Music Biz Headlines, March 8, 2021

Drake (pictured) releases a surprise EP, tips on releasing an album in a pandemic, and Toronto artists to watch for. Also in the headlines are Our Lady Peace, NFTs, TIDAL, Grimes, Walk Off The Earth, Christa Couture, Michael Gudinski, Lenny Williams, The Dictators, Dua Lipa, St. Vincent, Bunny Wailer, Kings of Leon, Bob Ezrin, Alice Cooper, Bob Dylan, and the birth of reggae.

Music Biz Headlines, March 8, 2021

By FYI Staff

How to release an album during a pandemic

Usually the album cycle rolls out like this: write, record, tour, promote – and repeat. So what does releasing a highly anticipated album look like in 2021, after artists have spent months toiling over a new record, only to be faced with a global pandemic that doesn’t allow for sharing that music in person? – Tabassum Siddiqui, Globe and Mail

It’s devastating': Margaret Atwood on a musical project honouring women killed by partners

In 2015, Nathalie Warmerdam was killed by an ex-partner. Now her brother Joshua Hopkins has teamed up with the author to write a song cycle highlighting such everyday atrocities. Canada's most famous modern author lends her support. – Alison Flood, The Guardian


Drake still at top of his game in ‘Scary Hours 2’ — plus addresses the upcoming ‘Certified Lover Boy’

Drake not only dropped a new three-song EP called “Scary Hours 2” at midnight: he also dropped a new video and — to top it all off — a new 24-hour fully curated radio channel. – Nick Krewen, Toronto Star

Drake rides TTC, pays tribute to DeMar DeRozan on new Scary Hours 2 EP

Drake is in a Toronto state of mind. After delaying the release of his upcoming album, Certified Lover Boy, the Grammy winner has released three new songs as part of his Scary Hours 2 EP, including one that pays tribute to former Toronto Raptors star DeMar DeRozan. – Mark Daniell, Toronto Sun

The sound of Toronto in 2021: 20 local musicians you need to hear now

In a year with no concerts, these artists are building music culture and burning it down. – NOW Staff

Portuguese musician Nico Paulo moved to N.L. and fell in love with a Scottish classic

When musician Nico Paulo moved to St. John's last summer, she had never heard the traditional song Wild Mountain Thyme. Now, it's the anchor of a new live EP scheduled to be released later this year. – Alex Kennedy, CBC News

Our Lady Peace to release single as NFT through S!ng app

Canadian rock band Our Lady Peace will release an additional single from its forthcoming album Spiritual Machines II as a non-fungible token (NFT). The single will be available next month through the S!ng app, which launched its NFT minting option today for content creators and artists. – Shruti Shekar, Yahoo News


Grimes switches record labels, moves to Columbia

Grimes has signed with Columbia Records, a source tells Billboard. This marks her first foray into the major label system, having released albums only on independent labels previously. – Colin Stutz, Billboard

Canadian documentary "Underplayed," executive produced by Bud Light, explores inequality in the music industry.

Following its world premiere at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival, Canadians will finally have the opportunity to watch the critically acclaimed Canadian documentary Underplayed when it begins streaming exclusively on Crave, beginning International Women's Day, Monday March 8th. – Newswire

Celebrating women in music on the East Coast

Rose Cousins leads the charge of female artists with 6 nominations at 2021 East Coast Music Awards. – CBC 

Burlington band Walk Off The Earth putting their creative space up for sale

Home was the site for numerous viral video shoots, song recordings and jam sessions.  – Roland Cilliers, Burlington Post

Book review: Singer Christa Couture’s memoir a tale of loss, survival and transcendence

Proudly Indigenous, queer and disabled folk singer, author and broadcaster survived a childhood cancer that took one of her legs, the deaths of two children and the end of her marriage in divorce. – Tom Sandborn, Vancouver Sun


