Music Biz Headlines, March 6, 2019

Doug Putman, Sting (pictured) revisits an old haunt, a Ramones-themed play comes to Toronto, and Drake and Meek Mill pal around. Also in the headlines are Kirk Brandon, Michael Jackson, T Bone Burnett, Mavis Staples, Tina Turner, inMusic Brands, Sondheim, Buddy Guy, Kobalt, Morrissey, The Breunion Boys, jukebox musicals, and Royal Trux.

Music Biz Headlines, March 6, 2019

By Kerry Doole

Can a 34-year-old Canadian business school dropout rescue Britain's HMV?

Canadian entrepreneur Doug Putman is gambling millions that record stores have a future in the age of digital music. – Diane Bruckner, CBC News

Four Chords and a Gun, John Ross Bowie’s play about the Ramones and Phil Spector, comes to Toronto

It perhaps seems counterintuitive that a theatre piece about punk band the Ramones would not be a musical. But actor-turned-playwright John Ross Bowie is serious about his devotion to the now legendary New York group and hopes his show helps others to see them as more than “cartoons.”  – Debra Yeo, Toronto Star

'Perfection is a second-rate idea': T Bone Burnett on releasing his first album in 11 years

If you take a look at some of the most acclaimed, bestselling records of the past 30 years, there's a good chance you'll find the name T Bone Burnett in the producer credits. On April 12, he'll release his first album in 11 years, an experimental record titled The Invisible Light: Acoustic Space. – CBC 


Sting returns to Toronto bar where The Police made their Canadian debut

The 67-year-old singer, who is in the city until March 24 starring in The Last Ship, posed for a photo outside the Horseshoe Tavern on Queen Street West that he later shared on Instagram.  – iHeartRadio

Review: Pkew Pkew Pkew exemplify a new wave of punk existentialism

On their new third album Optimal Lifestyles, the Toronto band show off the world-weary wisdom that comes from too much drinking on your couch.  – Richard Trapunski, NOW

Spear of Destiny's Kirk Brandon: 180 degrees of anger

The reunion of the Pack in England—U.K. punk legend Kirk Brandon’s earliest, angriest band—only happened a mere month ago, but Brandon apparently has quite the work ethic, because he’s now in the middle of a one month, 18-date tour on the United States and Canada, with a totally different band he fronts, Spear of Destiny.   – Allan MacInnis, Georgia Straight


How should we hear Michael Jackson’s music after ‘Leaving Neverland’?

Jackson's invincibility may finally be weakening. On Monday night,  HBO concluded its two-part broadcast of “Leaving Neverland,” director Dan Reed’s searing documentary in which two men detail the abuse they say they suffered as children at Jackson’s hand.  – Mikael Wood, LA Times


The Last Word: Mavis Staples on enduring Trump, why her faith has never wavered

The famed singer also explains why marriage wasn’t for her and why she’d probably be able to knock out Bob Dylan in the boxing ring.  – Andy Greene, Rolling Stone 

Drake, Meek Mill hit the stage together in Hollywood

Drake and Meek Mill further cemented their new friendship at a gig in Hollywood on Thursday night. The former rap rivals hit the stage together at Mill’s The Motivation Tour tour stop at the Hollywood Palladium to perform their hit collaboration, Going Bad.  – WENN

Tina Turner, 79, looks as youthful as ever as she appears onstage in Hamburg

She delighted the crowd by appearing  after the premiere of her touring musical TINA.  – Sean O'Grady - Daily Mail

Million dollar investment points to digital music potential

Music and audio technology giant inMusic Brands sees a bright future in the New Zealand digital industry and has invested $10 million to prove it. The idea to shift its operations to NZ came after it acquired DJ visual effects product SoundSwitch from a company in Tauranga.  – Stuff

For the cult of Sondheim, 'Merrily We Roll Along,' and on, and on

When the show opened in 1981, it was greeted with brutal reviews and closed after just 16 performances, making it one of the biggest flops in Sondheim’s long career. It is now being revived.  – Stuart Emmrich, LA Times

Buddy Guy is keeping the blues alive

Is the legendary guitarist and singer the last of his kind?  – David Remnick, New Yorker


Kobalt Music Group is raising the biggest investment round in its history

The world’s investment banks may be salivating over the prospect of Vivendi selling a stake in Universal Music Group – but that’s not the only major financial story about to hit the global music industry.  – Tim Ingham, MBW

'I feel like I've been had': Morrissey's collaborators respond to his politics

The former Smiths singer’s new album features guest spots from Billie Joe Armstrong, Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste and Canadian Ariel Engle. Are they not put off by his increasingly unpleasant right-wing stance?  – Daniel Dylan Wray, The Guardian

Morrissey to begin Broadway residency this May

The controversial singer promises this will be an “intimate yet exciting exploration of Morrissey’s expansive career.”  – Thom Geier, The Wrap


 China's top music school recruits AI PhD students

China's top music university, The Beijing-based Central Conservatory of,  is recruiting PhD students majoring in music and artificial intelligence (AI), as the country is moving quickly to embrace AI technology.  – Liu CaiyuGlobal Times

Breunion Boys: The boy band trying to stop Brexit with washboard abs and cheesy tunes

The Breunion Boys may sound like a stunt, but the group has grabbed more attention than most activists in the bitter debate around Brexit, including from media that support the withdrawal.  – Alex Marshall, Independent

Are jukebox musicals like ‘The Cher Show’ dumbing down Broadway, or just giving us what we want?

For bored or outraged critics, jukebox musicals are Broadway’s most cynical money-grabbers, mainly good for offering reviewers the chance to see who can gag the loudest. The critiques are legit: Too many jukebox projects are pale, confused imitations.  – Nelson Pressley, Washington Post

"I'm out man": Royal Trux reform then break up in middle of this interview

Their music was wild and their lives even wilder. But the rock duo pulled through the booze and drugs to reform – until we met them.  – Alex Petridis, The Guardian

Billboard Editorial Director Hannah Karp at CMW 2024
Grant W. Martin Photography Courtesy Canadian Music Week

Billboard Editorial Director Hannah Karp at CMW 2024


The Best Advice from Billboard's Pitching to Media Panel at Canadian Music Week 2024

Billboard Editorial Director Hannah Karp moderated a panel that that included Billboard Canada editor Richard Trapunski, Red Umbrella P.R. owner Charlotte Thompson and Pure Country Radio Director Dayna Bourgoin. This was their best advice for upstart musicians and publicists looking for coverage.

Billboard hosted a panel on pitching to media at Canadian Music Week 2024.

The panel was moderated by Billboard’s Editorial Director Hannah Karp and featured members of multiple sides of the industry coin, including Red Umbrella P.R.’s Owner and President Charlotte Thompson, Pure Country Radio’s National Music Director Dayna Bourgoin and Billboard Canada editor Richard Trapunski.

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