Music Biz Headlines, Jan. 31, 2020

The powerhouse sound of Begonia (pictured), an in-depth probe of Gordon Lightfoot’s career, and the New Pornographers censor their name. Others in the headlines include Madison Violet, Julie Doiron, Juno noms, Michael Kiwanuka, Rusty Gaston, Grammy ratings, Live Nation, vinyl, Zach Katz, Bernie Taupin, The 100 Club, and the Chicago scene.

Music Biz Headlines, Jan. 31, 2020

By Kerry Doole

Robbie Fulks dives headfirst into the strangely messy world of Gordon Lightfoot

And 236 songs later, our writer, himself a noted songsmith, nearly drowns. — Robbie Fulks, Talkhouse

For the Winnipeg powerhouse who's been reborn as Begonia, Fear is something to be embraced

As one might rightly deduce from an album title like Fear, Winnipeg’s Begonia was working through some things while she was crafting her solo debut. — Mike Usinger, Georgia Straight

Folk-pop duo Madison Violet return to dark side of songwriting

Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac needed to get back to the dark side of Madison Violet. The Canadian folk-pop duo is touring its newest album, Everything’s Shifting. — Joe Belanger, London Free Press

The New Pornographers censor their name for new kids’ shirts

Want to let your child appropriately convey their love of A.C. Newman’s music? If so, the News Photographers have you covered. — Pitchfork


Julie Doiron and Mount Eerie’s view from the summit

The singer-songwriters’ second collaboration reaches new heights. — Morgan Mullin,The Coast

Welland Downtown BIA to run Concerts on the Canals for next two years

Welland's Downtown BIA will run the Concerts on the Canal series at the Merritt Park Amphitheatre for the next two years. Welland city councillors approved a contract Tuesday for the 2020 and 2021 seasons, at $65,000 a year. — Dave Johnson The Welland Tribune

Junos 2020 nominations: the breakthroughs and disappointments

Do you need a horse in the fight? Here are some trends, phenomena and interesting artists to watch at this year's Canadian music awards. — Richard Trapunski, NOW

From busker to boxer: Daniel Roach looks to make music in the ring

If you spent time in Kensington Market a few summers ago you might have seen him posted up with his shiny alto saxophone, playing jazz standards. But to advance his boxing career, Roach says he needs to turn down the music. — Morgan Campbell, The Toronto Star

Michael Kiwanuka turns a refreshingly respectful Vancouver audience on to something true at the Commodore

For better or worse, rock ’n’ roll usually comes with a fair helping of horseshit. All of these forms of horseshit were refreshingly almost completely absent from Michael Kiwanuka’s sold-out show at the Commodore last night. — Allan MacInnis, Georgia Straight

Playlist: Eight great Canadian releases from January

From Gordon Lightfoot and Ron Sexsmith to Jully Black and Sarah Harmer. — Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail 


Rusty Gaston appointed as CEO, Sony/ATV Music Publishing Nashville, effective immediately.

Sony/ATV has also acquired THiS Music, the Nashville-based publishing company Gaston co-founded with Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee Tim Nichols and award-winning songwriter Connie Harrington. — Murray Stassen, MBW


Grammy Awards ratings slip to new demo low

The 2020 Grammy Awards fell off enough to hit a new key demo low in the Nielsen ratings. However, this year’s telecast is now the lowest-rated in Grammys history. The least-watched Grammys was in 2006, with 17 million viewers. — Joe Otterson,Variety

DOJ says Live Nation “broke the promises they made to the court and the American People”

This follows the company’s merger with Ticketmaster. Thecourt entered an Amended Final Judgment extending the consent decree with Live Nation/Ticketmaster by five and a half years. —Murray Stassen, MBW

Nightmares on wax: the environmental impact of the vinyl revival

From toxic wastewater to greenhouse gas emissions, the boom in vinyl has dangerous effects – but streaming isn’t as clean an alternative as it looks.  — Kyle Devine, The Guardian

Zach Katz and Raised In Space grab attention

Last February, then-BMG US boss Zach Katz announced that he was exiting the music company to launch a new venture, Raised In Space, dedicated to “forging proactive collaboration between music and technology”. — Tim Ingham, MBW

The 100 Club granted protected status by Westminster Council

The 100 Club has been given special status, as part of a move by Westminster City Council to protect venues in Soho. The iconic London venue, which has staged performances by bands including The Rolling Stones, Oasis and The Sex Pistols, is set to benefit from business rates relief under plans put forward by Westminster City Council. —  Andre Paine, Music Week


Bernie Taupin talks his musical marriage to Elton John

Their long creative relationship has been immensely successful. — Rob Tannenbaum, LA Times

The rich and varied Chicago music scene

Chicago has always been a city for musical risk-taking. It’s where the Chess brothers helped introduce electric blues to the world and Kanye West changed rap 50 years later. Today, it’s home to one of the most adventurous, experimental scenes in the country. — Natalie Wiener, Rolling Stone

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The Beaches Bring "Blame Brett" to 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!'

The Toronto quartet brought their viral single into their late night TV debut.

Following the viral success of "Blame Brett" in 2023, The Beaches have made their late night TV debut, performing their naming-and-blaming single on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Though the Toronto band has been together for a decade, winning a 2018 Juno for Breakthrough Artist following their debut album, last yearmarked a watershed moment for the quartet. They traded their heavier rock sound for sleek new wave guitar tones and took back control of their career, deciding to release their new album, Blame My Ex, independently. (They co-wrote the album with Canadian artist and songwriter Lowell, who also has a credit on Beyoncé's newest hit.)

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