Music Biz Headlines, Oct. 22, 2020

Tegan and Sara (pictured) feature at the Vancouver Writers Fest, SNL has a Canadian-themed sketch, and Joey Moi makes a noise in Nashville. Also in the headlines are The Weeknd, Keith Richards, Bob Dylan, Hamilton Music Collective, Jann Arden, Backxwash, Gord Downie, UMG, Apple Music TV, WMG, L.A. Reid, BMG, Mike Love, Beastie Boys, Bob Mould, and Steve Winwood.

Music Biz Headlines, Oct. 22, 2020

By FYI Staff

Snow’s Con Calma just won six Latin Music Awards for Daddy Yankee

Last night, Daddy Yankee won six of his seven Billboard Latin Music Awards for his Snow-assisted hit Con Calma, including hot Latin song of the year, airplay song of the year, and streaming song of the year. – Billboard

Hamilton Music Collective HQ is set to reopen after a $2.5 million transformation

What started as a wistful daydream about some basement office space in an attractive historic building in Hamilton’s downtown has turned into a $2.5 million renovation and a spanking new cultural centre. The Gasworks, newly constituted as a multidimensional, comprehensive music and arts hub, will be officially launched next week, with tours and talks for the media, and Astrid Hepner, founder/CEO of the Hamilton Music Collective, says, “I still have to pinch myself to believe it’s real.” – Jeff Mahoney, Spectator 


‘SNL’ airs Canadian-themed ‘Drake Watch’ sketch; Justin Bieber and Jim Carrey also appear. 

The latest episode of “Saturday Night Live” had a Canadian-themed sketch, complete with references to Drake, “Degrassi” and the CBC. Guest host Issa Rae stood in front of a green screen image of Toronto’s waterfront for a news channel segment called “Drake Watch,” and held a microphone emblazoned with the CBC logo. –  CP

The Weeknd, Justin Bieber, and J Balvin among artists investing in animated concert-streaming company Wave

The 30-year-old Blinding Lights hitmaker has already had a successful partnership with the up-and-coming company. – Daily Mail

Tegan and Sara among an all-star lineup of high-profile authors at this week's Vancouver Writers Fest

As in past years, the fest is offering up a who’s who of local and international writers, including, for the first time, Tegan and Sara Quin. The Juno–winning twins will discuss their memoir, High School, with Baharak Yousefi, co-editor of Feminists Among Us: Resistance and Advocacy in Library Leadership. – Charlie Smith Georgia Straight

Joey Moi: The Big Loud Records producer, songwriter and entrepreneur is on a roll

While the Covid pandemic has stalled the careers and work activity of so many of his peers, Joey Moi has never been busier or more successful. The Nashville-based Canadian producer and songwriter explains that, with the lockdown, “we closed our office on Music Row and I moved my studio into my house to work from here. With all the artists off the road, they want to make music." – Kerry Doole, Words & Music


Hulu secures U.S. rights Jann Arden’s semi-autobiographical sitcom

Jann Arden’s sitcom is heading to an American streaming service. Producers announced this week that Hulu has secured the U.S. rights to the Calgary singer-songwriter’s CTV series “Jann.” The first two seasons of “Jann” are set to hit Hulu early next year. – CP

Watch Gord Downie’s animated video for ‘River Don’t Care’

The track is off late Tragically Hip frontman’s posthumous LP, Away Is Mine. – Angie Martoccio, Rolling Stone

Pandemic created 'mad famine' in the arts industry, Manitoba musician says

'I saw my entire summer just evaporate in front of me' as pandemic cancelled gigs, says bassist Ashley Au. – Rachel Bergen, CBC News

Backxwash has won the 2020 Polaris Music Prize

She won for her gothic rap-metal album “God Has Nothing to Do With This Leave Him Out of It.” Backxwash is the first transgender female artist to win the Polaris, an award that in recent years has celebrated an array of Indigenous and Black musicians who are often ignored in mainstream Canadian music.– David Friend, CP

Great Kitchen Party showcases culinary and musical talent

Canada’s Great Kitchen Party is joining forces with three charities to offer Canadians a chance to have a meal made by a local culinary talent while taking in an online show with some of Canada’s top musicians.  This year, the organization is raising funds for MusiCounts and other charities. –  Georgia Straight



Universal just generated over a billion dollars from streaming in a single quarter... during a global pandemic

Universal Music Group just stormed Q3. According to numbers from UMG parent Vivendi, the music company turned over €992m ($1.14bn) in recorded music streaming revenues in the three months to end of September. This $1bn-plus figure was up by 22.6% in organic terms on the prior-year quarter (Q3 2019), and represented only the second time in UMG history that the firm's recorded music streaming revenues have surpassed a billion dollars in a single quarter. – Tim Ingham, MBW

UMG will IPO in 2022 Vivendi confirms

The long-term possibility of Universal Music Group’s IPO on the stock exchange has been bubbling away in the background of the music industry for some time. Last we heard from UMG parent Vivendi, its plan to spin out Universal onto the stock market was scheduled to take place “before 2023”. Now Vivendi has confirmed that it intends to take UMG public in the calendar year of 2022. – Tim Ingham, MBW


Apple launches a U.S.-only music video station, Apple Music TV

TechCrunch reports: “Apple is expanding its investment in music with the launch of “Apple Music TV.” The new music video station offers a free, 24-hour livestream of popular music videos and other music content, including, exclusive video premieres, curated music video blocks, live shows, fan events, chart countdowns and guest appearances.” – Digital Media Wire

