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Vinyl sales soar as industry prepares for Record Store Day 2016


For nearly a decade, the third Saturday in April has become an unofficial holiday for vinyl collectors and music enthusiasts across the globe.

On Saturday, April 16, 2016, eager crate diggers will once again set their alarms early in anticipation of Record Store Day, a music community celebration which aims to gather artists, customers, and staff to celebrate the unique culture of a record store and the special role these independently owned stores play in their communities. Each year, limited edition vinyl and CD titles are made available exclusively for the event. with many of the stores also running special sales throughout the day.

In Canada, an appetite for high-quality sound, artwork and a tangible product has lead to soaring vinyl sales. In 2015, vinyl posted its tenth consecutive year of sales growth, and experienced its biggest overall vinyl sales total in the SoundScan era, with a sales increase of 30% over 2014.

According to IFPI’s 2016 Global Music Report, Canada ranks #5 in top global vinyl sales, pushing 1.3 million units in 2015. Despite the sales surge, vinyl remains a niche portion of the physical market, which contributed 35% to Canada’s recorded music revenue in 2015 largely driven by CD sales. In 2015, digital revenue surged to 52% of Canada’s market share due to the rise in streaming service subscriptions. However, for labels and artists, the revenue generated from the sale of vinyl remains far greater than the revenue generated from free, ad-supported streaming services, due to what is known as the “value gap.”

While vinyl’s resurgence is excellent news for labels and artists, the few remaining North American pressing plants are struggling to keep up with the demand as aging equipment can lead to unforeseen delays for new releases. In 2015, Canada Boy Vinyl in Calgary, AB, opened its doors and is currently listed as the only vinyl pressing plant in Canada.

In Toronto, ON, a new startup aims to fix the issue of plant delays and their backlog of orders. Viryl Technologies, who will join Alan Cross on a panel for a free Record Store Day Music-Technology Meet Up, has developed their prototype “The Warmtone”, which uses digital technology to press up to three records per minute, an increase from the industry standard 35 seconds per unit.

Regardless of production delays, over 150 stores across Canada will participate in Record Store Day, stocked with thousands of new and vintage titles ready to be spun. The full list of participating Canadian record stores can be found at Record Store Day Canada’s website.


Notes from the Road: Belle Starr – Winter Tour, 2016

BelleStarr - bioCanadian singer and fiddler Miranda Mulholland is currently on tour with Belle Starr, with stops across Canada and the US. She’ll be sharing her experiences in our Notes from the Road tour blog series.

Notes from the Road is Music Canada’s artist tour diary. Canadian artists on tour around the world will share their stories of fans, gigs and the “good, bad and the ugly” of touring!


A funny thing happened at the Canadian border the other night. As a band named for a famous outlaw, we shouldn’t be surprised by any skirmishes with the law, but this brush up got me thinking. After explaining where we were coming from and where we were going while crossing the border at midnight, the patrol guard actually asked us with condescension, pity and bewilderment “Is this really the way you make a living? All three of you?”

I am not surprised she asked. We did make a funny picture – packed tightly with our instruments, suitcases and merchandise in my 1998 Toyota Corolla. We had just played a two hour concert in Stowe, Vermont then negotiated some very treacherous roads for hours in a heavy snowstorm post show to reach where we would be sleeping that night so we were all rattled and pretty tired. Certainly not what one pictures when one dreams of being a touring musician.

For the majority of musicians, touring these days is not the glamorous or wild lifestyle depicted in movies, TV shows and books. That’s not to say these things don’t happen – you can buy me a glass of wine sometime and I can tell you some stories – but the quotidian existence of a touring musician is one of a lot of hurry up and wait, a few crippling lows and some exuberant highs for a very small paycheque. Somehow it seems to even out.

Our band, Belle Starr is a bit of a rarity as although all three of us are full time musicians, we don’t get to spend a lot of time touring together. Stephanie Cadman is a world class tap/step dancer as well as fiddler and was in the Toronto production of the musical Once. Kendel Carson plays in a duo with Dustin Bentall as well as being a member of Alan Doyle’s band and I am a member of Great Lake Swimmers among other projects. This makes it all the more special and exciting for us when we get to play music together.

