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JUNO Awards 2019: How Music Canada is working to strengthen Canada’s music ecosystem

JUNO Awards week is here and Music Canada is gearing up for another spectacular few days celebrating Canadian music with our friends and partners in the music community.

Last year at the JUNOS we showcased how our advocacy work benefits artists at every stage of their career with our #EveryStage campaign. This year, we aim to highlight the ways we’re working to improve the music ecosystem in Canada. With the support of our members, Sony, Universal and Warner, we’re committed to building a framework where music businesses can thrive, and artists can have sustainable and prosperous careers.

Five major areas in which we are working to create a better Canadian music ecosystem are:

  • Improving Policy Frameworks,
  • Addressing the Value Gap,
  • Diversity and Inclusion,
  • Music Cities, and
  • Celebrating Success.

 

IMPROVING POLICY FRAMEWORKS

Music Canada President and CEO Graham Henderson testifies before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology

A major pillar of Music Canada’s mandate is advocating for a functioning marketplace where music creators are paid fairly every time their work is used.

Copyright is the bedrock of remuneration for the creators of recorded music. It enables them to receive payment when their recordings are copied or played in public, including on the Internet. In the age of streaming, it’s vital that copyright legislation and institutions be adaptive and responsive so musicians and labels are paid whenever their work is commercialized by others. 

Some of the ways that we’re working to strengthen copyright and boost investment in music are: successfully championing reforms to the Copyright Board of Canada that will make the Board’s processes faster, more efficient, and more predictable; calling for the elimination of copyright exemptions that syphon value away from music, and; encouraging provincial government investment in regional music economies, such as the BC Music Fund and Ontario Music Fund.

 

ADDRESSING THE VALUE GAP

Music Canada has been a global leader in researching the Value Gap – its origins, the economic toll, and practical solutions the Government of Canada can implement to help fix the problem. Throughout the government’s current review of the Copyright Act, numerous music community representatives testifying before government committees referenced our report, The Value Gap: Its Origins, Impacts and a Made-in-Canada Approach, and presented the same four recommendations to government. It was abundantly clear that the Value Gap is a real phenomenon that is hurting creators and that it needs to be addressed. Its harm is felt across the music community – everyone from publishers and composers, to labels, and especially artists, are at a disadvantage because of outdated copyright legislation.

Because artists are the motor that drives the music industry, and the storytellers that music fans fall in love with, they are best equipped to communicate the serious and erosive effects the Value Gap is having on their careers, their economic livelihoods, and the wider music community.

Music Canada is committed to supporting artist advocacy, because their stories truly resonate with the public and political decision-makers. We do this through support for discussions at music conferences, economic forums, and spreading the voices of artist advocates at our events and in our reports.

 

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION

Dr Stacy L. Smith at the 2018 Global Forum

In 2017, Music Canada embarked on an exhaustive organizational review to provide recommendations on ways we could demonstrate leadership in inclusion and good governance. At our annual Playback event in October 2018, we announced preliminary results of this review, including the addition of two new independent member positions on our Board of Directors to bring representation of women on our Board to 40%. We look forward to announcing further details on ways we’re working to reflect the exquisite mosaic that is our Canadian music community in the coming days.

Bringing measurable inclusivity and accountability for the music industry was the topic of one of our major annual events in 2018 called the Global Forum at Canadian Music Week. We were proud to host Dr. Stacy L. Smith of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, the leading think tank in the world studying issues of diversity and inequality in entertainment. Dr. Smith pioneered the now popular “Inclusion Rider,” and at the Global Forum, spoke to her organization’s research into inclusion in the music industry.

During JUNOS Weekend 2019, we’re pleased to be supporting CARAS’ Allies in Action event, focusing on action undertaken or underway in the Canadian music community to create safer and more inclusive workplaces and environments for industry members, artists and music fans.

 

MUSIC CITIES

The 2018 Music Cities Summit at CMW

Since the publication of our 2012 report Accelerating Toronto’s Music Industry Growth, Leveraging Best Practices from Austin, Texas, Music Canada has become an internationally renowned source for research into policies municipalities can implement, and actions they can take to activate the full potential of their music economies. Our leadership in Music Cities was further cemented with the publication of our groundbreaking The Mastering of a Music City report in 2015.

