Welcome to Best of the Web, where we share the most interesting music news and other links we’ve found online in recent weeks. In this edition, we check out the 2017 JUNO Awards, dive into Canadian music history, explore some of the musical celebrations held in honour of the country’s sesquicentennial and much more.
Music Streaming Keeps Booming
The world’s largest music streaming service recently announced a major milestone, Billboard reported. Spotify now has more than 50 million paid subscribers, growing by 10 million users in just five and a half months. A recent report also confirmed that music streaming is on the rise in Canada; the penetration rate for Canadian music streaming subscriptions doubled between September 2015 and October 2016 (from 8% to 16%). There are now an estimated 1.9 million paid music subscriptions in Canada.
Documenting Canadian Hip-Hop History
Canada has been home to a vibrant hip-hop scene since long before the days of Drake; its roots stretch all the way back to early stars like Maestro Fresh Wes and Michie Mee. The Toronto Star interviewed Ryerson University professor Mark Campbell, who is documenting Canadian hip-hop history with a new website called North Side Hip-Hop. The website provides a digital home for artifacts and multimedia memorabilia, including audio interviews, archival newspaper articles and more.
The National Music Centre Goes Digital
North Side Hip-Hop isn’t the only exciting new website showcasing Canadian music history. In celebration of Canada’s 150, the National Music Centre recently launched a new online home for their collection. The site shares highlights from more than 450 years of music technology and innovation, including artifacts related to Canadian music legends like Anne Murray, Randy Bachman and Buffy Sainte-Marie.
Instrument Lending Goes National
Canadian libraries are celebrating the 150th anniversary of Confederation too. Last year saw the launch of a new music lending program at library branches in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, allowing patrons to borrow guitars, violins, keyboards and other musical instruments. This year, as the Vancouver Courier reported, the program is being expanded to even more libraries across the country.
The Launch of CanadaSound
The CBC has launched its own musically themed project for the sesquicentennial. CanadaSound asks you to submit your favourite distinctly Canadian sounds, so they can be turned into songs by some of the country’s favourite musicians. You can submit your own suggestions on the CanadaSound website.
RIP Chuck Berry
Guitar icon Chuck Berry passed away in March at the age of 90. The Independent took the opportunity to remind readers of the wonderful gift Berry received on his 60th birthday. It’s a letter from the astronomer Carl Sagan telling him that his song, “Johnny B. Goode,” was included on a record attached to the Voyager mission, already “two billion miles from Earth and headed for the stars.” Thanks to NASA, Berry’s music will live on for at least a billion years.
JUNO Weekend 2017
The JUNO Awards were handed out in Ottawa last month, honouring the best in Canadian music. Winners included The Strumbellas for Single of the Year, The Tragically Hip for Group of the Year, and the late Leonard Cohen for Album of the Year. You can check out the full list of nominees and winners on the JUNO Awards website.
A JUNO Nominee Medley
Re:Sound was thrilled to have three JUNO nominees stop by the office for a visit just a few days before the awards were handed out in Ottawa. Matt Dusk, Heather Bambrick and Barbra Lica were all nominated in the Vocal Jazz Album of the Year category. During their visit they performed a medley of JUNO-nominated songs: