Canadian Music A-Listers Come Out to Celebrate Billboard Canada Power Players 2024

The event at the CN Tower on Sunday, June 2, brought many of Canadian music's most influential people to celebrate an industry making waves on a global scale.

Arthur Fogel accepting his award at Billboard Canada Power Players

Arthur Fogel accepting his award at Billboard Canada Power Players

Marc Thususka

The music industry came out in full force to celebrate the first Power Players event in Canada on Sunday, June 2 high above Toronto at the CN Tower. It was a glamorous and lively night that was an early highlight of Canadian Music Week.

The event gathered the powerful executives who made Billboard Canada's Power Players list, and many other Canadian music culture makers and influential people. A packed room gathered to sip cocktails, dance to tunes by DJs DevoDLive and Manni Dogra (who spun a surprise set of Punjabi music for the audience) and chat about the global influence of the country's artists and industry members. Photographers were busy capturing all the looks on the red carpet.


Guests included Paul Shaver of CMRRA, President & CEO of FACTOR Meg Symsyk, Erik Hoffman of Live Nation, Paquin Entertainment Group Founder Gilles Paquin, Punjabi music star Gurinder Gill, producer and label executive Ikky, creator Director X, copyright law leader Casey Chisick, Jess Huddleston and JD Parent of Spotify Canada, John Murphy of Amazon Music Canada, Mike Lawless of Apple Music, Michelle Mearns of SiriusXM, Margaret McGuffin of Music Publishers Canada, Amy Jeninga of the CCMA, Kieran Roy of Arts & Crafts, Julien Paquin of Paquin Artists Agency, Stéphane McGarry of Tixr and many more.

Read on to see more special guests and highlights from their speeches.

Gary Slaight with the Billboard Canada Impact AwardGary Slaight with the Billboard Canada Impact AwardGary Shillingford

Billboard's Chief Brand Officer Dana Droppo got the evening started by congratulating the successful people in the room, from agents to promoters, publishers, founders and creators. They're all global executives, she said, because music is more interconnected than ever. That carries to Billboard Canada's editorial team, which launched its first digital cover story last October and without which an event like Power Players couldn't happen.

"Our team in Canada is an award-winning journalistic team that wants to tell your stories," she said. "They want to know when you sign a client, they want to know when your client drops a release, they want to know when you announce a tour, and they want to know when you are proud of something. It is so, so vital for us to have a thriving cultural, journalistic platform like Billboard in Canada."


Billboard Canada CEO Amanda Dorenberg (left) and CCO Elizabeth CrisanteBillboard Canada CEO Amanda Dorenberg (left) and CCO Elizabeth CrisanteChloe Shia

Billboard Canada CEO Amanda Dorenberg recognized the Power Players list as an extension of the strength of Canada, whose big players are punching above their weight on a global stage.

"The Power Players list is really a testament to the dedication, the passion, the innovation and the transformation that we as Canadians have built," she said, before welcoming Live Nation Canada Chairman Riley O’Connor to present the first award recipient of the night to the No. 1 Power Player and Billboard Canada cover star, Live Nation's Chairman of Global Music & President of Global Touring, Arthur Fogel.

"In my career, I've watched so many talented people in our business excelling in Canada and internationally, not to mention all the great artists who have come from this country and certainly continue to do so," said Fogel, thanking his wife and five children who travelled to be there with him to accept the award.


In L.A. where he works, it's a badge of honour to be Canadian, he said. He noted that many of the Canadians he came up with in the live industry are now in major positions around the world, including many, like AEG Executive Vice President of Global Touring Debra Rathwell, who were in the room at that moment.

Panos Panay, President of the Grammys and Recording AcademyPanos Panay, President of the Grammys and Recording AcademyMarc Thususka


Mo Ghoneim, President of Billboard Canada, introduced Panos Panay, President of the Grammys and Recording Academy to the stage. Panay told the story of growing up in Cyprus but learning English while spending a few years in Fredericton, New Brunswick — and sparking a love of music from watching Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future. "For me, artists are the social glue that keeps us all together," he said. "Nobody represents that better than the collective cultural output of this country, whether it's Céline or Neil or Sarah or Drake or The Weeknd or Joni — let's face it, you guys are the music industry."

Director X (left) and Kardinal OffishallDirector X (left) and Kardinal OffishallOf The Saint

Kardinal Offishall, both an artist and Global A&R for Def Jam, gave a rousing speech that widened the scope from the top executives to the many hard-working artists and creators from all over the spectrum making Canadian music thrive.

"We always hear about the top 1%, but that's not just what makes Canada incredible," he said. "It is a lot of those artists that are fighting their way to get into that percentile, and some of them are just fighting to survive, to pay their rent...It's a very pivotal time in the industry. It is volatile, and none of us — CEOs, Presidents — nobody is guaranteed next week let alone next year." Being able to work in a field you're passionate at all, let alone at the top of the music industry, is a "supreme blessing," he concluded.

Canadian Music Week founder and Power Lister Neill Dixon presented the Impact Award to Gary Slaight just one night before announcing his retirement, while noting the tireless philanthropy work of the Slaight Foundation.

Slaight thanked Billboard Canada for incorporating the industry newsletter FYI — now Billboard Canada FYI — in "such a thoughtful manner" and got the chatty room to hush for a moment of silence for late Toronto broadcaster Bob Mackowycz.


Lowell and Arts & Crafts Co-Owner & President Kieran RoyLowell and Arts & Crafts Co-Owner & President Kieran RoyGary Shillingford

Not just a night for the Power Players, the event also served as a launchpad for the new Billboard Canada Non-Performing Songwriter Award, which was presented by SOCAN CEO Jennifer Brown (also on the Power Players list) and Vice President, Creative and Member Relations, Cameron Kennedy to songwriter Lowell. She took a moment to shine a light on the people behind the scenes who also make the industry thrive yet rarely get the same recognition.

"It's really nice that you guys are giving me a little pat on the back," she said in an entertaining speech. "I'm going to take this on behalf of all of my amazing songwriter friends that have not gotten that pat on the back, yet."

Check back at this week for more photos and videos from Billboard Canada Power Players 2024.

The Billboard Canada Power Players event brought to life with exceptional AV services provided by Empire Audio Visual. The celebration was supported by our industry partners: Tixr, SOCAN, KYD Labs, Amazon Music Canada, CMRRA, Spotify Canada and Paquin Entertainment Group.


Vanessa Heins


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