Canadian owned independent label Blue Sapphire Music is under new ownership. Founded in 2011 by one-time Sony Music A&R executive Jeff Burns, the music firm has been acquired by Montreal-based entrepreneurs, Othniel Jules, (founder of up-and-coming social media entertainment website worldstars.com launching in 2016) and New York business executive Sase Persaud. The transfer in ownership is effective immediately. Blue Sapphire is distributed in Canada by Universal Music. Burns will stay on in an advisory capacity and oversee the transition, according to a statement issued by the company late Sunday.
Burns unparalleled career successes have included signing Loverboy, Platinum Blonde, Harlequin, Gowan, Prism and Dan Hill. He was also the first person to spot and sign Nickelback, and worked with Celine Dion on her first official English-language recording.
Veteran music biz strategist Kathy Hahn is named Label Manager for the newly reorganized Blue Sapphire, working independently from her Toronto base. Further details can be found on the Blue Sapphire website here.
— Google is officially in the ticketing business, at least in the UK. Music Week reports that Ticketscript has partnered with Google, enabling tickets to be stored via the Google Now app. The self-service ticketing provider believes it is the first in Europe to enable the storage.
— Forget the noise about music streaming, terrestrial radio still rules. Amid all the changes in television and digital media, a report from Nielsen US last week found that radio's nationwide audience reached an all-time high during the second quarter of 2015. According to Nielsen data, about 245 million Americans ages 12 and up used radio during the that span. It's a continuation of an upward trend for radio, which has seen its national audience swell to record highs in each of the last two years. In the first quarter of this year, radio eclipsed television as the country's top reaching medium.
— German music rights management company BMG have acquired the rights to all tracks by Katrina and the Waves and the '80s act's songwriter Kimberley Rew, paying around £10 million (more than C$20M by our math) for the package. The Katrina and the Waves valuation is likely made largely on the basis of their 1985 hit, 'Walking on Sunshine', which The Financial Times recently revealed earns about US$1 million per year.
— C100 Halifax's former morning man Brad Dryden is the replacement for Tarzan Dan Freeman at Calgary's Kool 101.5 AM drive show. He's co-hosting with Michelle Yi. Freeman was cut from the Pattison-owned FM line-up last week.
— Rob Pepper, former CKVX-FM Vancouver host during the early 2000s, returned with his co-host Dylan Wowchuk on The Pepper and Dylan Show mornings at The Bounce CHBN-FM 91.7 Edmonton, effective September 8th after being dropped from cross-town Virgin Radio in March.
— Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield has struck a deal with Warner Music to release Space Sessions: Songs from a Tin Can, an 11-track album that includes some audio bits recorded during his 166 days as commander of the International Space Station. Judging from the first sample released via YouTube, the former ski instructor and test pilot may have taken one giant step too far and would be wise to keep his day job as an adjunct professor at the U of Waterloo.
— Canned Heat, Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, Amos Garrett and Mongolian folk-rock group Hanggai were among 40 some acts that played to a sun-bleached audience at the 23rd annual Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival this past weekend. The three-day event takes place at the Salmon Arm Fair Grounds, an 18-acre site at the base of Mount Ida in BC and started off as an indoor event at the town's Shuswap Coffee House in 1992.
— Rita Chiarelli, Ian Tamblyn, The Auditor General, Sweet Alibi and The Crooked Brothers were among the main attractions at Red Rocks' Live From the Rock Festival this past weekend. The weather was a mix of hot and wet, but from the few accounts we've heard, the 13th annual went without a hitch. It's worth noting that the festival in the picturesque Red Rocks town south of Thunder Bay is rated one of the province's 10 best, according to Blog TO.
— Warner Music has signed a new deal with Catalyst Global Media to create a series of TV and/or movie properties based on the life and times of its artists.
— The European Commission says there is no evidence to suggest that Apple colluded with the major music labels to quash free music streaming services such as those offered by Spotify, according to four sources reporting to re/code. The EU, however, will continue to monitor the market, sources told the online news outlet.