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Toronto Music Policy Survey – 2014 Mayoral Candidates

Music Canada is a passionate advocate for music and those who create it, identifying ways to strengthen Canada’s music sector.

Our research shows that Toronto has the potential to be the greatest music city in the world. It is the third biggest music market in North America, and is home to a vibrant music scene. This is why Music Canada has also led the 4479 Toronto Music City initiative, and why this survey has been created. Music Canada has surveyed Toronto’s mayoral candidates in order to raise awareness of music issues in Toronto, and to secure music friendly commitments.

We asked Olivia Chow, Doug Ford, and John Tory three questions on key music policies as identified by Music Canada. We have listed their responses alphabetically below, and encourage Torontonians to consider a candidate’s positions on music policy when casting their ballot. Voting day is Monday, October 27, 2014, and Advance Polls are open now through October 19th. For information on how or where to cast your vote, visit the City of Toronto’s Election Services site.

 

Toronto Music Policy Survey – 2014 Mayoral Candidates

Toronto’s live music venues, concert promoters, and studio owners have all revealed that regulations and red tape at City Hall are creating an impediment to business growth. Based on best practices from Austin, Texas, Music Canada has recommended that the City of Toronto create a Music Office within its Economic Development & Culture Division. With a modest budget, this office would assist Toronto’s music community in navigating city infrastructure and regulations, and in stimulating business development opportunities, all of which will lead to greater investment and employment in the music sector.
We asked: How will you support the creation of a Toronto Music Office?
Olivia ChowOlivia Chow “As an artist herself, Olivia has a history of championing the arts. Olivia will create the Toronto Music Office, which could be paid for with increased revenue from the billboard tax. Like the Film Office already does to support film in our city, the Music Office will create an even more attractive environment for music and culture in our city.Olivia supports making city services work for people, from small business tax cuts to ensuring that economic development agencies in the city streamline their processes. Austin, Texas is a leader on the music front and we can do the same here in Toronto with a much larger population and pool of artists. This will build on the incredible musical talent in our city, and the music festivals and awards shows that already attract so many to our city.”
Doug Ford
Doug Ford
“I believe in the power of the music industry to stimulate our economy, bring jobs to our city and create a vibrant cultural scene. In the past four years we have supported the arts and we have supported Toronto’s music industry. We increased arts funding by $22 million to support arts and culture in Toronto. I am also very proud of our work in partnership with Music Canada to help advance the music industry by travelling to Austin Texas on Toronto’s first music industry business mission. In Austin we signed the world’s first Music Cities Alliance between Toronto and Austin. We have also helped fund a new position at City Hall to liaise with the music industry to help them do business with the City of Toronto. We want to replicate the success we have seen with Toronto’s Film Office and apply that same approach to the Music Industry. I will work with stakeholders like Music Canada to make sure we expand on this and create fully functional Music Office at the City of Toronto.”
John Tory
John Tory
“John Tory’s “Music City” policy is an important part of his larger Arts and Culture policy which acknowledges the vital contribution the creative sector makes to the city. The creative sector creates the conditions for the city to thrive – it builds our international reputation, employs hundreds of thousands of people, and contributes billions to our GDP. It is important that the city creates the conditions for our creative sector to thrive.In May during Canadian Music Week, John announced his plan to support the growth of the music industry in Toronto. Included in his “Music City” program is the commitment to establish a new stand–‐alone Music Office which will act as a one stop shop for the music community.The City of Toronto can learn from its efficient and collaborative work with the film and television community. The city’s film office has succeeded in improving customer service has helped to increase the level of activity in Toronto in this important creative sector. Based on this success story, and a similar experience in Austin Texas in the music sector, the City of Toronto will benefit from the creation of a Music Office. The Music Office will be established within the Economic Development department and will open in 2015. The Music Office will be expected to accomplish two main goals: reduce red tape and stimulate greater economic activity in the music community. Both of these activities will help to reduce the impediments to business growth currently being faced by the music community in Toronto. Targets will be set and progress measured over a 5 year term. Expected results will include greater activity in the music sector, increased employment and private sector investment, and greater efficiency at City Hall.The Music Office will be supported in its work by the Toronto Music Advisory Council which was established in December 2013 and reports to the Economic Development Committee. John commits to extending the mandate of the Music Advisory Council.”

