Music Biz Headlines, Sept. 17, 2020

Reel-to-reel tape found in a box in Victoria is Joni Mitchell’s first recording

Retired radio personality Barry Bowman found an old reel-to-reel tape, more than 50 years old, in his ex-wife's basement in Victoria. The music on the tape is Joni Mitchell’s first-ever audition, a performance of the “House of the Rising Sun” recorded in Saskatoon (her hometown) at CFQC AM Radio Station in 1963. It is being included in a new Archives collection. – CHEK

Fast folk’s Eugene Ripper, with single in hand, back in Vancouver for show

Q&A: We talk to the musician about touring, his new single Ride the Northern Train and his Sept. 18 set at Lanalou’s. – Shawn Conner, Vancouver Sun

Calgary’s  National Music Centre lays off 30 staffers

 The NMC has announced that due to the ongoing business disruption imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, they have been forced to permanently lay off some staff. In a statement released on Tuesday, National Music Centre President & CEO Andrew Mosker said the organization had to permanently release 14 full-time and 16 part-time staff. – Celebrity Access

Beverly Glenn-Copeland’s music for a future that never came

Rediscovering a Canadian outsider artist’s enchanting take on electronic music. – Hua Hsu, The New Yorker

How Toronto's music community helped pull off a pandemic wedding

After postponing their Montreal wedding twice, Canadian actress Erin Agostino and Sam Roberts Band drummer, Josh Trager, ended up with the micro-wedding they never knew they wanted, at the storied El Mocambo, a few blocks from their home. All made possible thanks to the city’s music community. – Jen Kirsch, Toronto Star

The Silver Dollar Room is hosting an in-person show at its new location

The famed Toronto club has moved to Parkdale and is presenting its first show. – Exclaim

Venus Fest goes virtual with Lido Pimienta, U.S. Girls and more

The local festival is shifting to an online conference and a series of original performance music videos. Taking place from September 28 to October 2, this year’s festival fully embraces the YouTube-iness of digital events. – Richard Trapunski, NOW

International

Kobalt Music responds to sale rumors with a long ‘maybe’

The company whose roster includes Paul McCartney, The Weeknd, Dave Grohl, Childish Gambino and Lorde, responded to sale rumors that broke into the open on Wednesday evening with a wordy “maybe.” –  Jem AswadVariety

Facebook clarifies live streaming music policy [update]

Effective October 1, Facebook is taking steps to limit the ability of bands to promote videos that will "create a music listening experience for yourself or for others." This also extends to Facebook Live, which has been an especially popular avenue for live-streamed concerts in the pandemic era. The language is quite ambiguous as to what constitutes a "listening experience for yourself or for others" in relation to videos, likely encompassing a large swath of music entertainment posts. – Joe DiVita, Loudwire

Facebook clarifies what October update means for artists on the platform

The social networking site said their "commitment to supporting musical expression on our platforms" is "unchanged."–  Rhian Daly, NME

WMG acquires hip-hop media platform HipHopDX

Warner Music Group is a major music company – but it’s now also a serious online media publisher too, with a mini-portfolio of brands. In August 2018, WMG acquired UPROXX – a youth culture-focused news and content platform with an online audience of over 40m people. Now, MBW has discovered that WMG has acquired another significant digital media outlet: hip-hop news, reviews and commentary site HipHopDX. Sources say the buyout was finalized in April this year. – MBW

RIAA: U.S. music revenue climbs 6% in halfyear survey, paid subscriptions up 24%

First-half music industry revenues increased 5.6% to $5.7 billion with paid streaming subscriptions fueling the growth, more than offsetting revenue declines in other areas of the U.S. recorded music market, according to the RIAA’s annual mid-year report. The number of paid subscriptions increased 24% to more than 72 million on average.  All Access

Spotify consumption back above pre-pandemic levels, CFO says

Music streaming giant Spotify feels "really good" about how the business has performed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with consumption now above pre-pandemic levels, CFO Paul Vogel said during a virtual investor conference session on Wednesday. – Georg Szalai, Hollywood Reporter

New Spotify patent sheds more light on potential karaoke mode – including auto-tuned vocals

MBW learned last week that Spotify is building an in-app karaoke feature after a screenshot of an unreleased ‘Karaoke Mode’ was posted on Twitter by renowned reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong. Apart from her discovery suggesting that the vocal level in the feature will be adjustable, details about the yet to be announced feature were pretty slim. But today, we can shed more light on what Spotify might be building. – MBW

Will Hipgnosis actually work?

