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UK’s Ben Howard Presented With Gold Award Plaque In Toronto

benhowardgoldUK singer-songwriter Ben Howard was presented with Canadian Gold album award plaques in Toronto, ON last week for his 2011 Mercury Prize nominated LP Every Kingdom, which was officially certified earlier this year.

Howard (pictured right) along with with his manager Owain Davies (pictured left) were presented with the awards by Universal Music Canada publicist Mima Agozzino prior to his 2 sold-out shows at Toronto’s Massey Hall on February 1 &2, 2015. Howard is currently on a North American tour in support of his 2014 album I Forget Where We Were, which also featured Canadian stops in Montreal, QC and Vancouver, BC.

The video for “The Wolves” can be viewed below:


UK Singer Sam Smith Presented With Canadian Multi-Platinum Award Plaque

Moments before taking the stage for a sold-out show Tuesday night at Toronto, ON’s Air Canada Centre, UK singer and 2014 breakthrough artist Sam Smith was presented with a Multi-Platinum award plaque by Universal Music Canada. The custom award plaque commemorates the recent Double Platinum certification of his debut album In The Lonely Hour as well as it’s accompanying singles “Stay With Me” (4X Platinum) and “I’m Not The Only One” (Double Platinum).

Prior to his concert in Toronto, Smith’s tour stopped in Montreal for a sold-out show at the Bell Centre. Smith expressed his gratitude for his enthusiastic Canadian fans in the Instagram photo below:

A photo posted by Sam Smith (@samsmithworld) on

Sam Smith’s video for “Stay With Me” can be viewed below:


Big Music Fest Has $7 Million Economic Impact In Kitchener, ON

On the weekend of July 11-13, 2014, Big Music Fest took place at Kitchener, ON’s McLennan Park headlined by rock superstars Aerosmith and Bryan Adams. As reported by the Waterloo Region Record, Big Music Fest 2014 provided a significant $7 million impact to the local economy, more than doubling the projected economic impact of $3 million prior to the festival.

Of the 60,000 attendees, nearly 65% of spectators came from within 50 kilometers of the Kitchener-Waterloo area. The other 35% was made up of out-of-province and international concert goers, arriving in Kitchener from nearly 15 states and as far as Australia, England and Japan.

Prior to his mayoral election victory in October of 2014, then-Councillor Barry Vrbanovic stressed the importance of music as an economic driver and ensured continued development of the live music scene in Kitchener’s downtown entertainment district as part of his platform. Vrbanovic also represented Kitchener at NXNE 2014’s Music Cities Exchange panel hosted by Music Canada and 4479, which featured public and private representatives from six cities that are working proactively to develop their local music sectors. Following the festival, Vrbanovic shared his appreciation for the festival via Twitter.

Big Music Fest is scheduled to return to McLennan Park in 2015 from July 10-12. In 2014, the opening Friday night was reserved for a free Battle of the Bands. A video recap of the free community event can be seen below:


Ontario Music Fund creating ‘Snowball Effect’ for artist development at Warner Music Canada

Last week, Toronto-based singer/songwriter Scott Helman released his new music video for “Bungalow”, which was filmed on location in Scugog, Ontario and supported by the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC)’s Ontario Music Fund. The video was shot over 2 days and featured a cast and crew of approximately 25 people.

Helman’s debut EP, Augusta, was released earlier this year on Warner Music Canada, and was also supported by the Ontario Music Fund. Through this support, the Ontario Music Fund is helping to launch the career of a new artist, said Warner Music Canada’s Chris Moncada, creating a “snowball effect” which will pay dividends for many years.

“The record and the videos trigger a cycle that sets many layers of employment opportunities into motion,” said Moncada. “The record and videos create the momentum for a tour, which creates a ripple effect. That ability to tour will provide activity for everyone from agents and promoters, to venue operators, sound technicians, bartenders, and parking lot attendants across Ontario. With Scott going on tour throughout the fall and into next year, this cycle is only beginning – it could move the needle for 18 to 24 months going forward”

Helman’s “Bungalow” is the latest video that Warner Music Canada’s artists have created with support from the Ontario Music Fund. Earlier this year, Canadian country artist Brett Kissel shot and filmed videos for “Tough People Do” and “Something You Just Don’t Forget” in Toronto. The songs are featured on Kissel’s 2013 album “Started With A Song”, and are the fourth and fifth videos borne out of the album. The first three videos were filmed in Nashville and Los Angeles, but the creation of the Ontario Music Fund helped make the case to move filming of the latter two videos to Ontario. Both of the videos featured a cast and crew of 15 to 20 people, working approximately 15 hours on each shoot.

The Fund also supported the creation of Mississauga punk rock band Billy Talent’s “Show Me The Way” video, which was filmed in Ontario and required approximately 15 full day crew.

