Music Biz Headlines, Feb. 23, 2023

Music Biz Headlines, Feb. 23, 2023

By Kerry Doole

Ron Sexsmith is comfortable with the path he’s carved ‘on the service road of the music industry’

With his 17th album, out Friday, the humble singer-songwriter feels like it’s all worked out pretty well for a kid from St. Catharines. – Ben Rayner, Toronto Star

Singer Jully Black's one-word change to O Canada at NBA All-Star game draws praise

She sang 'O Canada! Our home on native land,' with emphasis on the word 'on'.  – CP

Royal Conservatory of Music chief Peter Simon to depart next year

Royal Conservatory of Music president and CEO Peter Simon, who has been leading the institution for more than three decades, will step down next year. During his tenure, the Toronto-based conservatory has undergone massive development and become one the world’s largest music education institutions. – Marsha Lederman, Globe and Mail

Halifax might be about to become one of Canada's worst-funded cities for the arts

A proposed 55 percent cut to arts and culture funding was presented to HRM's council February 17. "We're being threatened to extinction," arts orgs say. – Morgan Mullin, The Coast


The musical legacy of local legend Bobby Dean Blackburn

Bobby Dean Blackburn has a star on the Mississauga Walk of fame for his legacy in the music world. Stella Acquisto catches up with the R&B legend. – CityTV

Scaled-back Vancouver International Jazz Festival announces shows by the Bad Plus and Love in Exile

The Vancouver International Jazz Festival has announced the Bad Plus and Love in Exile as major names heading to the 38th edition of the showcase. Concerts will run from June 23 to July 2 at various venues around town, with addition acts to be announced in the coming weeks. The sponsorship deal with TD expired last year, which has led organizers to pivot to a small, more sustainable post-pandemic event. – Mike Usinger, Georgia Straight

Rappers Drake, 21 Savage settle with Condé Nast over fake Vogue cover

Drake and 21 Savage have settled a lawsuit by Condé Nast accusing the rappers of creating a fake Vogue magazine without permission to promote their recent album. In an internal memo on Thursday, Condé Nast general counsel Will Bowes said the settlement includes an unspecified monetary payment that will “bolster our ongoing creative output, including Vogue editorial.” – Jonathan Stempel, Reuters

Feist returns with a moving ballad on imperfect love, plus new music from beabadoobee, and more

This week’s playlist also features music from Tayc, Caroline Polachek, You Me At Six and more.  –Toronto Star


Don Pyle is raising money for Dallas Good's cats

The ace Toronto photographer and close Dallas friend is selling photos to pay for the care of Luther and Frederick. – Exclaim!

Sarah Church lets go of her past life through song

March 5 album launch for ‘Letting Go’ at Hamilton’s Casbah, Graham Rockingham writes. – Hamilton Spectator

Def Jam’s new exec Kardinal Offishall to Canadian celebs: show your support at home

Kardinal Offishall has a message for his fellow Canadian celebrities: you’ve got to step it up at home. This is coming from a Toronto hip-hop star who has been a seemingly inescapable presence in the domestic arts and entertainment scene for decades. – CP


Catching up with Classified

Enfield's hip hop powerhouse talks Juno noms and acoustic bars in advance of two Halifax concerts. –  Morgan Mullin, The Coast 

From the Attic to a set of ears near you

What goes around comes around. In this case, Cam Loeppky is hopeful his new video project will drum up some mutually beneficial promotion for local musicians and his Winnipeg recording studio. From the Attic is a weekly web series he launched last Thursday featuring high-end live performance music videos shot inside Loeppky’s Argyle Studio. – Eva Wasney, Winnipeg Free Press

These Toronto DJs want everyone to know the roots of dance music

The Promised Land DJ collective hosts an eponymous monthly dance night at a bar in the city’s Dovercourt Village. – Briony Smith, Toronto Star

The time opera superstar Luciano Pavarotti stiffed Hamilton on Valentine’s Day, plus the makeup date

