Justin Rutledge  Facebook photo
Justin Rutledge Facebook photo

Music Biz Headlines, March 25, 2021

After being closed for a year, Toronto music venue owners look for glimmers of hope

A year and a bit after the Canadian live music industry suddenly ground to a halt due to Covid-19, Toronto venue owners are ranging between guarded optimism and gnawing uncertainty as to whether their businesses are going to reopen before the end of the year. “It’s a tricky one,” says Shaun Bowring, proprietor of two Toronto clubs.  – Nick Krewen, Toronto Star

Why did it take Justin Rutledge 18 years to record and release Jellybean, his most popular song?

For years, most of his shows have closed with the beer-soaked singalong Jellybean. It’s communal, with one of Canada’s most literate balladeers standing on a table rhyming “my Boston cream” with “don’t be so mean.” It’s a wild juxtaposition – imagine Leonard Cohen vibing on a skateboard crooning a TikTok version of Louie Louie. – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail 

You can judge a song by its cover 

The music industry cover song trend arrives in Halifax—but maybe that’s not the worst thing ever. When listening to Mo Kenney’s new album Covers–10 stripped-down takes on the likes of Tom Petty and Guided By Voices–something curious happens. Songs that used to be country feel more like rock. Tracks that were happy are now a smile with sad eyes. – Morgan Mullin, The Coast

Times Change(d) High & Lonesome Club: Where everyone knows your name

Scene magazine once described it as “a Tom-Waitsian masterpiece of honky-tonk glitz and grit.” To locals, and artists, who have played The Times Change(d) High & Lonesome Club, it’s simply their home — a place for drifters and dreamers, misfits, and musical souls to congregate and find a supportive community. – David McPherson, Amplify

Canadian writer-actor Jean Yoon on Yoko Ono and anti-Asian racism

Few covers of NOW Magazine (the Georgia Straight's sibling publication) have caused as much controversy as Jean Yoon’s nude cover for her play The Yoko Ono Project in January 6, 2000. Debra Friedman took the photo of Yoon. – Glenn Sumi, Georgia Straight

The Weeknd’s ‘The Party & the After Party’ paved the way for our genre-less future

The Weeknd’s massive career was built on a foundation of dream pop and post-punk. – Manakprr Conteh , Rolling Stone

After a stormy decade, singer-songwriter Matt Masters lets loose with an album of covers

On March 23, Masters turns 45 and will release Everybody Loves a Winner, his first record in 10 years. But unlike his past albums, this one is a collection of cover songs recorded in Lethbridge with Leeroy Stagger and several musicians that he plays with as part of Barney Bentall’s all-star Caribou Express. – Eric Volmers, Calgary Herald

Meet Alex Pangman, a vocalist that sings jazz with somebody else’s lungs

Listening to Alex Pangman perform these days, it’s hard to imagine that under a decade ago the Juno-nominated vocalist had less than 25% lung function, trouble breathing on her own, and struggled with everyday tasks like getting dressed and walking up stairs. she received the double-lung transplant she needed in the fall of 2008. – CBC

Punk pioneers SNFU release unheard tracks on 35th anniversary of iconic album

By the time local punk legends SNFU made their way into the studio in the spring of 1986 to record their second album, If You Swear You’ll Catch No Fish, they were already one of the tightest outfits around. – Tom Murray, Edmonton Journal

How this P.E.I. rescue dog got his own song

From the lyrics of the song, he would seem like a proper gentleman who ate cheese with a certain degree of sophistication, hated sneezes and loved guests.  But it was Rudy the dog's mangled teeth and extremely charismatic face that prompted the tribute by Hawksley Workman. – CBC/Radio-Canada

Looking for your musical soulmate? This app might help.

