Music Biz Headlines, Nov. 23, 2020

Shawn Mendes profiled in a new doco, Splash ‘N Boots (pictured) lure Alice Cooper into children’s music, and Celine Dion talks about a lost lawsuit. Others in the headlines include Tom Wilson, Tencent, APG, Dave Martone, Cousin Harley, Rafael Energía Dominicana, Eddie Kramer, Leonard Cohen, Savannah Ré,  Music Week, Patty Wilson Aden, Andy Ma, Bones Hillman, Irving Azoff, Crowded House, William S Burroughs, Nirvana, and Jan Morris.

Music Biz Headlines, Nov. 23, 2020

By Kerry Doole

Netflix documentary 'In Wonder' shows Shawn Mendes to be manipulative, but no monster

Mendes is a charismatic emoter and tall glass of water who’s made a career out of showing his sensitive side (and his biceps – why not?). An admission of vulnerability is one thing, though, but performative fragility is another. His tears in the documentary may be genuine, but the scenes feel emotionally manipulative. – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail

Toronto children’s music duo Splash ‘N Boots collaborate with Alice Cooper

It turns out that hard-hearted Alice isn’t so hard-hearted after all. How else can you explain hard rock legend Alice Cooper singing on the title track of children’s entertainer duo Splash ‘N Boots’ latest album “Heart Parade,” out Nov. 20? Two words: Bob Ezrin, the Toronto-born-and-sometimes-based production legend (Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper). – Nick Krewen, Toronto Star


Caledonia’s 1492 Land Back Lane camp is a monument to the justice Canada has denied

A few weeks ago, I received an urgent text from my friend, Juno-award winning singer Tom Wilson He needed help finding a lawyer. The Ontario Provincial Police had just come to his Hamilton home and handed him an arrest warrant. His alleged crime? Weeks ago, he went to the 1492 Land Back Lane reclamation camp in Caledonia, Ont., to sing. – Tanya Talaga, The Globe and Mail

Celine Dion talks about the loss of her lawsuit

Celine Dion and her attorney are speaking out after California Labor Commission attorney David Gurley ruled against the “My Heart Will Go On” singer and ordered her to continue paying her former agent Rob Prinz of ICM Partners commissions on a $489 million touring contract he negotiated. – Dave Brooks, Billboard

Dave Martone sheds through the pandemic

When the global pandemic hit last March, Vancouver guitarist Dave Martone was doing pretty well financially. He wasn’t living in a mansion like the guy from Nickelback, mind you, but he was busy as hell, playing an average of 35 gigs a month. – Steve Newton, Georgia Straight

Universal reaches a deal with Canada's Cineplex to shorten theatrical exclusivity window

Universal has struck a deal with the Canadian movie theater chain Cineplex that will dramatically shorten the theatrical cinema exclusivity before movies can be delivered via premium streaming on demand platforms. The deal expands the exclusive theatrical window five weeks for Universal films that gross $50 million or more in their opening week before landing on VOD. –Ian Courtney, Celebrity Access


Singer Rafael Energía Dominicana uplifts his Chomedey neighbourhood

During this pandemic period, Chomedey, Laval is being uplifted, entertained and inspired daily by their resident singing-walker-dancer, who also happens to be music artist Rafael Energía Dominicana, one of Canada’s most electrifying Latin music recording artists, originally from Bani, Dominican Republic. – Mike Cohen The Suburban

Cousin Harley streams its album-release concert for Let's Go

Vancouver rockabilly fans can check out some real swingin' sounds next week. On Thursday (November 26) at 8 pm (Pacific time), the local trio Cousin Harley--composed of guitar wizard Paul Pigat, standup bassist Jeremy Holmes, and drummer Jesse Cahill--will livestream the album-release concert for its new disc, Let's Go. – Steve Newton, Georgia Straight

On the new album Live in Maui, legendary sound engineer Eddie Kramer is back working with Jimi Hendrix

Kramer, 78, is on the phone from rural Ontario speaking about a new Hendrix double album, Live in Maui, and a related documentary about the making of a truly weird 1970 feature film Rainbow Bridge, in which Hendrix appeared. – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail

