Music Biz Headlines, June 8, 2020

The North Side Hip Hop Archive (pictured) playlists Canadian protest songs, SOCAN’s Encore pays out for live-streams, and a look at #CanadaPerforms. Others in the headlines include Aaron Allen, music therapy, PUP, The Drake Hotel, August Rigo, Bernie LaBarge, UMG, Republic Records, George Floyd, BTS, Warner Music IPO, MMA, Elton John, Abbey Road, Garth Brooks, Lady Gaga, Laurel Canyon, and Geezer Butler.

Music Biz Headlines, June 8, 2020

By FYI Staff

SOCAN in forefront of PROs paying out for live-streams

The Encore program runs through to March 21 and other performance rights orgs in Europe, the UK and the US are now licensing social platforms or looking to do so. – Karen Bliss, Billboard

A Toronto hip-hop professor made a playlist of Canadian protest songs

The North Side Hip Hop Archive—an ever-growing digital collection of Canadian hip-hop history and culture, spearheaded by Mark V. Campbell, a Toronto professor—recently shared an incendiary playlist showcasing tunes of resistance by Canuck artists over the years. – Complex Canada

Aaron Allen: Tatto artist turned country singer/songwriter

Artists, and their songs, fill a void when we’re surrounded by emptiness and uncertainty. Aaron Allen, from London, Ontario, is one of many musicians answering the public’s call for new music during the pandemic. Stuck at home, with the family tattoo business – The Taste of Ink  – closed, he’s enjoying time with his wife and two children, and writing away the days. – David McPherson, Words & Music


City extends ‘lifeline’ to Toronto music venue owners

The cavalry has arrived in the nick of time for Toronto music venue owners. On May 28, Toronto City Council passed a proposal that enables property owners to claim a 50 percent property tax break on sites that primarily operate as a live music venue, with the assumption that they’ll pass those savings on to their tenants. –  Nick Krewen, Toronto Star

As #CanadaPerforms emergency relief fund wraps up, it’s time to ask: Did #CanadaEnjoy too?

The National Arts Centre and Facebook Canada ended its #CanadaPerforms emergency relief program on May 31 – but the hashtag will live on well into the future. If #CanadaPerforms is to become a regular NAC program, it’s worth assessing how well it succeeded to date in the twin goals it launched with in March. – J. Kelly Nestruck, The Globe and Mail

Music therapist’s siren song draws seniors and others out of their shell

Despite seniors being designated as high-risk targets for contracting covid-19, music therapy continues to be an imported source of treatment for some long-term-care facilities. Why? – Nick Krewen,  Toronto Star


The best five Canadian albums of the year so far (and five more to come)

While the concert scene is locked down tighter than Charlie Watts’s snare drum, the music industry is still in business, its album-release schedule relatively unscathed. Five months into 2020, we give you an opinionated consideration of the year’s top homegrown albums as well as the most anticipated to come (including a Holy Grail one called Homegrown). – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail

What did the music industry actually do for racial justice after Blackout Tuesday?

The Weeknd called on major labels and streaming services to "go big and public" with donations to organizations fighting for Black justice. Here's how they responded. – Richard Trapunski, NOW

PUP got the TTC to apologize for being rude on Twitter

"Hi PUP, you're right," admitted a Toronto Transit Commission rep, after the Toronto band complained. – Exclaim!

Former employees accuse The Drake Hotel of racist and discriminatory practices

A handful of former employees, including music programmers and DJs,  have levelled accusations of racist and discriminatory practices they say they experienced while working at the Toronto hotel and music venue. – Blog TO

Quarantining with Like A Motorcycle

The Halifax punk mainstay has been dealing with the times by doing what it does best: Shredding ears and breaking hearts. – Alec Martin, The Coast

An ‘architect of music’ and proud Filipino on the global stage

In-demand Filipino-Canadian architect of music August Rigo continues to soar in the international scene. – Mark Bonifacio, Manila Times

Renowned Toronto guitar man Bernie LaBarge readies for his next chapter

After playing music at hundreds and thousands of shows and recording sessions and related commercial gigs, while earning awards and bringing joy to fans, what does a talented guitarist/singer/songwriter like Bernie LaBarge do for his next chapter? – Ashley Jude Collie, Medium


Virtual Electronic Music Summit aims to assist artists, build community bonds during pandemic

Over the weekend, the Virtual Electronic Music Summit featured workshops and forums addressing the electronic music industry, running online. – Ryan Garner, Edmonton Journal 

Musical Moment: Hear TSO violin Eri Kosaka perform in Toronto with her mother in Japan

Kosaka and her mother haven’t played together in years and it’s one of the unexpected and gratifying outcomes of this quarantine time that they found a way to reconnect musically while living so far apart. – Toronto Star


Germany rolls out $54B aid program for the Arts

The German federal government is stepping in with a sweeping aid package for the country’s creative and cultural sectors. An additional $11B will be made available to freelancers—including artists—for a period of six months and expenses for housing will be recognized to ensure that “everyone can stay in their own home.” –– Kate Brown, artsnet news


The music industry was built on racism. Changing it will take more than donations

On Tuesday, the major labels protested police brutality with a “blackout.” Executives and artists say industry-wide racial equality is still a long way away. – Elias Leight, Rolling Stone

