Music News Digest, Dec. 15, 2017

The Unison Schmoozefest raises $35K, Michael Rapino ups his game (and bank account), Garth Brooks breaks attendance records. Also featured today are Betty Moon, Cold Specks, Brad Paisley, StubHub, Jake Donaldson, Andy Kim, Daniel Caesar, The Balconies and some free swag from Dine Alone. Videos provided for your viewing pleasure.

Music News Digest, Dec. 15, 2017

By FYI Staff

Monday night's Unison Holiday Schmoozefest in Toronto raised $35,000 for the music charity. Unison Chair Derrick Ross is elated with the needed revenue.  “With dozens of applicants seeking support each month, this helps to make certain that there are resources available for every member of the music industry if they are in need of help."

Before the party, the Board offered their appreciation for the contributions of Jim Norris (Norris-Whitney Communications), a founding board member, and made a point of thanking the staff of Re:Sound for their support over the year.

– The European members of Parliament voted Tuesday to reject most of the European Commission’s so-called Sat Cab proposal threatening territory-by-territory licensing of pan European online transmissions. The result appears to be a significant setback in the push by the EC’s executive arm for a single digital market across the union’s 28-member states. When the Commission first announced its plans for a Digital Single Market in 2015, industry orgs had anticipated that the European Parliament might support the Commission’s vision of ready online access across the E.U. for films and TV, unhindered by geo-blocking. – Variety


– Apple is aggressively scheduling a phase-out of music downloads from the iTunes Store, according to multiple sources tied into the platform or working at the company itself.  The termination has been in motion since 2016 when sources first tipped the story to Digital Music News.

– LA-based Toronto’s Betty Moon puts the pedal to the metal with her dynamic new music video for "Natural Disaster". Filmed in Hollywood, the live performance clip pimps the latest single from her critically acclaimed new album Chrome. The video was unveiled last week on tastemaker website

– Live Nation Entertainment President/CEO Michael Rapino is signing a new five-year contract to run the global attractions firm, a source has confirmed to Pollstar.


The contract will ensure Rapino will continue to head up the company through 2022, as first reported in Amplify. 

His last five-year term, signed in 2012, gave him a base salary of US$2.3M, plus stock options that juiced his pay to just shy of $16M, according to Billboard.

Sunrise Records is peddling gold vinyl editions of Warner Music Canada’s 14-track Covered in Gold collection that includes sporty versions of CanCon gold by now artists, such as Matthew Good covering Big Wreck’s “Blown Wide Open.” Track listing and where to buy here.

John Donnelly Events has Cold Specks headlining this year’s Vancouver New Year’s Eve party, at Convention Centre West. The blowout has a shopping bag of free and fee events. Among the no-charge events, The Peak has its stage loaded with Good for Grapes, Peach Pit, The Tourist Company, Sam the Astronaut and The (incredibly indelible) Peak House Band. And here’s the star of the show…

SoundExchangehas released its Top 20 Tracks and Breakout Artists of 2017, based on streaming data compiled from 3,100 digital music services in the US. It contains all the usual suspects including a mittful of Canadian chart-toppers.


Vulture has compiled 2018 U2songs ranked worst to best. The worst, as per the opinion of pop culture arm of New York magazine, is a 1984 song that was on the flip-side of “Pride.”

– When you think of tours that have done monumental business you might think U2, Madonna, and the Rolling Stones–but there’s another biggie, and he’s a one-man show. Pollstar magazine reports on Garth Brooks’ three-year North American tour that has sold 6.4M tickets and broken attendance records in venues from Calgary to Kansas City. It’s a remarkable achievement, made more remarkable by the fact that the raw power of the man’s drawing power has gone relatively unnoticed.


– Dine Alone Records’ free Winter Sampler is now available to download. This year’s offering features tracks from the label’s celebrated roster including Dashboard Confessional, Single Mothers, Yukon Blonde, James Vincent McMorrow, The New Pornographers, The Flatliners, DZ Deathrays, Amber Run, and Seaway. Also featured are exciting new additions to Dine Alone’s expanding roster, including Traces, Sam Coffey & The Iron Lungs, Dead Heavens, and Legend of the Seagullmen.

– The UK hasn’t lost its share of angst-ridden lads, as London’s post-punk squad Shame proves in spades in this sneak peek from the five-piece band's upcoming debut.

– Ontario quarter Badbadnotgood has attracted a number of hip-hop performers to their unique music, resulting in collaborations with Tyler, the Creator and Ghostface Killah from Wu-Tang Clan. The South China Morning Post spreads the gospel about this band of do-gooders.

Brad Paisley kicks off 2018’s Queen's Plate with a bang, headlining the three-day festival that trots June 29 through July 1. Fans of the “Who Needs Pictures?” hat star can take their experience up a notch by purchasing a Paddock Party Festival Pass, providing exclusive access to the concert beer garden and pre-concert party with live-racing and entertainment held in Woodbine's rustic and chic Old Standardbred Paddock.

StubHub’s general manager for concerts and theatre in North America, Jeff Poirier, has penned an “open letter to fans” criticizing Ontario’s abandonment of the planned ticket transparency provisions in its new Ticket Sales Act, which passed into law this week. In its current form, the Ticket Sales Act caps the price of resold tickets at 50% of face value, bans ticket bots and requires business selling or reselling tickets to disclose certain information, including the capacity of the venue, the number of tickets on general on-sale and the original face-value ticket price.


