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Fitz and the Tantrums receive first Canadian Double Platinum plaque in Toronto

Prior to their set at Toronto’s Budweiser Stage Saturday opening for OneRepublic, Los Angeles neo-soul band Fitz and the Tantrums were surprised with Double Platinum award plaques for their hit single “HandClap.”

“HandClap,” which is the lead single from their 2016 self-titled album, is the first track by the band to be certified Double Platinum in Canada, with their hit “The Walker” reaching Platinum status in 2016.

The band shared a short video of the plaque presentation with their fans through their Twitter page.

The video for “HandClap” can be viewed below.

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Khalid receives Gold and Platinum Awards in Toronto

Prior to performing a sold-out show at Toronto’s Rebel Nightclub Wednesday, American R&B singer Khalid received a custom Gold plaque for his 2017 debut album, American Teen. Presented to him by Sony Music Canada, the plaque also commemorates his Platinum debut Single, “Location.”

Toronto was the 19-year-old artist’s third and final stop in Canada on The American Teen Tour, following performances at Pemberton Music Festival in Pemberton, BC and Métropolis in Montreal, QC earlier this summer.

The video for “Location” can be viewed below.

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Canadians will sing together for 13 Annual Music Monday in support of music education

Students perform outside at Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square for Music Monday 2016 (Photo: Bram Gonshor)

Thousands of students, musicians, parents, and community members from Charlottetown to Vancouver will come together next Monday to celebrate the 13th Annual Music Monday to raise awareness for music education. Created by the Coalition for Music Education, Music Monday will bring the nation together for the simultaneous singing of the Music Monday anthem, Sing It Together, 12:30pm EST on Monday, May 1, 2017.

Honouring Canada 150, this year’s National Showcase Concert will take place in Ottawa with a free concert at the National Arts Centre hosted by MP Seamus O’Regan and opera singer Measha Brueggergosman. The event will be live-streamed at MusicMonday.ca from 12-1pm EST.

Showcase Concert performances include a mass children’s choir, the Métis Fiddle Quartet, singer-songwriter Mimi O’Bonsawin, a harp and soprano duo, youth jazz and strings ensembles, and the Ottawa Junior Youth Orchestra. Songwriter Marc Jordan, musicians from the official Music Monday video, and the children’s choir will also lead the nationwide sing-along of Sing It Together.

Sing It Together was commissioned by the Coalition for Music Education and features Inuit throat singing, Métis fiddling, Indigenous drumming, and children’s choirs in celebration of Canadian diverse and vibrant musical heritage.

Events are scheduled in communities across Canada, and participants are encouraged to join the conversation using the hashtag #MMC2C2C.

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Nominees and performers revealed for 2017 JUNO Awards

Allan Reid, President & CEO of CARAS, announcing the 2017 JUNO nominees in Toronto.

Earlier today, the nominees and first round of performers were revealed for the 46th annual JUNO Awards. The announcement was made at a press conference at Toronto nightclub REBEL, and was streamed live on the JUNOs website.

Multi-Platinum stars Drake, The Weeknd, and Shawn Mendes each received a leading five nominations, while Alessia Cara and the late Leonard Cohen gathered four nominations. Several nominees were on hand for the event including The Strumbellas, Coleman Hell, Wintersleep, Billy Talent, Sultans Of String, Weaves, and more.

Celine Dion’s Encore un soir, Drake’s Views, The Weeknd’s Starboy, Shawn Mendes’ Illuminate, and Leonard Cohen’s final studio album You Want It Darker were nominated for Album of the Year, for which Music Canada is proud to return as a sponsor in 2017.

Alessia Cara, along with Ruth B and A Tribe Called Red, were announced as the first performers for the awards show, which coincides with the Ottawa’s Canada 150 celebrations.

“There is a lot of excitement in the air for the JUNOs and for Ottawa 2017,” said Allan Reid, President and CEO of CARAS, who spoke at the Mayor’s breakfast in Ottawa last week. “We are thrilled to be going back.”

2017 will mark the third time Ottawa has hosted the JUNO Awards. From 2007 to 2015 the JUNO Awards have created a total economic impact of almost $99 million, including $11 million for Ottawa in 2012, $14 million for the 2011 JUNO Awards in Toronto, and $10 million for the 2015 JUNO Awards in Hamilton.

Randy Lennox, President of Broadcasting and Content at Bell Media, also spoke at the event, commending Reid for his work with the JUNOs, and many of the event’s long-standing partners. Lennox, former President & CEO of Universal Music Canada, will be honoured with the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award at the 2017 JUNOs, along with Buffy Sainte-Marie for the 2017 Allan Waters Humanitarian Award, and Sarah McLachlan for her induction into the Canadian Music Hall Of Fame.

The 2017 JUNO Awards will be handed out Sunday, April 2, 2017, at the Canadian Tire Centre. Limited tickets are still available through Ticketmaster.

