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The Deals: MTV Signs Talent Agreement With Johnny Orlando, Shania Twain Makes ‘Texas’-Sized Detour

A roundup of notable music industry deals from the past two weeks, including MTV's talent agreement with Johnny Orlando and WMG/Elektra France's distribution pact for South African artist Master KG's…

MTV has signed a talent deal and consumer products partnership with 17-year-old artist Johnny Orlando, whose hits include “Last Summer,” “Day & Night” and “What If,” which has spawned over 10 million videos on TikTok to date.

Under the terms of the agreement, MTV will work with Orlando to develop multiplatform initiatives that include consumer products, music, live events and appearances in MTV programming. Plans are already in the works for a line of merchandise, including fashion and accessories, publishing and home décor.

Orlando broke through on YouTube with his covers of pop songs by artists including Justin Bieber and Austin Mahone. He currently boasts 22 million followers across social media platforms and has signed record deals with Universal Music Canada and Island Records. Orlando also recently headlined a North American and European tour off of his 2019 debut EP Teenage Fever and won Best Canadian Act at last year’s MTV EMAs.



Five-time Grammy winner Shania Twain has partnered with Reel World Management, Roma Roth and Christopher E. Perry to adapt author Debbie Macomber’s Heart of Texas novels as a TV series.

Twain will executive produce alongside Roth and Perry as well as contribute creatively to the project, which centers on the personal and professional struggles of a trio of siblings as they fight to keep the family ranch and legacy alive following their parents’ untimely death.

Heart of Texas is an exciting project for me to be involved in as I very much relate to the dynamics and the powerful connection of friends and family of a small-town community,” said Twain in a release announcing the project. “It’s a story of love, laughter and true grit, all elements that so strongly influence my song writing.”

Twain’s former TV projects include the reality series Why Not? With Shania Twain and the reality competition show Real Country, both of which she starred in and executive produced.



Decca Records has signed British legend Dame Shirley Bassey ahead of what the label says will be the 83-year-old singer’s “grand finale album entirely dedicated to her fans and career.”

The as-yet-untitled LP will include both newly written and classic tracks “handpicked” to suit Bassey’s indelible voice, heard on such hits as “Goldfinger,” “Diamonds Are Forever,” “Something,” “Reach for the Stars” and “As I Love You,” among others. Recording sessions are underway and taking place — responsibly, given the pandemic — in London, Prague, Monaco and the South of France. According to Decca, the album will be released later this year.

“My new album is a celebration of 70 years in showbiz,” Dame Bassey said. “70 years of support from my fans and 70 years of music! I’ve trodden the boards of many stages and kicked up many a diamante heel! The songs I have chosen all feel very personal and connected to my life. I hope they will do the same for my fans.”



Warner Music Group’s Elektra France has reached an exclusive deal to release South African artist Master KG’s latest album, Jerusalema. Under the agreement, Elektra France will hold the rights to the album across the globe, excluding Sub Saharan Africa, where the rights are with Warner Music Group’s ADA.

The signing comes via WMG’s partnership with African digital music distribution, music rights management and artist development company Africori and Master KG’s record label Open Mic Productions. The Africori deal established WMG’s presence in several African markets for the first time.

Born in Calais village, Tzaneen, Limpopo, South Africa, Master KG rose to fame following the release of his 2018 debut album Skeleton Move, which netted him several African Musik Magazine Awards including Best Artist and Song of the Year.



Guatemalan-born trap and hip-hop artist Carnage has re-signed with Ultra Music for the release of his third studio album, Papi Gordo 2. The first single off the album, “Together,” is slated for release on August 7.

Papi Gordo 2 is the follow up to Caranage’s Ultra-released debut album, Papi Gordo, which spawned the hit singles “I Like Tuh” and “Bricks.” His second album, Battered Bruised & Bloody, was released by Heavyweight Records/BMG.



Record label myndstream – part of the portfolio of music financier and services provider Cutting Edge – has struck a partnership with India-based yoga and wellness ecosystem SARVA.

Under the terms of the deal, myndstream will license its catalog of mindfulness music to SARVA to support the SARVA app’s premium content. It will additionally design and manage music priorities across the entire SARVA platform. Additionally, Cutting Edge has agreed to invest in SARVA’s latest fundraising round alongside investors including Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez.

Myndstream’s music will begin populating the SARVA app this month.



Avid and Dolby Laboraties have signed a new deal that will allow independent artists, producers and record labels to self-distribute their music in Dolby Atmos to Amazon Music and TIDAL via the AvidPlay music distribution service.

With the deal, artists and labels are being invited subscribe to an AvidPlay distribution plan via the free AvidLink app before uploading their completed Dolby Atmos Music tracks and artwork. They will also have the ability to create songs and albums using any compatible Dolby Atmos-enabled digital audio workstation (DAW), as well as check to see how much money they’re earning from each song via the AvidPlay dashboard. Subscribers keep 100 percent of their rights and earnings under the agreement.

“With a majority of today’s new music created using Avid tools, enabling any artist or label to now distribute Dolby Atmos Music is a game-changer and highlights Avid’s continued commitment to providing an end-to-end music production solution from recording to mixing to distribution,” said Avid director of product marketing, audio solutions Rob D’Amico in a statement. “Avid and Dolby are helping artists transport their fans to new and exciting immersive listening experiences, while giving them the ability to easily expand their creativity, distribute their music and, most importantly, get paid for the content they produce.”



Music solutions company ONErpm has signed a long-term, multi-album deal with Los Angeles-based producer/vocalist/songwriter/pianist Elohim.

Under the deal, ONErpm will focus on breaking Elohim in the global market and releasing her next album, which is slated for release soon.

Elohim boasts over 300 million streams combined across all music services. Her last EP, Braindead, was released in May 2019. Sales of the EP, which tackled themes of mental illness, were donated to mental health initiatives in commemoration of Mental Health Awareness Month.



Country singer Collin Raye has signed with Bob Frank Distribution (BFD)/Audium Nashville for the release of his next album, which is slated for release later this year.

Produced by David “Fergie” Ferguson, the project will be Raye’s first studio album of all-new material since 2009’s Never Going Back.