Drake has released his highly anticipated fourth album, Views (formerly known as Views From the 6) on Apple Music. The superstar has teased the album's release since wrapping up his 2013/2014 tour in support of his third album, Nothing Was the Same. The album features guest appearances by Rihanna, Future, and Kanye West. If You're Reading This It's Too Late, released in February 2015 and initially believed to be Views From the 6, was a million-selling album almost immediately, and racked up 17.3m streams on Spotify in its first three days. The LP went straight to No. 1 on the Canadian chart.
-- Neill Dixon has outdone himself with his International Festival Networks conference within a conference at CMW this year. The networking confab brings together 40 artistic directors and talent buyers from across Canada, the US and beyond on Friday, May 6. The $150 entrance fee ($100 with a Music Summit Day 3 pass) gets you face time with the people responsible for booking talent for Shambhala, Lollapalloza, Glastonbury, Evenko, Collective Concerts and...well, you get the picture. Link here to find out more.
-- Bell Media announced today it has reached an agreement to become the exclusive Canadian broadcast partner of the Invictus Games Toronto 2017 and in Orlando, May 8-12. Established by Prince Harry in 2014, the sporting competion is the only international adaptive sporting event for wounded, injured, and ill active duty and veteran service members. The prince is to visit Toronto on May 2 to officially launch the countdown to the Toronto games. Could this be a roll-call for a significant music-based opening ceremony? Bell Media has a big footprint in the music & entertainment segment so it's our guess this will be a big event with major acts on the marquee.
-- An Ipsos survey released earlier this year revealed CBC’s influence has grown over the past year – moving up two spots to 11th spot on the list – making CBC the second Canadian brand after Tim Hortons. Broadcaster has the details.
-- Bell Media posted growth in the first quarter of 2016, growing 2.1% for the period, moving to $741m up from $726m in 2015. Positive gains in the division were attributed largely to strong subscriber growth from the national expansion of The Movie Network (TMN), with the exit of Corus Entertainment in late 2015. Also adding to the growth were higher revenues from CraveTV, and Bell Media’s TV everywhere products. Advertising revenue for the quarter was impacted by dips on conventional and specialty TV, and a weakened economy in western Canada.
-- The National Music Centre inched closer to its goal of raising $191m with a $340k donation from design and consulting firm Stantec this week. The gift will allow the company to name the Volunteer Lounge in the facility, which will act as a green room for community volunteers. NMC is scheduled to open to the public this summer.
-- Western Canadian Music Awards will announce the nominees list at Casino Regina this coming Tuesday, May 3rd. Joelle May at ModBay Promotions is handling media: firstname.lastname@example.org
-- MusicOntario’s Canadian Music Week 2016 Town Hall meeting takes place at the Sheraton Centre Hotel on May 4 between 3 and 5pm.
-- Sony Music Entertainment's streaming revenues grew by 57% over the past 12 months, brushing the underside of $1b while comfortably offsetting a global decline in downloads. MBW has the story.
-- Earth is the title of Neil Young's next album, an 13-track collection of concert recordings touched up in the studio with a 98-minute run time. Reprise releases it on June 17.
-- ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, announced record-breaking financial results on Wednesday, with domestic revenue hitting an all-time high of $716.8m up $61m over 2014, driving record high domestic distributions of $573.5m up 6.2% over 2014. ASCAP, which operates on a not-for-profit basis, delivered $867.4m in total royalty distributions to its 560k songwriter, composer and music publisher members in 2015. For the second year in a row, ASCAP's combined domestic and foreign revenue topped $1b with total 2015 revenue of $1.014b.
-- Los Angeles will pay tribute to Prince with a public memorial at City Hall on May 6; meantime, a Minnesota judge appointed a corporate trust company on Wednesday to temporarily oversee the deceased's multimillion-dollar estate, saying the emergency appointment was necessary because the superstar musician doesn't appear to have left a will.
-- The Country Network (TCN) is back! The innovative music network, established in 2010, has been purchased by a Texas-based corporation, TCN Country LLC, and has relaunched under its original branding. TCN broadcasts 24/7 and currently broadcasting in 34 markets with over 40m DMA households across digital subchannel tiers. The brand says it will program Americana, Texas and Red Dirt music from both label and independent artists.
