Music Biz Headlines, June 3, 2019

Steven Page (pictured) gets political, Rihanna’s superstardom is analyzed in economic terms, and Drake's plane is reported to be a freebie. Also in the headlines are Hot Shots Lounge, Merritt murals, Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Beastie Boys, Apple Music, royalties, AI, generative music apps, Trans World, and Primavera Sound.

Music Biz Headlines, June 3, 2019

By Kerry Doole

Ex-Barenaked Ladies' frontman hits back at racism, xenophobia

Steven Page, former Barenaked Ladies frontman, kept a low profile when he moved to the United States, but all that has changed. He poured every bit of vehemence at his disposal into his latest album’s first single and video, White Noise. – Mike Devlin, Times Colonist

The four best Canadian albums in the world right now

A look at new work from Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Carly Rae Jepsen, Lucette, and Rich Aucoin. – Brad Wheeler, Globe andMail

Music Notes: The Fox and the Fiddles

Matt Olson recommends some concerts to see as the weather starts to get hot for the summer. – Saskatoon Star-Phoenix

‘One last hurrah’ at Hot Shots Lounge in Charlottetown

For the past 12 years, Kathy Tweel has provided a gathering place for locals and a performance venue for musicians at Hot Shots Lounge in Charlottetown. Al Tuck regularly played there, but the space has just closed down. – Sally Cole, Journal Pioneer


New mural to feature local athletes instead of country stars

Due to an ongoing ownership dispute involving Merritt’s country music murals, the city will paint the next piece on their own walls, with a new theme to boot. Council unanimously agreed to scrap plans to paint a new country music artist mural on Quilchena Avenue at a regular meeting on May 28.  – Dara Hill, Merritt Herald

Toronto's music community throws a picnic in honour of these Gardiner pillars

The concrete monoliths are not an obvious choice for civic celebration, but to the artists playing the Pillars Picnic, their demolition represents how we treat our concrete heritage. – Samantha Edwards, NOW


The economics of Rihanna’s superstardom

Studying the music industry helps shed light on one key factor: the role of super­star markets in our winner-take-all economy. – Alan B. Krueger, NY Times

'Still Ill,' a short Beastie Boys documentary celebrating 'Ill Communication" is now out

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of Ill Communication — and, of course, its classic single  "Sabotage" — Diamond and Horovitz appear in a documentary short called Still Ill. The film weaves together several of their interviews to paint a picture of the circuitous path that led to that classic album. – Stephen Thompson, NPR


‘Rocketman’: Fact-checking the Elton John biopic

Historical accuracy isn’t the point of the fantasy musical, but there are still numerous spots where the creators veered from the facts. –  Andy Greene, Rolling Stone

Elton John says Brexit makes him ashamed to be British

Sir Elton, 72, had criticised Brexit before, but delivered his most stinging rebuke yet to U.K. leaders who campaigned to leave in the 2016 referendum at a concert in Verona, Italy on Wednesday. – 

Songwriters and publishers are 'fundamental' to Apple Music, says publishing exec Elena Segal

Global Director of Music Publishing Elena Segal reiterated Apple's hardline stance on songwriter and publisher royalties in a new interview, calling those parties "fundamental" to the service's ecosystem. – Roger Fingas, Apple insider

Drake's massive private plane reportedly cost him nothing

Drake recently took sky -based luxury to even greater heights with the reveal of his aptly named Air Drake plane. Now a report has surfaced that got the plane for free thanks to Cargojet, who made the thing and are certain anytime someone sees it will constitute a nice example of free publicity. – Trace William Cowen, Complex

Royalty free vs. royalty based music explained

If you’re a person in a creative line of work, then odds are that audio and video play an important role in your output. – Michael Dowson, Digital Music News

An AI pioneer explains the evolution of neural networks

Geoffrey Hinton is one of the creators of Deep Learning, a 2019 winner of the Turing Award, and an engineering fellow at Google. Last week, at the company’s I/O developer conference, we recently discussed his early fascination with the brain, and the possibility that computers could be modeled after its neural structure—an idea long dismissed by other scholars as foolhardy. – Nicholas Thompson, Wired


Trans World's challenges mount amid flowing red ink, board tension and possible stock delisting

The management of the heritage record store retailer has been on a high wire, trying to navigate a tide of red ink, a shrinking pool of cash, a going-concern crises, disappearing market capitalization, a potential Nasdaq stock delisting and an internally launched board of directors takeover attempt engineered by the son of the company's deceased founder. – Ed Christman, Billboard


Generative music apps let your phone write songs for you

Endel, for iOS and Android, builds on the concept of generative music to create sound environments based on your surroundings.  – Rielle Pardes, Wired

How Primavera Sound partnered with the U.N. for 2019's most globally conscious music festival

The Barcelona fest's gender-equal lineup - featuring major acts like Miley Cyrus, Erykah Badu and Rosalía - will host a Gender equality activation in partnership with the United Nations.   – Jason Lipshutz, Billboard

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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