We started this tour by flying to Alberta and driving up and down that beautiful province. Routing is rarely ideal and found us back and forth on the same stretch of highway a number of times and landing three days in a row for a needed coffee stop at the Red Deer Mall. I never thought I’d see that much of the Red Deer Mall.

The drive from Calgary to Cranbrook is one of Canada’s best. Watching the mountains appear to slowly rise up in front of you like benign giants watching over the rolling meadows of cows, horses and crops. While there are many long drives touring in Canada (Toronto to Winnipeg is 24 hours!) we really do have some of the most beautiful and diverse scenery in the world. And we see a lot of it! Sometimes the drives can be easy – a clear day, sunshine and empty road. We had our fair share of that on this tour but also torrential rains for hours, elk on the highway, twisty mountain roads and one of the scariest car crashes any of us had ever seen happen right in front of us. It takes nerves of steel sometimes!BelleStarr - road
Vancouver was next and we indulged in some delicious sushi and caught up with friends. One of the best parts of touring is getting to visit with pals all over the world – In contrast though, one of the hardest parts is not really ever being part of friend’s lives – not getting sharing the little victories and the hard times, birthdays, special occasions and casual hangouts. It seems to be an endless series of catch ups with hurried dinners between soundcheck and the show.

Crossing the border into the USA is always a bit difficult. Even with our very expensive permits to perform in the United States, it is not always a guarantee that we will get across. We had a lovely officer on this crossing who wished us a safe trip, so we breathed a collective sigh of relief. The spring-like weather down the coast was very welcome and we enjoyed the green and blossoms beginning.

Mondays and Tuesdays are hard to book so we had two days off in groovy Portland. Great coffee, amazing vintage stores and my favourite bookstore in the world, Powell’s. Instead of a hotel, we opted for an AirBnB to take advantage of laundry and save some money by cooking and catch up on sleep. It was such a treat to not have to drive anywhere for 48 hours!

The biggest performing highlight of the west coast tour was just around the corner. The Admiral Theatre in Bremerton, WA was built in 1942 as a movie theatre and was beautifully remodeled in 1997. It has a water theme with mermaids and waves and one of the only remaining steel marquees left in the USA. The staff were very professional and friendly and the audience was warm, appreciative and really made that show tremendously memorable.

BelleStarr - Marquee

Live music is all about alchemy. Creating something from simple elements into something unforgettable and valuable. What happens during a performance happens because all those elements are there and once over, can never be recreated. The audience has as much to do with this chemistry as the artists – it is a symbiotic relationship. This is what I love most, the ephemeral quality of live music. It happened. We heard it, felt it, experienced it – and it can never truly be captured, and that is what makes it so special.
Is this really the way I make a living? Why, yes. it is. Sometimes it’s the wild west out here, it can be really tough, but the highs are really high…and I couldn’t be more proud to make my living this way.


Music Canada’s Graham Henderson on Toronto Pearson’s Economic Impact

In a new video, Music Canada President & CEO Graham Henderson speaks about the economic impact of Toronto Pearson, Canada’s largest and busiest airport.

In conjunction with the Economic Impact Study, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority wanted to hear firsthand from those who rely on the airport to keep their business running. In the video, Henderson highlights the impact of Toronto Pearson in supporting Toronto’s music scene and connecting Canadian and international recording artists with global audiences.

“They need access to the world. We no longer live in a world where your market is your home. In order to be a successful recording artist in today’s world, it has to be a global marketplace. Without access to that global marketplace, it’s going to be very, very difficult. Making it easier is essential,” said Henderson. “We have domestic musicians who come from literally every culture in the world. And musicians from literally every culture in the world come here to perform. I don’t think that type of a music scene would have developed and flourished if it was not for an access point like Toronto Pearson.”

