Music Biz Headlines, Oct. 26, 2023

By Kerry Doole

Toronto Symphony Orchestra receives historic donation from estate of H. Thomas and Mary Beck

The dulcet sound heard at Monday’s annual general meeting of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra was the announcement of a $14.7-million donation from the estate of H. Thomas and Mary Beck. It is the largest gift ever made to the organization, surpassing the $10-million from the estate in 2019. –  Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail

MuchMusic documentary ‘299 Queen West’ faces legal challenge from Universal Music Canada

Director Sean Menard says the major label contacted his legal team for his film about the beloved Canadian TV station, objecting to the use of unlicensed music clips. –  Rosie Long Decter, Billboard Canada

Keeping the Music Alive⁠—A new history of the Commodore Ballroom

For three long years at the end of the last century, a terrible malaise descended on Vancouver. With the Commodore’s brutal and sudden closure on July 12, 1996, its future became uncertain, its fate perhaps sealed. It'd rise from the ashes after a desolate period. –  Adrian Mack, Montecristo


The Wild Rovers, inspired by the Irish Rovers, leaves audience in want of a portal out

These 90 minutes could have been more effectively spent as a concert of Irish Rovers numbers, perhaps with some anecdotes and jokes between the songs. Discovering a secret portal to that – or, even better, a restaging of the Newfoundland-set musical Come From Away – would be much more magical. –  Glenn Sumi, Globe and Mail

Kayo rides a wave on latest album, Trip

The St. Lucia-turned-Halifax rapper and singer has come a long way from his One: The Prequel days. And he’s far from finished. –  Martin Bauman, The Coast

A look back at Simply Saucer :: Cyborgs Revisited

In the summers of 1974 and 1975, one of the great Canadian cult rock ‘n’ roll groups left their mark on musical history. Yet despite how far ahead their electronically enhanced songs may have sounded at the time, the scorching recordings captured on Simply Saucer’s Cyborgs Revisited would not be released until 1989. –  Jesse Locke, Aquarium Drunkard

Local sister act Fionn wants you to come by your angst honestly

From busking on the streets of Granville Island at age of 12 to eventually getting scouted by 604 Records, the pop punk pair of Fionn has grown up fast. They have just produced their third album I Might Start Smoking before their 26th birthday. –  Angela Vannatter, Georgia Straight


Tapestry Opera’s Rocking Horse winner and other fall opera highlights 

In opera as in horse racing, there is no such thing as a sure bet. Still, a reimagined revival of Tapestry Opera’s award-winning 2016 adaptation of D. H. Lawrence’s difficult short story about the hesitant love of a mother and her son’s gambling solution is likely to pay off. –  The Globe and Mail 

Pink postpones two Vancouver dates due to illness

Pop superstar Pink is postponing two Vancouver concerts this weekend as she deals with a respiratory infection. –  David Friend, CP 

Robbie Robertson’s final Martin Scorsese collaboration released

The soundtrack to Martin Scorsese’s ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ has been released. It is the final collaboration between Scorsese and Robbie Robertson. –  Noise11

Neil Young announces acoustic rerecordings album Before And After — 13 songs on one track

In August, Neil Young shared Chrome Dreams, a “lost” album of 12 songs recorded between 1974-1976. Now, he’s back with the announcement of the LP Before And After, which will contain solo acoustic rerecordings of songs from throughout his career as one uninterrupted 48-minute piece. –  Danielle Chelosky, Stereogum


HSF confirms Merck Mercuriadis has option to buy all rights if his company is terminated 

Hipgnosis Songs Fund (HSF)’s board is having a tricky time of things. HSF has officially confirmed to its investors that Merck Mercuriadis and HSM do indeed have an ongoing “call option” to acquire the assets of Hipgnosis Songs Fund should HSF terminate the contract of HSM as its investment adviser. –  Tim Ingham, MBW 


Blackstone-backed $440M offer for Hipgnosis Songs Fund assets sees off rival interest 

In a note to shareholders Oct. 24 , HSF’s board said that “following substantive engagement with a number of parties”, it did not receive a “Superior Offer” as part of the ‘go shop’ process. HSF’s board said in a shareholder update that it had “received feedback through the process [from] a number of the parties assessed that they could not justify paying a higher price” than the $440M offer from HSC. – MBW


