Billie Eilish  FB photo
Billie Eilish FB photo

Music Biz Headlines, Jan. 15, 2020

Rush: 'Ultimate Nerd Band' feted at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Junos

Today, it's never been more acceptable to be a Rush fan. They have outlasted their critics, and those kids like me, seduced by the group's annual offerings of head-spinning riffage, Neil Peart's comic book-standard lyrics and Hugh Syme's album covers are now secure enough to fly the Rush flag proudly. — Jason Schneider, HuffPost Canada 

In memoriam: Rush drummer Neil Peart played like no one else

The superhuman stickman of Toronto’s beloved prog-rock trio Rush was an omnipresent influence in Canadian rock music, especially on drummers. — Jesse Locke, NOW

10 more reasons to go see the Drive-By Truckers this spring

 A month ago, after learning that my favourite band was coming to Vancouver, I banged out a YouTube-driven blog titled 10 good reasons to go see the Drive-By Truckers this spring. Well, now that I've played the crap out of all those clips, I reckon it's time for 10 more  — Steve Newton, Georgia Straight 

HipHopCanada: Top 10 artists tagged on our New Year’s social media poll

We recently posted on social media asking our followers to tag 3 artists/acts/people they’d like to see us cover in 2020. We received close to 1500 comments, accounting for over 500 artists in total. Check the top 10 mentioned here. — HipHopCanada

Calgary pop choir revving up for first show with new artistic director

After being led by the same effervescent band leader for a quarter-century, Revv52 will hit the stage in January with a new artistic director. The pop choir’s first shows under the direction of John Morgan are Jan. 23-25 at the Bella Concert Hall. — Michele Jarvie, The Calgary Herald

Religious tolerance brought to life in music with ‘Ayre’

Once upon a time, about a millennium ago, Jews, Christians and Muslims lived peacefully side by side in Spain. Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov decided to embrace that moment known as La Convivencia (The Living Together) in music in 2004 in a 45-minute mix of song and dance he entitled “Ayre.” — John Terauds, The Toronto Star

TSO pays tribute to Beethoven’s 250th birthday with stately, thoughtful concert

Sir Andrew Davis, the TSO’s interim artistic director and conductor laureate, maintained a watchful control to deliver a concert of considerable colour and depth. — Catherne Kustanczy, The Globe and Mail

International

Is Anghami set to sell – or raise capital – at $400m valuation?

Anghami, one of the dominant music streaming services in the Middle East, could soon be under new ownership (or co-ownership). Sources close to the situation say the firm’s top brass are currently assessing their options – including a potential sale to Dubai-based pay-TV network Orbit Showtime Network. — Tim Ingham, MBW

Universal Music Group’s $3B Tencent deal ushers in a golden vibes era

The world’s largest music publisher Universal Music Group (UMG) has revived the record label and its valuation thanks to Chinese owned Tencent’s 10% stake in the company. UMG’s parent company Vivendi has already been pushing into emerging markets like Africa where global music consumers are poised to triple. —  Kori Hale, Forbes

TikTok was the world's second-most downloaded app in 2019, and now generates $40m per month

The ByteDance-owned video sharing app saw more than 700m downloads across the entirety of 2019. — Murray Stassen, MBW

War Is Over: Spotify and Warner Chappell sign global licensing deal – including India

Somehow, at the eleventh hour, we have a peaceful outcome: Warner Chappell and Spotify have just confirmed a fresh global licensing agreement. This deal includes India – rendering all of that Bombay High Court drama over and done with. — Tim Ingham, MBW

Country Music Hall of Fame reports record-breaking 2019 attendance 

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum announced that a record-breaking 1.3M guests toured the museum, Historic RCA Studio B and Hatch Show Print last year. 2019 was the fifth consecutive year the organization welcomed more than one million visitors, it said in a press release. — RTTNews

Billie Eilish to sing the new James Bond theme

The US singer, who turned 18 last month, is the youngest artist in history to write and record a theme for the franchise. "It feels crazy to be a part of this in every way," said the star, who called the assignment "a huge honour." —  Mark Savage, BBC

L.A. rapper Roddy Ricch tops Billboard albums and singles charts

Ricch was able to lock Justin Bieber’s “Yummy” out of the top singles slot. — August Brown, The LA Times

Harry Nilsson, ‘Losst and Founnd’ is a belated return from a would-be superstar

He was an innovative artist whose credits included the first-ever remix album in music history, production techniques that made Phil Spector blush with envy, a pair of Grammys, and the originator of the stand-alone soundtrack for the animated film “The Point,” a film that rivals “Yellow Submarine” in terms of ambition and abstraction. — Lee Zimmerman, American Songwriter

The 2019 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll

Here are the results of NPR Music's 7th Annual Jazz Critics Poll. 2019's results provided surprise after surprise. — NPR

Oprah Winfrey pulls out documentary about assault in the music industry

The former TV host recently announced that she was cutting ties with the yet-untitled documentary, which is set to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival later this January. Winfrey served as executive producer on the project helmed by Oscar-nominated filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering. — AFP

Documentary on legendary 1970s L.A. session musicians coming from ‘Wrecking Crew’ director

Director Denny Tedesco scored with his 2008 film “The Wrecking Crew,” his critically praised documentary on the legendary session musicians of the ‘60s,  so it makes perfect sense that he’s begun work on a film about legendary 1970s session musicians called “Immediate Family.” — Jem Aswad, Variety

Can you hear what David Owens hears?

A discussion with the author of Volume Control on music, musicians and hearing loss. —  Rock and Roll Globe

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