Welcome to the first edition of Best of the Web: a brand new feature in which we share the most interesting music news and other links we’ve found online in recent weeks. To kick things off, we preview the Canadian music award season, explore fascinating new research into music and the brain, say goodbye to Canada’s oldest music store, and much more.
Last year was yet another big year for Canadian musicians. As FYI Music News reported, Toronto hip hop star Drake was the world’s best-selling recording artist in 2016. And he wasn’t the only Canadian at the top of the charts. Justin Bieber and The Weeknd joined him in the top ten, in a list that also included David Bowie, Coldplay and Adele.
The JUNO Nominations Are Out
Award season is underway, which means the best of Canadian music will soon be celebrated at this year’s JUNO Awards. Re:Sound was thrilled to be there as the nominations were announced. This year’s leading contenders include Drake, The Weeknd and Shawn Mendes — each nominated for five awards — while the ceremony will also celebrate the induction of Sarah McLachlan into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. You can check out all of this year’s nominees on the JUNO website before the big night on April 2.
Celebrating The Best Canadian Music Videos
The JUNOs aren’t the only Canadian music awards to be handed out in the coming months. The Prism Prize celebrates the best of our country’s music videos. This year’s longlist of twenty finalists was recently announced. It includes Grimes, A Tribe Called Red, and two entries from Toronto punk group PUP. The top ten will be announced on March 28, with the prize being awarded on May 14. You’ll find the full list of finalists on the Prism Prize website.
The End of Canada’s Oldest Music Store
Levinson Music has been selling musical instruments to the people of Medicine Hat for nearly a century. Some loyal customers regularly make the journey from as far away as Regina to shop at the beloved store. But with the owners having recently suffered some health problems, they’ve decided the time has come to close their doors and open a new chapter in their lives. The Medicine Hat News paid tribute to the local institution.
The Vinyl & Cassette Booms
While some Canadian music stores are shutting their doors, the CBC reported that many others remain confident in the future. And that, in part, is thanks to the surging popularity of the vinyl record. The 19th century technology is being rediscovered in the 21st — vinyl sales grew by more than 50% in 2016 compared to 2015. And that isn’t the only retro format experiencing a boom. As CTV News recently reported, sales of cassette tapes are on the rise, too. While the volumes involved are still relatively small, 2016 saw a 79% spike in tape sales compared to the previous year.
Music & Pleasure
Canada is home to one of the world’s foremost experts on the effect music has on the brain: Dr. Daniel Levitin. As NME recently reported, the latest study from the McGill University neuroscientist explores the ways in which music acts upon the brain’s pleasure centres, revealing some fascinating results.
Remembering Ritchie Yorke
Ritchie Yorke was one of Canada’s most respected music journalists. He spent more than 50 years writing for publications around the world. His work appeared everywhere from Rolling Stone and Billboard to The Toronto Telegram and The Globe and Mail. Sadly, Yorke passed away in early February. The chair of Re:Sound’s board, Peter Steinmetz, paid tribute to his dear friend in FYI Music News.
Five Ways Musicians Help Coffee Shops Make Money
The work of musicians and other music creators benefits countless businesses across Canada and the rest of the world — including coffee shops. Many cafés select the music they play in their establishments, helping to draw customers inside. But the value musicians provide doesn’t end there. Re:Sound recently explored five other ways that music helps cafés prosper.