Music Biz Headlines, June 24, 2021

A Joni Mitchell classic turns 50 (pictured), a new profile of jazz guitarist Lorne Lofsky, and Neil Young is working with Crazy Horse again. Also in the headlines are Top5, Paul Pigat, UMG, Songtradr, Sony Music, Endeavor, Twitch, Randall Poster, Marianne Faithfull, Francoise Hardy, MF DOOM, Brian Wilson, Britney Spears, Twenty One Pilots, and Lucy Dacus.

Music Biz Headlines, June 24, 2021

By Kerry Doole

Joni Mitchell’s Blue: my favourite song – by James Taylor, Carole King, Graham Nash, David Crosby and more

As the legendary album turns 50, the musicians it inspired – and those who inspired it – tell us which track means the most to them and why. – Dave Simpson, The Guardian

Live outdoor concerts return to Ontario next week, but venue owners are confused about reopening rules

While Ontario’s reopening plan will allow concerts at outdoor venues in Step 2 and indoor venues in Step 3 “with spectator capacity restrictions,” not knowing the precise conditions under which they’ll operate makes it difficult for venues to plan in advance, said Horseshoe Tavern owner Jeff Cohen. – Josh Rubin, Toronto Star

As Montreal nightlife begins to return, promoters hope to reverse pre-Covid decline

Downtown Montreal bar and music venue Turbo Haus has begun to reopen after one of Canada’s longest Covid lockdowns, but remaining restrictions mean last call is at midnight, patrons must remain seated and dancing is forbidden. Like many other small music venues in the city, Turbo Haus isn’t putting on concerts. Things are “still a long way from being back to normal,” co-owner Michelle Ayoub says.  – Jacob Serebrin,The Canadian Press


Overdue ovation: Lorne Lofsky is back on the international radar

A profile of the underrecognized Canadian guitar picker. – Allen Morrison,  JazzTimes

Neil Young is recording a new album with Crazy Horse

“The Horse is back in the barn now,” Young wrote to fans, “shaking off the rust.” – Andy Greene, Rolling Stone 

Police are warning that a  'dangerous' Toronto rapper wanted for murder is on the run

Hassan Ali, otherwise known as Toronto-based rapper, Top5, has had his charges upgraded to first-degree murder. Toronto Police believe he might have fled to Western Canada. – Narcity

Guitar ace Paul Pigat bounces back from broken ribs

The Vancouver stringbender is now healed after falling from a ladder, and you can see him in action via a concert that will be streamed for free as part of the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival on June 25. – Steve Newton, Georgia Straight


Sony Music buys majority stake in Todd Moscowitz's Alamo Records in nine-figure deal

This is yet another major acquisition for SME – this time in the world of US hip-hop and pop music – by buying a majority stake in Todd Moscowitz's Alamo Records. New York-based Alamo was founded in 2016 and has broken artists including Blackbear, Lil Durk and Rod Wave. Our sources suggest the deal was for a nine-figure sum, and that Sony paid comfortably north of $125M. – Tim Ingham, MBW


Songtradr raises $50m in series D funding round

The round saw participation from Australian based institutional investors including Regal, Aware Super, Perennial, Argo and Greencape, as well as a follow-on investment from the founder and CEO of Wisetech Global, Richard White. Now, there's even talk of a potential IPO for Songtradr – perhaps as early as later this year. The LA-headquartered music rights firm has raised over $100m in total to date, valuing Songtradr at over $300m. – Murray Stassen, MBW

Universal, the world’s biggest record label, heads for an IPO

Investors hope to cash in on the streaming boom. But will the hits keep coming? - The Economist

Bill Ackman on UMG: “The perfect business”

Ackman used the phrase in a dog-and-pony show for investors that spelled out the rationale behind his Pershing Square hedge fund's shelling out of $4b for a 10% share—184.8m shares—in the music company.– Hits Daily Double

Endeavor’s Ari Emanuel leaves Live Nation board over Justice Department’s antitrust concerns

“These resignations ensure that Endeavor and Live Nation will compete independently,” Acting Assistant Atty. Gen. Richard A. Powers of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division said in a statement. “Executives are not permitted to hold board positions on companies that compete with each other. The division will enforce the antitrust laws to make sure that all companies compete on the merits.” – LA Times


Paradox of small: More artists find a global audience but have little chance of real income

The music business is not yet set up for the economies of micro audiences. Until it is, artist royalty woes will remain a festering wound that risks infecting the entire business. – Mark Mulligan, Midia

Can streaming pay? Musicians are putting faith in Twitch

The gaming platform is becoming increasingly attractive to artists, who can earn money by cultivating fan tribes that express their loyalty through patronage.  – Ben Sisario, New York Times

This week In the Hot Seat with Larry LeBlanc: Randall Poster, music supervisor, producer

Independent film and TV music supervision has exploded over the past two decades. While it is a highly competitive field, not everybody knows what they are doing. New Yorker Randall Poster surely does. He has sourced music for film, TV, advertisements, and branded content for over 25 years, and is the creator of nearly 200 masterful and expertly crafted, soundtracks. – Larry LeBlanc, Celebrity Access;


Life lessons from a living legend: Marianne Faithfull on fame, creative collaboration and the power of poetry

Marianne Faithfull is on the line and I’m reciting Lord Byron to her, as one does. “A mind at peace with all below, a heart whose love is innocent,” I say to the singer, survivor and one-time Rolling Stones muse. “I like that very much,” Faithfull says. “It’s a lovely vision.” That bit of Byron is from the poem She Walks in Beauty, which is also the title of Faithfull’s new spoken-word album. –  Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail

Françoise Hardy argues for her right to die in France 

The 77-year-old chanteuse said her natural death will only bring more suffering. – Jordan Hoffman, Vanity Fair

Untangling MF DOOM’s lifelong struggle with the U.S. Immigration system

Previously unreported immigration documents show the rapper’s attempts to gain legal residency in the U.S. before his death in October 2020. – Noah Yoo, Pitchfork

‘Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road’ film review: Frustrating, but the music is transcendent

Tribeca 2021: The music documentary doesn’t deliver any deep insights from the troubled mastermind behind the Beach Boys’ hits, but the songs retain their power. –  Steve Pond, The Wrap

Lucy Dacus: ‘I wish that I’d had a more joyous journey with sexuality’

The US singer-songwriter is one of the new darlings of indie-rock and returns with an album that confronts her childhood, Christian upbringing and queerness. She talks to Rachel Brodsky. – The Independent

What’s wrong with Bob Dylan’s biographers?

The fiercely competitive field of Dylanology pits expert against expert. No one is spared—not even Dylan himself. – The New Republic

The rebirth of Twenty One Pilots

The US Alt-pop duo built a career with songs about sadness. So what happens when they get happy? Find out here. – Rayne Fisher-Quann, Next

Britney Spears quietly pushed for years to end her conservatorship

Confidential court records obtained by The Times reveal that the singer has urged changes to the arrangement that controls her life, and her father’s role in leading it. –Joe Coscarelli, Samantha Stark, Liz Day, The New York Times


Jayda G
David Reiss

Jayda G


Fresh Sounds Canada: New Songs from Jayda G, Claudia Bouvette and More

This week's discovery roundup of new Canadian songs also includes Indigenous songwriter Celeigh Cardinal and Quebec acts KROY and Mon Doux Saigneur.

In Fresh Sounds Canada, Billboard Canada puts you on to the must-hear songs of the week by artists on the rise and those about to break. Here's what's out this week.

Jayda G, “If We Only Knew”

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