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New RIAA-commissioned report examines how record labels are amplifying talent in the modern music market

A comprehensive new report highlighting how record labels have transformed in response to the digital and streaming age was recently released. The study was conducted by NYU Professor Larry Miller (who also hosts the popular Musonomics podcast) and was commissioned by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

The report – entitled Same Heart. New Beat. How Record Labels Amplify Talent in the Modern Music Marketplace – features in-depth interviews with 50 company executives at both major and independent record labels. The study also incorporated revenue data from the RIAA on the music industry over the last several decades. The RIAA’s Chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier discussed the impact of the study in a recent op-ed.

The report examines many different components of the relationship between labels and artists. In particular, it outlines: the evolution of label efforts to discover and market musical artists; how marketing plans differ and enhance opportunities for artists in a streaming world; the increasing role of data in label strategies; approaches undertaken by labels to build artist branding, and more.

As Professor Miller describes, just as in the past, “labels work to discover and develop artists, connect them with creative collaborators and make great records, promote and position them in the media or wherever fans go to get music, and reward successful outcomes. But how labels do their job is nearly unrecognizable from just a decade ago.”

Some of the key findings of the study include:

Data analysis has become a crucial tool for record labels: a variety of techniques and algorithms have been developed by labels in order to ingest the huge amounts of data available, in order to quickly produce actionable insights. Data has become king.

Labels are transitioning from B2B businesses to direct-to-consumer businesses, with a particular focus on building strong relationships with fans: As Professor Miller describes, the shift from the ‘access-based’ model of today has meant that artists often release a continuous flow of new content, rather than the traditional every-other-year album release cycle. The structure and promotional capacity of record labels has rendered them the most effective body to undertake these marketing necessities. Indeed, the report outlined how the labels’ promotional ‘machines’ are best equipped to release a steady flow of singles, EPs, and albums and videos and maximize the impact of each, while the social media departments are able to support this promotion through various social media platforms.  

The digital transition has had a profound impact on the modus operandi of record labels, due to the prevalence of massive amounts of real-time discovery and consumption data: Staff at labels now analyze thousands of global inputs, such as: Twitter, Facebook followers, YouTube views, Instagram interaction, Shazam queries, Wikipedia searches — and more. This is in addition to the daily analysis of streaming and download figures on numerous music services, often globally. All this data is then consolidated and utilized to develop highly customized plans for artist releases.

It is true that the music industry has experienced extreme disruption brought on by the birth of digital services. Yet despite the impressive success of many DIY self-released artists, Professor Miller concludes in the report that “labels remain the key enabler for artists to maximize their creative vision and achieve their dreams for global visibility.”

Read the full report: Same Heart. New Beat. How Record Labels Amplify Talent in the Modern Music Marketplace.

 

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Corey Hart announced as 2019 inductee to Canadian Music Hall of Fame

On Sunday, March 17, Corey Hart will be officially inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame during the 2019 JUNO Awards broadcast at Budweiser Gardens in London, ON. To celebrate the induction, Hart will take to the stage to perform on live television for the time in 20 years.

“We are proud to welcome Corey into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame,” said Allan Reid, President & CEO, CARAS/The JUNO Awards & MusiCounts. “He was one of the biggest Canadian success stories of the eighties and nineties and even though he stepped back from the spotlight, he remained active in writing and producing for other artists.  We look forward to celebrating him at The 2019 JUNO Awards in London.”

Hart has sold over 16 million records around the world, with his 1985 album Boy In The Box receiving a Canadian Diamond certification, and his debut album First Offense, featuring the iconic lead single “Sunglasses at Night,” reaching Triple Platinum status.

“I am deeply humbled by this invitation into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame,” said Hart. “It’s an incredible honour to be acknowledged alongside so many other talented and venerable Canadian artists. My career goal since the beginning has always been to remain one hundred percent authentic to my artistic vision while embodying the highest respect and dedication towards the craft I love so much. It’s even more symbolic to receive this recognition as I release my first collection of new studio music and prepare to embark on my first national Canadian tour in over 20 years – these are indeed …very exciting times for me.”

A new exhibition honouring Hart, in partnership with CARAS, will launch at Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre in Calgary. Milestones: Corey Hart, which captures the stories behind some of Hart’s biggest career breakthroughs and features memorable artifacts from the singer-songwriter’s past, opens on March 22, 2019 and will run until October 2019. Some of these items include handwritten lyric books and the signature Wayfarer sunglasses that he wore in his “Sunglasses at Night” video. Bonus fan messages provided by Hart will be sprinkled throughout the exhibition and can be viewed using interactive “sunglasses.”

Fans from across the world can tune-in to this special performance as part of The 2019 JUNO Awards broadcast live on CBC, CBC Radio, the free CBC Gem streaming service in Canada, and globally at cbcmusic.ca/junos.

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Nielsen Music Canada identifies top industry trends in 2018 Year-End Report

On Tuesday, Nielsen Music Canada released their 2018 Year-End recap and key insights. According to Nielsen, the music industry experienced significant overall growth, with total album equivalent audio consumption up 21% over 2017, driven by a 47% increase in on-demand audio song streams compared with last year.

