Music Biz Headlines, Nov. 16, 2020

Alex Cuba (pictured) is a DIY success, the ambition of Chilly Gonzales, and a Brett Kissel remix boasts a big name. Also in the headlines are Keith Richards, Terry Uyarak, Andrew Waite, Larnell Lewis, Believe, Rick James, Hipgnosis, the CMAs, John Prine, Twitch, Yoko Ono, jazz films,  AC/DC, Bernard Sumner, and George Benson.

Music Biz Headlines, Nov. 16, 2020

By FYI Staff

How to release music during a pandemic: Four Canadian examples

Releasing a record is rarely easy, even at the best of times. But amidst a pandemic where touring isn’t an option, musicians have faced unexpected challenges. – Chaka V. Grier, Words & Music

The enterprising pop star Chilly Gonzales makes no apologies for his ambition, nor should he

The Canadian ex-pat musician brings up the notion that artists are allowed to be successful, but only if it’s a byproduct of their art – that their commercial achievements should be accidental. –Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail

Brett Kissel teams up with Nelly for a remix of ‘She Drives Me Crazy’: ‘I’ve dreamt about this moment’

Brett Kissel just dropped the remix we didn’t know we needed. On Friday, the Canadian country superstar released an updated version of his gold-certified “She Drives Me Crazy”, featuring Grammy-winning rapper Nelly. – Katie Colley, ET Canada


Nunavut singer Terry Uyarak releases songs in Inuktitut

Whether sledding with his dog team across the frozen ocean north of the Arctic Circle or driving his snowmobile over land in darkness, the self-taught singer-songwriter says he’s “always thinking about music." It was only last year that Uyarak’s friends finally persuaded him to share that music beyond his snowmobile and dog sled. His debut collection called “Nunarjua Isulinginniani,” or “Before the World Ends,” came out Oct. 30. – Emma Tranter, CP

Andrew Waite's award-winning song pays tribute to veterans who sacrificed their lives for Canadian freedom

Andrew Waite has released an official video for his award-winning song, Cash It In. This video is a tribute to Pte. John Thomas Love and all veterans who sacrificed their lives for Canadian freedom. – Chronicle-Herald

These groups want Canadian music gatekeepers to listen to queer and racialized artists

Lil Sis and the Trans Producers and Songwriters in the Studio Program are asking arts organizations to listen to their communities. – Richard Trapunski, NOW

Toronto drummer and composer Larnell Lewis is set to release a new album

The follow-up to his Juno-nominated debut album In the Moment is called Relive the Moment, and it features reinterpretations of six of the original compositions from his first album with all-new live drum performances. It also includes one new track titled The Forgotten Ones, which pays tribute to Lewis’s ancestral lineage. – JazzFM

This is how live music and entertainment venues could safely reopen in Toronto

Concerts, plays, and everything in between seem to sadly be a thing of the past as venues and theatres remain closed and the spread of Covid continues.  However, an initiative called #Lights-on: Recovery and Reboot in Entertainment has recently put forth an online guide of how live music and entertainment venues could safely reopen in Toronto when the time is right. – Blog TO


We love that Halifax musicians are building the industry’s future 

Corey Writes shares his vision for what the music biz could look like. – Morgan Mullin, The Coast

Alex Cuba is a major success, no thanks to the major record labels

When it comes to artists getting signed to major labels, there is politics – and then there is politics. According to Alex Cuba, the prestigious Blue Note Records expressed interest in signing him but could not, because of George Bush’s anti-Cuban decree. So, he took matters into his own hands. – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail


Indie distro giant Believe looks headed for a 2 bn plus IPO next year

Is Paris-headquartered distribution and services company Believe worth more than four times what it was in 2017? That’s the implication from a report, via Reuters, that TuneCore owner Believe is preparing an IPO in 2021 that will value it at around €2bn ($2.4bn). – Tim Ingham, MBW

Hipgnosis Songs Fund has made another big acquisition – the catalogue of funk legend Rick James.

The deal not only includes a 50% stake in James’ publishing catalogue (across both publisher and writer’s share) but also a 50% stake of the artist’s recorded music masters. In addition, Hipgnosis has acquired a 50% stake in James’ neighbouring rights income, collected via SoundExchange. – Tim Ingham, MBW


Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires exit Country Music Association after 2020 CMAs didn’t honour John Prine

They've returned their membership cards after Prine, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Billy Joe Shaver were snubbed. Sturgill Simpson and Margo Price offered scathing criticisms, as well. – Evan Minsker, Pitchfork

The Highs, Lows, and … Ohs of the 2020 CMA Awards

The CMAs had its share of shocks and disappointments, among them a continued trend of abysmal recognition for Black people and women by the country Establishment. Needless to say, the ceremony had its highs, lows, and ohs. Read them here. – Justin Curto, Vulture


Twitch apologizes (to its users) for music licensing issues

Amazon-owned live-streaming platform Twitch has made headlines twice this year for taking action against its users for copyright infringement. Now, in a new blog post, the platform has apologized for its response to such issues, while conceding that its users' "frustration and confusion with recent music-related copyright issues is completely justified". – Murray Stassen, MBW

Ailing Yoko Ono is handing her business interests in the Beatles and John Lennon over to their son Sean

The reclusive widow, 87, now uses a wheelchair much of the time on the rare occasions when she leaves her New York home. She has been managing John's $800million fortune since his death in 1980. Now Sean, 45, has been appointed a director at eight companies linked to the family and The Beatles according to The Mirror, including the multimedia Apple Corps. – Daily Mail

Keith Richards on marking The Rolling Stones’ 60th anniversary

“The plans are to still actually all be alive.” The guitarist has also reflected on his own mortality, saying: "I'll croak when I croak." –  Sam Moore, NME

Change of tune: Japanese music fans moving from CDs to streaming services

Japanese music enthusiasts, loyal to CDs long after the rest of the world went online, have begun reaching for the eject button and switching to streaming services as artists cancel in-store events and fans stay home because of the pandemic. – Ritsuko Ando, Reuters

Streaming: the best jazz films

A new Billie Holiday documentary prompts a look at the films that best capture the spirit of the jazz greats. By now, happily, the cinema of jazz is a sophisticated, richly stocked subgenre. – Guy Lodge, The Guardian

‘Covid wasn’t going to stop us’: How musicians are coping in an extraordinary year

Live music has been having a rough time in 2020. The initial shock of the first and recent second lockdown has prompted musicians, venues, owners and promoters alike to fear what the future holds in a pandemic that has rewritten the rules for the industry. – Wales Online

AC/DC debut ‘Realize’ and that classic AC/DC sound is all over it

AC/DC’s new song ‘Realize’ conjures up the classic Malcolm Young riffs of ‘Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be’. – Paul Cashmere, Noise11


New Order frontman Bernard Sumner is recovering from coronavirus

Singer says he is still experiencing mild symptoms after contracting the virus three weeks ago. – The Guardian

Geezer Butler slams ‘crude’ Cardi B

Black Sabbath's Geezer Butler has blasted the hip-hop star's X-rated Megan Thee Stallion collaboration, which has courted controversy for its graphic sexual innuendos and its accompanying racy music video since its release in August. – Music-News

How George Benson turned an early ‘no’ into a career of ‘yes’

The 77-year-old guitarist talks about musicians who shaped him and how he learned to respond to critics as he releases his first live album in 30 years. – New York Times 

Courtesy of Vertigo Live



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