Music Biz Headlines, May 29, 2020

Bruce Cockburn (pictured) turns 75, the new career of Trevor Hurst, and a tribute to Renée Claude. Also in the headlines are Billie Eilish, Beverly Glenn-Copeland, Rufus Wainwright, Drake, SOCAN, Black Dresses, BeApp, Def Jam Africa, Taylor Swift, Cat Stevens, The Doobie Brothers, Joe Ely, Eminem, and album covers.

Music Biz Headlines, May 29, 2020

By FYI Staff

What is the future of live music in Toronto?

Concerts will be one of the last things to return in Ontario, but local musicians and promoters are already thinking about what the local scene might look like. – Richard Trapunski, NOW

Econoline Crush’s Trevor Hurst has new music and a new career

A new doc will showcase the singer’s life as a nurse on the Dakota First Nation reserve. –Global News

Incandescent singer Renée Claude was a superb interpreter of chanson

An unlikely candidate for stardom, Renée Claude became one of the grandes dames of Quebec chanson, along with Diane Dufresne, Pauline Julien and Monique Leyrac. Ms. Claude, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and lived in a long-term care facility, died of covid-19 in Montreal on May 12 at the age of 80. –James Cullingham, Globe and Mail


A salute to Bruce Cockburn on his 75th birthday

Today, as Bruce Cockburn reaches his 75th year, we can rejoice that he is still a stealer of fire, dancing his sunwheel dance in the falling dark of the dragon’s jaws. – Paul Corby, Roots Music Canada

‘They’ve blindsided us’: Artists outraged by Alberta Foundation for the Arts decision to shelve grants

Artists are lamenting their latest funding hit and pointing their fingers squarely at the provincial government. Citing concerns over the safety and feasibility of arts projects in the wake of COVID-19, the Alberta government recently shelved grant applications dating back to the March submission period. – Ryan Garner, Edmonton Journal

Off the road, musicians look for new means to survive

As the pandemic upends the economy – mass layoffs, non-essential business closures, and schools shuttered indefinitely – the world has turned expectedly to artists for solace and hope. This, many artists are told, is the perfect time to write that massive hit, or unifying “We Are the World” song. But for many musicians, covid-19 offers little inspiration; instead, it’s revealed how vulnerable their lives and livelihoods are. – Chaka V. Grier, Words & Music

Musician's meteoric rise comes to a crashing halt

What was supposed to be a banner year, including a world tour, has turned into a search for a place to live for Beverly Glenn-Copeland. The covid-cancelled world tour was going to bring the Sackville musician the kind of recognition and financial security that had proved elusive for decades. – Tori Weldon, CBC News 


HMV presents: My Inspiration podcast - Rufus Wainwright

We spoke to Wainwright about his new album, Unfollow The Rules, his return to the pop world after a classical hiatus, and his inspiration, iconic singer Nina Simone. – HMV

Wares - Survival

On her second album as Wares, Albertan Cassia Hardy sings of rage, joy, and transformation on a dynamic and euphoric rock record. – Stuart Berman, Pitchfork

In Canada, artists are earning performance royalties for live streams

With Canadian artists off the road and performing virtual concerts on Facebook and Instagram, the performance rights organization SOCAN has created a new program, called Encore!, to help deliver royalties to performers during the covid pandemic. The program is retroactive from March 15 of this year until March 7, 2021. – Karen Bliss, Billboard

Outgrowing Drake is the generation gap we didn't predict

I was 22 when ‘So Far Gone’ changed music. Now I’m 34, and my life feels different — but Drake hasn’t changed at all. – David Dennis, Jr., Level/Medium

At Home with Botfly 

A raw re-imagining of the hardcore band's catalogue brings new depth. – Alec Martin, The Coast

Black Dresses split, citing “extended harassment” from fans

Devi McCallion and Ada Rook, aka Toronto noise-pop duo Black Dresses, disband, saying an “extended invasion of privacy” came with TikTok popularity.–  Evan Minsker, Pitchfork



The music industry is still obsessed with charts – but does it always look at the right data?

