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FYI

Music Biz Headlines, June 18, 2020

Neil Young’s legendary lost album gets a release (pictured), singing is banned on Ontario patios, and Montreal’s Canada Day plans. Also in the headlines are Steven Lee Olsen, Kwento, Live Nation, Tencent, Bruce Springsteen, EMI Records, indie power players, Spotify, covid-era concerts, MusiCares, Wave, Black Sabbath, Bob Dylan, Fiona Apple, Beyonce, and indie record stores.

Music Biz Headlines, June 18, 2020

By FYI Staff

Neil Young’s long-lost album Homegrown was never lost at all

Recorded in late 1974 and early ’75 and long considered one of rock and roll’s most fabled “lost” albums, Neil Young’s Homegrown finally gets its release on June 19. Homegrown was never lost, though – the Neiler knows where his things are. The man’s an archivist. –– Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail


Remembered: Greg Simpson was London's straight-shooting music man

London music man Greg Simpson, a five-decade industry veteran, a stalwart supporter of Forest City acts as a manager, mentor and program director at FM96 in the 1980s, died June 10. –– Dan Brown, London Free Press

No singing or dancing allowed as Ontario reopens restaurant patios

Whistle while you work to help Ontario bounce back from the pandemic -- but please, don't sing. That's the gist of the message coming from the provincial government, which has included explicit bans on singing -- even dancing -- in parts of its plan to reopen businesses temporarily shuttered by the deadly outbreak. –– Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press

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When the pandemic subsides, preserving the arts must be a top priority for governments

One of the tragedies of the covid-19 crisis is its devastation of arts and culture organizations in this country. Even with emergency support by the federal government, the future for many of these groups is uncertain. But the crisis has shown that the private sector can’t do it all. In the face of the pandemic crisis and well beyond, preserving the arts must now be a priority for governments. –– Lawrence Herman, The Globe and Mail

The Wainwrights, Patrick Watson, Elisapie Isaac are to perform at Montreal's Canada Day bash, webcast live from Olympic Stadium

There won't be the traditional Canada Day parade downtown or concert and fireworks in the Old Port due to the pandemic, but Montrealers will still get a chance to celebrate Canada Day this summer. –– CFCF

Steven Lee Olsen co-writes No. 1 hits for Keith Urban, Kip Moore, and more

The Canadian singer/songwriter is clearly a glass-half-full type. Rather than wallowing in disappointment over the coronavirus cancellations of Canadian summer festival dates that would have helped promote his new material (four songs released in March, on his own SLO Circus imprint), he’s donned his other hat, that of a much-in-demand songwriter for major country acts. –– Kerry Doole, Words & Music 

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Musical Moment: Hear TSO principal cello play the Catalan folk song ‘Song of the Birds’

In this week’s Musical Moment, Joseph Johnson, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s principal cello, contributes a Catalan folk song called “Song of the Birds.” A solo version for cello was brought to international attention by the legendary cellist and humanist Pablo Casals in 1971.  –– Toronto Star

“Music, lyrics, and sounds can just bring this type of self-acceptance that we need.” 

R&B force Kwento explains music as medicine for the soul. –– Alec Martin, The Coast

International

As nightlife returns in some states, clubs and promoters should consider their liability in case of covid-19 outbreaks.

As states lessen restrictions and move towards phased reopening of businesses, venues, nightclubs and concert promoters have been pressing their attorneys, business managers and insurance providers for solid advice regarding what protection they would be afforded should a covid-19 infection or outbreak occur on their premises. What they are discovering is there are no definitive answers. –– Claudia Rosenbaum, Billboard

Live Nation plans to reduce payments, shift risks to a artists for 2021 festivals

A memo to agents outlines sweeping changes that dramatically shift the balance of power back to promoters in the post-pandemic world. ––  Dave Brooks, Billboard

Music streaming needs a new future

I am going to take this thinking one step further by proposing a new way to consider how to segment the music consumption journey and how Western companies can become part of this new vision. –– Music Industry Blog

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Just what is Tencent’s endgame?

Tencent’s combined $200 million investment in WMG follows on the heels of its $3.6 billion joint investment in Universal Music. It is hardly Tencent’s first investments in music, having spent $6.2 billion on music investments since 2016. But music is just one part of a much larger, supremely bold and undoubtedly disruptive strategy that is making the Chinese company an entertainment business powerhouse in the East and West alike. ––  Mark Mulligan, Music Industry Blog

Billboard's 2020 indie power players

In a season of turmoil, the executives at these 75 companies — labels, distributors and associations — are driving artists to chart-topping success outside the major-label machinery.  –– Billboard

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Rebecca Allen is named President of a relaunched EMI Records

EMI Records, one of the most fabled record company brands in history, is returning as a frontline label. Universal Music UK on June 16 announced that Rebecca Allen has been named President of EMI Records with immediate effect, moving over from her successful tenure as President of Decca. EMI Records re-emerges as a rebrand of Universal’s Virgin EMI, which was the biggest label in the UK in 2019 in terms of album-equivalent market share. –– MBW

Songwriters are already fighting for better pay, and they'll soon face an even bigger battle

“I can promise you, whether we win or lose, what Spotify has done here is so offensive, it will never be forgotten,” says David Israelite, CEO and president of the National Music Publishers’ Association. –– Tim Ingham, MBW

