Music News Digest, July 3, 2019

The takeover of Big Machine Label Group by Ithaca Holdings LLC., a media holding company, led by SB Projects founder and artist manager Scooter Braun (Justin Biebe

Music News Digest, July 3, 2019

By FYI Staff

The takeover of Big Machine Label Group by Ithaca Holdings LLC., a media holding company, led by SB Projects founder and artist manager Scooter Braun (Justin Bieber), began as a music industry story, but quickly escalated into tabloid fodder when pop superstar Taylor Swift got involved on the weekend. BMLG, an independent record label founded by Scott Borchetta, is best known as, until recently, the label home of Swift. News of the takeover angered the star, who wrote an open letter via Tumblr that reads, in part: "Some fun facts about today’s news: I learned about Scooter Braun’s purchase of my masters as it was announced to the world. All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at his hands for years." Swift's claim that she was blindsided by the deal was strongly refuted by Borchetta in an open letter posted on the label's website. 


The deal price was reported by MBW as worth US$300M. In a joint announcement, the companies claimed that the buyout "creates one of the most powerful label, management, streaming, publishing and media companies by combining complimentary services, artists, executives and expertise". The deal includes the entirety of Taylor Swift's master recording rights for records released on BMLG. The acquisition encompasses all aspects of BMLG’s business, including its client roster, distribution deals, publishing sides and owned artist masters. Sources: MBW, Variety 

– The Strangewaves 5: Mother Nature fest comes to Paris, ON, July 19-21, with a lineup featuring Mary-Margaret O'Hara, Matana Roberts, Wolf Eyes, RP Boo, Jana Rush, Myriam Gendron, Altın Gün, Bill Nace & Samara Lubelski, Pascale Project, DOOMSQUAD, Isla Craig, and more. 

– Toronto-based lyric licensing pioneer LyricFind has received funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage Creative Export Canada program to focus on and globalize Canadian content, using the power of lyrics and translation. The two-year project supports the licensing, transcription and translation of Canadian artists and songwriters’ lyrics, and monetizes them through LyricFind’s extensive roster of clients.


LyricFind will also power lyric translation display at live events globally and translate popular lyrics by Canadian artists like Drake and Carly Rae Jepsen into widely spoken world languages. The grant also allows for the translation of the most important Indigenous language songs into English and French and reciprocates by translating top Canadian song lyrics into Indigenous languages, all with the help of First Nations music and language consultants. More on LyricFind here

– Hamilton's free Canada Day Weekend It's Your Festival, turned 50 at Gage Park in grand style, via a star-studded lineup that included Jully Black, Chilliwack, The Pursuit Of Happiness, Lowest Of The Low, Northern Pikes, and Jack De Keyzer. Saturday night's pairing of TPOH and LOTL was a real treat, confirming that the material the two bands came up with 25 to 30 years ago has stood the test of time very well. The Low's songs from new album Agit Pop sounded equally strong, while TPOH served up its Love Junk album in its entirety before exploring its other albums.


-- A favourite industry veteran celebrated an anniversary on Friday night:  now 85 years young, promoter/publicist/writer and man about town Richard Flohil took over Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern with a steady flow of well-wishers and a superlative stream of musical talent anchored by Serena Martinand Delta Sugar. The stellar lineup of musicians included Shakura S'Aida, Jaymz Bee, Russell de Carle, Kaia Kater, Ariana Gillis with her father David,Cat & The Queen and many others. There was some cake, a little burlesque and a lot of hob-nobbing, with pals and peers including Holger Peterson, Al Mair, Peter Vitols and Nancy Morrison, Roger Costa and Cristie Healey, David Farrell and his brother Domenic, Don Bird, Geoff Kulawick, Marty Melhuish,Karen Bliss and Kim Cooke among those paying tribute to the birthday boy - with the proceedings after costs donated to the Unison Benevolent Fund.  No spankings, however, as far as we could see, but cheers Richard - here's to your next 85! (Nick Krewen).


– Last week The Weeknd became the 23rd artist to have a song earn a Diamond certification from the RIAA, after his single The Hills passed the 10 million units mark. Co-written by Belly and released on May 27, 2015, it was the second single to Abel Tesfaye's second studio album, Beauty Behind the Madness. Source: Hip-Hop Canada

– Hot off a 12 date American tour that included a debut at the renowned New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, hardworking Toronto world music combo Lemon Bucket Orkestra has begun a busy summer festival season, anchored by their debut at the WOMAD Festival in the UK on July 28. After a break to work on new recordings, the band embarks on an extensive tour of Western Canada at the end of October. Sked here 

– For the past month, 461 emerging musicians and vocalists have met in Calgary to participate in the CANIMEX Canadian Music Competition (CMC). In addition to scholarship prizes, the winner of the National Final will perform with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra at the gala concert on July 4 at Eckhardt-Gramatté Concert Hall. Musicians and singers ages seven to 30 have been competing against their peers. Past CMC winners include the internationally recognized Jan Lisiecki, Tina Chong, Scott MacIsaac, and Susan Hoeppner. Tix to the gala concert here. Source: LiveWire Calgary 

–  Music Nova Scotia is now accepting applications for music and industry award nominations for the 2019 Music Nova Scotia Awards. The deadline for submissions is July 16 at 5:00 pm ADT. Criteria info here. Nova Scotia Music Week is in Truro, NS, Nov. 7-10.


