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FYI

Music Biz Headlines, Oct. 24, 2018

Colter Wall (pictured) impresses, the TSO posts a healthy surplus, and opera stars embrace social media. Also in the headlines are Passenger, Aasiva, Anemone, Rihanna, YouTube, cover songs, SoundCloud, BMG, Spotify, Giles Martin, CD Baby, Rush, Usher, the Beatles, Michael Buble, Paul McCartney, and Elton John.

Music Biz Headlines, Oct. 24, 2018

By Kerry Doole

Toronto Symphony Orchestra posts $2.3-million surplus

Last week The TSO capped a hectic year in which it found a new CEO and farewelled music director Peter Oundjian by announcing a large budget surplus. The deficit that the TSO has carried for most of this new century is roughly a quarter of what it was two years ago. – John Terauds, Toronto Star


Concert review: Colter Wall conducts living history lesson at Union Hall

There’s plenty of room for everyone in a cowboy hat in that luminous circle, but when Colter Wall makes music live, you just can’t help but feel the difference between name-dropping history and actually paying legitimate service to its continuity. – Fish Griwkowsky, Edmonton Journal

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Insta-divas: How social media has become the next stage for opera stars

Opera is embracing the virtual world with Instagram, the photo-driven social media platform that now has an active community of classical music fans and industry users. Typing “#opera” into its search bar yields more than three million posts. – Catherine Kustanczy, Globe and Mail

Passenger channels North America on new album Runaway

Mike Rosenberg (a.k.a. the Brighton, UK, singer/songwriter who records as Passenger) took time to talk about the surprising turn his tunes have taken on his new album.  – Stuart Derdeyn, Calgary Herald

Nunavut musicians celebrate mental health in Resolute Bay

'I pick up an instrument and it helps me cope,' says performer Aasiva. She was the headliner at a recent event focused on mental health in Resolute Bay, the final stop on non-profit group Alianait's fourth Mental Health Awareness Tour. – CBC News

Review: La Traviata opening night pleasurable, short on passion

Edmonton’s version is a solid, straightforward, and essentially conventional La Traviata, well sung, with a strong sense of ensemble. It will offend no one and give pleasure to almost any opera-lover, even if, on the first night at least, it did not quite produce the expected handkerchief-inducing tragedy.  – Mark Morris, Calgary Herald

Canadian band on US tour has instruments and merch stolen

Montreal-based band Anemone said their van was broken into during a stop in Portland last week. An online fundraising campaign is under way. –  CTV News

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Rihanna's big Super Bowl decision shows that sometimes there are more important things in life than cashing in

Rihanna has turned down an invitation to headline the halftime show at Super Bowl LIII, that decision meaning declining a big paycheque and mega-exposure to a global audience. This is directly tied to her support for former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who's been exiled from the NFL after his highly publicized anthem protests. – Mike Usinger, Georgia Straight

International

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki tells artists: Article 13 poses 'a threat to your livelihood.'

Wojcicki’s warning about the EU Copyright Directive vote was shared in a wide-ranging letter with YouTube creators detailing her current priorities as well as progress made over the past few months.  –MBW

Is the cover song making a recovery?

The status of the cover song has shape-shifted throughout pop-music history. Here is why it may now be mounting a comeback. – Carl Wilson, Slate

SoundCloud boldly goes where no streaming platform has gone before: Remix clearances

This week, the company unveiled a new partnership with a slew of DJ performance applications. Believing streaming workflows are the future, DJs will soon mix and stream the company’s nearly 200 million song catalog in real-time. This feature is only available for users on its paid Go+ service.  – Daniel Sanchez, Digital Music News

BMG acquires world music record label

Global music industry player, BMG Rights Management, has bought World Circuit Records. The catalogue includes Ali Farka Touré and Ry Cooder’s Grammy-winning 1994 album Talking Timbuktu and the international debut album by Oumou Sangare.  – MusicAfrica

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Spotify testing feature that highlights new releases

The streaming giant is testing a ‘What’s New’ feature. Spotify states that "We are always testing new ways to create better-listening experiences for more users, while continuing to find ways to connect artists to their fans.”  Bradly Shankar, Mobile Syrup

