Music Biz Headlines, Oct. 13, 2020

Folk-rocker Eamon McGrath(pictured) publishes a new book, Toronto venues plagued by the pandemic, and Round Hill Music to offer an IPO. Others in the headlines include Oscar Peterson, Tyler Shaw, Drake, DVSN, the COC, Justin Bieber, Nickelback, Spotify, BMG, Warner Music, Rolling Stone, Jac Holzman, Harry Smith, Morgan Wallen, Courtney Barnett, UMG, Flaming Lips, Sean Ono Lennon, Wellness in Music, and Jon Bon Jovi.

Music Biz Headlines, Oct. 13, 2020

By FYI Staff

Musician Eamon McGrath's latest novel pulls from life on the road

In his latest novel, Here Goes Nothing, Eamon McGrath is doomed to relive the same scenarios over and over again. It’s much like the movie Groundhog Day, except that in McGrath’s case the musician and author is pulling inspiration from real-life touring adventures. – Tom Murray, Edmonton Journal

Montreal might honour Oscar Peterson by renaming Place des Festivals

Maybe this time the legendary local jazz pianist will get the recognition he deserves.  – CultMTL

11 Toronto venues shut down since Covid-19 muffled live music scene, report says

A new report suggests that the pandemic has struck a devastating blow to Toronto’s already struggling live music sector, shutting down at least 11 venues in the city and cutting income for dozens of workers. The City of Toronto and Canadian Live Music Association released the results of a two-year study of the city’s music sector on Thursday estimating that live venues generate an economic impact of $850 million every year, supporting the equivalent of 10,500 jobs. – CP


How Tyler Shaw launched an artist initiative for covid-19 relief

Earlier this year, Tyler—uninspired and feeling like he wasn’t contributing to society—led Artists CAN, an artist initiative that raised money for covid-19 relief in Canada. Justin Bieber, Michael Buble, Avril Lavigne and Sarah McLachlan were among the Canadian acts who took part in recording a video cover of Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me,” which aired on national television and whose proceeds benefited the Red Cross.  – Entertainment.inquirer

#ENDSARS: Canadian rapper, Drake, joins campaign

The hip-hop superstar has shown his support for the ongoing #ENDSARS campaign. The Canadian musician is the latest international celebrity to lend his voice on the #ENDSARS campaign. Over the weekend Chance The Rapper, Trey Songz, and Big Sean, among others, had taken to their social media accounts to support the #ENDSARS campaign. – Nigerian Eye

Toronto’s DVSN is about to play two more sold-out drive-in shows — Daniel Daley sees their music as a way to give back

When it comes to seeing hip R&B duo DVSN in concert in their Toronto hometown, apparently five times is not enough. While other acts have announced one-off outdoor dates during these crowd-restricted pandemic times, demand has been off the charts for the musical tag-team of Scarborough singer Daniel Daley and Pickering-based producer Anthony Paul Jefferies, better known in production circles as Nineteen85. – Nick Krewen, Toronto Star 


Local music column with Peter Rowan

A classically-trained cellist with synthesizers and folk-inspired harmonies make up Dumpster Cub. Peter Rowan introduces up to the Saint John duo in his new music column. – CBC

As they cancel their opera seasons, the Met’s Peter Gelb and the COC’s Alexander Neef look to ‘build the new reality’

The news last month for opera lovers internationally could hardly have been worse. New York’s Metropolitan Opera company announced the cancellation of its entire 2020/21 season. The Met, as it is popularly known, is its art form’s flagship institution. In Toronto, Gelb’s opposite number, Canadian Opera Company general director Alexander Neef, waited until last week to make a similarly comprehensive season cancellation statement. – William Littler, Toronto Star

An interview with Montreal jazz/funk collective Busty & The Bass

The creatively admired Canadian label Arts & Crafts is home to many a renowned band- including Broken Social Scene, Stars, and Andy Shauf. The eight-piece Montreal jazz/funk collective, Busty & The Bass is bringing a retro-flavoured soulful blast to the Arts & Crafts label with their recently released new LP Eddie, a well-needed spoonful of groove during a WTF 2020 year.  –Glide

From charismatic Christianity to viral video: Is Justin Bieber's new song as 'holy' as it seems?

