Music Biz Headlines, July 2, 2020

Cirque du Soleil (pictured) files for bankruptcy protection, some critiques of the Junos, and success for the Montreal jazz fest's online edition. Also in the headlines are The Weeknd, TekSavvy, Burton and Randy, KKR, Manitoba music, BMG, BET Awards, Live Nation, Jamendo, Chase Rice, Shannon Hoon, the trombone, Shel Silverstein, Suzi Q, Broadway, Brett Gurewitz, Queen, and Dusty Springfield.

Music Biz Headlines, July 2, 2020

By FYI Staff

Global circus company Cirque du Soleil files for bankruptcy protection

Quebec's two major institutional investors join forces in a purchase bid for the embattled firm. –– Jonathan Montpetit, CBC News

Cirque du Soleil has lost its way, co-founder Gilles Ste-Croix says

Ste-Croix co-founded the Cirque with Guy Laliberté in the first half of the ’80s. The two were part of a ragtag group of street performers in Baie-St-Paul that morphed into what would become the world’s leading circus, and one of the planet’s biggest live-entertainment companies. –– Montreal Gazette

Critic’s notebook: Online Juno Awards were small, safe and skippable

If a Juno falls in an empty venue, does anybody care? Carried on numerous CBC digital platforms but not on broadcast television, Monday’s program was stripped-down and subdued. Victors were encouraged to give acceptance speeches on their own social media platforms and websites, but not on the streamed event itself. –– Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail


Alessia Cara sweeps Canada’s Juno Awards; Shawn Mendes wins Artist of the Year

Alessia Cara was the big winner at Monday’s virtual 49th annual Juno Awards — Canada’s answer to the Grammys — taking home songwriter, pop album and album of the year for “The Pains of Growing.” The Junos streamed on various online CBC channels and social pages and winners weren’t notified in advance. –– Karen Bliss, Variety

2020 Juno Awards open with a dramatic moment of reckoning on matters of race and inclusion

The most dramatic moments at the Juno Awards came at the top of the show, where the Junos were remarkably forthright about their need to diversify and how the show was late to acknowledge soul, reggae, rap and other forms of Black and indigenous music. –– Paul Grein, Billboard

Montreal jazz fest's online edition a rousing success

Around 2,000 to 3,000 viewers tuned into the festival’s Facebook page at any given time over the course of the event, but many more viewed the performances after the fact. –– T'Cha Dunlevy, Montreal Gazette

The Toronto star has made a $1 million donation to coronavirus relief, giving $500,000 each to MusiCares and to the front-line hospital workers of Scarborough Health Network, the hospital network in the city where he was raised.  According to the announcement, the donation is a leading gift to the health network’s covid-19 Emergency Fund, which now totals more than $2.7 million.––Jem Aswad, Variety

CityView Drive-In is Toronto's newest music venue

Monster Truck, Allan Rayman and A Tribe Called Red will perform concerts at the drive-in theatre located in the Rebel nightclub parking lot. –– Richard Trapunski, NOW


The music industry is allowed to intervene on a landmark web-blocking case in Canada

A court in Canada has said that it will allow national and global trade organisations for the music industry to intervene in an ongoing legal battle over web-blocking in the country. The battle is with internet service provider TekSavvy, which has appealed a web-blocking order that was issued by the courts last year against piracy site –– Chris Cooke, CMU

Bader Centre teams up with CBC Music to host online cello competition 

The Bader and Overton Canadian Cello Competition took place on June 24, 25, and 27 with the eight participants broadcasting live from their homes. ––Queen's Journal

The hidden racist history of 'O Canada'

Laila El Mugammar: Every time I stand for the Canadian national anthem, I think about the song's composer, who founded a blackface minstrel troupe. What does it mean to sing the melody of a man who wore me as a costume? –– Chatelaine

Mining the Sault's rich musical history 

Local music aficionado Shaun Antler has taken on the daunting task of gathering information about the city’s rich musical history. –– Chris Belsito, Soo Today

150 songs for Manitoba

Singing the province’s praises with this sesquicentennial playlist. –– Winnipeg Free Press

Stingray partners with legendary Canadian stars Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman 