Since the release of these reports, we’ve seen phenomenal traction in Canadian cities like Smithers, Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and 2019 JUNO Awards host city London. These cities have all formulated an official music strategy, and some have established a music office, or officer position, within their municipality.

In addition to presenting our research at Music Cities events across the globe , Music Canada will host its third annual Music Cities Summit at Canadian Music Week in May of 2019. Look out for details on the 2019 Music Cities Summit, including featured speakers and other program elements in the coming weeks.

 

CELEBRATING SUCCESS

Jessie Reyez receives a Double Platinum plaque with the Universal Music Canada team

Music Canada is proud to return as a sponsor of the Album of the Year category, as well as the Presenting Sponsor of the Chair’s and Welcome Reception on Friday, March 15. With our sponsorship of the category and continued partnership with the JUNO Awards, we join music fans across the country in celebrating the works from this year’s nominees – Hubert Lenoir, Jann Arden, Shawn Mendes, The Weeknd, and Three Days Grace – and congratulate the dedicated label and production teams involved with each release.

Throughout the year, we also join fans in celebrating their favourite artists’ first certification milestones to a lifetime’s worth of achievements with our historic Gold/Platinum program, which was launched in 1975 to celebrate milestone sales of music in Canada. Today, artists can receive new certifications for the combined sales and stream equivalents of their singles and albums, and are often surprised with a tangible recognition of national success by their labels’ devoted teams. Certifications are shared on our Gold/Platinum Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts, and the latest Gold certifications are added to our #GoldinCanada playlist every Thursday.

Music Canada also presents two awards, our President’s Award and Artist Advocate Award, during Playback, our annual industry dialogue and celebration. So far, artists Miranda Mulholland (2017) and Loreena McKennitt (2018) have been honoured with the Artist Advocate Award in recognition of their outstanding advocacy efforts to improve the livelihoods of music creators. Meanwhile, the President’s Award, which is presented to an individual working outside the music community who displays a deep passion for music and the people who make it, has been received by Music Cities champions including former Toronto City Councillor Josh Colle (2018), and co-recipients Cory Crossman, London Music Industry Development Officer, and Chris Campbell, Director of Culture and Entertainment Tourism at Tourism London, who were instrumental in bringing the JUNOS to London this weekend for the very first time.

 

A full rundown of JUNOS Week events is available on the JUNO Awards website. Tickets to The 2019 JUNO Awards Broadcast are available online at budweisergardens.com, by phone at 1-866-455-2849 and in-person at the Courtesy Ford Box Office at Budweiser Gardens (Located at Gate 1).

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grandson presented with Gold plaque during first-ever headlining tour

Photo Credit: Warner Music Canada

On Friday, March 1, Toronto musician grandson performed his biggest hometown show to date at The Opera House to wrap up the Canadian leg of his 2019 “No Apologies” North American headlining tour. Prior to his highly anticipated performance, Warner Music Canada surprised the 2019 JUNO Breakthrough Artist of the Year nominee with a Gold Single Award for his breakout hit “Blood//Water,” which is featured on his debut 2018 EP a modern tragedy vol. 1.

The music video for “Blood//Water” can be viewed below.

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Bhad Bhabie surprised with Gold plaques on stage in Toronto

Photo Credit: Warner Music Canada

On Sunday night, Danielle Bregoli – AKA Bhad Bhabie – packed Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Theatre for the second stop on her 2019 Canadian tour. Following her high energy set, the 15 year-old viral rapper was brought back on stage and surprised with two Canadian Gold Single Award plaques for her hits “Gucci Flip Flops” and “Hi Bich” in front of her adoring fanbase.

Bhad Bhabie’s Canadian tour continues to head west before wrapping up Saturday night at Vancouver’s Venue.

Watch the video for “Gucci Flip Flops (ft. Lil Yachty)” below.

