Music Biz Headlines, Nov. 22, 2021

Strumbellas mainman Simon Ward (pictured) goes solo, a historic backlog at vinyl manufacturers, and Jr. Gone Wild return in style. Also in the headlines are Joel Ivany, Sharon and Bram, Alan Zweig, Shawn Mendes, WMG, Buffy Sainte-Marie, UMG, Mick Rock, Adele, Charles Lloyd, Jimmie Vaughan, Harry Styles, Taylor Swift, Kid Rock, the Beatles, and Lenny Kaye.

Music Biz Headlines, Nov. 22, 2021

By Kerry Doole


Surging vinyl sales amid supply squeeze derail some artists’ plans

Everybody seems to be blaming massive orders of Adele’s new album for a historic backlog at vinyl manufacturers, but Lindsay Ell says people should go easy on the pop superstar. Last year, as the Calgary-born country artist planned the release of her own album “Heart Theory,” she learned of supply chain delays that would make it impossible to premiere the vinyl version on the same day as digital platforms. – David Friend, CP

Canadian singer-songwriter Simon Ward wants you to know you're not alone

In the winter of 2019, Simon Ward was returning home from a European tour with The Strumbellas. The rock band’s front man was feeling uneasy and not much like himself: he was lethargic, couldn’t seem to find joy in anything, and his thoughts were becoming dark and self-critical. It was so overwhelming that Ward checked himself into hospital, where he stayed for a couple of weeks. – Yasmine Shemesh, Montecristo


With the appointment of Joel Ivany as its artistic director, Edmonton Opera cuts against the grain

Edmonton Opera, a company that is “going slowly broke,” according to its interim general director Richard Cook, has appointed opera-world wunderkind Joel Ivany as its artistic director. Recruiting the maverick founder of Toronto’s indie collective Against the Grain Theatre is a bold remedy. – Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail

Decades of colourful experience finesse a Jr. Gone Wild resurrection

Truth be told, Mike McDonald doesn’t really have room for Jr. Gone Wild in his life. “It kind of has to be forced in,” admits the singer-songwriter over the phone, on the eve of Stony Plains Records releasing the band’s latest album, Still Got the Jacket. “It’s like I’m an indentured servant to it, but at this point I’m committed.” – Tom Murray, Edmonton Journal

With release of live performance album, Sharon & Bram find a new generation of kids to entertain

“I want their legacy to be evergreen. There’s no reason the new generation of kids shouldn’t love this music as much as the last," says Sharon's daughter Randi Hampson. – Tracey Tong, Toronto Star

TVO Original 'Records' follows cult classic from acclaimed documentarian Alan Zweig

A must-see film for record lovers, this long-awaited homage to 'Vinyl' highlights the thrill of hunting for analog sound.–  TVO News 


Canada Post to recognize Buffy Sainte-Marie with commemorative stamp

Buffy Sainte-Marie has found a spot where she belongs — on a commemorative stamp honouring her influence. Canada Post says it will celebrate the Indigenous singer-songwriter with a new stamp design. The five-time Juno winner has spent more than half a century balancing her music interests with advocacy for Indigenous communities. – David Friend, CP

Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello break up after 2 years, vow to ‘continue to be best friends’

Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello have called it quits. The pop stars, who collaborated on the steamy 2019 duet "Señorita," announced their breakup after two years of dating on Wednesday. –  Charles Trepany, USA Today


Why it makes sense for WMG to buy the Bowie catalog

This week's podcast asks MBW founder Tim Ingham about the news that Warner Music Group is raising $535 million in order to part-fund three new potential acquisitions. Ingham suggests that one acquisition that makes perfect sense for Warner is David Bowie’s songwriting catalog, which is reportedly on the block for around $200M. – MBW 

UMG reportedly modifying artist agreements to prevent Taylor Swift-style re-recordings

Universal Music Group (UMG) has reportedly modified its artist agreements to prevent signed acts from re-recording their work – like Taylor Swift has with updated editions of Fearless and Red. – Dylan Smith, Digital Music News

What is a ‘safe’ event? Industry experts share their insights

Here are some common safety issues and concerns to consider when planning an event. – Michele Laufik,  BizBash


