Music Biz Headlines, Feb. 17, 2020

More rumours around the El Mocambo (pictured), Drake’s bar venture flops, and StubHub is fined. Also in the headlines are Max Kerman, Vivek Shraya, Celine Dion, Hamilton, The Zombies, Jenn Grant, YouTube, The Third Mind, Rihanna, Tupac, Elton John, Rush, Bonnie Maclean, and The KLF.

Music Biz Headlines, Feb. 17, 2020

By FYI Staff

El Mocambo to reopen this spring before CMW

Information that's been spreading online is mostly inaccurate, but owner Michael Wekerle says the historic venue will open "when the snow melts and the sun starts to shower." – Richard Trapunski, NOW

School of rock — How Leafs GM Kyle Dubas and the Arkells’ Max Kerman found perfect harmony

Kyle Dubas was taking notes during the second period, and Max Kerman was curious. The Toronto Maple Leafs general manager always takes notes during games, to remember, and on a joust versus the Florida Panthers at Scotiabank Arena nearly two weeks ago, the lead singer of the band Arkells watched.  – Bruce Arthur, Toronto Star 

StubHub to pay $1.3M penalty in misleading price claims case

StubHub Canada Ltd. and StubHub Inc. will now ensure costs for Canadian events it sells tickets to are posted with their mandatory fees. The Competition Bureau discovered StubHub advertised tickets at “unattainable” prices on its websites, mobile apps and in promotional emails to Canadians. – CP


Drake's sports bar Pick 6ix has officially been shut down

The Toronto rapper's previous hometown restaurant, Frings, closed its doors just two years ago. – Sadaf Ahsan, NOW

Vivek Shraya prepares for theatre debut with her one-woman play How to Fail as a Popstar

The morning after Vivek Shraya’s second performance of her one-woman show, How to Fail as a Popstar, the poet/memoirist/novelist/visual artist/singer-songwriter/professor was talking about her theatre debut. – Marsha Lederman, The Globe and Mail

Celine Dion is officially the third richest artist in the world

Her $800 million net worth comes from way more than album sales, though as of 2020, according to Forbes, she has sold over 220 million albums. – Alyssa Goulart, Narcity

Dear Lin Manuel-Miranda: Hamilton was worth waiting for, but why you gotta disrespect Toronto?

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 2015 hit hip-hop biography of American founding father Alexander Hamilton is innovative, intellectually dazzling and just plain engrossing. And yet, it can’t be denied that the particular way this once-in-a-generation smash has arrived in Toronto feels like a diss. – JK Nestruck, The Globe and Mail 

Twitter act of kindness between Alberta and Manitoba women catches attention of Jann Arden

It all started when Winnipeg’s Rita Gordon turned to Twitter on Feb. 6 to send out her first-ever tweet. It was directed at Jann Arden, hoping to attract the attention of the artist after Gordon was priced out of buying tickets for the singer’s Manitoba show. – Allison Bench, Global News 


Town Talk: $790,000 raised for Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and VSO School of Music

Third-time co-chair Alexandra Mauler-Steinmann and newcomer Barbara Klebanoff fronted the 30th annual Vancouver Symphony Ball that reportedly raised $790,000 and change recently. Good news for recently appointed VSO board chair Etienne Bruson. – Malcolm Parry, Vancouver Sun

Bif Naked pulls no punches in hard-hitting Valentine’s Day single and video Jim

The song lands ahead of an upcoming album, Champion. – Darryl Sterdan, Tinnitist

Justin Bieber just taught Jimmy Fallon to play hockey on late-night TV

Justin Bieber was a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last week, and one segment featured on the show shows Bieber teaching Fallon how to play the signature sport of the Great White North: hockey. – Blog TO

The Zombies “Still Got That Hunger” with new release and Canadian dates announced

British pop pioneers The Zombies have announced a North American tour which includes three Southern U.S. dates, before heading North for eight shows in Canada. the band will be debuting new material on this tour, as founding keyboardist Rod Argent shares. –Sandy Graham, Cashbox Canada

Jenn Grant knows it’s Inevitable 

Coming home with her seventh studio album, the folk-pop star leans into harder edges. – Brennan McCracken, The Coast

