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Macklemore receives first Canadian Diamond plaque in Toronto

 

Photo: Warner Music Canada

Seattle, WA rapper Macklemore was in Toronto last week for the sole Canadian date of his North American Gemini Tour. Prior to his show at REBEL, Macklemore was presented with a custom Diamond plaque by Warner Music Canada for “Thrift Shop,” his 2013 Grammy-winning breakthrough hit with Ryan Lewis from their Platinum-certified album The Heist. “Thrift Shop” was the seventh track to be certified Diamond in Canada and the sixth since Music Canada launched the new Single Award, which combines on-demand audio streams and digital track sales.

The rapper was also surprised with a Platinum plaque for his track “Glorious,” from his 2017 album Gemini. Since receiving the award, Macklemore has also earned a Gold certification for his Kesha collaboration, “Good Old Days.”

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Amazon launches Prime Music streaming service in Canada

Canadian Amazon Prime customers can now enjoy the company’s on-demand music streaming service Prime Music, which launched today in Canada with over one million songs, hundreds of curated playlists, and personalized stations. The ad-free service is now available to Prime customers at no additional cost to their annual membership.

“Music plays such an important role in our customers’ lives, and we’re excited to provide an even better Prime experience for Canada with the launch of Prime Music,” said Mike Strauch, Country Manager for Amazon Canada.

To celebrate their expansion, Amazon Music has created several  “Made In Canada” playlists across genres and eras like PopRock and Alternative, Classic RockSinger-Songwriters, and 90s Alternative.

Other Canadian-only playlists include Classic Quebec Country, Chanteuses Québécoises, 60s Quebec, and Celtic Canada.

Prime Music can be accessed through the Amazon Music app on iPads, iPhones, Android devices, laptops or online at www.amazon.ca/primemusic. Mobile listeners can also save music for offline playback on their mobile device when they don’t have an internet connection.

In addition to Prime Music, the Amazon Echo is also now available for pre-order in Canada, which will be made available on December 5, 2017. The voice-activated Dolby speaker system will pair with Amazon Music, Spotify, Radioplayer, TuneIn, and more, providing a seamless, hands-free music experience.

Eligible customers who are not already Prime members can try Prime Music with a 30-day free trial.

 

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Making the most of Toronto’s UNESCO Designation

Toronto joined an exclusive club made up of 180 cities worldwide last week when the City of Toronto and the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) announced that Toronto has been designated a UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts. While there may not have been much media coverage of the pronouncement, the city’s creative industries ought to be paying attention.

This makes Toronto one of the first cities in Canada to join the network, which was started in 2004 and includes designations for Media Arts, Music, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Design and Crafts and Folk Art.  Toronto’s designation of Media Arts is an attempt to capture the city’s achievements in not one, but several disciplines: “film, music, digital media and forms of cultural expression using technology”.

Few people in Canada may be familiar with UNESCO’s Creative City Network and are perhaps more familiar with its historical site designations or research.  This is not a surprise as North America has been relatively slower to join this party.  In fact, despite much attention given to Music Cities in North America, including many cities that build their brand on the artform, the first UNESCO City of Music in North America (Kansas City) has only just now been designated.

The international recognition of Toronto’s creative sector efforts is cause for celebration.  However, the designation should not be seen as the finish line, but as a springboard for further action. Based on our worldwide scan of Music City strategies, it is clear that the UNESCO designation has the potential of falling into the category of a public relations exercise.  But only if we let it.

In some cities, the designation has mobilized a comprehensive program for the promotion, protection and growth of the creative industry for which it is earned.  The UNESCO designation has, in other cases, ensured sustained political leadership on creative industry development and investment.  The network itself has afforded some cities with practical sharing of knowledge and best practices.

Toronto’s entire music community – including artists and industry – has an opportunity to make sure that the UNESCO designation has meaning.  We can leverage the UNESCO designation to secure an ongoing commitment to our music strategy and key priorities like venue sustainability, regulatory red tape reduction, livability for artists and musicians and access to spaces and places for the creation, rehearsal and production of music.  We can also use it to reinforce music’s equal standing alongside our partners in film and digital media.

UNESCO’s Creative City Network is definitely what we make it.   Let’s take ownership of this opportunity, and prove what we already know: Toronto can be the greatest Music City in the world.  We define it, and now we have another tool to help us build it.

 

UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network promotes cooperation between global cities that place creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans.

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Miranda Mulholland to deliver keynote speech on ‘Redefining Success in a Digital Marketplace’ in Ottawa

On November 22nd, artist and entrepreneur Miranda Mulholland will deliver a keynote on “Redefining Success in a Digital Marketplace” at an Economic Club of Canada event at the Westin Ottawa.