The importance of easy access by air travel was highlighted in The Mastering of a Music City, a new report released by Music Canada and IFPI that presents a roadmap that communities of all sizes can follow to realize the full potential of their music economy. The report found easy access via air travel is important in establishing a Music City as a destination for both touring artists and music tourists, and recommends communities consider the importance of international travel when planning for airports and routes.


Book Review – ‘How Music Got Free: The End of an Industry, the Turn of the Century, and the Patient Zero of Piracy’ by Stephen Witt

The book jacket says this book is, “the greatest story never told” about the music industry. Marketing aside, I have to agree. But How Music Got Free: The End of an Industry, the Turn of the Century, and the Patient Zero of Piracy isn’t just a book about the music industry, it is a book about creative industries in the digital world, about how disruptive technologies are created and interact with established modes of production. Despite that, it is not at all boring. It is a fun narrative read that takes the stories of three different groups of people and shows how their stories all intersect in the 1990s and early 21st century.

Stephen Witt meticulously tells this story by piecing together the different events that led to widespread music piracy, discussing its implications for the music industry. Using his investigative journalistic skills, he focuses on three key individuals: the creator of the mp3, a CD factory worker, and a music industry executive.

First he traces the evolution of mp3 technology, focusing on the German inventor Karlheinz Brandenburg. He describes the slow and challenging process of creating and distributing the technology, and its slow adoption within audio technology community. Along with the compression of music, Brandenburg and his team also developed several other complimentary inventions, which would allow users to encode mp3s and store them for limited use.

Next he follows Bennie Lydell Glover, the music smuggler. Witt describes Glover’s gradual introduction into music piracy, sneaking CDs from the plant he worked at during the day, and connecting with the Rabid Neurosis (RNS) internet crew to upload music online. Glover’s story is a fascinating one, Witt attributes 20 000 album leaks in 11 years to Glover. He leaked Madonna, Akon, Christina Aguilera, Elvis Costello, Taylor Swift, Toby Keith, the Foo Fighters, Hilary Duff and Jimmy Buffet, among others. Using Brandenburg’s technology, internet enthusiasts were able to create online sites full of compressed mp3 music, easily downloadable for free.

Lastly, Witt focuses on notable music executive Doug Morris, President of Warner, CEO of Universal and eventually Sony. Morris’s story overlaps with both Brandenburg and Glover, revealing how the industry reacted to these new developments. Witt describes the various lawsuits filled by music executives, both against Napster and against companies seeking to develop and market mp3 players. Not only does Witt capture the decisions that contributed to the decline of the industry, but Witt also describes how executives attempted to revive the music industry, endorsing iTunes and later creating Vevo for Youtube. Witt describes Morris’s judgments in the context of a declining industry, with CD sales decreasing to 50% in 2007 compared to their 2000 peak.

The hook in Witt’s book is what we all implicitly know: piracy and the digital revolution transformed the music industry. Witt takes the reader on a journey to understand how everything changed. What spurred this change? Who were the key players driving this change? How did the internet manage to cripple such a flourishing sector? Though most common answer to these questions is Napster, Witt shows readers that this is only one aspect of story.

Witt captures this difficult narrative without imposing his personal views on the stories he tells.   He admits that in the late 1990s he also pirated music, but he chooses not to discuss his own thoughts on the how the internet should be. Instead, he seems to recognize the extensive damage that he and thousands like him caused by chronicling the downfall of the music industry and its implications for thousands of former music industry employees. But, he does not let the industry off easily: he identifies with the internet generation, who found business practices implemented by major labels to be unfair and expensive for consumers

Today, as the music industry innovates, global revenues from physical sales and digital sales are about equal, just under $7B each. However, this combined revenue is still a fraction of what the industry used to generate- approximately $15 billion compared with the over $26 billion annually fifteen years ago.

The real challenge today is getting the generation of people that grew up in the Napster age to believe that they should pay for music. Witt encapsulates the feeling of the age accurately when he says, “music piracy became to the late ‘90s what drug experimentation was to the late ‘60s: a generation-wide flouting of both social norms and the existing body of law, with little thought of consequences.” As social norms are broken they are not easily repaired.