Pharrell Williams on why curiosity matters

The Happy hitmaker is also a design nut. Recently, he unveiled his largest design project to date, a two-tower condo development in Toronto, done in collaboration with architects IBI Group and interior design studio U31, called Untitled. – Matthew Hague, The Globe and Mail


The rediscovery of hip-hop breaks down barriers in CBC Gem’s sci-fi drama Utopia Falls

– The Globe and Mail 


Warner Music Group’s A&R costs say a lot about how much labels need to spend on artists in today’s music industry

Over the past five years, the percentage of recorded-music revenue Warner has spent on A&R costs (mainly, on artist royalties and advances) has shot up, from 28.7 percent in fiscal year 2014 to a new high of 32.7 percent in fiscal year 2019 (+ four percent). – Tim Ingham, Rolling Stone


Why YouTube and the music biz are getting along better than ever

The industry’s biggest frenemy has always helped break acts like rising rap star Roddy Ricch. Now it’s signing up more subscribers and bringing in serious revenue — and finally winning over some label executives. – Dan Rys, Billboard

YouTube says it paid the music biz over $3B last year – 20 percent of its annual ad revenue. Is that good?

Do you remember when the music industry was clawing at YouTube’s throat? C’mon; it hasn’t been that long. – Tim Ingham, MBW

Elton John: Saturday night’s not alright.. cause I have pneumonia

The star struggled to power through his performance in Auckland Saturday night, but eventually, he was forced to throw in the towel due to a bad case of walking pneumonia. With video. – TMZ

The Third Mind makes Miles Davis proud with self-titled album

There is no Miles Davis music on the debut of this new Dave Alvin led side project. But his recording process and sonic philosophy hang heavy over this album.  – Hal Horowitz, American Songwriter

Rihanna’s lingerie line accused of deceptive marketing

A consumer group claims that the buzzy Savage x Fenty line “ensnares consumers into unwanted monthly charges.” The company disputes the accusation. – Sapna Maheshwari, The New York Times

Bonnie Maclean, pioneering rock poster artist and wife of Bill Graham, dies at 80

She was one of the primary poster artists of the late 1960s psychedelic rock era, serving as the in-house poster artist at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco from 1967 to 1971. Maclean was also the onetime wife of concert promoter Bill Graham.  – Aidin Vaziri, SF Chronicle

US Army Band covers Rush's "Time Stand Still."

The United States Army Band, "Pershing's Own," has paid tribute to the late Neil Peart with a moving cover of the Rush classic.  – Ultimate Classic Rock

With his Lil' Devil vibrator, Machine Gun Kelly joins the list of rock stars who want to get into your pants

Rockers including Rammstein and Motörhead have put their names on sex toys. Here's another one.  – John Lucas, Georgia Straight

Tupac is alive — and living with the Navajo, new film will argue

Imagine this: When Tupac Shakur arrived in Las Vegas on Sept. 7, 1996, to attend a Mike Tyson boxing match at the MGM Grand, he learned of a plot to kill him. – Martha Ross, The Mercury News


One dead, four injured in shooting outside Berlin music venue

Unknown people opened fire around 22:50 CET Friday night outside the Tempodrom, the Berlin Police said. –  Euronews 

The KLF-Chill Out

Each Sunday, Pitchfork takes an in-depth look at a significant album from the past, and any record not in our archives is eligible. Today, we revisit the KLF’s sample-heavy dreamscape, one of the most influential records in ambient house music. – Philip Sherburne, Pitchfork




Toronto Queer Music Festival Lavender Wild Gets Slayyyter, Rebecca Black for Summer Dance Party

Ari Hicks, Makayla Couture and more will take the stage at History for a sweaty August event, with proceeds going towards 2SLGBTQI+ charity The Get Real Movement as well as Toronto's Glad Day Bookshop, the oldest queer bookstore in the world.

With Pride month in full swing, Toronto queer music festival Lavender Wild has announced a sizzling new event for later this summer.

"Starfucker" singer Slayyyter will headline the August 24 celebration at Toronto's History club, with queer musician and "Friday" singer Rebecca Black DJing, while Canadian drag queens Makayla Couture and Naomi Leone also bringing their star quality to the stage.

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