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Billboard Canada FYI Bulletin: Canada Launches Its Own Inquiry Into TikTok

Also in this week's roundup of industry news: some gobsmacking revenue stats from Spotify's new transparency report, a new directory of "scream, growl and fry" singers, and the ongoing life and times of publicist/promoter/journalist Richard Flohil who turns 90 in June.

Billboard Canada FYI Bulletin: Canada Launches Its Own Inquiry Into TikTok
Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

While the U.S. recently passed a bill to ban TikTok if Chinese company ByteDance doesn't sell, Canada launched its own inquiry into whether TikTok is a national security concern in February. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada launched its investigation alongside similar authorities in Quebec, B.C. and Alberta. Accordingly, the four privacy regulators will examine whether the organization’s practices are in compliance with Canadian privacy legislation and in particular, whether valid and meaningful consent is being obtained for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information. The investigation will also determine if the company is meeting its transparency obligations, particularly when collecting personal information from its users. No timeline is given to complete the inquiry.

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Loud and Clear, Spotify’s annual transparency report, offers a motherlode of data that, more than not, upends conventional wisdoms or assumptions. For instance, Of the 1,250+ artists who generated US$1M+ from Spotify last year – and likely over $4M across all recorded revenue sources – 80% didn’t have a single song that reached the Top 50 of Spotify’s daily Global Top 50 Songs chart. Again, from the report, in 2023, Indies generated nearly $4.5B on Spotify, about 50% of the $9B+ that the entire industry generated on the platform last year.

– With Juno Week events now in full blitz mode across Halifax’s downtown core, it’s a good time to review some of the newcomer sponsors adding lustre and lucre to the brand’s big event Sunday night at the 10K+ capacity Scotiabank Centre. Travel and tourism packager Destination Indigenous returns for its 3rd year as a gold sponsor, presenting the award for Contemporary Indigenous Artist or Group at the Juno opening night awards gala, on March 23 at Pier 21. The firm is offering an Indigenous food and beverage VIP reception with performances by various acts including Morgan Toney, and the Red River Ramblers.

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Montreal-based clothing brand RW&CO. is on board for the first time as the official apparel partner of the Junos and as part of its deal will be outfitting Nigerian-born Canadian rapper TOBi (born Oluwatobi Feyisara Ajibolade) with gear that is to be promoted as part of its spring/summer collection.

And Toronto-based Mark Harrison’s marketing agency SponsorshipX is on board as an event partner with its industry-led conference with panels, Q&As et al under the banner “The Future of Fandom.”

Other sponsors include event broadcaster the CBC, YouTube, Long & McQuade Musical Instruments (its 12th year affiliated with the CARAS-led event), Audio-Technica, Nissan, TikTok, SiriusXM, TD Bank Group, and Don Julio Tequila Blanco.


– Up-and-coming Brampton rapper and freestyling beat poet Kwazii (born Jaydus Jaydus States) has been following the arc of Drake in writing about his hometown haunts. “Eglinton Ave.” is his latest addition to a small but growing catalogue of assets he is leveraging online using platforms such as YouTube, Soundcloud and of course the music streamers. L.A.-based Linda Luna’s Powerhouse Agency now reps him for PR. Below, "Solo" which was released four months ago.


Richard Flohil turns 90 on June 24 and he’s holding a celebratory event at Toronto’s Lula Lounge. As the birthday boy explains it on X, “There'll be music and burlesque and a good time. It's also a benefit for Unison. Tickets will be $25, and go on sale in April!

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Lest you be wondering what the moustached super trooper has been up to of late, we’ll start with the fact that by his count, he attended 264 shows last year, and his voice can be heard on Substack where frequently posts muses and reminisces from his storied career as a journalist, publicist, manager and concert promoter.

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Among them is his latest, a reflection on the life and times of Stompin’ Tom Connors, which starts by telling us that Connors died in 2013, when "the media reported he had died of natural causes. He was, after all, 77 years old.

"What the media did not say was that Tom — and everyone who met him instantly called him by his first name — smoked three and a half packs of cigarettes every day, and drank close to 175 bottles of Moosehead Ale every week.”

And here’s what we wrote when the wee lad turned 85.

– Former Montreal radio host Jolène Ruest in tandem with Spectacles Bonzaï has published Gueuleuses, an online bilingual directory of 1500+ “women, non-binary and gender fluid people” categorized by an exhaustive list of styles that includes screams, atmospheric black metal, cybergrind, J-Pop, Jazz, Trap et cetera.

Explaining the genesis for this exhaustive compendium, Ruest explains: "Years ago, listing unconventional loudmouths that I discovered was my way of finding models while I was taking metal singing lessons. The more examples I found of female singers, the more I realized that, whatever our vocal range, our gender or our body type, there is a range of techniques to learn, from the rudimentary to the more complex. The variety of artistic paths surprised and inspired me."

– Swifties Unite! Did you miss out on the ERAS Tour tickets? Couldn’t afford the steep prices? No worries! Forrest Jones Entertainment, a leader in Canadian tribute shows, has announced the arrival of Katy Ellis, “the UK’s premier Taylor Swift tribute artist.” The 20-show casino and soft-seat theatre tour unwinds this fall.


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AP Dhillon smashing his guitar at Coachella
Instagram/Coachella

AP Dhillon smashing his guitar at Coachella

Music

AP Dhillon Drops Off Coachella's Second Weekend

The Punjabi-Canadian star has faced backlash in Indian media and on social media for his guitar smash on weekend one, but the festival says he's cancelling due to scheduling conflicts.

AP Dhillon is leaving the California desert behind. Coachella announced that the Punjabi-Canadian star will not appear at the festival's second weekend as planned, citing scheduling conflicts. The festival announced it in a follow up tweet to one announcing that rapper Kid Cudi has been added.

While Dhillon's first-weekend performance was well-received by the Coachella crowd and many of his supporters, he's also had some backlash due to how he closed his set, which has been widely covered by media in India.

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