Music Biz Headlines, Sept. 28, 2023

By Kerry Doole

'Spirit of MuchMusic' still alive at doc premiere with former VJs in attendance

While the party died years ago at MuchMusic's broadcast centre on the corner of Queen and John streets in Toronto, the screening of a new documentary on Friday proved nostalgia for the nation's music station is still very much alive. – David Friend, CP 

Polaris Prize winner Debby Friday reflects on her Good Luck

Asked about the $50K she was awarded for receiving the 2023 Polaris Music Prize, Debby Friday said she would use the money to help pay off student loans. “There’s quite a bit. I’ll need Polaris and then some,” the 29-year-old said about the cash she won at Toronto’s Massey Hall. Remember when rock stars and pop music people bought sportscars? – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail


Canadian conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin prepared Bradley Cooper for 'Maestro' role

Montreal conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin says he employed a secret weapon in teaching Bradley Cooper how to conduct like Leonard Bernstein in the upcoming biopic “Maestro” – an earpiece. – Cassandra Szklarski, CP 

Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony enters bankruptcy protection after cancelling new season

The Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony filed for bankruptcy just days after cancelling its 2023-24 season, leaving dozens of musicians and staff facing an uncertain future. The 78-year-old Southern Ontario symphony needed to raise $2-million immediately in order to keep operating, acknowledging that insolvency was a possible outcome.T he organization confirmed it had filed for bankruptcy in a press release last week. – Josh O'Kane, Globe and Mail

What's wrong with Canadian country music?

I’ll say it again, what’s wrong with Canadian Country Music? I mean there must be a problem if we need to turn to big American acts at events that are intended to celebrate our home grown talent…right? Can most Canadians even name a Canadian country artist without having to Google them first? Anyone wonder why that is? – Hendrik Pape, SoundCheck

Charismatic Cape Breton songsmith Bruce Guthro fronted legendary Scottish group Runrig

Simultaneously a beloved Cape Breton balladeer on this side of the Atlantic Ocean and a folk-rock superstar on the other, Bruce Guthro lived a double life in plain sight. And if his business savvy, prolific songwriting and scrappy perseverance built a career in Canada, his fame in Scotland owed a lot to happenstance. – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail


‘Dumb enough to be fun’ — ex-Darcys bassist Dave Hurlow on his new novel and musical project

Hurlow’s novel “Deep Sea Feline” and coming EP “Ventriloquist” balance serious craft and self-aware, psychedelic silliness in equal measure. – Ben Rayner, Toronto Star

Tim Baker announces new EP, pair of Halifax shows in December

The former Hey Rosetta! frontman will perform at The Stage at St. Andrew’s. Tickets are almost gone. – Martin Bauman, The Coast

As summer fades, the inaugural Squamish Harvest Moon Festival rises up the Sea to Sky

The future of the festival that brought us the Black Pumas, Andy Shauf, Bahamas, Serena Ryder, and Sarah McLachlan over the past few years is still unwritten. Music fans looking for an escape to one of the province’s most beautiful locations, meanwhile, have good news as summer fades away. – Mike Usinger, Georgia Straight

He left music to work as a janitor at a grocery store. Now his band returns to Toronto for a sold-out show

Buoyed by Gen Z, British shoegaze stars Slowdive are back with a new album, “everything is alive,” and a hot-ticket Toronto gig. – Lesa Hannah, Toronto Star 

Twelve music books out this fall, including new releases from Barbra Streisand and Britney Spears

This fall, a parade of biographies, autobiographies, historical essays, music miscellanea and works of scholarship hit real and virtual shelves in the lead-up to the gift-buying season. If albums no longer sell, the stories of the artists who make those records do. In particular, memoirs from Britney Spears, Barbra Streisand and Sly Stone are music to booksellers’ ears. Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail  


Emotional, authentic story is what Roy Orbison jukebox musical ‘In Dreams’ is made of

Production from Schitt’s Creek writer David West Read runs at the CAA Ed Mirvish Theatre until Nov. 12. – Glenn Sumi, Toronto Star


95% of NFT collections, held by over 23M people, are now 'worthless,' study finds

On the heels of the well-documented non-fungible token (NFT) craze – and billions in related purchases – a whopping 95% of the digital-asset collections are now worthless, according to a new study. – Dylan Smith, DMN

Live Nation scraps artist merch fees at its US club venues as part of new 'On the Road Again' program

The practice of music venues taking a cut of merch profits at live shows has been a matter of contention amongst touring acts for a long time. Now, concert giant Live Nation has announced that its US clubs will stop taking a percentage of artists' merch stand sales, "so artists keep 100% of merch profits for each show". The move is part of a program called "On the Road Again",  rolled out with legendary artist Willie Nelson to support developing artists and crew at the club level. – MBW


Jay-Z, Timbaland and Ginuwine beat copyright lawsuit over 'Paper Chase' and 'Toe 2 Toe'

A New York City judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Warner Chappell Music, rapper Jay-Z, producer Timbaland and singer Ginuwine over allegations of copyright infringement on the tracks Paper Chase and Toe 2 Toe. The lawsuit was brought by soul musician Ernie Hines. – Daniel Tencer, MBW

Hollywood's writers have a deal—and little to do while actors are still striking

As the WGA approaches an agreement with studios, talk shows like Stephen Colbert’s could start up again, but not much else. – Julia Malleck, QZ

Spotify has developed an AI-powered voice cloning tool

Described by the company in a press release on Monday (September 25), as “groundbreaking”, the new AI tool can translate podcasts into additional languages — all in the podcaster’s own voice. – Murray Stassen, MBW

After blowing it again on Twitter, the 1975’s Matty Healy learns you don’t tug on Lucy Dacus’ cape

As Jim Croce one sagely noted, “you don’t tug on Superman’s cape.” And as the 1975’s Matt Healy discovered instantly recently, you don’t fuck with Lucy Dacus of Boygenius. A jibe from Healy about that band drew a strong response. – Mike Usinger, Georgia Straight

Martin Simpson and Thomm Jutz revive folk songs on 'Nothing but Green Willow'

Folk artists Martin Simpson and Thomm Jutz combine to offer a real oldies collection, with ballads that date back generations and have roots on both sides of the Atlantic. They’re mostly sad songs about class divide, unfaithful lovers and family strife, where bloody dreams come true and even the valleys are lonesome.–  Steven Wine, AP 

Breathy, mid-tempo Wilco returns for 'Cousin,' which is heavy on the slower tracks

If you like your Wilco mid-tempo, melodic and breathy, then “Cousin” is for you. – Scott Bauer, AP 

Billboard Editorial Director Hannah Karp at CMW 2024
Grant W. Martin Photography Courtesy Canadian Music Week

Billboard Editorial Director Hannah Karp at CMW 2024


The Best Advice from Billboard's Pitching to Media Panel at Canadian Music Week 2024

Billboard Editorial Director Hannah Karp moderated a panel that that included Billboard Canada editor Richard Trapunski, Red Umbrella P.R. owner Charlotte Thompson and Pure Country Radio Director Dayna Bourgoin. This was their best advice for upstart musicians and publicists looking for coverage.

Billboard hosted a panel on Pitching to Media at Canadian Music Week 2024.

The panel was moderated by Billboard’s Editorial Director Hannah Karp and featured members of multiple sides of the industry coin, including Red Umbrella P.R.’s Owner and President Charlotte Thompson, Pure Country Radio’s National Music Director Dayna Bourgoin and Billboard Canada editor Richard Trapunski.

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