Universal Music Group establishes a social justice task force

This follows national protests that erupted after the killing of George Floyd last Monday. On June 4, CEO Lucian Grainge released detailed plans for a social justice task force dedicated to justice and inequality, and has established a $25 million Task Force For Meaningful Change which will work to support initiatives on the ground and longer-term to promote “justice and inclusion” throughout the company. – Paste

Republic Records to cease using ‘Urban’ term

Along with the social-change efforts announced by its parent company Universal Music Group earlier this week, Republic Records has announced its own campaign — one aspect of which is that the company will cease to use the term “urban” to describe black music. – Jem Aswad, Variety

Remembering George Floyd’s life and legacy in the Houston hip-hop scene

By the time he reached his twenties, George Floyd was already a legend on the streets of Third Ward, a historically Black and culturally rich enclave on the south side of Houston, Texas. A two-sport athlete, he then became prominent on the hip-hop scene. – Brandon Caldwell, Pitchfork

K-pop group BTS and record label Big Hit Entertainment donate $1.4 million to Black Lives Matter

K-pop megastars BTS and their record label, Big Hit Entertainment, have pledged US$1 million ($1.4 million) to Black Lives Matter, after declaring "we stand against racial discrimination" on Twitter last week. The donation was confirmed on Saturday by Variety, who said the money was transferred to the organisation last week. – Straits-Times

Analysts are bullish on the Warner Music IPO

If at first a pandemic trips up your initial public offering, try, try again — even during a week of social unrest — especially when investors seem eager to test audio streaming waters in a reinvigorated stock market. – Geoff Mayfield, Variety


IPO Analysis - Warner Music: I do not like the sound of this 

The company is now going public at quite a lofty valuation after being acquired for just $3 billion and change nearly a decade ago. I like the business and the music, yet find current valuations too high to create compelling risk-reward here. – Seeking Alpha

A new Dark Age: Blanket licenses for everything based on MMA

Chris Castle breaks down his view of the looming threat of comprehensive blanket licensing based on the Music Modernization Act, what it would mean for music, and who is trying to push the legislation through. – Hypebot

Japan's music industry explores online concerts to cure the virus blues

Live-streaming readies to storm onstage as the pandemic plays on. – Rurika Imahashi,  Nikkei Asian Review

Elton John lays off his band after losing US$75 million due to a cancelled tour

Elton John has reportedly been left “bereft” after taking a significant US$75 million hit after the coronavirus forced him to cancel his farewell tour. According to The Mail on Sunday, John and partner David Furnish had anticipated the cash would see the star into his retirement, and it is believed the hitmaker is unlikely to receive any insurance payout for the losses. – WENN

Video games are the new kings of media, even for Garth Brooks

Country star considers releasing albums on Zynga, joining the shift of music, movies and socializing toward game platforms. – Olga Kharif, Bloomberg


Abbey Road Studios re-opens after 10 weeks of closure

The recording venue made famous by The Beatles has re-opened. It was forced to close ten weeks ago due to the coronavirus pandemic, the first time it has closed in its 89 year history. Special measures were taken, to allow for a recording of an album by jazz musician Melody Gardot. – BBC

John Prine’s widow urges Tennessee to expand absentee voting citing health safety

Fiona Whelan Prine, who also contracted the coronavirus and has since recovered, told a Senate panel that allowing more people to cast an absentee ballot is critical in ensuring that people would remain safe and healthy during the 2020 election. – AP

Status of Summer: What Chicago festivals, events are cancelled, postponed, moved online

Here’s the latest updates on this year’s changing entertainment landscape. – John Silver  Chicago Sun-Times

Lady Gaga: Chromatica review – colour, kindness and connection

After a po-faced stab at the country, Lady Gaga returns to the land of make-believe on a vivid new album that excites and heals. – 

A new documentary examines a singular music scene—and the Boomer generation’s abandoned principles. – Tracy Moore, Vanity Fair

Geezer Butler: "Heavy metal keeps you young... I still feel like I'm 25!"

The Black Sabbath legend Geezer Butler talks weed, veganism and punching Nazis! – Amit Sharma, Kerrang!

Kelli-Leigh: Black soul singers can feel 'defeated' in the music industry

Recent conversations about racism are empowering more black women to speak about their experiences in the music industry, says Kelli-Leigh. The singer from south London wants more recognition for black women working in dance music and says it's not just her whose work is being overlooked. – BBC

Shaq’s Classic Song ‘You Can’t Stop the Reign’ Featuring Biggie Is Finally on Streaming Services
Rb Hip Hop

Shaq’s Classic Song ‘You Can’t Stop the Reign’ Featuring Biggie Is Finally on Streaming Services

There's a more explicit Biggie verse in the vault, according to the NBA legend.

Shaq’s classic with Biggie is finally available on streaming services. The news was broken by FakeShoreDrive on X earlier this week, and the Hall of Fame big man confirmed the news Thursday afternoon (June 13).

The year is 1996 and Shaquille O’Neal and the Notorious B.I.G. are two of the biggest figures in their respective fields. Shaq was entering the last year of his deal with the Orlando Magic before he headed west to the Los Angeles Lakers at the end of the 1995-1996 season. Biggie was getting ready to release his sophomore album, Life After Death, while in the throws of a beef with 2Pac. Big name-dropped the NBA player on the song “Gimme the Loot” off his debut album, Ready to Die, and the two had a mutual respect for each other ever since.

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