Toronto Mike

299 Queen Street West MuchMusic Documentary Goes MIA on Crave

It's no secret I'm fascinated with the details surrounding MuchMusic, our 24 music television station, or The Nation's Music Station, if you prefer. I've had dozens of lengthy discussions with MuchMusic VJs and people behind the scenes at 99 Queen Street East and then 299 Queen Street West.

Here are the MuchMusic people I've had long-form conversations with on my podcast, Toronto Mike'd.

When I heard they were making a documentary about MuchMusic, I was naturally intrigued. I invited the director over for a chat about it, and you can hear my conversation with Sean Menard here.

Me and Sean Menard, Director of 299 Queen Street West

On September 23rd of last year, I finally got to see this documentary premiere at Roy Thompson Hall. There was a little mild controversy from us BNL Truthers and slighted VJs like Catherine McClenahan, but I was pleased as punch to see FOTM Hall of Famer Retrontario's logo in the closing credits. Much (pun intended) of the great old footage you see is not from the Bell Media archives but from Ed's personal collection.

Ed Conroy from Retrontario and me after one of his visits

Bell Media had promoted 299 Queen Street West as coming to their streaming service Crave last Friday. That never happened. The other day I took to the app formerly known as Twitter to try and find out what happened.

David Friend from The Canadian Press has some insight.

A MuchMusic documentary that once came under scrutiny for using a deep catalogue of popular music has been pulled from its premiere date on Crave.

Representatives for Bell Media said Monday that a "scheduling change" was behind their decision to quietly remove "299 Queen Street West" from a planned debut last Friday on the channel and its streaming service.

They did not offer details on the decision.

The two-hour film uses archival footage and voiceovers from MuchMusic personalities to trace the history of the national music channel from its earliest days as an upstart Toronto station.

A version of the film that screened during a roadshow tour last year featured dozens of short musical performance clips, including those of a young Avril Lavigne, an acoustic serenade by Seal and one of Noel Gallagher singing outside the Toronto studio.

Last October, filmmaker Sean Menard told The Canadian Press that major labels including Universal Music Canada were trying to stop the cross-country screening tour and told him the film included unlicensed music from their artists.

I'll keep my eye on this story as it develops.

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