Music Biz Headlines, June 25, 2020

CMW president Neill Dixon (pictured) discusses the covid crisis, David Farrell is profiled, and indie music venues are at risk. Also in the headlines are Drake, HotelsLive, The Holy Gasp, Twin Flames, Regina Folk Festival, Spotify, UK venues, Mike Smith, Jeff Tweedy, Allen Grubman, Drive-By Truckers, Jessie Ware, John Legend, opera for plants, Chrissie Hynde, and Allen Toussaint.

Music Biz Headlines, June 25, 2020

By Kerry Doole

“Mass gatherings is what we’re built on.” Events like CMW face a shaky post-pandemic future

“We had to undo everything,” said CMW president Neill Dixon, adding the production is now $1.5 million in debt as a result of the cancellation. "This is probably the biggest crisis in 38 years of running this event.” Canadian Music Week, which includes a new music festival and offers networking opportunities for professionals, is not alone. –– Francine Kopun, Toronto Star

Decision-makers: David Farrell

David Farrell has been providing vital information to the broad spectrum of the Canadian music industry for almost four decades. With his current publication, FYI Music News, he provides, free and digitally, a digest of pertinent news and events for music industry professionals, government agencies, associations, musicians, and fans, directly to their device of choice. –– Perry Stern, SOCAN Words & Music


Indie music venues at risk of closing without government help, industry group says

The Canadian Independent Venue Coalition (CIVC) launches #SupportCanadianVenues campaign. –– Paula Duhatschek, CBC News 

The show needs to go on: Canada should be planning for the return of the performing arts

Music, dance and theatre are a foundational part of humankind, of living and being every day, yet many Toronto cultural landmarks remain shuttered with no indication whatsoever from government that there is any plan for their reopening. –– Robert Pomakov, The Globe and Mail

Soundtrack for a strange summer: Montreal musicians keep the local scene humming

Summer festivals might be cancelled, but Montreal music acts are still putting out albums — hallelujah! Four new releases contribute distinct flavours to the playlist of this most unusual summer. –– T'Cha Dunlevy, Montreal Gazette

Drake celebrated Father’s Day as a dad for the second time.

To mark the occasion, Drizzy shared an adorable photo of his 2-year-old son Adonis on Instagram. “Happy Father’s Day to all the real g’z handling business,” he wrote in the caption. –– ET Canada

'Your ticket is your room': A new concert series is launching in Calgary on July 1

A new Canada-wide concert series launching in Calgary aims to put live music back in front of its fans and fill hotel rooms at the same time. Hotels Live is repurposing some hotels to serve as concert venues. –– Kevin Green, CTV News Calgary


The Holy Gasp shines light on death and the grieving process through an upcoming live-stream performance

If death is one of the few experiences that we will all share, why is it so taboo to discuss it? This question is what drives musician and composer Benjamin Hackman to normalize discussion surrounding the experience of death and dying through his art – specifically in his latest project with The Holy Gasp, Grief. –– Rachel Moore, NOW

Indigenous music duo Twin Flames 'hopes to inspire hope and healing'

In 2015, Twin Flames released their debut album, Jaaji and Chelsey June. They believe they took a chance recording their album in three languages, English, Inuttitut, and French. –– Nicole McCormick, 680 News

Music community gives generously in the midst of the pandemic

It can be easy, in the midst of a pandemic, to obsess over the bad. But while this terrible event continues, there are many involved in the music scene doing their part to generously offer services and whatever else they can to ease the burden. For instance, Mark Watson at Watson Entertainment is offering free consulting for artists and managers. –– Heather Kitching, Roots Music Canada

The Regina Folk Festival and Sandra Butel split is detailed in court documents

Two documents filed to the Regina Court of Queen’s Bench shed some light on the alleged circumstances leading to the split between the Regina Folk Festival and its longtime artistic/executive director Sandra Butel. The board of directors placed Butel on a paid leave of absence on Dec. 9, 2019, almost 21 full years after she was hired –– Ashley Martin, Regina Leader-Post



Heading towards a $50B market cap, Spotify is worth double what it was three months ago

Podcasts on Spotify do not spell great news for artists and record labels. They do, however, spell great news for Spotify shareholders. After a series of share price bumps on Wall Street related to Spotify’s podcasting efforts in recent months, the streaming audio company closed June 23 on the New York Stock Exchange with an all-time high $44.96bn market cap valuation, thanks to a $241.76 share price. –– Tim Ingham, MBW


