Music Biz Headlines, June 15, 2020

David Collier illustrates the life of Gary Topp (pictured), a look at the arts in Canada post-pandemic, and Bob Dylan opens up. Others in the headlines include Blue Frog Studio, Tencent Music, WMG, BMG, BLM, Lady Antebellum, the Rolling Stones, Peter Jackson, the Grammys, Ted Cockle, the Australasian industry, N.W.A., Seal, Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, and Run the Jewels.

Music Biz Headlines, June 15, 2020

By FYI Staff

Hamilton artist David Collier chronicles the life of iconic promoter Gary Topp

Collier worked for Toronto legend Topp at that city’s pioneering rock club, The Edge. Four decades later, the pair join forces for a fascinating memoir of Topp. –– Graham Rockingham, Hamilton Spectator

Canada’s arts industry tries to envision its post-pandemic future

What’s next? That’s the question on the mind of every pianist, ballet dancer and film director in the world. The pandemic not only separated artists from their audiences – no concerts, no plays, no art shows – but also from production and creation. No dance rehearsals, no band practices, no movie shoots.––  Kate Taylor, Globe and Mail

'There is no opportunity right now': Live music venues are at risk of shutting down permanently

Live music venues in Edmonton, and across Canada, are feeling left out of emergency federal funding. Private and independent venues are not eligible for any of the $500 million set aside by Ottawa in early May for organizations funded by government grant programs. –– CTV News


Live-stream series is a new concert reality at White Rock’s Blue Frog Studio

Production values are added to socially-distanced shows. –– Alex Browne, Peace Arch News

During the pandemic, video games are the new concert venues

With live music postponed for the foreseeable future, artists like 100 gecs, PartyNextDoor, Massive Attack and Pussy Riot are entering alternate worlds.  –– Richard Trapunski, NOW


Tencent Music buys $100M+ stake in Warner Music Group

It's official: Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) owns a piece of Warner Music Group. That piece isn't quite as big as the $200M chunk suggested by the Wall Street Journal the other week, but it's not insignificant, either. That equates to 5.2% of total outstanding Class A shares, and 0.8% of the entirety of WMG, according to the filing. –– MBW

Tencent now owns 10% of Universal, 9% of Spotify and nearly 2% of Warner Music Group.

On Friday, we spotted via an SEC filing that Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) had acquired 4 million Class A shares in Warner Music Group in a transaction worth around $100M. We’ve subsequently learned, via an additional filing also lodged with the SEC on Friday (see below), that China’s Tencent Holdings – the majority owner of TME – has itself acquired a separate stake in Warner of the same size as TME’s (4 million shares / 0.8% of Warner’s company). –– MBW


Music publishers in the United States banked $3.72B in revenues in 2019 

The figure, up 11.6% year-on-year, and the equivalent of just over $10m a day, was revealed  (June 10) by the CEO of the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), David Israelite, at the org’s online Annual Meeting. However, in percentage terms, publishers actually grew slightly faster than labels. –– Tim Ingham, MBW

BMG to review historic record contracts due to 'shameful treatment of black artists'

The record label and publisher BMG has pledged to address historic inequalities in the record contracts of black artists. In an email sent to managers and performers reported by Music Business Worldwide, BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch said the label was “mindful of the shameful treatment of black artists”, and would begin a review of historic record contracts, vowing to address “inequities or anomalies” within 30 days.–– Laura Snapes, The Guardian

The three-metre ruling sounds a false note to live musicians

A 'working document' states that members of orchestras and bands would be forced to sit three metres away from each other. –– Jessica Carpani and Edward Malnick,  The Telegraph

The Recording Academy announces nine rule changes to its Grammy Awards and nominations process

The Recording Academy announced nine key changes to its awards and nominations process on June 10). They take effect immediately and will be in place for the upcoming 63nd annual Grammy Awards.  We discussed the changes with Harvey Mason, Jr., Chair & Interim President/CEO of the Recording Academy. –– Paul Grein, Billboard


My neighbours think I’m losing it’: From live-streams to virtual reality raves, how musicians are coping without touring

Cancelled gigs and tours have hit musicians hard but the likes of Phoebe Bridgers, Rufus Wainwright and Tim Burgess have filled the void by getting creative online. There’s still hope, they tell. –– Alexandra Pollard, The Independent

Australia introduces a $345M covid concert industry support plan

With restrictions for live music venues and nightclubs easing, the Australian and New Zealand live performance sectors are looking past covid-19 with a re-build plan officially locked in. Live Performance Australia recently unveiled an ambitious $345 million plan to restart and rebuild the industry. Among the initiatives is a $55 million ‘See It Live’ to attract tourists to live events in Australia, tax incentives for venues, a loan scheme and waiving visa fees for overseas acts. –– Ozedm.


