Back on May 10, Spotify announced it would fight hate speech and punish artists for misconduct, singling out R Kelly and XXXTentacion for censure. Since then, artists such as Kendrick Lamar have criticised this policy, and there are signs Spotify is retreating in its position, as shown by restoring XXXTentacion songs to its playlists. Source: Bloomberg
– The 2018 Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards will be presented at a gala evening at Southam Hall in Ottawa on June 2. Considered Canada's highest honour in the performing arts, this year they will honour Andrew Alexander, Geneviève Bujold, Peter A. Herrndorf, Angela Hewitt, Ginette Laurin, Murray McLauchlan, Florence Junca Adenot, and Tegan and Sara. We understand Blackie and The Rodeo Kings will be amongst the performers.
– Some music industry heavyweights were in attendance at the Cowboy Junkies concert at Massey Hall last Thursday. We spied Warner Music head Steve Kane, Music Canada's Graham Henderson, Massey Hall President/CEO head Deane Cameron, and Susan de Cartier of Starfish Entertainment. Opening for CJ with compelling sets were Lee Harvey Osmond (Tom Wilson) and Skydiggers, making this a triple bill for artists on the Latent Recordings label (Michael Timmins' imprint). The new CJ album, All That Reckoning, comes out officially on July 13, but advance vinyl copies were quickly snapped, including a purchase by Kane.
– On May 30, Manitoba Music presents Decipher: Hip Hop Professional Development Workshops | Release and Revenue Strategies. This looks at how hip-hop artists, managers, and labels are financing their projects while being strategic with that investment; from building a fan-base that supports artists at the early stages to the big release. Industry pros David "Click" Cox of CLK Creative Works, Krafty Entertainment's Kyle Kraft, DJ MelBoogie, and 902 HipHop's Melissa MacMaster can offer guidance. More info here
– Hard-working Hamilton rocker Terra Lightfoot is currently on the road on an extensive US tour with The Posies. Her Canadian summer dates include the Red River Exhibition in Winnipeg (June 19) and Long Days Night in Swift Current (June 24), Hagersville Rocks (July 28), Paris Drinks Fest (Aug. 18), Toronto's Outlaw Music Fest (Sept. 9) and CityFolk in Ottawa (Sept. 16). A new video to accompany "Ruthless," the third single from her New Mistakes album, is now out. It was directed by Dustin Rabin (Foo Fighters, Billy Talent).
Creative BC has announced the timeline for the Amplify BC programs, and both the Music Industry Initiatives and Live Music Top-Up programs are now open for applications. Applications for both will be accepted and evaluated on a rolling basis Music Industry Initiatives has a total program budget of $500K, and its deadline is March 1, 2019. The Live Music Top-Up program is designed to build on the economic activity generated by the BCMF Live Music program. It has a deadline of June 30, 2018. Full details here
– CCMA award-winning Canadian country star Jason Blaine has partnered with leading musical instrument retailer Long & McQuade to promote his latest single, “Boy With a Guitar." The winner of a special contest and a guest will be flown to the legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studio. From June 4- 18, fans are encouraged to video record themselves playing the missing guitar solo from “Boy With a Guitar” and post on their own social channels using the hashtag #BoyWithAGuitar. More details here
– Montréal hip-hop artist Speng Squire recently delivered a new studio project, This Moment Belongs To Us. It features production contributions from the likes of DRTWRK (the exec producer), Laydown Music, MyRookieYear, Sorena, Tommy Kruise, Alex Lustig, and Jai Dreamer. Squire recently told HiphopCanada that "we will be performing all summer long so be ready to see me everywhere.” Dates TBA
– Toronto's highly-respected Manifesto arts and music festival is set to run Aug. 9 - 19. Reggae sensation Chronixx and backing band Zinc Fence Redemption will headline a free show at the city's Nathan Phillips Square on Aug 17. Premiering this year is the Manifesto Discovery Series, running in venues and DIY spaces across the city with rising artists and organizations. Further programming TBA.
– Roots music renegade Fred Eaglesmith has announced the return of his annual Charity Picnic, now in its 24th year. Designated charities are Operation Smile and the Catfish Creek Conservation Authority. The fest runs Aug. 17-19 in Aylmer, ON. Performers will include Megan Nash, Catl, Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer, Quique Escamilla, Bill Durst, JP Allen Band, Washboard Hank, Brock Zeman, Eaglesmith and more. Details here
– Country singer/songwriter Kelly Prescott has just released a new single, "Leavin Her." Expect to hear it when she plays a short full band set at The Rivoli in Toronto tonight (May 28). Of note: she's the daughter of Tracey Brown and Randall Prescott, of Family Brown fame.
– Toronto roots-rockers rockers The Sadies play a hometown show at The Great Hall on June 1, followed by shows at Ottawa's 27 Club (June 2) and Beamsville's Redstone Winery (June 8). They play eight US shows in June, then join the Ness Creek Music Fest in Ness, SK, on July 21-22. The group has also been working on soundtracks for two upcoming film projects. Carmine Street Guitars is a documentary by Ron Mann that captures a day in the life of the Greenwich Village store. The band also worked with Mike Roberts for the soundtrack to YouTube Red’s upcoming animated series Dallas & Robo, featuring John Cena and Kat Dennings. Roberts animated The Sadies’ Juno- winning “Rumbleseat” video.