Norma MacDonald  Facebook photo
Norma MacDonald Facebook photo

Music Biz Headlines, May 1, 2020

Three new podcast episodes this week for blues, a snooze and a contagious history lesson

It’s all about balance, life is. For every blast of COVID-19 reality, then, something lighter or maybe musical is required. With that in mind, this week’s podcast round-up softens a history lesson in government leadership in times of disease with blues, jazz and pleasingly mundane conversation. – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail

‘A very wild and crazy artistic rebirth.’

Toronto music composer Romtin Paydar on how he sees the entertainment industry recovering after the pandemic. – Morgan Bocknek, Toronto Star

Norma MacDonald's Old Future and new vision 

The alt-country queen leans into the influences she long ran from. – Morgan Mullin, The Coast

SSL Live console is at heart of the renovation at Toronto’s El Mocambo music venue

The famed club is revitalized with two live performance spaces connected to an audio broadcast and recording control room equipped with a Live L550 digital console. – Pro Sound

Swing into spring: 12 classic jazz songs about the season of renewal

The season of spring has been a fruitful muse for some of the most influential songwriters in history. It’s a time of year that’s rich with symbolism. Our picks incude Ella, Tony, and Nina. – Adam Feibel, JazzFM

What are Toronto’s most important music venues?

Daniel Tate and Rob Bowman, authors of new book The Flyer Vault: 150 Years Of Toronto Concert History, pick four historical hot spots. – NOW

You officially have things to look forward to as Mayworks Halifax moves online 

Mayworks Halifax—the festival celebrating workers and the arts—isn't gonna let covid hold it down. The annual event—which kicks off today and has socially distant programming available all month long—is rife with the sort of content that makes you feel seen and helps you learn about the labour movement. – The Coast

International

Spotify published its financial results for Q1 2020 April 29, reporting that it had 130m Premium subscribers globally at the end of the quarter (ended March 31). That was up by 6m subscribers vs. the end of the prior quarter, in Q4 2019, and up by 30m (+31%) year-on-year. . In fact, in good news for the entire music rightsholder landscape, it was actually on the optimistic side of what Spotify forecast. – Murray Stassen, MBW

Live Nation chief Michael Rapino details refund plan, Ticketmaster issues in memo to staff 

Live Nation, the world’s largest live-entertainment company, has been impacted on a scale arguably greater than that of any other company by covid-19. But chairman/CEO Michael Rapino has fought to restore confidence in both the company and the industry at large, and he circulated a memo to the staff late Monday clarifying its policies and practices in significant detail. – Variety

Most Americans won’t attend live shows until a coronavirus vaccine is available, new poll finds

Out of 4,429 American adults who took part in the poll between April 15 to 21, just 40% said that they would go back to concerts and similarly large events before a vaccine is found.  – Tom Skinner, NME

The vinyl? It’s pricey. The sound? Otherworldly.

The Electric Recording Co. in London cuts albums the way they were made in the 1950s and ’60s — literally. – The New York Times

Sony/ATV Music Publishing establishes a new office and studios in Atlanta, Georgia.

Located in Buckhead, the Sony/ATV Atlanta office and studios will occupy the former RedZone Entertainment (RZE) production complex, which has served as a creative hub and cultural touchstone in Atlanta for over 25 years. – MBW

New Roots of American Music podcast features interviews with local musicians struggling during the covid-19 pandemic

The locally based Roots of American Music (ROAM) will continue its Garage Sale/Garage Band program this spring with some new elements added to make the program accessible to the Cleveland community during the  pandemic. Instead of holding fundraisers at local venues, the program has shifted online via a podcast series called The Pandemic Tapes. – Jeff Niesel, Scene

In Jamaica with the Marleys: Behind a booming family business amidst a global crisis

For the Marleys, business has always been a family affair. After Bob’s death, Rita took over the management of Tuff Gong and the promotion of the Marley brand and image, while Ziggy and The Melody Makers took up the mantle on the music side. Later, Julian and Damian began to put out records as well, while Cedella assumed running Tuff Gong and Rohan launched Marley Coffee. Now a new generation of Marleys is figuring out how to make its mark. – Lisa Paravisini, Repeatingislands

Twitter lost it over Stephen Sondheim’s 90th birthday tribute

Glitches and all, the feed ultimately proved that Sondheim still can bring people together around beloved music, even at 90 years old (and during a global pandemic, no less). The DIY costumes may not have lived up to the eye-catching scarlet ones at Sondheim’s 80th-birthday bash—which was a truly legendary fashion moment—but for an improvised tribute, it was pretty spectacular. – Emma Specter, Vogue

Eminem ‘verbally and physically’ detains intruder in his Detroit home

Rapper Eminem and members of his security detail detained an alleged intruder in his home in suburban Detroit. Eminem was reportedly asleep at about 4 a.m. when he was awakened by his home alarm system, then encountered a bearded intruder in his living room. – Ian Courtney, Celebrity Access

99-year-old ‘Piano Man’ lights up internet, brings joy in face of the pandemic 

A 99-year-old pianist is finding a new way to connect to listeners amid the coronavirus pandemic. Facebook Live brings new audiences to 99-year-old “piano man” Henry Shapiro. The recent heart surgery survivor lives with a daughter and son-in-law in Morris County. He is sheltering in place, but his music is roaming online. “Trying to find songs that are from Broadway shows or hits of the ’20s, ’30s, ’40s and ’50s that will please most audiences,” Shapiro told Dave Carlin. – CBS News

Bad Moon Rising at 35: How Sonic Youth’s 1985 masterpiece reinvented indie rock

Recorded in a studio overlooking a polluted canal, the alternative band's second album sprang from humble beginnings. But, writes Ed Power, it was the record that helped them discover their place in the world. – The Independent

Mavis Staples: ‘When we come out of this, we'll be much better people"

Staples is listening to Prince and Marvin Gaye, and praying for the world. – Jonathan Bernstein, Rolling Stone

All 143 Willie Nelson albums, ranked

The recording career of country music’s greatest artist, surveyed, sized up, and sorted on the occasion of his 87th birthday. – Staff, Texas Monthly

Hamilton Bohannon: dynamic disco king who laid the foundations of house

The drummer, who has died aged 78, pushed a relentless beat loved by dance floors and hip-hop samplers alike. – Alexis Petridis, The Guardian

Pakistan's female musicians find harmony in Islamic republic

Pakistan's popular music culture has always nurtured powerful women performers, in spite of the traditionalist Islamic view that all forms of musical entertainment -- and especially Western-derived music genres like rock and pop -- are forbidden. – Marco Ferarrese, Asian Review

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