Today, according to the IFPI, one fifth of internet users continue to regularly access sites offering copyright infringing music. Though the heyday of piracy has undoubtedly passed, it remains a significant problem for all creative industries, including the music industry. As Witt repeats through the book Alan Greenspan knew that, “selling intellectual property mean[s] suppressing unauthorized products with the same vigor that you created legitimate goods.” Still today, this is elusive in many cultural industries.

A complete reading of Witt’s book will likely leave readers in awe of the complex interconnecting events that shaped the music industry. However, understanding what Witt knows about the ability of pirates to steal creative works, I have to wonder why he wrote this book. A quick search on Pirate Bay shows me that his book is already available for free download.


Music Canada Street Team Promotes New Music Fridays at the Foo Fighters Concert

Today, Friday, July 10th, marks the first edition of New Music Fridays, the new global release day for new music. Until now, singles and albums have been released on different days of the week in different countries – Mondays in France and the UK, Tuesdays in Canada and the US, and Fridays in markets like Australia and Germany.

The change to a global release day means that fans around the world can get new music on the same day, rather than waiting for their own national release day. This switch is being implemented by labels, retailers, and artists internationally, and will establish an aligned release day in more than 45 countries.

To promote the switch, the Music Canada street team teamed up with Dine Alone Records’ Wax On Wheels mobile record shop at last night’s sold-out Foo Fighters concert at the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto. We shared the news of the change with concert-goers and encouraged them to help spread the word by tweeting a photo with the New Music Friday signage.

Wax on Wheels is Dine Alone’s touring record store, which has transformed a simple 16 ft. trailer into a fully functioning record store, complete with an awning-covered patio, free wifi, and a phone charging station for visitors. The store features titles from the Dine Alone back catalogue, rare releases from the archives, and limited releases from the label’s 10 Years Store. Launched this past May, the shop has already transversed the country, going from Vancouver to Halifax on the Red Bull x Dine Alone 10 Year Tour.

This was the second of two back-to-back Foo Fighters concerts at the Amphitheatre, where they thrilled the 16,000 fans in attendance each night with a long string of hits from their 20-year catalogue. The band played nearly three hours each night despite the fact that Grohl was recovering from a broken leg, an injury sustained in a fall from the stage at a concert in Gothenberg, Sweden last month.

Photos from the promotion are available in the album below. For more information on New Music Fridays, visit


Canada Day 2015: Free Family Concerts

Happy 148th Birthday, Canada! How will you be celebrating in your town? We’ve compiled a list of some of the top free family-friendly concerts happening across the country on July 1 so pack your sunscreen, find your best red & white getup and get ready to celebrate with some of the country’s finest talent!


Canadian indie rock favourites Stars and Dan Mangan + Blacksmith will take to Calgary’s Riverfront Stage for an unforgettable Canada Day show. The concert begins at 7 PM with Vancouver-based electronic act Dear Rouge. Earlier in the day, Bow Valley College’s Iniikokaan Aboriginal Centre presents a traditional First Nation’s Powwow at Prince’s Island Park which will showcase the Aboriginal tradition of drumming, dancing and storytelling.

CALGARY // Come celebrate Canada Day #YYC along the riverfront with us and our pals @montrealstars & @dearrouge

A photo posted by Dan Mangan (@danmanganmusic) on


Charlottetown’s family-friendly Canada Day fun will take place in Victoria Park, which is hosting a free celebration with Island artists like Coyote, More Soul and Copy Cat. Canadian rock favourites City & Colour, Joel Plaskett and Paper Lions will also play a ticketed event over the weekend.


Over 20 live Alberta acts will perform at Alberta Legislature’s free celebration in Edmonton. Grant Lawerence of CBC Radio 3 will host Alberta Discovered beginning at 12:40 PM. The showcase of unique Alberta talent is expected to wrap up at 7 PM.