Universal Music files lawsuit against Anthropic for generating copyrighted lyrics

Artificial Intelligence (AI) chatbots generating copyrighted works from major artists have long been a concern for studios. Now, in a recent development, Universal Music Group (UMG) and other music publishers have filed a lawsuit against Anthropic. – The Verge

Charted: 50 Years of music industry revenues, by format

In the ever-changing world of music, 2022 marked yet another milestone. For the seventh year in a row, recorded music revenues in the United States rose, hitting a record high of $15.9 billion. The graphic here uses data from the Recording Industry Association of America to chart the music industry’s evolution over the last 50 years. –  Visual Capitalist

Live From the Uncanny Valley: How AI tools are turning words into music

What do “arpeggiated synths and light-up dancefloor grooves” sound like, exactly? MusicLM has an answer. –  Pitchfork

The Rolling Stones play secret club show in New York City

The Rolling Stones performed a one-off secret show at the Racket Club at 431 West 16th Street in New York City tonight (19 October, 2023). Only 650 invited guests were in the audience. –  Noise11

TikTok Music just launched publicly in Australia, Singapore and Mexico... without Universal Music's catalog

As of October 19, TikTok's premium music streaming service, TikTok Music, is available to the public in Australia, Singapore and Mexico. The launch follows an initial beta roll-out in the three markets in July. –  MBW

Songwriters to meet with Congress in bid to set rules for AI use

Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Paul Williams, and others are advocating for fair limits on AI use as part of ASCAP’s Stand With Songwriters Day. – Evan Minsker, Pitchfork

Peter Garrett has a new song, album, and tour on the way

Midnight Oil’s Peter Garrett has announced his second solo album ‘The True North’ will be released in March 2024. The titles track is out now and tour days are set for next year. –  Noise11

Music Review: An expanded soundtrack marks 50th anniversary of 'A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving'

An expanded soundtrack for the Thanksgiving season filled with childlike charm is reason to do the Snoopy dance. –  Steven Wine, AP

The new documentary "Milli Vanilli" examines one of music's biggest scandals

It suggests the duo's music producers were pulling the strings and knew more than they let on at the time. –  AP


Foreigner will never enter the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, says Lou Gramm

"They couldn't understand why we weren't brought up for induction. And it started to get heated, apparently." –  Ultimate Guitar

There isn't much Cher hasn't done in her career. A Christmas album is new territory, though

She's achieved EGOT status, she's the only artist to have a No. 1 song in each of the past six decades — heck, she's got her own gelato business, Cherlato. But a Christmas album? That's new territory. –  Maria Sherman, AP 

I went on a rock ’n’ roll pilgrimage to Dublin’s music shrines

For music enthusiasts, Dublin’s essential stops include the Irish Rock ’n’ Roll Museum Experience and Windmill Lane recording studios. –  Darcy Rhyno, Toronto Star

Billy Joel gets a street named after him 

The town of Oyster Bay on Long Island, New York has renamed a stretch of road Billy Joel Way. –  Noise11

Opera world hopes discount tickets win back audiences

A new discount ticket exchange program among opera companies in Canada and the US has been launched in an attempt to build audiences and boost slumping ticket sales. The scheme is co-ordinated by Opera America, a New York–based organization that promotes the creation and presentation of opera. –  Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail

Breaking through rock journalism’s boys’ club

Five music critics look back at a problematic past, and forward to a future they’re helping create. – Althea Legaspi, Rolling Stone

Big Boi

Big Boi


CNE Bandshell Gets Big Boi, Sloan, Big Wreck And More For Throwback Summer Concerts

The headliners tie together the Toronto waterfront series' '90s and 2000s revival theme, while contemporary acts like MacKenzie Porter, Ruby Waters, Tynomi Banks and more will keep things current.

Toronto's CNE Bandshell concert series is leaning into big nostalgia this summer, with major '90s and 2000s acts headlining the throwback-themed lineup.

OutKast rapper Big Boi, Canadian-American rock band Big Wreck, and east coasters Sloan are leading the summer music programming at the Canadian National Exhibition, a major entertainment fair that takes over the Exhibition Place grounds every August.

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