The event description reads:

“Music unites us, bridges linguistic, cultural and income divides. Music heals. It connects. It provides a soundtrack to our greatest struggles and our highest triumphs.

Since the arrival of the digital age, music is more readily created, released and shared. It is available at our fingertips and it’s reaching more people than ever before.

With music’s intrinsic value in our lives and this new accessibility, one would expect that the people who create this unifying force would be thriving. There is a widely held perception that the advent of the digital revolution has enhanced how music is created, money is made and creators’ lives are lived. There is a perception of a level playing field. But it’s time for a reality check.

Join Artist and Entrepreneur, Miranda Mulholland as she talks about the creative process, reveals actual numbers, discusses how creators are faring in this new landscape and suggests a way forward.”

Following Mulholland’s speech, a panel of creators and representatives from various cultural industries will discuss how the digital marketplace has affected their industry and their own careers. The panel will include:

  • Alan Frew – Songwriter, Public Speaker & Author
  • Ari Posner – Film & Television Composer
  • Roanie Levy – President & CEO, Access Copyright

This will be the second time Mulholland addresses the Economic Club, following her speech in Toronto in May 2017. Her powerful and honest speech resonated with the crowd, earning her a standing ovation and social media praise by many of the artists in the room. That speech was covered by the Globe and Mail’s Kate Taylor, in an insightful column titled “What happens when we starve our artists.”

In addition to shining a light on the reality that artists face in the digital age, Mulholland has presented actions that government, artists, the music industry, and music fans can take to help improve the situation for creators. The Advocacy section of Mulholland’s website includes graphics outlining steps each group can take to improve the music ecosystem. Mulholland also rallied 100 of her fellow creators to sign a letter on the importance on reforming the Copyright Board of Canada. In recognition of her outstanding advocacy efforts to improve the livelihoods of music creators, Mulholland was presented with the inaugural Music Canada Artist Advocate Award at Playback 2017.

Music Canada is proud to co-sponsor this event. Tickets to Mulholland’s November 22nd speech in Ottawa are on sale now via the Economic Club of Canada website.

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Miranda Mulholland and 100 fellow creators call for real and meaningful reform to the Copyright Board of Canada

In August of 2017, Canada’s Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister, Navdeep Bains, in conjunction with Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, announced the launch of consultations on reforming the Copyright Board of Canada. According to the government’s release, the goal of Copyright Board reform is to “enable creators to get paid properly and on time.”

Miranda Mulholland is a violinist, singer, label owner, and the recipient of Music Canada’s inaugural Artist Advocate Award for her outstanding achievements in advocating for the rights and livelihoods of music creators. One of those achievements is becoming the first creator to deliver a keynote address to the Economic Club of Canada. Another is rallying her fellow musicians on the importance of reforming the Copyright Board and her submission of two letters to the Canadian government.

The first letter was submitted on behalf of “Canadian musicians, independent label owners and creative entrepreneurs – at all stages of their careers” 100 of whom added their names. The letter states “While only part of our income comes from royalties collected by collective societies, the rates set by the Board directly impact the value of our music, and our ability to earn a living from it.” The letter specifically supports three options outlined in the consultation’s Discussion Paper and points out that while the role of the Board has evolved, “at the end of the day, the Board is valuing our work, and setting rates that affect our livelihoods.”

The second letter was submitted to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and in addition to the list of supporting names, is signed directly by Mulholland, Jim Cuddy, Alan Doyle and Joel Plaskett. It stresses the need for real and meaningful change at the Board, calling for tariffs to be set faster and more in line with market values, and also thanks the government for embarking on the long overdue reform process.

You can read Miranda’s letters below, which are also available on the advocacy section of her website.

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Arcade Fire ‘infinitely content’ with latest Canadian Platinum plaques

Photo credit: Sony Music Canada

Montreal-based indie rockers Arcade Fire closed the North American leg of Infinite Content tour, which found the band perform in-the-round at more than two dozen arenas across the continent, with two shows last weekend at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre. Prior to the shows, the band were surprised with Platinum award plaques for their fifth studio album, Everything Now, by Sony Music Canada.

Everything Now is the bands fourth Canadian Platinum certification, joining their landmark 2003 debut Funeral, 2010’s Double Platinum album The Suburbs, and 2013’s Triple Platinum two-disc set Reflektor. 

The video for the album’s title track can be viewed below.

 

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City of Ottawa’s Draft Budget 2018 makes significant commitment to Ottawa Music Strategy

The City of Ottawa made a significant commitment to the city’s burgeoning Music Strategy today, as Mayor Jim Watson unveiled Ottawa’s Draft Budget 2018 at City Council. The draft budget earmarks $100,000 to support the Ottawa Music Strategy.