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MEGAPHONO 2017 kicks off in Ottawa

Ottawa’s MEGAPHONO Music Showcase Festival & Conference is officially underway, welcoming music industry professionals from the US, Canada and abroad for a celebration of Ottawa-Gatineau and Eastern Ontario’s burgeoning music scene. 60 local and regional artists will be performing in over 20 venues across Ottawa-Gatineau, with a daytime conference on music industry-related topics scheduled at CITIZEN (207 Gilmour Street).

On Wednesday morning, the festival kicked off with a Mayor’s Breakfast at Ottawa City Hall. CARAS and JUNO Awards president Allan Reid spoke at the event about the economic impact the upcoming JUNO Awards will have during the Canada 150 celebrations, and cited the importance of our Music Cities research in efforts to grow Ottawa’s music economy. Prior to Reid’s address, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson gave a nod to MEGAPHONO for their help in solidifying Ottawa’s music scene.

The MEGAPHONO Conference will feature panel discussions on music funding, recording, collaborations, promotion, and managing. Along with a packed schedule of evening shows, there will also be free daytime showcases at Bar Robo, Pressed Cafe, Elmdale Tavern, and The Record Centre. Passes can be picked up throughout the duration of the festival at CITZEN.

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BC government cuts red tape for music festivals and special events

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(L – R) Nick Blasko of Amelia Artists, Parliamentary Secretary for Liquor Reform Policy John Yap, the Honourable Minister Coralee Oakes, Music Canada’s President and CEO Graham Henderson, BRANDLIVE’s Catherine Runnals. Photo credit: Emir Mehinagic

Coralee Oakes, British Columbia’s Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, has announced that the government will simplify the Special Event Permit application process for music festivals, concerts, and other cultural events.

Previously, only non-profit entities could apply for Special Occasion Licenses, which allowed them to sell liquor at music festivals. This meant that music festival operators had to bring in a separate charity to serve alcohol at their events. It added another layer to the application process and was viewed as a regulatory burden.

With these changes, music festivals will be able to apply for their own Special Event Permits and enter into exclusive agreements with liquor manufacturers. The changes will also allow event promoters to enter into advantageous partnerships with breweries, wineries, and distilleries.

“These changes are the result of consultations with industry and an important step forward in our continued work to modernize B.C.’s liquor laws by cutting red tape for businesses,” said Minister Oakes. “We expect these changes will increase the number of special events held throughout B.C. and strengthen patronage of the arts in our communities.”

Music Canada President, Graham Henderson, who attended and spoke at the announcement in Vancouver characterized this policy change as a continuation of the government of BC’s commitment to music and a crucial component of a larger BC Music Strategy. Earlier this year, Premier Christy Clark announced a $15 million investment in the BC Music Fund.

“B.C. has a deep musical heritage and is home to some of the finest production facilities, artists, and labels in the world,” said Henderson. “We’re very happy to see the Province make changes that can better position B.C. to compete in an increasingly global marketplace.”

Check out Minister Oakes’ press release

Check out our report: BC’s Music Sector: From Adversity to Opportunity

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Music Canada AGM 2016: Year in review

At Music Canada’s 2016 AGM, our Executive Vice President, Amy Terrill, provided an update on what was a busy year for the organization. Music Cities are a red-hot topic worldwide. Municipalities and regions continue to look to the power of music to grow their economies, attract tourists and skilled workers, and increase quality of life.

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An interesting trend of the past year was the “growing understanding that Music City development is an important component of community economic development,” said Terrill, describing how our Music Cities work is being embraced by the International Economic Development Council, national and Ontario BIA associations, and other international associations, such as the UCLG, a congress of global and regional leaders.

Since launching The Mastering of a Music City at Midem in 2015, Graham Henderson and Amy Terrill have been invited to speak on the research and best practices described in the report in numerous cities around the globe, and the list continues to grow.

In the past year, chambers of commerce were defined as a particularly powerful ally in the Music Cities movement. As the voice of business in their communities, chambers have the opportunity to carve out a leadership role in leveraging music as a driver of employment and economic growth, beyond its long-acknowledged cultural and social benefits. At the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s AGM in September of 2016, Music Canada launched the Music Cities Toolkit, a custom designed guide for chambers to activate the power of music in their city.

Amy established “best practice” as the theme of her remarks, noting Music Canada’s continued efforts to identify, meet and share best practices in Music Cities research, and in all of the work we do.

Matt Masters, a Calgary-based songwriter, event producer, and new Program Leader of the Alberta Music Cities Initiative provided a video update on Music Cities progress in the province, and Andy McLean of the East Coast Music Association (ECMA) shared updates from the Atlantic region and the newly formed partnership between Music Canada and the ECMA.

