Pic: Jamel Toppin for Forbes
Pic: Jamel Toppin for Forbes

Music News Digest, Nov. 17, 2017

According to Forbes, The Weeknd is the highest paid celebrity in the world under 30, earning US$92 million in the year leading to June 1, 2017, before taxes and fees. He ranks 6th in Forbes Celebrity 100 of the highest paid celebrities in the world.

YouTube has rolled out a partnership program with Live Nation's Ticketmaster division that provides fans with info about tour dates, and access to concert tickets directly from YouTube video pages in the US. An expanded program that includes Canada is expected ASAP.

Jeff Lynne is bringing Electric Light Orchestra out of mothballs after a 30-year hiatus. A series of arena shows in Aug. 2018 lands the ELO spaceship in Canada for one show at the ACC on the 18th.

Drake has teamed up with Vezt, a cryptocurrency music company. The deal allows investors outside the US to own a stake in the ‘6’s’ "Jodeci (Freestyle)." Techvibes has the details.

Warner Music acts have something to really cheer about. The music group has signed a licensing deal with Anghami, the largest streaming service in the Middle East and North Africa. Anghami has more than 50M users and streams more than 700M tracks per month. Separately, the bunny has signed a licensing deal with Mdundo App that has 10M users across Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Nigeria – MBW

The Trivia Guys, Mark Kearney and Randy Ray, former reporters with the London Free Press, have compiled interviews they conducted with Canadian music acts in the mid-'80s and early ‘90s.  The anthology, published as a softback, entitled As The Years Go By: Conversations with Canada’s Folk, Pop & Rock Pioneers, is available for purchase on the duo’s website. The title is a bit of a stretch since it leaves out the true pioneers who blazed a trail in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s–but, oh lord, their intentions are good.  

Anne Murray has donated her extensive archives to U of Toronto libraries. The collection includes 188 LP albums from around the world, nearly 900 photographs, 253 audiotapes and cassettes going back to the time she was 18, videotapes of her television appearances, yearly scrapbooks of clippings, fan mail, and notes from notables.

Beatsync, an eight-piece a cappella ensemble from Toronto, is off to China Sunday for a series of shows in the land of the Red Dragon. On Nov. 24, they headline the International Hainan Choir Festival that takes place on Hainan Island every two years. The ensemble is making waves internationally, having been featured as part of Fairchild Television’s 2016 Mandarin Profile Awards, and debuted at Sing! Toronto Vocal Arts Festival. By combining a cappella vocals with eclectic repertoire and electro beats, the group is fast making a name for itself in the corporate events and festival markets.

Tom Petty’s estate has his ocean-view home outside Malibu for sale following his death. The asking price for the three-bedroom, three-bath retreat on Lake Sherwood with mountain and water views from every room and 125 feet of shorefront is US$5.9M. It’s a treat for the eyes, too.

– After a lengthy break, Michael Bublé is heading back on stage in 2018, with two UK and Ireland summer concerts announced: July 7 at Croke Park in Dublin, and July 13 at London's Hyde Park.

– Vancouver's Orpheum theatre was recently dubbed "The grand old girl of Vancouver's Theatre Row" by the Georgia Straight. The dame is turning 90 this year, and the milestone is being celebrated with an event entitled Party Like It's 1927  with Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Music Director Bramwell Tovey and author Bill Richardson leading the celebration. The evening will include the screening of two silent films, featuring live musical accompaniment by organist Michael Dirk and pianist Tovey, plus a live brass band. After the venue fell on hard times, a “Save the Orpheum” campaign coalesced in 1973 with the City of Vancouver acquiring the space and renovating it for music. Ticket info for the party here

– Neil Young's relationship to the world of music streaming has been a volatile one, and he has been loudly critical of the audio quality of most streaming services. He has just announced that, as of Dec. 1, he'll be making a full archive of his music available in XStream high-res, initially for free. On Dec. 1, he releases his next album, The Visitor.

– Highly-acclaimed Toronto singer/songwriter Arlene Bishop launched her fifth album, Together Tonight, with a show at Hugh's Room Live this week. Her most ambitious project yet, the collection was recorded live-in-front-of-the-audience and features 30 guest singers and a band she jointly terms The Spirit of Adventure.

The impressive list of guest singers (a vorchestra) includes John Alcorn, Meryn Cadell, Tory Cassis, John Copping, Hotcha!, Heather Morgan, Adam Faux, Fergus Hambleton, Terra Hazelton, Blair Packham, Robert Priest, David Sereda, and Julian Taylor. Word is the concert was smashing.

– The issue of opioid overdoses has become a pressing one for live music operators and musicians. Toronto's Dakota Tavern is taking a proactive approach by joining with Over The Bridge to host a free Naloxone Training For Music Industry Professionals session at the club on Nov. 20. It recommends the event if you're a musician, bartender, event security, tech, roadie, band manager, booking agent, or promoter so that you can be ready in the case of an overdose. Reserve your spot here

– Live Nation has launched a Latino division to increase its presence in the Latin live events market in the US with Hans Schafer, formerly director of AEG’s Latin Talent division, in charge. The announcement came on the eve of the Latin Grammys, held Nov. 16 in Las Vegas.

– A key player on Toronto's experimental music scene, The Music Gallery has now found a new home. The non-profit centre is partnering with the 918 Bathurst Centre for Culture & The Arts.  Music Gallery's X Avant Festival was held last month at 918 Bathurst.

– Melissa Etheridge made the news back in August when she was busted for drug possession at the U.S.-Canada border after marijuana oil was discovered on her tour bus in North Dakota. This week she pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance and struck a plea deal where she will avoid jail time by paying a fine and completing six months of unsupervised probation. The singer reportedly uses the oil to manage pain from cancer and has a legal marijuana card in the state of California.

– Alberta Music has announced details of its annual holiday parties in Edmonton and Calgary. The fun in Edmonton will be at The Mercury Room on Dec. 11, while the Calgary party is on Dec. 13 at Local 510


Lil Peep (real name, Gustav Åhr),  a fast-rising rapper from Long Beach whose emotional tracks charted depression and drug use, died this week while on tour in Arizona. A drug overdose is the suspected cause. Age 21. His videos performed strongly on YouTube, with "Awful Things ft. Lil Tracy" attracting 12.7M views. Source: The Guardian

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