Music Biz Headlines, July 27, 2020

Jessy Lanza (pictured) earns a Guardian rave review, Bob Wiseman details lessons learned, Kris Davis is honoured by Downbeat, and new indie charts are created. Also in the headlines are The Weeknd, drive-in shows, Alanis Morissette, Econoline Crush, Kye Clayton, Scott Cook, a UK bailout, BTS, live-streams, FaZe Clan, cassettes, DoJ, rock docs, Taylor Swift, The Cure, and the Mercury Awards.

Music Biz Headlines, July 27, 2020

By FYI Staff

Jessy Lanza: All the Time review – a bright star in pop's outer galaxies

The Canadian’s enticing jumble of electronic experimentalism and R&B moves closer to the mainstream on her third album – you sense Janet Jackson would approve.  –– Alexis Petridis, The Guardian

Bob Wiseman’s new book Music Lessons is instruction for the soul

The former Blue Rodeo keyboardist’s book is a wildly entertaining compilation of hundreds of random blog entries. The content covers off-beat recollections, piano-lesson conversations and out-of-the-blue observations.  –– Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail

From a funk band to The Rex to Downbeat, jazz pianist Kris Davis won't be pigeonholed

Oscar Peterson, Thelonious Monk, Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans … The list of winners in the piano category of Downbeat magazine’s annual Critics Poll is like a roll call of jazz titans. And the latest name to be added, just this month, is Vancouver native and University of Toronto alumna Kris Davis. Now, after 19 years of playing, studying, writing, teaching, organizing bands and steering her course resolutely beyond the mainstream in NYC, she is unexpectedly becoming one of her genre’s most celebrated names.  –– Mike Doherty, Toronto Star


Led Zeppelin comes to The Weeknd's rescue in IP fight

 A California federal judge on Wednesday tossed a lawsuit accusing Canadian R&B artist The Weeknd of ripping off a song by a trio of British songwriters to make his track "A Lonely Night," saying the songwriters didn't show enough similarity under the Ninth Circuit's recent Led Zeppelin ruling.  –– Law 360

EU ruling on US agreement may nudge Canada to update our privacy law

The dismissal by a European Union court of a European-American personal data protection transfer agreement is making headlines in the United States. But an expert here says it may have the knock-on effect of pushing Canada to update its federal privacy law. –– Howard Solomon, IT World Canada

If you’re a Canadian indie musician, there are some new charts you need to watch

Danny Fournier of Edmonton’s Oddball Productions found himself so frustrated by the lack of data when he came to tracking the progress of indie artists across the country that he decided to take matters into his own hands. He has created the Canadian Independent Online Radio Chart and the Canadian Artists Online Radio Chart. –– Alan Cross, A Journal of Musical Things

Live drive-in concerts coming to Ottawa

RBC Bluesfest and the National Arts Centre (NAC) are bringing live, drive-in concerts to Ottawa in light of COVID-19 performance cancellations sweeping the Canadian music industry. The #CanadaPerforms drive-in festival will be held over two weekends—July 31 to Aug. 1 and Aug. 7 to 8—at the Place des Festivals Zibi.  –– The Charlatan


Alanis Morissette: Without therapy, I don't think I'd still be here

Recovery is a complex, lifelong endeavour, and lockdown has been triggering, says Morissette, who is juggling life at home as a mother of three with promoting her ninth album, Such Pretty Forks in the Road.  –– Eve Barlow, The Guardian

With audiences capped at 50 people, how do musicians make a living?

"It's still our responsibility, I believe, to give music when it's needed'- Irish Mythen.  –– Sara Fraser, CBC News 

Get Out Of The Way: Econoline Crush’s first new single in 10 years

The re-recorded 2008 song is intended as a "battle cry for frontline workers."  –– Revolver

DVSN to play drive-in concert in Toronto

The hometown R&B duo will play an overdue socially distant release show for their 2020 album A Muse In Her Feelings.  –– Richard Trapunski, NOW

As tributes continue for SNFU's Mr. Chi Pig, petition seeks Canada's Walk of Fame star for the punk legend

The outpouring of condolences, eulogies, and tributes is continuing for the eccentric lead singer of an influential Canadian punk band, for whom fans are now seeking the national Walk of Fame honour.  –– Craig Takeuchi, Georgia Straight

Kye Clayton keeps the beat 

As the Halifax rapper and beatmaker celebrates a new mixtape, he guides us through the tracks he grew up on.  –– Morgan Mullin, The Coast

Concert review: Scott Cook and the Indoorables brighten Cloverdale

Upwards of 100 music lovers and six dogs gathered smartly in Cloverdale Wednesday — not to prove a point, of course … though indeed one was made between two battery-powered speakers. Scott Cook and the Indoorables delivered us an hour-long event of music and sun-hazed joy from the front face of a mid-century bungalow.  –– Fish Griwkowsky, Edmonton Journal



Grassroots music venues to receive first portion of £1.57B culture recovery package

The first chunk of money from the UK Government’s £1.57 billion Coronavirus cultural recovery package will be used to save grassroots music venues from closure. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced £2.25 million will go to help around 150 smaller venues.  –– Lizzie Edmonds, Evening Standard

Live Nation’s Drive-In gigs were doomed from the start. Here's why.