Over 500 UK music venues write an open letter to the government for £50million to “hibernate” them until October

"It would cripple the music industry of this country for decades and I’ve no idea how we would recover from it." –– Andrew Trendell, NME

UK theatres and concert venues are to re-open as lockdown measures eased

Theatres and concert venues are officially allowed to re-open following the easing of lockdown, but live performances are still not allowed to take place. Boris Johnson has given pubs, hotels, restaurants, galleries and cinemas the green light to re-open, but while theatres and concert venues are allowed to open their doors on 4 July, they will not be able to stage live performances. –– Rishma Dosani, Metro

Mike Smith is named Global President of Downtown Music Publishing.

The respected British exec will start the new role on September 1. Smith, who received the prestigious Sir George Martin Award at MBW’s London-based A&R Awards in 2016, most recently served as Managing Director of Warner Chappell Music in the UK. ––  Tim Ingham, MBW

Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy pledges royalties to Black Lives Matter organizations

The Wilco leader said he’ll direct five percent of his songwriting revenue to Movement for Black Lives and Black Women’s Blueprint, and is encouraging industry leaders to follow suit. –– Matthew Strauss, Pitchfork

The Allen Grubman hack is not going away: Universal data is allegedly up for auction, for a starting price of $1 million

Who would pay a minimum of $1 million for a tranche of legal documents, including contracts and NDAs, owned by Universal Music Group? That’s the question being asked by the hacking group calling itself REvil, who claim to be launching a public auction for this confidential information on July 3. The Universal data was allegedly obtained by REvil during a cyberattack last month against Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks (GSMS), one of the best-known law firms in the music business. –– Murray Stassen, MBW

On the Record: a deft exploration of abuse in the music industry

Drew Dixon’s experiences with record mogul Russell Simmons shows how racism has helped to silence black rape victims. –– Ryan Gilbey, New Statesman

How Jessie Ware cooked her way into a musical fantasy

The British pop singer and songwriter was feeling stalled. A food podcast with her mother showcased her charm. –– NYT


Now, about the bad name I gave my band

What kind of a*****e would name his band Drive-By Truckers? A valid question, if you ask me. I'm the person responsible for it. –– Patterson Hood, NPR

John Legend on defunding the police, being Mr. Chrissy Teigen and why ‘hope is a strategy’

The singer says his new album is not “about John and Chrissy and all the fights they’ve had. What I want to convey is a sense of honesty about how relationships play out.” –– August Brown, LA Times

Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu Opera performed live to an audience of houseplants

All 2,292 plants were given to front line hospital staff and care workers after the season-opening show. –– NPR

'The emphasis on celebrity is grotesque': Chrissie Hynde, rock goddess

As the frontwoman of The Pretenders, Chrissie Hynde, 68, has managed a rock'n'roll career on her terms. The Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame inductee is back with the band's 11th studio album, Hate for Sale. As well as being a music icon, she's a reluctant fashion icon, too. –– Jane Rocca, Sydney Morning Herald

Should Robert E. Lee Boulevard be renamed for Allen Toussaint? A city club owner launches campaign

As the push to rebrand Confederate-related street names in New Orleans gains momentum, Jimmy Anselmo, the longtime proprietor of Jimmy’s Music Club, has launched a social media campaign to give one such street a music-themed makeover. He'd like to see Robert E. Lee Boulevard renamed Allen Toussaint Boulevard, after the local music legend. –– Keith Spera,


Big Boi

Big Boi


CNE Bandshell Gets Big Boi, Sloan, Big Wreck And More For Throwback Summer Concerts

The headliners tie together the Toronto waterfront series' '90s and 2000s revival theme, while contemporary acts like MacKenzie Porter, Ruby Waters, Tynomi Banks and more will keep things current.

Toronto's CNE Bandshell concert series is leaning into big nostalgia this summer, with major '90s and 2000s acts headlining the throwback-themed lineup.

OutKast rapper Big Boi, Canadian-American rock band Big Wreck, and east coasters Sloan are leading the summer music programming at the Canadian National Exhibition, a major entertainment fair that takes over the Exhibition Place grounds every August.

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