Music Biz Headlines, Aug. 24, 2020

Two in-depth profiles of Raffi (pictured) and Red Umbrella’s Charlotte Thompson, a TIFF honour for Terence Blanchard, and atypical music venues in Vancouver. Also in the headlines are Burdock Music Hall, Carly Rae Jepsen, Kevin Hearn, the Rolling Stones, UK venues, streaming revenues, Triller, Kanye West, Snow Patrol, Arthur Brown, The Killers, The X-Files, and Britney Spears.

Music Biz Headlines, Aug. 24, 2020

By Kerry Doole

A lesson from the very young: Why Raffi could be what the world needs right now

Eric Andrew-Gee reflects on the beloved singer-songwriter's career trajectory and the role his music plays in physically distanced times. – The Globe and Mail

Covid-19: Atypical venues leading to a resurgence in live music

Live music is making a comeback anywhere but regular music venues. It's going to be that way for awhile. – Stuart Derdeyn, Vancouver Sun

Oscar-nominated composer Terence Blanchard will receive an award at next month’s Toronto International Film Festival

The six-time Grammy Award winner will be honoured at the annual TIFF Tribute Awards. Blanchard will receive the TIFF Variety Artisan Award, which recognizes creatives who have excelled at their craft and made an outstanding contribution to cinema and entertainment. The fundraiser event will be virtual this year, due to the pandemic. – Toronto Star


Burdock Music Hall tiptoes towards reopening, starting with live-streams

In September, the Toronto music venue will broadcast shows while staff think about how to safely reintroduce live audiences. – Richard Trapunski, NOW

Missing music? Edmonton musician organizes 'mini folk fest' to help ease pandemic blues

If the pandemic has you missing live music, you're not alone. After the pandemic prevented this year's edition of the Edmonton Folk Music Festival from going ahead, one local musician Greg Jones took it upon himself to organize a "mini folk festival."  – CBC/Radio-Canada

Carly Rae Jepsen releases a bouncing new single ‘Me And The Boys In The Band’

The "pick me up" pop gem is a tribute to the days of live touring. – Tom Skinner, NME

There Are No Fakes review — a fake painting that hid a world of real horror

The acclaimed Canadian documentary tracks musician Kevin Hearn's exploration of the dark world of art forgery. –  The Times

In the Hot Seat with Larry LeBlanc: Charlotte Thompson, President, and owner of Red Umbrella P.R.

Publicist Charlotte Thompson is a Canadian music industry treasure. Just ask around. For over two decades, Thompson has been the welcoming PR presence at red carpet events, conferences, and backstage interviews, and meets for a generation of Canadian music journalists, TV presenters, and domestic and international artists. – Larry LeBlanc, Celebrity Access

On Our Radar: Sunday Morning's "Beautiful Lie" hammers home the message that love is hopelessly complicated

Bruce Wilson knows all about the line that separates the dark from the light. He’s walked it for a good half-decade with his ambitiously dramatic project Sunday Morning, which released its second album, Consequence of Love, early this year. – Mike Usinger, Georgia Straight


Toronto brewery launches CNE-inspired sour beer and s’mores funnel cake

The Ex is going virtual, but Liberty Commons at Big Rock Brewery is offering some IRL flavours inspired by the late-summer fair. – NOW


Stat Of The Week: The pandemic has hit the major labels this year... but they're still generating over $1m per hour from streaming

According to our analysis, the three major record companies saw their streaming revenues collectively hit $2.21bn in the three months to end of June. Streaming has remained a bright story amongst the music industry gloom. – Tim Ingham, MBW

Coronavirus: Germany puts on crowded concerts to study risks

Three pop concerts are being staged on one day in Germany to enable scientists to investigate the risks of such mass indoor events during the pandemic. Some 4,000 healthy volunteers aged between 18 and 50 were urged to sign up for the  study in Leipzig, carried out by Halle University. Singer-songwriter Tim Bendzko agreed to perform at all three successive gigs. – BBC

The Stones will open an exclusive flagship store in London

The Rolling Stones will open a world-first flagship store, RS No. 9 Carnaby, at 9 Carnaby Street in London’s Soho. The new store, created in partnership with Bravado, Universal Music Group’s merchandise and brand management company, will feature all the hallmarks of the iconic band and include exclusive new fashion and merchandise. – Buddy Iahn, The Music Universe

Triller threatened to sue over report suggesting it inflated its downloads

TechCrunch reports: “A new report disputing the validity of Triller’s recently announced download figures led Triller to respond with the threat of a lawsuit. Triller, a newly litigious TikTok rival that could potentially benefit from a TikTok ban in the U.S., has been pushing to capitalize on the recent turn of events regarding its chief competitor.”  – Digital Media Wire


