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Brett Kissel reaches new career milestones with latest Gold plaques

Left to right: Jim Cressman (Invictus) , Adam Gonshor (Warner Music Canada), Brett Kissel, Louis O’Reilly (Invictus)

Brett Kissel was a big winner at last weekend’s CCMA Awards in Saskatoon, SK, taking home four awards including Male Artist, Interactive Artist, and Country Music Program or Special Of The Year. In addition to his Video Of The Year trophy for the ballad “I Didn’t Fall In Love With Your Hair,” the Alberta-born country star was surprised with a Gold plaque for the single at Saturday’s Invictus Entertainment Group party.

Earlier in August, Kissel was also surprised with his first two Gold album awards for Pick Me Up (2015) and Started With A Song (2013) prior to his headlining performance at Toronto’s CNE Bandshell. In an Instagram post, Kissel thanked the Warner Music Canada team, noting the album awards as an accomplished goal of his since signing with the label.

At the 2016 CCMA Awards in London, ON, Kissel became the first recipient of Music Canada’s new Single Award when he was surprised with a Gold plaque for “Airwaves” during CCMA FanFest. His latest single certification marks the fourth Canadian Gold track certification of his career.

Watch the CCMA-winning video for “I Didn’t Fall In Love With Your Hair” below.

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World’s largest music stream ripping website to cease operations globally following legal action

IFPI, in conjunction with the RIAA and BPI, announced today that following successful legal action from record companies in the United Kingdom and the United States, the world’s largest music stream ripping website will shut down.

YouTube-mp3.org, a Germany-based site with 60 million visitors a month, facilitated the ripping of downloadable music files from online audio-visual works. Sites like YouTube-mp3.org typically extract large profits from advertising while delivering nothing to music makers. IFPI estimates the site generated “hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising revenue per month, often from major brands.” In addition to agreeing to cease operations, the site’s operator has agreed to not infringe the rights of artists and labels in the future.

“The largest site dedicated to the fastest growing form of music piracy is shutting down. This is welcome news for music creators and the fans that support them,” says Graham Henderson, President and CEO of Music Canada. “Artists and advocates around the world are fighting for a better future for creators. As we continue to work with governments and legitimate music services to build a functioning ecosystem, it’s important that flagrant violations like stream ripping be met with firm action.”

In a joint release issued by IFPI, the RIAA and BPI, industry leaders welcomed the news:

“Stream ripping sites blatantly infringe the rights of record companies and artists,” said IFPI Chief Executive Frances Moore. “Today, music companies and licensed digital services work together to offer fans more options than ever before to listen to music legally, when and where they want to do so – hundreds of services with over 40 million tracks – all while compensating artists and labels. Stream ripping sites should not be allowed to jeopardise this and we will continue to take action against these sites.”

“This is a significant win for millions of music fans, as well as music creators and legitimate music services,” said Cary Sherman, Chairman and CEO, RIAA. “One of the world’s most egregious stream ripping sites has shuttered. Sites like these undermine the health of the legitimate marketplace and the livelihoods of millions of music creators worldwide. The swift and successful conclusion of this case should send an unmistakable signal to the operators of similar sites.” 

“This illegal site wasn’t just ripping streams, it was ripping off artists,” said Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI. “Most fans understand that getting music from a genuine site supports the artists they love and allows labels to nurture the next generation of talent.  Music stands on the cusp of an exciting future in the streaming age, but only if we take resolute action against illegal businesses that try to siphon away its value.”

Piracy, and particularly stream ripping, remains a significant concern in Canada. A survey commissioned by IFPI in 2016 found that 27% of Canadian respondents reported pirating music, and 22% reported doing so via stream ripping. The age group most likely to use stream ripping sites was 16-24 year-olds, with 48% reporting doing so in the past year. While Youtube-mp3.org was the largest stream ripping site, the industry hope is that this legal action will send a clear message to other sites still in operation that they are breaking the law, and will face similar action if they do not shut down.

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Canada’s Music Incubator and National Music Centre announce AE West program

Canada’s Music Incubator (CMI) and the National Music Centre announced a new partnership today to bring CMI’s highly regarded Toronto-based Artist Entrepreneur Program to Studio Bell in Calgary, AB. Artist Entrepreneur (AE) West will launch this fall, and the organizations have put out a national call for submissions.

AE West is a five-week creative entrepreneurship program (Nov. 7, 2017 – Dec. 8, 2017) to help emerging professional artists, of all musical genres, develop sustainable businesses and careers via hands-on mentoring, networking, and collaboration.

“Over the past three years our outreach programs have regularly visited Alberta and Western Canada. The result has been many artists deciding to travel to Toronto to work with us more extensively. By establishing a presence in Calgary, we will be more easily accessible.” said Vel Omazic, Executive Director of CMI in a release. “We intend to complement the work being done by our partners at the National Music Centre, Alberta Music and the Western Canadian music industry by contributing high-level expertise, access to ongoing mentorship and connectivity to the music industry in Toronto.”