‘Leonard Cohen’ review: Everybody knows him

Magnetic from the start, it wasn’t at first clear he would make his mark in song. A new book highlights the many contrasts of the brad of Montreal. – Wall Street Journal


The iconic Silver Dollar Room in Toronto will soon become a condo sales centre

A fancy new residential complex rising atop what used to be the Hotel Waverly, Silver Dollar Room and Comfort Zone is growing ever closer to completion, officially erasing 120 years of history for a rental tower. 'The Waverly," named after the 1900-built hotel demolished at College and Spadina in 2018, is scheduled to open in February of 2021. Developers are now trying to fill all 166 units of the "boutique rental community," and they'll be using the ghost of the Silver Dollar Room to help them do so. – BlogTO


Scarborough R&B singer/songwriter Savannah Ré releases debut album ‘Opia’

It’s one thing when 11-time Grammy winner Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds requests your presence once … but twice?  That’s the situation Scarborough R&B singer and songwriter Savannah Ré, who released her debut EP “Opia” on Friday, found herself in a few years ago. – Nick Krewen, Toronto Star

Azrieli Foundation conducts a new approach to launching its prize-winning composers

 Like philanthropic enterprises elsewhere, the Montreal-based foundation has undertaken a mission to discover and celebrate creative talent in music. Established in 2014 and awarded biennially, the Azrieli Music Prizes are, at a total value of $200K, each — including a commissioning prize, a gala concert, national premier and recording for release — the largest in Canada to be awarded to composers. – William Littler, Toronto Star


Tencent Music invests in Wave to bring a musical metaverse to China

 Tencent Music Entertainment Group (TME) has invested in virtual concert company Wave as part of an effort to build out the potential of online music entertainment.  During the pandemic, Wave has had its biggest year in virtual entertainment. – VentureBeat

Mike Caren's APG goes fully independent, as the label's artist roster moves inside Atlantic Records

The Los Angeles-based company was previously in a joint-venture partnership with Warner Music Group and Atlantic Records. This saw the emergence of APG-signed artists such as Alec Benjamin, Charlie Puth, Don Toliver, Kehlani, YoungBoy Never Broke Again, and others. APG's newly independent status has been brokered via a new deal between Caren and WMG which sees APG's existing recordings catalog and artist roster move inside Atlantic Records (and away from APG) going forward.  – Tim Ingham, MBW

UK trade paper Music Week ends 60-year run as a weekly publication

It’s a sad day for music industry media as we learn that historic UK trade paper Music Week is to cease being a weekly title – with uncertainty surrounding its future. The magazine’s parent company, Future PLC, has announced via a surprisingly frank job ad that the title has “been impacted by a number of external market factors and significant economic pressures which mean that Music Week must move into a new phase of its development”.  Future says it will continue as a monthly ‘for the time being.’ – MBW


Interview: Patty Wilson Aden, President & CEO, The Blues Foundation

Founded in 1980, The Blues Foundation’s mission is to preserve the blues heritage, celebrate blues recordings and performances, and ensure the future of this uniquely American art form. Aden is uniquely qualified to lead The Blues Foundation. She brings more than three decades of non-profit management experience to the Foundation, with a specialization in the preservation and celebration of African American cultural resources. – Larry LeBlanc, Celebrity Access

The independent artist market is exploding in China – with NetEase and Tencent battling to woo the artists

China is becoming a particularly interesting hotspot for the DIY artist market – with the territory’s two biggest streaming platform operators, Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) and NetEase Cloud Music, duking it out for supremacy. On Nov. 10, Tencent Music’s CEO, Cussion Pang, revealed just how beneficial these indie artists are becoming to Tencent’s platforms. –  Tim Ingham, MBW

China gives musical talent show a virtual makeover

Dimension Nova is different - this time, all the contestants are virtual. This "virtual idol variety show", from Chinese streaming platform iQIYI, features three celebrity judges hoping to find the next big star. Yet while the concept is familiar, the execution is like nothing we've seen before. – Lu-Hai Liang, BBC News