Culture recovery fund: 135 English music venues receive £3.36m in grants

At-risk English music venues have become the first recipients of the £1.57bn government culture recovery fund. Historic sites including the London Troubadour and the Liverpool Jacaranda are among the 135 venues to benefit from the emergency grassroots fund. – Laura Snapes, The Guardian

Gaz Coombes calls on government to help support small music venues

The rocker has called on Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden to allocate money from the Emergency Grassroot Music Venues Fund to smaller establishments. The 44-year-old Coombes was due to reunite with his Supergrass bandmates on tour this summer to mark the 25th anniversary of a seminal album. –  Female First


The Kanye West campaign hits a snag early 

Rapper/producer Kanye West’s campaign ran into trouble last week on his first day of trying to get on the presidential ballot in his home state of Wyoming. People gathering signatures on behalf of West and another presidential candidate got too close to polling locations during the state’s primary, election officials said. – Toronto Star

Snow Patrol crowdsource a great new pandemic EP

The latest Snow Patrol album is not technically just a Snow Patrol album. The band had some help — from thousands of fans. The five-track EP, “The Fireside Sessions,” was written and recorded during quarantine — itself a minor technical and artistic miracle — but also included suggestions and input from followers on Instagram. Their names are included in the CD artwork and digital booklet. – Mark Kennedy, AP

New NY state rule bans ticketed music events at bars: ‘This is devastating'

A new wrinkle in the state’s coronavirus guidelines for bars, restaurants and similar venues in New York state prohibits them from offering live music that customers pay for separately. – Don Cazentre, New York Upstate 

Arthur Brown, the god of hellfire, returns

Known for his face paint, flaming helmet and 1968 hit Fire, the 78-year-old is back with a molten-hot manifesto for music in the pandemic era. – Dave Simpson, The Guardian

After leaving Las Vegas, Brandon Flowers and The Killers broaden their horizons

Since forming in Las Vegas in 2001, The Killers — whose sixth studio album, Imploding the Mirage, is just out — have openly emulated pioneering big-tent rock acts like U2 and Bruce Springsteen. Now, in an era dominated by hip-hop, they’re one of the few current bands still capable of filling arenas and stadiums: – LA Times

Critics tell Ronnie Wood to stick to music ahead of exhibition

A pastiche of Guernica featuring Rolling Stones dancing among ruins is a target for scorn, but his technique wins praise. –  Mark Brown, The Guardian


Britney Spears: Singer’s father Jamie remains in control of conservatorship until 2021 against her wishes

Britney Spears’ father Jamie will retain control of her personal life, career and estate, despite the singer having requested that he be removed as her conservator. Spears’ conservatorship has been extended until at least February 2021, a judge determined in a Los Angeles court last week. – Ellie Harrison, The Independent

From Radio Luxembourg to The Old Grey Whistle Test, Whispering Bob Harris on the music that defined a generation

I want to know how he has managed to be on remain at the top with his Radio 2 show, celebrating 50 years in broadcasting, given the more mature male broadcaster is on the endangered species list. – Brian Beacom, Herald Scotland

For a music critic, a vacation that’s all too quiet

Typically, the end of August through Labor Day is an ideal time for me to take a two-week vacation. Classical music tends to take that time off, too. After a jam-packed concert season and a slew of summer festivals, everything seems to stop for a bit. – Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

'X-Files' stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson reunite for series theme song remix

The two X-Files stars have reunited for a special charity remix of the spooky show’s classic theme tune. The pair met virtually to rehash composer Mark Snow’s theme with fan-written lyrics as part of a scheme devised by executive producer Frank Spotnitz. – WENN


Allison Russell at an interview with iHeartRadio for Billboard Canada Women in Music on June 19, 2024
Marc Thususka Photography

Allison Russell at an interview with iHeartRadio for Billboard Canada Women in Music on June 19, 2024


Allison Russell, Charlotte Cardin, DijahSB Shortlisted for 2024 Polaris Music Prize

The Beaches, rapper TOBi, indie experimentalist Cindy Lee, and previous winner Jeremy Dutcher are also amongst the ten artists in contention for the $50,000 prize, which recognizes the best Canadian album of the year based solely on artistic merit. See the whole list here.

Some of Canadian music's biggest breakthroughs of the last year are facing off for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize.

Charlotte Cardin for 99 Nights, The Beaches for Blame My Ex, Allison Russell for The Returner and Cindy Lee for Diamond Jubilee are among the ten artists shortlisted for the 2024 award, which recognizes the best Canadian album of the year.

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