The past year also included the launch of Music Canada’s new Single Award, which incorporates streaming data into Gold/Platinum certifications for the first time in Canada. Later in the program, Alx Veliz was presented with his first Canadian Gold plaque for his breakout hit “Dancing Kizomba,” before performing three songs for the crowd.

You can watch the full video of Music Canada’s Year in Review below.

For more photos from the Annual General Meeting, visit our photo album on Facebook.

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iHeartRadio officially launches in Canada’s growing streaming market

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In January 2016, Bell Media announced an exclusive partnership to bring the American media company brand iHeartRadio, North America’s fastest growing digital audio service with over 90 million registered users, to Canada’s evolving streaming market.

On Monday, iHeartRadio Canada officially went live, giving Canadians a free new service to access over 100 licensed Bell Media English and French music, sports, and talk radio stations across 54 markets. The service also offers more than 100 additional digital-only music stations, curated for dozens of genres and designed to suit every taste.

“iHeartRadio Canada harnesses the strength of Bell Media’s radio stations in addition to more than 100 exclusive, curated digital music stations, placing them all conveniently at the fingertips of every Canadian,” said Randy Lennox, President of Broadcasting and Content, Bell Media, who spearheaded the deal upon stepping into the role in 2015. “iHeartRadio is an enormously successful brand that will represent Bell Media’s radio strategy in Canada, in many incarnations, including must-see live concerts, events, and more.”

In conjunction with Monday’s launch, iHeartRadio revealed plans for Canada’s first Jingle Ball, happening November 25 at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre. The Canadian version of Jingle Ball, also taking place in a dozen cities across the US, will feature homegrown superstars The Weeknd, Alessia Cara, Hedley, Serena Ryder, Belly, and Kardinal Offishall, who hosts radio show The Kardi Party for Bell Media-owned Virign Radio and syndicated nationwide via iHeartRadio. American acts Kent Jones and multi-Plaitnum chart-toppers The Chainsmokers will also join the Toronto lineup.

Over the weekend, CTV Two will broadcast the 2016 iHeartRadio Music Festival from Las Vegas, a two-night event jam-packed with legendary performers including U2, Sia, Sting, Britney Spears, and Usher; plus all-star collaborations, including Billy Idol and Miley Cyrus; Ariana Grande and Zedd; and Backstreet Boys and Florida Georgia Line. Throughout the summer, Canadian fans were given a sneak peek at the company’s premiere programming with branded events like iHeartRadio Fest (formerly CHUM FM FanFest) at Toronto’s Canadian Music Week, and the nationwide broadcast of the 2016 iHeartRadio Much Music Video Awards.

iHeartRadio Canada is now available for free via the web, and iOS and Android devices.  While details have not been officially announced, iHeartRadio is also expected to launch their paid on-demand streaming tiers in 2017.

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Kaytranada’s album ‘99.9%’ wins 2016 Polaris Music Prize

Kaytranada's '99.9%'

Kaytranada’s ‘99.9%’

At the Polaris Prize Gala on September 19, in front of a room full of Canadian musicians, journalists, industry folks and music lovers, last year’s winner, Buffy Sainte-Marie, revealed Kaytranada as the winner of the 2016 Polaris Music Prize for his album 99.9%.

The Montreal-raised artist’s debut full-length album was mostly self-produced, and this marks the first time in the Polaris Prize’s 11-year history that an album that could be classified as hip-hop has won.

The winner, who also receives a $50,000 cash prize, is selected from a 10-album Short List by a Grand Jury comprised of 11 Canadian music journalists. The prize is awarded based solely on artistic merit, with no consideration of sales or chart positions.

heritageIn addition to the main prize, Polaris now honours classic Canadian albums with the Slaight Family Polaris Heritage Prize. Four Short Lists, categorized into distinct musical eras (1960-75, 1976-85, 1986-95 and 1996-2005) are curated by Canadian music historians and media members. Two winning albums from each era, one chosen by public vote and one selected by a jury, are awarded the Heritage Prize.

The 2016 Slaight Family Polaris Heritage Prize Short Lists were revealed on September 19 at the Gala. Public voting was opened at the same time and will remain open until October 17. The winning albums from each era will be announced on October 24. To view the 2016 Heritage Prize Short Lists and cast your vote visit the 2016 Slaight Family Polaris Heritage Prize page.

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Toronto music industry raises over $2000 for Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research

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On Thursday night, members of Toronto’s music industry came together for a fundraiser in support of the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research. The group attended a Toronto Blue Jays game and gathered beforehand at Steam Whistle Brewery for a pre-game social.

Through beer, snack, and ticket sales, as well as a silent auction, attendees raised $2,100 for the Sunnybrook charity, surpassing the $1,000 goal leading up to the event.

More than 170 tickets were sold to the Blue Jays game, which included a donation to the Downie Fund with purchase. The event was organized by Jon Box of Universal Music Canada, who hopes the event can continue again next year and surpass 200 ticket sales.

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