Music Biz Headlines, May 8, 2020

Aquakultre (pictured) delivers the goods, Jake Gold deals with the pandemic positively, and rumours swirl around Warner Music Group. Also in the headlines are Live Nation, music venues, concert plans, Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, Don McLean, and Prince’s guitar.

Music Biz Headlines, May 8, 2020

By Kerry Doole

Aquakultre's feast of a lifetime

How the Halifax band's debut LP Legacy sets the table for excellence. – Morgan Mullin, The Coast

Toronto musicians share their touring anthems and reflect on life stranded at home

As the shutdown of live music — now entering its eighth week — drags on, it’s no surprise that entertainers are getting antsy. So, we asked some locals to name the road song that they usually adopt for the touring mindset, and what they miss most about their livelihood. – Nick Krewen,Toronto Star

Toronto neighbours take to their street to dance away pandemic isolation

A Toronto neighbourhood hopes to beat covid isolation with a daily physically distant dance party. A normally quiet Roncesvalles street gets a little less quiet every afternoon at 3 p.m. when residents along Fermanagh Avenue walk out their front doors, line up along the sidewalk—and dance. – Scott Lightfoot, CTV News Toronto


The most overwhelming, connected birthday ever

Jake Gold, 62, owns a talent management company. His recent Zoom birthday party was a hit - "This pandemic is connecting people in a way that no one has experienced in their lifetime,” Gold said. – Jen Kirsch, Toronto Star


Warner streaming revenues hit $586M in Calendar Q1, but covid-19 hurt overall performance

WMG’s recorded music revenues in the three months to end of March were down 2.8% year-on-year, or down 1.5% at constant currency, to $907m. Streaming revenues grew 11% YoY to $586m, up by $49m on the equivalent figure from calendar Q1 2019 ($537m). This streaming growth, though, was not enough to offset revenue declines in other key areas of Warner’s recorded music business. – Tim Ingham, MBW

Warner Music forges ahead with market debut despite covid-19 gloom

Warner Music Group said on Thursday it received an approval to list its shares on the Nasdaq stock exchange in what could be a rare initial public offering after the COVID-19 pandemic forced a number of companies to put their plans on hold. – Reuters

Rumours suggest Saudi Arabia may buy Warner Music Group for around $12.5 B

Sources close to this situation are now increasingly pouring doubt on The Hollywood Reporter’s rumour, for these three reasons. – Tim Ingham, MBW


Live Nation posts first pandemic-era earnings:  Revenue down 20%, but fans are keeping tickets

The statement from CEO Michael Rapino elaborates at length about the company’s commitment to health and safety, its financial resilience and its plans for reopening “when the time is right” — but the earnings report, which covers the first three monts of the year (just a couple of weeks of which were affected by the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.) cast an ominous light on the rest of the year. – Jem Aswad, Variety

Stat Of The Week: People over 45, not Millennials, are driving music subscription growth in the UK

The music industry has some serious thinking to do about its youth-fixated strategy. New research from the Entertainment Retailers Association published this week has revealed that over 55-year-olds are the fastest-growing group of music streaming subscribers in the UK. Widen that group to those over 45 years old and the trend gets even more pronounced. – Tim Ingham, MBW

The 1918 pandemic’s impact on music? Surprisingly little

Unlike the existential threat posed by the coronavirus outbreak, cultural life returned swiftly to normal when the outbreak eased, in 1919. – William Robin, NYT

Without federal aid, more than 1,000 U.S. music venues face closure 

The National Independent Venue Association says the majority of its member venues do not have enough cash on hand to survive beyond six months without federal relief. – Amy Wang, Rolling Stone


Small clubs are where rock history is made. How many  will survive?

Independent venues are critical to local scenes and artists on the rise. With concerts on hold during the pandemic, they’re struggling to hang on and fighting for government aid. – Ben Sisario, New York Times

Why holding an album until touring resumes may be a 'bad move' 

As 2021 looks more likely for live music to safely return, agents argue that releasing music -- and finding new avenues for engagement -- is more important than ever. – Lyndsey Havens, Billboard  

Life without live

Staying inside keeps us safe. It also costs us the greatest communal experience a music fan has access to — packing into a sweaty club or stadium for a concert. – Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone 


Arkansas venue prepares for first concert with covid-19 safety protocol

TempleLive will host Bishop Gunn’s Travis McCready on May 15th. – Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone

Quincy Jones vs. Michael Jackson estate: Court strips Jones of $9.4 million in royalties

A legal battle between two superstars – ageing music producer Quincy Jones and the late Michael Jackson – was upended Tuesday by a California appeals court.  The case, in which Jones and the Jackson estate are fighting over the producer's claims to millions in royalties, hit a roadblock after the California Court of Appeal reversed a $9.4M judgment in Jones' favour. – Maria Puente, USA Today

Prince guitar, McCartney Beatles lyrics come up for auction

A guitar from Prince’s prime and some legendary Beatles lyrics sketched out by Paul McCartney are among the items going up for auction at a major music artifacts sale, June 19 and 20 in Beverly Hills.  – AP

Behind The Song: “American Pie” by Don McLean

It’s his magnum opus, and though it stretched what was considered a reasonable time-limit for a radio single from the accepted 3 minutes to more than twice that, and also accepted limits of content, it struck a chord then which continues to resound to this day. – Paul Zollo, American Songwriter
Courtesy of Vertigo Live



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Toronto band jackie's "Perfume" and Nova Scotian singer-songwriter Maggie Andrew's "About Us" are also making their way onto radio playlists.

The following are tracks delivered to radio by digital distributor Yangaroo in Canada and broken down into three categories. Top Downloads and Top Canadian Downloads represent the most copied tracks in the week ending June 7. Most Active Indies blends downloads and streams, with the affiliated label and radio promotions company in parentheses.

Top Downloads

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