There’s been little to no public analysis to date of whether Hipgnosis will be able to deliver the outsized returns it’s been promising to public investors. Instead, most of the ink spilled in the press has been press-release recyclage. After doing some research myself, I realized the reason for this gap is mostly political: Most of the people doing this analysis are unwilling to talk publicly about it. – Cherie Hu, Patreon

Billboard launches new global charts

For the first time, Billboard and MRC unveil two authoritative charts ranking the top songs globally. The new weekly charts, the Billboard Global 200 and Billboard Global Excl. U.S., are based on worldwide streams and download sales and will give an accurate glimpse into the most popular songs on the planet. –Billboard

Creative ways to release your music

These are just a few ideas to get you started—don’t be afraid to use them as inspiration and then really make it your own, putting your own branded flair on it. Your fans will thank you for it! – Julia Gomberg, Tunecore

Fifty years ago, they did something rare in gospel: Tied music to protest

These recent developments in gospel music are striking: Although singing spirituals and hymns have energized generations of protesters to stand up against oppression, few of the genre’s songs recorded over the past 30 years have explicitly condemned injustice. – Robert M. Marovich, The New York Times

SiriusXM has announced that its CEO Jim Meyer intends to retire on December 31, 2020

In a press statement announcing the news, Meyer said that "My decision to retire has long been in the works, and now is the right time to begin this transition". The company also announced today that Sean Sullivan has been appointed Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, effective Oct. 26. Sullivan succeeds David Frear, who, according to a press release announcing the changes, "will be pursuing other opportunities", effective immediately. – MBW

Guitars are back, baby!

Painted by some as a boomer relic just years ago, the guitar is seeing a revival that may just extend past the stress-purchase quarantine bounce. – Alex Williams, NYT

YouTube Music, NIVA partner for music venue

YouTube Music and the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) have announced a partnership with the goal of helping to preserve independent live music venues across the US through the Save Our Stages initiative. – Jem Aswad, Variety

Facebook strikes deals with major labels to license music on its gaming app

The deals give Facebook Gaming an edge over Twitch, which has yet to reach major-label music licensing agreements. – Tatiana Cirisano, Billboard

David Byrne discusses American Utopia and addresses the blackface controversy

Byrne reflects on the show and if it will be continuing its Broadway run while discussing race relations that are addressed in his show and if his audience is understanding this time in our country’s history. He also addresses the resurfaced video of the Oscar-winner wearing brownface and blackface in a 1984 promotional video for the Talking Heads’ iconic concert film “Stop Making Sense.” – Variety

Wasserman seals the deal

Sources close to the process say the deal between Casey Wasserman and Paradigm’s music agency is essentially done, with closing expected before the final ballots are cast in the November election. Rumor has it that Marty Diamond, Tom Windish, Sara Bollwinkel, Jon Levine, Sam Hunt, Lee Anderson and other key agents are all now on board. – Hits Daily Double

Roger Daltrey reckons fans only pay to see if any The Who members die on stage

Aged rock star says his band The Who and fellow oldies The Rolling Stones are still popular because people come to watch to see which member may not make it through the gig.  – Daily Mirror

John Fogerty responds to Donald Trump’s use of ‘Fortunate Son’ at campaign rally

The former frontman of Creedence Clearwater Revival has responded to Donald Trump‘s use of the band’s song ‘Fortunate Son’ at a recent campaign rally in Michigan.  "I find it confusing,"  he stated. Fogerty earlier said of the track: “The song speaks more to the unfairness of class than war itself. It’s the old saying about rich men making war and poor men having to fight them.” – Nick Reilly, NME

Musician and activist Jon Langford: Find a cause that's not being addressed

Singer, songwriter, musician and visual artist Jon Langford has been supporting worthwhile causes since he was studying painting at the University of Leeds and co-founded a punk band, The Mekons, in 1977. – Steve McLean, Samaritanmag

The sentimental spirit of Almost Famous, 20 years later

Cameron Crowe’s beloved music movie turns 20, and, now more than ever, it’s a fantasy of a bygone era of journalism—and the music industry itself. –  Ellen Johnson, Paste

Raised on Eminem and Tupac, 12-year-old rapper from Gaza advocates for peace - and lands a label offer 

MCA Abdul talks influences, aspirations and isolation with the founder of Palestinian hip-hop group DAM. – Tamer Nafar, Variety

The power of small-and-quiet singers

The Curmudgeon on Phoebe Bridgers, Courtney Marie Andrews, Anäis Mitchell & Taylor Swift. –  Geoffrey Himes, Paste 

TIFF 2020: Spike Lee’s delightful David Byrne doc American Utopia opens a delightfully surreal film festival

Last week's drive-in special turned out to be a delightful – and delightfully surreal – event that I wouldn’t have missed for the world. –  Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail

THE NEW NORMAL: Half a year into shutdown, live music looks to lawmakers for help

Six months later, the music industry is still waiting for that metaphorical tow truck. Congress seems stalled on key bills that would include help, going on recess in August without passing any assistance measures. But many are hoping for some action now that the Senate has returned to session this week, with the House back soon.–  Madeline Crone, No Depression

Journeys of Discovery: A conversation with Memphis music legend Booker T. Jones

Jones is a member of the Rock  & Roll Hall of Fame, and the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum. His autobiographical book “The Time is Tight—My life Note By Note” was released in November 2019. Jones’ music, for Green Onions, has been acknowledged by USA Today’s “100 Best Songs in History” and Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” – Tom Wilner, KCBX

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