For decades “the charts” have been the arbiter of consumer tastes in music. That makes sense. What’s selling (in CD days) or what’s streaming (today) lubricates the engine of the music industry. But surveys asking music fans about the genres that they listen to and like the most don’t always align with the charts. – Russ Crupnick, MBW

Coke bets on new music streamer BeApp as virtual concerts take center stage

Coca-Cola signed on as the exclusive launch partner of BeApp, a new music streaming platform that integrates gamified and social media elements into the virtual concert-viewing experience, according to an announcement. – Peter Adams, Mobile Marketer


Universal Music Group launches Def Jam Africa

UMG announces new label group dedicated to supporting the best in African hip-hop talent and culture across the continent. – Laura Stavropoulos, Udiscovermusic

Critic’s notebook: With a cover of her track Look What You Made Me Do, crafty Taylor Swift sticks it to the man

It appears the sneaky singer named Swift has pulled a fast one. Social media was a swirl and rumours were rampant last Sunday night after Taylor Swift tweeted about a mysterious cover of her song Look What You Made Me Do. – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail

"I will miss what I wanted to lose" 

I’ve long had a complicated relationship with touring, and the pandemic has made it only more difficult. I always knew what life on the road was costing me. But I didn’t fully appreciate what it gave me until suddenly it was gone. – Rosanne Cash, The Atlantic

Near Truths: Shock of the new 

The ferment in the agency world is widespread, but the pandemonium at WME has been pronounced. The house of Ari and Patrick is now downsizing—and the rumours just keep getting louder as they continue to kick the can down the road. A sideshow to this circus has been the saga of Marc Geiger. – Hits Daily Double

Yusuf/Cat Stevens on reinventing 'Tea For The Tillerman,' 50 years later: 'I wanted to take the halo off'

The legendary singer-songwriter talks about reimagining his 1970 album and how he's been unlocking creativity during the pandemic. – Melinda Newman, Billboard

The Doobie Brothers reschedule 50th Anniversary Tour for 2021

A half-century on, The Doobie Brothers are still smoking. To celebrate 50 years together, founding members Tom Johnston, Michael McDonald, Pat Simmons and John McFee will reunite for a special North American tour in 2021 (the planned 2020 tour has been rescheduled amid the coronavirus pandemic). London and Toronto are included. – Lars Brandle, Billboard

Joe Ely has ‘Love’ in the shadow of the corona pan-damn-it

The Texan troubadour remembers the moment he started taking the covid-19 pandemic seriously. “When South by Southwest shut down,” he says, “that was a kick in the groin for all musicians. That’s when I realized I had to use this time, or else I was going to think myself into a hole. That’s when I started calling it the pan-damn-it.” – Geoffrey Himes, American Songwriter


Eminem’s ‘The Marshall Mathers LP’ at 20: why it’s a misunderstood masterpiece

It might be the most divisive album in music, but the Detroit MC's magnum opus also offered refuge to a generation of disenfranchised teens. – Will Lavin, NME

10 album covers that were changed

Radio X looks at the times the cover art has been messed with - for censorship, taste or more obscure reasons. David Bowie and Morrissey make the cut. – Radio X

Billie Eilish’s body is none of your concern in her powerful new short film

Billie Eilish has released a short film, “Not My Responsibility,” which debuted during her “Where Do We Go?” world tour. It lifts a big middle finger to body shaming. – LA Times

Jayda G
David Reiss

Jayda G


Fresh Sounds Canada: New Songs from Jayda G, Claudia Bouvette and More

This week's discovery roundup of new Canadian songs also includes Indigenous songwriter Celeigh Cardinal and Quebec acts KROY and Mon Doux Saigneur.

In Fresh Sounds Canada, Billboard Canada puts you on to the must-hear songs of the week by artists on the rise and those about to break. Here's what's out this week.

Jayda G, “If We Only Knew”

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