In less than a month, Justin Bieber's song Holy has racked up more than 50 million views. The figure itself isn't too surprising. After all, the Canadian pop star has been at the top of music charts — and accumulating billions of YouTube views — for the past decade. But unlike many of his hits, which usually reflect on relationship wins or woes, Holy is unflinchingly Christian, in both its lyrics and visuals. Here a lecturer in religion and culture examines it closely. –  ABC


Alan Cross has an anthropological question: Why do so many say they hate Nickelback?

Yet out of virtually every other musical act on the planet, Nickelback attracts the most hate and abuse. Admitting to liking Nickelback is akin to saying you hate puppies and kittens. The anti-Nickelback memes are endless. Invoking their name is universal shorthand when you need to describe something awful. – Global TV



Round Hill set to IPO new fund on London Stock Exchange next month, raising $375M

MBW told you back in August that Round Hill Music was planning a potential IPO on the London Stock Exchange. Now, it’s happening. the New York-headquartered company intends to float a new fund on the LSE next month, targeting a raise of $375M. Expect the firm’s official Intention To Float (ITF) announcement will be issued in the coming days. – Tim Ingham, MBW

UMG, AEG, Live Nation, RIAA, CAA, others unite to demand live concert government relief

Music industry mainstays including Universal Music Group, AEG Presents, Live Nation, and the RIAA have banded together to demand that the federal government provide relief to the live event sector. Joining UMG and the other above-noted entities in backing the initiative, dubbed #SaveLiveEventsNow, are the Recording Academy, Paradigm, CAA, Endeavor, and 21 others.  Warner Music and Sony Music were unlisted at the time of this writing.  – Dylan Smith, Digital Music News

Spotify has a patent for personality-tracking technology and it's pretty creepy

MBW’s gotten hold of a new Spotify patent. It may well prove to be transformational for the platform – but it’s also, and there’s really no other way to put this, really quite creepy. On Oct. 6, Spotify was granted a US patent for “Methods and systems for personalizing user experience based on [user] personality traits.” The patent application was initially filed in November 2018. – MBW

BMG eliminates 'poisonous' controlled composition clauses from its US record contracts

BMG has announced that it is eliminating a standard US record label deduction which serves to reduce the income of songwriters, composers and lyricists. Across the US industry, the various discounts and caps which are contained in the so-called Controlled Composition clause cost songwriters an estimated $14 million last year. The Controlled Composition clause is a provision in recording contracts that grants record labels a 25% reduction (and sometimes more) on mechanical royalties owed to a songwriter in the US for sales of their physical records. –Murray Stassen, MBW


Five crucial lessons from Jac Holzman, who founded Elektra Records and signed The Doors

The 89-year-old Jac Holzman — founder of Elektra Records, a legend of the music industry, and tech pioneer — passes on his hard-won wisdom in a rare interview. – Tim Ingham, Rolling Stone 

Near truths: Pivot points

Thus the tables have turned, and the leverage pendulum has swung away from artists and managers and toward rights holders. Some of the former are not happy about the way the latter have pressed their advantage, and some are keeping score. For this and other reasons, we are seeing an unprecedented rise in deals for publishing catalogues. – Hits Daily Double

Rolling Stone’s canon fodder

Rolling Stone released a new version of its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, but the streaming era, with its explosion of records and musical subgenres, might spell the end of a pop canon. – Forbes

Music executive Alain Veille named President of Warner Music France

The respected Veille will succeed legendary music exec Thierry Chassagne, who is retiring after 35 years in the music business. Veille, who has been with Warner for nearly 20 years, is currently Managing Director, Digital and Export Director for the company. The leadership transition will take effect on January 1, and Veille will report to Stu Bergen, Warner Music’s CEO, International and Global Commercial Services. – MBW