“This is another example of National Music Centre investing in our regional music industry, by bringing this level of expertise and support closer to home for western-Canadian artists,” said Adam Fox, Director of Programs, National Music Centre. The program will cost $1,600 for artists, which will allow them access to the NMC’s facilities, including three recording studios, live rooms, classrooms, and archival collections.”

“AE West represents a great opportunity for artists living and working in Alberta,” said Carly Klassen, Executive Director of Alberta Music. “Alberta Music is proud to partner on this pilot program and is excited for the creative support, business development, and networking that artists from Alberta and beyond will have access to.”

Eligible artists must be 18-years-old or over and actively writing, recording, releasing (or about to release) music and performing live. Interviews will be conducted with appropriate candidates prior to program admission. The program is valued at $7,500, with the majority of costs being offset thanks to the generous support of TD Bank and the Viewpoint Foundation. The AE West program application is available at: http://canadasmusicincubator.com/aewest 

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Toronto music industry raises more than $4,000 for Unison and MusiCounts at Blue Jays game fundraiser

In its second year, the Toronto music industry Blue Jays game raised an incredible $4,404.75 to support the Unison Benevolent Fund and MusiCounts. This is nearly double the amount raised in the event’s inaugural year, where $2,100 was raised in support of the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research.

Jon Box of Universal Music Canada is the organizer of the annual event, and is already planning to surpass this year’s achievement in 2018.

“We are inspired by the work of our 2017 charities, MusiCounts and Unison Benevolent Fund, and our greater industry who supported the event with nearly 400 ticket purchases!” says Jon Box. “There’s nothing more gratifying than bringing people together for a good cause. We now have a 2018 goal to sell 500 tickets and raise $5,000. Looking forward to sharing details soon!”

Congratulations to everyone who helped to organize the event, donated prizes for the raffle/silent auction and attended the game. Thanks also to Steam Whistle Brewing, who donated event space and staff for a pre-game get together, as well as $1 from each beer sold to support Unison and MusiCounts.

Below is a selection of social media posts from the event:

MusiCounts celebrates musical excellence and puts musical instruments into the hands of kids who need them the most.  Their mission is to ensure that all children and youth in Canada have access to music education.

Unison Benevolent Fund provides counselling and emergency relief services to the Canadian music community. They are here to help professional music makers in times of hardship, illness or economic difficulties.

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Dean Brody surprised with Canadian Gold/Platinum awards in Toronto

Photo credit: Open Road Recordings

Canadian country star Dean Brody returned to Toronto last week for a sold-out show at Budweiser Stage alongside Open Road Recordings label-mate Tim Hicks and rising Big Machine Records artist Carly Pearce. On Friday afternoon, Ron Kitchener, Brody’s manager and president of RGK Entertainment Group, surprised the artist with a custom award plaque commemorating his newly Canadian Gold-certified albums Gypsy Road (2015), Crop Circles (2013), and Trail In Life (2010). The plaque also commemorated Brody’s 2012 album Dirt, which was certified Gold in 2013.

Brody was then surprised with two more Music Canada plaques for the Double Platinum certification of his 2015 hit “Bring Down The House,” and a Gold plaque for 2016 hit “Bush Party.”

https://twitter.com/GoldPlatCA/status/902542320846954496

The video for Brody’s Double Platinum hit “Bring Down The House” can be viewed below.

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K. Flay receives first Canadian Gold plaque in Elora, ON

American singer-songwriter K. Flay was surprised with her first Canadian Gold Single Award plaque last Saturday for her breakout debut single “Blood In The Cut.” K. Flay was presented with the plaque by Universal Music Canada prior to her set on the Main Stage at Riverfest in Elora, ON, headlined later that evening by Gold-certified psychedelic rockers MGMT.

K. Flay shared the exciting news with her fans through her social media channels.

The video for “Blood In The Cut” can be viewed below.

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Portugal. The Man receive first Canadian Gold plaques for ‘Feel It Still’ in Toronto

Photo Credit: Katherine Kwan / Warner Music Canada

Prior to two sold-out headlining shows last week at Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall, Portland, OR-based band Portugal. The Man were surprised with their first Canadian Gold award plaques by Warner Music Canada for their summer hit “Feel It Still.” The track comes off their eighth full length studio album Woodstock, released earlier in 2017.

The band shared the news with their fans through their Instagram and Twitter accounts.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BX6n1NxgfSD/?taken-by=kawaiiathy

“We love this song,” the band said in an Instagram post earlier in the week, when they were also presented with Gold RIAA plaques. “It’s the most natural thing we’ve ever done.”

Watch the video for “Feel It Still” below.

