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Billboard Canada FYI Bulletin: Ratings Say Juno Awards Format Needs Fixing

Also in today's column, a praiseworthy farewell to Live Nation's Susan Rosenberg, and Sarah McLachlan's next adventure.

Nelly Furtado at 2024 Junos in Halifax.

Nelly Furtado at 2024 Junos in Halifax.

CARAS/James Bennett

The Juno Awards continue to struggle to reach Canadian viewers.

CBC reports that TV, radio and streaming audiences were all up for the 2024 Juno Awards compared to 2023. However, drilling down on reported analytics for the Sunday night telecast, only about 672K people tuned in to watch the show live between 8 and 10 pm ET.


Citing data reported by the pubcaster, the awards streamed more than 170,000 times in Canada and globally on CBC's digital and streaming platforms including CBC Gem, more than double the number for last year’s show. On radio, 471K listeners tuned into the broadcast on CBC Radio One and CBC Music, with an average audience of 89,200, up 9% over 2023.

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The show has had trouble attracting a-list Canadian talent to appear at the show, with Drake declining to submit his music and artists like Tate McRae not showing up to accept major awards. Over the years, the show has attempted to broaden its reach with broader representation and an outreach program to attract more racialized Canadians. It worked to an extent. Punjabi-Canadian star Karan Aujla captured most of the headlines for his Fan Choice win and his performance with producer Ikky, which generated 61K views on YouTube alone.

However, as veteran media reporter Bill Brioux notes, that while the ratings were up from last year, the majority of viewers were over 55 — not likely the demographic the Junos are coveting.

According to YouTube data, the Sunday night show streamed live on the platform has racked up 147K streams, with the opening night gala garnering a lowly 16K views. However, like Aujla's, other specific segments of the show earned nearly as high ratings on YouTube. Specifically, Nelly Furtado’s medley of hits at the top of the show generated 136K views, followed by performances by The Beaches, Charlotte Cardin and Talk, which generated 49K, 46K and 33K respectively. Anne Murray's welcoming speech generated 61K streams (so far).

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However, the awards still struggle to reach a majority of Canadians. Overall viewership has declined from a peak of 1.9M in 2013 and then averaged around 1.4M through to and including 2018.


– Who the fuck is Susan Rosenberg and why are we wishing her farewell? The expletive mirrors the title of a Ron Chapman documentary about her far more visible boss Arthur Fogel, CEO and Chairman of Global Touring for Live Nation. Susan is/was his right arm and hand as Sr. VP, Global Touring and in one fashion or another she’s been professionally wedded to Fogel for the past 28 years. She started in concert production in 1987 with Perryscope Prod’s, which became part of CPI and then BCL through to1996. She migrated with Fogel to TNA as part of Michael Cohl’s TNA (The Next Adventure), which morphed into SFX, then Clear Channel, and eventually Live Nation.

In the past year, Rosenberg’s keen eye, calm disposition and quiet manner have worked like a charm on the road in various countries as she irons out whatever eruptions take place with superstars that have included Beyonce, Madonna, Sting, Neil Young and book tours with Geddy Lee and Bono.

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Remarkably, her peers such as Debra Rathwell, another Canadian who now roosts at the top of her competition as VP of Global Touring & Talent at AEG, and Patti-Anne Tarlton who holds the rank of EVP at Live Nation and Chair of Ticketmaster Canada, have both been named to Canadian Music Week's Hall of Fame and Rathwell to Pollstar’s Women in Music Hall of Fame, whereas Rosenberg’s extraordinaril successful career has gone largely unnoticed by the industry at large.

Put mildly, she’s not one to pursue fame or attract notice but instead has built a superlative rep inside her industry. As friend and one-time associate Mary Ann Farrell (yes, sister to…) told me earlier this week: “Susan has been a trailblazer as technology and the business of live concerts and international touring progressed and has ever championed major and up-and-coming musical performers from around the globe.”

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Amen! So, if you didn’t know before, you now know who the fuck Susan Rosenberg is. We wish her a bon voyage and, yes, friends do plan a celebration for her in a few months.


– Sarah McLachlan has signed with the Paquin Artists Agency with Vesna Pejkovic as her directive agent. Both are based out of Vancouver. Adding weight to her addition to PAA’s already significant and sizeable roster, co-president Vinny Cinquemani stated that “Sarah is one of the most influential and impactful artists of this generation – exceptionally talented with a celebrated career that continues to resonate both here at home and around the world. We feel a tremendous amount of gratitude to support her continued success and look forward to working together.”

In April she embarks on a 30+ city North American tour celebrating the 30th anniversary of her seminal album, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. A warm-up at Edmonton’s Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium is scheduled for April 20 with the Anniversary opening show at hometown Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum on May 23. On the 30th she’s headlining Berkeley’s The Greek Theatre, on the 31st she plays the Hollywood Bowl, on June 19 it’s Toronto’s Budweiser Stage, and on June 24 she lands at NYC’s Radio City Music Hall. As it stands, the tour wraps in Sugar Land, TX at the Smart Financial Center.


– Few if any clubs in Canada can match the history of 80-plus year-old Kee to Bala, a Muskoka cottage country landmark that has had umpteen owners over the years and played host to dizzying list of headliners that include Cab Calloway, Count Basie, The Ramones, Snoop Dogg, Tom Cochrane, George Thorogood. Live Nation bought the 2,300-capacity venue last year and has announced the lineup that opens May 18 with Big Wreck and Sam Roberts Band closing the season with 2-nights ending Sept. 1. The Sheepdogs are booked June 28/29, The Beaches-July 18, Metric on July 19/20, and perennial fave David Wilcox Aug. 9/10. You can see the entire all-Canadian lineup here. It’s not beach blanket bingo, but it sure looks inviting. And below, from a long time ago...

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– Republic Live has announced an Aug. 24/25 alt/punk fest at its Burl’s Creek camping and events grounds north of Toronto. The 2-day All Your Friends Fest marquee features over 20 acts. Among them are Silverstein, The All American Rejects, Billy Talent, Jimmy Eat World, and Fefe Dobson. Tickets go on sale Fri. with general admin starting at $119 plus taxes and $249+ for VIP passes.

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The Beaches performing at Billboard Canada's Women in Music Launch on June 5, 2024
Marc Thususka Photography

The Beaches performing at Billboard Canada's Women in Music Launch on June 5, 2024

Awards

The Beaches, Charlotte Cardin, Allison Russell Make the 2024 Polaris Music Prize Long List

The 40-album long list for the Polaris Prize, which awards $50,000 to the best Canadian record of the year features up-and-comers like punk group NOBRO and producer Bambii, plus rapper TOBi, and legends like Quebec group Karkwa and previous Heritage Prize winner Beverly Glenn-Copeland.

Some of the country's biggest breakthrough artists are in contention for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize.

The 40-album long list was revealed today (June 11) at Sonic Boom record store in downtown Toronto. It features some of the buzziest names in Canadian music, from The Beaches — who were recently awarded Billboard Canada Women in Music's inaugural Group of the Year award — to Grammy-winner Allison Russell, to Canadian Hot 100 charting acts like Charlotte Cardin and Talk, to underground mainstays like Cindy Lee, who had an organic breakthrough this year with Diamond Jubilee.

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