Square to pay $297M for Jay-Z's TIDAL

The Jack Dorsey-led financial services company Square, Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a majority ownership stake in music streaming platform, TIDAL. Square expects to pay a mix of cash and stock of $297 million for a ‘significant majority’ ownership stake. Existing artist shareholders will be the remaining stakeholders. TIDAL will operate independently within Square, alongside the Seller and Cash App ecosystems. – Murray Stassen, MBW


Tracking music's NFT gold rush: A timeline of recent, record-breaking sales

Over the last week, the music industry has been overtaken by a new industry buzzword: NFTs, or non-fungible tokens. These unique digital collectibles are bought and sold with blockchain technology, presenting a new and lucrative virtual revenue opportunity for artists. As the music industry scrambles to get in on the action -- and prices skyrocket -- the last several weeks have come with a flurry of NFT announcements from longtime NFT proponents like 3LAU and deadmau5 along with newcomers, from Ozuna to Shawn Mendes. –Tatiana Cirisano, Billboard


Bruce Springsteen dedicates ‘I’ll See You In My Dreams’ to Michael Gudinski

Bruce Springsteen has dedicated his song ‘I’ll See You In My Dreams’ to Mushroom Group boss Michael Gudinski, who passed away on 2 March at age 68. Springsteen became close to Michael after Gudinski’s Frontier Touring Company toured Bruce’s E Street Band tours Australia over the past decade. – Paul Cashmerte, Noise11

Lenny Williams has another go at making his Warner Music royalty dispute a class action

1970s soul singer Lenny Williams is having another go at getting his royalty dispute with Warner Music approved as a class action that could also benefit other artists signed to the major. Williams, who fronted R&B group Tower Of Power, sued Warner in 2018 over a common royalty gripe among artists, which is what happens to streaming income as it passes through a major’s international subsidiaries. – Chris Cooke , CMU

The Dictators reunite, ready to rock

With their irreverent mix of ‘teengenerate’ sarcasm, three-chord garage rock, surf music and party-hearty stage antics, The Dictators presaged New York City’s punk attitude. In 2021, they are stepping back into the ring! Three of the four original members–Andy Shernoff, Ross “The Boss” Friedman and Scott Kempner–have been joined by former Blue Oyster Cult drummer Albert Bouchard to release new music and eventually tour. – David Laing, Please Kill Me

‘Da 5 Bloods’ composer Terence Blanchard proposes blind auditions for film scoring to boost diversity 

TheWrap Awards Screening Series: “Listen to some music and tell me if it was written by a woman or a person of color,” Blanchard says. – Jeremy Fuster, The Wrap

Dua Lipa is pop’s new superstar. She’s also a bit of a mystery

There’s a let-them-eat-cake quality to her stream of carefully styled photos that, along with her aversion to oversharing, registers as another difference between Lipa and her ostensibly relatable American counterparts. The singer’s European-ness — more Posh Spice than Amy Winehouse — feels essential to her identity. – Mikael Wood, LA Times

St Vincent: ‘I’d been feral for so long. I was sort of in outer space’

Inspired by her father’s release from prison, Annie Clark’s new album asks where to run when ‘the outlaw’s inside you’. She discusses his incarceration, the delusions of love – and why she remains as perverse as ever. – Laura Snapes, The Guardian


The brilliant Bunny Wailer pushed reggae forward on his own terms

The Jamaican star, who has died aged 73, returned to his roots after global fame with Bob Marley to deepen and diversify reggae with a powerful sense of creative freedom. – Lloyd Bradley, The Guardian

Folk guitarist Nathan Salsburg makes experimental soundscapes from old Jewish phonograph records

He has collected old phonograph albums over time of Yiddish-language and klezmer music marketed to Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants in the early part of the 20th century. Those albums unexpectedly became a big part of the foundation for his latest project: a pair of avant-garde instrumental albums that represent a literal dialogue with American Jewish history through music. –  Daniel Bromfield,  JTA

