The FYI Bulletin: Jan. 12, 2023

 – The Karaoke Jam benefit for Unison is set for the Phoenix Concert Hall on Feb. 9. Organizers are making a concerted push to get the industry united in attendance as proceeds from the charitable event are paid out to a community of music industry associates in desperate need of assistance. the Karaoke Edition includes the return of Unison Jam alumni Finger 11 and I Mother Earth, as well as members of Sloan. It’s a hot ticket, and you want to be there when your buds make a total scramble of themselves for everyone to see. More info. here.

– A three-part docuseries airing on Paramount+ (Prime) called Sometimes When We Touch, the rise, the ruin, and the resurrection of soft rock explores how 'soft rock' ruled the world in the ‘70s, outselling typical rockers like Led Zeppelin, then fell out of fashion in the ‘80s when punk rock ruled, and then exploded again in the 90s to present day...... The series titular author Dan Hill writes us, saying: It's very interesting and multi-layered, interviewing so many of the iconic ‘70s acts (no, I'm no icon, but I'm interviewed extensively in all 3 episodes.....) as well as interviewing current artists to hear what they have to say about these timeless hit songs...Strangely, this series has turbocharged my career as I'm getting dozens of offers every day to perform in the States....doesn't hurt that his docuseries is titled after my song (WTF?) ...even tho Nancy Wilson of heart trashed my song, hilarious!!”

– The Weeknd remembers seeing Avatar for the first time in 2009 — he was 19, and the film he recalls lifted him from darkness and offered him “a ray of light.”

“That was probably the darkest time of my life,” he tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I was homeless, pretty much. I had dropped out of school. I didn’t know if I was going to succeed as a musician. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to live to see tomorrow. And I remember I somehow got to see the film in theatres. I don’t know how I got in. It was such an escape from my real life that the film is tattooed in my brain.”

In the same interview, he tells how his name was top of mind for director James Cameron for the title song of Avatar’s sequel. He calls this “kismet,” and it’s hard to disagree.

– Chris Lorway has been named incoming President & CEO of Banff Centre effective April 10. Born and raised in Cape Breton, he comes to the Centre from his current position as both Executive and Artistic Director at Stratford Live.

– Nominees for this year’s East Coast Music Association are to be announced on Jan. 24 in Halifax. The awards take place in Halifax on May 7.

– It’s time to start thinking about travel and tickets for the 52nd annual Juno Awards, which are creeping up but quick. This year’s events are in Edmonton, running March 9-13. Details on the Juno website. Performers announced for the annual include HoF inductee Nickelback and Tate McRae.

– Orgs reliant on government grants should expect some belt-tightening in the coming year as federal and provincial debt balloons to $2.1 trillion. That’s double what it was just 15 years ago, a new study from the Fraser Institute projects. Ominously, the report notes that the combined debt now equals 74.6 percent of the Canadian economy.

– Canadian Live Music president & CEO Erin Benjamin paints an exhaustive overview of the org’s 2022 widening advocacy work, starting off her overview by emphatically saying, “Yes, I am glad (thrilled even?) that 2022 is in the rear-view mirror, but as we’ve seen over and over—especially during the last 3 years—there have been so many valuable lessons and so many silver linings.” You can read CLMA’s Year in Review online.

Applications are open for acts wishing to participate in CMW Festival 2023. Link here to submit an application. The fee is $49 until Feb. 15. Registration for the June 5-10 CMW Conference at Toronto’s Harbour Castle hotel opens soon.

– Calgary-based impresario Jeff Parry has retooled his 2015 Maple musical Oh Canada What A Feeling! which is set for a six-week run at Calgary’s National Music Centre. The new edition is billed as Rock the Nation – a musical revue that journeys through 50+ years of Canadian music, paying tribute to Paul Anka, the Guess Who, Joni Mitchell, Maestro Fresh Wes, Avril Lavigne, Shania Twain, Drake, The Weeknd, and others. –complements exhibits and collections showcased in the complex. Show performances are included with the $15 admission cost to the Studio Bell complex.

Compact Music co-owner and manager Ian Boyd has been a longtime reader and supporter of FYIMusic and has never been short of words when discussing the joys and frustrations of running a record shop, which he has done now for over 40 years in downtown Ottawa. He called in last week and was absolutely delirious with joy in telling us his November and December sales blew through the roof, and this is on top of an exceptional year.

And in his own words:

It should be noted that this is a very tight top-ten list for 2022. In past years we always had runaway hits in the top ten, but things have changed. The are a lot of titles bubbling under, and again the placements are very tight.

Influencers are driven by streaming services and YouTube, and the market is for music lovers of all ages.

Radio, through no fault of its own, no longer influences sales the way it used to. Automobile drivers are now largely Bluetooth users listening to playlists, although CBCs national radio program Q is an exception that can affect our sales whenever the show’s content is music related.

Magazine and newspaper reviews have been replaced by online charts and critic sites like Pitchfork. top ten lists, dinner parties, and fan loyalty are in the mix as sales influencers and the manufacturers and indie distributors are doing a much better job of spreading the word. I expect this to continue. After 45 years I contend that there has never been a better time to be a music retailer. On to the next 45 years.

Here are our Top Ten albums for the calendar year 2022

Taylor Swift - Midnights

Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon

Harry Styles - Harrys House

Taylor Swift - Evermore

Fleetwood Mac - Rumours

Childish Gambino - Awaken My Love

Arctic Monkeys - AM

Tragically Hip - Live at the Roxy

Bruno Mars/ Anderson Paak - An evening with Silk Sonic  

Alvvays - Blue Rev

– Nelly Furtado came out of semi-retirement for a short New Year’s Eve performance New Year’s Eve in Victoria, Australia. She’s been offstage for five years–other than a cameo role supporting Drake last July in Toronto.

– As per Digital Music News, financial services company Mastercard announced the debut of its Mastercard Artist Accelerator program at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

– Post covid, live-streamed shows may soon be the norm, with Live Nation playing a big part in the online events inventory, and as per Digital Music News (again), Netflix has considered adding live content to its platform – possibly including concerts and festivals.

MIDiA data shows that consumers are going to cut back on going out and attending ticketed live events before cancelling subscriptions, and because they will be going out less, they will need more to keep them occupied at home. So, streaming subscriptions (music, video, and games) may prove to be the affordable luxuries that keep consumers entertained throughout the coming year.

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