Music Biz Headlines, Oct. 23, 2019

The art of Joni Mitchell (pictured), Elton John's swansong, and a graphic review of Charli XCX are in the news today. Also in the headlines: SSO, ASCAP, Amazon Music, Ben Cooper, Beyoncé, Lizzo, George Michael, Brandi Carlile, Baby Shark Live, Motorhead, and David Byrne.

Music Biz Headlines, Oct. 23, 2019

By Kerry Doole

Is Elton John’s farewell tour really goodbye?

How do you bow out gracefully from rock ’n’ roll? Has anyone figured it out yet? And should anyone even attempt to bow out gracefully from rock ’n’ roll in the first place? Elton John appears to be trying. Again. – Ben Rayner, The Star

Turbulent indigos: glorious Joni Mitchell watercolours – in pictures

In 1971, Mitchell gave 100 of her closest friends a handmade copy of The Christmas Book, a collection of early songs, poems and watercolours. It is now being published more than 40 years later by Canongate as Morning Glory on the Vine. – Sam Briggs, Guardian 

Halloween 2019: Toronto's best parties and concerts

Promise, Dudebox, TIFF, Dan Burke, Hotnuts, CATL, Do Right! Music, Silver Snail and Extinction Rebellion are getting spooky this year. – Staff, NOW


How paying artists for their work can help Toronto’s economy

Cultural work makes up a full eight percent of Toronto’s economic output. Imagine how much more we could do with a greater share of the profit from our own work. – John Degen The Star

Erwan Keravec and Hamid Drake shatter the silence at suddenlyLISTEN's season debut show 

The Urban Pipes showcase should've felt like a peanut butter-tunafish sandwich but instead was much tastier. – Andrew Bethune, The Coast

Review: SSO aims for the stars with creative rendition of The Planets

This concert definitely felt like a "best-for-last" performance of Holst's work, ending with some of the SSO's best playing this year. – Matt Olson, Star-Phoenix 

This quirky house was a hub for classical music in rural N.L. Now it's up for sale

Fairwind Villa fostered classical music in Pasadena for decades. It might just be the most ornate house concert space in Newfoundland and Labrador — and it's now on the market. – CBC News

Comic concert review: Charli XCX takes us to the next level

The British pop queen played a concert at Rebel in Toronto and we turned it into a comic. – Eric K. Williams, NOW


The epic story of a Grammy winner, $204,613 – and a legal battle with ramifications for songwriters everywhere

In March last year, Grammy-winning, Nashville-based songwriter Shane McAnally hit industry headlines due to a dispute with ASCAP regarding his decision to leave the PRO.– Tim Ingham, MBW

Amazon Music to sponsor MTV Europe Music Awards

The company is to be the main sponsor of the 2019 MTV European Music Awards, taking over from TikTok. Hosted by singer Becky G, the music-streaming platform will be involved in the EMAs' on-air, digital and out-of-home marketing campaign in Seville, Spain. – EIN News


Ben Cooper leaving the BBC after 8 years as Radio 1 and 1Xtra's Controller

Ben Cooper, the long-time Controller of two of the world’s most influential music-driven broadcast networks, BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra, has decided to leave the BBC, MBW understands. London-based Cooper, who is responsible for driving Radio 1’s digital strategy in addition to its terrestrial output, is stepping down from his London-based position after eight years. – Tim Ingham, MBW

A night at the church of Lizzo, pop music’s patron saint of self-care

It’s entirely possible that one could launch themselves straight to the moon entirely fueled by the bursts of positivity Lizzo spread over a sold-out crowd at the Hollywood Palladium on Friday night. – Gerrick D. Kennedy, LA Times

A Church service inspired by Beyoncé, no halo required

The Beyoncé Mass explores how issues of race and gender impact the lives, voices and bodies of black women (It’s not, however, about worshiping Beyoncé). – Bill Friskics-Warren, NY Times

Billy Porter: ‘Hugely, violently homophobic’ music industry killed early music career

The Emmy-winning star said that racism also prevented him from establishing an acting career –  Rhuaridh Marr, Metro Weekly

George Michael’s music companies rocket in value by almost £3million since 2016 death

The money comes from royalties for the late singer’s songs, showing his tracks remain hugely popular with fans. And their soaring profits come although there has been no attempt to ‘cash in’ on his death – with only a re-issue of the album Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1 in 2017.  – Michael Hamilton, Andy Buckwell, The Sun


Brandi Carlile drops out of women’s summit over former Trump official Kirstjen Nielsen’s involvement

There was one fewer guest in attendance at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women summit in Washington on Tuesday. Grammy Award-winning singer Brandi Carlile said Monday she would not participate in the conference because former homeland security secretary and "human rights violator" Nielsen would be a speaker. – Washington Post 

David Byrne’s ‘American Utopia’: A heady swirl of hope for our anxious times

The concert-theater-dance spectacle on Broadway finds solace in human connections — with plenty of drum beats. – Jerry Portwood, Rolling Stone


Inside ‘Baby Shark Live,’ Pinkfong’s touring concert for musical toddlers

How can a 90-second track be effectively stretched into an 80-minute live show? Would the dance demonstration — which has over 3.5-billion views, making it the sixth-most-viewed video in the history of YouTube — simply be played 50 times, like some compilations do?  – Ashley Lee, LA Times

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame rethink Motorhead nomination

Hall of Fame bosses have added drummer Mikkey Dee and guitarist Phil Campbell to the list of eligible Motorhead stars on the ballot for the class of 2020 nominations following an outcry by fans. – Music-News

The sacred and profane genius of FKA twigs

With her long-awaited new album MAGDALENE, the experimental pop shapeshifter is mightier than ever. – Owen Myers, Pitchfork

Allison Russell accepting the Billboard Canada Women in Music Breakthrough Artist of the Year award
Marc Thususka Photography

Allison Russell accepting the Billboard Canada Women in Music Breakthrough Artist of the Year award

Music News

Allison Russell Named Billboard Canada Women In Music Breakthrough Artist of the Year

The Nashville-based musician from Montreal has been having a huge year, including her first Grammy and her first Hot 100 appearance. Accepting the award on June 19 at the iHeartRadio Canada studio, she talked about her LGBTQ+ advocacy work and the importance of playing with underrepresented musicians.

It was a special Juneteenth for Allison Russell.

Not only did she serve as the special Toronto opener for Sarah McLachlan on the Canadian icon’s Fumbling Towards Ecstasy 30th anniversary tour, but she earned another big honour: Billboard Canada Women In Music Breakthrough Artist of the Year.

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