“The Ontario Music Fund helped facilitate these videos, which might have otherwise been shot in a different province or country” said Moncada. “It has a real trickle-down effect that helps support video production jobs in Ontario, creating a day’s work for everyone from the actors and techs, to the caterers and truck drivers, and beyond.”

In addition to the videos, Warner Music Canada has leveraged the Ontario Music Fund to further the careers of Canadian artists such as Measha Brueggergosman.

“With Measha Brueggergosman, the OMF was integral in the creation of her upcoming Christmas album” said Moncada. “She is a Canadian star with worldwide appeal, so we’re really excited to see the reception to this record as we move into the holiday shopping season.”

In addition to videos and domestic recording, Warner Music Canada has leveraged the Ontario Music Fund to further the international careers of Canadian artists such as Kitchener Ontario’s Courage My Love.

“With Courage My Love, the OMF allowed us to invest in expanded marketing and publicity in the U.S. while the band was on the Vans Warped Tour this past summer. This directly contributed to the band having some of the highest merchandise sales on the tour for developing acts,” said Moncada. “On the strength of the Warped Tour response, the band has booked a headlining tour of clubs across America.  After these shows the band will come back to Ontario to work on their next record – again, it’s that snowball effect.”

The examples from Warner Music Canada illustrate that through targeted support, the Ontario Music Fund is driving activity in Ontario studios, production houses, and music companies, as well as increasing opportunities for Canadian artists to build their careers in Ontario, Canada, and internationally. For more information on the Ontario Music Fund, see the overview on the OMDC website.

view Goes To Ontario Tourism Summit is headed to the Blue Mountain Resort in Blue Mountains, Ontario to participate in the 10th annual Ontario Tourism Summit. The Summit is a gathering of hundreds of tourism professionals from across the province to learn the latest in industry trends and forecasts, share best practices, network with colleagues and recognize industry leaders. is hosting a booth at the Summit’s Marketplace today and tomorrow (November 12 & 13). is a comprehensive live music listings site for concerts, festivals and events occurring throughout Ontario. The site allows users to search for performances by a specific artist, see the upcoming listings for a local venue or discover new music happening throughout the province. will be demonstrating the site at the Summit as well as providing Summit delegates with a sneak peek of site designs and features to come. Hamilton-based band, DB Cooper will bring their fusion of indie, pop and rock to the Marketplace booth with a special acoustic performance tomorrow, November 13, at 12.30 pm. is not the only representative of Ontario’s music industry at the Summit. Music Canada President, Graham Henderson, will deliver a keynote presentation on the power of music tourism tomorrow, November 13, at 9:30 am. As part of his presentation, he will provide compelling evidence of the benefits of music tourism, describe what’s unique in Ontario and explain how tourism operators can tap into the power of music tourism in their area. is a comprehensive and reliable listing of live music events and festivals across Ontario’s rich and diverse music scene. Developed by Music Canada with support from the Government of Ontario and the Ontario Media Development Corporation, is an integral part of the Ontario Live Music Strategy. A partnership of Ontario’s music industry, the Government of Ontario, Ontario Arts Council, Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership and Music Canada, the Ontario Live Music Strategy aims to strengthen the province’s position as a global leader for live music by developing, promoting and growing Ontario’s live music sector and music-based tourism, and boosting the overall economic impact of music in the province.


‘The Gift Of Music: Stories of Music Therapy’ documentary screening across Canada

The Canadian Music Therapy Trust Fund has announced a series of screenings of The Gift Of Music: Stories of Music Therapy, taking place across Canada this month. The documentary portrays the incredible ways that music therapy touches the lives of people of all ages and abilities across Canada. In the film, viewers see how a young man overcomes many challenges to make music his career, meet a newborn without sight who learns to engage her other senses, and are touched by a dying man who is able to record a beautiful love song for his wife. A trailer for the film is available at, and embedded below.

Music Canada is proud to sponsor the venue rentals for the screenings, happening in eight cities across Canada.

The screenings are as follows:

  • Montreal (Nov 8), 3pm:  Concordia University, Open House/Donation at door – 1515 St-Catherine St W, EV Atrium Room 1.615
  • Vancouver (Nov 23), 2PM: Langara College 100 W 49th Ave, Lecture Theatre A122a
  • Peterborough (Nov 24), 7PM: Market Hall Performing Arts Centre. Donations at door – 140 Charlotte St
  • Halifax (Nov 24), 7PM: Dalhousie University, Rowe Building, Room 1014
  • Calgary (Nov 25), 7PM: Plaza Theatre, 1133 Kensington Road NW
  • Toronto (Nov 27), 7PM: Palmerston Library, 560 Palmerston Ave, Director Scott Rondeau will be present.
  • Edmonton (Nov 28), 7PM: Stanley A Milner Library – Edmonton Room, 7 Sir Winston Churchill Square
  • St. John’s (Nov 28), 7PM: Memorial University, 230 Elizabeth Ave, Suncor Room

For tickets or more information, visit the Canadian Music Therapy Trust Fund site. All proceeds from ticket sales will go to expanding music therapy initiatives and pioneering new programs across Canada.

