Music Biz Headlines, April 27, 2020

Joel Plaskett (pictured) delivers a magnum opus, TSO players remain active, a look at Stronger Together, and tips for musicians in the pandemic era. Others in the headlines include Lennon Stella, Spotify, Nick Nurse, copyright claims, TikTok, Bob Geldof, Lizzo, the Dropkick Murphys, Bobi Wine, Kanye, Captain Tom Moore, Nick Cave, and Lucinda Williams.

Music Biz Headlines, April 27, 2020

By FYI Staff


Nine things we noticed about Canada’s star-studded Stronger Together event

Canada’s pecking order was made crystal clear at the end of Sunday night’s star-studded Stronger Together, Tous Ensemble event, as Drake, not Justin Trudeau, closed the show. – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail

Indigenous artists reaching new audiences with online concerts during pandemic

Concert series like National Art Centre's #CanadaPerforms offer financial relief, connections with fans. – Nic Meloney CBC News

‘Hopefully I’ll have a roof over my head.’

Toronto DJ chanlmarshl says she hopes her career will bounce back after covid-19 lockdown. – Evelyn Kwong, Toronto Star

The audacity, and necessity, of Joel Plaskett’s pandemic quadruple-record

Plaskett likes a good motif. He and label Pheromone Recordings scheduled the release for the day before his 45th birthday: April 17. It packages four 11-track albums blending rock and folk as a box set, plus – if you grab one of the limited-run vinyl sets – a 45th track on a 45-rpm seven-inch bonus disc. It is a numerologist’s dream. But it almost didn’t pan out. – Josh O'Kane, The Globe and Mail 


Lennon Stella: Three. Two. One. review – a serene debut

Given all her previous go-getting, it’s striking how serene Three. Two. One. sounds, less a careerist thrust than a winsome glide. Although the prevailing mood is aerated, there is just enough going on in the interstices to commend Canadian pop artist Stella. – Kitty Empire, The Guardian

Abruptly silenced by covid-19, Toronto Symphony Orchestra players stay active with outreach

The players have begun organizing phone concerts, online streaming and other projects that keep them connected, at least at some level, with their art and their public. – William Littler, Toronto Star 

What’s in your fridge: Joshua Wood

What’s in Your Fridge is where the Straight asks interesting Vancouverites about their life-changing concerts, favourite albums, and, most importantly, what’s sitting beside the Heinz ketchup in their custom-made Big Chill Retropolitan 20.6-cubic-foot refrigerators. Today it is Musician Joshua Wood. – Mike Usinger, Georgia Straight

How Raptors coach Nick Nurse conducts a symphony of free-form hoops and jazz

You see it in the way the Raptors play when they are at their very best. It’s a free-flowing style of read-and-react basketball that evokes thoughts of the brilliant creativity of jazz music. Coach Nurse happens to be a major jazz fan. – Doug Smith, Toronto Star



A music industry post-2020 depression recovery plan

After the obvious “When will this end?” pondering what comes next is the question haunting every member of the music industry. This essay digs into the data to find some answers. – Jesse Kirshbaum & Clayton Durant, Hypebot

Covid's spread through choirs

Most people have come across the terrifying Los Angeles Times article by Richard Read describing how 45 members of a 121-person choir in Washington State got infected (and two died) after gathering for a night of practice. But that story isn’t unique. Enclosed spaces in which people raise their voices together have time and again proven to be the sites of major outbreaks. – T. A. Frank, Vanity Fair

Spotify lets fans pay musicians directly with new donation feature

A new feature launched by the streaming giant will allow fans to send their favourite artists cash tips directly. Spotify announced the new initiative to help singers and musicians affected by the coronavirus lockdown. – WENN

Spotify’s ‘tip jar’ is a slap in the face for musicians. It should pay them better

Fans can now donate to their favourite artists via Spotify, but this feature is a tacit admission that the firm undervalues the musicians that make it viable. – Brinkwire

Try new release tactics during quarantine

Musicians have been hit hard by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, forcing project halts and cancelling entire tours. Fortunately, while at home waiting for a return to normalcy, artists can still work on and release new music. Here, we look at some tactics for dropping new tunes from the comfort of your couch. – Hugh McIntyre, Hypebot


Copyright claims are ruining live streams for everyone

DJs out of work in a nightlife-less economy trying to and stream their own sets on Instagram Live can't seem to catch a break. If you tune into a DJ's live-stream, you're likely to see disclaimers trying to preempt a copyright takedown, which stop their stream suddenly, kicking both the streamer and the audience out to the home page, sending the streamer a notice about copyright infringement, forcing them to start their stream over and just generally killing the vibe. – Adlan Jackson, The Paper