 As Canadians celebrated the nation’s 153rd birthday on July 1, they did it with a truly Canadian soundtrack from coast-to-coast as Stingray presented Top 100 Canadian Songs of All-Time, hosted by Burton Cummings, Randy Bachman, and Stu Jeffries. –– GlobeNewswire



KKR leads a $48m investment in Artlist

Seven years after it sold its stake in BMG to Bertelsmann for circa $1bn, KKR has made a meaningful move back into music. It is investing in Artlist, a royalty-free music and sound effects company that licenses content to creators on YouTube and other platforms. ––MBW

2020 BET Awards: an artistic, virtual and political success


What major UK music companies are paying women compared to men

Last year, we revealed that the average gender pay gap (as of April 5, 2018) across all three major record companies in the UK was 29.6% – with 29.1% at Universal Music, 20.9% at Sony Music and 38.7% at Warner Music. At the height of the UK’s covid lockdown in April, two out of three of the major music companies, Sony and Warner, did file their UK gender pay gap reports, as did a run of other top music companies, including Spotify and Live Nation. Here are the figures. –– Murray Stassen, MBW

BMG has struck a multifaceted new partnership with ITV Studios

The deal makes BMG the new music partner of choice across all areas of ITV Studios’ business, covering records, publishing, production music and synch.The partnership includes a global music publishing and administration agreement for future commissioned music, the launch of a joint venture production music label and the development of a customised online platform. –– Tim Ingham, MBW

Artist group calls for an antitrust investigation of Live Nation

In a letter to the House Judiciary Committee, the Artist Rights Alliance, Center for Digital Democracy, and Future of Music Coalition have asked for an investigation of Live Nation for “monopolistic behaviour and abuses,” stemming from the company’s consideration of changes to its contract terms in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. –– Dave Clark, Ticket News

Jamendo spins subscription-based sync licensing for video producers & podcasters

If the world has arrived at all-you-can-eat subscription, why hasn’t sync music licensing? Now, leading indie licensing platform Jamendo has launched a sync-subscription service that aims to benefit indie creators and artists alike. –– Paul Resnikoff, Digital Music News

Country music reckons with racial stereotypes and its future

The country music industry has long been hesitant to address its long and complicated history with race, but the death of George Floyd in police custody and the protests it sparked in the U.S. and around the world became a sound too loud for the genre to ignore. –– Kristin M. Hall, AP


As covid-19 surges, country star Chase Rice plays packed concert for a thousand mask-free fans

As the pandemic spreads throughout the South and West, country music singers Chase Rice and Chris Janson each played to packed concerts on Saturday, where many fans chose to ignore recommended safety measures against spreading and contracting the disease. The two singers performed sets in Tennessee and Idaho, respectively. ––August Brown, LA Times

Chase Rice responds to backlash over packed ‘super-spreader’ concert

The country music star has been facing a non-stop backlash after hosting a packed concert in Tennessee — and uploading a clip of the gig to social media. Now, Rice has responded to the controversy, posting a minute-long Instagram video. “What’s up y’all, Chase here and I just wanted to address my show Saturday night,” the 34-year-old began.  –– Dylan Smith, Digital Music News

Review: Blind Melon’s late lead singer Shannon Hoon tells his story in a new documentary

The curse of self-awareness is sown throughout the documentary “All I Can Say,” a kaleidoscopic video diary recorded by Blind Melon singer Shannon Hoon from his arrival in Los Angeles in 1990 to the hours prior to his fatal 1995 cocaine overdose in New Orleans. –– Kevin Crust, LA Times 

A guide to the history of the trombone

Trombones are one of the most popular instruments available, being able to work within several different musical genres. However, despite their wide use, many people aren’t familiar with their long history. So, let’s take a brief look at the origins of the trombone and some of the most important players. –– Buddy Iahn, The Music Universe


Shel Silverstein: The songwriter who gave us 'The Giving Tree'

When asked many years ago what he most wanted out of life, Shel Silverstein answered, "Everything." It was a characteristic answer from this elusive, legendary artist who was born in Chicago on September 25, 1930, and died in Key West on May 10, 1999. –– American Songwriter