 Gift of Music Sponsors


PHOTOS: Mo Kenney Stops By Music Canada

Earlier this week, Halifax, NS singer-songwriter Mo Kenney dropped by the Music Canada office for an intimate courtyard performance featuring songs off her latest album In My Dreams and a cover of “Five Years” by David Bowie by request. In My Dreams is Kenney’s sophomore release and was produced by Joel Plaskett, who also co-wrote some of the songs for the album. Mo Kenney is currently on tour across Canada and you can check out the tour dates here.

You can purchase In My Dreams from iTunes and Bandcamp.


Ticket Giveaway: Retweet To Attend A Screening Of WHIPLASH In Toronto On October 23, 2014

On Thursday October 23, 2014, Mongrel Media & 4479 proudly present Whiplash at Toronto’s Scotiabank Theatre, and an evening of Canadian Music in support of the charity MusiCounts. A favourite among festival goers this year, Whiplash tells the story of Andrew Neyman (played by Miles Teller), an aspiring young jazz drummer whose ambitious instructor (J.K. Simmons) helps push his ability using unorthodox (but effective) training methods.

Following the screening, we’ll head on over from Scotiabank Theatre to Adelaide Hall for the official after party!

Want to go? Simply retweet Music Canada’s tweet below by Wednesday October 22 at 12 PM and you’ll be automatically entered to win a pair of tickets to the screening and after party. You must be 19+ to enter. Transportation to Toronto will not be provided.



Guest blog: Fairness in the Fishbowl – Reconsider the Copyright Board Ruling on Tariff 8

The following is a guest blog by Greg Nisbet, Founder & CEO of Toronto-based digital music company Mediazoic:

Made-in-Toronto music biz legend Bob Ezrin recently wrote about the Copyright Board ruling on Tariff 8, speculating that it may be “The Day The Music Died”. In the piece, he states the following:

Perhaps the worst result of the low rate is that we will be granting a 90% discount to American streaming companies that covet our market and will eagerly sweep in here with powerful and well-funded systems that will wipe out any Canadian-owned competition – all at the expense of the creators you have historically supported with thoughtful policy.

I run a 100% Canadian music streaming company and I agree with Mr. Ezrin. The ruling was a bad idea and the rates are too low.

It may at first seem counter-intuitive that a streaming company would advocate for paying higher costs to do business, in a business that is already notoriously expensive. Indeed, I was asked in a recent Globe & Mail article if music streaming companies will ever make money.

Well, I don’t know about other companies, but I am proud to be able to claim that ours has been built without any of the digital and entertainment grants available, and, not having had access to those deep wells of venture capital available to many of the international streaming companies, we have therefore managed any progress we’ve made through our own devices.

In our first couple years in business, that lack of funding was actually by choice 😉 People in the industry told me for years that Mediazoic was the ultimate grant magnet – Canadian, digital, music, and media all rolled into one. I used to respond that I didn’t think we could consider ourselves a viable business model unless and until the market had decided our fate. We were going to focus on getting clients, not writing grants.

Then one day we lost a huge deal to a very well-funded international service because, in order to enter our market, they were willing to do for free what I’d have actually had to pay my people to do. I understood immediately the frustration of the local merchant with the big box store opening next door (and yes, we started applying for all the grants we could!)

So yes, Bob Ezrin has a point, but mine is not an argument for protection of companies like mine up against better-funded international competitors. I still think having to stand on our own two feet helps us understand how to build something valuable and sustainable.

My concern with the Copyright Board ruling is that it will foist this “big box” model on our music creators as well. The price-driven “big box stores” (streaming companies) are set up to thrive, but their “suppliers” (artists, management, labels, etc.) are not. And listeners may think they’re better off, but when the creators suffer, it is ultimately music fans who suffer.

It would have been one thing if licensors, who have a deep understanding of the business/culture balance and of Canadian/international ownership complexities, had decided the timing and nature of a change in rates. As we all know, streaming even at low rates is still preferable to file sharing, or streaming from sources that don’t report their plays. The progress that has been made in monetizing convenient access to great music is not something likely to reverse, and in spite of the whipping-boy status earned during the piracy wars, I haven’t found anyone in the business who understands that better than label folks.

