Music Biz Headlines, May 25, 2020

The Montreal rap scene is thriving (Tyleen pictured), Drake shows off his pool, and Carly Rae Jepsen discusses quarantine. Others in the headlines include Charles Khabouth, Opera Canada, Band Ladies, Primary Wave, US copyright, Italian concerts, Little Richard, Michael Hutchence, Right Said Fred, Steve Earle, and Bernie Leadon.

Music Biz Headlines, May 25, 2020

By Kerry Doole

Montreal's rap freshman class is ready for the hustle

With concerts on pause and venues temporarily shuttered, there remains at least one area of Montreal culture where new content continues apace: the city’s rappers, including Tyleen, have stepped up to the plate in early 2020 with a number of new releases to soundtrack your solitary spring days at home. – Erik Leijon, Montreal Gazette

Nightclub king scrambles to salvage his empire as social distancing pummels hospitality sector

Within the first 48 hours of Canada slipping into a pandemic-induced lockdown, Charles Khabouth had to close more than 20 bars, clubs and restaurants he owns in Toronto and Montreal, lay off 2,600 employees, pull the plug on multiple construction projects and cancel some of the most popular summer festivals in both cities. – Vanmala Subramaniam, Financial Post  


Opera Canada is a magazine punching above its weight

Today, at the beginning of its 60th anniversary season, it ranks among the leading publications of its kind, a handsome glossy and Canada’s oldest continually published arts journal. – William Littler, Toronto star

Carly Rae Jepsen's lockdown listening: 'My fridge caught on fire!'

The Canadian pop star on quarantining with her cat and embracing musical nostalgia.–  Laura Snapes, The Guardian

Carleton music prof drums up 40 daily videos to get his chops back after brain surgery

Jesse Stewart filmed a series of 40 daily videos posted to his Facebook page during the lockdown. In them, he plays a different instrument almost every day, from the unexpected to the obscure. – Lynn Saxberg,  Postmedia

Lisa Michelle Cornelius discusses the new series Band Ladies

If you’re making a short comedy series like Band Ladies - about a group of thirtysomething women who ditch their book club and start a punk band – what better place for the actors to meet for the first time than a recording studio? – Jim Slotek, Original Cin

Drake shows off new pool at his Toronto mansion and it's the size of a lake

Drake displayed the gigantic pool at his new Toronto mansion this weekend in another display of excess during the pandemic. While most of us couldn't hit the lake this weekend due to restrictions, Drake doesn't have to worry about that seeing as this pool appears to rival the Great Lakes in size. – BlogTO



Primary Wave acquires majority stake in Ray Charles’ pre-1964 publishing catalogue

The music publisher has finalized an agreement with the heirs of Ray Charles which will see the publishing firm acquire a majority stake in the pre-1964 music publishing catalogue of the 17x Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, composer, and pianist. It is described as a “multi-million deal." – MBW 

US Copyright Office finally publishes its safe harbour report, music industry sets out its copyright gripes

The US Copyright Office has finally published the report based on its review of the safe harbour that sits in America’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act. It doesn’t recommend radical changes to that safe harbour but says that Congress might want to do some fine-tuning to better balance the interests of technology companies and copyright owners. – Chris Cooke, CMU

Our predictions of the future of music

We're going to push ourselves out of our comfort zone and over the course of the year forecast some new revenue streams for which a comprehensive set of historical data does not exist.  Here are the five emerging revenue sectors that we think could collectively be the music industry’s next growth driver. – Musicindustryblog

‘Spotify's tip jar is offensive to artists and consumers’: stars on pop’s future after coronavirus

Festivals are cancelled, live streams thriving – so how can music recover? Jack Garratt, Ella Eyre, Sara Quin and more talk gigs, hits and togetherness. – Alexis Petridis, The Guardian

10 problems a touring band will have to overcome to gig in the virus times

It’s great to see the live circuit trying to work out a way to make live music happen in the autumn. There are lots of logistic difficulties which we will have to attempt to overcome though. – John Robb, Louder Than War


Concerts to resume in Italy on 15 June

The Italian government has announced that concerts and theatrical performances will again be permitted in concert halls, theatres and open spaces, from 15 June onwards. However, presenters will have to implement a raft of measures designed to maintain public health. – The Strad

Israel holds a music festival they called a protest

Organisers used a loophole by terming the event a protest, enabling a gathering that drew 3,000 people. – AP


"Levon didn't write songs. I gave him credit": Robbie Robertson on The Band's disputes and new film

Robbie Robertson spoke with Salon about the documentary "Once Were Brothers," Bob Dylan, Martin Scorsese, Levon Helm, and more. – Gary M. Kramer, Salon

Little Richard laid to rest at Alabama alma mater

Little Richard was remembered not just as a rock `n' roll pioneer but a man of generosity and faith at a memorial service at his alma mater in Huntsville, Ala., where he was laid to rest Wednesday. Mourners gathered at Oakwood University to pay their respects, many wearing face masks and standing a few feet apart at the outdoor service at the school's cemetery. – AP

The life and death of Michael Hutchence still mystifies

Unlike other chronicles of the band, the new documentary Mystify: Michael Hutchence attempts to deconstruct the famed INXS singer’s life and death, positing both into a relatable human framework. When the singer took his own life in 1997 at 37 years old, his fans were completely confounded. – LA Weekly

Bernie Leadon on ‘Laurel Canyon’ doc, Gram Parsons, future with the Eagles

“I’ve had a really long career, but I’m not dead,” musician says. “I’m still writing songs.” – Angie Martoccio, Rolling Stone

Steve Earle invites listeners to commune with the ‘Ghosts of West Virginia’

Though his latest album, Ghosts of West Virginia, may feel more at home in the folk genre than blues, it will be prized as an unforgettable venture that connects listeners to a profound human experience. – Chuck Armstrong, No Depression

The 25 best albums of 1970

Looking back at the best albums of 1970, it quickly becomes clear that some fantastic albums are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. Our list includes the Beatles, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Jimi Hendrix,  Simon & Garfunkel, and James Taylor. – Josh Jackson, Paste

Diana Ross ‘didn’t understand that “I’m Coming Out” was a gay thing’, says Nile Rodgers

Singer’s 1980 hit became an anthem of the gay community. – Louis Chilton, The Independent

Too Sexy to last: The Right Said Fred story

By 1992, “I’m Too Sexy” was the number one tune in 32 countries, including the United States, and the Fairbrass brothers went from being gym managers and sporadic musicians to the kitschy pop act of the moment. In all, they had three hits. – Jake Rossen, Mental Floss


Intertwining Currents by artist Matthew Davies
Courtesy Photo

Intertwining Currents by artist Matthew Davies


Billboard Canada Partners On Transformative New Media Festival, NOXTE

The first of its kind in Toronto, the event breaks barriers between audio, visual and new media and launches on July 12.


There’s a new art festival breaking barriers between audio, visual and new media. This new media experience is the first of its kind in Toronto, bringing the city’s art forms together with a distinct nightlife vibe more often found in Miami or Berlin.

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