Rich Aucoin  Facebook photo by Riley Smith
Rich Aucoin Facebook photo by Riley Smith

Music Biz Headlines, Sept. 28, 2020

Leading CCMA Awards nominee Tenille Townes on ‘silver lining’ of a ‘strange’ year

Townes is making waves in Nashville, but the Alberta musician says her heart will be back home on the weekend of the biggest night in Canadian country music. The 26-year-old singer-songwriter from Grande Prairie was the leading six-time nominee at the Canadian Country Music Association Awards on Sunday where she also performed. And while it certainly marks a career milestone for Townes, she experienced the thrill from south of the border, watching a pre-taped awards ceremony that was produced last month. – David Friend, CP

Rich Aucoin's American fever-dream 

The dance-pop king's new LP, United States, is a tie-dyed exploration of late capitalism and its decay. – Morgan Mullin, The Coast

k-os goes supernova, with the help of MSTRKRFT

He tried it. He couldn't fight it. Now, five years after ditching the Toronto music industry to post up in the wilds of Vancouver, k-os wants to get back into the man he used to be. Kind of. He has just put out Supernovas, a tailfeather-shaking slab of disco-pop produced by Toronto electronic duo MSTRKRFT. k-os returns to his more pop-oriented roots (see: "Sunday Morning," "Crabbuckit") on this new track. – Alex Nino Gheciu, Complex

Decision-makers: Sylvie Courtemanche

The executive director of the Francouvertes is restless, as the preliminary stages of the 24th edition are about to resume. She’s the very picture of a determined woman. – Claude Côté, SOCAN Words & Music

‘This is just the beginning’ for Toronto ‘America’s Got Talent’ finalist

The Cinderella run of Toronto’s Roberta Battaglia has come to an end. Although she made the Top 5 of the popular “America’s Got Talent” competition, it was the spoken-word poetry of Brandon Leake that won the public’s favour at the end. Considering the 11-year-old Battaglia was the third runner-up, she served notice that, in her own words, “This is just the beginning.” – Nick Krewen, Toronto Star

The songs Joni Mitchell and Neil Young wrote about each other

Joni Mitchell and Neil Young are two of the finest songwriters to emerge out of the sixties and seventies and while they share their homeland of Canada, there has often been speculation that the pair shared a more intimate relationship too. Whether or not the pair had a romantic relationship or not is not really of our concern because their shared time together prompted two sweet songs instead. – Jack Whatley, Far Out 

Tory Lanez addresses Megan Thee Stallion on his new album Daystar

After Megan said that Tory shot her on July 12, the Toronto hip-hop star released an entire album to argue that he’s innocent. – Evan Minsker and Madison Bloom, Pitchfork

Tory Lanez denies he shot Megan Thee Stallion, releases a surprise new album

Tory Lanez has been laying low since July when Megan Thee Stallion claimed he shot her in both feet after a night out in the Hollywood Hills with Kylie Jenner. As it turns out, he was busy in the studio. On Thursday (September 24), the former Quarantine Radio host surprised fans with a new album called Daystar. – Kyle Eustice, HipHopDX

Toronto-raised musician Sepp Osley plans virtual concert tribute for John Lennon’s 80th birthday

Blurred Vision frontman Sepp Osley will also host and perform with his band in the “Dear John” livestream event set for the late Lennon’s birthday on Oct. 9. The show will have pre-recorded performances of Lennon songs and tributes from participants including singer KT Tunstall, bassist John Illsley of Dire Straits, Canadian musician Lawrence Gowan, and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Richard Curtis. Osley now lives in London and will host the event live from the city’s Hard Rock Hotel. – Victoria Ahearn, CP

Indigenous music series Amplify is about more than identity

Creator Shane Belcourt discusses the series and the Two-Spirited identities episode starring Shawnee. – Radheyan Simonpillai, NOW

When the gigs dried up, Old Man Luedecke took to the sea

N.S. singer-songwriter lands a job at a scallop processor to make a living during the pandemic. –Emma Smith, CBC News

Glen Ballard recalls making Alanis Morissette's 'Jagged Little Pill,' 25 years later

'I was just hoping that someone would hear it," says the star US producer. – Lyndsey Parker, Yahoo Music

Royal Conservatory in Toronto keeps on playing

It’s an impressive document. The smiling face of Bobby McFerrin decorates its cover and its 28 profusely illustrated pages list close to 100 events scheduled for the Royal Conservatory’s 2020-21 concert season. And it’s completely obsolete, of course. The conservatory may still present concerts to audiences of 50 in its flagship venue, Koerner Hall, and its smaller companion space, Mazzoleni Hall, at least as things currently stand. – William Littler, Toronto Star

The Music Hall launches campaign to upgrade its stunning performance venue

One of Hamilton’s most unique live music venues just launched a fundraising campaign as they prepare to update and renovate their stunning space in preparation for the eventual return of safe live performances. – Urbanicity