“Musical Storefronts” brings live music back to the city

The Kaufman Music Center’s innovative “Musical Storefronts” series brings live concerts back to the city. Through the end of April, many of the Upper West Side’s vacant retail spaces become stages (with support from Milstein Properties) for local musicians. – The New Yorker

Henry Goldrich, gear guru to rock stars, dead at 88

Owning Manny’s Music in Manhattan, he brought wah-wah to Hendrix and Clapton and connected musicians with equipment that helped define their styles. – New York Times

Kings of Leon’s new album When You See Yourself comes with a pocket full of crypto-might

Kings of Leon's new album, When You See Yourself, is available in the form of a non-fungible token (NFT) – becoming the first band to ever do so. – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail


The rise and fall of ’80s glam metal

A new book, ‘Nöthin’ But A Good Time,’ chronicles the spectacular boom and bust of the decade’s hard-rock industry from Twisted Sister to Trixter. – Neil Shah, WSJ

Alice Cooper: Bob Ezrin is the only other person who understands the character

The 'School's Out' rocker has opened up on his working relationship with the producer, which started on 1971's 'Love It To Death', and the impact it's had on the legendary alter ego. He told Classic Rock magazine: "Bob Ezrin and I are the only two that really know Alice. When we're writing or listening back to a song, we may look at each other and go, 'Alice would never say that'  – Music News

Bandcamp exclusives for the March 5 fundraiser (Marc Ribot, Fucked Up, Sloan, Jason Isbell, more)

 Bandcamp Friday is the monthly series where the digital music service cuts their portion of the proceeds in order to directly benefit artists who are struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic. On Bandcamp Friday, artists put out a number of special releases, some of which you can check out below. – Brooklyn Vegan

Seventy-four unreleased Dylan songs for the price of a movie

Except for “Alligator Man,” there’s nothing revelatory on 1970, but it’s a worthwhile diversion. – Russ Smith, Splice

Reggae Month: The evolution of Jamaican music 

In the late 1960s, Jamaica was blessed with a variety of talented musicians and singers who experimented with and blended different beats of music and recorded their musical renditions at local recording studios like Dynamic Sounds and Treasure Isle. By 1969, a new beat would become the phenomenal genre of reggae. – Caribbean National Weekly

Where The Voice UK's biggest stars are now - from cruise ships to firefighters

Coaches, Tom Jones, Olly Murs and Anne-Marie all return to their infamous red chairs as the acts they have chosen go head to head and fight for their place on their coach's team . – Birmingham Mail

In Mississippi, small-town musician keeps blues alive

The town of Bentonia, in the southern state of Mississippi, has fewer than 500 people. But it is known as the birthplace of a special style of blues music. One musician is doing what he can to keep the music and storytelling tradition alive.. – Mississippi State News

Women in the Liberian music industry

After about 10 years of sway over the industry by men, female musicians like Fatu Gayflor, Yatta Zoe and Miatta Fahnbulleh emerged in the 1970s to establish a strong female presence in Liberian music. These women’s breakthrough stories have been inspirational. – Robin Dopoe Jr., Music In Africa

King Sunny Ade, appointed as as honorary President of MCSN

The appointment of KSA coincides with the going live of the society’s GoCreate App for the monitoring and reporting of the use of music on all platforms (digital, online and offline) within Nigeria. – The Guardian Nigeria

Clay Peter



New & Upcoming Canadian Album Releases: Kiesza, Old Man Luedecke, David Myles & More

Other artists with new releases this week include Lynne Hanson, VISHTÈN CONNEXIONS and Ruth Saphir.

This week, we get a keenly-anticipated new effort from pop hitmaker Kiesza.

She joins a release week that also includes new releases from Canadian artists Major Love, Alana Yorke, Gabriel Genest, The Luvmenauts, Kenton Loewen, Priori, Wyatt C. Louis and Deanna Knight.

keep readingShow less