A black and white image of a broken, shattered record. In the foreground is some shattered, black text outlined in red that reads: "BREAKING POINT"


By: Leslie Ken Chu | Art by: Michael Rancic

‘Let’s look at that old sky while we’re spinning.’ We took each other’s hands in the center of the clearing and began turning around. Very slowly at first. We raised our chins and looked straight at the seductive patch of blue. Faster, just a little faster, then faster, faster yet. Yes, help, we were falling. Then eternity won, after all. We couldn’t stop spinning or falling until I was jerked out of her grasp by greedy gravity and thrown to my fate below—no, above, not below. I found myself safe and dizzy at the foot of a sycamore tree. Louise had ended on her knees at the other side of the grove.

This was surely the time to laugh. We lost but we hadn’t lost anything. First we were giggling and crawling drunkenly towards each other and then we were laughing out loud uproariously. We slapped each other on the back and shoulders and laughed some more. We had made a fool or a liar out of something, and didn’t that just beat it all?”

Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

From the titans of the mainstream to the underdogs of the underground, every new headline about consolidation within the music industry; skyrocketing international visa fees; the elimination of a major revenue stream; and yet another tour getting cancelled, induces a pained collective sigh like the whine of an ever-tightening ungreased winch. Eventually, that winch will snap, and the crash will be disastrous.

In Issue 12 of New Feeling, “Breaking Point,” we consider what it will take for things to change, given that they weren’t working before the pandemic, and they certainly aren’t working now. Cierra Bettens speaks with Vancouver alt-rocker FKA Rayne and Montréal indie pop musician/comedian Eve Parker Finley about the pressures artists feel to become relentless TikTok content creators. In a candid personal essay, Daniel G. Wilson opens up about the displacement immunocompromised musicians feel when society prioritizes personal convenience and the economy’s health over their own. Tabassum Siddiqui catches up with Fucked Up to discuss how the pandemic’s isolating and uncertain conditions inspired the Toronto hardcore legends to experiment with the creative approach to their sixth full-length, One Day. Tom Beedham examines how the recent acceleration around song catalogue acquisitions further concentrates music industry wealth between only a few megacorporations and pushes smaller musicians to the brink of precarity. Michael Rancic calls for solidarity between musicians and music journalists, who share a delicate and complex relationship. 

“Breaking Point” is my final issue as New Feeling’s Features Editor, though I will continue to be involved in other aspects of the co-op. Michael Rancic has stepped in, and he and the rest of the editorial team are already hard at work planning Issue 13. This role has been one of my fondest and most valuable learning experiences, and it would not have been possible without the editorial team’s support. Thank you Tabassum, Michael, Laura, Daniel, Tom, Sarah, and everyone else who has been part of this team over the last two years.

The pandemic has been an opportunity for individuals, industries, and institutions to create empathetic and sustainable changes. The seed for New Feeling was sown during the pandemic’s early months as a means for music journalists across Canada to support each other in a precarious time. We have lost much, to be sure, but we have not lost completely. As each writer, musician, and academic makes clear in “Breaking Point,” whether practical or theoretical, solutions to the music industry’s problems exist. With these actions in mind, I get off my knees, raise my chin, and look forward with optimism.