Music Biz Headlines, March 16, 2023

Music Biz Headlines, March 16, 2023

By Kerry Doole

In search of merch: Bands turn to merch tables to give their tours more juice

Selling merchandise has always been part of the equation for Hamilton band Arkells, but when the rockers put a kaleidoscopic display of their most memorable pieces on a table, it’s clear they’re taking this part of the music business quite seriously. Merch sales are now crucial for most acts. – David Friend, CP

Bill Frisell hopes rare prison gigs bring some positivity to the penitentiary in Kingston

Bill Frisell has had many musical adventures in his 71 years. Now he’s going to prison. Last week the acclaimed musician was in Ontario to play shows with his own trio in Ottawa and Toronto. He also played inside the oldest operating federal penitentiary in the country – Collins Bay Institution, in Kingston – in front of an audience of convicts. – Michael Barclay, Globe and Mail


Molly Johnson on arts success in Canada: a French knighthood, a GG’s honour ‘but I still can’t really pay my bills’

Feb. 23 was a banner day for Molly Johnson. The singer, songwriter and ex-radio host known for her powerful jazz vocals and her philanthropy received news of two formal accolades almost simultaneously: a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for lifetime artistic achievement and also one of France’s highest honours, the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres. – Nick Krewen, Toronto Star 

Turning Dunnville teen angst into powerful rock and roll

Cam Kahin is about to release his first EP on Dine Alone Records, Graham Rockingham writes. – Hamilton Spectator

The long, strange legal battle between a northern Ontario town and the composer of Sign of the Gypsy Queen

Lorence Hud's legal fight has included armed stand-off with police and alleged harassing phone calls from the prime minister. – Erik White, CBC News

British musical Six, Jagged Little Pill and In Dreams coming to Mirvish for 2023-2024 season

Six, the hit British musical that reimagines the wives of Henry VIII as a pop group, will have a Canadian production as a part of an all-musical 2023-2024 Mirvish Productions season. The coming Mirvish main-stage season, announced by press release on Tuesday, also includes two musicals co-created by Canadians. – JK Nestruck, Globe and Mail

TikTok and the Junos: how app support for artists like Dax turns into award nominations

Popularity of TikTok and other social media platforms means artists can bypass more traditional mediums of music discovery. – Nick Krewen, Toronto Star


10 standout red carpet looks from the 2023 Juno Awards

Our style writer picks the best and boldest fashion of the night. – Truc Nguyen, CBC

Junos protester explains why she disrupted awards show

Vancouver woman charged with mischief speaks to CBC News outside courthouse. – Julia Wong, CBC News

The trouble with Canadian content

With Monday’s Juno Awards airing to a declining television audience, a U of A popular music expert says promoting Canadian music in the streaming era is as crucial today as ever. – Geoff McMaster, UofAlberta

Side Door is in the spotlight as musicians look for innovation in touring

Founded by Laura Simpson and Dan Mangan, Side Door is a booking platform for musicians. – Stuart Derdeyn, Vancouver Sun

Yes, Juno-nominated songs are getting shorter

Of the five nominated songs up for single of the year at the Junos, three of them are less than three minutes. Twenty years ago, all the songs in the category clocked in at least four minutes. The winning single, Lavigne’s Complicated, was the shortest at 4:04. the rise of social-media video applications such as TikTok is likely the main driver of the trend. – Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail

Historic Toronto concert venue Silver Dollar Room opening its doors for first time in 5 years

Silver Dollar Room, Toronto's famous music venue, is returning for its 65th anniversary next month. What once was the hotel lounge for the former Waverly Hotel is now returning on March 10th for a two night reopening weekend. The venue hasn't opened it's doors in 5 years, since its closure in 2017 to be developed as a 15-storey residential complex called The Waverly. – BlogTO


Hamilton filmmaker tells the story of the glory days of MuchMusic

Sean Menard’s documentary called “299 Queen Street West” has former VJs raving. – Scott Radley, The Spectator 

Shaw Festival fundraising efforts take centre stage

Treasurer Greg Prince said the Shaw reached operating revenues of $35.7 million in 2022, which is a record for the festival. – Omar Mosleh, The Spectator

Theatre Aquarius unveils 50th season

From one of Canada’s most celebrated playwrights to the reboot of a classic musical to the world premiere of the true made-in-Hamilton Tom Wilson story, Theatre Aquarius is looking good at 50.  – Hamilton City Magazine


MuchMusic doc traces how a renegade Canadian channel took on MTV and won (for a while)

 It was a scrappy, wild atmosphere in which inexperienced but music-loving kids stepped in front of the cameras with free reign to experiment and play the videos they loved. There were no rules and even less structure, but it worked. – Amber Dowling, Variety

