Music Biz Headlines, Sept. 23, 2021

Universal Music Group and Sir Lucian Grainge (pictured) dominate the news this week, consumers weigh the risk of concerts, and Toronto designates music hubs. Also in the headlines are the Shaw Festival, Stratford, Hopscotch, TIFF, Arkells, Genesis, The Reklaws, RIAA, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Merck Mercuriadis, Twitch, Tracklib, the San Diego Symphony, Eric Clapton, Nirvana, and Guns N Roses.

Music Biz Headlines, Sept. 23, 2021

By Kerry Doole


The Reklaws top CCMA Awards nominations list with six

Next with five nominations apiece are Dallas Smith of Langley, B.C., and Alberta artists Lindsay Ell and Brett Kissel. – Victoria Ahearn, CP

Consumers weigh the risks of concerts as thrill of live music returns

After a long pandemic-induced hiatus, Canada’s live music industry is finally starting to come back to life and concertgoers couldn’t be more excited. But even as live music lovers rush to buy tickets, the excitement is tempered by a careful assessment of Covid-19 risks, signalling that the industry’s road to recovery is far from certain. – Josie Kao, Globe and Mail

These neighbourhoods in Toronto could become music and entertainment hubs

Thanks to new developments at City Hall, dancing in the streets could soon become a reality for several neighbourhoods across the city. Toronto's Economic Development & Culture administration has identified 21 areas that meet the criteria necessary to become hubs for live music and other outdoor events. – BlogTO


Sketches from Stratford: This cultural city has a home for digital arts, too - but not enough homes

The Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business is the best place in Stratford, Ont. to get a bird’s-eye view of the small city that punches above its weight as a cultural destination. Before the pandemic there were about 120 beds available to the Stratford school’s students in the community but now there are only about 60. – JK Nestruck, The Globe and Mail

Hopscotch Arts Festival jump-starts this week with The Halluci Nation, DijahSB and more

Here are 4 acts we're extra excited about at the hip hop festival happening this Thursday through Sunday, Sep 23-26.–  Morgan Mullin, The Coast 

That’s a wrap! The Best and Worst of TIFF ’21 (with tips on how to improve)

So, how was your TIFF 2021? Did you re-enter theatres to see movies in a physically distanced way or did you elect to do digital from the safety of home? And how did that go? Organizers behind the 46th annual Toronto International Film Festival had multiple logistical and technical hurdles to clear with virtually no star-powered glitz to distract the citizenry from the reality at hand. Here are our picks from the fest, plus our complaints over aspects of its operation. –Original Cin


How one savvy moved saved the Shaw Festival and hundreds of jobs

"When I started in 2015, we went through an insurance review, and we took out pandemic interruption insurance. That meant we were insulated against a fair amount of the damage caused by loss of performances, which gave us the optimism to keep all 550 of our people on, with the exception of some summer part-timers, throughout the whole pandemic." – Globe and Mail

Arkells embrace a range of influences on new album ‘Blink Once’

How do you write a song? Different artists have different processes, but there are also those who live to experiment. “One of the luxuries of having made a bunch of records at this point is, why don’t we just try this?” Arkells singer Max Kerman said of their new album “Blink Once,” out Sept. 22. “It’ll be either amazing or it might fall on its face a little bit, but I like trying.” – Nick Krewen, Toronto Star


Universal hits massive valuation of $54bn as it lists on Amsterdam Stock Exchange

MBW was expecting an impressive opening for UMG on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange today - but even we weren't expecting this. UMG's opening price is over a third bigger than the reference price that Vivendi confirmed yesterday of €18.50 ($21.7) which would have valued UMG at €33.5 billion (approx. $39bn). – Murray Stassen, MBW


Thanks Universal! Warner Music Group just got $1.9bn more valuable after UMG listing

Universal Music Group has completed its first full day of trading on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange - and it was a big one. The world’s biggest rights-holder listed on the Euronext in Amsterdam this morning, opening with a €25.25 ($29.63) share price, giving the company a valuation of €46.3 billion or $54.3 billion. UMG's shares hit a peak of €26.45 ($31) during the day, and closed at €25.10 ($29.43),  a valuation of €45.5 billion or $53.3 billion after the company's first full day of trading. – Murray Stassen, MBW

Universal shares soar as music giant impresses on debut

Universal Music Group BV shares soared in their stock market debut as investors seized the chance to own the dominant player in a resurgent music industry. The listing comes days after the U.S. recorded music sector reported strong sales growth driven by a surge in streaming audiences on platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music during the pandemic. – Bloomberg


World's biggest record company faces competition scrutiny

Universal Music has made a triumphant market debut in Amsterdam, putting boss Sir Lucian Grainge in line for a $260m bonus. But Universal Music has been threatened with an official investigation of its stranglehold on pop hours after it made a triumphant stock market appearance. – The Telegraph.

