Sarah Harmer   Photo: Vanessa Heins
Sarah Harmer Photo: Vanessa Heins

Music Biz Headlines, Feb. 19, 2020

Sarah Harmer releases first album in a decade

From her home outside Kingston, Harmer spoke to The Globe and Mail about hockey, the Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie and her first album in 10 years, Are You Gone. – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail

Review: Jeremy Spurgeon's satisfying solo recital leaves Winspear patrons wanting more

The organist Jeremy Spurgeon, who brought to life the Davis organ at the Winspear Centre, is one of the most distinguished musicians in Edmonton’s history. – Mark Morris, Edmonton Journal

The Sheepdogs' Ryan Gullen talks opening the Junos in the hometown

With the Sheepdogs set to play the Juno Kick-Off Concert on March 12, Ryan Gullen said he wants the band to be "ambassadors" for Saskatoon. – Matt Olson, Star-Phoenix

Festival Lingua Franca expands to create more space for POC punks

This year's festival expands from three days to a week, with a series of Lingua Franca Presents shows. – Richard Trapunski, NOW  

Bedouin Soundclash returns with London show after decade-long hiatus

It’s probably good advice that when you’ve got nothing to say, it’s a good time to get off the stage. – Joe Belanger, London Free Press

A look at Justin Bieber's Changes

The pop star returns with a grown-man, R&B album about domestic love that has all the glow and eroticism of an airport terminal. – Jayson Greene, Pitchfork

Neon sign collection a glowing tribute to city’s past

A piece of Toronto’s music history has just joined a growing collection of glowing gems chronicling the city’s neon past. – Bruce DeMara, The Toronto Star 

International 

The whole system collapsed’: Inside the music industry’s ongoing distribution crisis

Last April, all three major labels started to use the same distributor for CDs and records. The consolidation has resulted in 'lost stock, unfilled orders. – Elias Leight, Rolling Stone

Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) launches a new royalty portal for its songwriters

UMPG says it offers “unparalleled earnings data, insights and analytics”, in addition to “clear, complete and real-time earnings and data”.  – MBW

Exposure doesn’t pay bills’: What artists say about freebie culture

The Arts Council’s new policy and #paytheartist campaign seeks to improve artists’ working and living conditions by ensuring fair and equitable pay. – Deirdre Falvey, Irish Times

I was a bad influence on the Beatles': James Taylor on Lennon, love and recovery

Taylor is in a reflective mood when we meet, and says he is always like this. “I’m a very self-centred songwriter. I always have been. It’s the personal stuff I like, for better or for worse.” – Jenny Stevens, The Guardian

The Grateful Dead have now charted 100 Albums in the U.S.

The Grateful Dead were never serious hitmakers, and throughout the years they were together (and long after that), they didn’t push many albums toward the top of the charts...but they are still far and away one of the most successful acts in the history of the Billboard 200. – Hugh McIntyre, Forbes

Les Claypool on Primus’ Rush covers tour: ‘It’s about admiration for these amazing musicians’

Bassist discusses the band’s upcoming A Tribute to Kings tour, and goes deep on his extensive history with the prog legends. – Hank Shteamer, Rolling Stone

Ozzy Osbourne cancels a planned 2020 tour

He has been forced to cancel his entire 2020 tour in order to seek additional medical treatments. "I'm so thankful that everyone has been patient because I've had a shit year," the solo and Black Sabbath star said in a statement. – Ultimate Classic Rock 

Pop culture was my life. I’m saying goodbye to all that

After a lifetime of paying assiduous attention to pop culture, I have decided to log out of everything. I’ve unhitched my Netflix, shut down all social media, signed off Twitter. I’ve cancelled pop culture. – Marc Weingarten, Globe and Mail

How Sudan's star of the tambour defied death and dictatorship

Once lauded as one of Sudan’s finest musicians, Abu Obaida Hassan faded into obscurity under the Bashir regime and was even pronounced dead. Now he is back – to global acclaim. – Ruth Michaelson, The Guardian

Tim McGraw reportedly leaves Sony Music Nashville

Tim McGraw has reportedly parted ways with Sony Music Nashville after three years and one album. McGraw and his wife Faith Hill signed a deal with Sony Music Nashville's parent Sony Music Entertainment in February 2017. Hill, however, remains with Sony Music Entertainment. – RTT News

Wiz Khalifa talks ‘The Wiz Vault’ and the importance of giving back to music education programs

“The music programs in Pittsburgh—that's where I learned how to be who I am today,” says Grammy-nominated rapper Wiz Khalifa, who recently launched The Wiz Vault to raise money for music education programs similar to those that helped him early on in his career. – Monica Mercuri, Forbes

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