Music Biz Headlines, Dec. 17, 2018

Jennifer Castle (pictured) is finding an audience, Kanye and Drake are at odds, and Calpurnia discusses their influences. Also in the headlines are Christmas albums, Alessia Cara, TTC video, Rich Hope, ticket brokers, Putin, music royalties, industry predictions, Best Songs lists, Queen, and Geddy Lee.

Music Biz Headlines, Dec. 17, 2018

By Kerry Doole

Jennifer Castle finds death becomes her as dark album becomes a hit

While having one of the year’s most acclaimed albums under her belt is kind of old news to Jennifer Castle at this point, 2018 has added a pleasant twist to the familiar story: it would now appear that it’s not just music critics who are listening. – Ben Rayner, Toronto Star

Alternative Christmas albums deliver something new to spin this season

Sick of the chestnuts playing on the open stereo? Here are some seasonal sound options. – Stuart Derdeyn, Vancouver Sun

Calpurnia gives props to local legends

There’s an argument that rock ’n’ roll could not be deader as this decade comes to a close, with anyone under the age of 30 singularly obsessed with everything falling under the umbrella of urban music. That makes Calpurnia something of an oddity. – Mike Usinger, Georgia Straight


In the air there's a feeling of Villages

Celebrate the holidays with the folk foursome. – Tara Thorne, The Coast

Review: Alessia Cara's The Pains Of Growing is a sophisticated pop coming of age

The Brampton singer’s sophomore release is wholly dedicated – in a wonderfully genuine way – to the challenging, gratifying and unpredictable world of adulting. – Chaka Grier, NOW

TTC holiday video turns the spotlight on subway musicians

For many, the TTC’s subway musicians are an integral part of their workday commute in Toronto and often a welcome break from the stress of the journey. This year, the TTC chose to feature some of their minstrels of mirth in a video wishing customers a happy holiday. – Dilshad Burman, Toronto City News

Rich Hope whips it out for Keithmas

 You could say Rich Hope is a busy guy. The long-time local musician’s day gig is as the owner and barber at the Belmont. He now returns to the fray with the new album, I'm All Yours. – John Lucas, Georgia Straight


In a world of ‘algorithmic culture,’ music critics fight for relevance

Music critics are lamenting the possibility of a machine-driven world that rewards artists not for their originality, creativity, or emotional authenticity, but for their ability to replicate proven, predetermined formulas. – Cherie Hu, Columbia Journalism Review

Need tickets? Get in line, as emails reveal how brokers get first crack at tix for big arena shows

Country star Eric Church isn't the only one to have his concert tickets offered to member brokers of DTI, a technology company created by CEO Curtis Cheng that works with brokers to pool money and take large positions in inventory for both concerts and sports. – Dave Brooks, Billboard


US must change its record on royalties, says music industry

Ministers should stand up for British musicians during trade negotiations with the United States and demand that its radio stations pay to play their songs, industry leaders have said. – Callum Jones, The Times

Vladimir Putin says he's fearful of rap music

The Russian President wants to devise a plan of controlling rap as the music genre becomes more popular with his country’s youth.  – Alexandra Hutzler, Newsweek

Everything you ever wanted to know about music royalties

The music biz is a fickle mistress. There’s a metric fuck-ton of money floating around behind the scenes and yet, for some reason, artists themselves often don’t receive a decent payout. – Kayla, Metalsucks

How savvy advertising helped make stereo technology mainstream

Stereo demonstrations and colourful ads sold customers on the two-channel sound technology when it was introduced 60 years ago. – Janet Borgerson and Jonathan Schroeder,

Predictions for the music industry in 2019

With CD sales dropping every day and Spotify and various streaming services providing new incomes to major and independent labels, it’ll be interesting to see what other predictions come true for the 2019 year. – EDM Sauce


After #MeToo, a culture war crescendos over ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’

Rock Hudson did it with Mae West. Ray Charles did it with Betty Carter. Lady Gaga and Joseph Gordon-Levitt did it with a modern twist. And somewhere along the line, the 74-year-old song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” became a holiday standard, in heavy radio rotation, playing overhead in department stores, and covered on Christmas albums. – Jacey Fortin, New York Times

50 Best Songs of 2018

Highlights from a year full of heart-rending pop smashes, trunk-rattling hip-hop hits and unforgettable moments in reggaeton, country, singer-songwriter indie-rock and woke post-punk. –  Staff, Rolling Stone

20 Best Pop Albums of 2018

Camila Cabello, Ariana Grande, Robyn and more of the year in hooks. – Brittany Spanos, Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone


'Someone called me the antichrist': behind the battles for Christmas No 1

Christmas No 1 was once a fiercely fought-over prize. From Rage Against the Machine v Joe McElderry, Slade v Wizzard and George Michael in Wham! v George Michael in Band Aid, winners and losers recall the great festive stand-offs. – Dave Simpson, The Guardian

Gina Arnold's 'Half a Million Strong' unpacks music festivals, race, and power

The new book documents decades of music festivals and their inherent conflicts. – Madeline Wells, East Bay Express

Bohemian Rhapsody makes history as highest-grossing music biopic ever

Is this the real life? The Queen movie, starring Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury, has been such a rapturous success at the box office that it is now the highest-grossing music biopic of all time, according to Deadline. The film recently sailed past the $600-million mark at the box office. – Yohana Desta, Vanity Fair

Rush’s Geddy Lee talks massive new bass book, meeting John Paul Jones

Lee details the “treasure hunt” obsession that fueled his ‘Big Beautiful Book of Bass’ and how the project revitalized his creative process. – Ryan Reed, Rolling Stone

American Songwriter's Top 25 Songs of 2018

From John Prine to Childish Gambino to Ariana Grande, it's an eclectic list. – American Songwriter

Why does Drake need Kanye's permission to clear 'Say What's Real?: An explainer

On Thursday (Dec. 13), Kanye West revealed on Twitter that Drake sent a clearance request for "Say What's Real," After a lengthy rant on Twitter and a phone call with Drake, West ultimately decided to deny the rapper his request for the sample clearance. – Carl Lamarre, Billboard

Q&A: Garth Brooks on the changing industry, taking care of his fans, and Prince.

Country music icon Garth Brooks is right at the forefront of the innovation, utilizing social media in a way any 20-year-old would admire. Steve Baltin, Forbes

Françoise Hardy
Joost Evers / Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Françoise Hardy


Obituaries: French Pop Icon Françoise Hardy, 'Suspicious Minds' Songwriter Mark James

This week we also acknowledge the passing of broadcaster/musician Jeremy Tepper, Tejano music TV host Johnny Canales and Scottish rocker Davie Duncan.

Françoise Hardy, a French pop singer, actress, author and model, died on June 11, at age 80 after a long battle with lymphatic cancer.

A Billboard obituary terms Hardy "one of the leading lights of the French yé-yé pop movement, and an inspiration to Bob Dylan and Mick Jagger.

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