And yes, streaming companies do need an environment in which to make a profit. But rather than push for lower rates, my company chose to innovate the business model. Basically, we believe the success of each project we undertake is based on three parties – us for providing the platform, the rightsholders of the music played on our system, and our station hosts (clients) for getting it out there. As such, when planning and implementing a project, we always strive for a fair and transparent split of the revenue between the parties. This isn’t just because we’re nice and we love music – we believe that in the music business of the future, the most successful companies will be the most fair and transparent.

Indeed, we hear repeatedly that one of the main reasons our clients choose to do business with us is that they want to support a flourishing arts community, even more so if that has built-in support for Canadian artists and companies.

We live in a fishbowl. Fairness may be desirable now for organizations, but it is rapidly becoming necessary. Systems that are not based on fairness are doomed to fail, as they will not bear the ever-increasing scrutiny that comes with our interconnected world.

Simply put, the Copyright Board ruling is not fair. It is my hope that the artistic community will use every means at its disposal to support the many innovative new ways of delivering music that actually focus on giving artists a fair shake.


Greg Nisbet

Mediazoic…Radio, Evolved

gregn [at] mediazoic [dot] com


Bob Ezrin: “Please don’t let this be the day the music died”

Esteemed Canadian music producer Bob Ezrin has published the following op-ed on the Copyright Board of Canada’s Tariff 8 decision in this week’s edition of The Hill Times.


Please don’t let this be the day the music died

Published: Monday, 09/22/2014 12:00 am EDT

TORONTOIt’s always been a mixed blessing to live next to the economic and cultural behemoth to our south. On one hand, we have access to the world’s largest market, while still enjoying the more liberal and enlightened Canadian life. On the other hand, they can easily overwhelm us with sheer bulk and easy access to our market.

One of Canada’s most valuable resources—and most profitable exports—is our culture. Per capita, we may be the world’s largest exporter of culture and talent. This has been made possible by the wise decisions of our hard-working parents and by forward-thinking government policy to support the arts in schools and in the marketplace and to provide developmental resources to Canada’s creative class.

We’ve grown successive generations of creators who are the equal to any of their global counterparts. And we have a vibrant national cultural industry.

Historically we’ve ensured that our creators are not just “sponsored” as they grow, but able to earn a sustainable livelihood. But now we face a major sea of change in the marketplace that begins with Canadian music and will ultimately swamp Canadian television, film, and even literature.

It is clear that in the future most music will be consumed through digital streaming services, offering low-cost “all you can eat” subscription plans in place of selling “à la carte” songs or albums. This will become true for television and film as well.

Streaming services want rights holders to believe that, with universal penetration, we will earn much more than we used to collect selling our creations. The reality is quite different. Historically, huge global hit songs would generate millions and fund the industry’s investment in tomorrow’s hit-makers—our R&D.  Today, in the streaming model, the return is a fraction of that.

And in Canada, we are beginning to set rates that are dramatically less than that.

Today, a massive hit streamed 100,000,000 times on  “non- or semi-interactive” services in most developed countries earns performers and their record labels between $130,000 and $220,000. Under the tariff set by our Copyright Board earlier this year, 100,000,000 listens in Canada—a near impossibility given our size—would generate a whopping $10,200. That is less than 10 per cent of what is paid in most other major markets—and roughly 10 per cent of what our industry had already negotiated in direct deals with the streaming services here! And the amount paid to Canadian songwriters and publishers is a similar pittance.

I know that the board operates with the best of intentions, but I am afraid in the case of Tariff 8 it has miscalculated what this industry needs, and Canadian music creators will suffer the consequences.

In short, if the Copyright Board’s inadvertent devaluation of our music is widely adopted and spreads to other rights, we’re dead. Our homegrown Canadian music industry cannot survive this. We will shrivel and die. And when we shrink, it will affect all the workers who support us, from graphic artists to marketing people to truck drivers to hotel workers to stagehands and software engineers—because many of us will simply no longer be able to afford to be creators and marketers of music, or to put our shows on the road.

Perhaps the worst result of the low rate is that we will be granting a 90 per cent discount to American streaming companies that covet our market and will eagerly sweep in here with powerful and well-funded systems that will wipe out any Canadian-owned competition—all at the expense of the creators Canada has historically supported with thoughtful policy.

My message to our government and the Copyright Board is simple:  Please pay attention to the marketplace, because that’s where we make our living. And please recognize that if our digital marketplace is to flourish, it will depend on the health and sustainability of our creative industries, which provide the content that fuel the digital marketplace. Please reconsider Tariff 8. And let’s sit down together to find a way to protect this most valuable of Canadian resources—our culture—in the new economy.

Please don’t let this be the day the music died.

Bob Ezrin has produced some of the world’s most important music artists, including Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, Peter Gabriel, Johnny Reid and Young Artists for Haiti. He was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2004 and Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2013. In 2013, he was also named an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Conservatory of Music. Bob can be reached at:



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