Music Biz Headlines, July 31, 2019

Sheila E. excels at Interstellar, The Ensemble Made in Canada features star composers, and Meghan Patrick (pictured) takes no prisoners. Others in the headlines include Cosmo Sheldrake, Maggie Rogers, Suzanne Vega, Kirk Hammett, Loreena McKennitt, Lil Nas X, Beyoncé, Katy Perry, and Live Nation.

Music Biz Headlines, July 31, 2019

By FYI Staff

A Short Story About a War finds Shad making peace with the idea he doesn't have to please everyone

The Canadian rapper wrestles with greed, fear, and injustice on his powerful latest album. – Mike Usinger, Georgia Straight

With Purple Rain singalong, Sheila E. elevates Interstellar to new heights

“All those moments will be lost in time … like tears in rain.” Yeah, sure, if you’re some freaky Aryan robot dying on a rooftop that’s true — but at Interstellar Rodeo, the only way Saturday’s memories are flitting away any time soon is simple overload. We’re going to be talking about what happened here for decades. – Fish Griwkowsky, Edmonton Journal

The ‘whitewashing’ of Black music: A dark chapter in rock history

History is a selective thing. Usually the stories we’re familiar with are the ones we want to believe, or maybe the sad reality is we haven’t been taught any other alternative from the “mainstream” schools of thought. Case in point is the history of music, and specifically, for this analysis, classic and modern rock. – Chris Jancelewicz, Global News


The Ensemble Made in Canada takes on a country-sized musical initiative

The ensemble is touring the country with a concert featuring works representing the 13 provinces and territories. The 14 composers involved include Julie Doiron, David Braid, Vivian Fung, Andrew Downing and Sarah Slean. – Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail

Winnipeg music acts rock out for upcoming Canadian Homegrown doc

Top talent on the Winnipeg music scene will be featured in an upcoming documentary that captured some tremendous on-stage performances last Saturday night in a very underrated North End venue.  –Marty Gold, Manitoba Post

Pro-hunting, anti-heckler: Rising star Meghan Patrick set to take Big Valley Jamboree main stage

You do not want to mess with Meghan Patrick. The country singer-songwriter is as friendly and open as they come, but she does not brook any disrespect. A recent example is from just a few days back, when she stopped the show to boot out an obnoxious heckler during her headlining set at Hagersville Rocks in her home province of Ontario. – Tom Murray, Edmonton Journal

Cosmo Sheldrake gets in tune with nature

His music is as likely to include the sounds of endangered songbirds as it is woozy waltz rhythms or marching-band brass. His lyrics read like the free-association ramblings of a man well-versed in the work of Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear, to say nothing of Syd Barrett. – John Lucas Georgia Straight


Singer Maggie Rogers on letting her location inspire her and getting clear of ‘money and sexism’

Maggie Rogers hears music in colours. As a person who was born with synesthesia , the 25-year-old singer and songwriter from Easton, Maryland says it deeply impacts her artistry to the point where she creates “mood boards” to help her write. – Nick Krewen, Toronto Star

Suzanne Vega, master of song 

Folk icon Suzanne Vega says the music’s gotten her through her 35-year career: “I love what I do." – Chuck Teed, The Coast

Kirk Hammett's the Wedding Band supergroup plays third-ever Show to celebrate monster exhibit 

Their hour-long set Friday night at musical instrument and supply superstore Cosmo Music in Richmond Hill, Ontario, was for just 240 people. A hundred paid $300 (CAD) to meet Hammett and for a seat for the concert; the other hundred shelled out $200 just for the show, worth every penny. – Karen Bliss, Billboard


A glamorous recital from Loreena McKennitt in San Sebastian

Loreena has nearly forty years of professional activity, and it seems as if time had not passed through her, especially her music. And the voice, that incredible voice, is, next to her inseparable Celtic harp, hallmark of one of the most personal and unmistakable artists of the broad contemporary musical spectrum. – World Music Central


Lil Nas X effect: Sony's recorded music sales top $1 Billion as streaming revenues climb 

For the fiscal quarter ended June 30, Sony Music operations -- which includes Sony Music Entertainment, Sony/ATV, Sony Japan and the mobile-game dominated Visual Media/Platform -- reported 38.3 billion yen ($352.7 million) in operating income, a 19% rise on the same period the previous year.  Sales revenue rose 11% to 202.3 billion yen ($1.86 billion), up from 181.5 billion yen ($1.67 billion) in the first quarter of 2018. – Richard Smirke, Billboard