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Spirit of the West Platinum plaque auctioned at ‘Spirit of John’ Alzheimer benefit concert in Toronto


Photo Credit: Alzheimer Society of Toronto

Last Thursday, dozens of artists and members of Canada’s music community gathered at Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Theatre for the annual Spirit of John concert benefiting The Alzheimer Society Music Project, which helps those suffering from dementia rediscover pleasure in the world through the power of music. The concert series began in 2015 when Spirit of the West singer and main song co-writer John Mann was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s.

The incredible evening of music featured a set of fan-favourites from Spirit of the West, and a second set of covers of some of John’s favourite songs, with artists like Serena Ryder, Jim Cuddy, Jessica Mitchell, Royal Wood, and many more exchanging vocal duties.

During the intermission and live auction led by the Alzheimer Society of Toronto, the band surprised fans with the news of their classic hit “Home For A Rest,” performed earlier in the evening with Damhnait Doyle, had now officially reached Platinum status in Canada. Members of True North Records’ team then brought an official custom Platinum plaque on stage, which the band members autographed and auctioned off.


L to R – Spirit of the West’s Tobin ‘The Gull’ Frank, Matthew Harder, Geoffrey Kelly, Hugh McMillan and Vince R. Ditrich. with True North Records’ Brad Machry, Layne The Auctionista, True North Records’ Jordan Percival and Eric Alper. Photo Credit: Adam PW Smith

“Home For A Rest” is the band’s first official Single Award certification. The classic barroom favourite is featured on the band’s 1990 album Save This House, which was certified Platinum nearly 23 years earlier in 1996.

On Friday morning, The Alzheimer Society of Toronto announced that this year’s event raised over $100,000 to benefit the Alzheimer Society Music Project, which will help provide personalized music players to people living with dementia. For those who were unable to attend the Spirit of John concert, donations can still be made to help offer support, information and education to people with dementia, their families and caregivers.

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2018 Gold/Platinum Year-End Recap

Following a monumental year in 2017, Music Canada’s historic Gold/Platinum Canada program continued to experience spectacular growth in 2018 thanks to the inclusion of streaming for both Single and Album Award certifications, as well as a simplified application portal for certification approvals and plaque orders.

With the new guidelines firmly in place by the start of the year, Single Award certifications increased a total of 33% from 2017’s total, with a 38% increase in tracks receiving their first Canadian Gold certifications. Seven singles received Diamond certifications, matching the number from 2017. UK singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran received two Diamond certifications for “Perfect” and “Thinking Out Loud,” the latter featured on Sheeran’s 2014 album X, certified 8x Platinum in 2018.

Toronto-born rapper Drake received the highest certification in 2018 for a Canadian artist with the 8x Platinum certification of “God’s Plan,” followed by breakout DJ duo Loud Luxury with their 7x Platinum summer hit “Body.” “God’s Plan” is featured on Drake’s Double Platinum album Scorpion, which is also the highest certified Canadian album released in 2018. Shawn Mendes received the second highest certification for a 2018-released Canadian album for his Platinum-certified self-titled release.

In total, Music Canada experienced a 24% increase in album certifications, and a 10% increase in Canadian album certifications. UK singer-songwriter Adele received the highest album certification of 2018 at Double Diamond for her 2011 sophomore effort 21, which was the first Double Diamond certification since Shania Twain‘s Up! in 2004. American rapper Post Malone received the highest certification for an album released in 2018 with his 4x Platinum sophomore effort beerbongs & bentleys, which features 9x Platinum single “Rockstar (ft. 21 Savage).” Hard rock group Three Days Grace received the highest album certification for a Canadian artist with their 2006 album One-X. 

There was also an 80% increase in Single Award certifications from Canadian artists, with several Canadian artists receiving their first Single Award certifications including Baka Not Nice, bülowCharlotte CardinDelaney JaneElijah Woods x Jamie FineFelix CartalGrandtheftHalf Moon RunKeys N KratesKillyLoud LuxuryMajid JordanNEW CITYSultan + ShepardThe Glorious Sons, and The Reklaws.

