TORONTO, ON – (November 2, 2017) – Canadian Music Week is pleased to announce David Farrell as the 2018 inductee to the Canadian Music & Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame. David Farrell will be honoured for his achievements and longstanding career in the music industry at the annual Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards Gala Dinner at Rebel Nightclub in Toronto on Thursday May 10th, 2018.
For more than four decades, David Farrell has chronicled the ups, downs, triumphs, disasters and constant changes that make Canada’s music industry a roller coast for its participants.
“David and I go way back before the beginnings of Canadian Music Week where we built the foundation of what was to become Canada’s largest and longest running new music festival and conference. David has always had a strong voice in the music industry, especially when it comes to delivering to the latest and most important news. I am very excited and honoured that David is being inducted into the 2018 Canadian Music Industry Awards Hall of Fame at CMW, the event that he helped start.” – Neill Dixon
Everyone involved in Canadian music – artists, managers, radio programmers, DJs, club bookers, concert promoters, publicists, stage and road crews and dozens more – relies on the site for accurate information on a day-to-day basis.
And for the last 10 years, Farrell’s daily website, FYImusicnews.ca, has filled that function. Thousands of music professionals visit the website daily and subscribe to the newsletter, religiously reading it three times a week. And they learn who’s got a new job, what songs are being played, what concerts sold out, which record companies – or retail chains or music festivals – succeeded and which failed, what memories from the past still run true today, which trends (technical and otherwise) are ascendant and which aren’t – and close to a half-million words a month of news and views and facts and opinions…
They used to say, back in the day when print was king, that people like David Farrell had printers’ ink in their veins.
Now that he’s being honoured with his induction into the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame, Farrell becomes – in a rare moment – reflective.
“I’ve been blessed to have friends who care for me dearly and a life that’s been illuminated by people who in large or small measure have made changes in the world we live in. Being honoured by my peers in this way is beyond anything I could or would have asked for, and I’m grateful for those who have appreciated what I have done. It’s wonderful to be rewarded with an acknowledgment that my crazy life has, after all, meant something to the community that I’ve tried – for all these years – to serve in a meaningful, consistent way.” – David Farrell
David Farrell pauses and looks a little uncomfortable, glancing back at more than four decades of writing about the Canadian music industry.
“Information is knowledge, knowledge is power, and power makes the world go round. I’ve no idea who said that first, but I’m claiming it.”
Born 66 years ago in Ladysmith, a small town on Vancouver Island, he’s the son of British-born journalists Ann and Ted Farrell – and the grandson of Robert Henry Underwood Bloor, the co-author of the British Empire Illustrated Dictionary of English Language. Such a hallowed background hardly squares with the story of a music journalist who began his career with a scoop for the Toronto Telegram – he prefers the word exposé – about a Toronto drug dealer who later went to jail for a very long time. And whose best-paid gig was a 350-word story (at $5.00 a word) about a Toronto band called Battered Wives – in Hustler magazine. Freelance stories included pieces based on interviews with hundreds of artists – including John Lennon, Peter Gabriel, and Joe Strummer. The entertainment industry – especially its music component – fascinated him, and he was soon writing a weekly faxed package of Canadian music news to the Selkirk, Moffat and CHUM radio chains across the country – all of them anxious to fulfill their CRTC-mandated spoken-word requirements. In the mid-‘70s Farrell became editor-in-chief – for $95.00 a week – of Record Week, an early Canadian music trade journal founded by Joey Cee and which featured a distinguished roster of music writers, including Martin Melhuish, Juan Rodriguez, Larry LeBlanc and the late Jeani Reid. And that, in turn, led to stints as a writer for the U.S. trade journal Cashbox, and later as Canadian editor of Billboard. In the spring of 1981, he and his wife Patricia-Dunn mortgaged their country home in a quaint Ontario village to start The Record, a weekly newspaper that would cover the music scene in a professional manner and without the baggage of snarky gossip and distant disputes and disagreements. Co-financed with first-year advertising agreements from the five major record companies of the day, The Record was set to go – and the first issue came out the first day of a six-week postal strike. While other publications – RPM, Billboard, Friday Morning Quarterback – were stuck in limbo, Farrell got the record companies (in exchange for free advertising) to distribute