Warner Music's Greater China boss, Andy Ma, abruptly exits the company

The CEO of Warner Music Greater China, Andy Ma, has exited the role just seven months after taking it up. Warner is understood to have told staff that the sudden exit is due to "family reasons".Ma joined Warner in 2011 as VP of New Media for Greater China and Southeast Asia. He later became CEO of Warner Music China in 2018, before being promoted to CEO for Greater China in April this year. – MBW

Midnight Oil bassist Bones Hillman remembered

When Bones Hillman died in early Nov. 2020, it was reported globally, with obituaries in the Guardian, Billboard, the Age, Rolling Stone and even the Daily Mail documenting the life of the bassist from Midnight Oil. New Zealand, too, remembered Bones. Social media was filled with personal and private tributes to a man who was not only a respected musician but often a personal friend or acquaintance. He was one of ours, one of us. – Simon Grigg and Phil Judd, Audioculture

‘He’s our Satan’: Mega music manager Irving Azoff, still feared, still fighting

Azoff is 72, and last weekend he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside Bruce Springsteen’s longtime manager Jon Landau. Beatles manager Brian Epstein and Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham are already in, but Azoff and Landau are the first active managers thus honoured. – LA Times

Crowded House fans to be refunded after band and promoter disagree over premium tickets

Kiwi music royalty Crowded House have called on their promoter, Live Nation, to refund fans who bought premium tickets to an upcoming NZ tour - saying the band did not agree to them. In a statement issued online, band members said they requested that promoter Live Nation refund any ticket holders who paid more than face value under an "in demand" promotion for its shows next March.  – NZ Herald

Our music pick: Bush

For the most part, people seem to be behaving themselves at these drive-in shows, and Brit grunge-sters Bush are the latest to perform in front of a bunch of parked cars — first in Del Mar on Friday and then in Ventura on Saturday. – Brett Callwood, LA Weekly

William S Burroughs and the Cult of Rock’n’Roll by Casey Rae review

From Bowie to Cobain, heavy metal to Blade Runner – how the Naked Lunch author and countercultural hero changed pop culture. – Fiona Sturges, The Guardian

Philip Glass and ‘Einstein on the Beach’: How one opera changed everything

Easily the most important opera of the last half-century, “Einstein on the Beach,” at least at first, meant far more to those who witnessed it than to the art form itself, which couldn’t have cared less. Almost nothing about what composer Philip Glass and director Robert Wilson put onstage was opera. – Mark Swed, LA Times

British psych legends Nirvana to release a vinyl box set

On Feb. 26th, 2021, Madfish Music will release Nirvana ‘Songlife’ 1967-72, a 6 LP vinyl Deluxe Box Set housing all 5 of the band’s pioneering studio albums – ‘The Story Of Simon Simopath’, ‘All Of Us’, ‘Dedicated To Markos III aka Black Flower’, ‘Local Anaesthetic’, ‘Songs Of Love And Praise’ - alongside the never before released 1972 LP ‘Secrets’. – EIN Presswire

Travel writer and journalist Jan Morris dies at 94

Prolific travel writer, journalist, soldier and novelist Jan Morris has died aged 94. Morris wrote more than 40 books including a notable trilogy about Britain's empire, Pax Britannica, during the 1960s and 70s. In 1972, she transitioned from male to female, undergoing gender reassignment surgery and changing her name to Jan. – BBC News

Linkin Park Debuts at No. 1 on Rock & Alternative Airplay Chart With ‘Friendly Fire’
Chart Beat

Linkin Park Debuts at No. 1 on Rock & Alternative Airplay Chart With ‘Friendly Fire’

It's the band's third leading entrance.

The fifth No. 1 debut in the history of Billboard’s Rock & Alternative Airplay chart belongs to Linkin Park, whose “Friendly Fire” premieres atop the March 9-dated tally.

“Friendly Fire” bows with 7.9 million radio audience impressions earned Feb. 23-29, according to Luminate.

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