RIAA: Recorded music revenue increased by 27% in first half of 2021

New numbers out from the Recording Industry Association of America reveal that recorded music revenues were up by 27% during the first half of 2021, with growth primarily driven by streaming.  –Hypebot 

Abba's Bjorn Ulvaeus launches campaign to fix £500m music royalty problem

The Abba star has launched a campaign to ensure musicians don't miss out on millions of pounds in royalties. Called Credits Due, the scheme aims to ensure all songwriters and musicians are correctly identified when a song is recorded. At present, missing and incomplete data means that about £500m is unallocated or misallocated globally every year. – Mark Savage, BBC

Merck Mercuriadis on the true value of songwriters

'None of us should be able to sleep in good conscience at night until the true value of the songwriters' contributions to this business are recognized.,' says the Hipgnosis founder. Some take issue with his insistence that the major record companies are actively disinterested in using their might – or the might of their sister publishing companies – to help alter the share of the revenue 'pie' paid to writers. – MBW

Twitch nears deal with US publishers, but that won't solve all its music problems

Twitch is near to signing a music licensing deal with the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) according to reports. In an effort to satisfy creators, Twitch launched Soundtrack offering free access to more than 1 million licensed recordings from labels like Monstercat and Anjunabeats. – Hypebot


UK Government responds to Parliament’s economics of streaming report

Although calling the report a “key moment for the music industry”, ministers have accepted few of the committee’s recommendations outright. However, it will now convene a ‘contact group’ and two ‘working groups’ to further consider some of the legislative proposals. – Chris Cooke, CMU

A brief and incomplete history of selling out

Slate’s Willa Paskin on how we went from the Rolling Stones shilling for Rice Krispies to Jonathan Franzen snubbing Oprah. – Slate

Original music sampling platform Tracklib secures $12.2M funding round

Stockholm-based Tracklib, the sampling platform that provides music producers and artists with pre-cleared, high-caliber original music for sampling, is announcing its latest funding round. The company secured $12.2M in investment from existing investors, as well as several new investors including key international family offices and former NBA player, actor and music producer Baron Davis. – MusicTech

Anti-vax hypocrite Eric Clapton breaks own vow, plays venue with vax mandate

Musician who swore never to play a vaccine-mandate show goes ahead and does just that in New Orleans.–  Rolling Stone

With its new waterfront home, Rady Shell, the San Diego Symphony has taken an important step toward its future

San Diego is an outdoors city, blessed with an enviable oceanside location and a climate worthy of a snowbird’s dreams. No wonder the local symphony orchestra wants to come out and play. It has an even better reason now, thanks to last month’s opening of Rady Shell in Jacobs Park, a downtown al fresco setting for up to 10,000 people, picturesquely surrounded on three sides by water. – William Littler, Toronto Star


Guns N Roses preview another new song

Slash has uploaded a video of what is expected to be a new Guns N Roses song called ‘Hard Skool’ – Noise11

Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ at 30: a track-by-track guide from your favourite musicians

Kurt, Krist and Dave tapped into something primal, beautiful and magical. Three decades later, artists continue to draw on the album's strange power. – NME

Genesis review – rock’s most unlikely stars go out with a bang

Phil Collins is on drily funny form for the band’s final tour despite poor health, as era-defining hits are performed with strength and poignancy. – Alexis Petridis, The Guardian

Lana Del Rey performs on "Christmas in Graceland"
Katherine Bomboy/NBC

Lana Del Rey performs on "Christmas in Graceland"


Yes, Lana Del Rey’s Headlining Coachella Set Was Perplexing — And Profound

The iconic artist's night one headlining set included a guest appearance from Billie Eilish, a hologram of herself and so much more.

Not only did Lana Del Rey start her Coachella headlining set early, but her entry was epic.

On Friday, April 12, at 11:16 p.m. the festival main stage screens showed an aerial view of Del Rey and her entourage rapidly approaching. As she neared, it became clear her crew was not rolling up on the expected golf carts that often shuttle stars around the Indio, Calif. fest, but rather motorcycles. And as a snippet of her never-to-be-officially-released song “Jealous Girl” played – with the lyric “Baby, I’m a gangster too” on loop – Del Rey’s motorcade took a lap through the crowd as she smiled and waved to the thousands of fans gathered for this very moment.

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