Music Biz Headlines, July 20, 2020

Karl Wolf (pictured) is excited to get back on stage, the Horseshoe Tavern mulls its options, and the search for a song for this summer. Also in the headlines are Drake, BreakOut West, Kate Boothman, Live Nation, Telefilm, Chi Pig, David Foster, UMG, Marc Geiger, Unison, David Lee Roth, Talking Heads, Instagram Reels, the Chicks, Juice-WRLD, and Maya J.

Music Biz Headlines, July 20, 2020

By FYI Staff

As organizers navigate Ontario drive-in restrictions, artists are just happy to get back to performing

It’s his first gig in months, and Karl Wolf is excited. The Toronto-based singer-and-songwriter, known for his high-energy electronic pop/R&B and soul hasn’t performed in front of a live audience for eons. He soon gets to entertain at a new Toronto drive-in venue. –– Nick Krewen, Toronto Star

From reduced-capacity to drive-in concerts, Live Nation assesses options to bring live shows back

One option for actual in-the-flesh shows is the drive-in concert, with fans self-isolated in their automobiles. The concert giant is exploring this concept. –– Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail

If Drake goes independent, the music business is done, says industry veteran Steve Stoute

Stoute also revealed: "Drake is about to get the biggest bag in the history of the music business by far." –– Shirley Ju, Variety


Kate Boothman gets back in the saddle on new single Please Don't Be Late

The fab Kate Boothman’s new track moves away from the heavy psyche of her previous album to something akin to the Cowboy Junkies ‘ ‘Caution Horses’. There’s a shambling, shuffling, gait of a rhythm to the track and of course here we understand slow is good, slow is very good but please don’t be late. –– Will McGuirk, Slow City

Jeff Cohen, owner of Horseshoe Tavern, discusses the reopening plans for his small business.

Horseshoe Tavern's plan for reopening as Toronto is held back from stage 3, and the owner has reservations about all the restrictions still involved. –– BNN/Bloomberg

BreakOut West announces a 15-day digital showcase

Although the 15-day immersive experience is digital, it will continue to offer artists and industry the opportunity to grow their career through keynote speakers, discussions, mentorship meetings, networking mixers and new music discoveries.  –– Anna BorowieckiSt. Albert Today

Shreds from the sea: 300-year-old shipwreck finds new life in electric guitars

Newfoundland musician Greg Fleming has carefully crafted instruments from sunken timber. –– Alex Kennedy, CBC News

Will there be a signature song this tumultuous summer?

The annual Song of the Summer sweepstakes is in full swing. According to Billboard’s Hot 100, the early leader is DaBaby’s Rockstar. But the chart lies. This summer, one of the sickest and most politically charged ever, requires an era-defining anthem, not a swaggering ode to fast cars and Glock-made products. –– Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail


‘Telefilm is due for a change’: Inside the cultural reckoning of Canada’s film funding agency

Although Telefilm’s goals are ambitious – it wants to grow its private-donation Talent Fund initiative, modernize its Success Index to determine what projects receive funding and redefine its senior management team – they arrive at a moment of tremendous cultural reckoning for Canada’s film industry. And it is a reckoning that places Telefilm dead-centre as an institution in need of deep and systemic change. –– Barry Hertz, Globe and Mail

Vancouver musicians mourn the loss of Chi Pig aka Ken Chinn

Condolences are pouring in from around the world for Ken Chinn, the lead singer of Edmonton-founded punk band SNFU, who died Thursday in Vancouver. Burnaby city councillor and fellow punk rock musician Joe Keithley remembered Chinn as a dynamic performer who fronted "one of Canada's greatest bands." Keithley and fellow Vancouver musician Bif Naked described Chinn as intelligent and kind. –– CTV News

Long live The Beaver: A celebration of Toronto's most beloved queer space

Folks connected to the dearly departed and arts-friendly Queen West bar share their stories of why it meant so much to so many. –– Peter Knegt, CBC

Record producer David Foster's 50-Year career of hits is told in candid new documentary

Those in the music industry probably know that famed record producer David Foster is driven by painstaking perfection when it comes to producing, arranging and writing memorable hit songs. It explains for his collaborations with a virtual who's who in pop music from the last five decades. –– David Chiu, Newsweek


Playing a dangerous game: Alan Cross has some predictions for the future of music

Once upon a time, it was comparatively easy to make predictions about where music was headed, thanks to decades-long cyclical flips of rock and pop. But then came the internet and everything got turned on its head. –– Global News 


