Music Biz Headlines, Sept. 30, 2021

Polaris winner Cadence Weapon (pictured) gets political, Fucked Up rock out at The Long Winter, and a planned CAA and ICM merger grabs attention. Others in the headlines include Wine Lips, Arlo Parks, Bob Dylan, Ja Rule, John Lennon, Calgary Opera, Kaleb Hikele, Roblox, TikTok, WMG, Twitch, Britney, Believe, R. Kelly, and the Stones.

Music Biz Headlines, Sept. 30, 2021

By Kerry Doole

Does Polaris Music Prize winner Cadence Weapon want Justin Trudeau’s job?

Rollie Pemberton is not done rapping – or inhaling or exhaling or speaking his mind. Unprompted, he pledged to work on voter registration in preparation of future elections in Toronto and Ontario, while stressing the need to “change our leadership” and “make things equitable.” Then he went federal. – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail

Long-lost John Lennon interviews from Winnipeg-born journalist go up for auction

Ken Zeilig’s tapes, spanning 91 minutes with Lennon and Yoko Ono, could fetch nearly $53K. –  Caitlyn Gowriluk, CBC News

Indigenous roots to share the stage at Festival Place this week

When Festival Place features a triple bill of Edmonton-based Indigenous artists Thursday, you’re likely to hear some striking new music beyond any stereotypical parameters. Ties to the performers’ roots come through in fresh, unexpected ways. – Roger Levesque, Edmonton Journal


Review: Fucked Up surprise Toronto at Long Winter’s 10th anniversary

The hometown heroes finished the two-day outdoor music series with a bang and reminded us what we've been missing. – Richard Trapunski, NOW

On Our Radar: Wine Lips lets rip in the full-bore video for "Eyes"

Enter Wine Lips, who might be the best reason to be jealous of everything-Toronto since Metz, Fucked Up, and PUP. – Georgia Straight 

Ja Rule gives Toronto the Fyre Festival treatment at '90s nostalgia concert

Well, it finally happened: The long-awaited, thrice-postponed "90's Nostalgia Music Festival" in Vaughan, Ontario, starring such headliners as Aqua, the Vengaboys, Haddaway, Eiffel 65 and Ja Rule. The latter three acts didn't end up making the show, much to the chagrin of attendees who had purchased their tickets nearly two years in advance, before the pandemic hit. – BlogTO

Calgary Opera announces Italian conductor and musician as new artistic director

Calgary Opera’s new artistic director says he hopes to build on the company’s commitment to creating a new and younger audience for future seasons. – Eric Volmers, Calgary Herald

The Concept of an Album: Turning a creative assignment into an adventure

The art of making an album is one of the most freeing adventures – there are no rules. You can record a handful of songs in one room over a short period, or songs can travel through time and space by visiting different studios with years and miles between. As far as the number of songs, the duration, the genre, there are no guidelines. The full-length album is an artform in itself. Kaleb Hikele, Canadian Musician


What's In Your Fridge: Rod Moore

This feature is where the Straight asks interesting Vancouverites about their life-changing concerts, favourite albums, and, most importantly, what’s sitting beside the Heinz ketchup in their custom-made Big Chill Retropolitan 20.6-cubic-foot refrigerators. Today it's a local club owner and musician. – Mike Usinger, Georgia Straight


Roblox strikes deal with music publishers

The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and video gaming platform Roblox have struck an agreement that settles any previous claims against Roblox. The deal also “sets the foundation for future partnerships with global publishers that will unlock new creative and commercial opportunities on its platform”, according to a statement issued by the NMPA, Sept. 27.  – Murray Stassen, MBW

TikTok is evolving into a very different kind of music streaming giant.

