Music Biz Headlines, March 30, 2020

Barbara Hannigan (pictured) offers listening picks for times of crisis, the pandemic reminds us of the power of the arts, and a cancer diagnosis for Rae Spoon. Also in the headlines are more COVID-19 stories, Ernesto Cervini, Sean Cunnington, Sir Andrew Davis, GEMA, Bruce Springsteen, Father John Misty, Nirvana, Phil Ochs, and Bob Dylan.

Music Biz Headlines, March 30, 2020

By Kerry Doole

Why we need the arts, now more than ever

This week in Canada the theatres are dark, the concert halls are silent and the art galleries are empty. As all arts and entertainment venues close their doors to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the losses are beginning to mount. The large losses and the ironic gains of the pandemic are offering sharp lessons about why we need the arts. – Kate Taylor, The Globe and Mail

Seven Canadian classical music stars pick what music brings them comfort

Some silver lining, amid the uncertainty and the literal isolation, is an abundance of virtual entertainment options. It is truly the time to get one’s cultural fix, remote as it is. Out of Canada’s opera and classical music scenes, seven major figures (including Barbara Hannigan) offer their listening picks for times of crisis. – Jenna Simeonov, The Globe and Mail


Bell's Sunday iHeart Living Room Concert

The star-studded  iHeart Living Room Concert was broadcast in Canada on March 29. Hosted by Elton John, it invited Canadian viewers to support the Canadian Red Cross COVID-19 response by online, SMS, and phone donations. – FYIMusicNews

State of the arts

Why did it take a global pandemic for us to start seriously talking about cultural funding? – Morgan Mullin, The Coast

Non-binary performer gets cervical cancer diagnosis during COVID-19 epidemic

Acclaimed Canadian singer/songwriter Rae Spoon reveals the news.  – Medium

Ernesto Cervini: Finding balance with Tetrahedron

Toronto drummer/composer Ernesto Cervini has performed and recorded with a handful of groups, some led by him and others contributing as a collaborating member. He likes music that makes him feel like he is flying, as in his recordings with a sextet called Turboprop and a new release, Tetrahedron. – Modern Jazz Today

Nothing to see here

Darkness envelops Winnipeg’s musical and cultural community in the wake of the pandemic. – Staff, Winnipeg Free Press

Can you sing? Friends of Toronto-area musician who died of COVID-19 hold a stay-at-home tribute

Sean Cunnington, a Milton father of 3 who played in a Toronto band, was among Ontario victims of COVID-19.  – CBC

Listen: A Springsteen playlist for dreaming of escape in a time of isolation

During these first 10 days of social distance, I have been going wherever Bruce Springsteen takes me. No other artist has been as capable of drawing out and salving what I feel, or as useful a companion on my auditory tunnelling expeditions. – Eric Andrew-Gee, The Globe and Mail


Losing crack at Wagner’s ‘Ring’ to COVID-19 crisis has conductor ‘in mourning’

Few conductors are fortunate enough to be assigned the greatest challenge in the entire operatic literature, but Sir Andrew Davis was about to face it again. Or he was until COVID-19 hit, forcing the closure of theatres, concert halls and opera houses. – William Littler, The Toronto Star


How Coronavirus will reshape the concert business

The concert business shutdown is creating a credit crisis that’s choking indie promoters. The industry that emerges when it’s done will be more competitive — and concentrated — than ever. – Dave Brooks, Billboard

German PRO GEMA launches a $43M emergency aid program for songwriters

“It is already foreseeable that the economic consequences of the corona pandemic will be devastating for the entire creative industry,” says Dr. Harald Heker, CEO of GEMA. – Tim Ingham, MBW

COVID-19: Musicians Stories Part 1V

As the global pandemic continues to take have a devastating impact, we continue to speak to musicians about their experiences dealing with the effects coronavirus. – Brett Callwood, LA Weekly

Album sales drop to lowest point during the pandemic

According to Billboard, album sales dropped 29 percent in the past week with only 1.52 million records sold in the past week. The sales tally takes CDs, vinyl records, cassettes, and digital sales into account. – James Crowley, Newsweek


Covid-19 bears out the research: Music brings people together

Covid-19 has created an international musical reaction, a ‘striking’ response, which bears out scholarship on the beneficial impact of music-making, according to Professor Eric Clarke, Oxford expert on the psychology of music. – Oxford University

COVID-19 quarantine appears to be a boost for TikTok

It appears that another video-led platform is seeing growth amid the Coronavirus crisis. ByteDance-owned short-form video-sharing app TikTok saw an 18% week-on-week uplift in downloads in the United States last week (March 16-22). – Murray Stassen, MBW

Father John Misty releases live album to benefit MusicCares COVID-19 Fund

If you didn’t pray to the altar of Father John Misty before the world went on lockdown, you might be inclined to now. The on-key artist has made his first live album Off-Key In Hamburg available on Bandcamp with all proceeds to the MusicCares COVID-19 Fund. And if there’s something the world needs more of during these unprecedented times, it’s music. – Charmaine Noronha, Samaritanmag


COVID-19: Nirvana is having a moment in our pandemic era, for some reason

Artists who are stuck at home with just their music and their dusted-off copies of Nevermind and In Utero have been turning to Nirvana songs to get them through their coronavirus-imposed isolation. – John Lucas, Georgia Straight

In Iran, Coronavirus is suffocating an already strained experimental music scene

Government permission is required to put on concerts, and U.S. sanctions put in place by the Trump administration deny Iranians access to the international financial system—which means, for instance, no PayPal, and thus no Bandcamp or Discogs. – Philip Shelburne, Pitchfork

The famed US folk club’s online Keep Your Distance Festival to spread awareness for the Passim Emergency Artist Relief Fund. – Conor Kelley, Wickedlocal

Dropkick Murphys live stream raises more than $60,000 for Boston Resiliency Fund

The Celtic-punk band’sThe Claddagh Fund charity raised more than $60K for the fund in connection with its “Streaming Up From Boston” live-streamed performance on March 17. The St. Patrick’s Day week shows in Boston were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic so it decided to reach an even bigger audience with a full-length performance streamed on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. Steve McLean, Samaritanmag

Phil Ochs: the doomed folk singer who woke up from the American dream

In 1970, Phil Ochs released Greatest Hits, an album titled with savage irony as his career fell apart. But 50 years on, it remains a powerful indictment of an America losing its way. – Joshua Sanchez, The Guardian

Beyond JFK: 20 historical references in Bob Dylan’s ‘Murder Most Foul’

The 17-minute epic touches upon obscure Civil War ballads, classic movies, and even songs by the Who, the Animals, and Billy Joel. – Andy Greene, Rolling Stone

25 concert films and music docs to stream in your self-quarantine

With countless hours of stay-at-home plans now on everyone’s schedule, there’s no shortage of great music documentaries on all the major streaming platforms (Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime) to keep fans happy and surrounded by therapeutic melodies to ease the national anxiety in the weeks to come. – Live For Live Music


Eminem 'Houdini' music video

Eminem 'Houdini' music video


Eminem's 'Houdini' Is This Week's Hottest New Radio Track in Canada

Also making waves on radio this week: Bob Marley grandson King Cruff's "Proppa Ghanda" team-up with Montreal production duo Banx & Ranx, Julian Taylor's "Running Away" and Victoria, B.C. indie group The Bankes Brothers' "Walkin'."

The following are tracks delivered to radio by digital distributor Yangaroo in Canada and broken down into three categories. Top Downloads and Top Canadian Downloads represent the most copied tracks in the week ending June 7. Most Active Indies blends downloads and streams, with the affiliated label and radio promotions company in parentheses.

Top Downloads

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