Universal now generating over $10M a day from streaming as the firm posts record half-year results

UMG's recorded music revenues from streaming jumped up 32.1% – or 25.5% at constant currency – in the first half of 2019. According to new H1 financial results from UMG parent Vivendi issued today (July 25), Universal generated €1.57bn ($1.77bn) from streaming in the six month period to end of June this year. – Tim Ingham, MBW


Dave Matthews, Anderson .Paak, Top Execs form lobbying group to fight Big Tech

Dave Matthews, Anderson .Paak and Maren Morris have united with some of the music industry’s biggest executives to form a new lobbying group, the Music Artists Coalition,  that will represent artists in a number of music-related issues on a national and state level. – Jem Aswad,Variety

Spotify's paying subscriber base grows to 108M as total monthly active user count hits 232M

In a new financial update today (July 31), SPOT confirmed that its premium subs count was up 31% year on year (on the same three months, to end of June, in 2018) – but below the midpoint of its guidance range of 107-110M. – Tim Ingham, MBW

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019 – Ron Davis SymphRONica

Canadian pianist Ron Davis launches his latest album, UpfRONt, in Europe with an extended Fringe run with his octet, SymphRONica. – Edinburgh Reporter

Lil Nas X broke the record for the longest run at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts with Old Town Road, a song created with a beat he licensed on the Austin-based music company BeatStars. –  Austin360

Katy Perry found guilty of copyright infringement in Dark Horse trial 

The pop singer faces millions In damages and lost royalties after a  California federal court jury has ruled that her Dark Horse was stolen from Christian rapper Marcus Gray, who performs as ‘Flame’. –  Paul Resnikoff, DMN

Beyoncé champions African music stars with Lion King soundtrack

Some of Africa's biggest music stars look set for success on a global scale having been handpicked by US singer Beyoncé to appear on her Lion King-inspired album. – Princess Irede Abumere, BBC Africa

Live Nation has raised its concert prices this year and it is paying off to the tune of $500M

The concert giant landed in hot water earlier this month when the company was linked with the shady practice of placing primary tickets for large shows directly onto secondary ‘resale’ platforms. – Tim Ingham, MBW


Suge Jacob Knight steps out of his father’s shadow — one million-dollar home at a time

He wants to sell you a house — at least he hopes he can. Catching Knight unsteady on his feet is a strange sight considering his father, Marion “Suge” Knight, ruled hip-hop a generation ago with unwavering arrogance and a by-any-means-necessary attitude that made his Death Row Records notorious. – Gerrick D. Kennedy,  LA Times

“It’s a scam”: Music licensing scheme faces revolt as senators take a look

The stakes are rising around an Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA) bid to get a tick of approval to administer music licensing services, as heads start turning in Canberra. Competition watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), is currently mulling over whether to re-authorise APRA, and by extension, its new licensing regime One Music.  – Matthew Elmas, Smart Company

The musicians of our city face months of high-temperature gantlets every year. It’s one thing to get to play in the sun; it’s another to be playing music in the sun when the mercury is well into the 90s or even 100-plus. We talked to 10 musicians about memories they have of melt-away summer gigs, and ways they’ve tried to beat the heat. – Peter Blackstock, Austin360

Taylor Swift 'The Tortured Poets Department'
Beth Garrabrant

Taylor Swift 'The Tortured Poets Department'

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Music Biz Headlines: Taylor Swift's Music  Back on TikTok, Just In Time for 'The Tortured Poets Department'

Our weekly compendium of headlines from home and around the globe also collects stories on the crisis of Canadian arts organizations, new streaming platforms, and debunking exaggerated reports of Coachella's death.

Canada in Top Three Countries for Music Exports on Spotify, But Some Hit Artists May Not Qualify as Canadian

Canadian artists generated more than $400-million in royalties from listeners outside Canada on Spotify in 2023, and were the top exporters of music on the platform behind the U.S. and U.K., the annual Loud & Clear report found. But the platform is warning that some successful songs exported may not qualify as officially Canadian under CRTC rules.– Marie Woolf, Globe and Mail

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