A billion people are now using TikTok around the world every month – around three times the global audience Spotify pulls in. And for the music industry, TikTok is expanding far beyond its core function as a repository for frivolous viral videos. Some 70 acts were discovered on TikTok and consequently signed by major record companies last year, according to TikTok’s own stats. – Tim Ingham, MBW


CAA and ICM announce plans to merge

CAA and ICM Partners are joining forces in a landmark agency merger that reflects the larger consolidation in the entertainment landscape. The deal, if approved, would mark a shift in the Hollywood agency landscape, reducing the Big Four agencies to the Big Three, with WME and UTA as CAA’s largest competitors. – Variety

CAA’s acquisition of ICM is driven by Hollywood’s race to consolidate

CAA’s ”double down on representation“ signals a survival tactic, not just a talent-first philosophy, experts say. – The Wrap

WMG and Twitch ink 'first of its kind' partnership

Warner Music Group (WMG) and Twitch have struck what the two companies call a “first-of-its-kind” partnership – marking the Amazon-owned livestreaming platform’s first partnership with a major record company. The agreement  will see the launch of WMG artist channels, including Warner Records stars Bella Poarch and Saweetie and Atlantic Records’ viral breakout singer/producer Sueco, featuring exclusive content and behind-the-scenes material. – Murray Stassen, MBW


The record industry invests in the metaverse (Part 2)

The renaming of these initiatives like social tokens and NFTs under the “metaverse” feels even more bizarre in the music world where the impact of these ventures is still so limited to upper-tier musical artists and operates on an assumption of an audience with disposable cash to spend.  – David Turner, Penny Fractions

Rolling Stones open American tour, pay tribute to drummer Charlie Watts

The Stones are touring again, this time without their heartbeat, or at least their backbeat. The legendary rockers launched their pandemic-delayed “No Filter”  at the Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis without their drummer of nearly six decades. It was clear from the outset just how much the band members – and the fans – missed Charlie Watts. – Jim Salter, AP

Music’s other IPO: The scrappy $2B success story of Believe

“We are going to be larger than Warner Music by the end of this decade,” Believe’s 52-year-old CEO, Denis Ladegaillerie says today. “Why would we sell out?” – Ariel Shapiro, Forbes

R. Kelly found guilty of racketeering in sex trafficking case

R. Kelly was convicted by a federal jury on Monday of racketeering in his sex trafficking trial, where prosecutors accused the R&B singer of exploiting his stardom over a quarter-century to lure women and underage girls into his orbit for sex. – Reuters Staff

Tony Awards: ‘Moulin Rouge! The Musical’ sashays home with 10 trophies

“Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” a jukebox adaptation of Baz Luhrmann’s hyperactive 2001 movie, won the best new musical crown at the Tony Awards on a Sunday night when Broadway looked back to honor shows shuttered by Covid-19, mourn its fallen and also look forward to welcoming audiences again. – Mark Kennedy, AP

2021 Latin Grammy Nominations: The list includes Bad Bunny, Arca, Omar Apollo, J Balvin, more

Rauw Alejandro, C. Tangana, and more are also up for awards at this year’s ceremony. – Madison Bloom and Jazz Monroe, Pitchfork


It may soon be time to leave Britney Spears alone again

“I hope she does whatever she wants to do—even if that is going to the gas station without shoes on.” – Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic

Terence Blanchard on writing operas, honoring Wayne Shorter, and more

It’s a heady moment, but in this conversation, the saxophonist shows he hasn’t forgotten who and what brought him here. –  E.E. Bradman, JazzTimes

Bob Dylan announces 2021 American tour

His first dates behind Rough and Rowdy Ways begin in November, with worldwide shows to come. –Pitchfork

Rising indie pop star Arlo Parks discusses her influences ahead of her first Canadian show

Arlo Parks’ debut album, “Collapsed in Sunbeams” was released in January. It is a perfect companion for these challenging times. Navigating weighty themes like loneliness, mental health and sexuality, the album is an exercise in vulnerability and introspection. It’s sad, but affirming, like a late night heart-to-heart with a close friend. –  Richie Assaly, Toronto Star

Nelly Furtado
Valentin Herfray

Nelly Furtado


Fresh Sounds Canada: New Music From Nelly Furtado, OMBIIGIZI And More

This week's discovery roundup of new Canadian songs also includes Montreal singer-songwriter Leif Vollebekk, pop experimentalist Cecile Believe, and rising indie rockers Heaven For Real.

In Fresh Sounds Canada, Billboard Canada puts you on to the must-hear songs of the week by artists on the rise and those about to break. Here's what's out this week.

Nelly Furtado feat Bomba Estéreo, “Corazón”

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