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City of Toronto seeking public input for new culture strategy

Photo credit: City of Toronto

The City of Toronto’s Economic Development and Culture Division (EDC) is developing a new Divisional Strategy to establish priorities over the next five years (2018-2022). In order to develop a comprehensive strategy, the EDC is seeking the input of the public on emerging opportunities, challenges, and areas of focus as they relate to Toronto’s economic development and culture.

As a starting point, they have created a Conversation Guide that highlights key emerging economic and cultural trends and challenges facing Toronto and are asking our stakeholders for their input via an online survey or written submission.

“There is an opportunity to clearly define the public benefit to artistic and cultural events,” the EDC states in the Conversation Guide. “This lens will help evaluate how artists and cultural leaders can leverage technology to support growth and new firm formation within strategic sectors of the local economy. A focus on creativity can involve the Division thinking through the City’s role in funding and/or helping to develop creativity.”

The City’s previous strategies – 2011’s Creative Capital Gains: An Action Plan For Toronto and 2013’s Collaborating for Competitiveness: A Strategic Plan to Accelerate Economic Growth and Job Creation in Toronto – helped lead to the establishment of Music and Film Sector Development Teams, and the Toronto Music Strategy.

With the threat of venue closures still looming large over Toronto’s music scene, the EDC’s call for input for their new strategy is a welcomed opportunity for musicians, venue owners, and label owners to express their concerns to City staff.

In addition to the survey and written submissions, a series of public Town Hall consultations have also been scheduled for September. Written submissions will be accepted until October 2, 2017, and it is encouraged to register for the Town Hall meetings listed below:

Thursday September 14 (Register online)
7:00 – 9:00 pm
Assembly Hall, Performance Hall
1 Colonel Samuel Smith Park Drive

Tuesday September 19 (Register online)
9:00 am – 11:00 am
North York Civic Centre, Burgundy Room
5100 Yonge Street

Saturday September 23 (Register online)
2:00 – 4:00 pm
Scarborough Civic Centre, Rotunda
150 Borough Drive

Wednesday September 27 (Register online)
9:00 – 11:00 am
Toronto Reference Library, Bram & Bluma Appel Salon
789 Yonge Street

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Downtown Yonge BIA pays tribute to Toronto music heritage with second 22-storey mural

Today, the Downtown Yonge BIA announced a second Music Mural will be added to Yonge Street in Toronto, which will pay tribute to the music legends that played the area in the 1970s & ‘80s. The 22-storey fresco mural will cover the entire south wall of the Toronto Community Housing building at 432 Yonge St.

The mural, which is being developed by artist and musician Adrian Hayles, celebrates artists The Band, David Clayton-Thomas, Rush, GODDO, Carole Pope, Kim Mitchell, Salome Bey and Lonnie Johnson, as well as the landmark venues from the era, including Brown Derby Tavern, Gasworks, Piccadilly Tube and A&A Records. The 70-metre-tall piece is expected to take two to three months to complete.

“These murals are dazzling sights to celebrate amazing sounds,” said Downtown Yonge BIA’s Mark Garner in a release “They are a stunning visual reminder of the long, vibrant history of music in Downtown Yonge, which continues today.”

This mural compliments the first Music Mural on the north side of the same building, which was unveiled last year, and features luminaries from the 1950s & 60s, including Glenn Gould, Diane Brooks, Jackie Shane, Muddy Waters, Shirley Matthews, B.B. King, and Oscar Peterson. That mural was also created by Hayles, as was the mural on Reggae Lane, located at 1529 Eglinton St. West, Toronto, which honours the history and origins of Toronto’s reggae music scene.

“Great cities all over the world have murals as part of their public realm,” said Garner. “We think the music mural fits perfectly with the vision for a vibrant Yonge Street – combining visual and musical artistry.”

The mural is part of the Downtown Yonge BIA’s Music Strategy, the BIA’s multi-pronged vision to re-establish Yonge Street as a ‘Music Mecca.’ The three core components of the strategy, broadly, are:

  • Homage to Toronto’s Music Legacy
  • Activating Live Music
  • Paving the Way to Toronto’s Music Future

The mural is supported by StreetARToronto, a division of the City of Toronto’s Transportation Services Division, whose mission is to revitalize and engage communities through street art.

An artist rendering of the final version of the mural is available now on the Downtown Yonge website.

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Brett Eldredge receives Canadian Gold/Platinum awards at Boots & Hearts Music Festival

The 2017 Boots & Hearts Music Festival took place over the weekend, bringing some of country music’s biggest names to Burl’s Creek Event Grounds in Oro-Medonte, ON.

On Sunday, August 13, headliner Brett Eldredge was surprised with two Canadian Gold/Platinum award plaques by Warner Music Canada.

The American singer-songwriter was presented with a Platinum award plaque for his 2016 single “Drunk On Your Love,” and Gold award plaque for his 2015 single “Wanna Be That Song.”

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