All singles receiving their first #GoldinCanada certifications in 2018 have been compiled into a playlist below available to stream on Spotify and Apple Music, which added Gold/Platinum Canada to its roster of curators earlier in 2018. A collection of plaque presentation photos can be viewed on our Facebook page, or on our Playback 2018 microsite.

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Jessie Reyez celebrates Double Platinum plaque at hometown show

Photo Credit: Universal Music Canada

Following a sold out two-night run last week at the Danforth Music Hall in her hometown of Toronto, rising singer-songwriter Jessie Reyez was presented with a Double Platinum plaque by Universal Music Canada staff for her breakthrough hit “Figures.”

The 2018 JUNO Breakthrough Artist winner initially released the song in 2016, and included it on her debut EP Kiddo in 2017. During the 2018 JUNO Awards in Vancouver, Reyez was joined by Daniel Caesar to perform the song, with a studio version released following the broadcast.

Watch the performance of “Figures” below.

 

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Gordon Lightfoot presented with Gold plaque ahead of 80th birthday

Photo Credit: Linus Entertainment (Facebook)

Ahead of his 80th birthday, iconic Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot was presented with a Gold plaque for his 2000 DVD Live In Reno.  The plaque was presented at Lightfoot’s concert at the FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton, ON. Linus Entertainment’s Geoff Kulawick, who distributed the concert video, presented Lightfoot with the award, along with Brooke Kulawick and Bernie Fiedler.

Watch Gordon Lightfoot’s performance of his hit “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” from the Gold-certified DVD below.

 

 

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Passenger presented with Diamond plaque in Vancouver

From left to right: Ric Arboit (Founder/President – Nettwerk), Mark Jowett (Founder/VP International A&R | Publishing – Nettwerk), Mike Rosenberg (Passenger), Terry McBride (Founder/CEO – Nettwerk)

Prior to his sold-out show at Vancouver’s Vogue Theatre, English singer-songwriter Passenger was surprised with a custom Canadian Diamond award plaque by Nettwerk Music Group for his 2012 hit single “Let Her Go.” The hit song can be found on Passenger’s debut studio album All The Little Lights, which reached Platinum status in Canada in 2014.

“Let Her Go” is the 16th song to reach Diamond status in Canada, and 15th in the streaming era.

The video for “Let Her Go” can be viewed below.

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George Canyon receives Platinum plaques at tour kick-off concert in Nova Scotia

(L to R) Jay Buettner (Guitar), Rick Bazuin (Tour Manager), Karen Corbin Hughes (Executive Assistant), Adam Dowling (Drums), Mike Little (Keyboards) and Michael Lent (Bass) Photo Credit: Len Cheverie

Canadian country singer George Canyon began his Made In Canada Tour last Thursday at the deCoste Performing Arts Centre in Pictou, Nova Scotia. During the show, Louis O’Reilly of Invictus Entertainment Group, George Canyon’s Management & Booking Agency, and George’s son Kale presented the band and crew with Platinum Award plaques for his 2004 JUNO Award winning album, One Good Friend. 

George’s tour will roll through Western Canada in November before wrapping up in Sherbrooke, QC on December 4. Tickets are available here.

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Behind The Scenes: The Making of a Canadian Gold Record Plaque

Since the launch of our Gold/Platinum program in 1975, record labels across Canada have celebrated the success of their artists’ hit single or album with the presentation of an official Gold, Platinum, or Diamond certification plaque. These highly coveted plaques, which are also presented to the teams behind the certified release, are created by Music Canada’s exclusive manufacturers Frameworth Sports Marketing (Toronto, ON) and PIXSL Inc. (Montreal, QC).

Sandra Falcone has been designing Music Canada’s Gold/Platinum plaques at Frameworth for nearly a decade. In this new video, Sandra takes us behind the scenes of Frameworth Sports Marketing’s manufacturing facility in Toronto and shows the unique process of how those Gold or Platinum vinyl record plaques are created before making it to the hands of your favourite artists.

Watch and share the video on Gold/Platinum Canada’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, or view on YouTube below.

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