“The music industry in Canada is thriving following yet another year of tremendous growth and engagement,” said Paul Shaver, VP of Nielsen Entertainment Canada, in the report. “Canadians are listening and engaging with more music than ever before and we’re seeing an increased diversity of taste among listeners.”

The album with the highest total consumption is Drake’s Scorpion, which features “God’s Plan,” the most consumed song of the year. As Music Canada reported in the 2018 Gold/Platinum Year-End RecapScorpion was also highest certified Canadian album released in 2018, while “God’s Plan” was the highest certification in 2018 for a Canadian artist at 8x Platinum.

In addition to soaring vinyl sales (up 25%) and digital consumption (up 22%), 2018 was also a significant year at home and abroad for Canadian artists, emerging domestic and international female artists, blockbuster movie soundtracks, and K-Pop.

Click here to view Nielsen’s full 2018 year-end recap.

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2018 Gold/Platinum Year-End Recap

Following a monumental year in 2017, Music Canada’s historic Gold/Platinum Canada program continued to experience spectacular growth in 2018 thanks to the inclusion of streaming for both Single and Album Award certifications, as well as a simplified application portal for certification approvals and plaque orders.

With the new guidelines firmly in place by the start of the year, Single Award certifications increased a total of 33% from 2017’s total, with a 38% increase in tracks receiving their first Canadian Gold certifications. Seven singles received Diamond certifications, matching the number from 2017. UK singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran received two Diamond certifications for “Perfect” and “Thinking Out Loud,” the latter featured on Sheeran’s 2014 album X, certified 8x Platinum in 2018.

Toronto-born rapper Drake received the highest certification in 2018 for a Canadian artist with the 8x Platinum certification of “God’s Plan,” followed by breakout DJ duo Loud Luxury with their 7x Platinum summer hit “Body.” “God’s Plan” is featured on Drake’s Double Platinum album Scorpion, which is also the highest certified Canadian album released in 2018. Shawn Mendes received the second highest certification for a 2018-released Canadian album for his Platinum-certified self-titled release.

In total, Music Canada experienced a 24% increase in album certifications, and a 10% increase in Canadian album certifications. UK singer-songwriter Adele received the highest album certification of 2018 at Double Diamond for her 2011 sophomore effort 21, which was the first Double Diamond certification since Shania Twain‘s Up! in 2004. American rapper Post Malone received the highest certification for an album released in 2018 with his 4x Platinum sophomore effort beerbongs & bentleys, which features 9x Platinum single “Rockstar (ft. 21 Savage).” Hard rock group Three Days Grace received the highest album certification for a Canadian artist with their 2006 album One-X. 

There was also an 80% increase in Single Award certifications from Canadian artists, with several Canadian artists receiving their first Single Award certifications including Baka Not Nice, bülowCharlotte CardinDelaney JaneElijah Woods x Jamie FineFelix CartalGrandtheftHalf Moon RunKeys N KratesKillyLoud LuxuryMajid JordanNEW CITYSultan + ShepardThe Glorious Sons, and The Reklaws.

All singles receiving their first #GoldinCanada certifications in 2018 have been compiled into a playlist below available to stream on Spotify and Apple Music, which added Gold/Platinum Canada to its roster of curators earlier in 2018. A collection of plaque presentation photos can be viewed on our Facebook page, or on our Playback 2018 microsite.

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Music Canada Applauds Government of Canada as Copyright Board Reform Receives Royal Assent

December 18, 2018, Toronto: Music Canada is pleased to see that reforms to the Copyright Board of Canada were made official as the Government of Canada’s Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2, (Bill C-86) received Royal Assent. The changes will make the Board’s processes faster, more efficient, and more predictable.

“On behalf of our members, Music Canada extends our thanks to the Hon. Minister Navdeep Bains and the Hon. Pablo Rodriguez for their vision in leading the Copyright Board reform process, from the consultations last year through to Royal Assent,” says Graham Henderson, President and CEO of Music Canada. “By modernizing the Copyright Board, the Government is creating a more efficient regulatory environment which will support a royalty rate-setting process that better reflects the true value of music.”

When the reforms come into force in April 2019, they will address a long-held concern of the music sector. The Copyright Board plays a vital role in relation to Canada’s music community by setting rates that directly impact the value of music and the amount that artists and labels receive for their investment. Music Canada has been a lead advocate for full and meaningful reform of the Copyright Board.

“Everyone that works a job likes to be paid fairly and the changes made are a huge step for all of us that make music for a living. I applaud the government for taking action on this,” says Gord Bamford, one of the most decorated artists in Canadian country music with an impressive 24 Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) awards and multiple JUNO nominations.

Music Canada looks forward to working with the government to support the implementation of these changes as the reforms come into force.

̶   Ends  ̶

For more information:
Quentin Burgess, Music Canada
qburgess@musiccanada.com
+1 (647) 981-8410

 

About Music Canada
Music Canada is a non-profit trade organization that represents the major record companies in Canada:  Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada. Music Canada also works with some of the leading independent record labels and distributors, recording studios, live music venues, concert promoters, managers and artists in the promotion and development of the music cluster.

