worth almost $2 billion by 2022. The company has partnered with Spanish esports team, MAD Lions, owned by Canada-based OverActive Media. – Murray Stassen, MBW


Live music is back, but the musicians are out of practice

After a long, quiet stretch, Matty Metcalfe suddenly found himself planning the most frenetic week of his 20-year career as a professional musician. It was a welcome change for the 46-year-old in Charlottesville, Va., who had too much time on his hands before. – Joe Barrett, Wall Street Journal

The Pitchfork Guide to 2021 music festivals

A regularly updated guide to upcoming music festivals happening across the globe. – Pitchfork

The timeless influence of Amy Winehouse: “Her legacy is beyond comprehension”

The singer tragically died 10 years ago this week. Family, fans and celebrity peers – from Jake Shears to Laura Mvula – tell El Hunt about a force of nature with a fierce sense of humour. – NME

Billie Eilish on surviving teen fame and trauma, and how she finally stopped reading the comments

There was a moment not too long ago, admits the 19-year-old, when she was truly miserable. After her debut single, “Ocean Eyes,” became a viral hit on SoundCloud in 2015, she signed with Darkroom Records and landed a deal with Interscope. But she felt ill-equipped to deal with the sudden onslaught of attention. Life is happier now. – Amy Kaufman, LA Times

Pink offers to pay fines for Norwegian women's beach handball team 

Pink is offering her support to the Norwegian female beach handball team in their battle against wearing bikini bottoms during games. The Grammy-winning singer, 41, took to Twitter to announce that she would be willing to pay the disciplinary fines the 10-member team incurred for refusing to wear bikini bottoms in competition. – Megan Johnson, Yahoo News

Jackson Browne on cancel culture, his ‘shelf life’ and how to survive rush hour in L.A.

Jackson Browne knows people think he’s past his prime. Or “way out over my due date,” as he puts it on his new album. “I’m talking about shelf life,” he says. “But I think a lot of stuff is still good after the date that’s printed on the package.” – Amy Kaufman, LA Times

U.S. Government sells Martin Shkreli’s Wu-Tang Clan album to unknown buyer

Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, seized from Shkreli in 2018, was sold to fulfill a forfeiture money judgment in the disgraced pharma exec’s ongoing securities fraud case. – Noah Yoo, Pitchfork


Willie Nelson opening his archives for new docuseries from directors Thom Zimny and Oren Moverman

Willie Nelson is participating in a docuseries about his life, “Willie Nelson and Family,” with production said to be already “well underway” on the project from Blackbird Presents and Sight Unseen Pictures. The co-directors of the “definitive” multi-part series are Thom Zimny, Bruce Springsteen’s regular filmic collaborator, and Emmy winner and Oscar nominee Oren Moverman. – Chris Willman, Variety

Roy Brooks’s “Understanding,” a crucial jazz rediscovery in sound and sense

The first release of the drummer’s 1970 quintet recording displays the era’s key musical and political influences. – New Yorker

Nick Cave recalls eerie story involving Nick Drake and Velvet Underground’s Nico

"She stood up and in slow motion walked out of the room. And I’m thinking, 'What the fuck.'" – Will Lavin, NME

Newport Folk Festival is back, and we've got the photos to prove it

The Newport Folk Festival has returned with a weeklong special celebration called Folk On. Sunday’s highlight was an evening of black female artists curated by Canadian singer, songwriter, poet and activist Allison Russell. The biggest headliners were Brandi Carlile and the legendary Chaka Khan. – Michael Dunaway  Paste

Ivor Novello Rising Star Awards announced

Holly Humberstone, Rachel Chinouriri, Willow Kayne, Kamal, and Allegra are in contention for the Rising Star Award with Apple Music at the 2021 Ivor Novello Awards. The prize is back for a second year, with Nile Rodgers returning as a mentor. – Paul Cashmere, Noise11


Photos of deadmau5 from Rolling Stone Quebec cover story.
Photographer: Matt Barnes / Executive producers: Elizabeth Crisante & Amanda Dorenberg

Photos of deadmau5 from Rolling Stone Quebec cover story.


Rolling Stone Magazine Launches Canadian Edition at Festival d'été de Québec

The iconic magazine launched its new bilingual edition with deadmau5 on the cover, expanding its reach across Canada and celebrating its debut in Quebec.


Shortly before Post Malone took the stage in front of more than 100,000 people at one of the biggest summer concerts on the continent on Friday night (July 12), Festival d'été de Québec (FEQ) was treated to another major musical milestone: the launch of Rolling Stone Quebec.

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