Hamilton, ON’s Arkells will headline a free concert at Alderney Landing with Kingston’s The Glorious Sons and many others. Set-times are still to be announced, but you can expect the festivities to begin at 5:30 PM.


Kardinal Offishall, Scott Helman, Kytami and more will take to Mississauga’s Celebration Square stage beginning at 2 PM, hosted by Global News’ The Morning Show’s Liza Fromer and Global News Anchors Antony Robart and Farah Nasser. Judging by Kardinal’s tweet below, he will definitely be bringing the energy to the Canada Day festivities.


Montreal’s Old Port is one of the most beautiful places in the country to catch some fireworks on Canada Day. This year, fireworks will begin at 10 PM at La Ronde, which will light up the old port following performances from local musical acts like Élizabeth Blouin-Brathwaite, Bleu Jeans Bleu and Too Many Cooks. The family-friendly day begins at 11 AM with the opening ceremony followed by the annual cake tasting.


From coast to coast, all eyes will once again be on Parliament Hill for Ottawa’s Canada Day spectacle, which will be broadcast nationwide beginning noon on CBC and The artists performing on the hill include MAGIC!, Keisza, Francesco Yates, Gord Bamford, Karim Ouellet, Andee & more! Hip-hop artist Shad will play Major’s Hill Park and singer/songwriters David Myles and Brigitte Boisjoli will play Jacques-Cartier Park in Gatineau.


Canadian classic rockers Chilliwack and Harlequin will headline Regina’s Canada Day festivities at the Legislative Grounds. The day will also feature a strong man competition, a mini hockey stick tournament and face painting!


Multi-Platinum Canadian rockers Blue Rodeo will headline one of the biggest parties in the country with The Zolas in Surrey, BC at Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheater. New additions to the event grounds for 2015 include a half a million square feet of site area, an expanded Kids Play area, over 100 exhibitors, and amusements with midway games and rides. The day kicks off at 10 AM and is expected to finish at 10:15 PM with a spectacular fireworks show for the grand finale.


Roots-inspired rock acts The Sadies and Whitehorse will usher in Canada Day on June 30 with a free performance at Saint John’s Festival Place. 10,000 attendees are expected and will be greeted to a night market, gourmet BBQ and midnight fireworks.


While Canadian rock legends April Wine’s performance on June 30 is ticketed, organizers of George Street Live have some family fun planned for the afternoon of July 1 beginning at 11 AM featuring festival-favourites Billy & The Bruisers. This year’s festival also marks the start of the 1st Annual Hot Dog Eating Contest!


Toronto R&B, soul and regggae legend Jay Douglas will headline a fantastic evening of music at Mel Lastman Square that will also feature the Lula Lounge All Stars and doo-wop performers After Hours. With free face painting, circus perforers and a fireworks display to close the evening, this is the must-attend Toronto celebration!

Canadian indie-rock pioneers By Divine Right will be celebrating their 25th anniversary on July 1 with a free concert from 9-11 PM at Harbourfront’s WestJet stage.


Hometown singer/songwriter Hannah Georgas leads the list of amazing eclectic performances scheduled for Vancouver’s celebrations at Canada Place.


The Noble Thieves, Attica Riots and the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra are just some of the Winnipeg acts you will find at The Forks for this free event. There will also be a photo booth, Grey Cup festival games and Founding Nations Tribal Village for traditional drumming, singing and dancing.


From 12:00 – 3:45 pm, the City of Yellowknife will celebrate Canada Day at Somba K’e Civic Plaza kicking off with Miranda Currie at the amphitheatre and Jonathan Churcher on the lawn. In the event of rain, Canada Day Celebrations will be moved indoors to the Shorty Brown Arena at the Multiplex

Also happening south of the border…


While this event is not happening in a Canadian city, Brooklyn, NY bar The Well will be hosting an all-day “Canada D’Eh” party headlined by Arcade Fire’s Will Butler with July Talk and Halifax’s Walrus. Music begins at 5 PM and tickets are free!



