Music Biz Headlines, June 10, 2021

Powfu (pictured) reaches an impressive milestone, more takes on the Junos, and a rare Stan Klees interview. Others in the headlines include Grimes, the ECMAs, Global Toronto, The International Indigenous Music Summit, Hipgnosis, UMG, Roblox, YouTube, Bravado, mobile gaming, meditative music, and Metallica.

Music Biz Headlines, June 10, 2021

By Kerry Doole

The 2021 Junos reflected a period of Canadian cultural upheaval

The 2021 edition of the music awards celebrated its 50th anniversary in a very tumultuous year. – Richard Trapunski, NOW

Vancouver musicians were mostly bridesmaids at this year's Juno Awards

One of the exceptions was the heavy-metal band Unleash the Archers, which was formed on the West Coast in 2007. – Charlie Smith, Georgia Straight

It makes me smile’: Georgetown man who co-founded Junos receives Canadian music award

A Georgetown resident’s dedication to preserving and promoting homegrown music has been recognized. Stan Klees, former record label executive and co-founder of what ultimately became the Juno Awards, recently received the Guardian Award from the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada. – Melanie Hennessey Independent Free Press

Bedroom rapper Powfu’s TikTok hit ‘Death Bed’ passes 1 billion Spotify plays

The Vancouver-born musician’s “Death Bed (Coffee for Your Head),” which became an inescapable hook on TikTok last year, has now crossed one billion plays on Spotify. It’s a feat that puts Powfu, born Isaiah Faber, among an exclusive group of Canadians with billion-play tracks on Spotify, including Drake, Shawn Mendes, Justin Bieber and The Weeknd. – David Friend, The Canadian Press


Ontario government restores hope for a summer theatre season - but the dramatic suspense continues

There are grumblings out there in some corners of the cultural world that the current Ontario government doesn’t care about the performing arts, but I’m really not sure what that is based on. In fact, there is abundant evidence that Premier Doug Ford and those advising him on public health love drama – and particularly keeping people who earn their livings in live theatre and music in suspense. – JK Nestruck, Globe and Mail

6 event picks, including Keonté Beals at the 2021 ECMAs 

The celebration of local music leads the pack of can’t-miss culture.  Morgan Mullin, The Coast

Grimes delivers a new Communist Manifesto for the 21st century, featuring a heavy dose of artificial intelligence

Her partner, Elon Musk, is reportedly worth US$151 billion, but that hasn't dissuaded her from trying to encourage lefties to embrace technology. – Charlie Smith, Georgia Straight 

Now what? The next steps for Toronto’s signature international music conference

June 14 marks the third return of Global Toronto, the conference, marketplace and concert that pushed the boundaries of togetherness and community since 2018 – and one of the first music conferences to mark its second lockdown edition. – Brooke Porter, NOW


The International Indigenous Music Summit wanted a ‘new, pandemic-centric’ way to showcase the art.

So, they sent the artists iPhones – Jonathan Dekel, Toronto Star 


Hipgnosis Songs Fund now owns a music catalog worth over $2.2 billion

Hipgnosis is the owner of a catalog that has been independently valued at USD $2.21 billion, the UK-listed company revealed June 7 in a financial update. – MBW

As royalties sales ramp up, labels are overwhelmed by new accounting requests

Universal Music Group says it's still honoring letters of direction requests, but sources add that it is scrutinizing them more closely.. Over the past six months, artists and producers have been rushing to sell their royalty streams in unprecedented numbers as investors pour into music assets and drive prices to heady new heights. – Ed Christman and Glenn Peoples, Billboard

Roblox sued for $200M+ by music publishers, who allege copyright infringement

A group of indie and major music publishers are — via the National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA) — suing video gaming platform Roblox in the US for over $200 million in damages, alleging widespread copyright infringement by the company. NMPA President & CEO, David Israelite, during his annual State of the Industry speech, accused Roblox of "rampant" ignorance of music licensing requirements. – Tim Ingham, MBW

YouTube isn’t the music villain anymore

YouTube seems to have shown that it’s possible to both upend an industry and help make it stronger. – New York Times


UMG, Believe and the productization of music

A hedge fund buying 10% of UMG and Believe’s $400M IPO are part of a trend fundamentally reshaping the music industry. – Mark Mulligan, Hypebot

Ikonick signs NFT licensing deal with Bravado, UMG's merchandise unit

Leading digital art brand Ikonick is teaming up with Bravado, Universal Music Group’s global merchandising and brand management company, to produce, market and distribute canvas art and NFTs across their extensive roster of artists. – Variety

75% of mobile gaming pandemic boost will persist – Report

A new report from market intelligence firm IDC and advertising platform LoopMe says the pair expect that 75% of the consumer playtime spike experienced by mobile games during the pandemic will remain after Covid-19 subsides. –


Meditation apps want us to chill out. Musicians are happy to help

Music and mindfulness have become increasingly linked during the pandemic, and artists like Erykah Badu and Arcade Fire are teaming with tech companies to make it happen. – The New York Times

Metallica introduces its limited edition Black Album Whiskey Pack

In honor of Metallica’s iconic self-titled album, widely known as The Black Album, Blackened American Whiskey announces their limited edition The Black Album Whiskey Pack. – Buddy Iahn, themusicuniverse

Acacia Events



Dasha, Dallas Smith Head List of 2024 Canadian Country Music Association Awards Performers

Canadian country stars Brett Kissel, Jade Eagleson and the Reklaws will take to the Rogers Place stage in Edmonton on Sept. 14.

Today (June 12), a powerful lineup of top country stars has been announced as the first round of performers for the 2024 Canadian Country Music Association Awards.

That list comprises 2023 CCMA Entertainer of the Year and Male Artist of the Year award winner Jade Eagleson, multi-Platinum, 22x CCMA Award winner Brett Kissel, 8x CCMA Award winning duo The Reklaws, 2x JUNO Award winner and 3x CCMA Entertainer of the Year Dallas Smith. Joining that strong list of Canadian talent is American rising talent Dasha, whose song "Austin" is one of the breakout country hits of the year.

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