Songs & Daughters announce a publishing arm and a first deal

Songs & Daughters, founded by hit songwriter Nicolle Galyon, is already celebrated for being the first female-driven record label in Nashville (in partnership with Big Loud Records). The company continues its groundbreaking approach by announcing the creation of a new publishing arm, in partnership with Big Loud Publishing and Warner Chappell Music, with fast-rising singer-songwriter Tiera as its inaugural signee. –– American Songwriter

'Suzi Q': Film review

Trailblazer Suzi Quatro, the first female bass player to front a high-profile rock band, is the subject of Liam Firmager's engaging documentary. Interviewed extensively for the doc, Quatro is still going strong at 70. –– Sheri Linden, Hollywood Reporter

A different kind of Queen gets a Royal Mail commemorative stamp

British postage stamps, which often portray the monarch, will honour a different Queen, the legendary rock band, in a new Royal Mail series.  –– Reuters

Silenced by pandemic, going digital is the only way for Carnatic music… but that’s no easy raga

That covid-induced challenge is no easy raga. ––  Indian Express

Atmosphere respond to Minneapolis hip-hop scene abuse allegations

Following allegations of abuse against members of the Minneapolis alternative music scene, including DJ Fundo (who has DJed for P.O.S of Doomtree and Prof), Prof himself, and Dem Atlas, Prof and Dem Atlas' label Rhymesayers issued a statement saying that both Prof and Dem Atlas had been dropped from the label. Now, Slug of Atmosphere (one of Rhymesayers' co-owners) issued his own statement. 

Broadway will officially stay dark until 2021

All Broadway theatres were closed on March 12, effective immediately, to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. At that time, the shutdown was set to last through April 12; it was later extended through June 7, and then through September 6. Today, the Broadway League confirmed what many had feared: The Street will not reopen this year at all. –– Adam Feldman, Time Out

A lawsuit accuses the house label of ‘masquerading as paternalistic benefactors’ for ‘musicians hungry for their first break.’––  Laura Snapes, The Guardian

Why you’re not punk if you don’t support BLM, according to Brett Gurewitz

The Epitaph Records founder and Bad Religion leader explains why being “non-racist” isn’t enough in 2020. –– Bobby Makar, Alternative Press

How 100 of Rock's biggest bands got their names

Certain trends emerge as you explore how rock's 100 biggest bands got their names. They are often forced into taking the moniker that stuck, for instance, simply because somebody else had already claimed their earlier attempt at a fame-clinching title. Far too many of them were also chosen without any real consideration for how long the members might have to live with their decisions. –– Ultimate Classic Rock

How Dusty Springfield made a remarkable comeback

As her 1990 album Reputation turns thirty, Nick Levine looks back at how the troubled pop icon enjoyed a glorious and unexpected late-career high after years out of the limelight. ––  BBC

Celine Dion
Courtesy Photo

Celine Dion


Celine Dion Battled Extreme Muscle Spasms From Stiff-Person Syndrome With Dangerously High Doses of Valium: ‘It Could Have Been Fatal’

The singer opened up about her decade-long struggle with the rare neurological disorder in Tuesday night's (June 11) primetime NBC special.

Celine Dion was so desperate to alleviate the pain from severe muscle spasms during her secret, nearly two-decade-long battle with the rare neurological and autoimmune disease Stiff-Person Syndrome that she took near-lethal doses of Valium in search of relief. In her one-hour primetime NBC special on Tuesday night (June 11), Dion said she took up to 90 milligrams of the medication used to treat anxiety, seizures and muscle spasms, an amount that is more than twice the recommended daily dose.

“I did not know, honestly, that it could kill me. I would take, for example before a performance, 20 milligrams of Valium, and then just walking from my dressing room to backstage — it was gone,” Dion said of the instant pain relief the medication offered at levels, however that “could have been fatal” if she’d continued at that pace. “At one point, the thing is, that my body got used to it at 20 and 30 and 40 [milligrams] until it went up. And I needed that. It was relaxing my whole body. For two weeks, for a month, the show would go on… but then you get used to [and] it doesn’t work anymore.”

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