-- YANGAROO, the corporate arm of Canadian digital content provider DMDS, has reported its Q4 and year-end financials for its year ended Dec. 31, 2015. Advertising led the way with annual revenue of $2.7m, up 70% over fiscal 2014. Entertainment Division annual revenue was $2.7m up 4%, and the Company's adjusted EBITDA income was $370,266 compared to $28,299 for the same period 2014.
"2015's revenue growth is a result of the team, infrastructure and brand building that was started in 2014," said Gary Moss, President and CEO. "Revenue grew by 29% year on year, with Advertising growing by 70%. The 4th quarter positive EBITDA was a record result for the company. Client acquisition continues to be robust, with 103 new advertising clients signed in 2015, and similar goals for 2016.”
-- The Quin sisters, Tegan and Sara, have a new video out for their single "Boyfriend," and it's got the gals usual fun charm all over it. Directed by the band's frequent collaborator Clea DuVall. The song comes off their June 3 album Love You To Death, which looks to be a winning successor to their breakthrough LP, Heartthrob.
-- Head bashers are in for a treat with Burlington, ON's Sound of Music fest that mixes lots of free stuff with ticketed concerts. The June fare of paid events includes The Cult, Silverstein, Headstones, The Glorious Sons, Pop Evil, and The Watchmen. Also performing during the festivities, Lighthouse, Jess Moskaluke, Hawksley Workman, and tribute acts reinventing Shania Twain, Sinatra, Elvis, Keith Urban, and Garth Brooks. Tim Hortons is lead sponsor.
-- Dan Hill returns to the stage after a lengthy hiatus. He's performing with Pavlo, Russell de Carle (Prairie Oyster), the Chuck Jackson Trio, Graham Nash (CSNY), Quartette, Fred Penner and others at Geoff and Brooke Kulawick's ArtsFest in Waterdown outside Hamilton, Aug. 20/21.
-- José Miguel Contreras' long-standing alt-art ensemble By Divine Rights has released Speak & Spell, a four-track EP covers record of Depeche Mode's 1981 album of the same name. The set is available on vinyl courtesy of Headless Owl Records and has Indie88 all over it. Link here to stream "Nodisco" from the aforementioned set.
-- Toronto singer-songwriter Tim Moxam launched his debut album Soft Summer at The Dakota Tavern last night. Whether with his six-piece band or solo, he impressed us via melodic vocals and strong writing. In the ‘70s he’d have been signed to Asylum. He’s in good hands now, signed to Roaring Girl with distro via Fontana North. RG head Miranda Mulholland told us she’s “smitten” with Moxam and the album. He was recommended to Mulholland by her Great Lake Swimmers comrade Joshua Van Tassel.
-- Core Media Group, the company behind American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in New York, Billboard reports.
-- Uzbekistan's minister of singers has told performer Aziza Niyazmetova to cover up or have her license revoked. Describing a selfie she shared online as depicting her as "shameless" and offending national "mentality and values," the sleeveless and bare-shouldered singer meekly defended herself saying the picture was taken in her home by her husband. The gods shudder as his soldiers war.
-- Electro-pop band Cougar Bait was named 2016's "Best Live Act" at the Worcester Music Awards in Massachusetts. The Boston trio's last album was Through the Other Side, released in 2015.
-- Operatically trained St. John's vocalist Meg Warren brings her new ensemble Repartee for an official showcase at CMW on May 8th. The Sleepless Records-signed act is on a national tour that kicks off at Adelaide Hall in the city on the 7th. The dance-pop debut LP All Lit Up is out today, available through better record shops and at online stores. Fans of Dragonette and Tegan & Sara will like what they hear. Stream on SoundCloud here.
-- Nova Scotia producer and DJ Skratch Bastid made headlines with a David Bowie video tribute posted to Facebook shortly following the singer's death, and he's just released one for Prince.
The Vancouver Folk Music Festival will utilize seven stages at Jericho Beach Park, July 15 and 17. The lineup includes Bruce Cockburn, The New Pornographers, M. Ward, Little Scream, Shane Koyczan, Hayes Carll, Lord Huron, Jojo Abot, the Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer, Lee Fields and the Expressions, Land of Talk, The Wainwright Sisters, Twin Bandit, the Weather Station, Jolie Holland, and others. Weekend passes are already on sale. More info at thefestival.bc.ca