Music Biz Headlines, March 27, 2020

Jessie Reyez (pictured) gets noticed by the New York Times, how to access the Unison Benevolent Fund, and the pandemic sparks creativity. Also in the headlines are Tencent, Spotify, Hipgnosis, Ssarah Harmer, Angel, Witch Prophet, TuneCore, eOne Heavy, Montreux Jazz Festival, Morrissey, and Amy Thomson.

Music Biz Headlines, March 27, 2020

By FYI Staff

Q&A: Questions answered about accessing the music industry's Unison Benevolent Fund

The Unison Benevolent Fund, an emergency relief charity that provides both financial and counselling services to members of the Canadian music industry, experienced a 1900 percent increase in registrations since the coronavirus outbreak, prompting the creation of the specific Unison COVID-19 Relief Program. Learn more here. – Karen Bliss, Samaritan

Canada’s artists get creative to cope with coronavirus crisis

As the world has gone into social-isolation mode as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, culture as we know it has been cancelled. Theatres and galleries have shut down, tours have been postponed, artists of all sorts have lost gigs. But when the going gets tough for artists, the artists get creative. – Marsha Lederman, The Globe and Mail


Sarah Harmer and friends won a long environmental fight. Now she has to do it again

Sarah Harmer is about to go back to the drawing board, and she’s not happy about it. The Burlington, Ont.-born singer, songwriter and activist is currently promoting Are You Gone, her first album in 10 years, but looming on her mind is a fight she’s about to take up with a community that she’s already won once. – Nick Krewen, Toronto Star

Review: Witch Prophet's DNA Activation shows the power of family in dark times

The Ontario R&B/soul/hip-hop/jazz artist's sophomore album is a warmly hypnotic escape that arrives when we need it most. – Laura Stanley, NOW 

Newt's Coronavinyl Countdown, Day four: Angel--Helluva Band

Newt's Coronavinyl Countdown is a daily blog wherein our veteran rock writer Steve Newton works through his LP collection hoping to connect with fellow music-lovers who are also social distancing during COVID-19. Today's selection is Angel's Helluva Band. – Georgia Straight

Jessie Reyez is yelling and loving at the same time

The 28-year-old Canadian musician’s full-length debut album “Before Love Came to Kill Us” is meant to motivate people. – The New York Times

Charli XCX DJd Toronto's Club Quarantine

The British pop singer spun a 30-minute set on March 25 at the live-streamed queer dance party. – Richard Trapunski, NOW

The other COVID-19 outbreak: loopy celebrity quarantine videos

If this all-star singalong on Imagine, recently spearheaded by Gal Gadot in Day 6 of her isolation, was supposed to soothe our jangled nerves and provide streaming succour to inspire us to endure indefinite lockdown, it had the opposite effect. – Vinay Menon, Toronto Star



Tencent Music Entertainment parent company Tencent Holdings Limited has set up a $100 million Global Anti-Pandemic Fund

The Fund will initially focus on the sourcing and donation of medical supplies, such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and other essential products, for hospitals and front-line healthcare workers. – Murray Stassen, MBW

Spotify pledges a $10M fund to support artists hit by the pandemic

The streaming giant has announced that it will be making a financial contribution of up to $10 million to help artists and other members of the music community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of this money has already been siphoned off and donated to three bodies across the US and UK: MusiCares (US), PRS Foundation (UK), and Help Musicians (UK). – Murray Stassen, MBW

The share price of Hipgnosis is now higher than it was pre-COVID-19.

Since a March 17 low point, the value of Hipgnosis – which trades as SONG on the LSE  - has rocketed back up. – MBW

A hit, a writ: why music is the food of plagiarism lawsuits

With Katy Perry and Led Zeppelin’s recent judgments reversing previous rulings, musicians don’t know which way to tread. – Michael Hann, The Guardian

Scott Ackerman steps down from head role at TuneCore

New York-based Ackerman will vacate the CEO position of one of the world’s most successful DIY distribution platforms on April 15.  Denis Ladegaillerie – the CEO of TuneCore’s parent, Believe Group, is now searching for a new CEO of TuneCore. – Tim Ingham, MBW


Why eOne is the under the radar metal label changing the game

In 2020, one of metal’s most interesting labels is operating outside of the traditional scene: eOne Heavy, the metal recording imprint of Canadian multinational company Entertainment One. With a diverse roster featuring both Grammy-winning doom acts and up-and-coming death metal talent, eOne is steadily becoming one of the most intriguing labels for heavy metal out there. – Kerrang

Montreux Jazz Festival releases free streams of performances by Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye and others

"During this unprecedented time, fans will have the chance to experience iconic performances." – NME

Amy Thomson, who marketed Kanye West, reveals some of the lessons she’s learned.

The founder of ATM Artists also managed Swedish House Mafia for almost 15 years before parting ways with the group in 2018, is one of the most successful artist managers in electronic music history. – Tim Ingham, MBW


Morrissey fans share lockdown-inspired takes on classic song titles and lyrics

"There Is A Lad That Never Goes Out" is one example. – Tom Skinner, NME

50 Cent

50 Cent


50 Cent Takes A Victory Lap at Toronto's Cabana Pool Bar: Canadian Concerts of the Week

Also this week: it's festival season, with Hillside, Le Festif! and the Vancouver Folk Music Festival all happening on the same weekend.

Summer is in swing, and that means festival season. While many of the biggest ones take place in August, this weekend sees a handful of folk or adjacent events with the perfect summer vibes. Find those below, after our concert of the week featuring one of the biggest rap success stories of the last two decades.

Concert of the Week

50 Cent at Cabana Pool Bar, Toronto — Saturday, July 20

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