The Ottawa Music Strategy was announced last March, and is part of the legacy of Ottawa’s hosting of the 2017 JUNO Awards. The Strategy is being developed by the City of Ottawa and the Ottawa Music Industry Coalition (OMIC), with the goal of making the nation’s capital one of the world’s premier music cities. OMIC has already assembled a group of music industry representatives and local business and community leaders, known as the Ottawa Music Strategy Task Force, to develop a series of practical recommendations for the Strategy.

The announcement was applauded on Twitter by OMIC, Ottawa Councillor Jeff Leiper, and Music Canada Live.

To help guide the Strategy’s final recommendations, OMIC and the City of Ottawa are seeking public input in a brief, anonymous survey. The Strategy is expected to be presented to City Council in early 2018.

The draft budget will be voted on by City Council on Dec. 13, 2017.

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Toronto Live Music Industry Forum to focus on venue sustainability

On Monday, November 13, Toronto Music Advisory Council (TMAC) chairs Jeff Cohen (Collective Concerts) and Jesse Kumagai (Live Nation) will moderate an open discussion about the most pressing issues facing live music venues in Toronto, focusing on ongoing venue sustainability and potential revenue growth.

This panel will explore traditional spaces and business models, while a later session will focus on the challenges facing DIY spaces.

In 2016, Toronto City Council unanimously approved TMAC’s Toronto Music Strategy, which aims to guide the short and long-term growth of Toronto’s music sector. Following a public consultation, the music strategy identified six major strategic areas for TMAC and the City of Toronto to focus on for supporting and growing Toronto’s music sector, with many of the key principles from the report expected to be discussed at the November 13 event.

The live music industry forum will run from 4-6pm at Lula Lounge (1585 Dundas St. W), and is open to all live music industry professionals, venue owners and operators, musicians, agents, touring professionals, city councillors and officials. If you are interested in attending the discussion, you can RSVP through the Facebook event or by e-mailing info@lula.ca.

 

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Niall Horan receives Gold plaque for debut album ahead of intimate Toronto show

Universal Music Canada staff pose with Niall Horan at Massey Hall

On Wednesday, November 1, pop sensation Niall Horan paid his Toronto die-hards a special visit for an intimate show at Massey Hall in support of his debut solo album, Flicker. Prior to the highly anticipated performance, Horan was surprised with a Gold plaque for the album by Universal Music Canada, which also commemorates his Double Platinum singles “Slow Hands” and “This Town.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BbAp83NHxRT/

Following the presentation, the former One Direction member went on to perform tracks off his latest album for the excited Toronto crowd, including a cover of the 1D hit “Fool’s Gold.” As a member of the pop group, Horan earned four Canadian Gold Album Award certifications, with Take Me Home and Up All Night both earning Triple Platinum status.

The Irish singer-songwriter will return to Toronto next year for a show at Budweiser Stage on September 5, 2018.

Watch the lyric video for “Slow Hands” from the Gold-certified album Flicker below.

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ATX6 return to Toronto for Indie Week 2017

Toronto is gearing up for Indie Week Canada, with over two hundred acts set to play in more than twenty venues across the city from November 7 – 12, 2017.

On Friday, November 10, six unique and diverse artists will play The Dakota Tavern (249 Ossington Ave.) as part of Project ATX6 – a music export and documentary film production that selects six Austin, TX musicians annually to showcase at international music festivals in France, Germany, England, Japan, and Canada.

The ATX6 first traveled to Toronto in 2014 for the North By Northeast festival following the world’s first Music City Alliance signing between the two cities. The ATX6 have since returned to Toronto for the last four years, teaming up with local musicians to support the travelling artists as their backing band. Since 2014, the ATX6 have played venues in Kensington Market, Queen West, and even helped launched Downtown Yonge BIA’s Play The Parks 2015 season with a free showcase in Trinity Square.

Now its fourth year, the 2017 class of the AT6 will feature Taylor Wilkins (Otis The Destroyer), Sisi Berry (Torino Black), Lindsey Verrill (Little Mazarn), Acey Monaro (Go Fever), Mobley, and Corey Baum (Croy and the Boys). Each musician will perform individual sets of original music from their Austin-based bands. As with previous years, the artists will be accompanied by a film crew who will be documenting the group’s travels for a web series, directed and produced by the project’s founder Chris Brecht.

In addition to their Dakota Tavern showcase, the ATX will also play The Cameron House (408 Queen St. W) on Saturday, November 11, at 6pm. Visit the ATX6 website for more information about this year’s group, and you can buy tickets for the shows or festival wristbands at Indie Week’s website.

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