Harry Smith’s musical catalogue of human experience

“The Anthology of American Folk Music” is probably the most significant example of how a particular collector’s preferences can shape a canon. – Amanda Petrusich, New Yorker

Morgan Wallen uninvited from SNL after video surfaces of maskless partying

Country star Morgan Wallen was scheduled to be Saturday Night Live’s musical guest last weekend (October 10), but he says he was uninvited from the show due to Covid-19 protocols, Variety reports. The singer was widely criticized when a video surfaced of him appearing to party with no mask and kiss people in a crowd. – Evan Minsker Pitchfork

Family remembers songwriter killed in Sumner County house fire

Cameron Taylor talks with the family of Ray Pennington, a songwriter who died in a fire at his home. – News4 Nashville

Universal Music Group announces a new luxury hotel chain called UMUSIC Hotels

The first three locations for the music-focused hotel partnership with Dakia Global are Atlanta, Orlando, and Biloxi, Mississippi. – Fast Company

The Flaming Lips are planning a concert with the crowd in giant bubbles

Expanding upon the idea they've used for recent performances on Colbert and Fallon. – Ben Kaye, CoS

'Open that door or I'll blow it down!' The jazz legends who caused TV mayhem

They sent talk show host Dick Cavett fleeing with his fingers in his ears and blasted Ed Sullivan with Haitian Fight Song. Fifty years on, the Jazz and People’s Movement are still fighting to be heard. – The Guardian

Dealing with Devildrivers' demons

Based on the fact that the new DevilDriver album is called Dealing with Demons I, and that there’s a Part II due out in 2021, one has to assume that frontman Dez Fafara has a lot of demons to exorcise at present. The ongoing lockdown is showing no signs of safely reaching a conclusion and, with Fafara’s wife-beating cancer last year, he’s not going to fuck around with a damned virus. – Brett Callwood, LA Weekly

Sean Ono Lennon on remixing father’s music: It was therapy

Sean Ono Lennon’s first experience re-working his father’s catalogue was terrifying and intimidating, but he had two main goals in mind to keep him on track: Preserve his father’s message in the songs and help the late icon’s music reach a younger audience. – Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press

Rock on, Eddie: Ranking the 10 best Van Halen albums

Not since Datsun cars with tape decks lined high school parking lots have so many people been listening to Van Halen as they are this week. After Eddie Van Halen’s death to cancer at age 65 last Tuesday, both new and old fans have been flooding record stores and streaming sites seeking his namesake band’s canon of cannonballing rock ’n’ roll. Jamie’s crying, and so are we. – Chris Riemenschneider, Star Tribune

Jon Bon Jovi aims to capture a ‘moment in time’ with new album 2020

Jon Bon Jovi has been churning out love songs and arena anthems for nearly 40 years, but his latest release “2020,” has taken his music to another level. It’s Bon Jovi’s most socially conscious album to date. Calling the collection, a “moment in time,” he references covid the killing of George Floyd, the 2019 Dayton shooting, PTSD of returning soldiers and other issues concerning the 58-year old rocker. – John Carucci, AP

'There's no HR in the music business': crisis facing musicians, including Courtney Barnett, is bubbling over 

"I was like, 'I need to get on top of this, or else'. I mean, it's scary. It's a scary thing." Barnett is far from alone in experiencing mental health problems during the pandemic, and her story is one shared by many musicians. – Sydney Morning Herald 

MusiCares launches ‘Wellness in Music’ survey

On World Mental Health Day, Saturday, October 10, MusiCares launched a new Wellness in Music survey. According to the announcement, this new annual survey will help the organization to assess the music community’s mental health and wellness to better inform MusiCares of the needs facing their clients. – Jem Aswad, Variety

Goldfinger model and actress Margaret Nolan dies at age 76.

The English actress also appeared in the Beatles film A Hard Days Night and the Carry On series. – Variety

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.

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