 

Tourism is an important part of Toronto’s economy, with almost ten million overnight visitors in 2010, generating over four million in city revenue. The specific impact of music tourism on Toronto’s economy has yet to be measured, though given the concentration of the music industry in the GTA, it could be significant. Working with the music community, the City of Toronto and Tourism Toronto could quantify existing music tourism revenues and develop targeted initiatives to further increase its impact.
We asked: How will you champion the development of a music tourism strategy for Toronto?
Olivia Chow
Olivia Chow
“Olivia has committed to seeing the city invest more in the arts, bringing our investment from $22.5 per capita to $25 per capita. With worldclass awards shows like Polaris Music Prize and the MMVAs, and festivals like Pride Toronto and the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival, Toronto is a cultural capital unlike any other. Our commitment to investing in parks and green space in our city will reduce red tape surrounding large events and help support street festivals and open streets initiatives. Through strategies like this, we can continue to make our city a vibrant and dynamic cultural centre.”
Doug Ford
Doug Ford
“When we went down to Austin, Texas, last year I saw the power of the music industry first hand. Austin is a City one third the size of Toronto, yet they have created a thriving music industry that generates three times the economic activity of Toronto’s. I learned a lot in Austin, I learned the potential of the music industry to drive tourism and stimulate economic development. I will support Toronto’s music industry to help it thrive. A vibrant cultural scene makes a City more attractive to visitors, investors and businesses alike. I will drive a music tourism plan through the Economic Development Committee to ensure we are doing everything we can at the City of Toronto to attract more music tourism to our city.”
John Tory
John Tory
“John Tory believes our creative sector is one of our best tourism assets. Addressing the barriers to growth in music activity by establishing a Music Office will, in itself, help to further boost the opportunity to attract music tourists. Festivals, concerts and other music events, staged throughout the city, will position Toronto as a key destination for music tourists. John is also committed to facilitating greater connectivity for tourists to Toronto’s creative hotspots through the SmartTrack line. This will improve the overall tourist experience, as well as benefit Toronto residents who want to access music events. Increasing the audience, whether drawn from afar or here at home, will create greater demand for live performances and therefore, generating more opportunities for artists and musicians to perform.Toronto’s destination marketing organization, Tourism Toronto, should work with the music community in order to further incorporate Toronto’s music story into our tourism marketing.”

 

Toronto has an active and culturally vibrant live music scene, but red tape at City Hall has made it difficult for new and existing festivals and events to put on live music in Toronto’s parks and squares.
The application process is ambiguous and unclear, and can be overwhelming for people who are unfamiliar with it. If City Council were to place a higher priority on live music there would be a greater impetus to overcome these barriers.
We asked: How will you support the growth and development of live music in Toronto?
Olivia Chow
Olivia Chow
“At the beginning of this year the Fords went after Electronic Dance Music (EDM) in our city and tried to prevent any EDM on city property, especially on the Exhibition grounds. Olivia has been a long-time supporter of safe EDM events on public property. As a city councillor, she worked to reverse an ill-conceived ban on raves in public spaces and bring in protocols to ensure the events were safe and fun.The city has a vital role to play in facilitating great music in our city. The Toronto Music Office will lead this effort and we need to make sure that there are places, throughout our city, that can easily serve the needs of music artists. Fort York, for example, has become a musical and event destination in our city. Olivia has pledged to reduce the red tape and process in getting permits on public space.4479 is a great initiative that will help move our city’s cultural sector ever more forward. Olivia looks forward to working with 4479, Music Canada, other partners, and the new Toronto Music Office to make our city even better.”
Doug Ford
Doug Ford
“I will support the creation of a music office to make it easier for the music industry to operate in Toronto, especially the live music scene. Toronto already has an amazing live music scene, we have amazing festivals like NXNE. I believe what we need to make Toronto’s live music scene even better is more cohesion between the industry and the City and a concerted effort from the City of Toronto to make it easier to get permits for live music events. In Austin we attended the ACL music festival, a live music events that attracts thousands of visitors and generates over $100 million in economic activity each year. I want to bring a live music festival to match ACL to Toronto, while still supporting our existing music events and helping them grow. I am also committed to exploring the creation of a music industry incubator to support new music industry startups.”
John Tory
John Tory
“The importance of the music community and the broader creative sector cannot be understated. In addition to the direct economic benefits that result from a vibrant music sector, live music also serves as a magnet for tourism, investment and talent (both inside and outside the creative community). In order to ensure greater communication with the creative community, John will appoint a Creative Economic Advocate within the Mayor’s office who will act as a liaison to the Mayor. This measure will, along with other initiatives, ensure that the creative community and its benefits, including music, are better understood and appreciated by City Council and staff.In regards to presenting music in particular, the establishment of a Music Office will help to eliminate the barriers facing music presenters who wish to program Toronto’s underutilized spaces, and help to stimulate greater activity in the music community through business outreach efforts. A large international festival, for instance, is a missing critical component in Toronto’s music infrastructure. Whether growing an existing festival, or attracting the creation of a new festival, John will support efforts to fill this gap.”

For more information on Toronto’s municipal election, visit the City of Toronto’s Election Services page.

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National Live Music Association Launches with Naming of Executive Director

Music Canada Live, a new national association that will represent members of the live music community, has announced that Erin Benjamin will become its first Executive Director.

Ms. Benjamin, formerly the Executive Director of both the Canadian Arts Presenting Association (CAPACOA) and the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals (now known as Folk Music Ontario), has spent the past 14 years of her career working on behalf of the presenting and touring sector. “It’s incredibly exciting to be a part of the emergence of a new organization at a time when governments and audiences alike are deepening their awareness of the value, impact and role of live music in and on our communities.  I look forward to working in partnership with colleagues from across the country, to shine the spotlight on the live sector – here at home, and around the world”.

Music Canada Live is a newly incorporated trade association that will represent business members engaged in the live music industry in Canada (ie. venues, promoters, festivals, agents, award shows, ticketing suppliers).  It has been formed with seed funding from its founding members, and with the support of the Government of Ontario’s Music Fund.

“Hundreds of businesses and non-profit corporations are operating across Canada in the live music sector, employing thousands of people, and yet, unlike other segments of the music industry, there is no national association devoted to representing the interests of this large and diverse group,” says Benjamin.  “With many issues affecting the live music industry specifically, including, immigration, licensing and funding, Music Canada Live will provide a forum for identifying solutions and advocating on behalf of the industry.”

Music Canada Live is in the formative stages but will seek to attract general members and additional founding members and directors from across the country, big and small, for profit and not-for-profit.  In addition to advocacy, through networking events and communications, it will provide greater opportunities for partnership and collaboration among its members.

 

Founding Members:

The Agency Group

Budweiser Gardens

Canadian Music Week

Collective Concerts

The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall

Evenko

Live Nation

NXNE

Music Canada

Ticketmaster

The Union Ltd. (Union Events)

 

Erin Benjamin will assume her new responsibilities on Monday, November 10, 2014.  A limited number of opportunities exist to join the Founding Members who will be responsible for developing the strategic plan, membership structure, and the organizational priorities for its launch.  For further information on becoming a Founding Member or for general information, please contact info@musiccanadalive.ca.

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Nunavut Throat Singer Tanya Tagaq Wins 2014 Polaris Music Prize

polaristagaq

On Monday night, the 2014 Polaris Music Prize was awarded to Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq for her album Animism.  Tagaq, who received a standing ovation from the gala attendees following her uplifting performance, was awarded a cash prize of $30,000 for her Polaris win. The winner was decided by a panel of selected music critics and announced during the 9th annual gala event at The Carlu in Toronto, hosted by actor Jay Baruchel.

The evening consisted of performances from 6 of the 10 nominees including Mac Demarco, Basia Bulat, Owen Pallett, Jessy Lanza, Shad and winner Tanya Tagaq. Timber Timbre, Yamantaka//Sonic Titan and Win Butler of Arcade Fire were in attendance but did not perform. Drake, who was nominated for Nothing Was The Same was not able to attend the gala due to a scheduled concert at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles with Lil Wayne.