– Sandra Bouza is the winner of this year’s Toronto Blues Society (TBS) Talent Search. After the six finalists (all female) showcased on June 29, as part of the TD Toronto Jazz Festival, the jury selected Bouza as champion, with Kalyna Rakel at first runner-up, and Avery Raquel as second runner-up. Now in its 24th year, the Search offers a professional development package that includes a photo shoot with Bill King and multiple performance and showcase opportunities.

– Vancouver-based roots songsmith Rodney DeCroo is bringing his solo theatre piece, Didn't Hurt (directed by TJ Dawe) to the Toronto Fringe festival. It opens tonight (July 3) at 9:45 pm in the Tarragon Theatre Extraspace. Recommended.

– The International Resource Centre for Performing Artists (IRCPA) is a charitable arts service organization in its 36th year. The Board of Directors of the IRCPA has announced four new members, with Jane Needles and Olivia Esther joining David Alvarez, and Feodor Ploujnikov.

– Canadian artists receiving Music Canada certifications over the last two months include Jason Benoit (a gold single for Gone Long Gone), Shawn Mendes (platinum single for If I Can't Have You), High Valley (platinum single for Make You Mine), Shaun Frank (gold single for Let You Get Away), and Daniel Caesar (gold singles for Who Hurt You? and We Find Love, and double platinum singles for Get You - ft. Kali Uchis and Best Part - ft. H.E.R.).


– The GoNorthMusicFestival on St. Joseph Island, ON, on July 13 features Birds of Bellwoods, Skye Wallace, Crystal Shawanda, Sun K, Sarah Smith, Jesse Merineau, Another Crush, and Dustin Jones and The Rising Tide. 

– Vancouver-based Play MPE has announced that Faina Shpund has joined the music promotion and distribution platform as Director of Product Management. Other recent hires include
 David Gurtina (Inside Sales Representative), Sean Cockle (Junior Music Distribution & Support Coordinator) and Stella Peng (Junior Accountant).

 New Jersey-based Canadian singer Patrice Jégou is celebrating a recent win at the Independent Music Awards in NYC for Best A Cappella Song (Lover Come Back to Me feat. Mark Kibble and Alvin Chea from Take 6). It's the lead track from Jégou’s recent album release.

– Indie Fridays returns to Yonge-Dundas Square (YDS) in Toronto for the 9th year. Now sponsored by Chevy Music, it runs to Aug. 30 and is presented in tandem with SHED/Universal Music Canada. The lineup includes Logan Staats, Surauchie, Kandle, Sons of Daughters, Common Holly, Skye Wallace, Moses Revolution, Rymz, DJ NDN, Neon Dreams, LOLAA, Aline Morales, OKAN, and more.


Gary Duncan (born Gary Ray Grubb), one of two lead guitarists of the psychedelic-era San Francisco band Quicksilver Messenger Service, died June 29, age 72, after suffering a seizure and falling into a coma.

Born in San Diego, Duncan joined a band called the Brogues in Merced, Calif., in 1965. He and drummer Greg Elmore then teamed with John Cipollina, singer-songwriter Dino Valenti, David Freiberg, and Jim Murray to form the San Francisco-based Quicksilver Messenger Service. 

The group quickly gained recognition among the first wave of Bay Area psychedelic bands, alongside groups like the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and Big Brother and the Holding Company. They often performed at the city’s ballrooms, the Fillmore and the Avalon, and at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967.

Quicksilver signed with Capitol Records in late 1967, as a quartet, with Murray leaving. A self-titled debut on the label followed n 1968,  then the live Happy Trails album by the same lineup in early 1969. Duncan temporarily dropped out of the band that same year and did not appear on the third album, Shady Grove.

Duncan returned in 1970, appearing on the albums Just for Love, What About Me (both 1970), Quicksilver, and Comin’ Thru (1972). The group split that year, then reunited for Solid Silver in 1975, with Duncan, Cipollina, Freiberg, Elmore, and Valenti on board.

Duncan later formed new lineups of Quicksilver (no longer using Messenger Service in the name and sometimes calling it Gary Duncan’s Quicksilver), with which he released several albums beginning in the late ’80s.

Duncan’s death follows those of bandmates Cipollina, Valenti and Murray. Freiberg tours with the current lineup of Jefferson Starship. Sources: Best Classic Bands

Steve Albini in the 'A' control room of his studio, Electrical Audio, Chicago, Illinois, June 24, 2005.
Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Steve Albini in the 'A' control room of his studio, Electrical Audio, Chicago, Illinois, June 24, 2005.


Steve Albini’s Legacy to Be Honored With Viral #ThankYouSteveAlbini Campaign

Organizers ask fans to upload photos and stories on July 22 to honor the late musician on what would have been his 62nd birthday.

Just months after his shocking death at 61, legendary producer/engineer/band leader Steve Albini will be honored with a global celebration of his noisy legacy. Touch and Go Records announced on Thursday (July 18) that it is turning what would have been Albini’s 62nd birthday on Monday (July 22) into a chance to share memories about the late rock rabblerouser known for creating righteously riotous music as well as for his vicious wit.

“Though we tragically lost Steve Albini on May 7, 2024, his indelible influence on music remains. Let’s turn his birthday, July 22nd, into a worldwide celebration to honor his life and legacy,” the label said in a statement announcing their request that fans and friends flood Instagram on Monday with “stories and photos that capture the essence of Steve’s impact. Share pictures of his albums that shaped you, concert memories, or even handwritten notes that resonated deeply. If you were lucky enough to meet him, let’s see those photos!”

keep readingShow less