Giles Martin named UMG's Head of Audio & Sound

The Grammy-winning British record producer takes on the Giles Martin to the newly created role as Head of Audio & Sound. In this position, Martin will lead UMG’s exploration and adoption of emerging audio formats and consumer technology. He will be based in UMG’s Abbey Road Studios in London.  – Melinda Newman, Billboard

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CD Baby partners with Cosynd to streamline copyright registration

The digital distribution service claims to be the first to “give creators access” to copyright ownership tools. – Daniel Sanchez, Digital Music News

Talent and touring

Ian Hunter, rock's great underdog: 'Bowie thought I was the head of a motorcycle gang'

His newly reissued memoir of life as a rock star is full of ennui, crap gigs and cat faeces – but at 79, the Mott the Hoople frontman is still going and ‘won’t stop unless I have to.'  – Michael Hann, The Guardian

Things we didn't know about The Beatles as 'White Album' is revived

The Beatles’ multi-million revival machine is set for another boost from the White Album’s 50th anniversary. Before the new package is released on November 9, its new producer Giles Martin has revealed more discoveries he made while he worked on the remixed, remastered and expanded box set. – Mark Beech, Forbes

Songwriter awarded $44 Million in lawsuit over uncredited 2004 Usher song

Jury sides with Daniel Marino in a claim that his “Club Girl” became Usher’s hit “Bad Girl.” –  Ilana Kaplan, Rolling Stone

Geddy Lee on Rush’s prog-rock opus ‘Hemispheres’: ‘We had to raise our game’

The bassist reflects on writing side-long “mini rock operas,” singing in awkward keys and Alex Lifeson’s mysterious “bedroom accident” — and offers an update on the state of Rush. –  Ryan Reed, Rolling Stone

Is this ‘A Star is Born’ pop song supposed to be bad or glorious?

It’s been nearly two weeks since the release of the soundtrack for “A Star Is Born,” which means it’s been nearly two weeks since I’ve been unable to get the impolite lyrics from “Why Did You Do That?” out of my head. – Kyle Buchanan, NY Times

There is a Beatles monument in Mongolia

It is a beloved tribute to the Fab Four and the freedoms they inspired. The Beatles’ music is credited with inspiring Mongolians to fight for their democracy. –  Atlas Obscura

Michael Buble enjoys very animated singalong with James Corden on Carpool Karaoke special for Stand Up To Cancer UK

The Canadian singer shows no sign of falling out of love with music as he takes part in a Carpool Karaoke special for Stand Up To Cancer UK's fundraising campaign. The fun musical segment will air in full on Channel 4 on Friday.  – Roxy Simons, Daily Mail

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Paul McCartney's team talks 'whirlwind' marketing strategy for 'Egypt Station'

McCartney’s team discusses how the former Beatle earned his first No. 1 album in 36 years.  – Taylor Mims, Billboard

Not the man they think he is at home

He’s sold 150 million albums and been famous for five decades. But do we really know Elton John?  – Bill Wyman, Vulture

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Beyoncé

Beyoncé

FYI

The Billboard Canada FYI Bulletin: Beyoncé Country Hit A Win For Canadian Songwriters

Also in this week's roundup of industry news: Kayla Diamond launches her own boutique imprint, SOCAN names an ombudsman, and time's running out for noms for this year's Rosalie Award honouring trailblazing women in broadcasting.

Beyoncé becomes the first Black woman to top Billboard’s Country Songs chart with “Texas Hold ‘Em” and it has gone to No. 1 on iTunes in 14 different countries and counting. There are some surprising connections. The song is co-written and co-produced by Ontario-born writer/producer Nathan Ferraro, whose previous collaborations include working with Lady Gaga, Carly Rae Jepsen, Bear Mountain, RALPH, Shawn Hook, Alyssa Reid, Jessie Reyez, Lowell and Tyler Shaw.

In fact, the song has deep Canadian origins. Two other Canadian songwriters participated in this runaway hit: Megan Bülow (who records and performs as bülow) as and Elizabeth "Lowell" Boland (a.k.a. Lowell), with Ferraro co-producing the track with Killah B and Beyoncé.

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