Josh Groban Presented With Gold Plaque For 2015 Album ‘Stages’

Multi-Platinum American vocalist Josh Groban was in Toronto this week to promote his latest album Stages, which was certified Gold in Canada earlier in May. This is the second certification for Groban in 2015, as his Christmas album Noel earned 6X Platinum status in January.

On Wednesday night, Groban was presented with a custom Gold plaque for the collection of Broadway hits. The singer took to Instagram and Twitter to thank Warner Music Canada for the surprise gift and share the news with his fans.

Groban will return to Toronto in September for two performances at the Sony Centre September 21 & 22. Tickets are on sale now!


PHOTOS: Peter Katz Performs In The Courtyard

Following a full-band performance on Breakfast Television Monday, MapleMusic recording artist Peter Katz stopped by the Music Canada courtyard for an acoustic performance of songs off his new album We Are The ReckoningThe Toronto singer/songwriter (originally from Montreal) is gearing up for an international tour in support of the new album before returning to Canada in May for a cross-country stint. Music Canada was pleased to host invitees from surrounding Liberty Village businesses for the performance.

peterkatz1 peterkatz2 peterkatzcrowdpeterkatz3The video for “Brother” featuring Royal Wood can be seen below:


New Canadian Certifications: Week of March 16, 2015

Below you will find Music Canada’s Gold/Platinum certifications for the week of March 16, 2015. This week saw the first Canadian certification for UK singer Ellie Goulding for her song “Love Me Like You Do” which earned a Platinum certification. American composer James Newton Howard also earned his first Canadian Platinum certification for his composition “The Hanging Tree” from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 soundtrack.

For the latest certification news, make sure to follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page!

Date Certification Artist / Album Label
Platinum Digital Download Deadmau5
Mau5trap, Astralwerks, Virgin Emi
Double Platinum Digital Download Enrique Iglesias
Bailando (Feat. Sean Paul, Gente De Zona, Descemer Bueno)
Platinum Digital Download Selena Gomez
The Heart Wants What It Wants
Hollywoods Records Inc.
Gold Digital Download Selena Gomez
The Heart Wants What It Wants
Hollywoods Records Inc.
Gold Digital Download Alesso
Heroes (We Could Be) Ft. Tove Lo
Def Jam Recordings
Platinum Digital Download Maroon 5
Interscope Records
Gold Digital Download Maroon 5
Interscope Records
Double Platinum Digital Download Maroon 5
Interscope Records
Platinum Digital Download Maroon 5
Interscope Records
Gold Digital Download Maroon 5
Interscope Records
Platinum Digital Download James Newton Howard
The Hanging Tree
Universal Music Canada
Gold Digital Download James Newton Howard
The Hanging Tree
Universal Music Canada
Gold Digital Download Ellie Goulding
Love Me Like You Do
Universal Music Canada/Republic Records
Platinum Digital Download Ellie Goulding
Love Me Like You Do
Universal Music Canada/Republic Records
Gold Album(s) Meghan Trainor
Epic Records
Triple Platinum Album(s) Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Walt Disney Records
Platinum Album(s) Various Artists
Muchdance 2015 / Danseplus 2015
Universal Music Canada
Gold Album(s) Various Artists
Disney Karaoke Series/Frozen
Walt Disney Records

C.D. Howe Report: “Getting the Price Right: Putting a Fair Value on Music Copyrights”

Today, the C.D. Howe Institute has released a new report that finds that Canada’s current copyright framework for recorded music is shortchanging artists. Analysis by the report author Marcel Boyer determines that the competitive value of recorded music is approximately 2.5 times higher than the current level of copyright payments.

“In today’s digital age, copyright regimes everywhere face common piracy threats along with wide dissemination,” said Boyer in a release. “Meanwhile, rights holders and users contest the market value of copyrights in public forums, legislatures and in the courts. The root of those conflicts is the difficulty of properly valuing the intellectual property rights of authors, composers, performers and makers.”

The full report is now available as a PDF on the C.D. Howe website.


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