An oral history of legendary singer Luciano Pavarotti’s double-snub of Hamilton in 1999. – Jon Wells, Hamilton Spectator

Divine Brown presents revolutionary ideas with the jazzy docu-concert Billie, Sarah, and Ella

The race issue in the music business is a story as old as the industry itself. For Brown, it was an unavoidable subject in her new stage production about the Black female icons Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald which she wrote and developed for Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre Company. What was revolutionary about those stars was, simply, their success. – Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail



TikTok's bust-up with the major music companies is starting to simmer

By striking a distribution partnership with Snoop Dogg, a superstar artist in control of an iconic catalog of recorded music, TikTok is arguably striving to prove that it can sign major partnerships, and create major catalog music moments, without a major label’s involvement. – Murray Stassen, MBW

Napster acquires Web3 music startup Mint Songs

Napster, the original music disruptor and long-running independent music streaming service, has acquired Web3 music startup Mint Songs. Mint Songs runs a non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace that helps music artists build Web3 communities as well as mint songs and provide exclusive art for their fans to own and trade. – Venture Beat


As Hybe eyes a $900M stake in K-Pop rival, SM Ent slams 'hostile takeover attempt' 

There’s a major rift stewing between two of the market’s key players that could have a seismic impact on South Korea’s entertainment business for years to come. – Murray Stassen, MBW

George Harrison's solo recordings move to BMG

BMG has announced a deal to bring the solo recorded works of George Harrison to Dark Horse Records/BMG. While Dark Horse Records/BMG already administers the music publishing of George Harrison, it will now also serve as his label home. –  MBW

How an alleged conman tore apart one of the '90's biggest bands 

Live had some of the alt-rock era's hugest hits, but in recent years the former bandmates have been bitterly divided by legal drama and interpersonal conflict. – Andy Greene, Rolling Stone

‘It’s an insane amount of money’: fans feel shortchanged by K-pop ticketing as idols finally hit the UK

British K-pop fans are bracing for a bumper year of gigs – but worry that short-notice ticket releases and high prices play into the hands of scalpers. – Molly Raycraft, The Guardian

Rihanna’s Super Bowl show was a masterclass in the new business of entertainment

When more than 110 million viewers tuned in to the Super Bowl halftime show, they saw a spectacular performance by Rihanna, the multiplatinum recording star making her first live public appearance in almost seven years. What many watchers may not have realized was that they were also experiencing the full power of Rihanna, Inc. –  Gus Carlson, Globe and Mail

Goth’s undead! The dark return of Britain’s spookiest subculture

From Wednesday Addams to Gen Z’s body-modified clubbers, the black-eyeliner brigade is back – and wearing its deathhawk hair higher than ever. But did it ever go away? – Sylvia Patterson, The Guardian

Adele, Ed Sheeran unable to perform at King Charles' coronation: report

The Hello hitmaker, 34, has apparently turned down the invitation, and ‘The A-Team‘ singer Sheeran, 32, is said to have a gig in the U.S. that will make it “difficult” for him to perform at the May 7 show at Windsor Castle. – Bang Showbiz


Uncharted territory: how The Fall’s fractious New Zealand tour nearly sank Flying Nun Records

When the Kiwi indie label got a chance to record a live album by the Manchester band, the tensions fraying the group almost destroyed the record company – as documented in a new book. – Matthew Goody, The Guardian

50 Cent

50 Cent


50 Cent Takes A Victory Lap at Toronto's Cabana Pool Bar: Canadian Concerts of the Week

Also this week: it's festival season, with Hillside, Le Festif! and the Vancouver Folk Music Festival all happening on the same weekend.

Summer is in swing, and that means festival season. While many of the biggest ones take place in August, this weekend sees a handful of folk or adjacent events with the perfect summer vibes. Find those below, after our concert of the week featuring one of the biggest rap success stories of the last two decades.

Concert of the Week

50 Cent at Cabana Pool Bar, Toronto — Saturday, July 20

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