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Jessie Reyez celebrates Double Platinum plaque at hometown show

Photo Credit: Universal Music Canada

Following a sold out two-night run last week at the Danforth Music Hall in her hometown of Toronto, rising singer-songwriter Jessie Reyez was presented with a Double Platinum plaque by Universal Music Canada staff for her breakthrough hit “Figures.”

The 2018 JUNO Breakthrough Artist winner initially released the song in 2016, and included it on her debut EP Kiddo in 2017. During the 2018 JUNO Awards in Vancouver, Reyez was joined by Daniel Caesar to perform the song, with a studio version released following the broadcast.

Watch the performance of “Figures” below.

 

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Pop Evil receive first Canadian Gold plaques in Toronto

American rock band Pop Evil kicked off their Canadian tour in Toronto last week with a sold out show at Lee’s Palace. Prior to hitting the stage, the band was surprised by eOne with Gold plaques for their single “Footsteps,” which is the lead track from their 2015 album Up. 

The band shared the news on Instagram, thanking their fans and label for help making the song reach Gold status in Canada.

The band will wrap the Canadian leg of their tour on December 3 in Saskatoon, SK. Watch the video for “Footsteps” below, and stream the song now on our Gold In Canada playlist.

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Debora Spar Op-Ed ‘Return to the Era of Rule-Making’ featured in The Hill Times

In an op-ed published today in The Hill Times, distinguished Harvard professor and author Debora Spar examined how rapid technological advancements have affected the evolution of the recorded music industry – highlighting how governments worldwide are reforming their copyright legislation to contend with the rising impact of these digital-based streaming services and user-upload platforms.

The article was adapted from a keynote speech Spar delivered at Music Canada’s 2018 Playback event in October. In her remarks, she discussed her groundbreaking 2001 book Ruling the Waves: From the Compass to the Internet, a History of Business and Politics along the Technological Frontier.

In the piece, Spar outlined the book’s thesis that the Internet – like of a long chain of communications technologies that began with the printing press, telegraph, and then the radio – was destined to go through four major phases of political and commercial evolution.

These four phases include:

  1. Innovation
  2. Commercialization
  3. Creative Anarchy
  4. Rule-Making

From here, the piece highlights how the progression of these four stages parallels  major developments within the music industry, with the ‘innovation’ stage occurring in the 1980’s and early 1990’s.

Spar goes on to discuss how the industry is now in the hypothesized ‘rule-making’ stage – pointing to government initiatives like Canada’s ongoing Copyright Act Review as evidence we are in this final phase of regulation and enforcement.

Read the full Hill-Time piece here.

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Miranda Mulholland highlights copyright and artist remuneration issues at the 2018 World Trade Organization Public Forum

In October 2018, Canadian musician and artist advocate Miranda Mulholland participated in the the World Trade Organization Public Forum 2018 in Geneva as part of a panel discussion on the future of innovation and creativity.

The panel also featured Richard Bagger, Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Market Access at Celgene, and Nicholas Hodac, Government and Regulatory Affairs Executive, IBM, and was moderated by Ellen Szymanski, Executive Director, Global Innovation Policy Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

In her remarks, Mulholland provided a stark picture of the current realities of artist remuneration in this increasingly digitized musical landscape. She outlined the differences in opportunities for artists in the 1980’s and 1990’s, whose earnings sustained their livelihood and enabled them to enter the middle class –  in a way that artists today are simply not able to.

Photos: © WTO/Jay Louvion

“Royalty checks that once paid for a down-payment on a home for those lucky enough to be working before the digital disruption, only amount to enough to buy a cup of coffee today.”

Indeed, rapid technological and digital advancements has meant that music has become instantly accessible, in a variety of mediums and services. Yet, the remuneration of creators and musicians for the use and commercialization of this work has not matched the pace of these developments.

Mulholland connected this reality to the phenomenon of the Value Gap: the significant disparity between the value of creative content that is accessed by consumers, and the revenues that are returned to its creators.

She ended her remarks by reflecting on the positive regulatory and legislative steps that have been occurring at the federal level worldwide. Canada’s ongoing statutory review of the Copyright Act, as well the EU’s review of the Copyright Directive have both created opportunities for meaningful reforms that better protect creators.

Watch Miranda Mulholland’s full remarks below.

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Gordon Lightfoot presented with Gold plaque ahead of 80th birthday

Photo Credit: Linus Entertainment (Facebook)

Ahead of his 80th birthday, iconic Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot was presented with a Gold plaque for his 2000 DVD Live In Reno.  The plaque was presented at Lightfoot’s concert at the FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton, ON. Linus Entertainment’s Geoff Kulawick, who distributed the concert video, presented Lightfoot with the award, along with Brooke Kulawick and Bernie Fiedler.

Watch Gordon Lightfoot’s performance of his hit “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” from the Gold-certified DVD below.

 

 

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