So you want to be a socially distanced orchestra

As the coronavirus pandemic endures, much of the attention in resuming the performing arts has been on the size and density of audiences. But symphony orchestras are often just as packed onstage as in their auditoriums. If concerts are to go forward with social distancing restrictions in place, they will have to include not just fewer listeners, but also fewer players. Here is music that could safely be played by a reduced symphonic ensemble.  –– New York Times 

Film and television composers to perform for MusiCares benefit

Over 75 composers, songwriters, and musicians will participate in the digital event for covid-19 aid. –– Claire Shaffer, Rolling Stone

Bob Dylan's 'Rough and Rowdy Ways': Album review

Bob Dylan's first album of new material in eight years makes up for lost rhyme with songs that are funny, fascinating, and elusive. –– Chris Willman, Variety

Bob Dylan’s ‘Rough and Rowdy Ways’ is a savage pulp-noir masterpiece: Review

A word of advice: Don’t mess with Bob Dylan, who, at 79, rips, snorts and cackles through his new album like a man with something — or absolutely nothing — to prove. –– Mikael Wood, LA Times

Fiona Apple to donate two years’ worth of song royalties to charity

She will donate earnings from  Fetch the Bolt Cutters songs "Shameika" and "Heavy Balloon." In an effort to get these two tracks placed, Apple urged her fans to tag relevant music supervisors in Hollywood. –– Luke Schatz, CoS

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Bruce Springsteen discusses Dion, the saxophone, his wife Patti’s vocal production and more

Here are a few excerpts from Alan Paul’s recent full conversation with Springsteen, taken from his personal blog and reprinted with his approval. ––  American Songwriter.

A virtual music festival in Aberdeen makes a splash

North East Scotland Performing Arts has been running its annual gathering almost every year since 1909, only ever stopping during the First and Second World Wars. This year the Aberdeen and North East of Scotland Music Festival went virtual for the first time to ensure the event could continue amid the pandemic. More than 600 people took part in the event last week, submitting pre-recorded videos of their performances. –– Press and Journal

US indie record stores struggle amidst the lockdowns

Some independent record stores across the US have been barely hanging on in recent years, thanks to a rise in online streaming and the dominance of mega-retailers such as Amazon. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit, making matters even worse. –– USA Today

The most famous accusations of musical plagiarism

We look at the times when the legal eagles have got involved, but judge for yourself! Plagiarism happens in music, sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose. Sometimes it's "unconscious borrowing", other times it's a "musical homage". Here are a few of the most famous court cases and legal actions in music. –– Radio X

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Beyoncé demands justice for Breonna Taylor in letter to Attorney General

“Take swift and decisive action in charging the officers. The next months cannot look like the last three.”  –– Evan Minsker, Pitchfork

Black filmmakers and executives get honest about their experiences in Hollywood

In the wake of George Floyd's murder, they step up and speak out. –– LA Times

Celebrities contribute $30M to virtual concert startup

The virtual concert startup company Wave is on-the-rise, and jhas ust announced support from various celebrities, garnering $30 million in series B funding. The funding was led by Maveron with participation from Griffin Gaming Partners, Scooter Braun, Alex Rodriquez, Superfly co-founder Rick Farman, and Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin. –– Olivia Perreault Ticket News

Queen Latifah: Let ‘Gone with the Wind’ be gone forever

The actress and singer discusses the ant-racist movement and her Queen Collective initiative while dissing the controversial film. –– Gary Gerard Hamilton, AP

Live From Here cancelled

Live From Here, the Chris Thile-hosted variety show formerly known as A Prairie Home Companion, has been cancelled by Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media. This past weekend’s episode, which featured performances from Rufus Wainwright, the War & Treaty, Lady Midnight, and more, will be the show’s final installment. –– Peter Helman, Stereogum

Black Sabbath sell Black Lives Matter t-shirt based on iconic font

The Paranoid rockers' reworked the logo on their Master of Reality album, with 100% of net profits going towards the BLM cause. –– Radio X

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DIVINE (L) and Karan Aujla
@anmollium / Anmol Raina

DIVINE (L) and Karan Aujla

Chart Beat

Karan Aujla & DIVINE Debut in Top 25 on Billboard Canadian Albums Chart

B.C.-based Punjabi artist Karan Aujla and Indian rapper DIVINE land the No. 22 spot on this week's Canadian Albums chart with their new collaborative release, 'Street Dreams.' On the Canadian Hot 100, Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em" ascends to No. 1, while Canadian pop artist Preston Pablo makes a debut.

B.C.-based Punjabi artist Karan Aujla and Indian rapper DIVINE are making moves together on Billboard's Canadian Albums chart this week, with their collaborative project, Street Dreams, debuting in the No. 22 spot.

The seven-track album, released Feb. 16, blends harder hip-hop and smooth R&B pop, the latter shining through especially on the Jonita Gandhi-assisted "Yaad." It's not Aujla's highest spot on the Albums chart — he reached No. 5 in 2023 with Making Memories, his collaboration with Canadian Punjabi artist Ikky — but it gives him some momentum going into his upcoming performance at the Juno Awards on Mar. 24, where he's nominated for TikTok Juno fan choice and breakthrough artist.

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