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Touring

The Billboard Canada FYI Bulletin: New U.S. Visa Fees Could Prove Costly for Canadian Musicians

Also in this week's roundup of music industry news are Bif Naked, Trinisha Browne, 604 Records, Tixr and more.

The Billboard Canada FYI Bulletin: New U.S. Visa Fees Could Prove Costly for Canadian Musicians
blue and white metal fence
Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has published its final rule updating visa fees in several categories, along with a Frequently Asked Questions page summary.

After consultation with stakeholders including the American Federation of Musicians, final fees have been reduced from the initial amounts proposed by the Department of Homeland Security for nonprofits and certain small businesses with 25 or fewer employees.


Overall, creative arts petitioners will be hit with higher costs, increased petition prep requirements, and lengthier times for premium processing. This will affect Canadian and other musicians, as well as art workers, travelling across the border to play in the U.S.

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What follows is an initial overview with dollar amounts in U.S. currency:

Filing the Form I-129 to seek the O classification will have the following filing fee:

  • $530 for U.S. 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations of any size
  • $530 for filers with 25 or fewer full-time-equivalent employees, plus a $300 Asylum Program Fee, for a total fee of $830
  • $1055 for all other filers, plus a $600 Asylum Program Fee, for a total fee of $1655

Filing the Form I-129 to seek the P classification will have the following filing fee:

  • $510 for U.S. 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations of any size
  • $510 for filers with 25 or fewer full-time-equivalent employees, plus a $300 Asylum Program Fee, for a total fee of $810
  • $1015 for all other filers, plus a $600 Asylum Program Fee, for a total fee of $1615

There will be a maximum of 25 beneficiaries that can be included on a single petition for O-2, P-1, P-3, and P-S classifications. In other words, a large ensemble exceeding 25 beneficiaries must file multiple petitions, each with the relevant fee paid.

Premium Processing Service fees increased to $2,805 effective Feb. 1 and will change from 15 calendar days to 15 Federal business days for a response from USCIS.

– Trinidadian-born and Montreal-based singer, rapper and songwriter, Trinisha Browne has released “Bad Ting” from her upcoming March 2 album, Rhythm & Love. Grandmaster Clay produced the set.


- U.K. events producer Georgie Jett and Bif Naked’s Vancouver-based Her Royal Majesty’s Records have forged a transatlantic alliance with Naked’s longstanding manager Peter Karroll a co-conspirator. In a statement, Karroll explains “Bif and I have worked together for over 30 years, and we are excited to have Georgie heading up the combined music label and events side of the businesses while Bif continues to create new avenues for development.”

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A Bif Naked documentary, directed by Jennifer Abbott, Sundance and produced by Score G Productions and Electric Panda Entertainment, is set for release later this year, as too a new album entitled Champion with the title track single scheduled for release next month. It’s her first studio album in 14 years and third single from the TBA long-player. Below is an earlier single from the aforementioned album.

– Nominations are now open for the Canadian Live Music Awards, a partnership between the CLMA and Canadian Music Week that culminates with a 2-hour awards show on June 4 at Toronto’s Westin Harbour Castle hotel. There are 24 categories and two specialty awards up for grabs. Details and the noms ballot are here.

Appointments & Signings

Vancouver-based 604 Records has signed Alberta country singer-songwriter Chevy Beaulieu to the roster. His credits include three IMC #1s and a 2022 CMAB Fans Choice nomination. Also notable is the fact that his Métis father Angus was a three-time Canadian fiddle champion. Below is a clip from one of his indie releases from two years ago.


–Ticketing and live event commerce marketplace Tixr has named industry veteran Stéphane McGarry to lead its efforts in the country. His resume includes a VP role at Donald K Donald Events and before his new affiliation, he was Sales VP with ticketing software provider AudienceView.

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Tixr’s Canadian business includes partnerships with the Great Outdoors Comedy Festival, New City Gas, Sonic Unyon, and Sonic Concerts, with key recent signings including Cowboys Music Festival, Stereo Nightclub, Game Con Canada, and Athletics Canada.

– Curve Music and Cerberus Management & Consulting’s Brian Hetherman has been tapped to handle international programming for this year’s Canadian Music Week.

He will work alongside CMW president Neill Dixon while continuing to operate his labels, Curve Music and Sonic Envy and the management/consulting business.

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“CMW is always adapting with the times,” Hetherman said in a statement earlier this week. “I was the international ambassador at Canadian Music Week for many years, working with them on their international marketplace and attending conferences around the world on behalf of CMW and my entities. It a natural progression to help put together panels, both domestic and international.”

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The Tranzac Club Main Hall
Claire Harvey

The Tranzac Club Main Hall

Touring

Facing Mounting Financial Pressure, Toronto Venue The Tranzac Isn't Going Anywhere

Ahead of a fundraiser this Saturday, April 20, Tranzac Executive Director Jason Doell discusses the challenges piling up against small and independent venues across the country, and how he's taking steps to secure the club's future.

Small and independent music venues are facing increasing financial challenges that make it difficult to stay open. One pillar of the Toronto music community is taking steps to make sure it's not going anywhere.

The Tranzac Club, operating in Toronto's Annex neighbourhood since 1971, is an essential venue for genres like bluegrass, jazz, folk, singer-songwriter and experimental music in the city.

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