The Club de Foot Montreal aims to change its image and find its identity

New branding, new head coach and eight new players bring hopes that the upcoming season will be better than the last one

The Club de Foot (CF) Montreal has signed eight players this off-season, the greatest number of contracts given by the club since 2015. That year, the team made it to the Concacaf Champions League final. So, what can fans, players, and coaches expect for the upcoming season?

Let’s start by remembering what happened in 2015: the club started its season with seven new players on the starting lineup, and made it to the Champions League final and the Major League Soccer (MLS) quarter-finals. This season was arguably the greatest campaign since the club joined the MLS in 2012.

Compared to 2015, last season is one to forget for CF Montreal fans. Their favourite club was eliminated from the Champions League, finished ninth in the MLS Eastern Conference. Fortunately, the club drastically changed over the winter, in all ways possible.

The club changed its name and logo, Head Coach Thierry Henry left his coaching duties for family reasons and has been replaced by Wilfred Nancy, and eight new players have been signed to the team.

The 2021 season starts on April 17, with the team facing a lot of uncertainty. The lineup that finished last year on the pitch is expected to be very different from the one that will start this season. From the eight new players, four came from free transfers (Zorhan Bassong, Erik Hurtado, Bjørn Johnsen, and Aljaž Struna), two came on loan (Ahmed Hamdi and Joaquín Torres) and two were bought in exchange for allocation sums (Djordje Mihailovic and Kamal Miller).

From all those athletes, two names drew a lot of attention from the media. Mihailovic and Johnsen are the two players raising the most hope for this upcoming season. Mihailovic is a 22-year-old offensive midfielder who played for the Chicago Fire last season. His success will depend on his capacity to work with Samuel Piette and Victor Wanyama to create a solid central midfield. Johnsen is a tall and muscular striker. Last season, he played for Ulsan Hyundai in South Korea. He has a game volume similar to Jozy Altidore.

Since Ignacio Piatti left in January 2020, the club has been searching for a player who is able to regularly create goal opportunities. Mihailovic will probably play as a number 10 behind Johnsen. This offensive duo could become the best attack the club has had since Piatti and Didier Drogba.

So which Montreal FC players can expect to start the season on the field? Clément Diop will surely be the starting keeper, as there is very little competition for his spot. From left to right, the defensive line should be composed of Mustafa Kizza, Luis Binks, Struna, and Zachary Brault-Guillard. MFC should align two defensive midfielders, Piette and Wanyama. The two wingers should be Romell Quioto and Lassi Lappalainen. The offensive midfielder will surely be Mihailovic and the striker should be Johnsen. Whatever the lineup may be, fans can look forward to an exciting season like they haven’t seen in quite some time.


Independent music and the fight against mistreatment

As the music industry evolves, record labels continue to use exploitative tactics that place their artists in compromising positions.

The music industry is arguably one of the most exploitative industries around. Artists are often faced with a difficult decision when evaluating whether they should sign to a label, as that can determine how their career will pan out and whether they could reach their full potential.

Labels offer artists the opportunity to sign record contracts that require artists to produce a certain number of albums and promote them over a specific period of time.

The majority of mainstream and up-and-coming artists whose projects often receive acclaim have signed to a label prior to the release of their work. Whether the label is independent and running on a smaller scale, or major and owned by huge corporations, artists are capable of receiving the financial backing which will allow them to tour, and get in contact with managers, booking agents and publicists who will promote their projects to media outlets. Without having established a team of professionals to guide them, most new artists have little-to-no knowledge of the means to navigate it.

Having access to these necessary resources in exchange for signing a recording contract seems like a fair deal. Nevertheless, that does not stop musicians from being exploited, which is why they must constantly be in the loop when it comes to the hidden clauses in their contracts.

Streaming has become the most popular way of consuming music over the past decade, leaving record sales to plummet over time. A recent analysis made by Music Business Worldwide demonstrated that major labels such as Universal Music Group, Sony Music and Warner accumulated an average of $22.9 million USD every 24 hours in 2019. This is absurd given that artists will not even make a fraction of that revenue, as services such as Spotify pay artists approximately $0.003 USD per stream.

Over the past couple of decades, there have been countless notable cases of artist vs. label feuds that have exposed unjust practices. Some of the noteworthy feuds include  the story of Prince’s longlasting fallout with Warner in the 90s due to ownership issues, or Dr. Dre’s lawsuit against Death Row Records, who failed to compensate him with any of the proceeds made from the reissue of his acclaimed debut, The Chronic. Although these cases deal with prominent labels, independent labels are equally complicit in taking advantage of their artists.

In 2015, Catalonian punk quartet Mourn issued a statement explaining how their Spanish label, Sones, who also served as their management team, had attempted to stop the release of their sophomore LP while withholding all of their funds. In fact, the band’s lead singer, Jazz Rodriguez, mentioned being neglected by their team and how that took a huge toll on their mental health in an interview with i-D in 2018.

A story that made headlines earlier this month was when rapper Megan Thee Stallion disclosed that her label, 1501 Certified Entertainment, was not willing to renegotiate her contract and therefore attempted to stop the release of her follow-up EP Suga. On a recent Instagram live stream, she mentioned not knowing the contents of her contract at the time, since she was not supplied with a real management team and did not have  awyers to guide her. Megan also stated that she had a good relationship with her label and even considered them to be like family but it was greed that played a major part in their decisions. According to a court document provided to Rolling Stone, 1501 Certified Entertainment received 30 percent of Megan’s sources of income whether it was from touring, selling merchandise, sponsorships, endorsements or hosting.Jordan Bromley, a specialist in entertainment transactions, considers this number to be “a massive overreach.”

Evidently, the safest way to pursue a career in music is by doing so independently. Having the ability to possess full control of both the content behind the record as well as release dates seems to be a luxury that has served many artists well.

Quebec’s indie-pop band Men I Trust has managed to release three well-received records and have been playing headlining shows internationally over the past couple of years without being backed by a label. Australian-based psychedelic rock group, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, released the majority of their extensive discography via Flightless Records, which is entirely owned by the band’s drummer Eric Moore. Also, established artists such as MGMT have recently pushed towards releasing their latest numbers independently, despite still being signed to Columbia Records.

Perhaps the push towards releasing music independently and more frequently will be the new trend throughout the decade. 

Graphic by Sasha Axenova.

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