Music Canada is a proud sponsor of the Polaris Music Prize and would like to congratulate Tanya Tagaq on winning this year’s award, as well as all of the nominees for making the 2014 short list. Photos of the gala can be seen below:

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Ontario Government launches Live Music Portal and announces recipients of the first year of the Ontario Music Fund

Today, the Hon. Michael Coteau, Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, announced the recipients of the first year of the Ontario Music Fund, as well as the official launch of Ontario’s live music portal, http://ontariolivemusic.ca/.

The first year of the Ontario Music Fund, which is administered by the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC), is providing 108 grants to artists and music organizations that produce, distribute, and promote Canadian music and artists.

“We’re turning up the volume on our diverse and dynamic music industry,” said Minister Coteau. “Through the Ontario Music Fund, we are making important investments to help the industry grow, create jobs and ensure Ontario’s talent thrives here at home.”

Minister Coteau also announced the official launch of Ontario’s live music portal, OntarioLiveMusic.ca, which was developed by Music Canada under contract to the Ontario government. The site is a comprehensive and reliable source for information on live music in Ontario, including concert listings and venue promotions. As part of Ontario’s Live Music Strategy, the portal will promote live music in Ontario to boost concert attendance, visitor spending, and economic impact.

“The Ontario Music Fund has positively changed the landscape for music, and signals that the Government of Ontario agrees that music is a good investment for this province; in fact, that it is one of our competitive advantages,” said Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada. “We commend the Government of Ontario for creating the conditions that encourage the private sector to invest in music in order to create jobs and stimulate growth.”

For more on the Ontario Music Fund, visit http://www.omdc.on.ca/music/the_ontario_music_fund.htm.

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Music Canada’s 2014 Annual General Meeting

The Lula Lounge in Toronto played host to Music Canada’s 2014 Annual General Meeting on September 10th, with more than 150 representatives from our member labels and industry partners in attendance.

The event began with a State of the Industry conversation between acclaimed record producer Bob Ezrin and Music Canada President Graham Henderson. Much of the discussion focused on the Copyright Board of Canada’s recent decision on Re:Sound’s Tariff 8, which sets appallingly low royalty rates for non-interactive and semi-interactive webcast services. Re:Sound has since filed an application for Judicial Review of the Board’s decision, and a coalition of more than 70 music organizations released a joint statement in support of Re:Sound’s Application for Judicial Review.

EzrinHenderson
Mr. Ezrin spoke passionately of the importance of “one voice” in opposition to the Tariff 8 decision. “We need, somehow, as an industry… as one business… get together quickly and get to Ottawa and fight this tariff…. Because this is truly the beginning of an end.”

I Stand For Music was created as a space for the industry and fans to amplify their voices in opposition to the Tariff 8 decision, and to show their support for recorded music and Canada’s music community.
Following the discussion with Ezrin, Henderson described what’s on the horizon for Music Canada. In addition to the battle over Tariff 8, Henderson revealed plans for Music Canada Live that will soon represent the live music community. “The vision for the association is that is truly national in scope, representing all sizes of live music companies, for profit and not-for-profit, in all corners of the country,” said Henderson. “It’s going to identify common issues, and create a strong, collective voice to ensure the live music community is well represented when decisions are made at all levels of government, and that is unprecedented.”

Henderson also shared that Music Canada is undertaking an economic impact study of Ontario’s live music sector in conjunction with the Ontario Media Development Corporation. “We expect this to be as vital to the debate as our economic impact study of the recording industry has been,” said Henderson.

Henderson also spoke of OntarioLiveMusic.ca, a live music portal developed by Music Canada, under contract with the Ontario government, which profiles Ontario as a destination for music tourism. Music Canada’s work on Toronto as a music city will continue under the 4479 Toronto brand, as well as on the Music City Alliance with Austin, Texas. Henderson also touched on a new partnership with the National Music Centre in Calgary, AB, in the development of a study on leveraging Calgary’s music sector for economic development.

Graham
Next, Music Canada’s Amy Terrill moderated a ‘New Directions’ panel, featuring a conversation with old friends in new positions in the industry, including Melanie Hurley from Canada’s Walk of Fame, Allan Reid from the Canadian Academy of Recorded Arts and Sciences (CARAS), Rick Fenton from Music Ontario, and Zaib Shaikh from the City of Toronto.