Loreena McKennitt discusses her Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame induction

The induction of Loreena McKennitt — Celtic-fusion singer-songwriter and Member of the Order of Canada — into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame not only took place on International Women’s Day (March 8), but was also presented during the inaugural Women in Music Canada Honours Awards. – Karen Bliss, Everything Zoomer


Ticketmaster to be more transparent about ticket fees: Report

The ticketing platform is also calling on secondary sellers to follow suit. – Consequence

HYBE Pulls out of bid to acquire 40% stake in SM Entertainment

HYBE, the South Korea-headquartered music giant, has officially ceased its attempt to acquire a 40% stake in rival K-pop company, SM Entertainment. HYBE said in a statement March 12 that it was suspending its acquisition bid following a discussion with tech firm Kakao – its rival bidder in the SM takeover process. – Tim Ingham, MBW

SESAC Music Group acquires distribution and content delivery platform AudioSalad

SESAC, the Nashville-headquartered music licensing/collection society, has acquired New York-based content management, analytics, delivery and distribution tech provider AudioSalad.  AudioSalad will remain headquartered in New York and will continue to function as a standalone business within the SESAC Music Group. – Murray Stassen, MBW

How Apple Music Classical may actually influence the pop artist royalty model

The majority of people in the music business feel that the current royalty model used by Spotify and most other music streamers is broken. Believe it or not, the real agent of change in pop royalties might come from classical and orchestral music, and we’re about to find out when Apple Music Classical launches soon. – Bobby Owsinski, Music 3.0

Everything But the Girl on their unlikely return: ‘This life came into our music. We didn’t have control over it’

They went from leftist outsiders to huge dance-pop stars, then walked away when stadiums came calling. Back after 24 years, Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt explain how lockdowns led to a new album – and why they’ve embraced Auto-Tune. – Alexis Petridis, The Guardian


Why Spotify’s announced redesign will kill the music album — and mark another step toward the infinite scroll

The world’s largest streaming company drives further toward cobbling together experiences rather than engaging with things that have been thoughtfully put together. – Navneet Alang, Toronto Star

‘It was nuts what we got away with’: remembering the 00s UK indie explosion

As the film Meet Me in the Bathroom relives the glory days of the Strokes and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, fans and musicians recall the sweat, swagger and skinny jeans that made the British scene they inspired even wilder. – The Guardian

The haunted life of Lisa Marie Presley

She was the closest thing America had to royalty. But living in Elvis’ shadow was an unimaginable struggle. Friends and collaborators recall Lisa Marie's rebel spirit and the mix of hope and heaviness that marked her final days. – David Browne, Rolling Stone

‘For now, music is a weapon’: the Ukrainian musicians playing on as an act of resistance

Whether as simple consolation, celebration or to gird nerves for battle, musicians in Kyiv have found an important role in the war. Six of them tell us how they fight. – Joe Mulhall, The Guardian

The 11 best new songs of the week

Don't miss this week's new tracks by Indigo de Souza, Manchester Orchestra, Lori McKenna, Ratboys and more. – Paste Staff 

Miley Cyrus takes us on a sexy 'Endless Summer Vacation'

Miley Cyrus’ latest album “Endless Summer Vacation” — released Friday — is much more than a breakup anthem; it’s a rebirth. – Martina Rebecca Inchingolo, AP


Eagle-eyed Miley Cyrus fans think a new song is about her ex Liam Hemsworth cheating

Did Miley Cyrus accuse ex-husband Liam Hemsworth of cheating in her new album, “Endless Summer Vacation”? Her fans seem to think so, pointing to the track Muddy Waters. – LA Times

Richard Lloyd won't pander to Television fans (or to interviewers)

"I'm not Bruce Springsteen. I don't slide across the stage on my knees." – Daniel Sylvester, Exclaim!

Gary Glitter recalled to prison after breaching licence conditions

Disgraced pop star was released in February after serving half of an eight-year sentence for sexually abusing three girls. – Jamie Grierson, The Guardian

Vanessa Heins


Music News

Alexisonfire Are Releasing a Live Album from Their Hometown Born & Raised Festival

The St. Catharines, Ontario band are bringing the festival back this summer, and they'll release LIVE Born & Raised 2022, St Catharines ON just in time for fans to hear it first.

After a two year hiatus, Alexisonfire are resurrecting their hometown festival Born & Raised on July 5 and 6 at Montebello Park in St. Catharines, Ontario. Just in time, they're releasing a live album from the last time they held the festival, in 2022.

The album, LIVE Born & Raised 2022, St Catharines ON, captures their career-spanning set from the inaugural edition of the festival. In front of their hometown fans, they played songs from throughout their more-than-two-decades long career.

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