Music Biz Headlines, March 18, 2020

Jann Arden (pictured) gets confessional, the Elmo’s opening is delayed, and COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc. Others in the headlines include R Grunwald, Fiona Apple, Tencent, NAC Orchestra, FLOW 93-5, Shania Twain, War Baby, and Dixie Chicks.

Music Biz Headlines, March 18, 2020

By Kerry Doole

5 ways to support Canada's musicians during the coronavirus pandemic

From crowdfunding to Skype lessons, here's how you can help. – CBC Music

The El Mocambo's reopening postponed by COVID-19

The historic venue was finally set to reopen on April 1, but it will keep its doors closed during the pandemic. – Richard Trapunski, NOW

Thanks to COVID-19, Dan Mangan played a "show to nobody" in Toronto, and now we can all enjoy it

With all their gear still set up from having played the Danforth Music Hall the night before, Mangan and his band opted to go ahead and play the show anyway, albeit with no audience in attendance. – John Lucas, Georgia Straight

Jann Arden's long road: Entertainer opens up about tumultuous childhood, imprisoned brother, finding herself

The Canadian music icon opens up in this frank interview. – CBC

Pianist R. Grunwald has the key 

The "extended minimalism" of the Toronto musician's debut album helps you find your chill. – Brandon Young, The Coast


The Breakfast Club is coming to Toronto's FLOW 93-5

"This show is going to be massive," says general manager Steve Parsons. But many are calling out the station for shelving the city's local talent for controversial imported content. – Radheyan Simonpillai, NOW

National Arts Centre Orchestra to perform new Philip Glass piece at Carnegie Hall

The National Arts Centre Orchestra, conducted by music director Alexander Shelley, is scheduled to perform its Philip Glass commission at New York’s famed Carnegie Hall. The new work, a salute to freedom of the press, is dedicated to the memory of the Canadian-born journalist and ABC News anchor Peter Jennings. – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail

Shania Twain says Brad Pitt now impresses her much

Shania Twain has reversed her view of Brad Pitt, after famously singing the actor didn’t “impress” her “much”. She told Britain’s The Daily Telegraph she is now a huge fan of the 56-year-old Oscar winner. – WENN

War Baby's You Are Not Here features grungy guitars alongside frontman Jon Reddit's exasperation

On its third full-length, You Are Not Here, posthardcore trio War Baby sounds almost at its breaking point when it comes to the cyclical mundanities of life. – Ben Boddez, Georgia Straight 

Is Dixie Chicks’ gaslighter really just a jerk?

A look at the triumphant return of the group with a song called “Gaslighter” — also the name of a long-awaited album, coming soon.  – Shinan Govani, The Toronto Star



Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande beg people to stay inside amid coronavirus outbreak: ‘This is the time to cancel plans’

On Sunday, videos and photos of packed bars, restaurants and nightclubs taken over the weekend flooded the Internet, despite public health experts urging social distancing amid the coronavirus outbreak. Shortly afterward, Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande, two of the most-followed people on social media, begged everyone to stay indoors as much as possible. – Emily Yahr, Washington Post

Grammy-winning songwriter Andrew Watt tests positive for coronavirus

"This is not a joke," he says, while urging the public to observe social distancing.  – MBW

Amid coronavirus panic, here’s how celebrities are keeping their distance

The stars were not out this weekend. Many celebrities are pleading with the public to take social distancing seriously. – Christi Carras, LA Times

Tencent Music isn’t actually a Chinese company

Chinese tech and media conglomerate Tencent Holdings, and its music subsidiary Tencent Music, have been making music-business headlines over the past few years. They are not actually Chinese companies on paper, being incorporated in the Cayman Islands — over 8,100 miles away from Beijing. – Cherie Hu, MBW

Raine Group forecasts the indie artist sector will earn over $2 billion this year.

The US-based merchant bank’s The Independent Artist Sector’ paper estimates that independent artists generated $1.61 billion from recorded music in 2019 … and that, in 2020, this figure will climb 32% to more than $2.1 billion. – Tim Ingham, MBW

Can music soothe the violence in Tunisian kids?

Unprecedented violence among school children in Tunisia prompted social associations to lobby for using art as a therapeutic and preventive tool for children’s mental health. – Albawaba


Fiona Apple’s art of radical sensitivity

For years, the elusive singer-songwriter has been working, at home, on an album with a strikingly raw and percussive sound. But is she prepared to release it into the world? –  Emily Nussbaum,New Yorker

Allison Russell at an interview with iHeartRadio for Billboard Canada Women in Music on June 19, 2024
Marc Thususka Photography

Allison Russell at an interview with iHeartRadio for Billboard Canada Women in Music on June 19, 2024


Allison Russell, Charlotte Cardin, DijahSB Shortlisted for 2024 Polaris Music Prize

The Beaches, rapper TOBi, indie experimentalist Cindy Lee, and previous winner Jeremy Dutcher are also amongst the ten artists in contention for the $50,000 prize, which recognizes the best Canadian album of the year based solely on artistic merit. See the whole list here.

Some of Canadian music's biggest breakthroughs of the last year are facing off for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize.

Charlotte Cardin for 99 Nights, The Beaches for Blame My Ex, Allison Russell for The Returner and Cindy Lee for Diamond Jubilee are among the ten artists shortlisted for the 2024 award, which recognizes the best Canadian album of the year.

keep readingShow less