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Billboard Canada FYI Bulletin: Canada’s Musical Reproduction Rights Agency Distributes $78 Million in Royalties

Also in this week's business news roundup: a new SOCAN board, CMW's future, and one musician's pitch for the return of cassettes.

Billboard Canada FYI Bulletin: Canada’s Musical Reproduction Rights Agency Distributes $78 Million in Royalties
Photo by Nik on Unsplash

Canada’s Musical Reproduction Rights Agency (CMRRA) posted 2023 royalty income of $78M, according to data released last week. That’s an 8.9% increase over the prior year. The income is paid out to affiliated music publishers and self-published songwriter/composers and collected companies that either physically or digitally reproduce member compositions.

CMRRA president Paul Shaver said he is “thrilled” by the increased revenue result. “We are witnessing a significant uptick in music consumption," Shaver stated, adding that he sees a trend that “highlights the vibrancy and vitality of the industry, and which also emphasizes the growing demand for music across global audiences.”


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Growth is attributed to a 29% increase in audiovisual post-synchronization, revenue from additional services such as TikTok, foreign collections, and an 8% uplift from vinyl’s continuing popularity as a format. Streamer income posted a 3% gain over the previous year. For a deeper dive on income specifics click here.

Edgar Bronfman Jr. is back at the negotiating table with a US$2.5B offer for National Amusements which owns more than 1,500 cinemas in the U.S., U.K. and Latin America. In Canada, National Amusements also owned Famous Players theatres but that is now owned by Cineplex Entertainment. Bronfman, 59, famously sold the family legacy asset, the Seagram Company, for $9B in 1981 and then plunged into several contentious and ill-fated deals, first by acquiring PolyGram and then the Warner Music Group. He has also had a sideline career as a songwriter under the pseudonyms Junior Miles and Bruce Roberts. Dionne Warwick, Celine Dion and Barbra Streisand covered “To Love You More” and “If I Didn’t Love You.”


– Canadian Music Week's new ringmaster, media and entertainment czar Randy Lennox tells Canadian Press’s David Friend that he intends to reshape CMW with expanded programming, enhanced venues, and “unique engagement opportunities for artists and fans.” More details will be revealed in coming months. Event owner Neill Dixon is retiring after more than 40 years running the music conference and festival.

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– Montreal-based Unidisc Music owns a vast treasure trove of recording and publishing rights that founder George Cucuzzella started amassing in the mid-'70s when he acquired New York-based Prelude Records, then De-Lite, Solar, Ahed, Pickwick, Quality, Daffodil, Attic, Star, Aquarius, and on and on. Now 70, he’s working as hard as he ever has, but now with son Anthony. The company also owns a pressing plant and recently released an anniversary edition of Les B.B’s self-titled 1988 debut album which went on to sell more than 200,000 copies, mostly in its home province of Quebec. Nostalgic fans can pick up the self-titled reissue that’s stamped on four different colours. It’s part of a massive catalogue vinyl release program.


SING! Festival founder Patricia Silver will receive an International Women Achievers Award recognizing her longstanding contributions in the arts & culture arena. The presentation will be made at an event later this month.

– Acadian bluesman JP LeBlanc has teamed up with songwriting journalist Larry LeBlanc to release “Louisiana Checkbook.” Here’s a performance video of the song recorded earlier this year at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN.

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– Alan Cross unearthed this gem posted to YouTube by neophyte singer-songwriter Mary Spender who is not only plugging the release of her new album but also a rebirth for the lowly cassette. You can hear a track from her audio tape here, and below Ms. Spender makes her implausible pitch for the audio cassette that ended its rule with the introduction of the CD in the early ‘90s


– Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail’s arts reporter, turned in a couple of noteworthy features from Ground Zero at CMW. The first offers a snapshot of AI, the elephant in the room. The other is a snapshot of Canada’s live music industry with panellists including The Feldman Agency's Jeff Craib, Evenko’s Nick Farkas, Ticketmaster’s Patti-Anne Tarlton, AEG’s Debra Rathwell and others (all recently named Billboard Canada Power Players). In typical fashion, Wheeler finds irony and humour in his reportage.

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– SOCAN has elected a new board; however, the naming of names is delayed as all are to be given a final vetting at next week's Annual General Meeting.

– Gary Muth is promoting his by-invitation-only Radio & Records Party on the patio at Roy Thomson Hall next month. This year’s sponsors are Stephen Stohn, Duff Roman, Jim Macdonald, Jan Haust, Frank Davies, Shane Carter and Jeff Burns. The count from last year is down 14 and counting.

Appointments

Gregg Stewart is the new Senior Manager of Communications at Universal Music Canada. Previously he worked with Bell Media for 12 years, leaving as Director of Music Strategy & Industry Relations. He was also with the Much MTV Group for a year and between 2000 and 2006 was with UMG’s digital marketing division.

– BMG has named Bryan Columbus as its new VP, of Recorded Music in Canada. Based in Toronto, he reports to Frontline Recordings N.A. president Jon Loba. Prior to that, he was the Concord label director in Canada and has also served in marketing capacities with the Black Box and Dine Alone labels.

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Shaq’s Classic Song ‘You Can’t Stop the Reign’ Featuring Biggie Is Finally on Streaming Services
Rb Hip Hop

Shaq’s Classic Song ‘You Can’t Stop the Reign’ Featuring Biggie Is Finally on Streaming Services

There's a more explicit Biggie verse in the vault, according to the NBA legend.

Shaq’s classic with Biggie is finally available on streaming services. The news was broken by FakeShoreDrive on X earlier this week, and the Hall of Fame big man confirmed the news Thursday afternoon (June 13).

The year is 1996 and Shaquille O’Neal and the Notorious B.I.G. are two of the biggest figures in their respective fields. Shaq was entering the last year of his deal with the Orlando Magic before he headed west to the Los Angeles Lakers at the end of the 1995-1996 season. Biggie was getting ready to release his sophomore album, Life After Death, while in the throws of a beef with 2Pac. Big name-dropped the NBA player on the song “Gimme the Loot” off his debut album, Ready to Die, and the two had a mutual respect for each other ever since.

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