Canadian Music Week: 15 Things You Should Know About the Canadian Music Business

From Billboard Magazine:

Canada is hot. The market north of the border continues to yield talent that scales the Billboard charts and drives sales worldwide, from Justin Bieber to Michael Bublé, Drake to Deadmau5, Avril Lavigne to Arcade Fire.

These acts, among many others, are nominees for Canada’s Juno Awards, presented April 1 in Ottawa. But before the Junos comes Canadian Music Week, the music festival, conference and exhibition that will take place March 21-25 in Toronto, drawing artists, executives and fans. In recognition of CMW’s 30th anniversary, Billboard Magazine offers 30 things you should know now about the Canadian music business. We’ve put together 15 of them here.

Canada is the world’s sixth-largest music market. It ranks in sixth place in digital sales, seventh in physical sales and 10th in performance rights revenue. Digital trends: Internet users, 26.2 million; broadband households, 9.5 million; smartphone users, 8.1 million. Recorded music by sector (2010): physical sales, 66%; digital sales, 29%; performance rights, 5%. (All data according to IFPI.)

The Independent Digital Licensing Agency offers digital distribution, royalty collection and administration, and help securing capital financing primarily for independent labels. IDLA is owned by its independent label members and offers everyone the same 9% administration fee without a fixed term. Unlike CD Baby or TuneCore, there is no upfront fee.

The Polaris Music Prize is a jury-chosen cash award for the best album of the year without regard to genre or sales. Held each September, it’s adjudicated by about 200 selected music journalists, broadcasters and bloggers, and a final “grand jury” the night of the event. Since 2006, the winners have been Final Fantasy, Patrick Watson, Caribou, Fucked Up, Karkwa and, in 2011, Arcade Fire.

Numerous government and private grants and no-cost loans are available to Canadian musicians for a range of career-development activities. Funding sources include the Toronto Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Media Development Corp., Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings and MuchFACT. Almost all the provincial music industry associations have grant programs, such as Music BC and Manitoba Film & Sound. There’s also the Radio Starmaker Fund, funded by private broadcasters.

Slaight Music, co-founded by Canadian radio industry heir Gary Straight, has invested, sponsored and donated about $2 million to more than 20 artists and 14 music-related organizations, including the Polaris Music Prize, Unison Fund, Juno Awards, the Canadian Country Music Assn. Humanitarian Award, Dixon Music Hall, Honey Jam and the Canadian Music Managers Forum. All funding decisions are made by Slaight and business partner Derrick Ross-there is no application process. The Slaight family sold Standard Broadcasting in 2007 for $1.1 billion. Slaight will be honored for his work on March 31 during Juno Week by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Dance-pop band These Kids Wear Crowns, signed to EMI Music Canada, is now managed by Coalition Entertainment (Simple Plan, Finger Eleven), and the group’s album, Jumpstart, is getting a global release. In Australia, where the act has toured three times, the title track is almost double-platinum (140,000 units). The album is also out in New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Japan and France, and will soon arrive in another 14 territories.

There are many synch opportunities for acts in Canadian TV productions. Among the current Canadian shows various music supervisors are placing tracks in are “Degrassi,” “Flashpoint,” “Arctic Air,” “Lost Girl,” “The L.A. Complex,” “Rookie Blue,” “Heartland,” “Dussault Inc.,” “Michael: Tuesdays & Thursdays” and “Mr. D.” Among recently licensed tracks are Broken Social Scene’s “Sweetest Kill,” Hooded Fang’s “Den of Love,” Land of Talk’s “It’s Okay,” Wren Kelly’s “Jump,” Winston Hauschild’s “Lonely,” Leeroy Stagger’s “I Believe in Love” and Kuba Oms’ “Ride On.”

The Sheepdogs, the ’70s-styled rock band that won Rolling Stone’s magazine cover competition last summer along with a record deal with Atlantic, also landed a deal with Bedlam Music Management (City and Colour, Dinosaur Bones, Monster Truck). The band has finished recording an album with Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney. Meanwhile, the band will play select U.S. dates from March to June, including South by Southwest and Coachella. The Sheepdogs’ 2010 album, Learn & Burn, is gold in Canada.

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