Jeff Rogers is co-managing Jake Donaldson, the Canadian teen pop singer best known as a contestant on the 7th season of YTV's The Next Star. He released a single called "Lost" and now, 16 years of age, he’s back with over 100K subscribers to his YouTube channel, and six-figure Facebook likes. The mashup video below goes as audio to radio today (15th) and an original track, entitled “Options”, ships electronically Jan. 1. More about the “prodigious YouTube sensation” in Lesley Daunt’s undaunted HuffPost feature.

NPR has released it’s 50 Best Albums of the year. “Consensus wasn't easy to come by in 2017, but the best albums of the year were bolts of clarity, sonic companions for joy, grief and redemption, for battles hard won and for reckonings still to come,” the pubcaster enthuses. Kiwi goth folk singer-songwriter Aldous Harding’sParty (Flying Nun Records) is the No. 1 choice. Here’s “Imagining My Man” from that album.

Andy Kim’s Fourth Annual Christmas Show in Montreal is at the Corona Theatre this Saturday.  This year’s concert, which benefits the Starlight Children’s Foundation, again features a who’s-who of Maple Music friends that include Ron Sexsmith, Hawksley Workman, Platinum Blonde, the Sam Roberts Band, Michel Pagliaro and Danny Michel. Actor/funny fellow Sean Cullen is host. “These concerts are so emotional for me,” Kim tells The Gazette’s, Bill Brownstein. “I’m a huge fan of music. I’m still the kid who grew up in Montreal, who was in awe of musicians back then, and I’m still in awe now.”


– “Listening to Daniel Caesar's debut album will make you want to fall in love,” AP writer Mesfin Fekadu gushes. “The Canadian newcomer brilliantly sings R&B songs that echo D'Angelo and hit straight to the heart. ‘Freudian’ is a beautiful work of art.” The wire service picks Caesar’s debut as it’s #3 album of the year.

–  Folk Alliance International (FAI) has announced 18 Ontario-based artists performing at the Feb. 14-18 FAI conference at the Westin Crown Center Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri. They are  Aerialists, AHI, Amanda Rheume, Ambre McLean, Digging Roots, Fiver Fines, Jeremy Dutcher, Julian Taylor, Megan Bonnell, Rita Chiarelli, Royal Wood, Russell deCarle, Sarah Jane Scouten, Shreem x Celtic Remixing, Suzie Vinnick, The Lynnes, The Next Generation Leahy, and Wild Rivers.

– Sask Music has unveiled its long list of 100 albums by SK bands and voting is now open to the public. Notables on the list include Colter Wall, Steph Cameron, Close Talker, The Deep Dark Woods, Jeffery Straker, Jess Moskaluke, One Bad Son, and Kacy & Clayton.

– After ten years, Ottawa alt-rocker outfit The Balconies have announced they're calling it a day. Principals Jacquie Neville and Liam Jaeger will continue to collaborate, however. They farewell with shows at The Horseshoe in Toronto on Feb. 1, and Ottawa's 27 Club on the 3rd.

–  Hannah Georgas joins Indie88 in a 2nd annual Fresh Start at TO's The Rivoli on New Year's Eve. There is a bonus DJ set from Graham Walsh of Holy Fuck. More info here

– Today (Dec. 15) is the deadline to apply for the Passport: Music Export Summit, a program helping homegrown acts and music entrepreneurs develop export markets and increase trade.

– An exhibit in Studio Bell at The National Music Centre in Calgary honours recent Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees Bruce Cockburn, Neil Young, Beau Dommage and Stephane Venne. Items include guitars played by Cockburn and Young, handwritten lyrics for Cockburn’s "Lovers in a Dangerous Time" and Young’s "Opera Star" (a tune on Re*act*tor), conga drums used in a Beau Dommage session and a note from Venne about his classic song "Un Jour, Un Jour."

–  Scrappy Toronto rock 'n roll act Kensington Hillbillys release Belly Of The Beast with performances at Toronto's Dakota Tavern (Dec. 21) and Hamilton's Doors Pub on (Dec. 22).

DIVINE (L) and Karan Aujla
@anmollium / Anmol Raina

DIVINE (L) and Karan Aujla

Chart Beat

Karan Aujla & DIVINE Debut in Top 25 on Billboard Canadian Albums Chart

B.C.-based Punjabi artist Karan Aujla and Indian rapper DIVINE land the No. 22 spot on this week's Canadian Albums chart with their new collaborative release, 'Street Dreams.' On the Canadian Hot 100, Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em" ascends to No. 1, while Canadian pop artist Preston Pablo makes a debut.

B.C.-based Punjabi artist Karan Aujla and Indian rapper DIVINE are making moves together on Billboard's Canadian Albums chart this week, with their collaborative project, Street Dreams, debuting in the No. 22 spot.

The seven-track album, released Feb. 16, blends harder hip-hop and smooth R&B pop, the latter shining through especially on the Jonita Gandhi-assisted "Yaad." It's not Aujla's highest spot on the Albums chart — he reached No. 5 in 2023 with Making Memories, his collaboration with Canadian Punjabi artist Ikky — but it gives him some momentum going into his upcoming performance at the Juno Awards on Mar. 24, where he's nominated for TikTok Juno fan choice and breakthrough artist.

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