Fall 2020 guide: 26 albums you need to hear

From Gord Downie to Diana Krall to Pierre Kwenders, all the Canadian releases you should keep an eye on. – CBC Music

Review: Stars and Strings, Mark Miller's biography of jazz great Sonny Greenwich

What Miller is trying to accomplish with Of Stars and Strings is to tell that world that Canada, in the 1960s and afterwards, was home to a jazz innovator as daring as his contemporaries Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, and Wayne Shorter. That’s a claim backed up by Davis and Shorter, at least. – Alexander Varty, Musicworks

International

Coronavirus presses mute button on UK music industry

Our latest Covid-19 impact poll reveals that 34% of musicians are considering abandoning their career in music, while 37% are not sure. – Musicians Union UK

Daniel Ek: Three things we learned from the Spotify head's interview

Spotify co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek faced down some tough questions on the future of his business during an interview at the Nordic-centered Slush Music event. MBW listened in. Here’s what we learned. –  Murray Stassen, MBW

2020 State of the Industry survey results in a transformational moment

We are grateful to the more than 1,350 live industry professionals who participated in Pollstar and VenuesNow’s 2020 State of the Industry Survey, the largest live industry study of its kind. It has yielded a treasure trove of data, including critical insights into the current state of the industry, a road map for recovery, a mandate for greater diversity and far more. – Pollstar

Hipgnosis seeks to buy another 50 catalogues

Hipgnosis has announced that it intends to raise up to US$318M by way of a placing a tranche of new Ordinary Shares on the market, at a price of 116 pence ($2.94) per share. According to the announcement filed on the London Stock Exchange on Sept. 21, Hipgnosis plans to use the proceeds to buy approximately 50 catalogues for which its investment advisor The Family (Music) Limited has already “identified and secured exclusivity on.” – MBW

Amuse revenues grew 209% in 2019, but firm posted an operating loss

Since launching in 2016, Sweden-born DIY distribution platform Amuse has drawn a lot of music industry attention. It operates a fairly controversial business model – including its offer of completely free music distribution for independent artists to services such as Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music and more besides. Here's a look at Amuse’s fiscal 2019 annual report.  –Murray Stassen, MBW

TikTok has been saved. But for music, is that a good thing?

There is a democratic promise of TikTok, where regular kids anoint new hits according to their own tastes as opposed to the dictates of traditional music biz gatekeepers. – Mikael Wood, LA Times

Against all odds, live concerts are returning this fall

Nashville’s Opry House and Ryman, and a handful of other U.S. live-music venues, are opening their doors. From limited-capacity clubs to outdoor farm shows, this is how concerts will look. –Jon Freeman and Amy X. Wang, Rolling Stone

How data is redefining A&R’s role in the modern music industry

"Although A&Rs are still looking for the same qualities in an artist as they were fifty years ago, what they’re looking for in that same artist’s data – and they way they’re looking for – it has changed dramatically.” – Hypebot

Van Morrison takes fans back to a magic time in coronavirus-shrouded London

Veteran singer Van Morrison blew away the coronavirus blues in London on Friday night with a performance of stirring and soulful music that transported fans back to happier times - and kept the spirit of live music alive. –  Angus MacSwan, Reuters

Review: Mariah Carey’s memoir is her best performance yet

In a passage as candid as it is obvious, Mariah Carey‘s new memoir details the performer’s artifice. “You build up and put on, you strategize, manipulate, accommodate, and shape-shift,” she writes in “The Meaning of Mariah Carey,” co-written by veteran editor and “image activist” Michaela Angela Davis. “It requires rituals (sometimes in the form of bad habits) to return yourself back to yourself.” – Rich Juzwiak, LA Times

Bob Mould is on fire with a new album

After turning in one of the most hopeful and ornamental albums of his nearly 40-year career in 2019, the aptly titled Sunshine Rock, the 59-year-old singer-guitarist has gone the opposite direction with a vehement and raw album assessing the country he returned to last year after living abroad in Berlin. – Minneapolis Star-Tribune

America’s at a breaking point. So is YG

In the early hours of Jan. 24, the rapper YG was at home with his family in Chatsworth when L.A. County sheriff’s deputies banged on his door, guns out. The Compton-raised MC was scheduled to perform at the Grammys two days later for a tribute to his longtime friend, the late rapper Nipsey Hussle. The last thing he expected was deputies on his doorstep with a search warrant. – August Brown, LA Times

Documentary details 50 years of concerts at Newport Music Hall

On North High Street, tucked between a Chipotle, a campus bar and a Waffle House, rests a little piece of music history. The Newport Music Hall, once the Agora, is the longest continuously running rock-and-roll club in the country, according to its owners, and it is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. – Allison Ward, Columbus Dispatch

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