It was recently announced that Live Nation would be scrapping it’s planned set of summer drive-in shows in the UK this year, including performances by several major artists and a production of the musical Six. So why did this promising series fall through? –– John Austen, MusicThinkTank


Save Our Stages act proposes $10B relief to help US small venues survive

Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Cornyn (R-TX) co-authored a bill proposed to provide $10 billion in funding to struggling independent music venues to survive the coronavirus pandemic. The act would specifically bar clubs owned by large corporations (such as Live Nation) from participating. –– TicketNews

Guinness World Record set by BTS live-stream concert

Guinness World Records confirmed the June stream by BTS was an all-time high for the medium. The band saw some 750,000 streams, charging $25 per viewer. ––TicketNews 

What fans think of online concerts, and how to improve them

To try and figure out the answers to these questions I’ve connected with fans on our platform and social media and started discussions on multiple themed music forums across Facebook and Reddit. Here are my findings. –– Hypebot
The gaming sector has ballooned so much that market-analytics firm NewZoo projects revenue to approach $160 billion globally in 2020 — up more than 9% over 2019, with 2.7 billion players worldwide — and $1 billion of that is esports. ––  Dan Rys, Billboard

Sexier than CDs, cheaper than vinyl, cassettes thrive on underground labels like Broken Sound Tapes

M Is We bandleader Michael Wood's Carrboro-based tape label has two new post-punk releases, including its first foray into vinyl.

DOJ is preparing to coddle huge music licensing monopolies

Instead of devoting its full, undivided attention to some critical issues, some in Attorney General William Barr's department are instead busy carrying the anti-Trump music industry's water.  ––AmericanThinker 

Manhole’s “Piss on My Heart” uses found sound to highlight the plunders of capitalism

This project is concerned with the relationship between sound and source, property and ownership. Manhole uses found sound as raw material to highlight a different sort of plunder: that of capitalism, racism, and the spectacle of violence in America. Canadian John Oswald's Plunderphonics is a reference point.  –– Indy Week

New book explores history of rock documentary films

Otherworld Cottage Industries has published Harvey Kubernik’s 19th book, a 520-page, photo-illustrated comprehensive exploration of music history in documentary films. The book includes interviews Kubernik has conducted from 1975-2020 with Dick Clark, Curtis Hanson, Michael Lindsay-Hogg, D.A. Pennebaker, Albert Maysles, Murray Lerner, John Ridley, Allan Arkush, Steve Binder, Johnny Cash, and Morgan Neville, as well as commentary by the Supremes’ Mary Wilson and Ray Manzarek of the Doors.  –– Best Classic Bands

Covid-19 has dented the music industry. we need a sustainable ecosystem to support musicians

Covid has changed the world we live in. The pandemic forced many to re-assess the value they ascribed to various professions. As shown by a Sunday Times survey from Singapore, a large population now views artists amongst the top non-essential workers.  –– Outlook


Taylor Swift’s new album is strikingly heroic

Taylor Swift, “folklore” (Republic Records)- While pop star Taylor, with all the bops and beats, is enjoyable and entertaining, her new singer-songwriter album is a welcomed return. In a time of madness, “folklore” feels like a moment to escape.  –– Mesfin Fekadu, AP

Taylor Swift released a surprise album on Friday

The pop superstar has just dealt Kanye West a real blow. She’s surprised, dropping a new album at the same time his Donda is supposed to be coming out. Could she have known under the Universal umbrella that Kanye was shooting for this date? Is it a coincidence or planned? Wow. This is like a death cage match!  –– Showbiz 411

Rummaging around in Tay's 'Folklore'

Every woman who’s done any living has one. That drawer, filled with matchbooks, ribbons, postcards, photographs, room keys, ticket stubs, torn-out articles, perhaps a button or forgotten journal, cards from people they’ve loved, a knife with a broken tip. To the casual observer, random junk; to the owner, an intimate jigsaw puzzle of their life. And so we have folklore ... - Holly Gleason, Hits Daily Double

A virtual Reggae Sumfest was a must - Music giants grateful to share music with fans despite pandemic

Back in April, when the organisers of Reggae Sumfest announced that this year’s staging of the show would be cancelled due to Covid, many were left disappointed. Although they knew it was for the best, everyone – from loyal supporters to artistes to …  Jamaica Gleaner

The Cure promise a sad and intense new album

Roger O'Donnell of The Cure states "‘We have to make one more record. It has to be the most intense, saddest, most dramatic and most emotional record we’ve ever made, and then we can just walk away from it. Robert Smith agreed.  ––Brooklyn Vegan


The Mercury Awards have decided the defining British records of the year

The Hyundai Mercury Prize ‘Albums of the Year’ celebrate and promote the best of British music recognising artistic achievement across a range of contemporary music genres. The shortlist was chosen by an independent judging panel and was revealed on  23 July.  –– Louder Than War

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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