The TikTok algorithm: how it works

The Chinese social video platform has become a heavy-hitter in the US music marketing industry, due in large part to the platform’s algorithm, and its ability to quickly propel a video to viral status. – Bobby Owsinski, Hypebot

Bob Geldof says world won't change due to covid-19

Live Aid organizer and activist Bob Geldof isn’t convinced the world will change for the better following the covid-19 pandemic. “The Achilles heel of humanity is its hubris,” he states. – Jane Stevenson, Toronto Sun

Alicia Keys drops a new track to honour heroes of the pandemic 

Keys has partnered with CNN’s Heroes campaign to honour those fighting on the front lines amid the covid-19 crisis. The hitmaker debuted her new track Good Job on Thursday and told CNN the it was written months ago as a tribute to the unsung heroes in Keys’ own life. – WENN

Lizzo talks creative process, standing out in the music industry, and more

The Tempo queen sat down with producer Ricky Reed last fall to share tidbits on her success and how others can be successful too. –

How to make collaborative playlists on Spotify, Apple Music

One of the best parts of listening to music is getting to share it with your friends, and thanks to the magic of modern playlisting, collaborative playlist creation can is now a reality. Here Randy Zimmerman walks us through how to create group playlists on both Spotify and Apple Music.– Hypebot

Sea Change festival review – a swell of congregation in the new nowhere

Totnes festival’s move online gives glimpses of what might have been but is also its own, triumphant entity. – Laura Barton, The Guardian

10 million people watched the Dropkick Murphys play online. Is that a business model? 

Their concert plans on hold, artists like YungBlud and Tinashe are taking their acts online and hoping fans and dollars follow. – Anne Steele, Wall Street Journal

Nashville musicians find themselves without jobs or unemployment benefits

All Colin Poulton’s gigs ended abruptly when the coronavirus hit. The clubs shut down on March 16 to slow the spread, and Nashville’s normally packed downtown streets are all but deserted. He’s been without steady work for five weeks now but so far has received nothing. –AP


Uganda's 'Ghetto President': How Bobi Wine went from dancehall grooves to revolutionary politics

One of Africa’s biggest music stars hopes his country’s young, impoverished masses can make him their next leader. But can he survive until Election Day? – David Peisner, Rolling Stone

Portuguese orchestra plays Mozart symphony online

Each of the 32 musicians recorded videos of them playing in their own homes around the world. Once all of them were combined, the first movement of Mozart's 40th symphony came to life. – Reuters

Sales of instruments and music gear are soaring. Will quarantine spark a renaissance?

Defying the economic downturn, online business is booming for Apple’s GarageBand music software, as well as Sweetwater, Guitar Center, Reverb, and other retailers. – Samantha Hissong, Rolling Stone

It's official: Forbes declares Kanye a billionaire

The exact amount is up for discussion, but Yeezy branded runners far outpace his revenues from music if one is lace together the info from the moneysworth record keeper. – Forbes

Mick Jagger responds to Paul McCartney’s The Beatles vs. The Rolling Stones comments

"One band is unbelievably luckily still playing in stadiums and then the other band doesn’t exist." – Lake Schatz, Consequence of Sound

99-year-old vet becomes the oldest person to top the UK Singles Chart



Nick Cave launches "Bad Seed Teevee" live stream

The 24/7 YouTube stream features concerts, rarities and more. – Exclaim!

Lucinda Williams: 'I don't mind pushing people's buttons'

She’s faced abuse, depression – and now coronavirus has killed two of her friends. But the revered singer-songwriter is coming out swinging with her most political album yet. – The Guardian

Allison Russell accepting the Billboard Canada Women in Music Breakthrough Artist of the Year award
Marc Thususka Photography

Allison Russell accepting the Billboard Canada Women in Music Breakthrough Artist of the Year award

Music News

Allison Russell Named Billboard Canada Women In Music Breakthrough Artist of the Year

The Nashville-based musician from Montreal has been having a huge year, including her first Grammy and her first Hot 100 appearance. Accepting the award on June 19 at the iHeartRadio Canada studio, she talked about her LGBTQ+ advocacy work and the importance of playing with underrepresented musicians.

It was a special Juneteenth for Allison Russell.

Not only did she serve as the special Toronto opener for Sarah McLachlan on the Canadian icon’s Fumbling Towards Ecstasy 30th anniversary tour, but she earned another big honour: Billboard Canada Women In Music Breakthrough Artist of the Year.

keep readingShow less