It can be really tough to be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t share your taste in music. How can you avoid those awkward moments when you realize that a potential partner really, really believes that Rick Astley is one of the greatest artists of a generation?  There is a prophylactic measure: an app called MusicTaste.space. – Alan Cross, A Journal of Musical Things

International

Warner and Tencent Music to launch JV label in China, as they ink multi-year licensing deal

Warner Music Group and Tencent Music Entertainment are launching a joint venture record label in China, the two companies have confirmed. The deal means that TME will have two joint venture labels running with major music companies in China – after a similar launch was announced with Universal Music Group last year. Warner and TME confirm they have also signed a new multi-year licensing agreement for WMG’s recorded music repertoire on Tencent platforms in mainland China. – Tim Ingham, MBW

A new catalog acquisition juggernaut is born, as BMG and KKR team up to buy music rights

The jungle of music rights acquisitions has become a crowded and expensive place. But the game just changed again – as an 800-pound gorilla enters the fray. BMG and investment giant KKR have announced an alliance that will see them team up to acquire and manage music copyrights. – MBW

Paradigm selling music division to Casey Wasserman

After more than two years of merger and acquisition speculation, news finally broke Wed. that Wasserman, formerly the Wasserman Media Group, is acquiring Paradigm Talent Agency’s North American live music representation whose impressive music roster includes such major acts as Ed Sheeran, Billie Eilish, Shawn Mendes, Coldplay, Janet Jackson, and Kacey Musgraves. The deal, which for now is being termed an "agreement in principle," is expected to close in Q2 of this year. – Andy Gensler, Pollstar

Are the major record companies signing too many artists?

Recent stats raise an important question: How can the major labels perform at an optimum level with two new artists a day to develop, record, promote and market? – Tim Ingham, Rolling Stone

Linda Ronstadt sells catalog to Irving Azoff’s Iconic Artists Group

Following deals with the Beach Boys and David Crosby, Linda Ronstadt is the latest artist to sell her catalog to Irving Azoff’s new company Iconic Artists Group. Iconic has acquired Ronstadt’s assets, which include name, image, likeness, and recording masters. – Rolling Stone

National Recording Registry adds 'Rhythm Nation' among 25 new selections

Recordings by Janet Jackson, Labelle, Nas, Marlo Thomas, Louis Armstrong, Ira Glass, Labelle, Nas, and Kermit the Frog are among 25 newly selected for preservation. – Library of Congress

The New Normal:  In a year without touring, artists find something in the stillness (Part 2)

We asked roots musicians a series of questions getting at how they’ve fared in past year as tour plans got wiped off the calendar and the music business was thrown into a long season of uncertainty. A few artists decided to tackle each of the questions in depth, and we’re sharing their thoughtful responses here.– Stacy Chandler, No Depression

Elton John's famed Oscar night party is now open to you

Attending Elton John’s long-running Oscar-night party has always been one of the hardest tickets to get. Now you can go — if you have $20. The Elton John AIDS Foundation is inviting everyone to an hourlong, virtual pre-show Oscar party special hosted by Neil Patrick Harris and with a performance by Dua Lipa. Tix for the April 25 event are available via Ticketmaster. Proceeds go to young people at risk and living with HIV. – AP

Cassettes make a comeback with new reissue series

Remember how you switched from vinyl albums to cassette tapes, then from cassette to CD, then from CD back to vinyl? Well, get ready to switch from vinyl to cassette again. RecordingTheMasters has announced it's reissuing a series of seven albums on cassette for the first time ever.  Artists include The Mavericks, Major Lazer, and Sturgill Simpson. – Steve Newton, Georgia Straight

Aretha Franklin’s family blasts ‘Genius’ film for ignoring them: ‘It’s about respect’

The Queen of Soul’s son, Kecalf Franklin, claims the producers of the NatGeo series did not want the family’s input – Kory Grow, Rolling Stone

Ringo Starr on recording ‘Zoom In’ during the pandemic

He also tells Beatles fans what to expect and from Peter Jackson's  ‘Get Back’ film. –  Chris Willman, Variety

ARIA announces Michael Gudinski Breakthrough Artist Award

The Australian recording industry org will rename its award for Breakthrough Artist to the Michael Gudinski Breakthrough Artist Award, in honour of the late industry giant.  – Noise11

‘I love Shane MacGowan. He’s the ultimate ... one of the last punks’

Musician and film-maker Don Letts on Shane MacGowan, The Clash and being black in Britain. –  Eamon Sweeney, Irish Times

Joe Elliott, Bonnie Raitt, Cherie Currie talk Fanny’s influence in new doc

Fanny: The Right to Rock captures the story of the legendary all-women band — and the barriers they broke. – Angie Martoccio, Rolling Stone

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