WMG raises $250M in debt to fund future acquisitions

Deals for music rights have never been more competitive, with new-school players like Hipgnosis Songs Fund and Round Hill Music building (and spending) considerable war chests to acquire catalogues. Warner Music Group, the world's third-biggest music rights company, is evidently determined to show it can play that game too. WMG has just announced to Wall Street that its parent, WMG Acquisition Corp, has raised $250m in additional Senior Secured Notes via a private offering. – MBW

L.A. Reid sells off 100 percent of future royalties

The producer, songwriter and executive is the latest artist to sell the rights to his future royalties to the Hipgnosis Song Fund, which purchased them for an undisclosed sum. Reid has also been appointed to its advisory board. He follows the likes of Blondie, RZA and Tom DeLonge in selling royalties to the Fund. – Patrick Clarke, NME

BMG expands into live music, buying a majority stake in German concert promoter

Today (October 21), BMG boss Hartwig Masuch's ambition has become reality: BMG has just announced that it is entering the live music business for the first time. To fuel its new live music strategy, BMG – which turned over $308m in the first six months of 2020 – has signed an agreement to acquire a majority stake in independent German live music promotion company and event agency Undercover GmbH. – Tim Ingham, MBW


Discord over song royalties sours American trade talks

A cacophony of transatlantic musical exports has long permeated the airwaves on either side of the Pond. Both industries are limbering up for battle, however, as British and American negotiators seek to thrash out a free-trade deal. Officials at the table are facing calls to demand millions more for their top artists, songwriters and producers as part of a longstanding rift over royalties. – Callum Jones, The Times

Warner IPO brings senior execs a windfall

Warner Music Group executives shared an incentive plan jackpot worth $593m in stock following the firm’s IPO on the Nasdaq in June, MBW can reveal. The figure was the ultimate result of a years-long compensation plan that saw some of the firm’s leading executives participate in the upside of a successful public flotation. – Tim Ingham, MBW

Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson disavows band’s performance at Trump fundraiser with Mike Love

Surviving members of the classic California band have been split over support of Trump. – Jeremy Fuster, The Wrap

Debbie Harry, 75, announces Blondie will tour in the UK in 2021

At 75, most people are putting their feet up and enjoying retirement. But Debbie Harry isn’t your typical septuagenarian. The lead singer of US rock band Blondie has announced that they will be crossing the pond to play ten dates in cities around the UK in Nov. 2021. She reveals the band has been working on new music during the pandemic. – Emma Powell, Daily Mail


Beastie Boys license a song for an ad for the first time, for Joe Biden spot focused on live music shutdown

Beastie Boys had never before licensed any of their songs for an advertisement, but that commercial blackout came to an end during Sunday’s Steelers/Browns game when the sounds of “Sabotage” accompanied a spot for the Biden presidential campaign. It wasn’t just any campaign spot, but one that focuses on how the shutdowns have decimated the live music industry. – Chris Willman, Variety

Some much needed positive news for the UK’s arts industries in the wake of the pandemic

On Oct. 12, the British Government published the names of more than 1,300 arts and cultural organisations who will receive funds from a share of £257 million ($333m) as part of the £1.57  billion ($2bn) Culture Recovery Fund, first announced back in July following sustained lobbying from the UK music industry. On Oct. 17, an additional 588 organisations were awarded a share of £76 million ($98m) in grants from the British taxpayer-funded support package. – Murray Stassen, MBW

There are only 41 songs in history that have been certified diamond in the US. Here they are

Baby by Justin Bieber featuring Ludacris comes in at No. 2 on the elite list. –  Callie Ahlgim, Music Business Insider

Keith Richards drops a video for ‘Hate It When You Leave’ packed with everyday scenes

The song, which originally appeared on his 1992 solo LP Main Offender, is being re-released on vinyl for Record Store Day. – Andy Greene, Rolling Stone

Alt-rock's gay icon Bob Mould takes on American evil

The former Hüsker Dü and Sugar frontman is back with a career box set and an incendiary new album, having come to terms with childhood trauma, his sexuality and the death of his bandmate. – Stevie Chick, The Guardian

Steve Winwood remembers ‘big brother’ Spencer Davis

“He was definitely a man with a vision, and one of the pioneers of the British invasion of America in the Sixties,” former Spencer Davis Group guitarist says of the late rocker. – Angie Martoccio, Rolling Stone 

The Curmudgeon: Is songwriting contagious?

Is songwriting contagious? If you hang around an accomplished songwriter long enough, will some of it rub off? There’s some evidence that it does. Obviously, the circumstances have to be right. The mentor and the protégé have to spend enough time together, and the protégé has to already have potential that can be brought out. But when those factors are present, the results can be remarkable. Perhaps the best example is the effect of Bob Dylan on Robbie Robertson. – Geoffrey Himes, Paste

Inside Bob Dylan’s lost interviews and unseen letters

As Bob Dylan’s career blossomed, he kept in close touch with his friend Tony Glover. The pair’s conversations and letters — published here for the first time — show a Dylan that few people knew. – Douglas Brinkley, Rolling Stone

Soleil Launière
Jaime Antonio Luna Quezada

Soleil Launière


Soleil Launière wins the Francouvertes: “It means a lot to me as an Indigenous artist”

Meet the Innu artist, big winner of the 2024 edition of the showcase-competition, who is the first Indigenous artist to win since the Quebec music competition started allowing submissions in Indigenous languages.

Soleil Launière has won the 28th edition of Francouvertes, becoming the first Indigenous artist to win the Quebec-based music competition.

The multidisciplinary Innu artist from Mashteuiatsh, Quebec won the grand final of the musical showcase on Monday, May 13. The Montreal-based artist edged out rapper Sensei H and maximalist rock singer-songwriter Loïc Lafrance.

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