Pop is now too controlled to allow a maverick like Mick Rock to flourish

The great photographer, who has just died, collaborated with a golden age of musicians. – Sean O'Hagan, The Guardian

Read the emails Elon Musk sent Tesla employees about music on the job and following directions

Elon Musk is known for spontaneous mass communication, including emails he dashes off to all Tesla employees. In one email sent in early October, he said it was OK to listen to music on the job: "I very much support music in the factory, as well as any little touches that make work more enjoyable." – Lora Kolodny, CNBC

Jazz star Charles Lloyd: ‘Miles Davis wanted all the girls and money’

He played gigs to a young Elvis, got high with the Grateful Dead and made an enemy in Miles Davis. And, at 83, the saxophonist who collided jazz and rock still has his spirit of adventure. – Garth Cartwright, The Guardian


The Jimmie Vaughan story and an abridged history of the Gulf Coast groove blues

The 2021 box set is an argument for the unsung heroes of blues. – Geoffrey Himes, Paste

Harry Styles at the Forum: A woke heartthrob for our times

One way to understand Harry Styles’ relationship with his audience is to consider that minutes after the singer’s concert ended last Wed. night at the Forum, the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter in Los Angeles was his mother’s first name. Anne Twist, it turns out, had been present for the show. – Mikael Wood, LA Times

Taylor Swift scores eighth consecutive UK Number One album with ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’

It makes her the first and only female artist to have eight UK Number One albums this century. – Will Lavin, NME

Adele’s new album, 30, is a world-class confession session

 Listening to the song My Little Love, which is an audio home-movie, therapy session and public exposition of her young son all wrapped into a tear-jerking six and a half minutes, one must wonder what it is Adele could possibly be holding back. – Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail

Kid Rock really likes guns, compares himself to Brad Pitt, and rides a phallic middle-finger rocket in new music video

Ain't nobody gonna tell Kid Rock how to live, apparently. Like the BS cowboy he has claimed to be since 1998, Kid Rock beats many a dead horse in his latest "song" and companion video in which the aging bigot recycles tired imagery, Fox News verbiage, and sports a pair of eagle's wings whilst straddling a phallic middle finger "Kid Rock-it" on a trip to Mars. – Jerilyn Jordan , Metro Times

‘No one would ever pick this’: Australian musicans reveal their favourite albums

It’s impossible to encapsulate the history of Australian popular music. There have been too many remarkable acts, too many essential releases. But if that journey is too vast for any one book (trust me, I’ve tried), it does allow for individual highlights that remind us how diverse and memorable the best moments are. To mark Ausmusic month, we asked five notable local musicians to tell us about their favourite Oz albums. – The Sydney Morning Herald


Lenny Kaye: ‘Boom! I saw the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show and everything changed’

As guitarist in the Patti Smith Group and compiler of psychedelic touchstone Nuggets, his place in music history is secured. His new book charts the story of rock’n’roll, city by city. – Sean O’Hagan, The Guardian

‘I just can’t believe it exists’: Peter Jackson takes us into the Beatles vault

Ahead of his epic series Get Back, the director reveals the secrets of 60 hours of intimate, unseen footage of the Fab Four – and why it turns everything we know about their final days upside down. – Andy Welch, The Guardian

The Beaches performing at Billboard Canada's Women in Music Launch on June 5, 2024
Marc Thususka Photography

The Beaches performing at Billboard Canada's Women in Music Launch on June 5, 2024


The Beaches, Charlotte Cardin, Allison Russell Make the 2024 Polaris Music Prize Long List

The 40-album long list for the Polaris Prize, which awards $50,000 to the best Canadian record of the year features up-and-comers like punk group NOBRO and producer Bambii, plus rapper TOBi, and legends like Quebec group Karkwa and previous Heritage Prize winner Beverly Glenn-Copeland.

Some of the country's biggest breakthrough artists are in contention for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize.

The 40-album long list was revealed today (June 11) at Sonic Boom record store in downtown Toronto. It features some of the buzziest names in Canadian music, from The Beaches — who were recently awarded Billboard Canada Women in Music's inaugural Group of the Year award — to Grammy-winner Allison Russell, to Canadian Hot 100 charting acts like Charlotte Cardin and Talk, to underground mainstays like Cindy Lee, who had an organic breakthrough this year with Diamond Jubilee.

keep readingShow less