NZ Government launches a $175M arts and music recovery package

The New Zealand government has announced a package to boost the arts and creative sector in the wake of covid-19. ––  Radio NZ

Ted Cockle exits his post at Virgin EMI

The long-time President of Virgin EMI – one of Universal Music UK’s biggest labels – has exited the company, MBW can reveal. Sources informed us today that Cockle, who has run Virgin EMI since 2013, had departed Universal after an unbroken 15 year run with the major. –– Tim Ingham, MBW

How N.W.A’s ‘Fuck tha Police’ became the ‘perfect protest song’

32 years after its release, streams of the anti-cop anthem are surging once again during the nation’s George Floyd protests. “A lot of people would be happy that the song gets streamed,” says MC Ren, “but it’s unfortunate.” –– Kory Grow, Rolling Stone

Where has Seal been? Watching your Instagram stories (and ‘plandemic’)

Over the past few months, the singer has become a seemingly omnipresent online viewer. ––  Emily Kirkpatrick, New York Times

Run the Jewels’ RTJ4 takes aim at systemic oppression amid national uprising: Review

Killer Mike and El-P craft a hard-hitting manifesto of boisterous anthems and fearless criticism. –– Candace McDuffie,  CoS

Bob Dylan unveils the ‘Rough and Rowdy Ways’ tracklist

10-song set is the artist’s first album of original songs since 2012’s Tempest. –– Rolling Stone

Bob Dylan has a lot on his mind

In a rare interview, the Nobel Prize winner discusses mortality, drawing inspiration from the past, and his new album, “Rough and Rowdy Ways.” –– Douglas Brinkley, NY Times 

Peter Jackson's upcoming documentary about the Beatles' troubled Get Back sessions has been postponed

The Beatles: Get Back, which chronicles the group's rehearsals and performances from January 1969 as it began work on a new album, won't premiere until August 2021. The movie was originally scheduled to open in September but has now been delayed for almost a year because of the coronavirus pandemic. –– Ultimate Classic Rock

Nurses’ musical voices give comfort in midst of pandemic

Providing palliative care at Vanderbilt University Medical Center can be taxing for nurses trying to extend and improve the lives of seriously ill patients. Music helps bring them relief. ––  Kristin M. Hall, AP


Country trio Lady Antebellum changes its name: ‘We are regretful and embarrassed’

The hit country group will now be known as Lady A.  –– LA Times

If country music wants to reckon with its racism, look deeper than the bad names.

Nashville trio Lady Antebellum’s unexpected statement Thursday morning, bold and explicit, came crashing through the internet. There is this idea — a convenient, if falsified, explanation — that country music has a complicated past. But the truth is that the racist history of this genre isn’t complicated at all.  –– Andrea Williams, Vulture

Garth Brooks might be headed to a drive-in concert near you

The country singer announced on Thursday that he is going to perform at a drive-in theater on June 27. But here's the best part for his fans: The concert will air live at 300 drive-ins across the country. –– CNN

Goldenvoice announces Coachella festival dates for 2021

The pandemic forced the cancellation of this year's Coachella and Stagecoach fests in California. –– The LA Times

YG, Che Lingo, Kendrick Lamar: the protest songs of Black Lives Matter 2020

The demonstrations against the killing of George Floyd have brought a wave of powerful protest music, with new tracks and revisited classics.  –– Chante Joseph, The Guardian

Restrictions ease, Australian fests are now allowed up to 25% capacity

The new rule for attending music festivals has been adjusted to now allow 25% attendance at outdoor venues of up to 40,000 capacity. Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the easing of restrictions today adding that all events must be ticketed and the audience seated. –– Paul Cashmere, Noise11


Sonny Rollins on the pandemic, protests, and music

The legendary saxophonist, approaching ninety, discusses civil rights, jazz, and creative change. –– The New Yorker

Rupert Hine obituary

The English folk singer went on to become a successful record producer, working with Tina Turner, Rush, Howard Jones and Suzanne Vega. –– Adam Sweeting, The Guardian. 

The entire run of Trouser Press magazine is now online and free

Trouser Press was a US fanzine created in 1974. It began its life as a "sort of British rock collectors magazine," and as the decade progressed, became one of the best American sources for punk, power pop, and new wave. The magazine stopped publication in 1984. The Trouser Press Record Guide has been online for over 20 years but they just redid the website, which now is publishing new articles. It is a real treasure trove of interviews, criticism and generally great music writing. –– Brooklyn Vegan

YouTube pulls Black Lives Matter fundraising videos that encourage ‘fake engagement’

Variety reports: “YouTube has removed multiple videos whose creators said they were donating ad revenue to Black Lives Matter and other racial-justice causes — but who were trying to game the system.” –– digitalmediawire

Dolly Parton statue may replace KKK leader memorial at the Tennessee Capitol

"If we want to preserve history, then let’s tell it the right way." –– Nina Corcoran, CoS

The Rolling Stones' solo albums ranked

The Rolling Stones' solo albums didn't necessarily become huge commercial or critical hits like their counterparts from the Beatles, Genesis or Led Zeppelin. Still, as the following countdown shows, some produced career-changing moments anyway. For instance, one of them seemed to precipitate a lineup change; another is said to have sparked a reunion.  –– Ultimate Classic Rock

Luminate Data Market Watch Facts & Figures: Week Ending June 6, 2024

Luminate Data Market Watch Facts & Figures: Week Ending June 6, 2024

Here is this week's Luminate Data Market Watch report which features Canadian music stats for the current week and year-to-date comparisons to last year.

Here is this week's Luminate Data Market Watch report which features Canadian music stats for the current week and YTD with comparisons to last year. This chart is published every Tuesday. The abbreviation "TEA" is a term used to describe the sale of music downloads or singles. A track equivalent album is equal to 10 tracks, or 10 songs.