Allan Reid spoke of CARAS’ expanded emphasis on artist development, noting that as MusiCounts does great work at the very beginnings of a music career, and the JUNOs celebrate them at the pinnacle of their success, CARAS sees room to expand to help artists in the middle ground.

Rick Fenton told the audience that Music Ontario is developing a market access program, as well as creating a physical and virtual resource centre to help “artists affect change with a common voice,” on issues like Tariff 8 and more.

Melanie Hurley shared that as Canada’s Walk of Fame is preparing for its 5th annual festival later this month, her next priority is to continue to develop partnerships with Toronto and Ontario, and expand the Walk of Fame brand. “Our first initiative is to celebrate, and the second is to inspire future generations,” said Hurley. “And I think that’s where we can really take off, where we can expand and look at doing scholarships and partnerships, and bring in people to talk to the next generation.”

Zaib Shaikh spoke of Toronto’s strength in both economics and culture, and shared information on recent developments at the City of Toronto’s Economic Development & Culture division, which has grown to 30 employees, and will soon add a Music Sector Development officer, whom Shaikh said should be in place by the beginning of October. “I’m looking forward to Toronto being seen as a leader in what we can do with entertainment, and obviously music is a key cornerstone in that,” said Shaikh.
Panel
The meeting closed out with a special performance by Shawn Hook, who performed two new songs from his upcoming album, including the new single ‘Million Ways’.

ShawnHook

For more photos from the event, see the album on our Facebook page.

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2014 Canadian Country Music Awards presented during Canadian Country Music Week in Edmonton, AB

Congratulations to the 2014 Canadian Country Music Association Award winners, which were presented this past weekend during Canadian Country Music Week in Edmonton, AB.

During the Awards broadcast Sunday night, Dean Brody won Album of the Year for ‘Crop Circles’, while Gord Bamford won Single of the Year for ‘When Your Lips Are So Close’, in addition to picking up the Male Artist of the Year Award. Jess Moskaluke won Female Artist of the Year, while Small Town Pistols were recognized as Group or Duo of the Year. Brett Kissel was honoured with the CMT Video of the Year award for ‘3-2-1’, as Tim Hicks won the Rising Star award, and Johnny Reid was the Fans’ Choice Award winner.

Music Canada would like to extend special congratulations to Deane Cameron, who was honoured with the Hank Smith Award of Excellence, which recognizes an individual who has gone above and beyond in contributing his or her time and talents for the advancement of Canadian country music nationally. We would also like to congratulate Beverley Mahood, who received the 2014 Slaight Music Humanitarian Award, as well as Wendell Ferguson, who was the 2014 Artist Inductee to the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, and Ron Sakamoto, who was the 2014 Builder Inductee to the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.

Congratulations as well to Open Road Recordings, who was named the Record Company of the Year at the CCMA Gala, a category that is proudly sponsored by Music Canada.

For a full list of winners, see the listing on the CCMA website.

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Music Managers Forum Canada Announces New President

Music Managers Forum Canada officially announced their new President Meg Symsyk today. With over a decade of experience as a marketing executive at Universal Music Canada, Symsyk will take over as President of MMF Canada from Rhyna Thomson who is stepping down for professional and personal reasons. Meg Symsyk has been involved wide range of many key artist campaigns including Canadian artists Bryan Adams, Nelly Furtado and Rufus Wainwright and international acts Queens of the Stone Age, Beck, Sheryl Crow, Sting, No Doubt and Gwen Stefani. For the last six years, she has been an integral part of SRO-ANTHEM, a full service management, label & publishing company, working with Rush and Brody Dalle. Meg has also spent the last three years on the MMF Board of Directors.

The full press release can be viewed here.

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2014 Canadian Country Music Association Awards Nominees Announced

Congratulations to the 2014 Canadian Country Music Association Award nominees, which were announced today by the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA).

Flat Lake, Alberta’s Brett Kissel leads the nominations with eight, including Single of the Year, Album of the Year, and Male Artist of the Year. Dean Brody and Gord Bamford also received several nominations, with six and five nominations each, respectively, while Tim Hicks and Deric Ruttan follow closely behind with four nominations each. The full list of nominees is now available on the CCMA website.