Stat of the week: 61% of UMG's recorded music revenues comes from local artists

Here’s a funny, unexpected thing that’s playing out as streaming increases its stranglehold on the global industry: the success of local artists, in local territories – in contrast to globe-spanning superstars – is becoming an increasingly important component of the music business.That’s the indication from some under-discussed statistics, spotted by MBW, in the latest company report of Universal Music Group (via its parent Vivendi). –– Tim Ingham, MBW


Live music won't return until 2022, says Lollapalooza co-founder

Marc Geiger, who co-founded Lollapalooza and was the global head of the William Morris Endeavor Music Division until earlier this year, appeared on Bob Lefsetz's podcast this week. When Bob asked him when he thought live music would be back, he said, "In my humble opinion, it’s going to be 2022." –– Brooklyn Vegan

UK to open indoor music venues in August

While the US continues to struggle with containing COVID-19, across the pond, England is gearing up to reopen indoor music venues next month part of its Phase 4 reopening plan. On Friday, UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport announced “theaters, music halls and other venues” will be able to host indoor concerts starting Aug. 1, following a successful pilot program with the London Symphony. Audiences and performers are required to follow social distancing protocol."  –– Spin

From Bob Dylan to Viv Albertine: 10 of the best music biographies

Addiction, poetry, flirting with Scientology: these candid memoirs and biographies reveal the inner lives of musicians. –– Fiona Sturges, The Guardian

Gavin Rossdale on Bush’s new album ‘The Kingdom’, ‘The Voice’ and catching flak in the ’90s

The frontman talks to us about the modern age, comebacks and hating the term "'90s band." –– Andrew Trendell, NME

'Unison was created not just to solve problems in Spain, but to compete globally'

When you think of royalty collection in Spain, which words come to mind? Last year global body CISAC kicked Spain’s incumbent CMO for publishers and songwriters, SGAE, out of its membership following a series of damaging allegations. Now, SGAE has real competition in Spain in the form of Unison – whose client list is already seriously impressive, and whose ambitions stretch far beyond the borders of its home nation. –– Tim Ingham, MBW

Remain in Love by Chris Frantz review – the Talking Heads drummer speaks out

The trouble with David Byrne ... A revealing inside account of the highs and lows of a band who looked and sounded like nobody else. –– Olivia Laing, The Guardian

David Lee Roth is letting his art (mostly) do the talking

Since the Covid-19 pandemic forced him off the road, the singer has been making comics at his Los Angeles home, and calling it performance therapy. –– Richard Bienstock, New York Times


TikTok rival Instagram Reels to launch globally in 'matter of weeks' 

TikTok could be just a few weeks away from having to compete with a new global rival, as Facebook prepares to launch its Instagram Reels feature in over 50 markets, including the United States. That is according to NBC News, which reports, citing 'sources familiar with the matter', that the worldwide rollout has been 'in the works for over a year'. –– Murray Stassen, MBW

The Chicks look back and laugh

The album’s anthems would leak power if not surrounded by the record's quieter and more wrenching moments evoking the stark self-confrontation that comes with loss. –– Ann Powers, NPR

Review: Juice WRLD- Legends Never Die

The Chicago artist’s first posthumous release doesn’t feel like a final goodbye, but instead a continued look inside his world. It’s bleak and beautiful.  –– Brandon Caldwell, Pitchfork

Manchester's Deaf Institute and Gorilla music venues are closing for good

The institutions will not reopen as a result of the impact of the coronavirus lockdown. –– Daisy Jackson, Manchester Evening News

Maya J's sultry soul is a hurricane of emotions

Maya Jenkins’ story is quintessentially LA.  Her life, therefore, has been eventful thus far. Which is great, because it’s all fodder for her songwriting. –– Brett Callwood, LA Weekly


The Beaches performing at Billboard Canada's Women in Music Launch on June 5, 2024
Marc Thususka Photography

The Beaches performing at Billboard Canada's Women in Music Launch on June 5, 2024


The Beaches, Charlotte Cardin, Allison Russell Make the 2024 Polaris Music Prize Long List

The 40-album long list for the Polaris Prize, which awards $50,000 to the best Canadian record of the year features up-and-comers like punk group NOBRO and producer Bambii, plus rapper TOBi, and legends like Quebec group Karkwa and previous Heritage Prize winner Beverly Glenn-Copeland.

Some of the country's biggest breakthrough artists are in contention for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize.

The 40-album long list was revealed today (June 11) at Sonic Boom record store in downtown Toronto. It features some of the buzziest names in Canadian music, from The Beaches — who were recently awarded Billboard Canada Women in Music's inaugural Group of the Year award — to Grammy-winner Allison Russell, to Canadian Hot 100 charting acts like Charlotte Cardin and Talk, to underground mainstays like Cindy Lee, who had an organic breakthrough this year with Diamond Jubilee.

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