The Record through their branch offices to radio and retail outlets. The Record lasted for 18 years as a print publication, growing from a stapled tip sheet to a glossy magazine that often ran to 100-plus pages. It also inaugurated an annual music convention, with attendant gala events and showcases. It might have been a side project, but Canadian Music Week became an instant success and part of the industry’s fabric. (Farrell sold the rights to CMW to its present ownership in 2001). But, like so many print publications, The Record was gutted by technology. As the internet stumbled through its early years, with painfully slow loading times and frequent glitches, the publication limped on for two more disheartening, money-bleeding years. Hammered by rising costs, file sharing, the lack of a paid online subscription base, a shrinking record industry, and the arrival of SoundScan and BDS in Canada, The Record finally gave up the battle. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, the Farrells paid all their bills, and David left for the Maritimes to lick his wounds and try his hand at other things – a micro-brewery, writing a novel, running as a Green Party candidate. New times, a new millennium, and perhaps a new David Farrell. Back in Ontario, he was contacted by indie music promoter Joe Wood. The industry needs a news source again. The Record is history, RPM is gone, and there’s no single website that gives anyone any information at all. Why not chat with Cliff Hunt, Wood suggested? Hunt, former band manager, music entrepreneur, and then COO of music tech company Yangaroo, offered seed money to help Farrell launch FYI (Farrell Yangaroo Inc.) With a small amount of capital to launch another music trade publication, Farrell’s next call was to Slaight Communications’ CEO Gary Slaight whom he’d known since the ’70s. Slaight immediately gave the thumbs up to the idea and offered to be the principal backer of the venture – an endorsement from which he has never wavered, even when the two of them butt heads like 20-year-olds arguing over the same girl. Now, 10 years later, Gary Slaight continues as FYI’s principal backer – ostensibly the publisher, he has allowed Farrell full rein over the site’s editorial content without a shred of interference. For his part, Farrell is more than grateful. “I have been given the freedom to write about what I think is important and express my views without interference, and in any age this is remarkable,” Farrell says. “Gary is neither a writer nor a publisher -but he has been a godsend. “For the better part of my life, I’ve been a journalist who has taken the task seriously. Sometimes it means taking on powerful forces; sometimes it affords me the opportunity to say what needs to be said, or say what I want to say. “Sometimes I annoy, cajole, push; but without a shadow of a doubt, I say – without any hesitation – that the writing process has never been haphazard, thoughtless or intentionally flammable. Words to me are like precious gold and the thought that goes into what I write has always been measured by fact and reason.” And Farrell’s career has had its bizarre moments, even though he rarely writes (or even talks) about them. He’s spent a night at The Plaza in NYC with Led Zeppelin, protected from a bust by NYC cops paid to stop anyone entering the suite; he interviewed Blondie while inhaling Thai stick in Lounge 22 at the Windsor Arms in Toronto, all the time and trying not to fall in love with Debbie Harry. He vaguely recalls getting drunk on corn whiskey with Howlin’ Wolf and howling with Richie Yorke at an after-party concert with Procol Harum in Stratford, Ontario. And Farrell also recalls, with a shudder, spending two days in the studio writing a feature about Styx, a band that loathed each other at the time even more than he hated their music. Those stories are a counterpoint to an extraordinary career that has involved writing more mundane stories – keeping the record straight about exceptional people, extroverts, and introverts. The music business in Canada, Farrell tells you, is a tight-knit community of people who are creative, sometimes explosive, and always coping – every day of their lives – with constant change.
ABOUT CANADIAN MUSIC WEEK 2018
Now in its 36th year, CANADIAN MUSIC WEEK is recognized as one of the premier entertainment events in North America focusing on the business of music. We bring together Sound Recording, New Media and Broadcast for one spectacular week of events… Combining informative, intensive conferences, a cutting edge trade exhibition, award shows, film festival, comedy festival and Canada’s biggest New Music Festival. The Canadian Music Week festival spans 7 nights, May 7 – 13, of performances, with 1,000 showcasing bands at more than 40 live music venues in downtown Toronto. All convention functions take place at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel.
IF YOU’RE GOING TO ATTEND ANY INTERNATIONAL MUSIC CONVENTION THIS YEAR… Make it CMW 2018 – Where Music Means Business!
For Canadian Music Week information, please contact:
Kayley Szanto – Communications Manager
T: 905-858-4747 E: firstname.lastname@example.org