CCMA and broadcast partners CBC and CMT also announced that Juno-Award winner singer-songwriter Jann Arden and CBC-TV’s Gemini-Award winning host and comedian, Rick Mercer, will host the 2014 CCMA Awards Show. The show will be broadcast on Sunday, September 7 on CBC-TV at 8:00 p.m. local time (8:30 NT) with an encore airing on CMT (Canada) at 10:00 p.m.

Music Canada is proud to sponsor the CCMA Record Company of the Year Award. Nominees in that category include:

  • MDM Recordings Inc.
  • Open Road Recordings Inc.
  • Sony Music Entertainment (Canada) Inc.
  • Universal Music Canada
  • Warner Music Canada

In total, 41 CCMA Awards will be given out over four award ceremonies during Country Music Week in Edmonton, Alberta, September 4 – 7. Eight awards will be given out on the 2014 CCMA Awards Show, taking place at Edmonton’s Rexall Place on September 7th.

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2014 Polaris Prize Short List Announced

Jay Baruchel announcing the Polaris Prize short list

The short list for the 2014 Polaris Music Prize was announced today at The Carlu in Toronto, ON. The Polaris Music Prize is an annual event that honours the works of Canadian artists over the past year regardless of genre, sales or record label. The Polaris Prize awards gala will take place at The Carlu on September 22 and will be hosted by Canadian actor, writer and producer Jay Baruchel, who was on hand Tuesday to reveal the 10 short list nominees. The gala will be televised and webcasted by AUX, but those wishing to attend will have the chance to purchase tickets in the coming weeks.

Each year, the prize is awarded to one artist voted upon by a panel of selected music critics. After revealing the 2014 long list earlier this June, jurors then resubmitted their top 5 picks, narrowing down the nominees to only 10. In 2006, the first Polaris Music Prize was awarded to Owen Pallett of Final Fantasy for the album He Poos Clouds. Pallett, who has since dropped the Final Fantasy moniker, is nominated once again this year for his album In Conflict. Montreal’s Arcade Fire, who also won the prize in 2011 for The Suburbs, are nominated once again for Reflektor.

The full list of finalists for the 2014 Polaris Music Prize are:

Arcade Fire Reflektor

Basia Bulat Tall Tall Shadow

Drake Nothing Was The Same

Jessy Lanza Pull My Hair Back

Mac Demarco Salad Days

Owen Pallett In Conflict

Shad Flying Colours

Tanya Tagaq Animism

Timber Timbre Hot Dreams

YAMANTAKA//SONIC TITAN UZU

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Deane Cameron to receive the 2014 Hank Smith Award of Excellence at Country Music Week

The Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) has announced that Deane Cameron will be honoured with the 2014 Hank Smith Award of Excellence, which recognizes an individual who has gone above and beyond their job in contributing his or her time and talents for the advancement of Canadian country music nationally.

“Deane Cameron has left an indelible impact on the Canadian country music industry. His tenacity for finding and mentoring great talent, and ability to stay humble amid successful results speaks to his strengths over a storied career,” said Ron Kitchener, Chair of the CCMA Board of Directors.

As stated in the release, Cameron has played a significant role in the careers of such Canadian artists as Susan Aglukark, Terri Clark, Tom Cochrane, Stompin’ Tom Connors, Rita MacNeil, John McDermott, Anne Murray, The Rankin Family, Johnny Reid, Serena Ryder, Buffy Sainte-Marie and more. Cameron worked his way up through the ranks of the music industry, eventually making history when he became the youngest Canadian President of a major music label in 1988.

“As Canadians, we proudly hold our place as the second most significant supporters and contributors to the global country music business. Past, present and future, the Canadian country music industry is a hotbed of talent,” said Deane Cameron. “I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to work with so many extraordinary artists thus far, and look forward to more exciting things to come. I’m honoured, humbled, and THRILLED to be the recipient of the Hank Smith Award of Excellence.”

Cameron will receive the honour during a private industry event held during Country Music Week, which takes place September 4 – 7 in Edmonton, Alberta.

 

Congratulations, Deane!

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